The 2022 American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Conference was held from March 18 to 22 in Jacksonville, Florida. Our Graduate Chair, Dr. Helen H. Yu, and four MPA students, Mary Janell Murro, Sam Kippen, Kenika Lorenzo-Elarco and Melanie Martin made the long trip to attend this worthwhile conference.
Dr. Yu presented her research article “Racial Diversity in Policing: Where are the Asian American Police Officers?” during the Criminal Justice, Policing and Combating Racism and Injustice workshop. Recently published in Public Personnel Management, Dr. Yu’s research served to answer the question, “Do we need more Asian American police officers in response to the #StopAsianHate movement?” Her research found that with the exception of five cities, Asian American police officers were underrepresented in the largest 100 cities ranked by their respective Asian population, and that more needs to be done by these police departments in order to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
On the first day of the conference, all the MPA students attended the Students and New Professional Summit which focuses on topics critical to students and new professionals, such as building a resume or CV, interviewing effectively, maintaining a personal network, and choosing a suitable career focus. The summit provided multiple opportunities to network with other students and learn from leading public administrators including professors, city managers, procurement managers, and nonprofit directors.
The conference theme: Democracy Under Threat: The Future of Equality in a Post-COVID World, was very timely and particularly salient given current world events. The COVID-19pandemic has increased the divide between the privileged and the disadvantaged. Much of the research presented at this conference centered around the importance to keep social equity in mind in all aspects of public administration. From program conception to implementation, practitioners must ensure that past discrimination and systemic biases do not exclude marginalized groups within our society.
MPA students are encouraged to attend future ASPA conferences to learn about research being conducted in the public administration field. It is a great opportunity to network with peers and faculty from other prominent educational institutions.