School Celebrates Accomplishments of Graduates

Mon, 05/20/2024


Sydney Bannister

LAWRENCE – On May 11, 2024, the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) celebrated its graduates with its annual graduation recognition ceremony which celebrates those who graduated in summer of 2023 as well as fall and spring 2024. To view photos from this event, visit here and if you are a graduate looking for your photos, visit here!

On behalf of all SPAA alumni, faculty, and staff, we’d like to extend special recognition to our respective honor society inductees and award recipients for their outstanding achievements in the undergraduate, master or doctoral programs, and generally, in the public affairs and administration field.

Pi Alpha Alpha

Pi Alpha Alpha is the national honor society for students of public administration. It promotes excellence in the study and practice of public administration and public affairs. Membership into this society is based on distinguished academic achievement. MPA students must earn a 3.7 or higher GPA.  Undergraduates must earn a 3.5 or above GPA in their major and a 3.0 or above cumulative GPA.

Undergraduate Inductees: 

Josh Navarro

Aaron Michael Thomas

MPA (Master of Public Administration) Inductees:

Lucas Boyd

Jacob (Jake) Broadbent

Amber Brown

Joseph (Joey) Carley

Bradley Harris

Tracy Jarrett

Kimberly (Kim) Nakahodo

Shelby Ostrom

Kaili Stowers

Robert (Bob) Szrot

Sara Taliaferro

Andrew (Andy) True

Madison Wiseman

Phi Kappa Phi

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 to recognize scholarly achievement in all disciplines in the university, to promote the "unity and democracy of education", and to “engage the community of scholars in service to others.” The society's motto is "Let the love of learning rule humanity".

The Phi Kappa Phi MUP (Master of Urban Planning) inductees are: 

Will Sharp

Andrea Lynch

Outstanding Undergraduate Award

This award is presented annually to an outstanding undergraduate student who has demonstrated excellence in coursework and in scholarly work beyond course assignments to enhance learning, such as research outside of the classroom or leadership roles within the classroom.

This year the award goes to: Madeline Blake.

School of Public Affairs & Administration Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year

This award is given to a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School and the recipient is selected by the doctoral committee with input from faculty and students. Criteria for this award include: 1) excellence in teaching techniques, 2) excellence in curriculum development, and 3) excellence in student learning.

The award goes to: Yiwen Wu.

Outstanding MPA Student Award

Our next award is the Outstanding MPA Student Award. This award is given to an MPA student graduating in the current academic year. The criteria for the award includes excellence in intellectual work and going beyond course assignments to enhance learning. SPAA faculty nominate students for this award.

The award goes to: Kim Nakahodo.

Scott Brooks Award

Scott Brooks was a member of the faculty at KU in the mid-1970s. Very quickly, Scott became an essential faculty member, and he led resurgence in the local government concentration. No faculty member has meant more to the local government emphasis in the program since Ed Stene retired. Scott was a remarkable person and the criteria for the award capture his passion for the MPA program. They are: Compassion for Colleagues, Dedication to Public Service, and Enthusiasm for Life.

The award goes to: Jake Broadbent.

Faculty Teacher of the Year Award

This award is given to a faculty member or adjunct instructor in the School and the recipient is selected through a vote of students in all of the public administration academic programs. Criteria for this award include: 1) excellence in teaching techniques, 2) excellence in curriculum development, and 3) excellence in student learning.

The award goes to: Karl Brooks.

Urban Planning Student Service Award

This award is given to a student who has demonstrated exceptional service to the Urban Planning Program, both as a leader of the Kansas Association of Planning Students, and as a liaison between students and faculty.

The award goes to: Zoe Brown.

A second service award was presented this year for the student who did the most to promote our program and the career of urban planning to undergraduates.

This award goes to: Lexi Berra.

American Planning Association Outstanding Student Award

This award, through the American Planning Association recognizes outstanding achievement in the study of planning by a student in an accredited planning program. Each year, the Urban Planning faculty nominate the student who they believe best exemplifies academic success, leadership, and potential for an exceptional career in planning.

The award goes to: Payton Smith.

Ph.D. Graduates

Kevin Campbell

Morgan Farnworth

Sarah Hofmeyer

Margaret (Maggie) Swenson

Undergraduate Graduates

Aris Afghanzada

Kalishia Bemis

Madeline Blake

Susan Duffey

Taylor Gadino

Abel Geremew

Fernanda Gutierrez

John Havel

Jami Jacobs

Jovonna Joyce

Zachary Laforce

Aourell Le Guen

Alex Martinez

Josh Navarro+

Ryan Ohrwashel

Felicia Peoples

Shaquille Shanklin

Aaron Michael Thomas+

+ Pi Alpha Alpha honor society

Master in Public Administration (MPA) Graduates

* Received Honors on MPA final essay

+ Pi Alpha Alpha honor society

Master of Urban Planning (MUP) Graduates

Alexis (Lexi) Berra

Zoe Brown

Steven Gilmore

Taylor Hall

Andrea (Andie) Lynch+

Elisa (Raquel) Ordonez

Wiley (Will) Sharp IV+

Payton Smith

Paul Turner

Joshua (Josh) Woody

Lauren Young

Hugo Daniel Malaga Vasquez

+ Phi Kappa Phi honor society

About the School of Public Affairs and Administration

The mission of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas is to educate exceptional leaders for public service who provide solutions to the most pressing community challenges at all levels of governance. With roots in local government management and urban policy, we advance the public good, democratic values, and ethical public management practices.

The School of Public Affairs and Administration offers undergraduate degrees, Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, and Ph.D. in public administration.

SPAA is also home to the Public Management Center (PMC) which offers professional education and consulting services for public service leaders in the Midwest.

Mon, 05/20/2024


Sydney Bannister