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Third Annual SPOD Student Scholar Awards

For the third consecutive year, the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) Section on Professional and Organizational Development (SPOD) honored three student scholars during the annual ASPA conference, which was held this year in Baltimore, MD. These students were selected from the many applicants based on essays describing their interest in SPOD and in professional and organizational development, as well as, their reasons for wishing to participate in the ASPA Annual Conference. Academic letters of support and the student’s GPA also factored into their selection. In a small ceremony during SPOD’s annual business meeting, each student was awarded a $500 check as a stipend to attend the national conference.

Nicholas Weimer is in the final stages of finishing his MPA degree at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) in South Texas. His thesis topic explores the current status of teaching Cultural Competency in NASPA accredited MPA programs. He is currently working as the d of the Center for Academic Excellence at UTPA, a program funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Much of his work in this program is focused on developing critical skill sets for working in government agencies and programs. He plans to pursue his Ph.D. in public administration or public affairs upon graduation.

Both Heather Blount-Newell and Meredith Forde completed the MPA program at Metropolitan College of New York in May 2011. Heather’s thesis was an OD/survey based intervention leading to the training of parent stakeholders in Community Counseling and Mediation (CCM). CCM is a social service, mental health, and supportive housing agency committed to serving at-risk children, adolescents, and families throughout New York City. This intervention has led to improving the quality of foster care for the subjects in her study. Heather will continue her work as a case planner supervisor at CCM.

Meredith’s survey based/OD intervention involved the design of an after school intervention to manage the under achievement gap of K–8 students in a private Brooklyn New York community school. Post-test results of her intervention have pointed to marked improvements in student self-perceptions of esteem and career awareness. Meredith is looking for job opportunities that match the work in her thesis.

SPOD welcomes all the Student Scholars of 2011 to the section and we look forward to seeing their papers presented on panels at the 2012 ASPA conference in Las Vegas.

For more information on the SPOD scholarship please contact G.L.A. Harris at Glah@pdx.edu.

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