Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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MAAPP program’s annual Capitol event connects students with distinguished alumni, public officials

Published: March 25, 2022

The Master of Applied Politics & Policy (MAAPP) program celebrated 22 years of excellence during its annual MAAPP @ the Cap event with students, faculty, alumni and distinguished public officials on March 24, 2022.

The annual day-long celebration provided students with an opportunity to learn from leading public officials and program alumni who are active in politics.

“This year our message to the students is now is their time to thrive,” said MAAPP Director Bradley Kile, Ph.D. “They have shown resiliency, adaptability and determination in the classroom and in their professional lives when facing the challenges of these past two years. These characteristics and their experience in the MAAPP program have them well-positioned to make their mark in the political arena.” 

DBPR Secretary Melanie Griffin addresses MAAPP students and alumni

This year’s keynote address was delivered by three-time FSU alumna Melanie Griffin, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, who shared lessons from her professional journey as well as words of encouragement.

“To the extent that you think you don’t deserve a seat at this table because of something in your background, I would argue that is what is potentially going to make you the best leader possible,” Griffin said. “You’ll have a degree of empathy and awareness that others maybe can’t bring to that position. It’s going to be your superpower.”

During the luncheon, Kathy Mears, Chief of Staff for Senate President Wilton Simpson and two-time FSU alumna, spoke in honor of her mentor David Coburn for his long-standing contributions to FSU and the MAAPP program.

Coburn is a MAAPP instructor, former FSU Athletics Director and Chief of Staff to FSU Presidents Thrasher and Barron, three-time FSU alumnus, and a 34-year veteran of the Florida legislative process. He served as Chief of Staff of the House of Representatives under two different Speakers, Chief of Staff of the Senate under Senate President Ken Pruitt, and Director of Planning and Budgeting for Governor Lawton Chiles from 1992-94.

Mears shared many lessons from her mentor stating, “If you know David Coburn, and if you’ve had a chance to be in his orb, you know what would mean something to him would be me telling you something that would improve your life and make you more successful.”

From left: Malik Moore, Samiah Bansal and Brad Gomez

In 2020, Gene and Julie Moran generously endowed a scholarship at FSU to provide much-needed support to exceptional MAAPP students for their academic performance.

At the close of the program, Brad Gomez, Ph.D., chair of FSU’s Political Science Department, presented the Gene and Julie Moran Scholarship to Samiah Bansal and Malik Moore.

To watch the full program, visit our YouTube channel.

From left: Amelia Angleton, Bradley Kile, Danielle Scoggins and Kevin Cate

Following the luncheon, students had the chance to visit the Capitol and hear from Senator Loranne Ausley; Jon Bellamy (Office of the Secretary of the Senate); FSU Chief Legislative Affairs Officer Clay Ingram; as well as several MAAPP alumni: Amelia Angleton (House Majority Staff Director), Kevin Cate (CateComm), Chris Schoonover (Capital City Consulting), and Danielle Scoggins (Florida Hospital Association).

At the end of the day-long celebration, current MAAPP students and alumni gathered downtown at FSU’s Jim Moran Building for a networking social.

MAAPP is a top national master’s program for applied learning in several political fields, including campaigns, fundraising, political communications, lobbying, legislative affairs and more.

The program’s 500+ alumni are some of today’s top political professionals in the Florida and Washington, D.C., political arenas.

For more information about the program, click here.