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Rutgers SPAA Alumna Meril Antony (MPA'17, PhD'22) Receives 2023 SPALR Best Dissertation Award

Meril Antony (MPA'17, PhD'22)

Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) alumna Meril Antony (MPA'17, PhD'22) has received the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) 2023 Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations (SPALR) Best Dissertation Award. Her winning dissertation, "Essays on Co-Production, Social Equity, and Administration of Schools," explored the influence of socio-cultural mechanisms – through different forms of human capital – on public service organizations and focused on the problem of co-production barriers or facilitators in a U.S. school context. Using mixed-methods design, the dissertation identified agent-based and organizational barriers such as the presence of social/cultural capital and school efforts to curtail or enhance parents' own efforts at home and school toward their child's education.

"I am thankful to ASPA's Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations (SPALR) for recognizing my work on co-production in education," said Dr. Antony. "I owe this honor to many mentors, peers, and friends in my academic community – within and outside Rutgers University–Newark. I am especially thankful to Dr. Norma Riccucci for nominating me for this award well beyond her unrelenting mentorship."

Dr. Antony is currently the 2022-2023 Robert Curvin Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University–Newark. She is involved with the New Jersey Education Equity Project – a series of studies mapping educational experiences, opportunities, and outcomes across the state with a focus on monitoring for equity by re-analyzing and re-presenting available state data.

Her research interests are centered around urban policy, social equity, public management leadership, and performance management theories and her research agenda investigates the processes by which different stakeholders interact to produce common outcomes. While a doctoral candidate at Rutgers SPAA, Dr. Antony was selected as a 2021-2022 ASPA Founders' Fellow, a competitive program helps to accelerate the careers of rising stars in the discipline through a series of professional development opportunities. She was also awarded a 2021-2022 Rutgers University Graduate School Newark (GSN) Dean's Dissertation Fellowship, a highly competitive dissertation completion fellowship that includes a stipend and graduate fellow health benefits.