The Department of Public Administration recognized students and alumni for their outstanding scholastic achievements and commitment to public service during the Pi Alpha Alpha induction ceremony on Feb. 22, 2018.
Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA) is the global honor society for public affairs and administration. It recognizes outstanding undergraduate and well as graduate students in public administration, public policy and public affairs. PAA has 162 chapters at The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) member schools. The College's Master's in Public Administration program is NASPAA accredited.
The Department honored its members with a lovely ceremony at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Members heard from two guest speakers this year -- alums Munirih Jester and Karlerik "Erik" Naslund, MPA, both who delivered a strong message to students about why they chose to work in the nonprofit sector.
Naslund, a data analyst for student success at San Antonio College, spoke to the group about expectations after graduation. Some people expect to get a job, earn money, go on vacations, and enjoy the extra perks that go along with the career. However, he realized that public service was his main reason for working. He wanted to give back and inspire others to do the same. Jester talked about living in Brazil. Her mother was involved in neighborhood community service, which inspired Jester to get involved in her community. As a Bachelor's in Public Administration student, she interned with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and worked on a pilot project to expand digital opportunity for the Texas border region. As a former Google Fiber/NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow, she used existing community resources to support computer literacy training for Connecthome participants, where she now works.
Karlerik Naslund is currently enrolled in the Applied Demography Ph.D. program at UTSA, and his research interests include immigration, higher education and data science.
Munirih Jester, BPA is also a lead member of the San Antonio Digital Inclusion Alliance – a citywide coalition that aims to bridge the digital divide. Her educational background is in Public Policy, Nonprofit Management and Urban and Regional Planning.
At the end of the program, Dr. Christopher Reddick, Chair of the Department of Public Administration, announced the 2018 inductees and presented them their certificates. Pi Alpha Alpha members then pledged to uphold the highest ethical standards applying to public service and endeavor to encourage and engage in meaningful interaction with other members.
One of the inductees shares her thoughts about being a member of Pi Alpha Alpha.
"Being inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha means that all my hard work and sacrifice has paid off," stated Rebekah Lopez. "It feels gratifying to be recognized by my College and to be among people who value public service and education like I do. I hope to use this honor by extending my network for my future endeavors as a public servant."