VCU public administration students, faculty take center stage at nation’s preeminent public management conference

Susan Gooden, Ph.D.
Susan Gooden, Ph.D.

Ten current and former graduate students of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, as well as five faculty members, have been accepted to present their scholarship this weekend in Atlanta at the 2017 American Society of Public Administration Conference — the country’s preeminent conference for public management.

The 15 Wilder School faculty and students — including 2017 ASPA President and Professor of Public Administration Susan Gooden, Ph.D., and featured lecturer and Distinguished Professor of Public Policy L. Douglas Wilder — will participate at the event as panelists, moderators and presenters. Additional faculty contributors include Wilder School Dean John Accordino, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor Myung Jin, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Saltanat ‘Salta’ Liebert, Ph.D.; and Professor Blue Wooldridge, D.P.A.

The current and former graduate students — Hyeonuk Bak, Sombo Chunda, Javon Davis, Lindsey Evans, Brittany Keegan, Jaeyong Lee, Yali Pang, Michael Perkins, Grant Rissler and Mona Siddiqui — are the authors or co-authors of papers accepted for presentation at the conference.

ASPA boasts the largest and most diverse membership of any professional public management association. Wilder School students and faculty will take center stage at the conference, which begins Friday and runs through March 21.

Three current and former Wilder School students — recognized in December as 2017 ASPA Founders’ Fellows — will present their scholarship during the conference. They will be paired throughout their fellowship year with a seasoned scholar or practitioner who serves as their mentor:

Sombo Chunda, Javon Davis and Yali Pang.
Sombo Chunda, Javon Davis and Yali Pang.
  •  Chunda, a first-year master's student in public administration, was recently honored by the Zambian Society for Public Administration with the Young Public Service Leader Award, the nation’s highest prize for civil service. She was recognized for her leadership at Diakonia, an international development firm, where she led the first-of-its-kind collaboration among the government of Zambia, the mining sector and 16 civil society organizations operating in the nation’s Copperbelt.

  • Davis, a recent graduate of the master’s in public administration program, is a first-year Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow for the city of Kansas City, Missouri. The highly competitive program is part of a two-year experience during which Davis will work in the city manager’s office, the Office of Performance Management, the budget office and other departments of their choice to gain a “360-degree tour of the city.”

  • Pang, a second-year doctoral student in public policy and administration, was selected to participate in the Fifth Annual International Workshop for Public Policy and Administration Scholars in Cape Town, South Africa. For the past year, Pang has been a part an award-winning research team examining the role of African-American-led nonprofits in improving youth outcomes.


Two Wilder School doctoral students — Suparna Dutta and Brittany Keegan — will be presented with the David Gould Scholarship at this year’s conference. The scholarship provides graduate students in the fields of public administration, public policy and/or international development, with support to attend ASPA’s annual conference.


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