Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. in Public Administration

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This area contains information about our past and current Ph.D. students

Lester Leavitt

Lester Leavitt




After a 30-year career in public practice accounting and franchise development Lester was encouraged to return to school by his husband. He started at FAU in the summer 2009 semester and completed his bachelor in multimedia journalism degree in April 2011. Because of his recent work as an activist in the nonprofit community Lester's focus had always been on how social justice organizations could be more effective in using media in a postmodern climate of hyperreality in order to advance their important work.

In the fall 2010 semester Lester had decided to stay on at FAU as a graduate student and received special permission to enroll in courses toward a master's in nonprofit management degree during the final semester of satisfying the requirements of his bachelor's degree. During this semester one of Lester's professors encouraged him to apply for direct admittance to the Ph.D. in Public Administration program. The fall 2011 semester is therefore the equivalent of his second semester in the program.

Lester's passion still remains focused primarily on improving the tools of democracy in marginalized communities and oppressed classes. During the final semesters of his bachelor's degree he forged a strong relationship with Miami's Liberty City community and as a doctoral student he hopes to use his education to change how democracy and policymaking work at the street level in this historically segregated city. 

Dr. Carter

Schequa (Nikki) Diggs




Schnequa N. Diggs is a native of Virginia. She received her bachelor's in Business Administration from North Carolina Central University in 2003. After working for Duke University, she decided to move to Virginia to pursue a Master's degree in Public Administration at Old Dominion University. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2010 and is now a full-time Ph.D. student in Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include public sector ethics, housing policy, economic development, community development and urban planning.  Her intended program focal points are Public Policy, Public Finance and Administrative Theory.

Dr. Carter

Mariana G. O'Brien, AIA Int'l Assoc

mobrie29@fau.edu
M.Urban and Regional Planning, Engineering University, Lima-Peru.
B.Arch., Ricardo Palma University, Lima-Peru.

Several years of experience teaching Design Studio in a Peruvian university, her interest is focused on affairs of housing and urban development. As a private consultant she has developed plans for the Peruvian government and international non-profit organizations. Currently she is the lead researcher at the Florida Planning Living-Lab and assistant professor for the master program at the FAU - School of Urban and Regional Planning. Ms. O'Brien is conducting research on Governance Networks and presented her preliminary findings at the 2011 PAT Net Conference in Norfolk, Virginia.

Marcus Bright

Marcus Bright




Marcus Bright is a Ph.D. Student in Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University. His primary research interests are education and urban policy. Bright earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa in 2006 and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Florida International University in 2008.  He is originally from Martin, Tennessee and spent a significant amount of his childhood in Memphis.  He was a High School All-American (Street & Smith Magazine) at Westview High School and played basketball collegiately at Palm Beach Community College and at the University of Tampa.  He worked Florida International University in Miami, Florida as the Student-Athlete Academic Coordinator, T. Rowe Price Financial Investment Firm in Tampa, Florida and served as the Program Director for Kidz XL (nonprofit organization) in Miami prior to coming to the FAU.  He has a younger brother, Marlon, who is an Aeronautical Engineering graduate student at the University of Texas and an older sister, Marcia, who works for the University of South Florida. He is a political enthusiast and enjoys playing basketball in his spare time. 

Joe Heilman

Joe Heilman




Joe graduated from FAU with a Bachelors degree in Urban & Regional Planning in 2003 and then a Masters degree in 2004. My interests in public administration are many, however I am most interested in organizational theory and professionalism in public administration.

Jean Pierre

Jean Pierre




Jean Pierre started his current studies at Florida Atlantic University in the Spring 2011. He attended SUNY Old Westbury New York (undergraduate studies) and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (graduate studies). His work experience includes 20 years of executive positions in Marketing, Sales and Finance positions in the private sector. At Florida Atlantic University, he intends to focus his research on policy and financial issues impacting economic development in third world countries.  Jean Pierre is a native of Haiti and a naturalized US citizen.

Dr. Carter

Michelle Evans

MEvans32@fau.edu


Michelle has a Masters of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Central Florida. She completed her undergraduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has done study abroad programs at Trinity College in Dublin and Oxford University in England. Michelle spent 20+ years working with the Special Olympics organization in both Florida and Washington, DC (which she still considers home, go Skins!). She has been a frequent speaker at the S.O. Florida Leadership Conference and is a nationally certified S.O. Unified Sports Trainer.
Michelle was a contributing author for "Special Olympics and Athletes with Down Syndrome" book chapter published in Adolescents with Down Syndrome: Toward a More Fulfilling Life (1997). She will be focusing on the comprehensive exam tracks for PA theory, organization studies and policy studies with particular interest in the non-profit and ethics areas.

Daniel Hummel

Daniel Hummel




I started the doctoral program in public administration at FAU August 2009 after completing an administrative/finance internship at the City of Maryland Heights, MO. I received my Masters in public administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha May 2009 and my Bachelors in international politics at Pennsylvania State University May 2004. 

Currently I am interested in local government budgeting, federalism, public choice institutionalism, Madisonian concepts of government and government in religiously stratified societies. I am committed to interfaith activities and I am involved with the Interfaith Committee at FAU as well as the Interfaith Council, a student organization at FAU. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting the Dalai Lama in 2010 through a program sponsored by the Peace Studies department at FAU. Since being with the program I have presented at three conferences. I presented my paper, "Consociational democracy and grassroots conflict resolution: A stable alternative" at the 23rd annual Public Administration Theory Network conference 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. I presented my paper, "Making taxation democratic" at the 53rd annual Western Social Science Association conference 2011 in Salt Lake City, UT. I presented my paper, "Principles over prejudice: Mosques and the American city" at the 10th annual Social Equity Leadership conference 2011 in Binghamton, NY. I am seeking to publish all three of these papers. "The Inner Enemy's modus operandi is that in sabotaging ourselves, we  beat others to the punch." ~ 'The Inner Enemy' by George R. Bach & Laura Torbet (pg. 47)

Content Last Updated on: February 21, 2014
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