Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs Graduates

Joshua D. Ambrosius Ph.D. 2010

Joshua D. Ambrosius is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Political Science and a core faculty member in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Dayton.  He received his Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs from the University of Louisville in 2010.  Prior to coming to UofL, he received a Master of Public Policy degree and a Certificate in Nonprofit Studies from Johns Hopkins University.  Joshua’s research explores urban and regional governance, housing markets and policy, and religious preferences for institutional design.  His peer-reviewed academic work has appeared in the Journal of Urban Affairs, the American Review of Public Administration, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Urbanism, and the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.  During his time in the Ph.D. program, Joshua was awarded the University Fellowship and taught undergraduate courses in the Department of Political Science.  He was also honored with the Graduate Dean’s Citation, the UPA Outstanding Dissertation Award, and induction into Phi Kappa Phi.  Joshua worked closely with his mentor Dr. John Gilderbloom, resulting in several co-authored publications, and still holds the title of Senior Research Fellow with Dr. Gilderbloom’s Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods.  Joshua believes his participation in the program was excellent preparation for future teaching and research at a highly-ranked national university.  He says, “I chose UofL’s UPA program because this is a great place to study policy and administration in the urban context.  There are many opportunities for close collaboration with some of the top scholars in several fields.  The program is small, rigorous, and well-designed.  If you’re interested in doing a Ph.D. related to urban affairs, don’t overlook UofL!”

Jeffery L. Osgood, Ph.D. 2009

Jeffery L. Osgood, Jr., a 2009 graduate of the University of Louisville’s doctoral program in urban and public affairs, is director of West Chester University’s Center for Social and Economic Policy Research, a million dollar research organization just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Jeff began his studies at Louisville as a University Fellow and spent his last year as a research assistant for Dr. Hank Savitch, the University’s Brown and Williamson Distinguished Research Professor.  Upon graduating, he accepted a tenure track position in the Department of Political Science at West Chester in 2009.  In 2013, he was named founding chair of the newly created Department of Public Policy and Administration.  The author of numerous articles and manuscripts, Jeff co-authored a book for the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) Public Policy and Administration book series, exploring the intersection of local economic development and sustainability.   Jeff’s work also is found in: Government & Opposition, Public Personnel Management, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Economic Development Quarterly, the Journal of Urban Affairs, as well as several other outlets.  Jeff credits his success to the faculty and program at the University of Louisville where he was able to work with some of the top scholars in the field of urban policy and administration.  These same faculty members continue to engage, support, and encourage students in their own development as scholars. Lastly, and certainly not least, Jeff reflects back that the career preparation efforts (i.e. job talks, career roundtables, publication assistance) provided by the program’s faculty allowed him to smoothly transition from student to scholar and faculty member.

Susan Opp, Ph.D. 2007

Dr. Susan Opp received her Ph.D. from the Urban and Public Affairs Program in 2007.  She is now a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science at Colorado State University.  Since graduating from UofL, her publication record includes two books: one edited volume on global sustainable development and a co-authored book in the ASPA Series for Public Policy and Administration.  Susan’s research can also be found in a number of academic journals including: Urban Affairs Review, Economic Development Quarterly, Journal of Urban Affairs, Environmental Practice, and the International Journal of Public Administration.   Other activities have included serving as the MPA Director for a NASPAA accredited MPA program at Texas Tech University (where she held a tenure track Assistant Professor position from 2007-2009) and a steering committee member for the Clean Energy Supercluster at Colorado State University. She teaches across the BA, MA, and Ph.D. levels at Colorado State University.  Susan attributes a great deal of her career successes to the training and experiences she had at UofL.  She says, “the interdisciplinary format of the degree has allowed me to move across several disciplines with ease.  It has also allowed me to read, understand, and engage in scholarly work in economics, political science, business administration, and sociology.  This type of training is both unique and valuable.  The professors at UofL provided me with a great foundation to begin my career.” Additionally, she adds, “the city of Louisville is an exciting place to be a graduate student!”  She misses the Derby festivities, the diverse culture, and the wonderful people that make Louisville unique.

 Wesley L. Meares, Ph.D. 2014

Wesley L. Meares is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and a core faculty member of the Master of Public Administration program at Georgia Regents University. He also directs the interdisciplinary nonprofit minor and certificate. He received his Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs from the University of Louisville in 2014. Prior to coming to Louisville, he earned an MPA from Western Kentucky University and a BA in Political Science from LaGrange College. His research interests include housing, economic development, sustainability, urban politics and policy, and the role of nonprofits in neighborhood revitalization. Wesley’s peer-reviewed research can be found in a number of academic journals including: Journal of Urbanism, Community Development, Cities, and Local Environment. He believes that the training he received at U of L was invaluable for his preparation to teach and research at an R1 university. At U of L Wesley enjoyed learning from top scholars in urban policy and administration. “Having the opportunity to be in an interdisplinary department with professors who care really reinforced why I selected U of L,” he reflects. “Their encouragement and guidance helped me become better. All the professors took a personal interest in the success of students inside and outside the classroom. If you want a program that is rigorous and really cares about your development, then look no further than here.”

 Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Ph.D. 2017

Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah holds a tenure-track, joint faculty appointment with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Community for Global Health Equity at the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo. His doctoral studentship was funded with the University of Louisville’s prestigious University Fellowship; he received his Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs in 2017. Emmanuel was co-mentored by Dr. Janet Kelly and Dr. Sumei Zhang. He notes, “I was trained to see beyond disciplinary boundaries, to understand and apply different disciplinary methods and theories to address ‘wicked social problems.’ After all, we are trained to help solve societal problems, not disciplinary problems.” Emmanuel’s dissertation received the 2017 John M. Houchens Prize for the Outstanding Dissertation by the University of Louisville. He was also awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Prize by the Department of Urban and Public Affairs. Emmanuel’s research lies at the intersection of urban planning, public policy, environmental governance, land tenure, and sustainable urbanism in both Global North and South countries. His current research projects draw on theoretical constructs from schools of thought such as constitutional political economy and polycentric governance to explore complex urban planning, public policy, and environmental governance issues in postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa countries (e.g. collective action dilemmas of urban traffic pollution, urban agriculture and food networks, political decentralization, and urban planning paralysis). Emmanuel’s research has appeared in international peer-refereed journals such as Ecology and SocietyPlanning TheoryTransport PolicyJournal of Housing and Built Environment, Geo: Geography and Environment, and Geography Research Forum.