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Public Admin Grad Students Benefit State Agency

January 10, 2018


Askew School master's students Luciana Polischuk and Jing Peng.

One of the ways the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy lives up to our tagline – “Engaging Today’s World, Producing Tomorrow’s Leaders” – is through programs across our academic disciplines that offer opportunities for students to gain real-world experience and engage with a wider community beyond campus.

The applied master’s degree programs within most of the college’s departments give students the opportunity to do actual work for clients outside the university. This helps them to expand their professional skills and gain valuable connections while providing service with a positive impact on the community.

At the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, two Master of Public Administration (MPA) students used knowledge and skills from two of their courses to support a state program that represents abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Under the direction of Askew School Professor and Senior Practitioner in Residence Gary VanLandingham, students Luciana Polischuk and Jing Peng provided valuable services to the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program as it works on improving its systems of representation of children in foster care.

In an Askew School course on policy development and administration, the two worked on a policy memo that presented GAL alternative models of representation used by peer organizations in California and Texas.
In another class, which focuses on program evaluation, the students developed a logic model of the GAL program and an impact evaluation design to assess the organization’s new representation model to be piloted this year.

“We are grateful for the chance to work with Florida State University and students who want to use what they’re learning to better serve abused and neglected children,” said Alan Abramowitz, director of Guardian Ad Litem. “The thoughtful work of Ms. Polischuk and Ms. Peng allowed us to explore creative solutions from a different perspective. We appreciate the relationship with the Askew School and its interest in finding ways to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Both students hope to continue contributing to the organization in the coming year while continuing their studies at the Askew School.

Polischuk, a native of Argentina studying at Askew on a Fulbright Scholarship, is enrolled for spring semester 2018 in VanLandingham’s seminar on performance measurements, in which she plans to conduct a third project to provide the GAL program with options for improving its personnel policies. In Argentina, Polischuk worked as a public policy research analyst. Her graduate research is in the field of policy analysis and evaluation with a focus on social inequalities and gender.

Peng did her undergraduate work at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. She came to the U.S. via an academic program that is a collaboration between that university and FSU, which allowed Peng to complete her senior year at FSU while earning credit toward her MPA. Like Polischuk, she plans to continue her studies in the Askew Schools doctoral program in the 2018-2019 academic year.

“The work done on behalf of the Guardian Ad Litem program really showcases how students of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy are making a difference through engagement with the community,” VanLandingham said.