Local Government Early Career Service Certificate


The Local Government Early Career Service Certificate recognizes graduating students in good academic standing who have completed or are in the process of completing a major service project for a local government organization. Students are nominated by their ICMA Student Chapter Faculty Advisors for their outstanding demonstration of a strong commitment to local government.  Nominations happen twice a year (November and April) to accommodate winter and spring graduates. If you are a faculty advisor who would like to nominate a student, please email careers@icma.org.  

Spring 2020 Recipients

Jordan Wallace | Georgia Southern University    

Jordan Wallace is from Douglas, Georgia, and recently graduated from the master of public administration program at Georgia Southern University, where she also earned a bachelor of science in psychology. She is pursuing a career with a human resource department of a public or nonprofit organization.

Samantha Bullinger | Auburn University 

Samantha has been involved with ICMA since she was an undergrad double majoring in public administration and psychology at Auburn University.  Following graduation, she accepted a two-year fellowship with the city of Opelika, Alabama, and began pursuing her MPA.  Her accomplishments include overhauling the city's recruitment strategy for ADA-compliance and managing a summer youth employment program.  In December, she accepted a job with the city of Sandy Springs, Georgia, and is serving as the assistant to the city manager while she completes her degree.

Alesha Mann | Auburn University            

Alesha received an undergraduate degree in exercise science from Georgia Southern University. She also completed a master’s degree at Auburn University where she studied public administration. She is from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Upon graduation, she plans to start a career in local government.

Emma Yourd | University of Pittsburgh   

Emma Yourd recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs with a master of public administration, focused on urban affairs and planning. Upon graduation, she was honored with the school's Dean's Award, given to the top student in the graduating class. Prior to graduate school, she worked for federal contractors in Washington, D.C., on international development contracts and she received her bachelor of arts in economics from Smith College in 2012. She is looking for opportunities to serve communities in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region through community and economic development work.

Dontavious Waller | Georgia Southern University             

Dontavious (DJ) Waller is from Eatonton, Georgia, home of the famous Alice Walker.  He received a bachelor of political science degree from Georgia Southern University in 2018. He also received a master of public administration degree from Georgia Southern University in 2020 with a concentration in public management. His plans are to become a city/county manager of a large city/county in the near future.

Nicholas Matthews | Georgia Southern University            

Nic graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master of public administration degree. Before moving to Statesboro for school, he grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After graduation, he is moving to Covington, Georgia, where he will be the downtown coordinator for the city of Covington.

Jon McBrayer | Georgia College & State University           

Jon is from Calhoun, Georgia. He received a master’s in public administration, a bachelor's in geography, and a certificate in geographic information systems from Georgia College and State University. He currently works for the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission as a GIS specialist.  Assisting local governments is his passion, and he truly loves his job.

Luke Atkinson | University of Central Oklahoma 

Luke Atkinson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2010 with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Motivated by his passion for local government, he pursued a master's in public administration at the University of Central Oklahoma, graduating in 2020. Luke is from Enid, Oklahoma, and lives in Oklahoma City. He currently serves as the bond allocations commissioner for Oklahoma City's Ward 6 and is the communications manager for Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

Tonisha Hurd | University of Delaware   

Originally from Bronx, New York, Tonisha is pursuing a master’s in public administration at the University of Delaware and earned a bachelor's degree in public policy. As a McNair Scholar, she is passionate about getting underrepresented students into master and doctoral programs and strives to bring unity and progress to the state of Delaware. Her aspiration is to improve livelihood in impoverished communities and to be a city manager one day.

Danielle Littmann | University of Delaware          

Although she grew up in Las Vegas before attending college, Danielle now calls Boston home. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in legal studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Commonwealth Honors College. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she continued her education at the University of Delaware to pursue a master of public administration, where she was honored to be the executive director of the Biden School Journal of Public Policy and co-president of the ICMA Student Chapter. She plans on continuing her passion for local and state government by pursuing a job in public finance after graduating in May 2020.

Simone Adkins | University of Delaware 

Simone Adkins is from Montclair, New Jersey, and received a B.A. in public policy with a minor in political science from the University of Delaware in May 2019. In her junior year, she matriculated into the 4+1 MPA program and is graduating with a master of public administration with a specialization in nonprofit management in May 2020. This fall, she will be heading to D.C. to the American University Washington College of Law.

Sarah Warkentin | University of Delaware           

Born in Newark, Delaware, Sarah has lived in New Jersey since she was one year old. For her undergrad and graduate studies, she returned to her roots and came to the University of Delaware! She graduated in 2019 with a bachelor of arts in public policy and will be graduating in 2020 with a master of public administration with a concentration in housing policy, community development, and planning. Anyone who has talked to Sarah knows of her great admiration for former President Jimmy Carter, and she would like to give him a shoutout as her role model and guide during her studies. She hopes to find careers where she can positively impact as many people as possible.

Harrison Fry | Murray State University   

Harrison is a master of public administration candidate in Murray State University’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts.  Originally from South Fulton, Tennessee, he came to the Kentucky college initially for his undergraduate studies, pursuing a focus in management and business administration, graduating in the fall of 2018.  Through his graduate program, he served as the ICMA Student Chapter President, a graduate assistant on campus, and as an intern for the Paducah, Kentucky, city manager.  Following graduation, Harrison is pursuing career options that will lead to his goal in rural city management and economic development.

Megan Nolde | Virginia Commonwealth University          

Megan is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Temple University. She holds dual BFAs in art education and printmaking, an MFA in printmaking, and an MPA with a focus in nonprofit management. Hailing from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she makes Richmond her home now. She hopes to work in local or state government or arts organizations after graduation.

Huell White | Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University          

Huell completed an undergraduate degree in Russian at Portland State University in 2016. Shortly thereafter, Huell chose to remain in Portland and decided that pursing a master of public administration degree at PSU’s Hatfield School of Government would suit his professional goals best. As he nears graduation, Huell looks forward to continuing to serve the community of Scappoose, Oregon, where he has developed a passion for local government.

Pablo Majano | Central Michigan University        

Born in Washington, D,C., Pablo is of the first generation of his family to attend a university. He received his bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Michigan State University in 2014. His career began as an intern for East Lansing with the Assessing and Planning Department. For the past three years, he has pursued an MPA from Central Michigan University. He will continue working as a senior redevelopment ready communities planner for the state of Michigan, where helps local municipalities achieve economic success while using best practices to help build capacity. His career goal is to be in a leadership position and/or run for office.

James Kline | Virginia Commonwealth University

James (Jake) Kline is an MPA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, he graduated from Appalachian State University in 2018 with a bachelor of science degree in public relations with a double minor in leadership studies and political science. He serves as a L. Douglas Wilder Scholar with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), where his work focuses on analysis of proposed legislation to the Virginia General Assembly as it relates to the VADOC. While pursuing his master's degree, Jake is serving as president of the Public Administration Student Association and is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha and Phi Kappa Phi.

DeMario Johnson | Grand Valley State University             

DeMario Johnson is originally from Grand Blanc, Michigan. He transferred to Grand Valley State University in 2016 to receive his bachelor of political science. In 2018, he decided to pursue his master of public administration, in order to fulfill his true calling of helping those around him. He graduated in the spring of 2020 and plans to pursue a career in local government management.

Kahler Sweeney | Grand Valley State University 

Kahler is graduating with his master’s in public administration from Grand Valley State University, where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in political science and public administration. Currently, he works as a graduate intern for Ottawa County, Michigan, and serves in the Michigan Army National Guard. His past experiences include studying inclusive economic development practices as a graduate assistant and serving as the president of GVSU’s ICMA Graduate Student Chapter. Following graduation, Kahler is eager to continue to pursue public service through a career in local government.

Riya Rajesh | CEPT University, Navrangura, Ahmedabad, India     

Riya is a master of urban management student at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, graduating in May 2020. She served as the chief operating officer and was the founding member of the ICMA Student Chapter at CEPT, which is also the first in India. Originally from Kerala, Riya was brought up in Dubai and returned to India for higher education. Riya received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Mcgans Ooty School of Architecture. She has participated in graduate-level research studying the effectiveness of various participatory spaces in local governance in Kochi, Kerala, and developed guidelines for other states to adopt their model. Post-graduation, Riya will be starting a career with the Urban Management Centre, as a program associate in the Technical Support Unit of National Urban Livelihood Mission in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Sylvia Ordeman | University of North Texas         

Sylvia is a proud graduate of the master of public administration program with the University of North Texas where she was named a Clarence E. Ridley Scholar by the Texas City Management Association. Sylvia also holds a bachelor’s in business administration degree from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her path on public service began with positions at federal and state government agencies, but it was her time serving her hometown, Brownsville, Texas, that solidified her passion for local government. Starting in June, Sylvia will begin serving as the Town Administrator for the town of Bartonville, TX.

Davianna Monet Humble | University of Kansas 

Davianna, from St. Louis, Missouri, is graduating this spring with a master of public administration at the University of Kansas, where she is also a member of Pi Alpha Alpha. In 2018, Davianna graduated from Truman State University with her bachelor of arts in political science and a minor in justice systems. After graduation, Davianna will continue her work with Douglas County, Kansas.

Karl Shaddock | Arizona State University

Karl will graduate in May 2020 with an MPA from Arizona State University, where he has served as a Marvin Andrews Fellow and the Vice-President of ASU's ICMA Student Chapter. Before returning to school, Karl worked at the Nebraska Community Foundation and Telluride Foundation – where he helped communities build collective vision, raise opportunity capital, and grow distributed leadership to create the hometown of their dreams. Karl has just begun working for the city of Tucson as the lead data analyst for the Safety and Justice Challenge where he leads data gathering, information sharing, and collaboration efforts to reduce unnecessary jail use to make the community healthier, fairer, and safer. He is excited to bring his ability to build the confidence, competence, and capacity of individuals and groups to find local solutions to local challenges to the world of local government management.

Logan Peiman | Arizona State University

Logan is a public service and public policy major who is also receiving a certificate in public administration and public management. Originally from Florida, Logan has been admitted into the master of public administration program with a scholarship at Arizona State University, and she will begin this program in fall 2020. Logan plans to work full time while completing her master's degree and dreams of a future where everyone in her community has access to opportunities for increased well-being.

Stella Carr | Arizona State University       

Originally from Las Vegas, Stella has been living in Arizona while pursuing her education. She is a graduate of NAU, where she studied environmental sustainability, and a recent graduate of ASU, where she has earned her MPA. Upon graduation, she will be trading in her desert sunshine for snow boots and cold weather, as she takes on a new role as sustainability director for the town of Lexington, Massachusetts.

Thomas Prior | Arizona State University 

Thomas is a master of public administration candidate at Arizona State University and serves as president of the ASU-ICMA Student Chapter. As a full-time MPA candidate, Thomas has interned for organizations such as the Alliance for Innovation, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the city of Scottsdale, Arizona. After graduation, Thomas will be relocating to the Washington, D.C., area and hopes to continue working within local government.

Ashley Coles | Virginia Commonwealth University            

Ashley is a master of public administration candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. Originally from Hempstead, New York, Ashley graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor of science in wildlife conservation.She recently joined the VCU Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA) Honor Society and was inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in November of 2019. Ashley aspires to work in local government as a policy analyst post-graduation.

Timothy Morris | Virginia Commonwealth University

Timothy is a master of public administration candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. Timothy grew up in Ashland, Virginia, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington in 2018 with a bachelor of science in economics. He has recently begun employment with the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s division of Public Utility Regulation as an assistant utility analyst and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Adam Caldwell  | Virginia Commonwealth University

Adam hails from Peekskill, New York, and is an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University, earning a bachelor of arts and post-baccalaureate certificates in nonprofit and public management. In May 2020, he will receive a master’s in public administration from his undergraduate alma mater. After graduation, Caldwell will continue his role as the director of strategic projects for VCU but hopes to begin supporting Richmond nonprofits with their communication and training needs as a part-time consultant.

Not Pictured:

Adam Vossen |University of Central Oklahoma  

Joseph Chidiac |Pepperdine School of Public Policy

Myeisha Williams |Mills College

Patrick Seals |Mills College         

Kristina Smith |Mills College      

Mackenzie Morton Boone |Mills College

Julie Howell |Mills College         

Daniel Mao |Mills College          

Jason Wardrup |University of Delaware



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