Fall 2023 TSPPPA Newsletter

The Trachtenberg Difference: Get a Degree Here, Take It Anywhere

Message from the Director
Alumni Class Notes
Faculty Kudos 

Message from the Director


Mary Tschirhart

Dear Alumni,

I hope you are feeling invigorated and inspired. We certainly are as we start the new academic year. Starting with this issue, we will be sending you our annual newsletter in the fall rather than the spring. 

Our alumni set a high standard by contributing in every aspect of public policy and public administration, bringing passions to fruition in the government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. With alumni help, we continue to provide tools and knowledge to new students and others in the pursuit of effective policy and management. Faculty are helping change policy and practice through their research, teaching, and service.

I invite you to be more deeply engaged with the Trachtenberg community:

  • Register for the annual TSPPPA Alumni Awards celebration on campus October 18 at 4:30pm.
  • Apply to be a capstone client for a great graduate team.
  • Let us know if you are interested in joining with other alumni volunteers to forward the School's mission in one or more ways.
  • If you haven’t already, please sign up for our monthly “Trachtenberg News” for regular touchpoints, research updates, faculty news, events, and more.
  • And don’t forget, our alumni have lifelong access to our career services!

With best wishes,

Mary Tschirhart, PhD

TSPPPA Director and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Professor in Public Affairs






Join us for the 2023 Alumni Awards!

Please join alumni, faculty, current students and friends of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration as we reconnect with each other and celebrate the achievements of this year’s winners, Terry Hartle, DPA ‘82, and Traci Kraus, MPA ‘14.

Our annual Alumni Awards and Reception will be held on Wednesday, October 18 at 4:30pm. Please register here →

Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Terry Hartle, DPA '82
Terry W. Hartle has been one of America’s most effective and experienced advocates for higher education for over 25 years. As senior vice president of American Council on Education’s Government Relations and Public Affairs division from 1993 to 2023, Hartle directed comprehensive efforts to engage federal policymakers on a broad range of issues including student aid, government regulation, scientific research, and tax policy. He received the GW President’s Medal and the Hiram College Alumni Achievement Award, was inducted into Hiram College’s William H. Hollinger Athletic Hall of Fame, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 2021, Hartle and ACE’s Government Relations and Public Affairs team received the Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education Award from NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education in recognition of their public policy advocacy on behalf of the entire higher education community, particularly in response to the crisis the COVID-19 pandemic posed for institutions and students.

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award: Traci Kraus, MPA '14
Traci Kraus is the Executive Director of Government Relations leading the US federal advocacy team at Cummins Inc. She focuses on energy, climate, hydrogen, transportation and budget legislative and regulatory issues. She also represents Cummins as a co-founder of the Hydrogen Forward coalition, Co-Chair of the Hydrogen Council Policy and Advocacy Project Team and the Chair of the Truck and Engine Manufacturer’s Association Public Policy Committee. Traci serves on the Leadership Circle of the Ascend Fund, a bipartisan organization accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics, and was a founding member of the Jewish Women International Young Women’s Impact Network. 

Capstone Excellence Prize: Katherine DeGeorge, MPA, Lancy Downs, MPA, Zoe Tollette, MPA, Vaibhav Vijay, MPP, Alyssa Weiner Sandler, MPA, Emma Weiss, MPA
For their project: Challenges and Best Practices for Retaining Workers with IDDs in the Federal Workforce
Client: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Dr. Morgan Walls-Dinnes, Virginia Andreu, Esq., William H. Rumsey III  





Trachtenberg Alumni & Faculty Collaborate in Mixed Method Research Group

The Mixed Method Research Group (MMR) is an informal Trachtenberg School community, made up of faculty, alumni, and current students that has grown organically around Shapiro Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration Professor Sanjay Pandey’s Mixed Methods Research Design course. According to Pandey, "This community has opened up rich opportunities for learning, networking, and publishing with mixed methods publications appearing in the Trachtenberg School's Policy Perspectives journal as well as in leading public policy and public administration journals. Alumni Chelsea Richwine and Eric Luo, working with Trachtenberg faculty and students, published a paper in the leading public policy journal. Alumna Kathryn Hendren led a team of Trachtenberg faculty and students/alumni and published in the leading public administration journal. Chelsea, Eric, and Kathryn have also participated (in-person and/or Zoom) and shared their excitement and expertise with the Mixed Methods Research Interest Group at Trachtenberg meetings held as a part of the Mixed Methods Research Design course."

“I became involved in the Mixed Methods Research Group while completing my doctoral program in the Trachtenberg School. Engaging with the group allowed me to apply the skills I was learning in my coursework in a supportive, collaborative environment. I learned a lot about mixed methods research, but I also learned how to effectively collaborate with a group of individuals with diverse methodological backgrounds and how to leverage our different strengths to conduct high quality mixed methods research. The skills I developed in this group have been extremely valuable in my post-academic career - both in working with others and in developing an approach to policy relevant research questions” - Chelsea Richwine, PhD '20




TSPPPA’s Pi Alpha Alpha Chapter Continues to Make Impact

Congratulations to the newest inductees of the TSPPPA chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha! The Pi Alpha Alpha TSPPPA Chapter President, Gabriel Royal, PhD ‘23 had this to say about the chapter and induction ceremony: "As I move on from Trachtenberg to teach American Politics to undergraduates at the U.S. Military Academy, maintaining connections to other academics and practitioners in the field of public policy is invaluable for cadets interested in exploring practical political science research. Pi Alpha Alpha is a great way to do just that! At our induction ceremony, Mr. Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) MPA '03, gave us an inspired look at how our graduate school education could lead to innovation and lasting change at some of the highest levels of government."

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Alumni Class Notes


  • Peter Troedsson, MA ’99, is currently serving as City Manager in Albany, Oregon.
  • Alan Gibson, BA ’70, has been retired for 10 years and has been traveling with his wife.
  • Michael Doonan, MA '92, was just promoted as Professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and moved to directing online graduate initiatives and programs.
  • Richard Hunkemey, MA ’82, published his most recent mystery, False Trespass, which will be available on Amazon later this year.
  • Ryan Laprairie, MA ’12, has taken his education to Salesforce.com where he is a Change Strategist helping people adapt to new technologies.
  • Bhatti Imtiaz, PhD ’16, is a civil servant in Sindh, Pakistan and visiting faculty in Karachi. Imtiaz launched GWU alumni chapter in Pakistan with GWU Alumni Engagement.
  • Ryan Taylor, MA ’14, is currently a Senior Product Manager at PrizePicks, a daily fantasy sports company.
  • Jason Briggs, MA ’13, was promoted to Deputy Director at the State Department and continues to cover foreign assistance and congressional affairs for South and Central Asia.
  • Eliano Younes, MA ’16, joined Palantir Technologies in early 2022 after a decade of fundraising in the nonprofit sector where he leads engagement and partnerships 501c3 organizations.


  • Drishti Pillai, PhD ’21, is serving as the Director of Immigrants Health Policy at KFF.
  • Kai Martin, MA ’21, is a manager for business development and engagement at Greater Washington Partnership and supports the development and execution of the Partnership’s growth strategy.
  • Thomas Rachko, MA ’20, has returned to GWU as a Cisneros Fellow with the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership institute.
  • Jen Briones, MA ’14, was appointed Deputy Director of Policy and Research at the D.C. State Board of Education.
  • Niloofar Asgari, MA ’21, started a new position as a Community Service Grants Analyst at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
  • Jose Cajar, MA ’23, is a Presidential Management Fellow and his appointment is at the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
  • Conor McGrath, MA ’17, recently joined Context Strategies as a Senior Account Manager.

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Faculty Kudos

The Trachtenberg School welcomed a new courtesy appointment, Aram Gavoor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professorial Lecturer in Law.


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