Rockefeller College 2021 Alumni Award Recipients
Each year, Rockefeller College proudly bestows its highest honor on a number of distinguished individuals for their exemplary service to the public and to the College. This year, the College is delighted to present Alumni Awards to the following extraordinary individuals for their achievements in the areas of political science, public administration, criminal justice, leadership, and continuing professional development.
Please join us in congratulating the 2021 award winners!
Lifetime Achievement Award
David Verbraska, MA ’91
Executive Vice President, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, Boy Scouts of America
David is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at Boy Scouts of America (BSA). David and his team are responsible for BSA branding, marketing and sponsorships, internal and executive communications, press relations, national social media, and government relations. David is a nationally recognized Distinguished Eagle Scout and had volunteered with BSA for more than 10 years at the national, area and local levels.
David has had a 30-year career in corporate affairs, law, and public service. Prior to joining BSA, David was retired for two years after a 15-year career at Pfizer, the bio-pharmaceutical company. At Pfizer, David served as Vice President of Worldwide Policy and Public Affairs. His career includes corporate communications leadership roles at Delta Air Lines, Cardinal Health and Lockheed Martin; attorney and lobbyist at Wilson Elser Moskowitz and Edelman and NYC Partnership and Chamber of Commerce; and public service at The White House and as Confidential Assistant to the Governor of New York for six years.
David has pursued life-long learning including earning a MA in Public Affairs at Rockefeller College in 1991. He also earned a BA in American Studies at Siena College (1989), JD at Albany Law School (1996) and MBA at Columbia University (2013). David is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and earned certifications in Public Relations, Investor Relations and Dispute Mediation.
David and his wife Christine recently relocated to Sarasota, Fla. and have a daughter and son. David’s passion for travel, history and the outdoors has taken him to more than 80 countries and 300 National Park parks and sites.
Distinguished Service to the College
Deborah Eichhorn, MA ’88
Recruitment Program Manager, U.S. Government Accountability Office
Deborah is currently the Recruitment Program Manager for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) where she is responsible for implementing and evaluating agency-wide recruiting and talent management strategies, including promoting and sustaining a diverse talent pipeline across GAO. She has more than 30 years of experience leading agency-wide programs and organizational change initiatives in a variety of positions at GAO, the Census Bureau, the Patent and Trademark Office, and United Nations Geneva Office of Internal Oversight Services. Deborah received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in public policy from the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College and began her career as a Presidential Management Intern, the predecessor to the current Presidential Management Fellows Program.
Criminal Justice Distinguished Alumnus
Gene Paoline, MA ’96, PhD ’00
Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, University of Central Florida
Eugene Paoline, Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida, is an expert in police culture, police socialization, police use of force, and police education.
Paoline currently serves as the Graduate Director in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida. He has served as Co-Principal Investigator on two multi-method, multi-site, National Institute of Justice grants that have examined police use of force and early intervention (EI) systems. He is a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Crime & Justice and Race & Justice: An International Journal as well as a reviewer for over 30 academic journals. He is an active member of the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Southern Criminal Justice Association. He currently serves as the Chair of the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Policing.
He has published more than 50 articles in journals such as Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Criminal Justice & Behavior, and Police Quarterly.
Paoline received his PhD and MA in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany, State University of New York and his MS and BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University.
Criminal Justice Distinguished Alumna
Tanya Meisenholder, PhD ’13
Deputy Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion, New York City Police Department
Tanya Meisenholder is the Deputy Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion for the New York City Police Department. In this role she oversees the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) which plays a critical role in improving the NYPD workplace and supporting its employees. Her work focuses on identifying and understanding obstacles to achieving an inclusive workforce through focusing on the employee lifecycle, employee engagement, and working on issues that directly affect underrepresented groups in the workplace. OEI also oversees the Equal Employment Opportunity Division that investigates claims of workplace harassment and ensures compliance with city, state, and federal regulations related to accessibility of Police Department facilities by members of the disabled community.
Deputy Commissioner Meisenholder has enjoyed a career in criminal justice for more than 20 years. Prior to joining the NYPD, she worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Birmingham, Alabama Police Department; Schenectady, Albany, and Troy, New York Police Departments and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Deputy Commissioner Meisenholder began her career with the NYPD in 2007 and has held various operational and senior leadership roles including intelligence and analysis, project management, policy development, long term strategic planning, and research and evaluation.
Deputy Commissioner Meisenholder holds a BA in Psychology from Louisiana State University, a MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a PhD in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany.
Distinguished Alumna in Political Science
Janet Moran, BA ’85
Janet is a Principal in the New York office of Deloitte Tax LLP and serves as Lead Tax Principal for several large telecom, media and entertainment companies, as well as emerging clients in the tech sector. Janet formerly spent 10 years as the Global Industry Leader and Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader for Deloitte Tax, where she trained and focused the tax practices within Deloitte’s global Member Firms on the importance of addressing tax issues within the context of various industries and subsectors. Janet currently serves as US Telecom, Media and Entertainment Sector Tax Leader.
Janet consults with clients regarding federal, state and international tax matters. She has hosted numerous Deloitte Dbrief webcasts and podcasts on the impact of US tax reform, and more recently, on the tax implications of a remote workforce. She has been a speaker at tax and industry forums, such as Georgetown’s Computer and Internet Law Symposium, Practicing Law Institute, ATLAS, Sundance Film Festival, The Association of Magazine Media, and Broadband Tax Institute, and she co-authored a comprehensive overview of Internet Taxation that was published by the Georgetown Computer and Internet Law Review. Janet attended the Columbia Business School Executive Education Leadership Development Program in 2005. Janet attended SUNY Albany where she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Political Science. She earned her JD and is a member of the NY State Bar.
Janet is married to Edward Moran, a SUNY Binghamton graduate, and they have four children. Janet and Edward have spent the last several years focused on feeding their community by volunteering for and running both a food pantry and Community Meal program.
Distinguished Alumnus in Public Administration
John Porcari, MPA ’85
Port Envoy, Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
John Porcari is now serving as Port Envoy within the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the organization created by the White House in June to increase resilience in critical manufacturing, healthcare and raw materials supply chains.
Porcari has played a vital role in US supply chain infrastructure for more than two decades, from the local to federal level, and holds historic ties to the incumbent President. Under the Obama-Biden administration he served as Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Transportation. During this period (2009-2014), he was directly involved in overseeing port, intermodal, maritime policy and maritime-related competitive grant programs throughout the United States.
Earlier in his career, Porcari served twice as Secretary of Transportation for the State of Maryland and Chairman of the Maryland Port Commission between 1999 and 2003, and again from 2006-2009. In this capacity he transformed the Port of Baltimore into the largest roll-on/roll-off port in the US, promoting the export of construction and agricultural machinery from the Midwest to markets around the world. During his tenure, a public-private partnership to expand the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt container terminal added new capacity and capabilities. The $1.3 billion project has become a national model.
Porcari has also served as President, US Advisory Services at WSP USA, President of Axilion USA, and Managing Partner of 3P Enterprises.
Young Alumnus in Political Science
David Rozen, BA ’07
Deputy General Counsel, New York City Commission on Human Rights
David A. Rozen, Esq. serves as Deputy General Counsel to the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYC CCHR). NYC CCHR is charged with the enforcement of the NYC Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, and with educating the public and encouraging positive community relations. The NYC Human Rights Law is one of the most comprehensive civil rights laws in the nation. The Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on race, color, religion/creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including sexual harassment), gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, marital status, and partnership status.
Prior, Rozen served as Legislative Counsel at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). In that role, he assisted with all aspects of matters handled by the Office of Legal Affairs. Specifically, he was responsible for working with legislative staff, City agencies and external stakeholders to advance the TLC’s mission through legislation and regulation, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and other agencies.
Rozen served as an Assistant Counsel in New York City’s Department of Investigation (“DOI”)’s Office of the Inspector General for the New York Police Department (“OIG-NYPD”). In that role, he worked first-hand with DOI’s distinct but complementary strategies for accomplishing its mission: 1) vigorously and fairly investigating allegations of misconduct; and 2) conducting audits and systemic reviews of City agency programs and procedures, recommending improvements for positive and permanent reform of agency operations. The functions were performed with a professional staff of trained investigators, experienced attorneys and skilled forensic analysts who possess a broad range of expertise and a commitment to combating corruption and promoting greater efficiency in City government.
Rozen held the position as Deputy Records Access Officer for the New York State Department of Health (via appointment by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo) for two years. Formerly, he acted as Legislative Counsel to NYS Senator Michael Gianaris (Deputy Leader, NYS Senate Democratic Conference; Chair, NYS Senate Democratic Campaign Committee) and provided political consulting/election law assistance for successful NYS Senate candidates Neil Breslin, Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy – University at Albany and his J.D. from Albany Law School with honors while concentrating in Government Administration & Regulation.
Young Alumnus in Public Administration
Samrat Bose, PhD ’12
Quantitative Risk Manager, Santander Holdings USA
Dr. Bose builds statistical models for loss forecasting and stress testing of banks. He uses advanced econometric techniques on consumer and macroeconomic data to mitigate credit risk. Dr. Bose is also a subject matter expert in managing risk arising from the use of complex financial tools and models and establishing governance practices around their use. His work, as part of a larger team, ensures effective implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 and the Federal Reserve’s guidance on model risk management, which contributes to the overall health and stability of the financial sector. Prior to his current position at Santander Bank, Dr. Bose worked at Bank of America.
He received his PhD in Public Administration and Policy and a MA in Economics from the University at Albany, SUNY.
10 Under 10 Award
The 10 Under 10 Award recognizes and celebrates the great achievements of alumni who have graduated with a degree from Rockefeller College within the last 10 years. We are proud to celebrate their outstanding contributions during the early stages of their careers.
Adele Costa, MPA ’17
Communications Director, National Women’s Health Network
Adele Costa is a copywriter and communications professional based in Albany, NY. She graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2011 with degrees in English and History, and when she realized that wasn't going to feed her in the middle of a recession, she joined the U.S. Peace Corps. There, she spent two years as a youth development coordinator in a small mountain village in Morocco, where she worked with teens on life skills and self-expression. She came back to the US in 2015, got her Masters in Public Administration at Rockefeller College, and spent five years working in NYS government in various policy and program positions in the human services sector. In 2020, she decided to stop dating writing and to marry it, which she did by starting her copywriting business under the name "The Copy Canary.” She now directs all communications for the National Women's Health Network, and still helps consulting clients achieve their dreams through persuasive writing. To learn more about her work, visit www.thecopycanary.com.
Matt Curran, BA ’13, MPA ’14
Policy Advisor, New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services
Matt Curran is a Policy Advisor with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). The agency’s mission focuses on providing leadership, coordination, and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies including flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, and public health emergencies.
In his current capacity, Matt oversees daily operational activities for policy and program priorities. He works with interagency and external partners to develop and implement initiatives to advance the agency’s and Governor’s public safety goals. Matt has over six years of experience working on complex, cross-cutting projects, and initiatives across New York State. Focus areas for this work include emergency preparedness assessments examining risk, capabilities and grant reliance, emergency management accreditation, homeland security strategic planning, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), targeting violence prevention, and improving the use of data visualizations and dashboards in executive reporting.
Prior to this role, Matt served as a Policy Analyst within the Policy and Program Development Unit at DHSES. In this position, he provided analytical support for high-profile, and cross-cutting programs and projects. Focus areas for his work include drafting reports on policy trends at the state and federal levels, identifying long and short-term challenges and innovative solutions for the agency and its programs, and evaluating the impact of federal and state programs, mandates and processes on the resources and operations of the agency. During New York State’s ongoing response to COVID-19, Matt supported donation management efforts, as well as data analysis on COVID positivity and vaccination rates.
Mr. Curran holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Information Strategy & Management and Homeland Security from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University at Albany with a concentration in Public Administration and a minor in Political Science.
Kayla James, BA ’17, MA ’18
Program Associate, Vera Institute of Justice
Kayla has worked at the Vera Institute of Justice for 2.5 years. The nonprofit agency focuses on ending mass incarceration and transforming the criminal legal and immigration systems by working with government and civil leaders. Currently, Kayla is working on the Unlocking Potential initiative, which focuses on expanding access to high-quality and equitable postsecondary education in prison programs. Through her role, Kayla provides technical assistance to colleges and universities, nonprofits, and corrections agencies on improving educational and vocational prison programming and employment services for people returning to the community from prisons and jails. She also leads a pilot project focusing on advancing race, equity, and inclusion in college-in-prison programs. She recently co-authored a publication on state financial aid opportunities for incarcerated students.
Previously, Kayla worked on Vera's Safe Prisons, Safe Communities: From Isolation to Dignity and Wellness Behind Bars, providing technical assistance to two state corrections agencies to implement strategies to reduce the use of solitary confinement. She also co-authored a publication on the harmful impacts of solitary confinement.
Before joining Vera, Kayla worked with the New York City Department of Correction as an intern in the Training Academy and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in the Bureau of Mental Health, assessing suicide prevention policy and correction officer training. Kayla also worked at Global Citizen on the Global Policy and Advocacy team. In her role, she authored content related to global policy and assisted with advocacy and outreach domestically on the organization's 2018 New York State bail reform campaign and internationally regarding access to justice in Zambia for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kayla earned a BA in psychology and criminal justice with a minor in sociology summa cum laude and an MA in criminal justice from the School of Criminal Justice—both from the University at Albany. She was a 2017 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. Kayla currently serves as a member of the University at Albany Alumni Association GOLD Committee. In her free time, Kayla is a digital artist and freelance graphic designer.
Josh Ringel, BA ’13, MPA ’15
Village Manager, Village of Briarcliff Manor
Josh Ringel is a life long resident of Westchester County, spending the formative years of his life in Hastings-on-Hudson. Josh is a graduate of the University of Albany, having earned his B.A. in Public Policy and his Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Albany’s Rockefeller School of Government. During the final years of his undergrad, and throughout the graduate program, Josh worked in the NYS Assembly. After graduating, Josh served as Assistant to the Village Manager for the Village of Scarsdale for four years, Assistant Village Administrator for Tarrytown for two and a half years, and recently began his stint as Village Manager of Briarcliff Manor November 15th. Working as a professional in local government affords the opportunity to make impactful changes while working directly with residents of a village community, which provides much job satisfaction. Josh attributes his success and opportunities to excel in the government world due to the University at Albany and Rockefeller College. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, exploring New York City (especially its restaurants), occasionally home-brewing beer, and assisting UAlbany students who are still looking to find their way career wise. Josh resides in Croton-on-Hudson NY with his wife Joanna, who is also a graduate of UAlbany with both her undergraduate and graduate (MPH) degrees.
Sarah Rodriguez, MPA ’12
Director, KPMG Healthcare and Government Solutions Advisory Practice
Sarah Rodriguez is a Director with KPMG’s Healthcare and Government Solutions Advisory practice. She is a proud Great Dane – graduating from the University at Albany, (BA ’09), Rockefeller College Public Affairs and Policy (MPA ’12), former graduate assistant for the Department of Residential Life and Center for Human Services Research (CHSR), and an alumna of the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society (CWGCS).
Sarah’s career in supporting public service is more than a job to her – it is a commitment to helping public sector agencies to deliver better quality services for the communities they serve. During her time with the New York State Senate, CHSR and with the CWGCS, Sarah worked alongside politicians, agency representatives and front-line staff to help craft, implement and assess the effectiveness of proposed policies and programs, specifically those focused on women, children and domestic violence survivors. At KPMG she has continued her commitment and works with state and local governments to transform their operations through streamlining their business processes, empowering their workforce, and design and implementing user-centered technology solutions. Her most recent work includes helping state and local governments implement citizen-facing self-service portals to help innovate service delivery and help advise government agency’s on how to maximize their newly available American Rescue Plan and COVID funding aid to meet targeted outcomes. Outside of her project work, Sarah has led fundraising efforts for several local charities, she has served as a Girls Who Code instructor and Sarah continues to support her UAlbany Alma Mater through KPMG/UAlbany recruitment efforts as well as ongoing support for CWGCS efforts.
Ben Spear, BA '11, MPA ’12
Chief Information Security Officer, New York State Board of Elections
For the past four years, Ben Spear served as the founding Director of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), where he led the response to election threats through the deployment of a coordinated cyber defense suite supporting all 50 states and over 3,000 local election offices. The role built on his previous experience as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst identifying cyber threats impacting the wider state and local community at sister organization the Multi-State ISAC and as a Project Coordinator at the University’s National Center for Security & Preparedness. Looking to have a greater impact closer to home, Ben recently became the Chief Information Security Officer for the New York State Board of Elections. Ben serves on the University Alumni Association Board of Directors and is Chair of the Town of Niskayuna Historical Committee. In his free time, he can be found traveling with his wife and daughter or at a festival, concert, or musical in the Capital Region.
Amanda Tinaphong, MPA ’16
Medicaid Section Head, New York State Division of the Budget
Amanda Tinaphong currently serves as the Medicaid Section Head at the New York State Division of the Budget (DOB) where she oversees the Managed Care and Managed Long-Term Care portfolio, which accounts for over $20 billion in annual State health care expenditures. The portfolio includes the management and oversight of comprehensive health care and long-term care coverage for low- and middle-income individuals and families through the Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan, which provide affordable health insurance coverage for over eight million New Yorkers.
In this role, Amanda plays a large part in the development, negotiation and implementation of public policy changes that shape the future of healthcare delivery and services in the State. She has helped to implement several of the State’s major policy initiatives including financial sustainability reforms under the Medicaid Redesign Team, State Prevention Agenda to promote health equity in all populations, and the Statewide $15 minimum wage increase.
Recently, Amanda completed a rotation with the New York State Department of Health, where she served as an Analyst in the Office of the Commissioner. In this role, she aided in the implementation of legislative reforms aimed at enhancing nursing home quality of care and worked on the development of recommendations aimed at ensuring efficiency and high-quality care in the State’s long term care services and support programs.
Amanda’s early achievements and quick progression in her career is a testament to her dedication to public service and strong work ethic. She began her time at DOB as a Women & Public Policy Fellow through the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. In this role, she worked on the State Operations teams in which she oversaw the Department of Health’s overall operations and workforce of over 5,000 employees.
Her career at DOB continued after she was selected from many qualified candidates as a New York State Excelsior Service Fellow. She was placed on the Acute Care and Hospitals Team where she oversaw the State’s financially distressed facilities program and assisted in the redesign of various healthcare delivery systems. Throughout her experience at the Division of the Budget, in total, she has worked on negotiating and enacting six State budgets.
Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University at Albany, where she held leadership roles as president of her sorority and served on the board of various organizations including the Multicultural Greek Council and Asian American Alliance. She was also part of the Educational Opportunities Program, which helped provide her the support and foundation to continue her post-graduate education. Amanda attended the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy where she earned a Master of Public Administration with concentrations in health care policy and non-profit management.
Aloayé Tisor, MPA ’19
Special Assistant, Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Aloaye I. Tisor is currently Special Assistant to the Governor who oversees Governor Kathy Hochul's briefing team and the internal coordination and management of paper flow to the Governor. She was previously an Excelsior Fellow serving as Policy Advisor to then Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Before taking this role, she worked as a legislative aide in the Office of Senator Velmanette Montgomery and was a fellow at the The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at Rockefeller College at the University at Albany.
Aloaye attributes her success thus far to her various assistantships and intern opportunities while in graduate school at the Office of Financial Services at UAlbany, NYS Office of Children and Families, the NYS Executive Chamber and most importantly her experience as a fellow in the The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, which landed her the full-time position in the NYS Senate.
Aloaye received her Masters in Public Administration as well as a graduate certificate in Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at the University at Albany. She received her Bachelors from SUNY Oswego and Associate's degree while in high school through an early college program between Hostos Lincoln Academy of Science and Hostos Community College.
Aside from public service with the State of New York, Aloaye is also a community activist who helped lead and mobilize during the height of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protest. She continues work with organizations such as Strategy for Black Lives and EndSarsNYC whose missions act to uplift Black people on a global scale.
Lastly, Aloaye attributes her will to continue in public service to her background and culture. Being one of four daughters of Nigerian Immigrants, Aloaye strives to be a voice for the voiceless as well as break glass ceilings and lift as she climbs.
Matt Wiley, MPA ’17
Medical Countermeasures Program Coordinator, New York State Department of Health
Matt Wiley currently works for the New York State Department of Health as a Medical Countermeasure Program Coordinator, where he works with state agencies and local health departments to prepare for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies. Since 2016, Matt’s focus has been developing and updating plans and exercises to respond to bioterrorism attacks. Recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt has been leading statewide coordination for transportation of critical disease specimens as well as assisting with the training of staff at Mass Vaccination Sites providing the COVID-19 vaccine to the public. Prior to his position at the NYS Department of Health, Matt was employed by the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority as a Contract Management Specialist. Outside of work with the Department of Health, Matt has almost 10 years working in the emergency management field. He has served many roles in local ambulance services from an Advanced EMT to Lieutenant, to Board of Directors. His work on concerts and other mass gathering medical teams, provides him with experience in large scale trauma and mass care expertise.
Akua Williams, BA ’18, MA ’20
Financial Intelligence Analyst, High Intensity Financial Crime Area (HIFCA), Manhattan District Attorney’s Office
Akua Williams (she/her/hers) is currently a Financial Intelligence Analyst with High Intensity Financial Crime Area (HIFCA) on the El Dorado Task Force with the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations. In this role, Akua provides analytical support to Case Agents and Prosecutors compiling intel relating to suspicious financial activity for the use in potential criminal investigation and prosecution. In addition, Akua develops and presents trainings on software and databases needed to identify crime trends. Akua began her position with HIFCA three months ago and has had the privilege of being apart of some amazing cases so far. As an analyst, her database expertise and thorough reporting has aided in bringing justice to victims who have suffered emotionally and financially.
Akua Williams graduated cum laude with a BA in Public Administration and Policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany (SUNY), May 18’. Akua also received a MA in Criminal Justice from the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany (SUNY) May 2020.
During Akua’s time as an undergraduate, she had the privilege of being apart of the Fall 2017 Cohort of the University at Albany’s Semester In Washington Program. During Akua’s Semester in Washington Program, she interned at the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit, Cold Case squad. As an intern, Akua aided senior level detectives in compiling evidence, raw data, and witness identification to determine solvability factors of inactive sexual assault cases. During Akua’s time in graduate school she also had the opportunity to intern at the New York State Office of Mental Health, Pre Release Department. There, she used statewide databases to review criminal records, disciplinary notes and medical records of incarcerated inmates diagnosed with a serious mental illness to help determine discharge proceedings.
Akua Williams has a strong passion for combating sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Akua has served as a Teaching Assistant in the fall 2019 Human Trafficking course with Professor Dennis McCarty. In addition, Akua has dedicated three years of research to crimes against trafficking and sexual exploitation. Akua has presented at research conferences in Albany, Buffalo and Chicago. Akua intends to pursue her Ph.D in Criminal Justice where she can future her research in hopes of training law enforcement personnel on victim services and proactive tactics to prevent sexual exploitation.
Akua also was a 400 meter runner and hurdler on the Division 1 Women’s Track and Field Team at the University at Albany. Akua Williams is a proud member of the Pi Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Akua is originally from the Bronx and Middletown, NY.