Upcoming & Recent Events

To request more information about upcoming events: Contact us at aspa-pa-chapter@keystoneaspa.com.
Students and other non-members are welcome at chapter events and most events have no cost.  If you are not currently a Keystone State Chapter member, contact us at aspa-pa-chapter@keystoneaspa.com to register for an upcoming event.
For information about events offered by the national ASPA organization (including frequent webinars), see www.aspanet.org


***************** SAVE THE DATE FOR A SPECIAL 2022 EVENT ***************** September 9, 2022:  Keystone State Chapter 10th  Anniversary Gala/Reception

This will be a dinner event to celebrate 10 years of Keystone State Chapter growth subsequent to reactivation of the chapter.   The site will be the Red Lion Hotel at 4751 Lindle Road, Harrisburg which is about 6 miles east of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex.  More details will be provided as the 10th Anniversary Committee continues its planning for this special event.


Biennial Election and Holiday Social – December 2021

The virtual event on December 7 included a brief business meeting with reports on the status of the chapter and the biennial election for President-Elect and Board of Directors. Dave Margolis provided a President’s Report that indicated Keystone State Chapter membership had grown to 158, which is an increase of 43 members or 37% compared to January of 2019. Also, he shared the progress made by the Board of Directors on three priority areas: Communication; Partnerships; and Awards. In his Treasurer’s Report, Nate Reese indicated that the chapter bank balance had continued to grow as a result of the chapter moving to a website that is free to non-profit organizations and through program partnerships with universities that included cost-sharing. The majority of time was reserved for networking and holiday cheer.  Attendees moved virtually into smaller groups to facilitate informal conversation.  Dr. McGuigan from Penn State Harrisburg served as Zoom host.  The list of Officers and Board of Directors for 2022 and 2023 can be found in this website at https://www.keystoneaspa.com/about/.

Outstanding Student Paper and GSPIA Community Engagement Model – November 2021

This was the the third and final event to hear from 2021 Keystone State Chapter public administration award recipients.  On behalf of his University of Pittsburgh MPA capstone team, Brett Stewart presented “Developing Collaborative Capacity to Enhance Municipal-Level Fire Services in Allegheny County.”  He addressed:  Paper overview and recommendations; Key elements in creating a successful capstone project; Most dramatic or surprising project results; and Lessons learned that could be helpful to others.  In addition, we heard from Lydia Morin who is Executive Director of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT). She shared how the University of the Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) is organized to provide practical research with direct community impact.  After the two inter-related presentations, attendees asked questions, shared experiences, and offered observations.  The University of Pittsburgh’s GSPIA co-sponsored the November 9 virtual event and served as Zoom host.

Northeast Conference on Public Administration – November 2021

The Northeast Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA) was held on November 5 and 6 with the University at Albany, State University of New York hosting the event.  The conference theme, “Responsive Public Service Needs Inclusiveness in a Diverse America,” was selected to emphasize bringing in new voices and perspectives to achieve community goals.  The virtual gathering of students, scholars, and practitioners provided the opportunity to participate in sessions organized along 3 tracks: Current Trends in Diversity and Inclusivity; Emerging Issues in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Classic Issues in Public Administration.  The research of several chapter members was accepted for inclusion in the conference program:  Dr. Glenn McGuigan; Tynslei Spence-Mitchell; Dr. Göktuğ Morçöl; Huiting Qi; Pedro Robles; Saahir Shafi; and Yulen Xu. At the time of the conference, the Keystone State Chapter was well represented on NECoPA’s leadership team with Dr. Bing Ran as Immediate Past President, and Dr. Amanda Olejarski, Huiting Qi, and Dr. Triparna Vasavada on the Board of Trustees. 

Outstanding Student Panel – October 2021

This was the second of three virtual events to hear from 2021 Keystone State Chapter public administration award recipients. The panelists were Dakotah Kinnan (Penn State Harrisburg MPA program), Eric Raabe (University of Pittsburgh MPA program, Alaina Sforza, (West Chester University MPA program), and Saahir Shafi (Penn State Harrisburg PhD program). These Outstanding Student Award recipients shared their perspective on the following topics: Their current activities and future plans; Most significant challenges encountered as a public administration students; and Lessons learned that could be helpful to other students and those supporting students.  In the Q&A session that followed the presentations, attendees joined in the dialogue. The moderator was Eunsil Yoo, a PhD candidate from Penn State Harrisburg. The October 7 event included a brief chapter business meeting with reports on positive growth in both membership and budget balance. Millersville University co-sponsored the event and served as Zoom host.

Practitioner Panel – September 2021

This was the first of three virtual panel sessions to hear from 2021 Keystone State Chapter public administration award recipients. These awards were announced at the May 4 event during Public Service Recognition Week. Panelists were Dr. Beverly Cigler (Lifetime Achievement Award), Dr. Victor DeSantis (Chapter Leadership Award), Kate Ellision (Scholar-Practitioner Award) and Alex Swan (Scholar-Practitioner Award). The moderator was Olumide Adeoye, a PhD candidate from Penn State Harrisburg. Topics included: Most challenging recent projects; Organizational changes to address strategic challenges; Efforts to recruit young talent; and Advice for students or those supporting students. The September 21, 2021 event was co-sponsored by the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg.

Global Goals for Sustainable Development Conference – May 2021

On May 18, Chapter members were invited to a virtual event, The Global Goals for Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Best Practices Conference, hosted by Millersville University.  This was a regional conference in which business, nonprofit, and governmental leaders gathered virtually to discuss and support a shared understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals and to accelerate the adoption of best practices and new opportunities.  This one-day event featured keynote speakers, various panel presentations, and an innovation showcase.  In 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to address poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change, by 2030.  The sessions indicated that there is evidence of initial progress across the private and nonprofit sectors, and within federal, state, and local governments through SDGs plans and strategies to achieve a better and more sustainable future.  

Annual Awards Ceremony May 2021

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This virtual event was held on May 4 during Public Service Recognition Week to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our Keystone State Chapter members. The chapter announced its 2021 public administration award recipients who were honored for their efforts in advancing excellence in public administration.  Student awards recognized talented individuals committed to public service who will become next generation leaders.  After announcing award recipients, the program was devoted to hearing from participants who shared their perspectives on public administration issues. The chapter thanked Millersville University, Penn State Harrisburg, and West Chester University for their partnership in delivering virtual program events during the past 12 months.  

Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony at West Chester University – April 2021

On April 12, Keystone State Chapter members attended the virtual Pi Alpha Alpha induction ceremony at West Chester University.  Pi Alpha Alpha is the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration that recognizes outstanding students preparing for public service careers.   Dr. Amanda Olejarski (Immediate Keystone State Chapter Past President and West Chester University Pi Alpha Alpha advisor) and David Margolis (current Keystone State Chapter President) offered opening remarks.  The keynote speaker was Dr. Meghna Sabharwal from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).   Professor Sabharwal teaches at UTD’s School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences and serves as Ph.D. Director for the Public and Nonprofit Management program.  Her research expertise lies in public human resource management, specifically related to workplace diversity, job satisfaction, performance, comparative human resource management, and high-skilled immigration. 

ASPA National Conference – April 2021

The 2021 ASPA National Conference was a 7-day virtual event held from April 9 through April 15.  With an overall theme of “Picking Up the Pieces:  Pandemics, Protests, and the Future of Public Service,” more than 1,800 scholars, practitioners, and students attended from across the nation and from around the world.  The annual conference was organized into 6 tracks covering various public administration issues and perspectives:  Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – More than a Seat at the Table; Money Talks – The Use and Management of Public Funds to Meet Today’s Challenges; Good Governance and Meaningful Public Service; “Fixing” Our Government – Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again; Beyond Borders – Joining Forces for Shared Learning and Action; and Modern Infrastructure for a 21st Century Society.  More than 2 dozen Keystone State Chapter members served as presenters and moderators on session panels.  Nine of our chapter members pursuing doctoral degrees presented their papers during the conference.

Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony at Penn State Harrisburg – March 2021

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Even though the Covid pandemic prevented an in-person event, Keystone State Chapter members joined Penn State Harrisburg’s Pi Alpha Alpha chapter for a virtual induction ceremony.  The Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration recognizes outstanding students preparing for public service careers.  Dr. Jane Beckett-Camarata  (Keystone State Chapter Member and Penn State Harrisburg Pi Alpha Alpha Advisor) provided opening remarks.  The featured speaker was Michael Passiment who discussed current challenges in Public Administration.  Mr. Passiment worked as a Budget Analyst for the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee before becoming a Judicial Programs Analyst with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  He earned a Master of Public Administration degree at the School of Public Affairs and as an undergraduate received Penn State’s prestigious Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award that recognizes an outstanding senior with potential for public service.  

Covid Panel: Covid Response – Implications for Public Administrators – March 2021

This virtual panel event on March 10, 2021 was organized and moderated by chapter member Aravind Menon.  Aravind is a doctoral candidate who has work experience in strategic planning and organizational improvement with the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State.  Also, Aravind completed two terms as a board member on the Action Board of the American Public Health Association.  Panelists were Claude A. Jacob, who is Chief Public Health Officer for Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Raed Mansour, who is Director of the Office of Innovation at the Chicago Department of Public Health.  The panel focused on the experience of these two public health administrators/experts in responding to the Covid crisis, as well as opportunities for learning and improvement during recovery from the world-wide pandemic. This event was cosponsored with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs.  

Covid Panel: Impact on Local Government Finance & Business Meeting – February 2021

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This virtual panel event on February 16, 2021 was organized by Past President Marita Kelley.  Marita is Central Office Regional Director in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).   Panelists included Dr. George Dougherty from the University of Pittsburgh who has extensive experience in local government research and consultancy, Michael Foreman who is a Local Government Policy Specialist in DCED’s Western Office, and Chapter Board Member David Hines who is the Director of Operations for the City of Pittston.  The panelists indicated that the impact on local government finance was very uneven and that any generalizations would not capture “the good, the bad, and the ugly” that can be found among individual jurisdictions.  A brief business meeting preceded the panel presentations.