Throughout my academic and public service careers, I have been driven by the intertwined principles of service and scholarship, recognizing the inherent value and symbiotic relationship between the two. This perspective has shaped my approach to education, research, and community engagement.
My journey in public administration began with volunteering for the Columbia Association’s budget committee in 2004. This hands-on experience allowed me to witness firsthand the impact of budget decisions on the organization. Intrigued by the complexities of public finance, I pursued a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the University of Baltimore. This educational pursuit provided me with a solid foundation in understanding the intricate relationship between budgeting, policy, and program implementation.
Eager to delve deeper into the field, I continued my academic journey by pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy, focusing on various land use issues. This research trajectory aligned seamlessly with my passion for examining the implications of flood insurance and evaluating program effectiveness. By exploring the intersections of policy, economics, and social welfare, I aimed to contribute to evidence-based decision-making and the improvement of public well-being.
While immersing myself in academia, I recognized the importance of community service and actively sought opportunities to make meaningful contributions beyond the confines of the classroom. Serving on the Howard County Public Engagement in Land Use Planning Task Force and later on the Howard County Board of Appeals allowed me to contribute to the development of land use policies and decisions. These experiences deepened my understanding of the challenges faced by communities and reinforced the need for informed and inclusive decision-making processes.
In addition to my commitment to community service, I have dedicated myself to supporting the profession and institutions that have nurtured my growth. As a member of the Maryland Chapter Council of the American Society for Public Administration, I played an active role in organizing our annual conference and awards program. By fostering connections between public administrators and professionals from diverse fields, I aimed to create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
As an adjunct faculty member, I have strived to serve the institutions I have been associated with. At the University of Maryland Global Campus, I actively participated in the Learning Management System Selection Project, contributing my insights to shape the educational technology landscape. Leveraging my status as an alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park, I collaborated with university leaders to establish the College Park Scholars Alumni Association, fostering a vibrant community of scholars and practitioners.
Recognizing the importance of engaging with the wider public, I have sought avenues to share my expertise and insights beyond academic circles. Writing articles for The Conversation, I have addressed pressing issues such as the unsustainability of the National Flood Insurance Program and the debates surrounding the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Through Ignite series talks, I have debunked misconceptions and shed light on complex challenges, ranging from the Defense Department’s infamous $435 hammer to Maryland’s stormwater management problem.
As an educator, I firmly believe that our responsibility extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Effective communication of our work to the public is paramount in ensuring its impact and relevance. By engaging with the public and fostering understanding, we empower individuals to make informed decisions and shape policies that reflect the latest research findings. Embracing this service philosophy, I am committed to bridging the gap between academia and the broader community, leveraging my expertise to contribute to a more informed and equitable society.
As a captain in the Maryland Defense Force, I’ve had the opportunity to lead and coordinate teams during various emergency response scenarios. The role has enabled me to work alongside professionals from multiple disciplines, enhancing the state’s overall emergency readiness. This service not only allows me to give back to my community but also enriches my own understanding of crisis management and public policy.
Serving on Howard County’s Board of Appeals and Charter Review Commission has been both an honor and a civic duty. These roles allowed me to influence local zoning and planning, as well as contribute to the legal frameworks guiding county operations. The experience has enhanced my academic work, offering practical insights into governance.
In my role with the Long Reach Community Association, I was actively involved in creating the Long Reach Village Center Master Plan. This wasn’t just an academic exercise; it was a collaborative effort aimed at building a sustainable and inclusive community. The plan has since become a guiding blueprint for development in the area.
My years-long volunteer involvement with the Columbia Association’s budget and financial advisory committees has been about more than just service. It involved scrutinizing budgets, making resource allocation recommendations, and aligning financial plans with the organization’s mission. This hands-on experience complemented my academic background, bridging theory and real-world application.
Image by Creative Sustainability / Flickr.