WPS Team

WPS Team


Nicole M. Rishel EliasNICOLE M. ELIAS

Nicole M. 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 that women make in New York City Public Administration. She is also the co-editor for the forthcoming Administration & Society Women and Public Administration symposium and a recipient of the Faculty Mid-Career Research Award.


Graduate Assistants

Danny Ovando

Danny Ovando is a second year Master in Public Administration student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in Human Resources Management. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Danny previously interned at Covenant House International, assisting in day to day Human Resources assignments. Upon graduating, he intends to continue his military career as a Human Resources Officer in the New York Army National Guard and pursue a career in Human Resources in the public sector. 



Uroosa Malik is a first year dual-degree student, studying Public Administration and specializing in Inspection and Oversight at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has interned with the Department of Correction and CUNY’s Research Foundation, which furthered her interest in serving the public in an effective and efficient manner. In addition, she aspires to explore her horizons and study abroad in Europe. Upon graduating, Uroosa plans on working for the Inspector General’s Office or the Department of Investigation and pursuing a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.                



Gina Ortiz


Gina Ortiz is a third year Master in Public Administration student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in Investigation and Operational Inspection. Gina earned her Associates and Bachelor of Science degrees in Police Studies and Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She previously interned at the New York City Department of Investigation, where she served as an Investigative Intern with the Office of Inspector General of the NYPD, FDNY, TLC, DSNY, and EMS. Additionally, Gina has interned with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where she trained and learned of the many strengths, challenges, and procedures, of Aviation Security in New York and New Jersey. Upon graduating, she intends to pursue a long progressive career in education, investigation, inspection, and oversight.


Tyresa Jackson

Tyresa Jackson

Tyresa Jackson is a graduate student in the Masters of Public Administration program (Public Policy and Administration), with a specialization in law and administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Prior to matriculating into John Jay College of Criminal Justice, she earned a Bachelor of Art in International Political Economy and Diplomacy with a minor in Mass Communications from the University of Bridgeport. While living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she served on the Juvenile Review Board, which provided restorative justice recommendations to at-risk-youth in the Bridgeport community.  Later, she moved to Chicago, where she served as a board member on Illinois Collaboration on Youth Advisory Board (ICOY).  Her passions include, closing the education-to-prison pipeline, education reform, and increasing the number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, and participating in 5K runs. 

Affiliated Faculty

Leigh Graham


Leigh T. Graham, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Deartment of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and in Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on the political conflicts in urban redevelopmen, especially after disasters. Since Superstorm Sandy, Leigh has been conducting qualitative research on neighborhood reconstruction in Rockaway, Queens. This work is part of a comaparative analysis of community resilience between the Lower East Side and Rockaway, published summer 2016 in Global Environmental Change. Her work on community economic redevelopment and public housing conflicts after disasters has been published in Economic Development Quarterly, the Journal of the American Planning Association, and Housing Policy Debate. Leigh has also served as a consultant to foundations, non-profits and the public sector on urban economic development and affordable housing, most recently to MassDevelopment, the real estate and finance agency of Massachusetts. She was the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation in Boston, MA, prior to joining CUNY. Leigh is a co-author with five other women planning faculty of a recent invited essay in Planning Theory and PRactice on gender disparities and bias in on-line academic communities. At John Jay, Leigh coordinates the Urban Affairs specialization for MPA students and is the Faculty Director of the Tow Policy Advocacy Fellowship, housed at the Prisoner Reentry Institute and supported by the Tow Foundation. She also sits on the Faculty Senate and College Council. As part of WPS, Leigh is working on a initiative to recruit, train and assist women ans their allies to join NYC community Boards as an opportunity for civic engagement and public participation.