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Maxwell D.C. Alumni Event: A Panel Conversation on Pandemic Politics

February 2, 2023 at 5:30pm8:00pm

1616 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W. Washington D.C.

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Maxwell alumni, friends and students are invited to join us for an alumni evening in Washington, D.C. In our panel conversation, Shana Gadarian, author of “Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID” and chair and professor of political science, Pam Fessler ’80 M.P.A.,
author of “Carville’s Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice” and former NPR correspondent, and Dean David M. Van Slyke will explore the wide-reaching implications of misunderstanding, misinformation
and politicization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Event details:

Thursday, February 2, 2023
5:30-8:00 p.m. ET
6:00–7:00 p.m. Panel discussion
7:00–8:00 p.m. Reception

Center for Strategic and International Studies
1616 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Online registration requested by Thursday, January 26, at For questions about this event, contact Jessica Murray, director of Alumni Relations.

The program will feature:

Pam Fessler ’80 MPA

Pam Fessler was an editor and correspondent at NPR News for more than 28 years.  As a correspondent on the National Desk, she covered voting issues, poverty, and philanthropy.

For much of her time at NPR, Fessler reported on elections and voting, including efforts to make voting more accessible, accurate, and secure. She did countless stories on everything from the debate over state voter laws to Russian hacking attempts and the impact of misinformation.

Fessler also covered homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, and income inequality. She reported on efforts by non-profit groups, the government, and others to reduce poverty and how those programs worked. Her poverty reporting was recognized with a 2011 First Place National Headliner Award.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Fessler became NPR’s first Homeland Security correspondent. For seven years, she reported on efforts to tighten security at ports, airports, and borders. She also reported on the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 Commission, Social Security, and the Census. Fessler was one of NPR’s White House reporters during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Before becoming a correspondent, Fessler was the acting senior editor on the Washington Desk and NPR’s chief elections editor. She coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections in 1996 and 1998. Fessler also spent time as deputy Washington Desk editor and Midwest National Desk editor.

Earlier in her career, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked there for 13 years as both a reporter and editor, covering tax, budget, and other news. She spent one year as a budget specialist at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and was a reporter at The Record newspaper in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Fessler has a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from Douglass College at Rutgers University.

Her first book, “Carville’s Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice,” was published in 2020.

Professor Shana Kushner Gadarian

Shana Kushner Gadarian is a professor and the chair of political science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She is also a senior research associate in the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.

Gadarian specializes in American politics, political psychology, political communication, public opinion and experimental methods.

Gadarian was named a 2021 Carnegie Fellow for her quantitative research during the pandemic. Her recent book with co-authors Sara Wallace Goodman and Thomas B. Pepinsky, “Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID,” is the culmination of that research and draws on a wealth of new data on public opinion to show how pandemic politics has touched all aspects of Americans’ lives and puts the country’s COVID-19 response in global perspective.

She is also the author of “Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World,” which was awarded the 2016 APSA Robert E. Lane Award for best book in political psychology and explores how anxiety over policy issues like immigration, public health, terrorism, and climate change affects people.

Dean David M. Van Slyke

David M. Van Slyke is dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business-Government Policy. Prior to becoming dean on July 1, 2016, Van Slyke was associate dean and chair of Maxwell’s Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, home to the country’s #1-ranked graduate degree in public affairs. He is a tenured, full professor of the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences and a two-time recipient of the Birkhead-Burkhead Award and Professorship for Teaching Excellence.

Van Slyke is a leading international expert on public-private partnerships, public sector contracting and contract management, and policy implementation. He is director and fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a co-editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and the Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation. He also sits on the editorial boards of several top-ranked public affairs journals. He has provided expert guidance to the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the World Bank. As part of his work and research he has worked extensively with senior leaders in government, nonprofit and business organizations in China, India, Peru, Singapore, Thailand and many other countries through the Maxwell School’s Executive Education program.

Van Slyke’s book, “Complex Contracting: Government Purchasing in the Wake of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program” (Cambridge University Press, 2013) is the recipient of the American Society for Public Administration Section on Research Best Book Award for 2014 and honorable mention for the Public and Nonprofit Section of the Academy of Management best book award for 2016. He is winner of the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus in Public Administration and Policy award from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the 2007 Beryl Radin Award for Best Article published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

Van Slyke earned a Ph.D. in public administration and policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Prior to becoming an academic, he worked in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

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This event was first published on January 12, 2023 and last updated on June 27, 2023.

Event Details