2017-2018 PAIRA Members

It has been a Maxwell tradition that each year an newly elected  executive board for the Public Administration and International Relations Association is enacted.

It is my pleasure to Introduce the 2017-2018 PAIRA executive board. I am sure that these highly intelligent, professional public servants will have an impactful and progressive year here as Maxwell.

President: Ryan Pensyl

I am a graduate of the United States Military Academy who served as an Army officer for 11 years. As President of PAIRA for AY 2017-18, I am dedicated to working tirelessly to maximizing the student experience by finding ways to enhance all aspects of our top-notch programs while maintaining a safe, inclusive, and fun learning environment.

It’s going to be a great year!
Vice President-Public Administration: Elizabeth Dagle
I am a MPA student working on a Certificate of Advanced Study in Health Services Management and Policy. Prior to coming to Maxwell, I studied Theater and English at Creighton University where I also served on executive boards for numerous student organizations. I spent the last two years serving with AmeriCorps working with low income and first generation high school seniors on their college and scholarship applications. I am looking forward to a year of professional growth with my peers through PAIRA.
Vice President-International Relations: Sanjana Suresh
I’ve come to Maxwell with two years of work experience in the not for profit sector in my home country India.
I hope to be able to bring in as much collaboration among students and leverage our time here for as many advantageous opportunities that come our way.
International Student Ambassador: Antonio Michel
My name is Antonio Michel, I am from Mexico, and I have worked for the past 4 years and a half in the government. I have previous experience in representing student councils, as I was the student council President in high school, and the VP of the board in college. My biggest motivation as the International Student Ambassador is to organize activities where national and international students can exchange experiences, learn new languages, and get to know new cultures. Maxwell already does an excellent job at making us feel at home, but I think international students can engage and participate in more events and networking activities. I will work hard to make sure our voices are heard and our interests represented.

Treasurer: E. Michelle Butcher

My name is E. Michelle Butcher and I am an MPA candidate. As your treasurer for PAIRA, I hope to find creative ways to fund projects and cut costs. I also hope to make events accessible and affordable for all students.

Secretary: Michelle Herr

I am a dual MPA/MAIR student with a focus on security studies. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and previously worked for the Hawaii State Legislature. As Secretary of PAIRA, I hope to work together with the Executive Board and my peers to provide opportunities and professional growth for the students of Public Administration and International Relations.
GSO-PA: Giovanna ErKanat
Hello! My name is Giovanna and I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. Before coming to Maxwell, I spent a few years living abroad as a vagabond before spending the past 5 years working in the nonprofit human services sector in San Francisco. In my role as GSO representative for the MPA program, I look forward to being your connection to the GSO (Graduate Student Organization). I’m here to help facilitate our Maxwell presence at the greater SU grad student level. I come to PAIRA with a lot of experience in volunteer and events management, so I look forward to helping put together all the activities we’ll do this year!


Graduate School is Not a Destination

I used to believe that going to college was the key to getting a job. When things didn’t shake out like I hoped, I updated the belief by swapping out college with graduate school. Entering my 9th month of my Masters of Public Administration program, I realize now that my belief was wrong.

Snow covered Hall of Languages.

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No One is an Island

John Donne was a 17th century poet; Common is a 21st century poet. While the two were born centuries apart, their words bring clarity in a period of my life that is anything but.

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” – John Donne, 1624, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions.

“…I’m not always the perfect man. I’m not always doing the right things. That’s who I am. I’m working to be better.” – Common, 2007, The Guardian.

View of Maxwell from Crouse-Hinds Hall.
View of Maxwell from Crouse-Hinds Hall.

The second semester of graduate school is about my maturation from being curious about data science to being committed to becoming the best urban data scientist I can be. This commitment is not a movie montage moment where I surround myself with books and independently learn how to transition from a student to being an employee. Rather, this commitment involves asking for help from others and believing in myself.

In the spirit of Donne’s writings, I am a part of both the Maxwell School and School of Information Studies. When it comes to preparing for job interviews for policy jobs, no one is better at offering solid advice than the experienced and accommodating trio of Kelli Young, Laura McArdle, and Lauren Meyer at the Maxwell Center for Career Development. But when I need to learn how to showcase my visualization skills or highlight certain software skills on my resume, Christopher Perrello at iSchool Career Services is who I go to see.

Every Friday at the Center for Policy Research, my economics classmates and I go through the weekly problem sets with Professor Peter Wilcoxen. The enthusiasm he has for economics is clear; but to me, the best part is witnessing someone take as much time as is needed to simplify a complex concept. That patience and love of subject are a regular display of what I hope to accomplish in becoming an urban data scientist.

When I’m not getting help from professionals, I’m venting my frustrations with the job hunt with my fellow MPA and iSchool classmates. The best part of sharing my ups and downs with others is that everyone else has a similar story to tell. Reserving the “They want an interview!” or the “Why haven’t they called back?” story suppresses the chance for everyone to vent their experience on this rollercoaster ride.

No matter how high or how low the rollercoaster goes, I believe in myself. Every week I am challenging myself to make a new chart, interactive graphic, or communication skill. Today it is developing an application that visualizes monthly citizen complaints against City of Cincinnati police officers; tomorrow might be something completely different. While where I’ll end up after graduation is completely unknown, at least I have a community to rely on for support through the good times and the bad times.