PhD Community

Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Public Administration at the Maxwell School bring a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Current students hail from the United States (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah), Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, India, and Korea.

Their academic backgrounds include economics, engineering, English literature, history, and political science. Despite their varied backgrounds, they share an intellectual interest in public administration and policy analysis and a drive to become the top scholars and teachers in their fields.

On the Job Market

Emily Gutierrez


Emily Gutierrez

Email

Fort Worth, Texas

Baylor University (2011) BBA - Economics, Spanish, & Public Administration

Baylor University (2014) MS - Economics

Before beginning her graduate studies at Maxwell, Emily was a Teach for America 2011 Corps member in Fort Worth, TX, and a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Her research interests include education and welfare policy issues. Emily works with Professor Amy Ellen Schwartz and Professor Michah Rothbart. 

Raghav Puri

 Raghav Puri

Email  |  Website  |  Google Scholar 

University of Delhi (2009), St. Stephen's College, BA (Honors) in Economics

National University of Singapore (2011), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, MPP

Fields of Specialization: Social Policy, International Development Policy

Raghav is a 5th year PhD student at the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs. His research focuses on the impact and implementation of health and nutrition programs in developing countries. His dissertation examines the effectiveness of conditional cash transfer programs in improving maternal health and child health in India. He works with Douglas Wold at the Aging Studies Institute.

Prior to attending Maxwell, Raghav worked for the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice at the World Bank in India. At the World Bank, he assisted national and state governments in evaluating and improving the implementation of social protection programs such as subsidized food distribution, public works, health insurance and social pensions. 

David Schwegman David Schwegman

Email  |  Website

Granby, Connecticut

BA (2013), Economics and History

MPA (2015), Public Finance

David is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs. His research focuses on state and local public finance, financial management, anti-discrimination policy, and education policy. He is also a graduate research associate in the Center for Policy Research working with Robert Bifulco. 

Saied Toossi 


Saied Toossi

Email  |  LinkedIn

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011), BA in Mathematics & History.

Northern Illinois University (2015), MA in Economics.

Saied is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs and a graduate research associate at the Center for Policy Research, where he works with professors Sarah Hamersma and Amy Ellen Schwartz. He has a broad interest in social policy and inequality, particularly as they pertain to children's well-being. His dissertation focuses on children's nutritional intake, food preferences, and food security.

Nara Yoon



Nara Yoon

Email

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Yonsei University (2011), BA in Public Administration.

Yonsei University (2013), MPA in Public Administration.

Nara's research focuses on nonprofit and public management, and often draws on other areas such as health policy and social media technology. Her dissertation investigates questions related nonprofit board interlock, which occurs between organizations when they have overlapping board members. In my work, I specifically examine how these board interlocks emerge and how they influence the diffusion of various governance policies. Prior to graduate school, Nara worked for a foundation on program evaluation where she designed and evaluated the education services program for secondary schools and nonprofit organizations.


Current PhD Students

Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Public Administration at the Maxwell School bring a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Current students hail from the United States (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah), Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, India, and Korea. Their academic backgrounds include economics, engineering, English literature, history, and political science.  Despite their varied backgrounds, they share an intellectual interest in public administration and policy analysis and a drive to become the top scholars and teachers in their fields.

On the Job Market

Rhea Acuna

Rhea Acuña 

Email

Westland, Michigan

University of Michigan (2008), BA in Economics

Carnegie Mellon University (2014), MS in Public Policy & Management

Rhea's research interest emerged from past work experiences with people- and place-based strategies in poverty alleviation.  She aims to further explore this dichotomy and research how interactions between people and place shape poverty. She will be working with Professors Sarah Hamersma and Katherine Michelmore.

Prior to attending Maxwell, Rhea worked within the economic development and social policy fields in various analytical capacities:  Research Analyst at Reinvestment Fund, Senior Research Analyst at The Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland, and Economic Analyst at the State of Michigan's Bureau of Labor Market Information.


Catherine Annis





Catherine Annis 

Email 

Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University (2016), BS in International Affairs

Florida State University (2018), MPA in Public Administration

Prior to attending Maxwell, Catherine worked on a National Science Foundation project studying Smart City initiatives as a researcher for Florida State University. Catherine also managed the Public Policy Group for the DeVoe Moore Center at Florida State. In 2017, she interned with the Office of Minority Business and Economic Development at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Catherine's research interests include public sector innovation, collaborative governance, and organizational networks. Her work explores the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) as tools for citizen engagement, workflow management, and coordination. She is particularly interested in multi-sector collaboration and is currently looking at this issue in the context of veteran community care networks.

Brandon DeBruhl

Brandon De Bruhl

Email

Brandon is passionate about the use, management, and application of data in the public sector. Starting his career on Capitol Hill and in state government, Brandon has been a champion for improved data access and quality. Recently, he served as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Management and Budget – a White House Component. At OMB, Brandon worked across the federal government on initiatives to improve data quality in regulations, information collections, and the federal budget. Brandon holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy specializing in Decision Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Economy. His research is focus science and technology policy. Brandon’s research interests include government investment in science, data management, automation, space exploration, data privacy, and organizational theory. While working at OMB, Brandon served as adjunct faculty at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy teaching Public Financial Management and Economics for Public Policy. 

Emily Cardon

Emily Cardon

Email

Farmington, Connecticut

Boston College (2008) BA – International Studies.

Syracuse University (2013) MPA – Public Administration.

Prior to her graduate studies at Maxwell, Emily worked for Congressman Jim Himes in Washington, D.C., ultimately serving as Legislative Assistant.  Emily’s research interests focus on health policy. She works with Professor Leonard Lopoo in the Center for Policy Research.

Ziqiao Chen

Ziqiao Chen

Email

Beijing, China

University of Rochester (2014) BA – International Relations and Economics.

University of Pittsburgh (2016) MPA – Policy Research and Analysis.

Ziqiao developed his research interest in energy and environmental policy since he was an intern at the European Parliament. Prior to attending Maxwell, Ziqiao studied in Rochester and Pittsburgh and provided research support for projects on EU’s emissions trading scheme and shale gas policy in China. He is exploring the role of emissions control policy in driving innovations of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology in the industry. Ziqiao works with Professor David Popp.

Yoon-Jung Choi

Yoon-Jung Choi

Email

Bloomington, Indiana

Seoul National University, BA in Political Science (2012)

Indiana University, MPA in Public Financial Administration (2017)

Yoon-Jung's research interests are in the areas of public finance and budgeting, public financial management, and public economics. Within these fields, she focuses on research that involves public debt and taxation. Yoon-Jung will work with Professor John Yinger.

Myriam Gregoire-Zawilski 

Myriam Gregoire-Zawilski

Email

Myriam's research interest is in the field of environmental/energy policy, more specifically on sustainability transitions in the developing world. At Maxwell, she will be working under the supervision of Professor David Popp. Myriam's M.Sc. research focused on the political economy of soybean value chains in Brazil, where she conducted field research and was a junior research associate at the Research Lab on Political Behaviour, Institutions and Public Policy (University of Brasilia, Political Science Department). Prior to joining Maxwell, Myriam worked at the OECD Development Centre, in the Partnerships and Networks Unit, and at Canada's International Development Research Centre, where she was a program management officer in the Technology and Innovation group. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Myriam also worked as a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Francophone network. Myriam speaks French, English and Brazilian Portuguese fluently and is working towards improving her command of German. 

Jeehee Han

Jeehee Han

Email

Seoul, South Korea

Northwestern University (2014), BA - Economics and Sociology.

Columbia University (2016) MA - Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences.

While studying economics and sociology at Northwestern University, Jeehee interned at the US Department of Education for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. She also worked as a research assistant at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development after starting her Master’s program at Columbia University. Now she is a PhD student with concentrations in Social Policy and Public Finance. She is interested in research questions spanning the areas of education, housing and welfare.

Abdela Hilo 

Abdela Hilo

Email

Jimma University, Ethiopia, BS in Pharmacy

Arbaminch University, Ethiopia, MPH

Syracuse University, MPA 

Abdela Alte has over ten years of working experience both in government and nongovernmental organizations. While working as head of South Omo Zone health department, he designed strategies and effectively implemented various health programs with greater emphasis on developing health infrastructure, increasing community awareness by health education, improving maternal health, reducing child death, and decreasing the spread and resulting death from communicable diseases. As a head of the health department he took the leading role in transforming the health condition of pastoralists and marginalized people in the zone. Currently, he is working as lecturer at the department of management and vice president for administration and student services in one of the public universities in Ethiopia.

Dae-Woo Kim

Dae-Woo Kim

Email

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Korea University (2003) BA - Public Administration.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010) - Master of Human Resources & Industrial Relations.

Interests - public management, nonprofit management, human resource management. Dae-Woo works with Professor Soonhee Kim in the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.

Hyoung-Keun Kwon

Hyoung-Keun (Jay) Kwon

Email

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Swarthmore College, BA in Mathematics (2015)

Seoul National University, Master of Public Administration (2017)

Jay’s fields of interest include public financial management and public management. Prior to joining Maxwell, he worked as a research assistant at the Center for Government Competitiveness at Seoul National University. Jay works with Professor Yilin Hou in the Center for Policy Research.

Mohammed Qasim Mehdi

Mohammed Qasim Mehdi 

Email

Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore University of Management Sciences (2014), BA - History

Syracuse University (2017), MPA 

Qasim studies carbon policies, collaborative governance, climate change mitigation and adaptation. His concentrations are in environmental policy and public management. Qasim works with Peter Wilcoxen and Tina Nabatchi int he Center for Policy Research.                 

Brian Ohl

Brian Ohl

Email

Greene, New York

Ithaca College (2003) BA – Philosophy and History

Cornell University (2005) MPA – Environmental Policy

Prior to attending Maxwell, Brian spent over seven years working at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, most recently as the Assistant Director of the Infrastructure Task Force, where he and his team oversaw/prepared the budgets of a number of agencies/institutions including the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the three New York City library systems, and the Department of Cultural Affairs.  His research focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and he works with Peter Wilcoxen and David Popp in the Center for Environmental Policy and Administration.

Hannah Patnaik

 

Hannah Patnaik

Email

Boston University (2014),  Masters in Economics and a Bachelors in both Economics and International Relations

Since then she worked at Boston Biomedical Consultants as a market research analyst, and following that, as a Junior Business Partnerships Consultant at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.  Hannah's research interests include sustainable development and public health policies in developing countries. Outside of academia she loves to travel and read

Laura Rodriguez

Laura Rodriguez Ortiz

Email

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Laura is working with Professor Len Lopoo in the Center for Policy Research. She is a Fulbright scholar from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where she studied Economics in the Pontificia Universidad Católita Madre y Maestra. Before coming to Maxwell to pursue a joint degree in Public Administration and Economics she worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in projects related to poverty reduction in her home country. During her second year in Maxwell she worked for the Say Yes Foundation as a Research Assistant. She is interested in using behavioral economics and quantitative methods to address questions related to education, family welfare and immigration.

Chris Rick

Chris Rick

Email

Waldorf, Maryland

University of Maryland (2009), BA - Economics

City College of New York (2016), MA - Economics

After graduating from UMD, Chris worked as a researcher for Battelle Memorial Institute. He has studied the economic impact of air cargo shipments and co-written various reports for the US Department of Transportation, including Freight Facts and Figures and Transportation Statistics Annual Report. While studying to earn an MA in economics at City College, Chris taught Principles of Microeconomics to undergraduate students. He is interested in how public policy can improve all aspects of urban life. Chris will work with Professor Amy Ellen Schwartz.

Mattie Mackenzie-Liu

Mattie Mackenzie-Liu

Bloomington, Indiana

Hamilton College (2014), MA in Public Policy and Studio Art

Indiana University (2017), MPA in Health Policy and Policy Analysis

Mattie is primarily interested in health policy and related public program evaluation.  Mattie will work with Professors Len Lopoo and Sarah Hamersma.

Bo Zheng 

Bo Zheng

Email

Tsinghua University, China, Bachelor of Engineering (2008)

Syracuse University, MPA

Bo Zheng is a first-year PhD student in the Maxwell School’s Public Administration and International Affairs Department. His research interest is in how technological change impact social inequality, by way of changing the nature of human jobs. He considers his love for technology his biggest hobby and he plays with his 3D-printer at home. Bo taught debate for nine years before beginning his studies at Syracuse. Born and raised in the freezing northeast of China, he feels very much at home in Syracuse.