Alumni Association

The Binghamton University Alumni Association is nearly as old as the University itself.

Whether your connections to Binghamton University are through one of the six schools, various athletic teams, special interest networks or other groups, the Alumni Association serves as a source of volunteer guidance, resources, camaraderie and support to help ensure the excellence that is the source of our pride in Binghamton University.

For more information on the Alumni Association and its activities, visit


Click HERE for Job Placement Information for the MPA Class of 2014: At-a-Glance!


MPA Alumni profiles

Robert Cohen, MPA '14robbie cohen

I work for New York City Emergency Management as an After Action Report Coordinator, working with teams from NYC Emergency Management and other city agencies to identify what went well and why and what didn't go as well as they had hoped in the City's emergency responses and drills.

I always wanted to volunteer. I was sixteen when I started with my local fire department but I was interested in volunteering even before that. Volunteerism is something that is really important to me. It's an important force in the community and that's not just emergency services, any volunteer provides an important service in the community. Part of my interest in looking at how governments and nonprofits can provide services to people was from my interest in volunteerism.

I came to the MPA program at Binghamton because I did my undergraduate studies here, which I loved, and I had heard good things about the MPA program. I'd been active as a volunteer with Harpur's Ferry Ambulance on campus and a few of our alum from Harpur's Ferry came through the MPA program, were successful, and found it a really positive experience. I applied to several different programs but Binghamton struck me, more so than the other places, that it was a more open. I thought that the courses had great material and were structured in a way that wasn't rigid, it felt like I could come here and research what I wanted to research and I could be involved in different extracurricular pieces of the program as well. It looked like a good balance: academic rigor, involvement outside of the classroom, and rigor with enough flexibility that I could make my MPA into "my" MPA.

Both local government classes I took inform the work that I do now. One was planning for disasters and the other was recovering from disasters, floods in particular. The local government class in planning and in recovery solidified a concept in me, that the whole community approach is real. It has to be real. That was important to me.
I had a great experience in the MPA program at Binghamton. I would do it again.


Arsen Stepanyan, MPA '14


What are you doing now?

I am currently the Country Director for Save the Children Armenia. With my 30-member team, I work to create lasting change for children in need in Armenia and around the world. We work to improve child protection systems, education infrastructures, and children's rights throughout the country. My work has included administering programs in the organization and I am engaging more into policy. The Armenian office has a rich history of working in service provision and community development. We are now expanding into sustainability and accountability issues. I am expanding our policy work in Armenia and the 6 nearby offices in Eurasia. Our lead agencies are Save the Children United States and Netherlands.

Why did you come to the MPA program at Binghamton?

In 2005 I made a life-changing shift from working for the Armenian Parliament to becoming a nonprofit sector architect. Back then, my bachelor's degree in Economics and MA in Political Science seemed to be a strong combination. Working the next eight years in the nonprofit sector I realized that successful nonprofit leaders need a select set of knowledge, skills and connections to lead their organizations. That understanding brought me to Binghamton's MPA program.

Were there particular courses, faculty, or projects that were helpful in the work that you do now?

In my job at Save the Children, it did not take much time to appreciate the value of the MPA program. I cannot name a single class that I would not take if starting the program again. Today, I use a lot of content from Dr. Appe's policy analysis class, including the policy cycle and policy analysis, Dr. Campbell's nonprofits class, and Professor Brennan's human resources class.

Have you always had an interest in nonprofits or public service?

My undergrad years were the first years of independence of Armenia from the Soviet Union. During that time the concept of a nonprofit sector, or the civil society, was not common. My early obsession was with politics and legislatures. When working for the Armenian Parliament until 2005 I became a true advocate of civic participation, and I was very upset about the level and quality of participation of nonprofits in policy work. 2005 was a turning point for me, when I decided to work from "the other side of policy barricades" and started my policy advocacy career. Was the shift easy? Not at all! I am happy I had the support of my family, particularly my kids, for whom my decisions to change my job or go back to grad school affected often. I have always believed that everyone should enjoy what he or she does. Today, looking back at my career, I can see that I have a proof of that. I even have my bonus. Working with Susan Appe together in Armenia to inspire the next generation of change makers is something I could have not dreamed even in my most far going dreams. Thank you! (In March 2015, Professor Appe traveled to Yerevan, Armenia through the support of Muskie Mentor/Advisor Exchange (MAX) Program, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and implemented by IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) and implemented by IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board), Save the Children International's Armenia Country Office and Department of Public Administration of Yerevan State University).


Zhanna Harutyunyan, MPA '12


What are you doing now?

Since November 2012, I have been the Project Expert of Women in Local Democracy (WiLD) project in the United Nations Development Program in Armenia. We work in close cooperation with the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situation to increase women's representation in local governance in all ten regions of Armenia. We also support communities to develop and use strategies to ensure residents' participation in decision making processes at the local level.

Why did you come to the MPA program at Binghamton?

By the time of application to the program, I already had 8 years of project management experience. I wanted to take a break from the practical work in the field and enrich my theoretical knowledge about nonprofit management.

Were there particular courses, faculty, or projects that were helpful in the work that you do now?

For my current position as a Project Expert, it requires a lot of research and proposition of new solutions to old issues! I definitely use knowledge from Research Design & Methods, Managing Information and Technology, and Issues in Nonprofit Administration, in particular, topics related to social entrepreneurship. The 21st Century Governance class changed my perspectives to approaching management and the importance, and challenges, of collaboration.

Have you always had an interest in nonprofits or public service?

Yes. The nonprofit field is very young in Armenia and when for the first time I attended an English club at the YMCA in 1998 in my small town I realized: "This is what I want to do" even though at the time I was a student at the teaching university. Since then I am very much engaged in nonprofit work in Armenia!

(Pictured: Zhanna Harutyunyan, L, with Susan Appe).


Dawn Bartolomeo Dawn Bartolomeo

“I spent a lot of time volunteering with local not-for-profits and working in positions that sought to improve the welfare of children, college students and the surrounding community,” Dawn Bartolmeo says of her life before entering Binghamton’s Master of Public Administration Program. Her decision to enroll at Binghamton was motivated by her desire to obtain, as she explains, “a degree that would allow me to perform a social service.”

Now a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (Alexandria, Va.), Bartolomeo is responsible for duties ranging from drafting regulatory policy and managing state grants to preparing correspondence for communication with constituents and members of Congress — recently receiving a merit award for accomplishments in her current position.

“The faculty,” she says, “successfully plan courses that enhance your understanding of MPA competencies including leadership, creativity, complexity, dynamics and changeability.”

Bartolomeo also emphasizes the importance of “community-based projects that enabled students to see the impact of their work within the ‘real-world’” and the structure of Binghamton’s program in providing the foundation necessary to succeed in her career. “During my free time, I continue to volunteer and seek opportunities to help and educate others, she says. “There is such a great need within this country and in the world for individuals who possess specialized skills to use them to improve the lives of others.”

David Hubeny David Hubeny

David Hubeny’s desire to pursue a graduate education began with his career as emergency manager for Binghamton University. “As someone who was already ‘in career,’ I wanted to enhance my administrative and management skills to become more effective in my job,” Hubeny says. “I spend all of my professional time, both career as well as volunteer activities, in the public sector and the MPA degree was the best option for me to develop and refine the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to succeed professionally.”

As a full-time University employee, husband, father of three, captain of the Broome County Hazardous Materials Team and member of the board of directors for the University’s nonprofit Harpur’s Ferry Student Volunteer Ambulance Service, Hubeny’s chief concern was maintaining a work/life balance. He explains the benefit of pursuing his Master in Public Administration degree right here at Binghamton, saying, “I was able to register as a part-time student and balance my personal, professional and academic responsibilities in such a way that none suffered. The academic expectations are reasonable and a part-time program was exactly what I needed to allow me to thrive professionally and personally for the duration of the MPA program.”

“As my duties include the direct management of personnel, finances and policies, the MPA education has proven to be invaluable,” Hubeny reports. “Classes in budget management, human resources and labor relations are all able to be applied in my professional career on a daily basis. The MPA refined and polished my skills and has allowed me to become more effective and efficient in my job.”

The MPA Program at Binghamton was perfectly suited to meet Hubeny’s needs for flexible scheduling and professional development. But he adds that “it is the department faculty who truly elevate the program …[T]he passion and knowledge of the faculty allow them to move beyond theoretical discussions and help students successfully apply the concepts that are learned. By bringing the classroom to life through internships and community involvement, faculty guide the learning process and allow the students to develop the skills needed to excel professionally.”

Elizabeth Monaco Elizabeth Monaco

“Holding this well-respected degree has given me a higher level of credibility within my community and the nonprofit sector.”

When Elizabeth Monaco entered Binghamton University’s MPA program, she was already the executive director and chief professional officer of the Chenango (N.Y.) United Way. Monaco joined the MPA program to learn best practices and increase her effectiveness as an executive.

She was not disappointed. Binghamton’s MPA program gave her “a new perspective on the public administration field.”

“I am much more self-confident and willing to try new approaches to tackling tough issues in the nonprofit sector,” she says. The program helped her “shape a new personal standard for ethics in the workplace,” and it sharpened her focus on the “legal and fiduciary responsibilities” of a nonprofit executive.

“I also believe that holding this well-respected degree has given me a higher level of credibility within my community and the nonprofit sector,” she says.

The MPA program’s “warm and welcoming environment” made it a fast fit. Monaco praises the faculty for being easy to work with and ready to share a wealth of information. She appreciates the variety of reading and research materials that her coursework covered, and she enjoyed the interactive format of her classes.

After graduating from the MPA program, Monaco returned to Binghamton as an adjunct faculty member. “This was a very rewarding experience for me,” she says. “I was given the rare opportunity to share my experiences and to give back to my peers in the program that I loved.”

Cynthia Nuara Cynthia Nuara

A former Peace Corps Volunteer currently working as a community services administrative manager at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, a consultant for the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and a volunteer advocate for the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention at Mount Sinai Hospital, Cynthia Nuara is a busy woman with a wide range of responsibilities and influence. She credits her education in Binghamton’s Master’s in Public Administration Program with preparing her to serve effectively in these capacities.

“My MPA education has helped me to become a “macro” thinker; I often look at how organizational decision-making can affect various stakeholders. It especially helped me during my Peace Corps service to establish sustainable municipal systems and recognize that organizational capacity building is really “human” capacity building,” Nuara says.

The ability to effect and direct various incremental changes exemplify the skills Nuara honed at Binghamton. At work, her duties have ranged from grant writing and preparation to ensuring adherence to data collection and reporting contracts. As a consultant, she has helped law enforcement and community health workers understand and implement culturally sensitive treatment plans for Latino/a victims (of domestic violence and sexual assault). She even puts those skills to work in service as a volunteer, acting as a counselor and liaison between abuse victims and medical and/or law enforcement.

“I became a critical thinker” Nuara states, adding “all of the collaborative projects that I completed … at Binghamton, [such] as bringing together people, agencies, different organizational cultures and ideas can be very challenging, but as I also learned, very rewarding.” Nuara expresses her pleasure with the level of preparation she received, adding “the MPA Program at Binghamton University is extremely hands-on. The program and professors have excellent relationships with local nonprofit organizations and government agencies … every class in the MPA Program was the perfect balance of theory and practice.”

Tim O’Hearn Tim O’Hearn

When Tim O’Hearn wanted to further his career in government, he enrolled in the MPA program at Binghamton University.

Today, he is the county administrator of Schuyler County, N.Y., where he is responsible for formulating the budget and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county government. O’Hearn coordinates and guides county activities and projects and represents the county to the community — all while pursuing, as he says, “the most efficient and cost-effective delivery of services.”

O’Hearn credits coursework in the MPA program with connecting him to this career opportunity. As a student in the Local Government Finance class, he worked with Schuyler County to develop a performance-based budget. “This involvement contributed to my selection as the county administrator the following year,” he says.

Chelsea Robertson Chelsea Robertson

After completing two undergraduate degrees at Binghamton University, Chelsea Robertson chose to stay for her Master’s degree in Public Administration. “I was interested in working for the government and found that the MPA program would not only allow me to achieve my career goals of becoming an urban planner but would provide me with a very versatile degree that would qualify me for many different types of that I would find a job after graduation,” Chelsea explains. Making her choice even easier, Chelsea says, was the availability of night classes which, enabled her to pursue her degree while staying at her full-time job.

Chelsea credits the MPA program at Binghamton with providing the preparation necessary for graduates to transition from students to professionals. “The professors at Binghamton are truly interested in your development and helping you find employment after graduation,” Chelsea commends, and also emphasizes the valuable networking and local connections students make during their internship.

Now, as a planner for the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (Corning, NY), Chelsea acts as a consultant to six municipalities within her agency’s three-county jurisdiction, assisting in roles ranging from grant writing to studying municipal efficiency options and advising municipal boards based on interpretations of their laws.

Chelsea is also grateful for an education that enables her to handle tough, real-world situations. “The MPA really helped me to understand how our local governments work, the realities of the system and how to successfully work within (and sometimes try to change) that system… to deal with politically sensitive situations and how to make ethical decisions regardless of political pressure.”

“I love the work I do,” Chelsea says, “I feel like I’ve made a difference at the end of the day.”

Last Updated: 9/30/15