As we eagerly prepare to welcome the Academy's new class of Fellows in 2023, we're taking a moment to revisit some of our favorite Fellow spotlights from the past couple of years. These remarkable individuals have made significant contributions to public administration and embody the spirit of excellence and innovation that the Academy stands for.
Patria de Lancer Julnes, Rosenthal Endowed Professor and Director of the School of Public Administration (SPA) at the University of New Mexico
How did you get involved in public service?
I have been involved in public service since I was a teenager growing up in the Dominican Republic. I was an activist who supported the right to a decent life for all Dominicans. Becoming a university professor in the United States has given me different ways in which I can continue to advocate for underserved populations, here and around the world. In particular, my research and related activities have focused on helping to improve government responsiveness, accountability and performance so we can build a more just and equitable society.
Which of the Academy's 12 Grand Challenges resonates most with you?
There are several that resonate but one that I am most interested in is “Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context.” I was happy to be selected to be part of the team that is working on an election transition paper on this challenge. I would like us to pursue a broad soft-diplomacy agenda that supports building institutional capacity to achieve better governance and sustainable development around the world. One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that we are all interconnected. Therefore, it is in our best interest to promote progress and prosperity for all and the United States is in a unique position to do this.
Reflecting on your career thus far, is there a highlight, a greatest accomplishment or a funny story you'd like to share?
I look back to my first publication in Public Administration Review, and it is funny in a heartening kind of way. This was an article from my dissertation written with my dissertation advisor. PAR rejected the first iteration of the article. We revised it and sent to another journal. The second journal rejected it, and we revised it extensively and sent it to PAR again. This time, not only was the article published, but also we ended up receiving PAR’s Mosher and Mosher award for best article written in an issue year by an academic. I still smile when I think about it.
What was the best trip you've ever taken?
This is such a hard question, but I would have to say that traveling around Turkey is one of the most memorable trips. The historic sites and natural beauty in Turkey are breathtaking.
What was the last book you read or one that you would recommend?
The last book I read was All over but the Shouting by Rick Bragg. It is an exquisitely written memoire about growing up poor in the South, and describes the South and its people in a way we rarely hear about. At its core, the book is a beautiful tribute to his mother. It reminded me of Trevor Noah’s Born a Sin in that Noah told the story of growing up poor, albeit in a different part of the world and different circumstances, and, like Rick, Noah had an incredibly strong and determined mother.
What do you work toward in your free time?
I work toward staying fit with weight training, pilates, yoga, and Zumba; I am also working on writing a memoire.