July 2017 Newsletter

Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading! [embeddoc url="http://www.ipg.vt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/VTIPGJuly2017newsletter.pdf" download="all"]

From the Director: Tidings Quarterly Reflection:

The “Beloved Community:” Aspiring to be a Truly Free and Self-Governing Society


Call for Submissions (deadline September 15, 2017) The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development is seeking submissions for publication in the Winter 2017-2018 Issue, Local Government in Food Systems Work (www.foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj/index)

Call for Proposals (deadline October 9, 2017) The 2018 Appalachian Studies Conference will be held at the Millennium Hotel in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, April 5-8, 2018. The theme of the conference is “Re-stitching the Seams: Appalachia Beyond Its Borders.” (appalachianstudies.org/annualconference/)

Call for Submissions (deadline October 27, 2017) The 13th International Society for Third-Secord Research (ISTR) Conference will take place July 10-13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The theme of the conference is “Democracy and Legitimacy: The Role of the Third Sector in a Globalizing World.”

Conference organizers are keenly interested in a wide range of submissions, especially on topics related to democracy and legitimacy. In addition, ISTR is also interested in research which advances our understanding of theory, policy, and practice of third sector organizations. Overall, the 2018 Amsterdam conference offers a unique, and particularly valuable, venue for engaging with its very diverse membership of scholars to deepen our knowledge of these important issues. (www.istr.org/?Amsterdam)

Acknowledgements & Accomplishments


Introducing VTIPG’s newest member, Ada Briggs, born March 22nd at 8pm. She is the daughter of Maya Berinzon, (VTIPG Research Associate) and Ryan Briggs (Associate Professor of Political Science), & is also welcomed by her big brother Isaac. Welcome to the team, Ada!


Lindy Cranwell (PGG) successfully defended her preliminary examination on April 25, 2017, a significant milestone in her progress toward her PhD in Planning, Governance and Globalization (PGG). Her Committee members include co-chairs Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) and Denise Simmons (Myers-Lawson School of Construction), with committee members Ralph Hall (Urban Affairs and Planning) and David Knight (Engineering Education). Congratulations to Lindy!

Congratulations to Kristin Haas (MPIA) who received her Master’s Degree on May 4. Her committee included Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) as committee chair, and committee members Trish Nickel (GIA), Christian Matheis (GIA), and Timothy Luke (Political Science). Sarah Jonson (MPIA), who successfully defended her thesis and received her Master’s in December 2016, sent along a note saying that she had accepted a Eurasia Program Coordinator position with International Youth Fellowship (IYF) and started on Monday, June 5! Currently the program has ongoing projects in Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and China. The organization specializes in technical and life skills training around the world and, in addition to U.S. Government funding, has very robust private partnerships. Sarah had just returned from a trip to Europe (The Netherlands and Belgium). Here is information on IYF (an NGO) for whom Sarah will be working: www.iyf.org/

Congratulations to Chris Davidson (PhD, Higher Education) who successfully defended his dissertation on June 8. The title of his work was Veteran Influx: A Qualitative Study Examining the Transition Experiences of Student Veterans from the Military to College. Chris’ committee included Steven Janosik (Higher Education) as committee chair, and committee members Claire K. Robbins (Higher Education), Gabriel R. Serna (Higher Education) and David Kniola (Educational Research and Evaluation). Chris is the 30th doctoral student affiliated with the Institute for Policy and Governance to complete their work since the Institute’s founding on July 1, 2006!

Carmen Boggs-Parker (PGG) successfully defended her dissertation proposal on April 3. The dissertation title was Meeting the self and the other: The development of intercultural sensitivity during a faculty led intensive service-learning course to Belize. Her committee includes Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) as committee chair, with committee members Dale Wimberley (Sociology), John O. Browder (Urban Affairs and Planning), and Nicole Sanderlin (Engineering). Natalie Patterson (MURP) earned her Master’s in May 2017. Brian Britt (Religion and Culture) and Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) co-chaired her committee along with Thomas Skuzinski (SPIA-UAP). Her thesis was entitled: Creating Participatory Space through Partnership: Exploring the Relationship between a Faith-Based Day Programming Organization and a Cohousing Community for Individuals with and without Disabilities. She has accepted a position as a Loan Analyst with the National Housing Trust in Washington, DC which she began on May 23rd.

Congratulations to Anna Erwin (PGG), who successfully defended her dissertation on April 24. The title of her work was Participation in a Shifting Global Context? A Case Study of Labor and Faith in the American South. Committee members included Barbara Ellen Smith (Sociology), Kim Niewolny (Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education), Andrew Scerri (Political Science) and by proxy for Professor Scerri, Anne Khademian (School of Public and International Affairs). Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) served as committee chair.

Anna recently accepted the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in American Politics at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Best wishes to Anna as she begins her new role! (www.miamioh.edu/)

Kristin Haas has accepted a position at Seed Change Tanzania located in Kigoma, Tanzania. Seed Change Tanzania (www.seedchangetanzania.org/) is a non-profit social enterprise working to build a smallholder focused sustainable oil palm industry in Kigoma. Best wishes to Kristin as she heads out on July 7 to begin her new role!

Congratulations to Rachael Kennedy, who earned her PhD in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education on March 24. Her committee included Eric Kaufman (ALCE) as committee chair, with committee members Nick Copeland (Sociology), Kim Niewolny (ALCE), and Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG). Her dissertation was entitled Establishing Nourishing Networks in an Era of Global-Local Tensions: An Interdisciplinary Ethnography in Turkey”

Rachael is currently in Azerbaijan completing a U.S. State Department sponsored Critical Language Scholarship. This is a summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for undergraduate and graduate students.


The College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS) recently announced its new Director of Communications. Welcome Marya Barlow! Featured in VT News on April 26 - . Barlow has been working with CAUS since last September in an interim capacity as a communications director, and after conducting a national search, CAUS was excited to announce that Barlow would be coming on board full-time. Congratulations and welcome, Marya!

Conference & Print Representation

Vanessa Guerra (PGG) recently lectured at TEDxQuito in Ecuador. This TEDx event’s theme was Realities, and was held at local theatre Teatro Sucre, a historic landmark in Quito established in the 1890’s.

Community Change Journal Launch

At the beginning of this year VTIPG announced the launch of Community Change, an online, peer reviewed, graduate student journal that seeks to explore multiple approaches to democratic community development and change. Recently published was its first issue, Vol 1, No 1 (2017): Inaugural Issue: Community Change Revisited. VTIPG hosted a Launch Event to celebrate the occasion. communitychange.ipg.vt.edu/index.php/commchange/issue/view/1

Three students from the VTIPG’s Community Voices Group presented at this year’s American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, held April 5-9 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Vera Smirnova’s (PGG) presentation, Territorialization of Crisis: Enclosure and Capitalist Appropriation of Land in the Late Imperial and Post-Soviet Russia, was given in a session themed Contested Territories, devoted to exploring the struggles around the triad of land, territory, and power.

Neda Moayerian’s (PGG) presentation title was Local Non-Governmental Organizations’ Role in Globalization Process in Developing Countries.

Lorien MacAuley’s (ALCE) presentation title was A Critical Ethnographic Case Study of On-Farm Apprentices at Work: Social Justice and Farm Labor Implications.

This conference was a great chance to meet other prominent scholars working in the same area. The AAG is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. As one of the largest geographic conferences in the world, the AAG Annual Meeting and Exhibition hosted as many as 9,500 participants from different academic and professional backgrounds. This year’s conference included internationally acclaimed featured speakers, such as Noam Chomsky, David Harvey and James Hansen.

Lyusyena Kirakosyan (VTIPG Senior Project Associate) had her paper entitled Sport For All in Brazil: the evolution of discourse and its impact on social inclusion accepted for presentation at the 25th European Association for Sport Management (EASM) Conference, Challenges and Developments of Sport Organisations, to be held September 5-8, 2017 in Bern, Switzerland (www.easm2017.com).

Natalie Patterson (MURP) presented at this year’s Public Administration Theory Network conference, held June 1-4, 2017 in Laramie, Wyoming. Her presentation, Creating Participatory Space Through Partnership, is based on the findings of her thesis research. Her work observes a cohousing community and related ministry in North Carolina, examining how the partnership between these organizations has created capacity and opportunity for individuals with disabilities to demonstrate democratic agency (www.patheory.net/index.php/2017-conference/)


Community Voices

Season Wrap Up

Community Voices wrapped up the spring 2017 season with returning guest lecturer Francesco Manca (Independent Political Analyst, Retired Senior United Nations Official). Manca was in residence on the Virginia Tech campus as a visiting scholar.

On April 10 Manca and Community Voices members convened for a roundtable luncheon and discussion around the theme “The Independency of the International Civil Servant: A Duty or an Option?” Manca was also a guest lecturer in Max Stephenson’s (Director, VTIPG) NGOs in International Development graduate seminar on April 24. He also co-taught two classes, International Organization and International Relations Theory, with Laura Zanotti (Political Science). Last, Community Voices members Vera Smirnova (PGG) and Neda Moayerian (PGG) had the opportunity to interview Manca to podcast on Trustees Without Borders. A recording of this interview can be found here: soundcloud.com/andy-morikawa/trustees-without-borders-francesco-manca-2017-04-10

Ideas For Change :: Ideas That Matter

Community Voices is an interdisciplinary group of Virginia Tech graduate students and faculty, and community representatives interested in innovative approaches to community building and engagement. The group organizes a series of public seminars by leaders from public, private, and nonprofit sectors who share their insights and experiences helping communities shape their futures. The speakers’ presentations, which include conversation with the audience, are free and open to the public (communityvoices.info).


On May 8, Community Voices held its annual Retreat at Riverstone Farm in Floyd Virginia. Attending this event included members Max Stephenson, Cathy Grimes, Alex Stubberfield, Neda Moyerian, Anna Erwin, Andy Morikawa, Regina Naff, Lorien MacAuley and the youngest of the group, Lorien’s daughter, Serena. Lunch was provided by the Riverstone Farm kitchen. Described by attendees as an excellent day, with excellent discussions and fellowship in a wonderful quiet location by the river in Floyd.

Recent Events On Campus Related To Governance

Visit From Dr. Assem Faress

On March 29th, Max Stephenson (Director, VTIPG) and Donald Back (Director, Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute), had the privilege of hosting Dr. Assem Faress, former Associate Dean of the University of Aleppo, and his wife, Zaynab Alabed, for a lunchtime meeting. Their discussion focused on the current Syrian conflict and its humanitarian consequences. Dr. Fariss was at the university in conjunction with a series of talks he was giving on campus at the end of that month. He is an expert in comparative literature and lectures on Arab/Middle Eastern culture and languages. Fariss’ stay was sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs.

March 31 - April 1 The 2017 ASPECT Conference took place at Virginia Tech. This year’s conference theme was Aesthetics, Politics, and Ethnics in Fractured Times. The event consisted of panel presentations and discussions on a multitude of topics including Populism and Cosmopolitanism, Spaces of Cyberpolitics, Cultural Representations in Contemporary Media, Feminism and Otherness, Race in America, Politics of the Environment, and more. Michael Shapiro (Professor of Political Science, University of Hawai’i-Manoa)” delivered the plenary address on When the Earth Moves: Toward a Political Sublime.

April 10 A panel discussion, themed Ecologies of Injustice, was hosted by The Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience. This panel discussion brought together scholars at Virginia Tech whose work intersects the concerns of environmental justice, with community members, and interested individuals to increase our understanding of the diffuse ways that environmental injustice is experienced in our contemporary world. The conversation encompassed political, economic, social, and environmental factors that precipitate disproportionate exposure to environmental risk or access to resources and is designed to build bridges across the Virginia Tech campus and greater-Blacksburg community.

April 12 Andrew Light (Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University) was on campus for a Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Talk, The Road From the Paris Climate Agreement (philosophy.gmu.edu/people/alight1).

April 18 Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands hosted Sir David Greenaway (vice-chancellor University of Nottingham) in a Beyond Boundaries Lecture, discussing how a top-100 global university can stimulate meaningful interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships and prepare students for an increasingly interconnected world.

April 19 World renowned Guatemalan visual artist Daniel Hernández-Salazar presented on Photography, Memory, and Human Rights in Guatemala, focusing on the power of photographic images to open up public discussions about violence in the wake of terror.

6th Annual Combating Racial Injustice Workshop

April 22 marked the “6th Annual Combating Racial Injustice Workshop” held at Virginia Tech. Presenting at the event was Dr. Wornie Reed, Professor of Sociology and African Studies and Sarah Halvorson-Fried, who received her Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Tech in 2016. Sarah is a friend of VTIPG and prior member of Community Voices. According to Sarah, Dr. Reed, who is also the director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech, was on her thesis committee, Dr. Reed, who was a member of Sarah’s thesis committee, invited her to present her thesis research at this year’s Combating Racial Injustice Workshop. Sarah’s project centered on racial inequality in employment and income in the New River Valley. She worked with Montgomery County-based group Dialogue on Race to form research questions and define pieces of the inquiry. At the workshop, Dr. Reed presented his research on national and state costs of employment inequality, and Sarah followed with her analyses of local costs and motivations. Sarah is currently working in the evaluation department at the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit human services organization with a mission to end inter-generational poverty in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. It has also become a national model with the Promise Neighborhoods grant program.

Sarah Halvorson-Fried, Wornie Reed, Penny Franklin


Faculty Spotlight: Robin Lemaire

Dr. Robin Hargroder Lemaire joined Virginia Tech in 2012 as an Assistant Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) in the School of Public and International Affairs. Robin’s areas of expertise are organization theory and the management of public and nonprofit organizations. Within these, she has focused particularly on network analysis and on understanding the dynamics of inter-organizational networks. Robin has examined organizational networks formed to address various public issues, including analyses of a child and youth health network in Alberta Canada, a network of Tobacco Quitlines in the United States and Canada and efforts aimed at increasing child and maternal health care coordination in India. Robin recently undertook a network analysis for the Early Child Education and Development Network in the New River Valley and is now guiding that group’s efforts to strengthen the ties among its participants.

Robin’s research has addressed the governance and management challenges networks face when they work together as a formal collective concerning shared goals. To do so, she combines her knowledge of organization and network theory with her analytical skills. She has published her research in various journals including, The American Review of Public Administration, International Public Management Journal and The American Journal of Public Health.

Robin received the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Certificate for Excellence in Teaching for 2016-2017. In addition to teaching Master of Public Administration students, Robin advises Public Administration and Public Affairs PhD students on their efforts to study networks and/or use network analysis. She has also worked closely with VTIPG colleagues examining inter-organizational networks in various Virginia localities.

Although many of Robin’s current research projects are locally focused, she is also interested in international issues. Robin learned French at a young age through an immersion program and also studied Spanish in high school and college. Her desire to use and develop further her facility with language and the importance she places on public service, led her to Chad, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer and began to learn Arabic. Her experience in Chad and her first-hand acquaintance with the devastation wrought by hurricanes in her home state of Louisiana motivated her to pursue her current path in the hope that her research could help to improve the service delivery systems on which communities around the globe depend.

Robin earned a PhD from the University of Arizona, specializing in public management. She also has a Masters of Arts in French Literature from Vanderbilt University and two Bachelors of Arts degrees, in International Studies and French, from Louisiana State University.


Student Spotlight: Rebecca Powell-Doherty

I am originally from Charlotte, NC. I previously graduated from NC State University in 2005 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and went on to obtain my PhD in Interdisciplinary Biology with a focus on immunology and infectious disease from UNC Charlotte in 2010. I came to VT in 2015 to pursue my MPH in infectious disease, but actually found a greater affinity for the certificate programs in Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organization Management and Global Planning and International Development. I am excited to have recently completed all three.

During my somewhat extended academic career, I have had the good fortune to spend time working and studying in Lille, France (as an undergraduate) and throughout much of Romania (for my certification programs and MPH at VT). These opportunities have given me insight into the world beyond US borders, and I am most grateful for the experiences in both countries and the exposure to cultures and ideas different from my own.

Following the completion of my PhD, I went on to gain experience as a post-doctoral fellow, first in biochemistry at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, and then in translational medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in my hometown. It was during my time at CMC working alongside the trauma surgical division as the research liaison where I identified a desire to connect basic bench science with policy, particularly with regard to disadvantaged and/or oppressed populations. This led to my relocation to VT to pursue additional training in preparation for a jump to the development world.

During my time at Tech, I worked in conjunction with Drs. Andrea Bertke, Stephen Eubank, and Bryan Lewis to develop and implement a project that allows us to use a computerized synthetic population to identify geographical regions of need (and type of need required) in rural Romania based on the minority population in a given area, as well as model the burden of infectious disease experienced by individuals in those areas. Having not worked on a project of international scope before, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the process from the beginning stages of design and fundraising all the way through field work, data analysis, and publication. My resulting capstone is entitled Predictive Modeling and Quality of Life Indicators in the Romanian Roma Population, and our results are in use by NGOs in Romania who work closely with the Roma, an ethnic minority who face rampant discrimination.

I additionally had the opportunity to serve as a member of the editorial board to establish the new Community Change journal at Virginia Tech. Community Change is an online, peer-reviewed, graduate student publication that seeks to explore development and change from multiple perspectives and disciplines, as well as provide graduate students an opportunity to become familiar with the publication process. Our first issue was published this past April.

Following graduation, I am relocating to the Oxford, UK area to pursue opportunities to work with international NGOs in global health.


Blogs & Commentaries

Soundings - a commentary from VTIPG Director Max Stephenson

June 19 - A Remediable Choice or Continued Democratic Decline?

June 5 - Privatism and Relentless Attacks on Democratic Values and Human Rights

May 22 - Human Rationalization, Alterity and the Challenge of Moral Courage

May 8 - Heedless Policy Cruelty

April 24 - a reprint of The Wayfaring Stranger, first published on February 28, 2011.

April 10 - Of Ignorance, Expertise, Demagoguery and Democracy

Tidings - a quarterly reflection from VTIPG Director Max Stephenson, now featured as the Director’s Letter in our Quarterly Newsletters beginning October 2014. Read Tidings from previous quarterly newsletter, April 2017 – Liberal Democracy Confronts a Winter of Discontent

RE: Reflections & Explorations - Online essay series hosted by VTIPG, written by graduate students across the University to reflect on their ongoing work in governance and policy related concerns.

April 13 - Ethics Versus Efficiency in Global Healthcare by Rebecca Powell-Doherty (MPH)

April 6 - Evaluating the Meaning of Consent in the Gig-economy by Putu Apriliani (PGG)

March 30 - Is Climate Change real? Greenhouse Gases, Climate Science and the Human Outlook by Kannikha Kolandaivelu (Department of Geosciences)

Nathan in China - In conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Masters of Public and International Affairs, Nathan Corso (MIP) will spend 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer serving in China. Nathan is just finishing up teaching his second semester at Southwest University in Chongqing. He will be doing some traveling around China during summer break to see the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and also to a few other cities in eastern China to visit students. Overall, Nathan says it has been a great experience. Check out his blog for some amazing pictures about his experiences! nathancorso.wordpress.com

Beth in Costa Rica - VTIPG affiliated master’s student Beth Olberding (MURP-MIP) has spent the past 2 years in the Peace Corps volunteering in the community economic development sector in Costa Rica. She is now home and working on transcribing interviews for her thesis research this summer. She will return to VT to complete her MURP and Master of Natural Resources degrees in the fall. betholberding.wordpress.com