Maxwell School names inaugural Palmer Fellows

Gibson_SmithMPA students Katherine Gibson and Haley Smith are pursuing their studies this year as the first-ever beneficiaries of the John L. and Stephanie G. Palmer Public Administration Fellowship Fund.

This fellowship was recently created by Dean Emeritus John L. Palmer and his wife Stephanie in order to provide financial support and mentoring to a select group of MPA students each year. John Palmer served as dean of the Maxwell School between 1988 and 2003 and was named to a University Professorship following his retirement from the deanship. His research focuses on federal fiscal and social welfare policy and he twice served as a presidentially appointed public trustee for Medicare and Social Security. A former assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, Palmer was also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and the Urban Institute. He is a member of the Maxwell School Advisory Board, and also serves on the board of advisors for the Robertson Foundation for Government, the Journal of Social Security, Pensions and Retirement Income, and the Committee for Economic Development, which he has chaired since 2006.

Katherine Gibson arrived at Maxwell after earning a BS in psychology from James Madison University. During her undergraduate education, she volunteered for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was a mentor for the Skyline Literacy Youth Program, a tutor for the Psychology At-Risk Youth Program, and a leader of the Alternative Break Program, all in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has also interned with the Humane Society of Charlotte in North Carolina and Langley Residential Support Services in Vienna, Virginia. Gibson came to Maxwell in order to learn about the intermingling of policy across geographic regions and increase her ability to analyze the efficacy of the creation and implementation of policy across scales. Following the completion of her graduate education, she intends to join the public service sector and contribute to community empowerment.

Prior to coming to Maxwell, Haley Smith graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, and a BA in Germanics. Following her graduation, Smith worked for Hematologics as a cytogenetic technologist for two years and continues to work as a research assistant for the University of Washington Parent-Child Assistance Program. She also spent time as a residential youth counselor at the Spruce Street Homeless Shelter. Seeing the structural barriers between cyclical poverty, health outcomes, and policy, Smith decided to begin an MPA at Maxwell in order to develop quantitative analysis and management skills and hopes to contribute to the development and implementation of policies that increase economic mobility. She is currently a graduate assistant with the X Lab in Maxwell.