Rob A. DeLeo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science and a graduate of our Masters in Public Administration program. His dissertation focuses on policy change in anticipation of potentially catastrophic events. While much of his prior academic work examined the intersection between public health and public policymaking, he is currently involved in projects investigating the regulatory implications of nanotechnology, as well as risk taking behavior among state legislators during the committee assignment process.
While as a student and doctoral candidate, Rob has had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant and to teach courses. Rob describes one of his experiences teaching at Northeastern and involving his students in community engagement as follows. “Two summers ago, I was able to teach a Community Based Research class, which pairs a group of undergraduate students with a local non-profit agency. The two groups then collaborate on a substantive research project, which often directly relates to a public policy issue of relevance to the non-profit.”
In addition to developing his skills in teaching, Rob has had the opportunity to be involved with several research projects as a graduate student at Northeastern. “I’m lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work very closely with three professors in the Department on three separate research projects simultaneously. These projects have provided me with ample opportunities to publish my work and present at regional, national, and international political science conferences.”
“Most importantly, the personal guidance of these individuals, especially my advisor Professor David Rochefort, has proven invaluable in my professional development. Professor Rochefort has mentored and steered me through nearly every professional milestone I have reached thus far. For example, when my first peer-reviewed article was under revise and resubmit he sat with me-for more than six hours-and helped me address all of the reviewer’s comments. Also, during my comprehensive examination preparation he personally set aside time each week to review my progress.”
When asked whether he would recommend the PhD program to others and what he found most rewarding about studying here, Rob answered, “It is exceedingly rare to find a Department- a University- so committed to both academic research and community involvement. From economic development to emerging technologies, labor studies to budgeting, Northeastern faculty members are regarded as authorities among state policymakers and are actively involved in these debates. If you’re a student who is interested in academic research or public life (or perhaps both), then you stand to benefit enormously from this environment.”
“On any given day, a group of political science faculty and students will be holding forums or discussions with actual policymakers to discuss some of the state’s most pressing problems. For example, I work for the Nanotechnology and Society Research Group, an interdisciplinary research team charged with investigating the potential health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. Several weeks ago we held a workshop with more than 20 policymakers, industry leaders, and academics to discuss the regulatory policymaking environment in Massachusetts.”
“What I enjoy most about Northeastern is the people. From tenured faculty to first year Master’s students, every member of this department is concerned with not only their own success, but the success of their peers and colleagues. Everyone I have encountered is genuinely committed to advancing the interests of the entire department and is always willing to help.”