The Andrew Young School Relaunches Its Alumni Council

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) welcomed new and returning alumni to its Andrew Young School Alumni Council on July 1, 2024. Members of the all-volunteer leadership and civic-minded group will work to support the college’s mission and grow its alumni community. The AYSPS Office of Career Services & Alumni Relations (CSAR) relaunched the council after organizing it in 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic.

“This exceptional group of Andrew Young School alumni will lead a community where our alumni are empowered, by a sense of service, to actively invest in and contribute to the global advancement of our college and the university,” said Dean Thomas J. Vicino.

The Alumni Council will cultivate and preserve transformative experiences for alumni to nurture a lifelong connection between the alumni community, the Andrew Young School, and Georgia State University. Its members will work closely with CSAR staff to support the career readiness of the college’s students and alumni. They will lead alumni-focused programs designed to enhance the college’s alumni relations experience, provide avenues for alumni ambassadors, expand and improve alumni communications and deepen alumni engagement in its programs.

“Our members will help generate affinity within our broad alumni base,” said Troy Crittendon (M.P.P. ’19), assistant director of alumni relations for AYSPS. “We expect their work will help us create a fully engaged and dedicated community of support that will positively impact both career-readiness and opportunities for our students and alums.”

More than 40 Andrew Young School alumni applied to join the council. It now includes 18 members from a wide range of professions:

  • Heloise Ahoure (B.S. in Public Policy ’13), development director, International Rescue Committee – Atlanta, Miami, Tallahassee

  • Leslyn Beckles (M.A. in Public Policy ’18), instructor, University of Georgia

  • Breeanna Bellinger (B.S.W. ’15), forensic social worker, DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office

  • Jack Bernard (B.A. ’69, M.P.A. ’76), chairman, Fayette County Board of Health

  • RaKya Burkes (A.A. ’18, B.S. in Criminal Justice ’20, M.S. candidate) program manager, HUMBLE Tutoring

  • Jasmine Dearman (B.S.W. ’19), graduate student, Columbia University

  • Jim Flowers (Ph.D. in Public Policy ’16), principal, Flowers Strategies

  • Christabel Ghansah (B.S. in Criminal Justice ’14, M.P.A. ’17), executive assistant, Office of the City Manager, City of Stonecrest

  • John Gunnells (M.P.A. ’18), senior manager, state affairs, American Gas Association

  • Brian James (B.A. ’99, M.S. in Urban Policy Studies ’01), assistant director, U.S. Government Accountability Office

  • Eileen McGowan (M.P.A. ’21), public health analyst, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

  • Nicholas Mulkey (B.S. in Public Policy ’13), ecosystem and experience architect, City of Atlanta

  • Michael T. Owens II (B.S. in Criminal Justice ’16), investigator, Georgia Advocacy Office

  • Elijah Owuor (B.A. ’08, M.P.A. ’10), lead program analyst, NASA

  • Karin Smoot (B.A. ’01, B.A. ’18, M.P.A. ’22), project manager, MARTA

  • Lauren Alexandria Taylor (B.A. ’18, B.A. in Economics ’18), strategic communications analyst, Concurrent Technologies Corporation

  • Kisha Wesley (M.P.A. ’01), director of operations, Welcoming America

  • Elyse Zhao (M.P.A. ’23), director of development, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech

With its launch, the Alumni Council will soon choose members to run its three committees: Executive Cabinet, Social and Civic Engagement, and Marketing and communications. Learn more about the Alumni Council HERE.