About the PA Board

connorbiopicConnor McDonnell, President

Connor McDonnell is excited to engage more alumni of the program. After finishing his undergraduate at Virginia Tech, he worked as an Americorp volunteer with at-risk children and then as a substitute teacher. He moved to Oregon in 2006, after working as a deckhand on an adventure cruise boat in Alaska and on the Columbia River. Connor worked for more than four years in social services in Portland helping men transition into permanent housing. He graduated from the MPA program in 2012 and works for a federal agency that supports community development, affordable housing, and homeless services. While in graduate school he worked as an Oregon Fellow at the Portland Housing Bureau and spent a term in Hanoi, Vietnam with Dr. Ingle.


linkedin-profile-pic-287-by-287Chris Chambers, Member

Fate, like bureaucracy, is amenable to interpersonal connections. This fact was lost on Chris when he started school at age 6 to “get a job.” His blue collar parents drilled into him both the determinism that education = employment and the impression that institutional machinery is tightly machined. Yet every day inside the bureaucracy there are a hundred human decisions. People who know how to grease the joint at these decision points are more successful than those who only see a lever to pull on. Unfortunately, a lifetime of strategy games made Chris an expert at operating levers, so when he graduated with a degree in history but no career in sight he was frustrated and tried unplugging and plugging in the machine several times. Then, he waited. Eventually his helpful network of friends made Chris quit camping all the time and sign up to study energy policy. And thanks to courses like National Policy Process and pints at Rogue he discovered what they already knew: you’re only as smart as your network. With the PA Alumni he is eager to build a community that makes operating institutional machinery less of a guessing game for the next generation.


emily-headshotEmily Leuning, Member

Emily grew up in Minnesota and moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Oregon. After receiving her BA in International Studies, she moved to Portland and worked in international education for several years. Emily graduated from PSU’s Master of Public Administration in 2013 and began to pursue a career in local government. She has done economic development work for the cities of Sherwood, West Linn, and Tigard. She  is currently employed with BIKETOWN, the City of Portland’s bike share system, as well as B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery. Emily is certified as a Neighborhood Emergency Team member through Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Management, and she is also on the board of her Neighborhood Association.


christopher frostChristopher Frost, Member

Christopher Frost works for the Bonneville Power Administration, an Agency within the Department of Energy. At BPA, he is manages information governance, with responsibility for the Records, FOIA, and Privacy Programs. He has been with BPA for eight years working in the Agency Compliance and Governance organization, focusing on policy and risk management for government contracting, personal property management, information governance and e-discovery issues. Prior to BPA he was an Assistant General Counsel at Louisiana-Pacific Corporation managing litigation and budget operations for the legal department.

He is a graduate of PSU’s Executive Master of Public Administration with the 2013 cohort as well as currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Affairs and Policy. He also holds a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, a B.A. in Music/Theater from Whittier College and is a member of the Oregon State Bar as well as the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics. Christopher’s EMPA capstone was titled “Electrons and Networks: Case Studies and Comparisons for Network Governance in Smart Grid Energy Policy and Implementation.”


Stephanie Hinkle, Member

Stephanie Hinkle was born in Oregon and spent her childhood moving around the state. She graduated with a BS from PSU in General Studies (she could never decide what she wanted to do), a minor in Speech/Communication and an Urban Studies Certificate. Spending years as a child advocate and the single parent of two girls, Stephanie eventually founded and directed Trillium Charter School where she was able to indulge in her interests in democratic education, social justice, and global studies. She left Trillium in 2010 to de-stress her life, support other organizations, and pursue other interests. She is currently finishing an MPA, with a Nonprofit Management Specialization. She served last school year as a student board member to PASA as well as the liaison between PASA and the MPA Alumni Association. As for career endeavors Stephanie is now working with PCC to support Career and Technical Education in area high schools as well as working with Dr. Kecskes to support the MEPI Program.


Erik Mandell, Treasurer

Bio held up in customs.

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