8:09 a.m., Dec. 16, 2009----Two University of Delaware School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy graduate students, Graceanna Enzinger and Theodore Patterson, and a School of Education alumna, Jo Anne Deshon, were honored for their public service contributions by the Delaware Association for Public Administration (DAPA) during its annual awards dinner, held Dec. 3 at the Embassy Suites in Newark.
Enzinger, a master of public administration student concentrating in nonprofit leadership and health policy and management, and Patterson, who is working on a master's degree in urban and regional planning, shared the Outstanding Student Public Service Award and associated monetary prize.
Deshon, a Christina School District elementary school teacher who has earned master's and doctor of education degrees from UD, received DAPA's Public Service Award.
To receive the DAPA Outstanding Student Public Service Award, one must be a graduate student within the state of Delaware, a DAPA member, maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.25 and be committed -- both professionally and personally -- to public service.
Enzinger, who received her undergraduate degree at UD and works as a research assistant with the Institute for Public Administration (IPA) in UD's College of Education and Public Policy, spent last summer teaching English, math, and science at two schools in Tanzania. In addition she evaluated a primary school to help it more efficiently further its mission of quality education for its students.
Prior to that, Enzinger worked in South Africa with HIV/AIDS patients and in Croatia at a vulture reserve and studied in Greece. She has also interned with U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.). In January, she is returning to Tanzania to teach. She hopes to combine her passion for nonprofits and the international community upon completion of her master of public administration degree in the spring.
Patterson, who also received his undergraduate degree at UD, has been deeply involved with his community, serving as president and founding member of the Cecil County (Md.) Young Republicans Club, the state coordinator for the Maryland Campaign for Liberty, and a member of the board of directors for the Cecil Land Trust and Cecil Land Use Alliance.
This past summer he worked for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy on smart-growth planning projects aimed at sustainably growing the Eastern Shore of Maryland while preserving its rural character. He also coaches lacrosse and football. Upon graduation, he plans to use his skills as a planner to invest in the Delmarva area.
Kathy Wian, a DAPA councilmember and IPA policy scientist, presented the student awards. Having explained that this year the award was opened up to non-UD students, she said, “Both of these UD students were so outstanding that we selected them to share the award this year.”
Deshon, a teacher at John R. Downes Elementary School in Newark, was honored for her initiative and energy in engaging her first-grade students in a collaborative project with DAPA this past spring that helped them better understand the nature of public service by asking them to focus on who does jobs that are important in our society.
Under her direction, Deshon's class created an A-Z booklet comprising letters to and illustrations of public service workers who are important to them. DAPA subsequently published this booklet, titled “Earth's Best Jobs,” in cooperation with the school and featured it during its Public Service Recognition Week program in May.
Doug Tuttle, an IPA policy scientist and DAPA member who chaired the Public Service Award committee, presented the award to Deshon and explained that, unlike the application process for the student awards, nominations were solicited for this award. Deshon was nominated by DAPA president Julia O'Hanlon, an assistant policy scientist with IPA.
“The fact is that our recipient this year, Jo Anne Deshon, has many associates and peers who think highly of her," Tuttle said. "DAPA is just one of the organizations that have come together to honor Jo Anne. We are recognizing Jo Anne for her contributions through 32 years in public education.
“A really salient award that Jo Anne has received is the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which is certainly noteworthy,” Tuttle went on to say. “The Public Service Award hasn't, for the most part, included recognition of people who are in public education, so I'm really pleased that DAPA has nominated and selected Jo Anne. Because, quite frankly, when you look at the number of hours involved, individuals in public education ought to be at the top of the list for consideration for this award.”
Wian said Deshon's class project booklet was "amazing."
"We were so impressed with what her students did for Public Service Recognition Week that we went ahead and published it," she said. "It was above and beyond our expectations.”
The event also featured keynote speaker Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, who spoke about the key issues facing the state of Delaware over the next few years. The event was attended by about 40 people, comprising DAPA members -- many of whom are UD alumni or employees -- and their guests.
Photo by Kevin Quinlan