Staff banner

Arsene Frederic Jr, Editor-in-Chief

PPJ Editor-in-Chief

Arsene Frederic Jr. is an Associate Academic Coordinator within Prince George County Public Schools. His work specifically focuses on Project Management with the Maryland Academic Validation Program and Organizational Development within the Special Education Department.

He currently is a second-year Master of Public Administration Student at American University School of Public Affairs where he serves as the Editor in Chief of the peer-reviewed Public Purpose Academic Journal and a Contributor for Black Politics Today Magazine. In his sophomore year of high school, he organized a student-led initiative for equal justice under the law for Trayvon Martin and this led to his interest in Public Policy and Public Administration. Inspired by the public service of Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, Arsene interned with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development preparing technical reports for the Single-Family Housing program policies and procedures.

As an Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Fellow, Arsene aspires to cultivate a career of scholarly research and practitioner-oriented work complementary to each other to support practical ideas with evidence-based ideas. When he is not busy writing about Afro-Futurism, he enjoys taking Hip-Hop dance class and delivering political seminars about organized interests.

Sandra Mansour, PPJ President

PPJ President

Sandra is a second-year MPP student with a focus on social policy, specifically the intersection of urban policy, poverty, and race. Previously a Resident Editor, she is currently the President of the PPJ, where she hopes to engage students from all across SPA in sharing their ideas and celebrating their work.

She completed a double degree in Government & Politics and History from the University of Maryland in 2014, with regional focuses in Latin America and the Middle East. After that, she worked for 5+ years in the nonprofit sector in the DC area, ranging from legal services to community organizing to fundraising for international development organizations. She became especially interested in domestic policy issues because of her work and internship experiences and decided to focus on how policy can improve the lives of neighbors right here at home. After graduation, Sandra hopes to work in federal or local government or conduct research at a think tank. In her free time, she likes to explore museums, read, and hang out with her husband and quarantine puppy.

Tom Lebert, Finance Director 


Tom Lebert is a Financial Specialist Co-op at the Defender Services Office in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. He works on the administrative team for the office behind the federal public defender system and supports a number of financial and administrative operations within the office.

Tom is currently a second-year Master of Public Administration student in the School of Public Affairs with concentrations in Public Financial Management and State and Local Management. As an undergraduate at American University, he was involved in a variety of student organizations in financial and administrative roles, gaining an interest in the administration of services and programs. During this time, Tom worked with a variety of student organizations and the university’s administration to change the dining service provider and improve food quality and options for students and staff. He has a strong interest in economics and financial operations, and particularly in how government programs can combat inequality and improve economic conditions. In his free time, Tom enjoys baking, perfecting his coffee and espresso-making skills, and listening to and playing music from all across the spectrum of punk and metal.

Gaspard Delaoustre, Communications Director 

PPJ Communications Director, Gaspard

Gaspard Delaoustre is a French first-year Master of Public Policy student at American University’s School of Public Affairs. While studying for a European Studies degree during his undergrad at King’s College London, he became interested in the question of gender, and especially gender in politics. This allowed him to participate in the creation of the GlobalGirl Film Festival in London, which originated from a need to give women from minority backgrounds more visibility in the film industry.

At AU, he focuses on social policy and housing reform, and is also very interested in exploring the relationship between advocacy organizations and government in the United States, where he plans on starting a career in advocacy. He currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Public Purpose Journal. In his free time, he loves to create collage artworks, and recently got into graphic design!

online team banner

Amanda Hermans, Managing Online Editor 

PPJ Managing Online Editor, Amanda

Amanda Hermans is a Master of Public Policy candidate at American University and Managing Online Editor of the Public Purpose Journal at American’s School of Public Policy. She’s interested in exploring the intersections between environmental and urban policy in the United States, with a special eye towards environmental justice.

Prior to her time at American, she worked for several years as a journalist and editor, researching and writing about a variety of topics from Medicaid expansion to urban development to outdoor recreation. She also has extensive experience in multimedia story-telling and social media management, and produced a short documentary film that was nominated for several U.S. film festivals. She is active in her community, especially regarding issues of sustainability and housing, and co-wrote a fossil fuel divestment ordinance for the city of Chicago while volunteering with the Chicago branch of environmental nonprofit In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the backcountry, reading non-fiction and playing flute.

print team banner

Erin Williams, Managing Print Editor

PPJ Managing Print Editor, Erin

Erin Williams is a second-year Master’s student in the Justice, Law, and Criminology program and serves as the Managing Print Editor with the Public Purpose Journal.

Before moving to DC, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in Sociology from Oklahoma State University. While earning her Bachelors, Erin worked for the State of Oklahoma as a Juvenile Case Manager, handling cases of child abuse, child neglect, and juvenile delinquents. She now works as a Graduate Research Assistant, primarily researching domestic violence and sexual assault. She also serves as a Program Assistant with CASA for Children of DC, working with youth who are in both the juvenile justice and foster care systems.

Erin’s primary research interests include child welfare, domestic violence, and violence against women in rural communities. After her current Master’s program, Erin hopes to continue advocating for children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, with the potential of furthering her education in a PhD program. When Erin’s not working or in the classroom, you can find her reading a science fiction novel or playing with her cats.

Solai Sanchez, Assistant Print Editor


Solai Sanchez is a first-year MPA student with a special interest in the nonprofit management concentration. She is from Allentown, Pennsylvania and earned a BA in archaeology from Dickinson College in 2015. Solai is currently the coordinator of membership and meetings at the Society for American Archaeology and a board member of a DC-based nonprofit, Archaeology in the Community. She is interested in working in the nonprofit sector with a focus on education, community impact, and racial justice.


resident editors banner

Mary Gens, Resident Editor 

Mary Gens

Mary Gens is a second-year MPP student with an interest in U.S. health care reform. She is originally from Yardley, Pennsylvania and graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a BA in Public Health. Since coming to DC, Mary has worked in the Government Affairs space, and is currently a Legislative Fellow on AARP’s State Health Government Affairs team. In her free time, Mary enjoys hiking, lifting, painting and catching the latest Marvel movie. After graduating, she hopes to contribute to work that increases affordability, accessibility and equity within the U.S. health care system.

Ryan Fisher, Resident Editor 

Ryan Fisher is a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy program at American University’s School of Public Affairs and serves as a Resident Editor at the Public Purpose Journal.

Prior to joining AU, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minor concentrations in Political Science and Spanish from Roger Williams University. As an undergraduate student, Ryan interned for the Northeast-Midwest Institute’s safe drinking water policy program, and he worked with the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island to research local women’s history in the state. His studies centered on American social and political history, culminating in a thesis on conservative gun culture in the U.S.

As a graduate student, Ryan focuses on the intersections between environmental policy and economic development, and more broadly, on the capacity of government to reduce inequality and increase welfare while addressing public policy challenges. Currently, he works as a Graduate Research Assistant in SPA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy. In his free time, Ryan enjoys bread baking, improving his Spanish, and obsessively re-watching Star Wars films.

Wade Suddreth, Resident Editor 

Wade Headshit

Wade Suddreth is a first-year graduate student pursuing his Master of Public Administration and Policy degree at American University’s School of Public Affairs. He is from Stafford, VA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University.

After graduating, he has since worked with Stafford County local government organizations serving on several advisory committees focusing on transportation policy issues, school health policies, and capital improvement planning. He also completed an internship on Capitol Hill in the U.S. House of Representatives where he worked on government appropriations issues, legislative research, and helped prepare constituent casework and correspondence. Following his internship, he has also helped work on several political campaigns in Stafford County. With his MPAP, Wade hopes to further his education by pursuing a law degree to focus on public affairs and legislative oversight. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, golf, listening to music, and reading.

Christ-Shamma Matalbert, Columnist & Resident Editor


Christ-Shamma is a graduate student at American University pursuing a Masters of Science in Justice, Law, and Criminology with a focus on Public Policy and Justice. She is committed to advancing social equity and changing the distribution of power in public policy.

She currently works as a Staff Assistant / Press Assistant for Congress Member AL Lawson Jr. Christ-Shamma also works as a Graduate Research Assistant for the School of Public Affairs and serves as a Criminal Justice columnist for the Public Purpose Journal. In her free time, she enjoys shining light on racial inequality and proposing new ideas for an equitable world for all. She likewise appreciates brunching and exploring new adventure

Alexis Patterson, Resident Editor

Alexis Patterson

Alexis Patterson is a second-year graduate student pursuing her Master of Science in Justice, Law, and Criminology. She is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. During her time as an undergraduate, she participated in the Disney College Program. She also spent time interning with the Tennessee Democratic Party. Alexis plans to continue her education in law school after graduating with a Master’s from AU. In her free time, Alexis enjoys going to museums, trying new restaurants, and anything Disney-related.

Marcel Akhame, Columnist

Marcel Headshot

Marcel Akhame is a second-year Master of Public Policy student with an interest in immigration reform and the intersection of climate change and international development. He is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, but grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Economics. As an undergraduate student, Marcel interned with the City of Denton, Texas’ City Manager’s Office, where he developed a passion for political communication. In his free time, Marcel enjoys working out, reading, practicing French, and cooking.

Samuel Pence, Columnist

Sam - Headshot

Sam Pence is a first-year Master of Public Administration student at American University specializing in nonprofit management. His work deals primarily with the origins and impacts of community dissolution, especially at the neighborhood and city levels, as well as ways to build social capital and collective efficacy through grassroots efforts. Sam was born and raised in Indiana and in 2016 completed his undergraduate degree in History at Georgetown University, where he served as a member of the undergraduate editorial board. Following graduation from American, he plans to enter the nonprofit field to help bridge the divides between neighbors in his adopted home of Washington, D.C.

Lana Al-Khatib, Visual Editor


Lana is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the School of Public Affairs. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2020 with her bachelor’s in economics and public policy. Currently, she is interested in comparative policy and international development, particularly in the Middle East. Lana is of Palestinian-Jordanian heritage and grew up in Kuwait. After witnessing firsthand the socio-economic disparities between the Gulf and the Levant, Lana aspires to work with foreign development and advocacy organizations such as Amnesty International, the International Monetary Fund, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, United States Agency for International Development, World Bank, etc.

Lana joined the Public Purpose Journal as a Visual Editor to help keep the conversation going on important U.S. public policy issues. Living in Washington, D.C., the epicenter of U.S. politics, she felt it was only fitting to work to promote sound progressive policies and shed light on issues impacting not only the United States, but also its partnering entities. In her free time, she enjoys advocating for Palestinian Solidarity, traveling to and exploring new places, and being a plant lady and a mother to her puppy.

Lennet Peñate, Resident Editor


Lennet Peñate is a first-year Master of Public Policy and Administration student at American University. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where she graduated with a degree in sociology and a minor in law and society.

Lennet currently works at the American Immigration Council in Washington D.C. In her work, she gets to work and continues learning with others passionate about immigration, and policy reform. In her free time, she enjoys reading a good book, road-tripping, arguing with her cat, and doing yoga. After graduating she hopes to be able to continue doing work in the non-profit field focusing on policy reform.