Profile: Melissa Emerson and Tonya Neaves
Working on a Ph.D. can be overwhelming at times, but it makes all the difference to have a friend who can listen, advise and support.
Melissa Emerson and Tonya Neaves have definitely bonded through the ups and downs of completing their degrees, and they're also helping make a name across the country for MSU's public policy and administration program.
Both students are active participants in their field's leading organization, the American Society of Public Administration. Neaves has served as national student representative during the 2012-13 year, and then she nominated Emerson for the same role, with her friend getting ready to take office in March.
"Serving in this role is a monumental responsibility, working alongside prominent academicians and practitioners to accomplish many goals," said Neaves, who already holds two degrees from Mississippi State. The two met in the summer of 2010 and immediately knew they had much in common.
"We have a similar outlook on life, especially when it comes to work ethic, and we just enjoy each other's company," said Emerson, a Wisconsin native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who holds a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota.
While they are alike in many ways, both have chosen very different focus areas in their research and career pursuits.
Neaves, a native of Greenville, developed an interest in alcohol-impaired driving and effective use of resources in her work as a research fellow for the Public Safety Data Laboratory at MSU's Social Science Research Center. With guidance from SSRC Director Art Cosby, she has been instrumental in the development and evaluation of the performance management systems for Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Emerson's focus is on the public sector's motivation in the workplace, and she wants to pursue a tenure track faculty position in public administration at a solid research institution.
The two have come full circle in their studies, however, finding common ground in several research collaborations which emphasize public administration and skill sets.
The commonalities that these women have shared in their studies at MSU and in life will connect them long past December when they will cross the stage in their graduation regalia and venture into the rest of their lives.Writer: Harriet Laird | Photo: Russ Houston
Next week … David Jones !