UNM’s School of Public Administration is gaining more notoriety for its programs and faculty members.

Assistant Professor Michelle Allgood was recently named an American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) Founders’ Fellow.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more and to represent UNM’s commitment to public service. My favorite part of public service is the opportunity to combine scholarship with action and make a noticeable impact on our communities,” Allgood said. “Being able to be a part of something bigger than yourself is something I think we all innately desire and I love the opportunity to put my skills to use and partner with those who are spearheading important changes to build healthier and stronger communities.”

Headed into its 18th year, ASPA's Founders' Fellows program supports the next generation of public service leaders through a series of professional development opportunities. The Fellows attend and present at the Annual Conference on a subject matter paper on an issue related to their scholarship or work. This is ASPA's most competitive Fellowship program.

Allgood said her inspiration for public service came from her time as a missionary in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

“The idea that I could learn management and leadership skills to better serve the community was appealing,” she said. “I leveraged that interest into a career focused on education access and equity and eventually, through some really supportive advisors in my doctoral program, into public leadership and management. Being here at UNM, I see the same passion that started this whole journey back in Oklahoma and I am excited to be a part of it.”

To apply, Allgood had to complete an application, write an essay and provide a personal statement on a topic they feel public administration and the practitioners will face in the upcoming years. Allgood also received a letter of support from a current ASPA member. 

“In her short time at UNM, Professor Allgood has demonstrated that she is a rising star in the field of public administration. ASPA's Founders Fellows program will help strengthen her skills, expand her global network, and acquire experiences to help her build bridges from theory to practice,” SPA Rosenthal Endowed Professor and Director Patria de Lancer Julnes said. 

In addition to the year of mentoring Allgood will receive, she plans to present her research on increasing accessibility in public services for individuals with disabilities. That conference will take place in Minneapolis. 

“It’s pretty exciting. I am really appreciative of the opportunity to elevate a policy issue I am passionate about–the accessibility of local government websites for individuals with disabilities,” she said. “We are exploring the connection between different internal organizational characteristics, like the centralization of decision making and the concurrent use of complex ICTs, to see what may influence an organization's learning over time to create more accessible websites. It’s a pretty cool area that has a lot of relevance right now and we are hoping to identify some tools to help local governments build robust internal systems to ensure the accessibility of their ICTs.”

Once again, this goes to show the prominence of SPA’s young professionals as well as the growing programs within.

“I think it points to the hard work UNM puts into developing future leaders for all types of public service work, from government to non-profit to tribal leadership and beyond,” Allgood said. “This commitment to training public servants to face the current challenges of our day forces us as faculty members to be engaged with the community and identify skills and knowledge gaps that we can train students to fill.”