Meet our Staff!

It’s time for a little meet and greet! Read up and get acquainted with some of Villanova’s MPA staff!

STEPHANIE NISSEN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Hometown: Prescott, AZ

Years @ ‘Nova: 3

What is your favorite thing about Nova Nation? I love how everyone here shares in a commitment to service. I think it strengthens the bond between students, faculty, and staff and sets Villanova apart from other universities. I also love the team spirit.  Even when our basketball team is struggling there remains a strong support among the Villanova community inside and outside the University.  I also love Nova Nation because they share the same mascot as my alma mater UofA. Go Wildcats!!!

Extracurriculars: Sports have never been my strong suit, but I do love to run. I have done one marathon and am definitely planning to do another sometime in the near future. I love the outdoors and being from AZ, where it is summer year round, I have trouble staying inside for any extended period of time. I have a passion for working with children and make an effort to volunteer/visit children’s camps in the area whenever I can.

If you could take any MPA course what would it be and why? I completed a majority of the MPA courses when I was in the program, but I would like to take Effective Nonprofit Management.  I worked with Dr. Wilson as a research assistant my first year in the program and came to truly appreciate her passion for the nonprofit sector, which leads me to believe I would really enjoy the class.

What is your favorite movie? Shawshank Redemption

What is your hidden talent? I am pretty amazing when it comes to untangling necklaces

What is your favorite book? I have two: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Not sure why they are my favorite but they are the only two books I could read more than once

What are you looking forward to most for the 2012-13 academic year? Welcoming more people into the MPA Community

CHRISTINE PALUS, DIRECTOR

Hometown: Monroe, NY (now Bryn Mawr, PA)

Years @ ‘Nova:  7

What is your favorite thing about being a part of Nova Nation? Basketball games

Extracurriculars: Running, playing piano, playing with my daughter.

If you could take any MPA course what would it be and why?  MPA 8500 – because I would love to be a local government manager.

What is your favorite movie?  Cool Runnings

What is your hidden talent? Making iced coffee better than Starbucks

What is your favorite book ?  James and the Giant Peach

What are you looking forward to most for the 2012-13 academic year? Getting to know our online students

LAURA HOKENSON, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT EXTRAORDINAIRE

Hometown: Scituate, MA

Years @ ‘Nova: 6

What is your favorite thing about being a part of Nova Nation? Running into Coach Jay Wright on campus

Extracurriculars: Trampoline, tambourine and baking. Sometimes, simultaneously.

If you could take any MPA course what would it be and why? MPA 8299: Land-use and Zoning so I can finally use my SimCity skills.

What is your favorite movie?  Home for the Holidays. It combines two of my favorite things: Christmas and Robert Downey, Jr.

What is your hidden talent? I know all of the words to Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations”. That’s a talent, right?

What is your favorite book and why? From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I used to wish I could camp out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Now I dream about running away to IKEA.

What are you looking forward to most for the 2012-13 academic year?  Watching the faculty learn the new technology for the online program. It’s an exciting time to be at Villanova!