Student Recognition

Graduation with Distinction

The College of Social Science and Interdisciplinary Studies recognizes master's students who are graduating with distinction. To qualify for this honor a master's student must have an overall grade point average of at least 3.8 and have completed a culminating project that the faculty considers distinctive.

Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients


photo of Imaez Wahid Imaez Wahid, MPPA

Does the Likely Demographics of Affordable Housing Justify “NIMBY”ism? © 2018 Imaez Wahid.
   photo of Imaez Wahid, PPA Professor Rob Wassmer, and Erin Stumpf   PPA Professor Imaez Wahid and Rob Wassmer




Photo of Andrea Howard. Andrea Howard, MS-ULD

Development Impact Fees and Multi-Family Housing: A Feasibility Study © 2013 Andrea Howard.

Andrea Howard is Principal Planner for Parker Development Company. Since joining the company in 1994, Andrea has been involved in various aspects of the organization including residential property management, land planning, entitlements, and construction management and administration.

Andrea is the project manager for current and forward planning projects. She manages development applications through the municipal approval process, acts as the project team and public agency liaison, represents projects at public hearings, and ensures compliance with project approvals and local, state, and federal laws. Andrea Howard speaking about her award at the Department's annual holiday party.

Andrea graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Real Estate and Land Use from California State University, Sacramento, and recently earned a Master of Science degree in Urban Land Development from CSUS. Andrea holds a California Real Estate Salesperson License. Andrea has lived in the Serrano community since 2005 and affiliates with various professional organizations including the American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, and the North State Building Industry Association. Andrea is a former Board member of the Parkway at Folsom Owners’ Association, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club El Dorado County Western Slope, the Marshall Foundation, and the El Dorado County Economic Development Corporation.

Photo of Arianna Smith. Arianna Smith, MPPA

Predicting Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy © 2013 Arianna Smith.

Arianna Smith is the Legislative Director in the office of California State Assemblymember Mark Stone.

She tells us about her time in the graduate program in public policy and administration.

"What first drew me to the program? I served as a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow in 2006-07, where I received academic credits toward this degree. Once my fellowship ended and I got hired as a legislative aide in the State Capitol, I decided to apply to the program to further my public policy skills.

"I used to be skeptical of the value of working in groups for academic projects, but this program changed my mind completely. As a PPA student, I was a part of group projects that wrote papers, performed research, made presentations, and conducted surveys. I learned important lessons about team projects that I have carried into my professional life, and I truly enjoyed working with each group. Arianna Smith speaking about her award at the annual Department holiday party.

"This program helped me improve my policy analysis writing skills significantly. From my studies, I am confident in my ability to identify and research a policy problem, discuss potential solutions, and make appropriate recommendations. Additionally, I better understand the economic underpinnings and public management dynamics that affect so many policy decisions. And finally, I am now part of an excellent network of program alumni throughout the Sacramento region.

"I have already recommended this degree to everyone I know who is looking at public policy and public administration programs, and I will continue to do so. The program was inexpensive considering the excellent quality of instruction, and I was able to work full-time, attend classes, and complete homework."

Office of California State Assemblymember Mark Stone

Academic Affairs 

Graduate Policy for Graduation with Distinction. (opens in  a new window)