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Our Goal, Vision & Commitment

Network, Learn, & Grow

Join ASPA Today!

The American Society for Public Administration was established in 1939 and is the largest and most prominent professional association in public administration. With a diverse membership of approximately 9,000 government and nonprofit administrators, scholars, educators, and students, ASPA advances the art, science, teaching, and practice of public and nonprofit administration.


The Utah Chapter sponsors luncheon meetings and other events on topics of interest to local public and nonprofit administrators, educators, and students. As an ASPA - Utah Chapter Member, you have the opportunity to become involved in the local public administration community, enhance your professional development, and advance your career. 

Jedi Statement

Our Mission

The Utah Chapter of ASPA strives to bring public administrators together to discuss important issues. We have a diverse group of members from a wide range of public and nonprofit organizations working to achieve our mission.


ASPA is the leading interdisciplinary public service organization that:


  • Advances the art, science, teaching, and practice of public and non-profit administration.

  • Promotes the value of joining and elevating the public service profession.

  • Builds bridges among all who pursue public purposes at home and internationally.

  • Provides networking and professional development opportunities to those committed to public service values.

  • Achieves innovative solutions to the challenges of governance.


The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration. ASPA’s four core values are:


  • Accountability and Performance

  • Professionalism

  • Ethics and

  • Social Equity

Utah ASPA Commitments to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Utah ASPA Chapter is committed to recognizing, prioritizing, and promoting the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) among our council and members, which are composed of public and nonprofit administrators. We have begun this change by providing education in our yearly programs and applying the values in board discussions and decisions. 


We are committed to expanding the diversity of our council membership and ensuring diverse council members' voices are heard and heeded. Our emphasis will be to advocate for the application of a lens of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in public administration programs, policies, and practices throughout Utah organizations. 




  • It is our responsibility to educate those in our field, especially our members, on the historic race and gender based injustices that public administration has contributed to since its inception. Additionally, we must work to dismantle the current injustices that still exist in our systems by having continuous open dialogue and action.




  • As a public administration focused association, equity is paramount to our field. Yet only in the last 25 years was equity added as the fourth pillar of public administration by the National Academy of Public Administration (Norman-Major, 2011). The Utah Chapter of ASPA recognizes, though equity is a widely taught pillar of public administration, there is room to improve on the amount of attention and intention that is invested across the sector, specifically in Utah.




  • We recognize a lack of diversity and representativeness in the Utah ASPA council board. Diversity is crucial in all fields, but especially in public administration where sociodemographic differences catalyze policy change that is representative of traditionally marginalized groups. 




  • We have a responsibility to empower participation in our membership, resources, and events by creating a culture and environment of belonging, specifically for the traditionally marginalized. We understand that the perspectives of our members represent a greater diversity and proximity to JEDI issues than those of the council, and commit to putting those perspectives into practice.  This requires us to assess our current culture, make crucial changes, and keep a continuous critical eye on the environment for our members.


The Utah ASPA Chapter has identified and continues to develop actionable steps to put these principles into practice. To learn more about our current priorities, and to help us co-create strategies, please contact us at

Our Commitment

Meet Our Utah ASPA Council

  • Rachel Black, MPA, LEHS, President
    Rachel Black earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Utah in 2019 and a bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Utah State University in 2000. During her master’s degree studies, Rachel worked under the direction of Dr. Jesus Valero at the University of Utah to develop a year-long curriculum for "Startups" a nonprofit startup incubator through the Westside Leadership Institute and the University of Utah; Rachel and Dr. Valero are now the instructors for their year-long course. Rachel partnered with Dr. Jesus Valero and Dr. Marina Saitgalina at Old Dominion University to conduct a national survey on nonprofit incubators from 2018-2019. They presented their work at ARNOVA’s Conference in San Diego and ANSER Conference in Vancouver B.C. in 2019. Their work on “Measuring Outcomes and Social Impact of Nonprofit Incubators in Fostering Local Community Startups and Entrepreneurs” was formally published in The Journal of Social Entrepreneurship in 2021. In 2019, Rachel worked with University of Utah Professors Dr. Jesus Valero and Dr. Lena Svedin on the development of the Utah Statewide Strategic Plan on Homelessness. Since 2014, Rachel has worked in local government as an Environmental Health Scientist for Salt Lake County. In her free time, Rachel enjoys gardening and visits on her patio with family and friends. Rachel especially enjoys the connections she makes in the community through serving as a coach and mentor for the private and nonprofit entrepreneurs building diverse and meaningful organizations in Utah.
  • Michelle Hoon, President - Elect
    Michelle has worked to end poverty and homelessness in the Salt Lake community for more than a decade, serving in a variety of government and non-profit positions. Michelle currently serves as the Project and Policy Manager for Salt Lake City’s Homeless Engagement and Response Team, which focuses on crafting responses to unsheltered homelessness and fosters positive neighborhood integration for SLC’s two new Homeless Resource Centers. Previous to this role, she worked for The Road Home, most recently overseeing programming and community support at the Midvale Family Center. Michelle has taken on active leadership roles with the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, focusing on drafting system operating standards, and managing shelter-to-housing system outflow. Michelle earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah in August 2018.
  • Alexandra Allen, Secretary
    Alexandra Allen is the Assistant Director of Homelessness and Criminal Justice Reform for Salt Lake County. Previously Alex worked as the Assistant Director and Victim Advocate at Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic (UCVLC) where she had dedicated her career to protecting victims of crime for twelve years. Alex has been active in legislative groups. She has served on many policy groups, and has worked to pass legislation to enhance victim services. Alex co hosts a podcast called Utah Survivors featuring episodes dedicated to victims’ stories and resources in the community, which currently has 59 episodes. Alex has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Weber State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah. In her free time, Alex enjoys scuba diving, and motherhood. Alex is a certified cave diver, but mostly enjoys warm ocean diving. Alex is a mother to one son who is currently 9, and loves break dancing.
  • Sam Martinez, Treasurer
    Sam has a background in public administration in the nonprofit sector, having spent the first 5 years of his career working at a community foundation in Northwest Washington. There, his projects ranged from hunger relief and food systems, to impact investing, to community health. This range of work, as well as the community foundation's collaboration with partners across sectors, introduced him to the diversity and possibilities in the world of public administration. Now, as a second-year student in the University of Utah's MPA program, Sam hopes to deepen and strengthen his knowledge and understanding of the field. Being a fairly recent transplant to Utah, he is enjoying the sun, mountain bike trails, and friendly people here!
  • Hannah Gorski, Deputy Treasurer
    Hannah Gorski began her career in public service advocating for public employees while working for a nonprofit labor organization. This opportunity led her to pursue a degree in public administration, graduating with her MPA in 2022. Through her past work and education, Hannah became passionate about effective government communications and analyzing policies across various topics. She brings both interests together in her current role as Communications and Policy Advisor for the Utah House of Representatives Minority Caucus. In her free time, Hannah enjoys exploring Utah’s mountains and reading.
  • Jasmine Walton, Deputy Secretary
    Jasmine is originally from Dallas, Texas, and moved to Salt Lake City with her mom when she was 13 years old. When Jasmine first moved to Salt Lake City, she lived in the Poplar Grove neighborhood with her mom and brothers. Jasmine attended West High school before going on to graduate from the University of Utah in 2017 with a BA in Communications and a minor in Political Science. Jasmine currently works for NeighborWorks Salt Lake as their Director of Community Initiatives and Marketing, where she helps keep communities connected and engaged.
  • Mamta Chaudhari, Member-at-large
    Mamta Chaudhari (she/her) currently works within local government at Salt Lake County Health Department as an Environmental Health Scientist. She hopes to leverage her work to support ASPA's ongoing efforts of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. She works directly with the public which has allowed her to become familiar with the community and identify deficiencies in healthcare access. She served on a committee within the health department to lead strategic planning initiatives around health equity. She has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with a local non-profit group to increase food security for Utahns which allowed her to understand existing systems and safety-net programs the problems with them. Mamta has a Master of Public Health Degree from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Westminster College. In her free time, she enjoys joining the community at festivals and events and trying new food.
  • Laura Herring, Member-at-Large
    Laura completed a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages (Spanish) at Mississippi State University where she completed multiple internships with the U.S. Department of State and several non-profit organizations. After graduation, she relocated to Utah to work in Finance and Anti-Money Laundering for Goldman Sachs and later for Northrop Grumman. Laura transitioned her career to Higher Education in 2020 and served as the Regional Affairs Program Manager for the RUUTE (Rural & Underserved Utah Training Experience) program within the University of Utah School of Medicine. She now serves as a Student Services Manager and Career Counselor for the David Eccles School of Business. She is passionate about student engagement and success and is thrilled to now be counseling students toward success. Laura is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration with a focus on Counseling Psychology at the University of Utah and she will graduate in December 2023.
  • Emily Paskett, Member-at-Large
    Emily is a dedicated environmental leader who has worked for several years with environmental non-profits and local government organizations throughout Salt Lake County, gaining a deep understanding of the intricate relationship between ecological and cultural factors that influence the quality of life for Utah residents. Her primary objective is to collaborate closely with communities, particularly at-risk populations, to ensure safe and healthy environments for all. Currently serving as the Environmental Program Manager for Salt Lake County, Emily oversees a wide range of environmental initiatives across different portfolios. She leads projects and implements policies that benefit communities throughout the region. By engaging intergovernmental and non-governmental stakeholders, Emily fosters collaboration to promote initiatives such as enhanced air quality monitoring, increased adoption of renewable energy, sustainable land use development, cleaner transportation alternatives, and improved energy efficiency. Emily is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Utah and is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2024. When not at work or school you can find her mountain biking, exploring local farmers' markets, or listening to live music.
  • Sophie Stout, Member-at-Large
    Sophie Stout (she/her) has an unwavering passion for closing equity gaps in education. She hopes to create a brighter future by empowering individuals of all backgrounds to access quality education and personal growth. She believes that people are the heart of societal and systematic change, and that accountability is key. She hopes to help those around her feel more seen, celebrated, welcomed and uplifted in her interactions each day. As the Program Manager of Student Engagement and Belonging at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, she serves as the driving force behind a wide range of initiatives aimed at empowering students, fostering community and belonging, and closing equity gaps in higher education. She gained her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Utah in 2023 and is committed to creating equal opportunities for individuals in Utah and beyond. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring Utah's outdoors, thrifting, sewing, playing the piano, volunteering for local nonprofits, and playing Pokémon Go, bringing joy and balance to her life. She welcomes connecting with others on LinkedIn to foster meaningful collaborations, exchange ideas, and find new ways to serve. You can add her at
  • Joel Vallett, Past President
    Faculty, Southern Utah University Joel Vallett is on the faculty at Southern Utah University (SUU), and he teaches in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. His research interests center around policy incentives as a driving force for policy implementation, success, and ethical decision making. His professional experiences include negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts as a DOE Contractor. Joel looks forward to bringing his experiences and research in serving on the ASPA-Utah council.
  • Matthew Dumont, Advisor, Past-President
    Chief Deputy of the Corrections Bureau, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office Matt Dumont is a twenty-three year member of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as Chief Deputy for the Corrections Bureau. He is happy to return as the ASPA Utah Chapter President, a position he also held in 2009-2010. He earned his Masters of Public Administration from the University of Utah in 2003. Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He enjoys spending time with family, traveling and spending time outdoors.
  • Dr. Jennifer Maurine Seelig, Advisor
    Jennifer Maurine Seelig has been involved in politics and public service for more than two decades at a policy-making and leadership level. She was a policy and research analyst for the Salt Lake City Council between 1995 and 2000. She served as a policy and research analyst for Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson between 2000 and 2001, with primary responsibility for the Americans with Disabilities Act and for a broad range of policy issues that required thoughtful evaluation and review before being presented to the Mayor for action. She additionally served as the communication and legislative policy analyst for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, which acts as an advocate for issues vital to residential communities across the state. From 2003 to April of 2014, Jennifer worked for 1-800 CONTACTS as their Associate Director of Governmental Relations. Between January of 2016 and January of 2020, Jennifer served the City of Salt Lake in Mayor Biskupski's office as a Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Community Empowerment. Currently Jennifer teaches public administration classes at the University of Utah and serves as the Director of Community Partnerships within the Institute of Government and Politics and Utah State University. Jennifer was elected by District 23 residents in November of 2006 to serve in the Utah House of Representatives. In 2012, her peers in the Utah House Democrat Caucus elected her into the leadership position of Democratic Leader. She is the first woman to serve in this role. Prior to holding this position, Jennifer served in the capacities of Utah House Democratic Caucus Manager and Caucus Whip. Jennifer retired from elected service in 2014 in order to finish her PhD - which was completed in the fall of 2018 from the University of Utah. Her research interests include civic engagement, neighborhood-based governance, and women's political empowerment. She has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah and a B.A. in English from the University of Louisville.
  • Dr. J. Steven Ott, Advisor
    Steven Ott is Professor Emeritus of Political Science/Public Administration and former Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science, Director of the Master of Public Administration Program, Interim Director of the MS program in International Affairs and Global Enterprise, and Director of the University of Utah’s Institute of Public and International Affairs – all at the University of Utah. He teaches and has written extensively about organization theory and organizational behavior in the public and nonprofit sectors. He has been actively involved in advancing public administration education in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to the University of Utah, he was at the University of Maine and the University of Colorado at Denver. His Ph.D. is from the University of Colorado, M.S. from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University.

ASPA Spring Award Ceremony

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Utah Public Service Awards 2021

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We recognized four individuals/organizations in three categories in 2021:
Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Administration
Distinguished Service Award for an Appointed Official 
Distinguished Service Award for Excellence

The Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Administration honors publicly-engaged individuals who have made significant contributions to the academic field or practice of public administration in Utah. This award is intended to recognize for, for example, K-12 and post-secondary educators, merit government employees, leaders in the nonprofit sector, and other often unnoticed individuals who have helped make Utah a better place to live and work

The Distinguished Service Award for an Appointed Official recognizes and honors appointed public officials who have played significant leadership roles in the implementation of government policies and programs. This award is intended for appointed officials at the national, tribal, state, and local level (including counties, cities, towns and service districts) who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and integrity in their service.

The Distinguished Service Award for Excellence recognizes and honors organizations, boards, commissions, or other groups that have contributed to improving the lives of people in Utah with an emphasis of advancing the circumstances of underrepresented populations. Awardees advance the common good through inclusive leadership, public participation, and community engagement.

2021 Award Winners:

Dorothy Adams, Deputy Director

Salt Lake County Health Department

Dr. Angela Dunn, State Epidemiologist

Utah Department of Health

Justin R. Lee, Director of Elections

Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office

Utah Multicultural Commission

Award accepted by Nubia Peña, Director for the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs


Advancing Excellence in Public Service

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