EDPOSA is a cross-campus organization for all students which seeks to facilitate discussion about topics and research surrounding education policy, provide opportunities for interaction between IU students and experts in the field, and serve as an education policy information and resource hub for the IU Bloomington community.

Our Executive Members:

President: Mike Poletika

Mike Poletika is a second year MPA student studying policy analysis and education policy. He received his B.A. from IU-Bloomington in 2011, triple majoring in Political Science, History, and Germanic Studies. As an undergradaute student, Mike was an international relations teacher assistant, interned at the Indiana General Assembly, and studied abroad Albert Ludwigs Universitaet in Freiburg, Germany. After working at IUB’s financial aid office as an undergraduate, he transferred to IUPUI where we worked for one year before returning to IU for graduate school. Mike was a research assistant during his first year of graduate school and interned at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, where he was the lead author on two education policy briefs. He is currently co-authoring an article on Indiana’s school voucher program. Mike’s research interests include school finance, equity issues, and school choice.

Vice President: Michael Cwidak-Kusbach

Michael is currently an MPA candidate concentrating in Public Finance and Public Policy Analysis, while pursuing a certificate in Social Entrepreneurship.  Before returning to school he worked for newly elected Mayor Pete Buttigieg in South Bend, IN, where he lead a team that found over $2MM in savings from operational improvements and lead the development of a city-wide performance management system.   Before his work in South Bend, he was the Director of the Office of Scheduling and Advance for education reform focused Mayor Adrian Fenty, in Washington, DC.  Michael has worked on presidential, senatorial, state, and local political campaigns and is a graduate of Princeton University with an A.B. in Philosophy.

Treasurer: Sudpita Roy

Secretary: Katie Cierniak

Katie Cierniak is a Ph.D. student in Education Policy Studies with a concentration in international and comparative education. After working in the Madison Metropolitan School District (Madison, WI) for five years as an elementary/special education teacher, Katie returned to Bloomington to begin graduate school. She has worked as an Associate Instructor and as the Assistant Director for the Cultural Immersion Projects, preparing pre-service teachers to student teach in urban, reservation, and overseas schools. She has also served as an advisor for the student group UNITE (Urban Needs in Teacher Education).  Currently, she works at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP) as a graduate research assistant. Her research interests include international and domestic urban education policy and implementation, with a focus on education for disadvantaged students in urban Bangladesh. Outside of graduate school, Katie has skated with the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls since 2008, and has been a team captain during the 2011 and 2012 seasons as well as the organization’s president in 2012.

Sponsor: Dr. Ashlyn Nelson

Ashlyn Aiko Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Bloomington and holds Adjunct Assistant Professor positions in Economics and in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. She is a consultant for the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP) and is the founder and co-chair of the Economics of Education seminar series at Indiana University. Her research examines the causes and consequences of inequality in the overlapping housing and public education sectors, and her education policy research focuses on school choice, student mobility, and education finance.

Professor Nelson’s research is funded with generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Indiana University Faculty Research Support Program. In 2010, she was named an Emerging Education Policy Scholar by the American Enterprise Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Prior to her current appointment, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University.  She holds a Ph.D. in Economics of Education and an M.A. in Economics from Stanford University. Before graduate school, Professor Nelson taught 8th and 11th grade English in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Sponsor: Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky

Leslie Lenkowsky is Professor of Public Affairs and Philanthropic Studies at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University. He is also Liaison for Bloomington Programs for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

In October, 2001, Dr. Lenkowsky was appointed as chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation, created in 1993, engages more than a million Americans of all ages in improving local communities through three initiatives: AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps. Dr. Lenkowsky was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate, after serving as a director of the Corporation and its predecessor agency during the 1990s. He returned to Indiana University in 2004.

Before joining the Bush Administration, Dr. Lenkowsky was professor of philanthropic studies and public policy at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis. From 1990 to 1997, he served as president of the Hudson Institute, an internationally renowned public policy research institution headquartered in Indianapolis. Among his other positions, Dr. Lenkowsky has served as president of the Institute for Educational Affairs, deputy director of the United States Information Agency, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and research director at the Smith Richardson Foundation. He is a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration.

A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Dr. Lenkowsky received his doctorate from Harvard University. He and his wife live in Bloomington, Indiana.

Sponsor: Dr. Suzanne Eckes

Suzanne Eckes is an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the School of Education. She is the co-chair of the educational leadership program and a research affiliate with the Center for Evaluation. She has published over fifty articles and book chapters related to school law and policy. Her work has been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Policy, Teachers College Record, Review of Research in Education, and various law reviews. She is currently an editor on the Principal’s Legal Handbook and a co-author on three school law books.

Suzanne received the Jack A. Culbertson Award from the University Council of Educational Administration for outstanding achievements in education. Prior to joining the faculty at IU, Suzanne was a high school French teacher in the Mississippi Delta region and an attorney in Chicago. She received her Ed.M. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


One thought on “About

  1. […] Through various student organizations, SPEA masters students can connect easily with a likeminded community around shared academic and professional interests. I personally can attest to this aspect of the SPEA experience. As someone who hoped to pair a passion for K-12 education with more substantive, real-world knowledge, I knew I had to become more familiar with the entire education policy context. I was immediately drawn to the Education Policy Student Association (EDPOSA). […]

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