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Center for Women in Government & Civil Society Names 2014 Fellows

The 2014 class of Fellows on Women & Public Policy: seated (L to R), Sable Lynch, Laura Salkowe, Samantha Baldock, and Heidi Iyok; standing (L-R) Nusrath Ainapore, Mary Sharif, Elise Puzio, Wanling Su, Diana Abbas, Victoria Graf, Kari Siddiqui, Kathleen Brady Stepien, and Mwaka Nachilingo.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 5, 2014) — Thirteen women beginning their leadership development journey through the University at Albany’s Center for Women in Government & Civil Society will be recognized as the 2014 Fellows on Women & Public Policy on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

The welcome reception for the new Fellows will be held at Milne Hall on UAlbany’s Downtown Campus, beginning at 6 p.m. New York State Assembly member Patricia Fahy (D-109th District) will deliver a keynote presentation.

The fellows, who come from diverse backgrounds, interests, disciplines and countries, have a central goal of becoming public service leaders, ready to take on the toughest challenges of the 21st Century. They each receive a $10,000 stipend and tuition assistance for course work and are placed in one of three policy arenas: a state agency, a statewide advocacy organization, or the office of a New York State Senate or Assembly member.

The group of new fellows, that includes eight women who have graduated from or are currently studying at the University at Albany, are:

  • Diana Abbas, a Fulbright Scholar from Lebanon, pursuing an Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, placed at the University’s Center for International Development
  • Samantha Baldock, pursuing an MPA with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Finance at UAlbany's Rockefeller College, placed at the Center for Economic Growth
  • Heidi Iyok, doctoral student in UAlbany’s School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy, Management & Behavior, placed at the New York State Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS)
  • Sable Lynch, dual UAlbany graduate with a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in Africana studies, placed at the New York State Department of Transportation (NYDOT)
  • Mwaka Nachilongo, a Zambia native, UAlbany Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology, placed at the New York State Office for the Aging
  • Laura Salkowe, pursuing an MPA at UAlbany's Rockefeller College, placed at the New York State Office for Mental Health
  • Mary Sharif, currently completing a UAlbany Graduate Certificate in Information Security, placed at the New York State department of Labor
  • Wanling Su, a Taiwan native, pursuing an MPA at UAlbany's Rockefeller College, placed at NYDOT’s Office of Civil Rights
  • Nusrath Ainapore, Duquesne University MBA graduate, placed in the New York CSEA Partnership
  • Kathleen Brady Stepien, MSW student at SUNY Buffalo, placed in OCFS
  • Victoria Graf, enrolled at Albany Law School, placed at OCFS
  • Elise Puzio, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law graduate, placed at the Office of the State Comptroller
  • Kari Siddiqui, Portland State University MPA graduate, placed at NYSDOT

"This year's class of Fellows on Women & Public Policy exemplifies what the Fellowship stands for,” said Center Executive Director Dina Refki. “They are truly agents of change who are committed to making a difference, both locally and globally. Each of them brings incredible passion, tremendous dedication and an unwavering commitment to advancing social justice, and improving access and opportunity for marginalized and vulnerable populations."

Fellows receive applied field training at their placement offices, complete nine credits of policy coursework, participate in a rigorous, co-curricular program that consists of professional development workshops, community service, Fellowship group sessions, and mentoring.

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