SPA Welcomes Incoming Ph.D. Students

The incoming cohort of 8 Ph.D. students was welcomed at a luncheon and orientation session at SPA on Aug. 12, 2015. A brief bio of each student appears below.

Welcome to SPA, and we look forward to your amazing achievements!

Photo of incoming PhD students Aug. 2015

Pictured (L to R): D.J. Rogers, Jihye Jung, Daniel Kojetin, Erik Fuller, Kathleen Bailey,
Alexis Kennedy, Karen Aarestad and Jennifer Kagan.

Karen Aarestad
Karen earned her BA in English from Bates College and MBA from the University of London, England. She is currently an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, with responsibility for strategic fundraising management for the 5 health professional schools and colleges on the medical campus (Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Dental Medicine and Pharmacy) as well as inter-professional education initiatives. Karen has been involved in alumni relations, community outreach and fundraising for higher education since 1996. She worked in the United Kingdom for nearly 10 years raising major gifts for the London Business School, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. Since joining the Advancement team at CU, she has developed research interest in the overlaps between the public, private and non-profit sectors – especially in relation to healthcare and the role of philanthropy in advancing medical research.

Erik Fuller
Erik received a B.A. in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College and began his working life as a Hydrogeologist with environmental consulting and water resource firms along the Front Range. Several years later, he changed careers, earning an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from CU, Denver, and taking a job as a classroom teacher. Fifteen years of working with middle and high school students led to Erik’s research interest in education policy. Erik lives in Littleton with his wife and two children. He loves spending time with his family, traveling, and playing outdoors.

Jihye Jung
Jihye is a Ph.D. student and a research assistant at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs. She earned her BA in geography and business administration at Chonnam National University in South Korea and her MPA at the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Jihye has studied in England, Japan, and the United States, and has interned at the American Jewish Committee in Washington D.C., Susan G. Komen and Mustard Seed Fair Trade in Columbia, Missouri. These experiences exposed her to various types of community development initiatives and the challenges found in public service. These experiences were also the impetus to Jihye’s decision to pursue the knowledge that can assist the operations of community-based organizations.

Jihye’s current research interests include nonprofit management, collaborative governance, community development, and program evaluation. Prior to her doctoral studies, Jihye worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Public Policy (IPP) at the Truman School of Public Affairs in Columbia, Missouri. At IPP, her research measured county-level resilience and through the vulnerability index as part of integrating responses to Climate Variability within a Regional Resilience Framework, funded through the National Science Foundation.

Kathleen Bailey
Kathleen is a Ph.D. student and research assistant at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs (SPA). Her current research interests center on the nexus between climate change, sustainable development, energy, and natural resource management. She received a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies (with honors) from Alfred University in 2001, an M.A. in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now the Middlebury Institute of International Studies) in 2005, and an M.A. in Security Studies with a focus on the Western Hemisphere from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in 2011. Her Security Studies thesis employed an econometric model to examine whether Sino-Brazilian trade or investment significantly influenced Brazil’s voting affinity in the United Nations General Assembly. Prior to joining SPA, Kathleen conducted academic research for over ten years in the Defense Resources Management Institute (DRMI) at NPS in Monterey, California. At DRMI, her research emphasized environmental security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, defense economics, post-conflict reconstruction and development, national security, and irregular warfare. She has co-authored articles in The DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management and in Security and Defense Studies Review. She also served as a writing coach in the NPS Graduate Writing Center.

Jennifer Kagan
Jennifer is the Director of the Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at CU Denver. She earned a BA in psychology from New York University in 2000 and a juris doctor from the University Of San Diego School Of Law in 2004. Jennifer spent over six years as an attorney in the private sector, working primarily in class action litigation, before returning to school to earn her master’s in public administration from CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs. While completing her MPA coursework, she worked as a policy research fellow for the Buechner Institute for Governance; a graduate assistant for the Global Women Scholars Network a National Science Foundation funded network that supports women in developing countries who are promoting sustainability; and a research assistant on a Sloan Foundation funded study examining the politics and policies of hydraulic fracturing. For her master’s thesis, Jennifer spent time in Uganda, exploring the relationship between inter-organizational partnerships and nongovernmental organization institutional sustainability. She is also a registered yoga teacher and teaches weekly yoga and meditation classes. Her research interests include international development, energy policy, and sustainability.

Daniel Kojetin
Daniel is pursuing his Ph.D. in Public Affairs at the University Of Colorado Denver School Of Public Affairs. Daniel received a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a concentration in Atmospheric Sciences from Indiana University, Bloomington. Since graduating, Daniel has lived and worked in various places around the country and world. He guided wilderness trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota, worked on the ski patrol and avalanche mitigation team at Powder Mountain, Utah, and taught ESL at the Jeju National University College of Social Sciences in Jeju Island, South Korea where he studied and successfully completed his MPA. In Jeju, he surveyed attitudes among residents, highlighting local concerns of private vs. public control of wind power. As a result of the study, he achieved publication with an article published in the respected, Korean Journal of Local Government Studies. Daniel’s goal as a Ph.D. candidate is to obtain the skills leading towards a future academic career as a social science researcher and educator. He looks forward to finding constructive solutions for the complex challenges local, state, and national governments face and to help lead others towards positive change. His research interests include the environment, local government, land conservation, climate change, and sustainability.

Alexis Kennedy
Alexis was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She moved with her family to New Jersey in 1998. She attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. While fluent in French, she also took Chinese and Spanish in college. She spent summers studying in Taiwan and Brazil where, as part of her honors thesis, she conducted interviews with women in favelas regarding economic development of their communities. She joined the Institute for Women’s Leadership Scholars Program and started the Rutgers University Campus Coalition Against Trafficking, a student organization that educates the public about human trafficking. After graduating, she worked for an energy consulting firm for two years where she performed economic and forecast analysis and policy research. She then returned to school and received her Master’s Degree in Economics from Rutgers, Newark. Upon graduating, Alexis spent a year abroad traveling through Asia and Australia with her husband. In Vietnam, she interviewed women living in the Mekong Delta regarding land rights and equality as part of an article she co-wrote with her undergraduate thesis adviser. After returning from Asia, in search of skiing, Alexis and her husband took a road trip across the U.S. and relocated to Fort Collins, CO, just a bit south of her birthplace in Canada. Before applying for the PhD program, Alexis worked with the Public Affairs Department at CUD as an independent contractor for the Buechner Institute of Governance. Her projects included budget analysis for the integration of common core standards and assessments in three CO school districts and a BOCES, and financial aid policy analysis for ReSchool. She was also the Project Manager and conducted program and policy analysis for the Ford Corridors for College Success (CCS), which is focused on increasing success of high school and college students in SW Denver through persistence, attainment, and good careers. Alexis’ interests include education finance, economic development, women’s leadership, and human rights.

D.J. Rogers
D.J. has an academic background in Economics & History at the undergraduate-level (Colorado, BA 1988) and in Criminal Justice (Colorado, MCJ 2006) and Sociology (Colorado State, Doctoral Student 2008 to 2014) at the graduate-level. During his course of studies at CSU Rogers was also a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice. Professionally, Rogers has been an Adjunct Instructor in the regional community college system, where his responsibilities included general courses in Research Methods, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Social Problems and Constitutional Law and certificate courses in topics related to Crime Analysis. Rogers has also served with four different law enforcement agencies in a variety of capacities and assignments in the course of a twenty-six year career.



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