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Finalists selected for fourth annual Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge

Rebecca Harhai
October 9, 2020

Four finalists have been selected for the fourth annual George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge and will compete for a top prize of $10,000 to further develop their innovative initiative. The challenge is hosted by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in partnership with the Network of Schools of Public Policy Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) during the NASPAA 2020 virtual conference, Oct. 14 – 16, 2020.

Finalists were chosen from a highly competitive pool of public administration initiatives and applicants. A panel of judges will select the winner based on presentations made during a final virtual live round on Friday, Oct. 16 from 11-11:45 a.m. Judges will select the winners based on innovation, project capacity and potential to improve services for underserved populations.

The four finalists are:

  • COVID-19 Executive Orders Project: Peter Stanley Federman, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Paul H. O’Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Cali Curley, the University of Miami
  • Micromobility Lab: Christopher Wyczalkowski, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University
  • Pathways for Empowering Community Resilience: Rebecca Brenner and Danielle Eiseman, Cornell University
  • Learning from Responses to COVID-19: Improving Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience in Washington State, Michael Kern, William D. Ruckelhaus Center at Washington State University

Sponsored by the Voinovich School and NASPAA, the competition recognizes innovation in public administration education that address unmet needs, advance knowledge in the field or improve a program’s efficiency and effectiveness. Previous winners include the University of Maryland, University of Kansas, and University of Montana.

“I hope it excites people about the potential of thinking about new ways to do what we’re already doing,” Kate Leeman, director of strategic initiatives at the Voinovich School said. “I think, especially with incredible advances in technology in recent years, there are opportunities for us to rethink how we approach things. The old ways may not always be the best ways anymore.”

Competition judges are:

  • Keon-Hyung Lee, Professor, Director of the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida State University
  • Sara Rinfret, Professor & Chair, Department of PA & Policy, MPA Director, University of Montana
  • David Van Slyke, Dean, Maxwell School, Syracuse University
  • Alex Murray, Director of Online Academic Programs and Sr. Lecturer, Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

The challenge was established to honor Senator George V. Voinovich, whose nearly half-century of public service was a living example of servant leadership. He encouraged others to design and deliver practical solutions to challenging public problems, expand higher education public-private partnerships and educate, mentor and develop dedicated public servants.