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Dr. Louise Comfort accepted the 2017 B. Wayne Blanchard Award for Academic Excellence in Emergency Management in Higher Education from North Dakota State University. The award is given annually to scholars who have made contributions to the field of emergency management, a field to which Dr. Comfort has dedicated her career. 

Trailblazers, role models and inspirations are just a few words to describe five Pitt alumni who were recognized in June for their accomplishments and community outreach. Among those honored was GSPIA Alumna Cecile Springer (MURP ’71). 

By Assistant Professor Jeremy Weber and Andrew Earle

Pennsylvania has a long legacy of natural gas drilling. One unfortunate aspect of the legacy is a host of abandoned shallow gas wells throughout the state, some of which likely leak gases or liquids harmful to animals, plants, or people. This raises the question of the fate of the more than 10,000 unconventional natural gas wells that have been drilled in the state over the last decade, with more drilled each day.  Read more.

Last week, President Donald Trump tried to pit our two cities against each other when he announced, in pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." As the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris, we’re here to say that we’re more united than ever. Read More.

University of Pittsburgh alumnus, and GSPIA adjunct faculty member David Coplan, (MSW-MPA ’93), will receive the Human Services Management Exemplar Award at the Network of Social Work Management (NSWM) annual conference, June 15, 2017, in New York City. Coplan earned a joint degree at Pitt’s School of Social Work and GSPIA with a concentration in Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) in 1993. The Exemplar award is given annually to social work executives who demonstrate outstanding performance for the public good on the local, state, or national level. 

BBC environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, recently discussed the rise of fracking for national gas and its impact on the coal and nuclear industries with GSPIA Assistant Professor Jeremy Weber. The article, Fragile future for US nuclear power, explores the diminishing role of the nuclear energy industry and President Trump’s efforts to roll back regulations in the coal industry.

The Matthew B. Ridgway Center recently hosted leading terrorism experts Dr. Marc Sageman, M.D., and Dr. Martha Crenshaw, for a panel discussion on combating terrorism in the U.S. moderated by Dr. Michael Kenney, interim director of the center. 

Associate Professor Shanti Gamper-Rabindran presented one of two keynote speeches at the annual meeting of the Italian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The conference was organized by and held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Gamper-Rabindran spoke about the political and legal institutions in energy transition: the case of shale in the US. Her presentation described how US political and legal institutions, beyond market factors such as high expected gas prices, facilitated shale expansion. 

GSPIA Dean John Keeler recently traveled to Colombia with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, members from the University Center for International Studies, and UPMC to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos, as well as representatives from the University of Los Andes, to form a deeper partnership in education and health care.

In a landslide victory, GSPIA Alumnus and incumbent Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (MPPM ’11) garnered nearly 70% of the votes in the May 16th primary election, securing the Democratic Party nomination. As no Republican challengers have appeared, the path is clear for Peduto to assume a second term as Pittsburgh’s mayor.  

GSPIA will host an information session for its Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) online program at noon on Friday, May 19 in Posvar Hall room 3911. The 30-credit MPPM online program gives professionals with at least five years of full-time work experience an opportunity to advance their careers at a time and place that is convenient for them. To RSVP, click here.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs celebrated the academic achievements of its students during the 2017 Honors and Graduation Ceremony held at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Museum, April 27, 2017.  

Ellen D. Glover (MURP '78) received GSPIA's Distinguished Alumna Award during this year's graduation luncheon held at the University Club. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Pitt in 1976 and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at GSPIA in 1978. Glover began her career with a two-year appointment as a Presidential Management Intern (now Fellow) with the federal government. In 1983, she joined Advanced Technology Systems, a provider of information services to the U.S. Department of Defense and Civilian Agencies.

The University of Pittsburgh Chapter of the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Public Administration recently welcomed GSPIA members during an induction ceremony at the University Club. GSPIA graduate student inductees (MPA) represent the top of their graduating class based on a student’s cumulative GPA. Inductees included, faculty honorary member Louise Comfort; and student members, Jeffrey Bastian, Martina Lucia Gesell, Max Harleman, Brett R. Morgan, Shuning Tong, and Emma K. Wallis.


The editorial board is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 edition of the Pitt Policy Journal (PPJ). PPJ is a student-led initiative with a mission to provide an avenue for students to contribute exemplary research, inquisitive debate, and constructive dialogue to peers and practitioners of public policy. It is the board's hope that the journal will serve as an incubator to foster new ideas and encourage the intellectual curiosity of GSPIA students.

By Mamadou Ndiaye Jr.

On March 28, Dr. Jim Withers received the Exemplary Leadership Award from the Johnson Institute. Dr. Withers was recognized for his work with Operation Safety Net and the Street Medicine Institute. These organizations focus on healthcare provision to the homeless in communities in Pittsburgh and across the globe. At the luncheon held in his honor, Withers spoke about his career path and the need within the healthcare system to become more "humanized.” 

The University Times recently featured Kristen Maser Michaels in a new series, "Making Pitt Work." The goal of the series is to profile University staff by providing a glimpse of some of the less recognized employees whose primary business is making Pitt work. Kristen is the Executive Director of CONNECT (Congress of Neighboring Communities), but as the article conveys is probably much better known outside the University.

GSPIA students from Professor Sabina Deitrick’s Fall 2016 PIA 2755 course on Neighborhood and Community Development attended the Pitt Day in Harrisburg event. With Governor Wolf’s budget proposal to flat fund the state-related universities, GSPIA students joined the Pitt Advocates group to collaborate with elected officials and others in support of the University.

Dean John Keeler presented the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Nitin Madhav (MPIA ’92) last night during a reception for GSPIA’s Board of Visitors at the University Club. Nitin is the Officer-in-Charge, Afghanistan Affairs, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Nitin received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 and then went on to earn two masters degrees at Pitt, an MPIA from GSPIA in 1992 and a Master of Public Health in 1994.  He began a distinguished career in international development as Project Coordinator—Relief International in Tajikistan in 1994, where he administered refugee relief projects.  

In 1965, Congress enacted the landmark Voting Rights Act. Its purpose was to combat the systematic and deliberate denial of African Americans’ right to vote. In 2013, in the decision of Shelby County v. Holder, Chief Justice Roberts famously declared “our country has changed” and delivered an opinion on behalf of the Supreme Court that voided significant parts of the Voting Rights Act. On Monday, April 10, at 10 a.m., a panel of experts, moderated by GSPIA Dean, John Keeler, will gather at Pitt’s School of Law to discuss the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act since 2013. 

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Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
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