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The People of PAIA

The greater community of Public Administration and International Affairs at Maxwell includes a helpful, always welcoming staff (listed below); faculty members who are distinguished researchers, teachers, and practitioners; approximately 200 students, working toward shared goals of personal growth and public good; and a network of nearly 7,000 alumni, famously loyal to the School and each other.

See our PAIA Faculty roster to learn more about professors. Remember, too, that the interdisciplinary MAIR draws from across the Maxwell School; teachers in MAIR can be found among the full Maxwell School Faculty list.

Current MPA and MA IR students are profiled on the PAIA Student Bios page. Our current PhD students are found on the PhD program website. And you can sample the world of Maxwell School graduates at our Alumni Relations website.

PAIA Leadership and Staff

Public Administration and International Affairs staff members are dedicated to student service.  We strive to create a warm, friendly, and collegial environment that fosters the development of meaningful connections among all members of the Maxwell community.  Our most important goal is the academic and professional success of our students.  Please visit us in Eggers Hall, Suite 215. 

Robert Bifulco Jr.

Robert Bifulco, Jr.
Associate Dean and Chair   

Dr. Robert Bifulco is the Associate Dean, Chair and Professor for the Public Administration and International Relations department at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is an accomplished teacher and scholar, holding appointments as Senior Research Associate with the Center for Policy Research (CPR) and Education Finance and Accountability Program (EFAP) at the Maxwell School, and as co-editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. In addition, he was affiliated with CALDER and Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) at the University of Connecticut. He had been fortunate to have his research supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Connecticut State Department of Education and by the New York State Education Department. 

Prior to Syracuse University, he taught at the University of Connecticut where he received the Distinguished Professor award. Dr. Bifulco has taught courses on Public Budgeting, State and Local Finance, Economic Analysis, Education Policy, Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, and Program Evaluation.  

His research focuses on the evaluation of educational policies and programs generally with specific interests in the interactions of school segregation, school policies, and student outcomes.  He has also conducted research on the measurement of school performance, educational resource disparities, and peer effects.  He has published articles evaluating whole-school reform, school accountability programs, charter schools, magnet schools and other forms of school choice which have appeared in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education Finance and Policy, and the American Economic JournalEconomic Policy among others.  

He received his Ph.D. and M.P.A. in Public Administration from Syracuse University along with an M.A. and B.A. in Philosophy from Rice and Bucknell Universities, respectively. 

Robert Bifulco Jr.

Catherine Bertini
Vice Chair 

Catherine Bertini is Professor of Practice in Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She currently teaches graduate courses on the United Nations, Humanitarian Action, and Girls Education. She joined the Maxwell School in 2005. Professor Bertini is also a distinguished fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  For two years she was a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously she served as United Nations Under Secretary-General for Management (2003-05), as Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (1992-2002), and as Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services at the USDA (1989-92).  

Professor Bertini is the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate. She holds many awards, including 12 honorary doctorates from universities in four countries.  She was decorated by the Republic of Italy with its Order of Merit.  The Republic of Ireland has honored her with its Certificate of Heritage. 

Professor Bertini was appointed by President Bush and reappointed by President Obama to the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development. She serves as a member of the board of directors of the Tupperware Brands Corporation, the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) Systems Management Board,the COMPACT 2025 Leadership Council of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a member of the board of the Stuart Family Foundation, and the board of trustees for Cortland Regional Medical Center. For seven years she was a juror for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Trilateral Commission.  Professor Bertini is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), and the International Union of Food Science and Technology. In 2012, she served as a member of the Accountability Review Board on Benghazi.    

Omolino, Christine

Christine Omolino
Director, Admission and Financial Aid  

Christine is responsible for marketing, recruitment, admission and financial aid for the MPA and MA IR programs.  She has a great deal of experience with the admissions process and enjoys helping others learn how to prepare for and submit a competitive application for graduate study. A graduate of Maxwell’s MPA program herself, she loves working with the next generation of young professionals dedicated to careers in public policy, administration and international affairs and helping them to move forward with their academic and career goals.

Christine also holds an MSW from Syracuse University and a BA from SUNY Potsdam,  Christine served a three year term on the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program (2011-14), has provided pre-screening assistance for the Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) with the Open Society Foundation, is a frequent "field and admissions expert" for Fulbright/IIE on discussion boards and webinars,and in Fall 2016 she served as a screener/consultant for the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.  Follow Christine's Admissions Blog for more information on SU, the Maxwell School, the PAIA graduate programs, our admissions process and helpful application tips.  

Josh Kennedy

Josh Kennedy
Associate Director, Student Services

As Associate Director, Josh advises all PAIA department students on their academic and professional development while at Maxwell to prepare the next generation of public and international policy and management professionals. Josh holds a masters in international relations from the Maxwell School.    

Isaac O Olson

Isaac Olson
Global Programs Coordinator

Working with MA IR and MPA students, Isaac Olson assists all who are interested in pursuing international opportunities by advising on internships and career tracks, along with effective strategies for success in the global marketplace. He further coordinates MPA capstone projects with students and stakeholders from the local to international levels. Prior to joining the Maxwell team, Isaac spent nine years living abroad in the Asia Pacific, mainly in Thailand and Korea, gaining first hand knowledge of global careers in the public, private, and non profit sectors. Isaac holds a master’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.  

  Karen Goebel -pic

Karen Goebel
Senior Student Records Coordinator

Karen maintains the department database and records for the programs graduate students.  She processes applications, coordinates with the EMC and SCIS to see that our international student’s documents are in order for a smooth arrival. Karen helps coordinate the Schedule of Courses and classroom scheduling for all PAIA classes.  She monitors and administers the Math proficiency exam results, Waiver Exams, and Comprehensive exams. Karen serves as administrative support to the faculty director of the PhD program in Public Administration.  

Janis Gray

Janis Gray
Senior Student Records Coordinator

Janis serves as our Senior Student Records Coordinator. She is responsible for maintaining the student database and records for all graduate students. She serves as the primary resource for all of our current students, assisting them with the logistics of their programs and especially with the final degree certification process, administrative forms, and academic procedures.  She also helps coordinates new student visiting days and orientations programs.  

Heather Macknik small

Heather M. Macknik
Executive Assistant to the Chair  

Heather serves as the Department Chair's assistant and helps maintain his schedule.  She is responsible for all event planning in the department, including MPA Convocation, MPA Colloquium and IR Orientation.  She works closely with the faculty, handling all faculty tenure and promotion procedures.  She is also highly involved as the search administrator in all department faculty searches.  Heather also processes all course evaluations for the PAIA department. Heather holds a masters degree in higher education and is fully committed to providing an excellent customer service and learning environment for the students.  


Heather Macknik small

Anastasia Sedykh
Budget Manager

As budget manager, Anastasia works closely with the Associate Dean and Chair on the overall management of the department's fiscal resources.  She keeps track of all the financial transactions for the PAIA Department and processes the authorized payments and reimbursements for faculty, staff and students. As the department's human resources point of contact, she assists our current and newly hired faculty, staff and students on issues related to payroll. Anastasia was born and raised in Ukraine, holds a bachelor degree in studio art, loves to travel the world, and is able to have conversations in four of the six official languages of the United Nations (English, French. Russian, Spanish - with Ukrainian as a bonus!).  

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Department of Public Administration and International Affairs | Maxwell School | Syracuse University | 215 Eggers Hall | Syracuse, NY 13244-1020 | 315.443.4000 | Fax: 315-443-9721