About WPS

About WPS


Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College began in the Fall of 2013 when co-founders, Nicole M. Rishel Elias and Maria J. D’Agostino, recognized a need for students and faculty to focus on the role of women in the public sector, both within and beyond the John Jay community. To address this need, Professors Elias and D’Agostino created the 2014 Women in the Public Sector Workshop Series. This Workshop Series is intended to be the first step in a concerted effort to make women in public service a scholarly and practitioner focus, with the long-term goal of establishing the formal presence of Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College. 



Nicole M. Rishel Elias is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY and Research Fellow at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office. She earned her MPA and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Affairs from the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, she also received the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Certificate and served as managing editor of Administration & Society for three years. Her recent work appears in Administrative Theory & Praxis, Public Administration Quarterly, and The American Review of Public Administration



Maria J. D'Agostino is an associate professor in the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. D’Agostino’s recent research has focused on women in public service including a co-edited book, Women and Public Administration: Theory and Practice. Maria D’Agostino is a recipient of the Section for Women in Public Administration Rita Mae Kelly Distinguished Research Award. She is also a member of the UNDP roster of experts in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Public Administration and co-founder of Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College.

Maria D’Agostino is currently working on a solo authored book that aims to understand the difference women make in New York City Public Administration and a co-edited volume that examines the role of women in public administration from a global perspective.  She is also co-editor for the forthcoming Administration & Society Women and Public Administration symposium and a recipient of the Faculty Mid-Career Research Award.



Lilian Calix is a Master of Public Administration candidate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, dual specializing in Human Resources Management and Criminal Justice Policy and Administration. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and a minor in Criminology from John Jay College. Lilian prepares surveys, presentations, and performs outreach for Women in the Public Sector. Ms. Calix goal is to become a Human Resources Manager. Ms. Calix currently works for the New York Public Library.





Arkiem is a senior at John Jay College majoring in Public Administration. His concentration is Human Resource Management. Upon graduation in Spring 2016, Arkiem intends to pursue an MPA with a concentration in Investigation & Oversight. His long term goal is to manage compliance-related projects across various government and nonprofit agencies.  Arkiem will be coordinating and managing various projects around program development and fundraising for Women in the Public Sector. In addition to interning with WPS, also interned for the Public/Private Initiatives program of the NYC Office of Emergency Management and is currently Partnership for Public Service Fellow.  In addition to pursuing his education, Arkiem has over a decade of experience working for various companies managing sales, operations and personnel. He enjoys assisting organizations with change management and growth transitions for start-ups.


Sergine is a MPA candidate with a concentration in Operations & Investigations. She is also the incumbent treasurer for both The American Society for Public Administration

(ASPA) NY Metro Chapter and The Master in Public Administration Student Association (MPASA) at John Jay College. Prior to her leap in Public Affairs, SerginE served as an assistant Vice President in Retail Banking by managing the Brooklyn regional office of TD Bank. In that capacity, Sergine was responsible to develop a team of 20 employees. Sergine participated in various leadership programs geared towards “The power of Women”. As a graduate assistant with Women in the Public Sector, Sergine is tasked to further develop the strategic plan of the organization.

Sergine believes in paying it forward and as such facilitates ad hoc leadership development workshops for executive members for non-profit organizations such as Sisters with Purpose located in Brooklyn, New York.  Sergine speaks fluently Creole and French.


Ashley Marrero is a third year Master of Public Administration candidate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, dual specializing in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and Operations. She also completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Public Administration at John Jay. She comes to Women in the Public Sector having previously interned at Bronx Community Solutions, a non-profit organization.  Her goal after graduation in Spring 2016, is to become a Policy Analyst for the federal government. During her internship at WPS, Ashley performs the day to day maintenance of the organization's website, in addition to working alongside other team members for organizational events.




Natalie Venegas is currently a senior at John Jay majoring in Forensic Psychology and minoring in Human Services. After she graduates next spring, she aspires to continue her education by pursuing her MA in Forensic Mental Health Counseling.  In the future, Natalie hopes to work with juveniles because she believes that if we can prevent our youth from offending and ending up in juvenile detention then we can diminish crime and the amount of adult offenders in prison. Creating innovative programs that will prevent our youth from committing crimes is her ultimate goal. As a new WPS intern, Natalie will be assisting her fellow colleagues by promoting all WPS events in amazing ways and by ensuring that these events are available for our John Jay Community.

In addition to being a WPS intern, Natalie is currently a College Assistant for John Jay’s Wellness Center and she is the one of The Princeton Review’s Campus Ambassadors. She has also represented John Jay by participating in CUNY Service Corps and the Community Service Council during the early years of her college journey. Through all of her current and past positions she welcomes didactic experiences that will increase her personal and professional growth.