The Master of Public Administration Program Graduates First Students


Pictured from left to right is Donalda James ’15, Latreicia Smith ’15, Maggie Redden ’15, Qulonda Stuckey ’15, Mariluz Garcia-Diaz ’15 and Sonia White ’15.

On May 18 Mariluz Garcia-Diaz ’15, Donalda James ’15, Maggie Redden ’15, Amna Sandhu ’15, Latreicia Smith ’15, Qulonda Stuckey ’15 and Sonia Whyte ’15 will be at the Saint Peter’s University 124th commencement exercises to receive their diplomas as members of the Class of 2015. While this event is momentous for the students, it also marks a historic moment for Saint Peter’s because these students are the first to graduate from the University with a master’s degree in public administration.

On Wednesday, May 13 these students gathered with their family and friends as well as with their professors and members of the Saint Peter’s community to present their capstone projects. The event provided the students with an excellent opportunity to showcase the knowledge and skills they had honed during their time in the program. Each of the students addressed a current local social issue and explored ways to ultimately resolve or mitigate the problem.

Garcia-Diaz began the event with her presentation on how the New Jersey State Police Department can utilize social media to bridge the gap between civilians and police. Smith then explored the public policies in place to reduce the number of young men loitering on the streets in Jersey City’s Greenville neighborhood. James gave a presentation on improving relations between African Americans and Jersey City police officers. Whyte discussed ways to prevent childhood obesity in Newark. Stuckey discussed solutions to address the growing problem of homeless families in Hudson County. Redden’s presentation was focused on recommendations for disseminating critical information during disaster situations to Hudson County individuals with disabilities. For her capstone project, Sandhu addressed sexual assault policies at Pakistani universities, but was not able to present at the event because she was visiting Pakistan.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program was launched in 2013 and is designed to prepare students for rewarding high impact careers in government, non-profit organizations, international institutions and private sector businesses that are dedicated to the public good.

During the insightful capstone presentations the students truly demonstrated the sophisticated set of skills and expertise that they can now apply in their respective fields after graduation. “I often tell my students that they not only have the opportunity to learn from the professor in front of the classroom, but also from the individuals sitting to their left, right and behind,” said Philip Mark Plotch, Ph.D., director of the master’s program in public administration.

To learn more about the master’s program in public administration, please click here.