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Capitol welcomes Sac State master candidates


PPA thesis students

The thesis presenters: Sabrina Bradbury, far left, Robin Finnestead, Tyler Johnstone, Sarah Divan, Andrew Sturmfels, Dana Grossi and Eric Chisholm.

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Seven graduate students from Sacramento State’s Public Policy and Administration (PPA) Department not only presented their theses recently but, for the first time in the program’s history, they got to do it in the California State Capitol.

The students presented their theses, complete with supporting evidence, and answered questions from the audience at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in Assembly Room 126, an area usually home to committee hearings.

The group and audience members were welcomed by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, who noted the contributions of the PPA and commended the students on their topics, which he described as timely and meaningful to a variety of issues facing policymakers today.

Department Chair Rob Wassmer served as host, prompting the audience for questions at the conclusion of each presentation.

The students and their topics:

Andrew Sturmfels: “Financing Economic Development in Post Redevelopment California”

Robin Finnestead: “Nobody’s Home: Redevelopment Agencies and Affordable Housing”

Sabrina Bradbury: “Predicting Environmentally-Friendly Behavior: Does Political Ideology Affect Willingness to Change Behavior to Help Improve the Environment?”

Sarah Divan: “The Way We Do Things: Presenting a Strategic Organizational Culture Framework”

Dana Grossi: “More Is Better: Examining the Relationship between States’ Requirements for Personal Finance Instruction and Financial Literacy”

Tyler Johnstone: “California’s Need for Engineers and STEM Education”

Eric Chisholm: “Are Career and Technical Education Programs at California Community Colleges Aligned with Local Labor Markets?”

Chisholm and Sturmfels also received the Cristy Jensen Award for outstanding graduate student of the year.

The event was sponsored by the office of Lt Gov. Gavin Newsome and organized by the Graduate Association of Students in Public Policy and Administration (GASPPA) with funding from Associated Students Inc.

Sacramento State’s Public Policy and Administration (PPA) Department provides students interested in public policy with skills necessary for management and budgeting, as well as analytical tools for understanding the economic implications of policy choices, evaluating options, developing political strategies for advancing proposals, and conducting research projects.

For more information on the program, visit For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho