Executive Board

Subiksha Ramakrishnan, Editor-in-Chief

Subi is the Editor-in-Chief of the Public Purpose Journal and a second-year Master of Public Policy student with an interest in environmental policy. She currently works as a writing tutor at the American University, videographer at American University library, and intern at the Cato Institute focusing on media relations and Tax policy.  She holds an undergraduate degree in New Media Journalism, English literature, Sociology, and History. She worked as a journalist for 2 years. In her free time, Subi enjoys running, reading, and video editing. One of Subi’s favorite songs is- Enchanted by Taylor Swift. 

Carsen Lennon, Communications Director

Carsen is a second-year Master’s of Public Policy student. She is originally from New Jersey but went to school in upstate New York, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental studies. That continues to be her policy interest when taking courses at SPA and working in DC. In her free time, Carsen enjoys DC sunsets and being outdoors! One of her favorite songs right now is “Young Once” by Sam Hunt.

PPJ Online Editor 2021-2022

David Yao, Managing Online Editor

David is a second-year Master of Public Administration student. He was born in Taiwan and moved to Seattle. David graduated with a bachelor’s in political science and history from American University in 2022 and hopes to work in health policy advocacy someday. In his spare time, David like to read, cook, wander around DC, or spend an afternoon in the National Portrait Gallery. One of his favorite songs right now is “Cornelia Street” by Taylor Swift

Emma Craig, Managing Print Editor

Emma is a second-year Master of Public Policy student with a focus in Economic Policy. She was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska and is currently a Legislative Analyst working in the housing sector. When not working or studying, Emma can be found either running, reading, or spending time with friends. Her favorite things to do in DC are to go to museums or enjoy a rooftop moment! Her favorite song is “…Ready For It?” by Taylor Swift.

Taylor Thomas, Finance Director

Taylor Thomas is a second-year Master of Public Policy student from Columbia, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s in public policy and theatre from the University of Maryland and is currently interning at the Union of Concerned Scientists. After graduation, Taylor plans to continue environmental justice advocacy work in the nonprofit sector. An avid coffee lover, her favorite thing to do in DC is find new cafes to grab a latte or cappuccino. Outside of school and work, she loves to sing alone or with friends, using our many karaoke machines. Right now, her favorite song to sing and listen to is “Alien Superstar” by Beyoncé.

Resident Editors

Ashraya Kalavakunta

Chanelle Bonsu

Chanelle Bonsu is a second-year Master’s of Public Policy student at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Her policy interests include the digital divide, energy poverty, and Black maternal health disparities. She is the Director of Training and Creative Manager for the Project on Civic Dialogue and really enjoys unpacking complicated topics. Chanelle is a DMV native and an avid concert attender. Her interests include music production, videography, food tours, and writing.

Ashraya Kalavakunta

Shelby N. Patterson

Shelby N. Patterson is a first-year MPP student. She is an honor graduate of Clemson University with a BA in secondary education English and Winthrop University with an MEd in curriculum and instruction and English. A former teacher, Shels endears supporting families and communities through educational opportunities and community engagement programming. She currently works as the coordinator of the Eagle Endowment for Public and Community Service and a program assistant in the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics. Shels enjoys spending time with family and friends, sports, exploring nature, visiting museum exhibits, meeting new people, dancing, cooking new recipes, and travelling. Upon graduation from AU, Shels will continue her doctoral program and pursue a second career in public policy and management.


Tyler Eliades

Tyler Eliades is a Masters in Political Science student at American University’s School of Public Affairs. He has also received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science from American University along with a double minor in History and American Studies. Originally, he is from Long Island, New York. Tyler has many interests including interests in the Presidency, Congress, as well as Foreign and Domestic affairs. He currently works as a Graduate Student Ambassador in the Office of Graduate Admissions at the School of Public Affairs. In his free time, he is usually keeping up with the news, talking to his family and friends or watching his favorite TV show: The Big Bang Theory!

Nora Zacharski

Nora Zacharski is a second year Master of Political Communication Student who grew up in the Midwest. She earned her undergrad degree from Denison University, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in communication and narrative journalism. She is passionate about advocating for solutions to the climate crisis, and currently works in media relations for a climate policy think tank. Outside of school and work, she enjoys spending time outside, running, reading, and cooking. 

Hasini Jayawardena

Hasini Jayawardena is a second-year Master of Public Policy student inspired by scholars like Dr. Edward Said ,Dr. Angela Davis, Frantz Fanon, Antonio Gramsci etc with an interest in exploring the potential for decolonial policy approaches that engage with structural violence, abolitionist practices, human rights and grassroots communities. Originally from Colombo, Sri Lanka, she travelled to the United States upon receiving her Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law from the University of London to pursue her BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She currently works as a Graduate Marketing Assistant at the Washington College of Law, AU as well as is a Reilly Scholarship recipient for the year 2024 set to work as a Communications Intern at the Children’s Environmental Health Network. She has experience in communications, political education/training and grassroots community legislative engagement through various professional experiences including working with Amnesty International USA. Brought up Buddhist, she holds at her core the values of compassion, equanimity, community and most importantly radical love in the work that she engages in. 

Join Our Team

The PPJ is looking for graduate students at American University’s School of Public Affairs to join the team as authors, columnists, or resident editors!