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Wilder Doctoral Student Selected for National Fellowship

By Tiffany Murray-Robertson

Nathan Teklemariam, a second-year doctoral student in public policy and administration, is one of 25 graduate students and new professionals selected from across the nation to be named a 2018 American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)  Founders’ Fellow.

The year-long program will include a blend of professional development and networking opportunities designed for the next generation of public servants.

“It is a great pleasure and honor to be selected as a 2018 ASPA Founders’ Fellow, representing my research, VCU and the Wilder School,” said Teklemariam, a 2013 graduate of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program.

“ASPA is an association that is highly respected. Being part of a long list of other fellows and students that have presented from the school over the years is a prestigious recognition.”

Teklemariam, who is in his third semester of the doctoral program, will receive complimentary registration at the March 2018 ASPA conference in Denver, where he will present his research on international economic development and equitable housing and attend exclusive events with the other fellows. He will also be paired with a senior scholar in the field and participate in capacity building webinars throughout the year.

“We are excited for Nathan and pleased that his work has been recognized at this level,” said associate professor and doctoral program chair, Sarah Jane Brubaker, Ph.D.  

“The global context of his research interests reflect both his personal experiences and the Wilder School's emphasis on social justice and community-engaged research. The experiences and support offered through the Founders Fellow program will undoubtedly help Nathan to make an impact in these areas.”

Teklemariam credited Brubaker and ASPA immediate past president and professor, Susan Gooden, Ph.D., with bolstering his research skills and awareness of the program.

“They’ve been tremendously supportive—both as mentors in scholarship to myself and others and in connecting students with career-advancing programs and opportunities,” he said.

Teklemariam's research focuses on the challenges of rapid urbanization and housing in sub-Saharan Africa. His presentation at ASPA will examine the Integrated Housing Development Program (IHDP) an ambitious state sponsored initiative that uses a lottery-based allocation system to deliver housing to indigent residents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Prior to entering the doctoral program, Teklemariam worked on numerous initiatives designed to integrate the leather, textile and manufacturing industries in Ethiopia and East Africa. His work has included collaborations with the United Nations Development Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), USAID and the East African Trade and Investment Hub.

Teklemariam is the seventh Wilder School student or alumnus to be named an ASPA Founder’s Fellow in the last three years. Selection for the national program is highly competitive and reflects the exceptional accomplishments of our student scholars and the dedicated faculty who serve them.