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2018 SPAA Graduation Banquet Press Release

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LAWRENCE – The School of Public Affairs & Administration recently honored its 2018 graduates and top students at an annual banquet with awards and induction into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for students of public administration.

Membership in Pi Alpha Alpha is limited to those distinguished with academic achievement at least a 3.7 GPA for MPA students, and for undergraduates, at least a 3.7 GPA plus top 10 percent in overall class standing.

KU's new Pi Alpha Alpha inductees include the following students:

  • Alysen Abel
  • Chelsea Chaney
  • Christopher John Clinton
  • Mary Dreiling Dykmann
  • Kimberli Ann Evans
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Ian Hutcheson
  • Cody Johnson
  • David Joseph Jordan
  • Jose Macario Leon Jr.
  • Paul Lindstrom
  • Charles Love
  • Logan Masenthin
  • Alanna McCarthy
  • Logan Miller
  • Brian Pener
  • Rachael Corine Snider
  • Connie Taylor
  • Benjamin Washburn
  • James Wilson

The School of Public Affairs & Administration announced additional award winners as well:

Outstanding Undergraduate Award
The Outstanding Undergraduate Award is presented annually to a 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:
Frankie Hernandez



School of Public Affairs & Administration Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year
All doctoral students who have served as a GTA within the last two years are eligible for the GTA Teaching Award, except those who won the award the year before. The award is determined by all school undergraduate majors through a ballot conducted by the Awards Committee. Criteria for this award include excellence in teaching techniques, excellence in curriculum development and excellence in student learning.

The award goes to: Renee Dinsmore


Stanley Fisher Memorial Award
The Stanley Fisher Memorial Award is for Outstanding Graduate Students of Public Administration and is presented annually to students who have shown interest in public administration beyond their classroom work, have performed exceptionally well in public administration courses and have applied insights of public administration to their campus activities. Stanley Fisher was the city manager of Warrensburg, Missouri. He was tragically killed in an automobile accident on April 30, 1966, when he was president-elect of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of ASPA. This award is presented in honor of him and his contributions to public administration.

This award was formally presented at the Greater Kansas Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration Awards Breakfast on May 10.

The award goes to: Jonathan Westbrook (not pictured)


Outstanding MPA Student Award
This award is given to an MPA student who graduated in the current academic year. The criteria for the award include excellence in intellectual work and going beyond course assignments to enhance learning.

The award goes to: Chelsea Ren Morton and Brian Bickers


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 a resurgence in the local government concentration. Brooks was a remarkable person, and the criteria for the award capture his passion for the MPA program. 

The award goes to: Brian Bickers



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 excellence in teaching techniques, excellence in curriculum development and excellence in student learning.

The award goes to: Alfred Ho



Additional student recognition:

Undergraduate Students

  • Nicholas Allen
  • Mario Arguelles
  • Larkin Bailey
  • ⁺Christopher John Clinton
  • ⁺Gerald Henderson
  • Frankie Hernandez
  • Kenneth Klingenberg
  • ⁺Jose Macario Leon Jr.
  • ⁺Alanna McCarthy
  • Shelly McKibbin
  • Danny Michael
  • ⁺Logan Miller
  • ⁺Brian Pener
  • Whitney Sanchez


+ Pi Alpha Alpha honor society


Masters in Public Administration Graduates

  • ⁺Alysen Abel, City of Parkville, Missouri
  • ⁺Jaron Balderes, City of Wichita, Kansas
  • *Brian Alexander Bickers, Arlington County Government
  • ⁺Chelsea Chaney, District Director at the Office of U.S. Senator Pat Roberts
  • ⁺Mary Dreiling Dykmann, University of Kansas
  • ⁺Kimberli Ann Evans
  • Martha K. Gabehart, Public Administration
  • Austin Good, City of Lone Tree
  • Amanda Q. Gress, Kansas Action for Children
  • Daniel J. Harper
  • Jessica Herman, City Year Kansas City
  • *⁺Ian Hutcheson, City of Wichita, Kansas
  • Tyesha Ignacio, National Congress of American Indians
  • ⁺Cody Johnson
  • ⁺David Joseph Jordan, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund
  • *⁺Paul Lindstrom, City of Shawnee, KS
  • ⁺Charles Love
  • *⁺Logan Masenthin, Unified Government of Wyandotte County & Kansas City, Kansas
  • Susan Metsker
  • Chanté Rene Mitchell
  • *Chelsea Renea Morton, The League of Kansas Municipalities
  • Pamela Opoka, Mid America Regional Council
  • Jessie Jane Riedel
  • Joshua Alexander Robinson, City of Cedar Park, Texas
  • Jason Rohloff, City of River Falls, Wisconsin
  • ⁺Rachael Corine Snider, Ron Vine and Associates
  • Kitty Steffens
  • Harrison Clay Stone
  • ⁺Connie Taylor
  • Alicia Tenpenny Vanatta
  • Inoru Wade
  • Charissa Wahwasuck-Jessepe, Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
  • Benjamin Washburn
  • Jonathan Westbrook
  • Kirby Wiley, Belton Parks and Recreation.


* Received Honors on MPA final essay

+ Pi Alpha Alpha honor society


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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