MPA alum selected to 2015-2016 University Teaching Fellows Program

Steven Sano is the first within the College of Public Policy to receive this distinguished fellowship.

By Michelle Skidmore

Humble, inspiring, dedicated, and unique are all qualities which describe Steven Sano. An alumni of the MPA program (MPA ’11), Steven was recently selected as a 2015-2016 University Teaching Fellow. The 2015-2016 University Teaching Fellows Program is an opportunity for doctoral students to develop their teaching and other academic skills while providing service to their departments and the university as a whole. Steven is the first student in the College of Public Policy to receive this distinguished fellowship.

Currently, Steven is the Chief of Community Partnerships with the American Red Cross National Headquarters and is also working on his doctoral degree in the Applied Demography program.

Steven attributes his achievements to his experiences growing up in the multi-cultural San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area. He is a product of both a Japanese migrant farming community and an inner-city urban environment. Sano grew up with a collaborative consciousness in order to work together for shared success. The ancient African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” teaches eternal truth. No man, woman, or family is an island. “I am a product of my community,” said Sano. It was his community that supported resilience, self-reliance, and positive change. Sano’s strong upbringing has paved the way for his success in serving the public, managing people and resources, and instilling a sense of pride in the neighborhoods and communities he works with. Sano stresses a concept called “authentic demand.” In order for authentic demand to take place, it’s important to establish trust and respect with the members of the community. “It’s important to ask people what they need and to meet them where they are at,” says Sano. “It’s about dropping your assumptions and empowering them for their own success.” Steven has been a major part bringing residents together and helping them restore their livelihood during some of our nation’s natural disasters — Hurricane Sandy, Mississippi Tornadoes and the Arizona Wildfires, to name a few.

Sano is currently in the Applied Demography doctoral program housed within the College of Public Policy. Studying applied demography will help him understand the empirical data he needs to better serve the community-at-large and conduct demographic research on public policy related topics. In 2014, he received his certification in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) from the Canadian Red Cross and University of Ottawa Law Faculty, and in 2013 the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) from Fordham University. He is currently working on his diploma in Humanitarian Diplomacy Policy from the International Federation Red Cross Red Crescent.

Sano says the key to success is to be happy with yourself and be reflective of your motivations. His advice — be passionate and compassionate about what you do. You have to take advantage of everything that comes your way and be engaged in your community. Sano continues to be appreciative for the support and guidance from the University, the Department of Public Administration faculty and staff, his mentors, his family, and the community.