Local Student Studies Ohio's Public Administrators

Miami student body president and senior John Stefanski of Canfield, attended the conference.

OXFORD, OH (04/09/2013)(readMedia)-- Miami University continues to present students with opportunities for engagement within their academic interests. As a part of his capstone class, political science professor Philip Russo organized for 21 Miami students to attend the Ohio Township Association (OTA) conference.

The annual conference is designed for elected township officials and related personnel. It includes over 60 educational workshops, public records training, a trade show and optional networking events.

Miami student body president and senior John Stefanski of Canfield, Ohio, 44406, attended the conference. Stefanski is a public administration major and will be pursuing his masters in public administration at Syracuse University next fall. His participation in the conference was inspired by his interest in local and state government management.

Stefanski was a second-time attendee to the conference, having attended the 2012 conference as an intern for the Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs. "Over the last two years I have developed relationships with the people of the Ohio Township Association, so this second conference was a great networking opportunity," said Stefanski.

Stefanski took advantage of the conference to spend time interacting with township officials and administrators, as well as sit in on educational workshops. "I had the opportunity to take some seminars on topics not offered at Miami; Form Based Zoning, Land Banking, and Economic Development in Townships for example," said Stefanski. "It may be boring for the general public, but it is definitely right up my alley," he said.

Local officials also recognize the importance of student participation in these conferences. Miami alumnus and Ohio rep. Timothy S. Derickson (District 53) is particularly enthusiastic about Miami's continued involvement in the OTA conference. "Participating in the Ohio Township Association's annual conference exposes students to 'real world' local government issues not experienced by most township residents," said Derickson.

This initiative to provide students, such as Stefanski, with an opportunity for networking and exposure to the field is in its sixth year. Miami's Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs (CPMRA) has had a cooperative partnership with the OTA since 1995.

"Their [Miami Students] participation in conferences like these is critical to the understanding of how decisions made at the state and local level can impact the everyday lives of all Ohioans," said Michael Dittoe, director of communications and policy adviser to Speaker William G. Batchelder of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Following the conference, Stefanski reflects on the experience as one that he can draw on while in class at Miami and in the future as a professional. "Having the chance to interact with actual government officials is so valuable to me and this interaction why I truly enjoy going to these conferences." he said.