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Alumni Profiles


Steve Eller, BSPA '84

Steve EllerSteve Eller graduated from SPEA in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs and a concentration in Personnel and Labor Relations. While at IU, Steve was involved in several recreational sports programs. His football team, The Quest, was undefeated and won the 1983 All-Campus championship. The IU Student Recreation Sports Association selected him as Athlete of the Year (1983-84) for the Independent Division and he received First Team All-Tournament honors at the 1983 Mid-West Regional Football Tournament. To top it all off, Steve rode in the 1982 Little 500.

Since then, Steve has taken his drive and passion and applied it to all aspects of his professional career. He received his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, while working as a personnel representative for General Electric. Steve is currently the Chief Human Resource Officer at Beacon Health System, where he has complete responsibility for Human Resources across the corporation.

One of Steve’s passions is mentoring students entering the professional world. “I believe in the importance of giving back to Indiana University,” he said. “Mentoring is a great way for me to do that. IU provided me a foundation for my professional career and I would not have achieved my professional goals without my education from Bloomington.”

Along with getting a mentor, Steve recommends that students take the time to evaluate career opportunities, confirming that the desired position and culture would meet the students’ interests and strengths. He also says to “set realistic goals, but be open minded. Organizations evolve and people change over time, so your interests today may continue through your entire career or you may discover another career path during the professional journey.”

Steve serves as the President for the SPEA Alumni Association Board of Directors. He frequently speaks at campus functions and presents in the classroom each semester. He also serves as a member of the Supply Chain Academy Board through the Kelley School of Business as well as the Executive Council for the Alumni Association.

Steve currently lives in South Bend, Indiana. He is the proud father of two children, Ashley (20) and Michael (16).

Steve Eller welcomes students to contact him by email.

Nikki White, BSPA '98

WhiteNikki White still has fond memories of her SPEA classes and keeps many of her old textbooks in her office as reminders. Nikki graduated from SPEA in 1998 with a bachelor’s in Public Affairs and Environmental Management. During her time at IU, she was a member of a sorority, played numerous intramural sports, and was (and still is) an avid IU basketball fan.

Following graduation, Nikki received her Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University. She interned for the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago and then worked for various management consulting firms in Washington, D.C. Currently, Nikki is a Manager at Hitachi Consulting in its environmental and sustainability services practice. “SPEA gave me a deep knowledge base on environmental issues,” she said. “The policy and practical classes give students the ability to help solve problems in the real world.” She continued to say that SPEA’s strong educational base allowed her to understand what was needed for her clients to be compliant with environmental regulations and move above and beyond to be environmental leaders in their fields.

Nikki advises current and prospective SPEA students to “take classes you are interested in and focus your career on what makes you happy and excited about going to work.” She also encourages students to take advantage of everything offered to them in college. “This is the only time you will have this opportunity.” Additionally, Nikki challenged students to explore the growing environmental industry and network with as many different people as possible. You never know who has a job for you.”

Nikki currently serves on the IU Alumni Association Executive Council. She was previously president of the IU Alumni Association Chapter in Washington, D.C., and still continues to help SPEA with various events in the D.C. area.

Nikki welcomes students to contact her by email.

John Zody, BSPA '01

zody After graduating with his BSPA in 2001, John Zody recently returned to school full-time to complete his MPA degree at SPEA. Zody has an extensive background in the public sector, most recently serving as Great Lakes & Mid-Atlantic Regional Political Director for re-election campaign of President Barack Obama. He also served as Chief of Staff and District Director for former Indiana Congressman Baron Hill, where he dealt with issues such as the passage of health care reform. Zody has also served has the Executive Director for Resource Development at Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington, and served in state government for a number of years, serving in the Indiana Department of Commerce, and then in the Governor's Office during the second term of the late Governor Frank O'Bannon, and his successor, Governor Joe Kernan. He has experience working in local and state political campaigns and has been a member and volunteer in many community organizations.

While completing his MPA, Zody is also serving as an Adjunct Instructor at SPEA. He takes pride in his degree from SPEA, noting specifically the benefit to the student of the school teaching practical applications for use in the public sector.

Matt Catanzarite, BSPA '10

zody From his time at SPEA and in his career thus far, Matt Catanzarite has thrived in community involvement. As a student, he was primarily involved with two organizations: Council for Advancing Student Leadership (CASL) and Best Buddies. CASL is an organization promoting leadership in the community, and Best Buddies is designed to connect volunteers and children with disabilities. His time at SPEA, both inside and outside the classroom, influenced Matt in a way that he couldn't predict. “SPEA has helped open so many doors for me that I never knew existed. It has been a tremendous asset during my short career in the real world and helped me excel quicker that I could've imagined.”

Matt graduated with a bachelor of science in public affairs in 2010 and was hired post-graduation at Coyote Logistics, a leading logistics company in Chicago. Within a year of joining Coyote, Matt was selected from a pool of 90 applicants to lead a small team spearheading the company’s community service efforts. Matt helped organize a philanthropic campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in which Coyote raised $135,000. Additionally, Matt assisted in the creation of a new carrier group, helped double the intermodal department's volume, and created his current position as Director of Social Innovation, where Matt is responsible for leading Coyote's sustainability initiatives, volunteerism and philanthropic initiatives. He also works with current customers to create value for them that exist outside of the company's traditional business model.

“I look forward to developing my career in social innovation, and hopefully, I have an opportunity to give back to SPEA in some way to pay respect to the faculty and staff that have helped me progress.”

Alyce Robertson, MPA '79

Image of Alyce Robertson In her 30 years as a Miami resident, Alyce Robertson has seen her home grow from a laid-back warm-weather destination to a booming hub for hot, tropical nightlife.

Now, she helps oversee the growth of this bustling tourist town working as Executive Director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority. Her agency, which has served the city of Miami since 1965, raises funds ($13 billion in the past four years) to develop the downtown area by improving travel and economic development.

Robertson was appointed to the Development Authority in 2008 after working in several local government departments, and has seen downtown Miami grow astronomically with over 23,000 new condos built in just five years. Because young newcomers want to live in the city’s epicenter of nightlife and beaches, she says it’s vital to improve green spaces and “walkability” in Miami’s burgeoning urban area.

The South Bend native who almost got an MBA from the Kelley School of Business before “giving policy a try” says she loves her job because she “can be a catalyst for change in getting things done.” And she gets to organize ultra-hip projects like the DWNTWN Miami Concert Series (voted “Best Concert Series” by the Miami New Times) featuring world-renowned acts like Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. This SPEA alumna has a pretty cool gig.

Alyce Robertson also holds a degree in Spanish and Portuguese from IUB.

Kathy Weaver, MPA '89

Image of Kathy Weaver No matter what career path she has followed as either a nurse or in a faculty position, Kathy Weaver has tried to better the lives of others. Weaver’s thirty-three years as a public health consultant at the Indiana State Department of Health is just one of many achievements in this distinguished alumna’s career.

Her more than 40 + years in the health care field—ranging from working as a neonatal nurse to teaching doctoral students in the School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences—were recognized in 2009 when IUPUI bestowed her with the Maynard K. Hine Award. The award (which boasts pretty impressive past recipients such as former IU President Myles Brand and the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells) is given to notable alumni who make significant contributions in society. Kathy currently serves as director and faculty member of IUPUI School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and also on the IUPUI SPEA Alumni Council.

With degrees also in nursing and law, and the founder of the Public Health Nurse Chapter of the Indiana State Nurses Association, we couldn’t help but ask Weaver what she thinks of the on-going health care debate.

“Whatever funding is legislated by Congress to provide health insurance for those who are under or uninsured an equal amount should be appropriated for public health prevention messages and services,” Weaver says.

Even though Weaver can delve into serious policy talk, she is also a music fan –she enjoys listening to jazz, playing the piano, and recently took up the banjo.

Lydia Murray, MPA '95

Image of Lydia Murray Lydia Murray was recently appointed to serve as Cook County’s Chief Information Officer. As CIO, Murray is responsible for the County's financial reporting and revenue systems, as well as the County's email and website. In addition, Murray is accountable for implementing new cost-saving tools, such as online and handheld technologies, as well as for driving improved services, such as expanded broadband access for underserved County residents.

Murray has worked for nearly two decades in public service to make cities run better. Prior to her appointment, she worked for Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA), where she served as project manager of the City-County Collaboration efforts that saved $34 million annually in the first year and led to significant service improvements, such as the unification of City and County workforce development. She also has previous experience working as Chief of Staff at the CTA and as Deputy Chief of Staff at the City of Chicago, where she chaired the Information Technology Governing Board.

Lydia is a Board member of SCUPE, a non-profit training organization for urban ministers in Chicago, and serves on the Local School Council of Newberry Academy, a Chicago Public School Math and Science magnet school. She is an active member at St. Pauls United Church of Christ and enjoys attending Cubs games with her husband Tom and two sons, Colin and Zack.

Mary Ann Sullivan, MPA '00

Sullivan As a member of the Indiana state legislature, Indianapolis’s Mary Ann Sullivan wants education policy to score high.

Elected in November 2008 to represent Indiana’s 97th District, (which encompasses downtown and the near south side of Indianapolis) Rep. Sullivan survived a fiery first session for the State House and worked to get funding for education in a tumultuous 2009 budget debate.

So how does she grade the state’s education funding? Sullivan would liked to have seen more state funds go toward all schools, doing the best Indiana can even with current state revenues. “It’s difficult to judge how well we’ve done on (education) until we get through the next few years,” she says.

Sullivan acknowledges it was a difficult session for the freshman class. Even though nothing is normal in state politics, she says it was reassuring to have so many veteran legislators tell her they’ve never been through a session like that.

Throughout her professional career Sullivan has worked for several education and child-based organizations including: the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Indiana Department of Education, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and Indianapolis Public Schools. She says having grandchildren for the first time strengthened her concern for future generations and played a major role in her decision to run for the seat.

Along with her work as a state representative, Sullivan works as a consultant with the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning. The center works to evaluate the state’s system for funding the K-12 education and toward educational innovation.

Paul Jackson, MPA '06

JacksonThe National Academies is comprised of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. The Academies provide independent, objective advice on issues that affect people's lives worldwide. As study director, Jackson develops statement of tasks for study issues, forms a study committee of experts, contributes to and edits the committee's report, sends the report for peer review, releases it to the sponsoring agency, and then releases it to the public. He is currently working with committees on topics ranging from the deflection of asteroids approaching earth to the revitalization of state economies.

Chris Rohrer, MSES '83

RohrerChris Rohrer has spent his professional career working to ensure dangerous abandoned mines are closed from public access. His current position is as a senior reclamation specialist for the Utah Department of Natural Resources in the Division of Oil, Gas & Mining.

From a young age, Chris has always had a deep interest in life and earth science, and has extended that interest into a career that he truly enjoys. As an environmental scientist, Chris recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary training. He believes “(the) natural science core knowledge should be complemented by a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum, because environmental problems require holistic, “big picture” solutions that cross disciplines.”

"I thrive on the many facets of the work and the varied challenges, such as trying to figure out how to safeguard a shaft while preserving the historic headframe above it and protecting bat habitat inside," says Rohrer. "There is a tangible sense of accomplishment in that."

To read Loving our jobs! by Chris go here.

Melissa Spencer, MAAA '03

SpencerMelissa Spencer graduated from SPEA in 2003 with a Master of Arts in Arts Administration. She came to SPEA directly after graduating from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor of Music in Music Industry and Violin Performance. Melissa has always been passionate about music and as she developed an interest in business through her undergraduate career, she recognized that the MAAA was the right choice for her. Melissa selected the MAAA program at IU due to the reputation of SPEA, the Kelley School of Business, and the Jacobs School of Music.

“The great faculty, along with the multidisciplinary course structure, provided the perfect opportunity to work alongside current and future business executives, nonprofit leaders and musical professionals alike,” Melissa said.

Melissa was very involved during her time at IU. She spent time working with the Bloomington Area Arts Council, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, the Indiana University Foundation, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. While completing her MAAA, she also participated in the League of American Orchestras Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar in New York.

“Working side by side with professionals in a variety of organizations gave me the opportunity to learn about the many different careers you can pursue in arts administration, as well as the chance to network with experts in the field,” she said.

Melissa is currently the director of corporate giving and donor research at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She also serves on the marketing and development committee for El Sistema Colorado and is a member of the 2012-13 class of Leadership Denver. She previously served as the assistant director of development at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, where she managed institutional support.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Melissa Spencer.

Katy Hall, MAAA '06

HallKaty Hall graduated from SPEA in 2006 with a Master of Arts in Arts Administration, specializing in Opera Administration. Prior to pursuing her master’s, Katy graduated from University of Notre Dame in 2004 with a B.A. in Honors History and Political Science. She was attracted to SPEA’s MAAA program because it gave her the opportunity to pursue her interests while taking classes from one of the top nonprofit programs in the nation. After an internship with a museum’s public relations department in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2003, she knew that this path of study was the best choice.

“I grew up as a performer,” Katy said, “but after college I realized that my calling was ‘backstage’ on the administration side and IU has such a well–rounded program that allows graduate students to examine all areas of the field.”

She advises incoming and prospective students to take advantage of every opportunity within the program and within the Bloomington community. “I was able to gain experience at a level that is not always found in a graduate program. It has served me well as an alumna,” she said.

Currently, Katy is the Foundation Relations Manager for the Lyric Opera of Chicago (her “dream company”) and is the co-founder of 67East Consulting Company. She was previously employed as the Director of Corporate Relations at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Martin Luby, Ph.D., Public Affairs '10

Image of Martin Luby After a decade of working in public finance, Luby became more interested in the processes underlying these operations than in the contracts themselves. “I got tired of working on deals and transactions,” he says. “I was more interested in the policy end of public finance where it intersects with public management. A lot of my experience was in consulting with debt managers, and I was interested in why they made their decisions – what their influences and incentive structures were.”

Luby started searching for the best institution at which to pursue this type of research, and was blown away by SPEA faculty members like Craig Johnson, John Mikesell, and Kurt Zorn. He was also thrilled to discover that SPEA, unlike any other school he found, offered courses in his interest area of debt finance. With two children at home, he couldn’t quit working to enroll in the program, but he was determined to get the best education possible. So, for several years, Luby commuted from Chicago to Bloomington to attend SPEA. At SPEA, Luby focused on debt management within state and municipal governments, specifically examining the sale of bonds to generate capital.

Luby’s out-of-the-box thinking earned him faculty positions at The Ohio State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Indiana University. He is currently an assistant professor at DePaul University’s School of Public Service, where his research focuses on the various motivations and impacts of different public sector financial management practices as a means of better understanding both public managers and public organizations. Luby also serves as a consultant to the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Transportation on their analyses related to public-private partnerships, the Task Force on the State Budget Crisis chaired by Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, and the City of Chicago Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

It’s been an exhausting journey, but Luby has no regrets. “I wouldn’t do anything differently,” he says. “I can’t speak highly enough of SPEA. It was an intense few years balancing everything, but it was the right choice, definitely.”

Stephanie Moulton, Ph.D., Public Affairs '08

Image of Stephanie Moulton Stephanie Moulton was working for an Indiana nonprofit housing and community development organization when she began to see the writing on the wall. It was still early in the millennium, and the housing market was booming, but she had an unusual vantage point from which to see the coming crash.

Moulton’s desire to uncover the public policies and initiatives that might help the situation led her to pursue a master’s degree in public administration at Ball State. Soon after, however, she became intrigued by the faculty at IU SPEA. “I truly respected what David Reingold and Les Lenkowsky were writing about housing and low income households,” she recalls, so she looked into transferring to IU.

Not long after she arrived at SPEA, the market crashed. And while that was in some ways good news for Moulton – at last, the country was interested in what she had to say – the economic collapse didn’t spare her family. Her husband, an elementary school teacher, couldn’t find work, and it seemed like pursuing her doctorate was a risky bet in an unstable market.

Through her mentors at SPEA, Moulton was able to plow through the rough patch and go on to distinguish herself as a rising star in her field. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she received a job offer from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, where she now teaches.

As she continues her research on housing finance and ways to educate home buyers, she looks back on her crisis of confidence as the moment when SPEA faculty changed the course of her life.

“They saw talent in me that, at that point, I wasn’t able to see in myself,” she says. “Another school might have said, ‘Okay, this is part of the weed-them-out process.’ But it’s not like that at SPEA. Once you’re there, they really want you to succeed.”

Eva Witesman, MPA '04 and Ph.D., Public Affairs '09

Image of Eva Witesman To say that Eva Witesman has a busy schedule would be a massive understatement. Witesman is an assistant professor at the Romney School of Public Management at Brigham Young University, where she’s involved in numerous research projects ranging from disaster response volunteerism to public service configurations. She has three children and loves to paint –one of her works was selected for display at a local art museum. She also describes herself as an “avid gardener.”

Such a rich lifestyle would be impossible were it not for what she learned at SPEA, Witesman says. By giving her opportunities in both teaching and research while she pursued her Ph.D., the program enabled her to learn time management and a high level of proficiency in all aspects of academia.

While at IU, Witesman was immersed in a range of research topics that included civil service training, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and disaster volunteerism in response to flooding in the Midwest. By her third year, she had amassed such an impressive portfolio that she was offered a job at BYU although she hadn’t even begun her dissertation. She gives credit to SPEA, however, for a well-deserved reputation that has a way of opening doors.

“All you have to say is, ‘I was educated in public administration at Indiana University,’ and search committees start salivating,” she says. “It’s not just me – I look at all my peers from SPEA and I can see how they’ve also succeeded. Those rankings are meaningful. It’s not just a number. It reflects the quality of the faculty and the education you receive.”