What are your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?
I am a research associate at the Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships. I’m on the intern programming team, supervise interns at the Center, and serve on the Academy’s IMPACT team (Implementing Meaningful Progress toward Academy Culture Team). I also participate in the Intergovernmental Systems Standing Panel’s work on the intergovernmental dimensions of homelessness.
What do you like best about working at the Academy?
I love that the Academy is truly nonpartisan. We convene diverse stakeholders across all sectors and political affiliations to solve emerging public administration challenges. It gives me faith in a system of governance where everyone is given an equal seat at the table to share viewpoints and research to advance government strategies.
Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?
Modernize and Reinvigorate the Public Service. As a City Councilor At-Large for Easthampton, Massachusetts, I’m the Chair of the Appointments Committee which oversees the recruitment and oversight of 30 community boards and commissions. These committees include the Board of Health, the Board of Public Works, the Council on Aging, and the brand-new Biodiversity Environment and Ecological Sustainability Committee.
Why is public service important to you?
I was raised in poverty, experienced homelessness more than once in my youth, and experienced homophobia and structural violence. I made it where I am today because of people who work in public service. I have dedicated my professional life to public service to thank those who saved me. In my career, I have worked for nonprofit organizations that advocate for the rights and resources of people who are homeless, survivors of sexual and domestic violence, or from the LGBTQ community.
Since my time at the Academy, I got to work on projects that directly benefit people who grew up like me. Public service gives me meaning and purpose.
What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?
As a baby born in the 1980s, I love playing video games when I have free time. Though introverted, I love high-adrenaline experiences like rollercoasters, ziplining, or parasailing.
What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?
I had my wedding on the beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, with capuchin monkeys in attendance with my family. The ¡Pura Vida! Culture and ecosystem in Costa Rica make it the most beautiful place on Earth.