SPAA PhD Candidate Kayla Schwoerer Selected as ASPA 2021-2022 National Council Student Representative
Kayla Schwoerer, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University–Newark, is joining the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National Council for 2021-2022 in the role of student representative. The primary function of the position is to provide a student voice on the ASPA National Council. In recent years, student representatives have also worked with ASPA staff and leadership to develop webinars and other ASPA-sponsored content to help students and new professional members of ASPA network and develop new skills.
“I would love to expand the networking opportunities available to ASPA students and new professional members,” said Schwoerer. “I think this last year has highlighted how important community is, even if it is virtual.”
She is already thinking ahead to the next in-person ASPA conference and how to help make it as inclusive and welcoming as possible. “I remember how overwhelmed I was at my first ASPA conference, and have since had discussions with other students who say they shared the same experience. I think it would be awesome to establish a buddy system of connecting students and new professionals with one another before and during the conference so that it is less intimidating to navigate,” said Schwoerer.
“My key motivation for succeeding in this role comes from recognizing that it is an opportunity to be of service to others, which I always strive for, and to help bring together and support a community of like-minded individuals who want to contribute to the study and practice of public administration,” she said.
Schwoerer’s current research draws on theories from public management, design science, communications, and behavioral science to understand how governments can leverage technology and design to enhance the link between transparency and equity-informed citizen engagement. For her dissertation, she is looking at how governments communicate science and evidence-based policy to the public and exploring how cities can more intentionally and effectively communicate policy information in ways that encourage citizen participation, especially among historically underrepresented groups. She will be utilizing a mixed methods research design that includes computational text analysis, qualitative comparative analysis, and experimental methods.
Within ASPA, Schwoerer has been active in the Section for Women in Public Administration (SWPA), the Section on Science and Information Technology in Government (SSTIG), and Student and New Administration Professionals (SNAPS), allowing her to grow and establish personal and professional relationships with others in the field. She considers SPAA to be equally essential to her progress, as she has always felt supported and empowered while navigating academic life.
“SPAA has been integral to where I am today because of how much support I feel I have received since day one of being part of the SPAA family,” she said.