Wilder Graduate Scholars Fellowship Program
Aaron S. Talbott, is a second-year student in the Master of Public Administration program and a fellow at the VCU Office of Emergency Preparedness. He received his B.S. in mass communications and his B.A. in international studies from VCU in 2006. Prior to returning to school, Talbott worked in France, China, India and the U.S. on product development for major luxury brands. Talbott’s interest in public administration focuses on sustainability efforts.
Naomi Siodmok is a first-year student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program and a fellow at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. She received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Virginia in 2012. During the summer before her final year at U.Va., Naomi interned at the Chesterfield County Planning Department and decided to pursue a career in public service. Siodmok’s ultimate goal is to advise in the revitalization of urban centers.
Sarah Simon is a second-year student in the Master of Sociology program and a fellow at the VCU Center on Human Needs. Simon received her B.A. in advertising and public relations and a B.B.A in marketing from Grand Valley State University in 2009. Prior to resuming her graduate studies, Simon served as marketing coordinator for a healthcare marketing firm. Simon’s ultimate goal is to earn her Ph.D. and conduct research on the underlying causes of race and class-based health disparities, as well as nutrition and food-related issues.
Benjamin “Beau” Hubbard is a second-year student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program and a fellow at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Hubbard received his B.S. in finance from Virginia Tech in 2005. Prior to resuming his studies, he owned and operated a residential building company that focused on integrating energy efficient building practices into home renovations. Hubbard has a Virginia contractor’s license, and is an LEED-accredited professional for new construction. He has a wide range of interests, from environmental planning to public finance.
Katrina Fontenla is a dual degree candidate in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Public Administration programs. She is a fellow at the VCU Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory where she will conduct research for a state report that examines the status of children’s health. Fontenla received her B.A. in art history at VCU. Prior to resuming her graduate studies, Fontenla worked for a state arts agency and two national nonprofits. Fontenla’s research interests include identifying underserved communities and looking at ways to improve communities through more holistic and inclusive practices.
Sarah A. Jones is a first-year student in the Master of Public Administration program and a fellow at the VCU Performance Management Group. Jones received a B.S. in business administration and a B.A. in art history at the University of North Carolina Asheville in 2011. Previous experience includes internships with the admissions office of UNC Asheville and the Telfair Academy in Savannah, Ga., and a full-time position as a student services coordinator at a technical college. Jones’ passion lies in higher education – she enjoys working to improve the student experience and serving as academic support.
Michael Edwards is a second-year student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, and a fellow at the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA). He holds a B.A. in public and urban affairs from Virginia Tech. At VITA, he hopes to adopt and refine cutting edge technological approaches. Edwards’ ultimate goal is to serve in a leadership capacity within an organization dedicated to solving the complex problems of urban society.