Category Archives: Faculty Profile

Faculty Spotlight – Carla Fall

Meet Carla! Carla works on citizenship and naturalization policy matters for the United States Department of Homeland Security. She is also an Adjunct Professor at both Villanova and Temple University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Temple University and her Master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University. Carla is based in Washington, D.C.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How/what made you join the Villanova MPA faculty?

I currently work for the United States Department of Homeland Security, conducting research and policy analysis on matters involving citizenship and naturalization benefits.  I absolutely love my job, and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work in a variety of roles in the immigration field.  From September 2010 to August 2016, I was the Community Relations Officer for the 5th district of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, where I designed outreach initiatives and engaged with immigrant stakeholders throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia.  From September 2008 to September 2010, I served as an Immigration Law Analyst for a headquarter component of Homeland Security.  I also worked as an Immigration Counselor for a charter school in Washington, D.C., assisting adult immigrants with humanitarian and family-based cases, and at immigration law firms in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, P.A., preparing both employment and family-based cases.

After working with immigrant populations for years, teaching seemed like a natural fit, and when approached about an opportunity with the Villanova MPA program, I jumped at the chance!  As my students will attest, I bring a lot of my immigration experience into the classroom and hope that they enjoy it as much as I do.

2) What course(s) are you teaching? What can students expect to learn in it/them?

This summer, I will be teaching my second “Managing Public Networks” course.  In class, we cover everything from governance to managing conflicts among the various job sectors (government / private) to negotiation tactics.  At a minimum, I hope my students leave the course with a greater understanding of the many moving parts that comprise the way our networks are arranged.  However, my goal is for students to take what we learn and apply it to their professional and private lives.  It’s a fun, interactive class, with lots of time for debates and negotiation simulations — if you haven’t signed up, do so!  You won’t regret it!

3) What advice do you have for current MPA students?

Volunteer!  Finding the right job (or any job) in your area of interest isn’t always easy.  I always knew that I wanted to work in the field of immigration, but I didn’t know in what capacity.  Through volunteer opportunities as an ESL teacher and legal assistant, I was able to learn about different issues that affect immigrant populations, make important contacts, and gain a better sense of what I wanted to do.

Alumni/Faculty Spotlight – Aaron Bibro

Meet Aaron! He is a Villanova MPA alumnus (2007) and current faculty member for our online MPA program!

Bio: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. The youngest of four, I attended Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, University of Pittsburgh and ultimately graduated with an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Point Park University and then earned an MPA degree from Villanova in 2007.  My Father, Mark, is a proud Villanova graduate from the class of 1968.   I currently live in Harleysville, PA with my wife, Becky, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and sons, Landon, 4, and Lucas, 1.  I have a morbidly obese cat, Oscar, who is the bane of my existence.  I serve as the Township Manager in Hatfield Township, Montgomery County, PA.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How/what made you join the Villanova MPA faculty? How did your Villanova MPA degree help you get where you currently are in your career?

I want to be abundantly clear with my first statement:  My MPA degree from Villanova had absolutely everything to do with where I am in my career.

I have been a public servant throughout my entire career, in many different capacities.  After I finished my undergraduate degree without a clear sense of a career path, I became an Americorps volunteer and worked at a middle school in Boston as a teacher and coach.  As I was earning my MPA degree at Villanova, I worked full-time for a State Senator and then interned at Public Financial Management in Philadelphia.  After I graduated from the MPA program, I served briefly as a Government and Community Affairs Coordinator for Comcast before transitioning into local government as an assistant manager of Robinson Township in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.  The township manager moved out of the region within my first year and I was lucky enough to get promoted to that position.  I served in that capacity for another 3 years before being hired for my current role at Hatfield Township almost four years ago.

Like I mentioned earlier, I came to Villanova without a specific career goal.  I knew I wanted to be in public service and do something that mattered but I didn’t entirely know what that meant.  I discovered exactly what that meant when I enrolled in the MPA 8500, Effective City Management class, taught by two practitioners – Larry Comunale and Chris Canavan.  Before the class, my impressions of local government were shaped by the traumatic experiences of visiting the smoke filled borough building as a child attempting to buy pool passes.  Those memories led me to believe that a career in local government was only for grumpy, chain smoking employees with perms.  And unfortunately I don’t have enough hair for a perm.   After working in local government for almost 8 years, I now realize that some of the most talented and committed people work in this industry.

I am absolutely honored and grateful for the opportunity to now teach the 8500 class for the on-line students and hopefully influence them the same way I was influenced during my time as a student.  In the three plus years that I have been teaching in the program, my favorite moments are when several of the students from the classes have been either promoted or decided to make mid-career changes to pursue opportunities in local government throughout the country.

3) Were there any particular courses or learning experiences during your time in the MPA program that stood out to you?

I enjoyed all of the courses during my time as a student; however, it is the people and the culture that will always stand out to me.  I developed lifelong friendships with many of my fellow classmates and the faculty at Villanova.  There are numerous faculty members and classmates that have played a very influential role in my life and I am forever grateful for their guidance and friendship.

The Bibro Family
The Bibro Family

Faculty/Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Nissen

Meet Stephanie, an alumna and now faculty member of our MPA program! Learn more about Stephanie and her MPA experience from both sides of the classroom!

Bio: Raised in a small town in Northern Arizona, I moved to Philadelphia to attend Villanova University’s Master of Public Administration program in the fall of 2009. I earned my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona in Political Science and spent two years serving as the Program Director for a children’s camp in AZ before realizing my passion for nonprofit and public service, which prompted my decision to return to school to pursue my MPA. I graduated with my MPA in 2011 and in the spring of 2012 I returned to Philadelphia and was hired as the Assistant Director for the MPA Program. After three years as Assistant Director, I left the MPA program to assume a new role as the Instructional Designer for Villanova’s College of Professional Studies, assisting faculty with the design of their online courses for undergraduate degree programs.

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1) What was your favorite experience in Villanova’s MPA program?

It’s difficult to pick just one experience. I think, as a whole, my favorite experience would have to be seeing the MPA community grow and playing a role in organizing events that connected students with one another and with faculty. Coming from AZ, I moved to Philly knowing no one so I made it my mission to be an active part of the community and help to organize events that would bring people together outside of the classroom. My undergraduate education was at University of Arizona that has over 50,000 students so I never felt very connected to the school or my classmates. I believe my decision to attend Villanova was my opportunity to build connections with my fellow students and faculty that I never had at my previous school. I truly believe that my participation in the MPA community, whether it was at a happy hour, tailgate or lecture, added value to my experience and helped me to feel a part of community that supported my educational, professional and personal goals.
2) How did you get to join the MPA faculty?

I joined the MPA faculty in the Fall of 2012, teaching Public Administration Theory in the first term of the online MPA program. I had just started my job as Assistant Director of the MPA Program in February and during that time, worked primarily on building the online degree program; therefore, when it was time for the program to officially begin, I expressed my interest in leading one of the courses. I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Wheeland who had designed the course prior to my first term.  Having taken the course as a student I was, of course, familiar with the material; however, Dr. Wheeland was an amazing mentor and helped me to understand the material from a different perspective and serve as a facilitator of understanding of the course’s concepts and theories. My class ended up being the very first class to take place in the first term of the online program and I remember sitting at my desk, logging into class and just hoping that people would show up.  I’m happy to say that they did show up and during that first term, I had the privilege of working with some of the most talented, engaging and diverse group of individuals I had ever encountered. Admittedly, I was incredibly intimidated by their professional experience and knowledge, but I soon realized that they were learning as much from me as I was from them and I embraced the opportunity to help them to become stronger leaders and public servants through our 8 weeks together. I have since continued to teach this course along with Dr. Kelley’s Strategic Planning course. I love teaching and continuing to be a part of a program that has meant so much to me.
3) What advice do you have for current MPA students?

My advice to current students would be to not look at their time in the MPA Program as a means to end but to rather embrace the program and everything it has to offer.  Deciding to pursue your Master’s degree is not one taken lightly and is probably the degree that will have the most impact on your future; therefore, I encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity the program offers. My advice to students would be to make an effort to attend program events, both social and academic, take advantage of opportunities to intern and volunteer with different organizations and to meet with faculty and connect with them outside of the classroom, as they will become some of your strongest advocates and advisors for the future.

Alumni/Faculty Spotlight: Nick Tumolo

Meet Nick! Nick is originally from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Villanova University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He then earned his MPA degree from Villanova in 2012. It’s safe to say he thinks Villanova is a great place, because he never left and is now currently employed full-time by the University as the Assistant Dean of Students. In this role, he oversee all student conduct and other student related concerns. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the MPA online program and teaches Strategic Planning and Analysis & Research II (statistics). Before the role of Assistant Dean, he worked for Villanova Residence Life and oversaw the daily management and operations of the residence halls. He also helps to coordinate Villanova’s commencement ceremonies, the annual Villanova Day of Service, and he teaches an undergraduate leadership and service learning class.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How/what made you join the Villanova MPA faculty?

I received a Bachelor’s degree from Villanova in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2010. During my time as an undergraduate at Villanova, I became very involved on campus and met some incredible faculty and staff mentors. While I enjoyed receiving an education in engineering, I started to realize the profession was not for me, and I turned my sights to a career in Higher Education. When I started to explore the possibility of a graduate degree, I wanted a program that would provide a strong, yet broad, base in leadership and one that would also pair nicely with an engineering degree. The MPA program fit the bill perfectly, and provided the background I needed to be successful working at an institution of higher education. Right out of graduate school I found myself working in Residence Life at Villanova managing the residence halls, and three years later moved into the Assistant Dean of Students position, all thanks to the knowledge and skills I received with my MPA. As for joining the MPA faculty, the program’s professors impacted me in such a profound and positive way that when I heard there was an opportunity to serve as adjunct faculty, I jumped at the chance to serve current MPA students in the same way that my professors did for me. I love teaching in the online program and building great relationships with current MPA students and other faculty.

2) How did your Villanova MPA degree help you get where you currently are in your career?

The strong, mission-driven, values-laden foundation that is at the core of the program was something that really stayed with me, and guided me in making professional and personal decisions which landed me a career at a place I love to get up and go to work at every day, doing work that is valuable, meaningful, and fulfilling to me day in and day out. The people I met along the way – the faculty, staff, and fellow students of the program – were so instrumental in my development, and I really owe it all to them.  

3) What advice do you have for current MPA students?

Get to know your professors and fellow students as best as you can. Their experiences, wisdom, and insight is so impactful. Their professional contacts, mentorship, and friendship is priceless.

4) Were there any particular courses or learning experiences during your time in the MPA program that stood out to you?

Once again, I cannot praise the MPA faculty enough. Their mentorship, and everything they taught me, motivate me to be the best professional I can be, and even inspired me to join the ranks of faculty myself.

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Faculty Spotlight: Kimberly Reilly

Meet Kimberly Reilly! Kimberly is an adjunct professor for our MPA program, teaching the Marketing in the Cultural Sector (MPA 8299) course!

Kimberly joined the staff at Villanova Theatre in February of 2011. She brings with her a decade of experience in non-profit arts management & production, having worked previously with Act II Playhouse, Theatre Horizon, and The Devon Theater. In 2010, Kimberly was honored alongside Matt Silva with a nomination for “Best Direction of a Musical” by the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre (for the duo’s re-imagined production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). Kimberly earned her Master’s Degree in Theatre with Distinction from Villanova University in May of 2009. While at Villanova, Kimberly served as the Marketing & PR Assistant for the Theatre Department. Kimberly also received a dual B.A./B.A.H. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Villanova in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Philosophy, earning Minors in Spanish and Sociology and a Concentration in Peace & Justice Studies. Kimberly has served as the Events Chair on the Executive Board of Emerging Arts Leaders: Philadelphia (a subdivision of Americans for the Arts), as the Vice Chair of the Villanova University Staff Council, and as a Nominator for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Villanova University Honors Program as well as the Master of Public Administration Program. Kimberly is thrilled to have the opportunity to do what she loves at Villanova while helping to propagate a love for the performing arts in and around Philadelphia.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your professional background. What made you join the Villanova MPA faculty?

I’ve spent the past decade working in and around the cultural economy of Philadelphia – in roles ranging from administration to programming – to fundraising, development, governance, marketing, communication, and public relations. You name it, I’ve done it! A little over five years ago, I was offered the opportunity to return “home” to my alma mater as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Theatre program here at Villanova. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to give back to an institution that had given me so much. When the Theatre department decided to partner with the MPA program to offer a new degree track – the MA in Theatre with a Certificate in Non-profit Management – I knew I needed to get involved! I have always been passionate about nurturing the growth of our students, but I am especially enthusiastic about mentoring the next generation of  arts administrators. I believe that arts and culture are the lifeblood of our society in that they have the ability to uplift and inspire the human spirit. However, so many non-profit organizations in the cultural sector struggle to generate income and attendance. That being said, it becomes all the more essential to have bright, motivated individuals behind-the-scenes working to “put butts in seats,” so to speak. I devised my course to help equip budding arts managers with the necessary skill-set to do just that.

2) You teach the course MPA 8299, Marketing in the Cultural Sector. What can students expect to learn in this course?

This one-credit course focuses on the field of non-profit arts and  cultural marketing with a special emphasis on audience generation, online marketing, external communications, and media relations strategies. By the end of the course, students will understand the role of marketing within the context of a non-profit arts organization; demonstrate facility with marketing terms, tools, concepts, and strategies; and successfully develop a marketing portfolio that they will be able to take with them into an interview process. Regardless of what industry or role the student decides to pursue, the skills they acquire over this three week “crash course” will aid them in connecting with their constituents – in person, online, and in the media.

3) You also work at the Villanova Theatre, which is pretty cool! How does your theatre experience influence your classroom/learning setting, or vice versa?

I definitely carry my theatre persona with me into the classroom. I am always extremely invested in keeping my “audience” engaged, and to that end, I have built in a number of interactive exercises designed to keep my students on their feet. My background in performance allows me to feel at ease being “center stage” (although I never actually loved the spotlight enough to pursue acting), and my improvisational skills really allow me to roll with the punches and change course as needed. I’d like to think the course itself is pretty entertaining as well! We learn a lot, and we laugh a lot.

4) What advice do you have for current MPA students?

My biggest piece of advice is to find a career where you can combine your passions with your skills. If you’re a talented writer who loves art, consider grant writing for a local museum. If you have a mind for money, but you spend all of your free time going to concerts, pursue a management position with the orchestra. If you have a knack for social media and you think theatre can change the world, maybe digital marketing at a performance venue is for you! The cultural sector needs more smart, savvy, and business-minded individuals to ensure that our children (and our children’s children!) continue to have access to the life-changing power of the arts.

Kimberly Reilly