Teri Bolinger and Sharon Smolinski Awarded SPA Ph.D. Scholarships

The Ph.D. Committee announced that Teri Bolinger and Sharon Smolinski were selected as the recipients of a 2015 SPA Ph.D. scholarship. Each were awarded a $5,000 scholarship.

In announcing the awards, Associate Professor Tanya Heikkila, director of the Ph.D. program,  noted the following about Teri and Sharon’s dissertation work:

Teri’s dissertation examines the effects of participation in Colorado’s Accountable Care Collaborative on individual health outcomes and health care costs. This research uses collaborative governance literature to identify common characteristics of successful collaboration, compares these common characteristics to the ACC, and explores the implications of using the ACC to serve Medicaid recipients. In a pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group research design, the study uses a limited data set that includes health care claims records for individuals in Colorado. Teri plans to use the scholarship to contribute to the costs of the dataset she is using for her research.

Sharon’s dissertation will examine how individuals and groups learn in environmental policy processes. Her research will examine how institutional design affects learning, and clarify the stages of the learning process and the transition between individual and group learning. She plans to use her scholarship to pay for tuition for her dissertation credits and support field work for her dissertation.

Please join me in congratulating Teri and Sharon. We are really proud of their hard work here at SPA!

Following are biographies submitted by Teri and Sharon:

Photo of Teri BolingerTeri Bolinger is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Public Affairs. Since returning from U.S. Peace Corps service in Ukraine in 2009, she has focused her academic and professional interests on health policy and public management with emphasis on collaborative governance models and their impact on health outcomes and health care costs. She previously earned a Master’s Degree in Finance and Accounting and a Master’s Certificate in Public Administration, specializing in Nonprofit Management, while living and working in Florida. With more than 10 years of executive management experience in nonprofit health and human service organizations, Teri was employed by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing from 2009 until 2014, first as a Research Analyst and later as the Project Manager for the State Demonstration to Integrate Care for Full Benefit Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees. Teri is currently completing her dissertation and is employed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office. She is a member of AcademyHealth, the American Society for Public Administration, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the National Peace Corps Association, and Pi Alpha Alpha.

Photo of Sharon SmolinskiSharon Smolinski joined the Ph.D. program at the School of Public Affairs in 2012. She has over 15 years of experience in biofuels research, providing an understanding of science and technology issues within the public sector. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado Denver. She received a Master of Science in Environmental Science at the University of Colorado Denver in 2011, with a thesis exploring potential environmental impacts of water diversions. She is interested in environmental issues, and enjoys the outdoors in her spare time. Sharon is working with Dr. Tanya Heikkila and a team of researchers from multiple institutions on a meta-analysis of literature on learning in environmental policy and management. Her dissertation research will provide improved understanding of how actors learn in the process of addressing environmental policy issues. She has also worked with Dr. Chris Weible and SPA student David Carter by providing coding verification for institutional analysis of organic policy.

Categories: Academics, Students

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