Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Four OU MPA students receive scholarships
Four Oakland University Master of Public Administration students received scholarships from the Michigan Public Risk Management Association (MIPRIMA) in May 2006.
“There were only nine MIPRIMA scholarships available, so the fact that Oakland students took four of them speaks volumes about our MPA program,” said Dale Nesbary, director of OU’s MPA program and faculty adviser to all the winners.
Andrea Berlik and Jamita Lewis received MIPRIMA 9-11 Memorial Scholarships, and Jessica Newman and Karlyn Semlow received Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarships. Each scholarship provides $1,500 toward tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year as well as prepaid registration to three MIPRIMA educational seminars.
Nesbary says the scholarships and seminars also provide good opportunities for the winners to meet potential employers working in the public sector.
“We are very much indebted to Chuck Schwab of MIPRIMA and the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority for informing the OU MPA program of scholarship availability, and to Jerry Ragsdale of MIPRIMA for recognizing the quality of our students,” said Nesbary.
Ragsdale coordinated the awarding of the scholarships for MIPRIMA, and Schwab taught a course in risk management for OU’s MPA program in fall 2005.
“I am impressed with all aspects of Oakland and its students,” said Schwab. “Three hours is a lot of time to spend in class, especially when most students are just ending their work day, and OU’s MPA students are always interested and attentive. Teaching each class was challenging and rewarding.”
MIPRIMA offers the scholarships to promote and support study in risk management, with a focus on homeland security, first response plans and criminal justice.
MIPRIMA 9-11 Memorial Scholarship winner Berlik is active in the Healthcare Financial Management Association, National Association of Healthcare Access Management and the Michigan Alliance of Healthcare Access Professionals.
“Virtually every aspect of health care involves risk management because the world of health care impacts individuals’ lives. If risks are not averted to the highest degree, human lives and livelihood are at stake,” says Berlik.
Berlik’s academic and professional background was so impressive that Nesbary admitted her to Oakland’s MPA program without requiring an interview.
“My decision was not in error,” he said. “She is gaining the skill needed to become an outstanding public servant.”
Lewis, who also won a MIPRIMA 9-11 Memorial Scholarship, is a member of the Optimist Club of Detroit and Rather Hall Black Caucus. Through her focus in strategic planning and human resource management, she aims to use public sector leadership to make a difference for at-risk urban youth.
“Large urban districts are facing a shortage of minority leaders who can manage and address the problems among disadvantaged and alienated people. My vision is to bring together leaders so we can all engage in promoting risk management,” said Lewis.
Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarship winner Newman volunteers with Stand Up for Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides outreach to homeless and at-risk youth.
Nesbary said, “Jessica has impressed me as an independent thinker and hard worker.”
Semlow, who also won a Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarship, works as a human relations coordinator for Macomb County.
“Because of her position in the classroom she is able to provide a perspective on issues at a very high level,” said Nesbary. “Her combination of academic skills and professional experience make her a pleasure to have in class.
Semlow aims to become division director of personnel services for Macomb County after she completes her MPA.
“The position oversees the functions of employment services, benefit administration, workers’ compensation and retirement, tasks associated with loss prevention and reduction,” said Semlow.
Oakland University’s MPA program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the national accrediting body for MPA programs. In addition, Oakland University has an active chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society of public affairs and administration.
For more information, visit the Master of Public Administration Program Web site.