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Celebrating Rutgers SPAA's 15th Anniversary

2021 Marks SPAA's 15th Year as a School at Rutgers University–Newark #SPAA15

The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University–Newark was established in 2006 after providing doctoral and master’s public administration education for over 30 years as a department. Read more about Our Proud History.

In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the founding of School of Public Affairs and Administration – as well as the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Rutgers University–Newark – SPAA is hosting several events throughout 2021 highlighting our faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

FEBRUARY 18, 2021 – 6-7pm

Celebrating Black History Month with SPAA Faculty 

In celebration of Black History Month, and to help mark the 15th anniversary of the school, Rutgers SPAA hosted a panel on Feb. 18 to facilitate a candid conversation with SPAA faculty and hear each individual’s reflections on a career in public administration as a person of color. 


  • Cleopatra Charles, PhD - Associate Professor
  • Diane Hill, PhD - Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Assistant Chancellor of RU-N
  • Charles Menifield, PhD - Dean


  • Wendy Nicholson, MPA - SPAA Doctoral Student

Event Recap & Recording: 

MARCH 3, 2021 – 12-1pm 

SPAA Alumni: Full Circle Journey for SPAA Employees 

Join SPAA faculty and staff in a roundtable discussion about completing their degrees and returning to the SPAA as part of their career journey. 


  • Domonic Bearfield, PhD - Associate Professor, (2004) 
  • Michael Dillard, EdD - Assistant Teaching Professor (MPA 2010)
  • Madelene Perez, MPA - Associate Dean for Finance and Administration
  • Elijah Smith, BA - Director, RU-N Debate Team (2014) 
  • Sharon Stroye, MBA, MPA - Director of Public Engagement (MPA 2006)
  • Lois Warner, PhD - Assistant Teaching Professor (2007) 


  • Meril Antony, MPA - SPAA Doctoral Candidate; Communications Coordinator (2017)

MARCH 24, 2021 – 6-7pm

Celebrating Women's History with SPAA Faculty

With the inauguration of the first female vice president, Kamala Harris, and the number of recommended women for cabinet positions in the Biden/Harris administration, there seems to be a shift in gender equality. Join us in a panel discussion on "Women in Power Positions: Is the Glass Ceiling Breaking in 2021?"


  • Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia, PhD - Professor 
  • Stephanie Newbold, PhD - Associate Professor 
  • Lindsey McDougle, PhD - Associate Professor


  • Monica Bastos - MPA Student

APRIL 7, 2021 – 5-6pm

SPAA Turning 15: Past, Present, and Future 

Hear from the most senior faculty members of SPAA as they share their reflections of SPAA before and after it became the sixth and final school of Rutgers University–Newark. 


  • Kyle Farmbry, PhD - Professor; Former Dean, Graduate School-Newark 
  • Suzanne Piotrowski, PhD - Associate Professor; Director, Transparency and Governance Center 
  • Norma Riccuci, PhD - Board of Governors Distinguished Professor 


  • Dylan Testra - BA Student; SGA President

APRIL 10, 2021 – 1-230pm

Human Resources and The Future of Work 

Hear from SPAA alumni who serve as executive leaders in their organization about their hiring practices and the future of human resources post COVID-19. 


  • Marsha Acheampong, MPA - Youth Program Director, City of Newark (2017)
  • Ashley Alvarez, BA - Human Resources Specialist, University Hospital (2016)
  • Natasha Hemmings, MPA - Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (2016)
  • Catherine Plymel, MPA - Chief Operating Officer, Boys & Girls Club of Newark (BA/MPA 2017) 


  • Michael Dillard, EdD - Assistant Teaching Professor (MPA 2010)