PhotoJonathan Cabral, Visiting Lecturer in Public Policy Graduate Studies Program

Jonathan Cabral is a manager in the Planning, Research & Evaluation Department at the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority where he regularly conducts research, as well as manages a variety of relationships and programs with nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the Authority, Jonathan worked as a Compliance Officer at Webster Bank specializing in the Community Reinvestment Act. He also sits on a number of nonprofit boards and City of Hartford commissions including its Zoning Board of Appeals.

Jonathan is a certified planner and holds a BA in International Studies and an MA in Public Policy from Trinity College. He is currently a PhD student of Geography, studying urban planning and policy at Birkbeck, University of London.

PhotoStefanie Chambers, John R. Reitemeyer Term Professor of Political Science

John R. Reitemeyer Term Professor of Political ScienceProfessor Chambers has developed a personal teaching philosophy that emphasizes academic rigor, the development of critical thinking and writing skills, engagement with the Hartford community, and that places a priority on issues of diversity.  As a teacher, she seeks to provide her students not only with the basic information related to her courses, but also with the skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to analyze and draw out the implications of the course content in a real world context.  Chambers’ courses challenge students to approach political issues with an analytical and critical eye, to keep an open mind about new ideas and concepts, and to become involved with local organizations and their projects.  In her 100 level courses she helps her student master information, comprehend course materials, and begin developing their analytic skills.  In her upper division courses she guides her students as their analytic skills become more sophisticated.  Chambers’ goal is to prepare each student for graduate level education.  As a professor of political science, she believes it is her role to guide students in a manner that will help them realize their unique potential as informed citizens in a democratic society.

PhotoMary Dudas, Senior Lecturer in Political Science

Senior Lecturer in Political ScienceMary Dudas began her study of politics as undergraduate and quickly fell in love with American Politics, Law, and Political Theory.  She earned her MA in political Science at the New School for Social Research with her thesis on Machiavelli and Nietzsche and a PhD from the University of Washington with a dissertation on Augustan Era writing about emerging commercial society, the reconfiguration of gender relationships, and empire.  She has two young boys and spends her weekend driving them to hockey games.Her pedagogy reflects the primary goal of educating students to be critical and engaged citizens. Her aim is for students to learn how to understand and evaluate the political events and political institutions that affect their lives.  Her hope that the understanding that they gain in college will encourage them to be critical and engaged citizens throughout their lives.

PhotoCandace Fitzpatrick, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Candace Fitzpatrick is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the College’s graduate program in Public Policy.  Professor Fitzpatrick is also affiliated with the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy, having both managed federal, state, and local public policy research projects and taught graduate classes in Not-for-Profit Leadership and Management during her tenure.  She began her public service career in 1994 with her election to the Simsbury, CT Board of Selectmen; she later served for 12 years as an elected member of Simsbury’s Board of Finance.  As an elected official, Fitzpatrick led the creation of Simsbury’s first Open Space policy, which has helped enable the preservation of substantial farm and woodlot acreage in the community over the past two decades.

Professor Fitzpatrick began her career as a Registered Nurse in acute care settings in hospitals in New York, NY and Washington, DC.

Sean Fitzpatrick, Professor of the Practice in Public Policy and Urban Studies and Director of Public Policy Graduate Studies

Sean Fitzpatrick teaches courses in public management, leadership, and American urban history and culture.  Prior to joining the Trinity faculty, Professor Fitzpatrick was Director of Development Services for the City of Hartford under Mayor Luke Bronin, overseeing the city’s planning and zoning, economic development, affordable housing, and code enforcement divisions.  He also led the successful completion of the prior mayoral administration’s troubled stadium project, Dunkin’ Park.  Fitzpatrick previously served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, John Degnan, who was appointed to lead reform efforts at that agency in the wake of the 2013 Bridgegate scandal.  Before entering government service, he spent two decades in the insurance industry, helping to establish one of Metro Hartford’s most successful insurance start-ups, Executive Risk, in the 1990s and later holding senior executive positions with Chubb and The Hartford.  Fitzpatrick began his career in private law practice in Washington, DC, where he represented the federal deposit insurance agencies in trial and appellate litigation arising out of the savings and loan crisis.

From 2002 through 2011, Fitzpatrick served as a Lecturer at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he taught courses in professional liability and insurance law.  From 2010 through 2018, he was an Adviser on the American Law Institute’s inaugural Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance (2019).


Tanya Gaul, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Tanya is an attorney admitted to the bars of the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Her career has been spent in public service and higher education. After graduating from Suffolk University Law School, Tanya served as a legal research clerk for the Connecticut Appellate Court and the Connecticut Superior Court, and later as a public defender in Connecticut. Tanya has been teaching policy, law and ethics in health law at Elms College since 2012. In addition to teaching, Tanya is a legal education coordinator for the Connecticut Bar Association and administers Connecticut Free Legal Answers, an online tool for providing free legal services to underserved populations in Connecticut.

Troy Helming, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Troy Helming graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Ph.D in economics in 2014.  Prior to joining Trinity College, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Florida.  His research interests include: the organization of industry, agency theory, law and economics, intellectual property, and health care economics.  Currently, his research focuses on issues in music industry as it embraces the digital age.

In the classroom Professor Helming is passionate about helping students gain a better understanding of the world through the framework of economic analysis.  He is excited to exchange ideas with students, and encourages problem solving and creative thinking while examining a wide range of economic issues.

Serena Laws, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Law

Serena Laws received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in 2011. Her research is focused on the politics of debt and debt relief, social tax expenditures, and U.S. social policy more generally. Prior to coming to Trinity, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, where she taught courses and supervised undergraduates conducting policy research for legislators in New Hampshire and Vermont. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Amherst College and is committed to liberal arts education. Her teaching emphasizes the connections between the political institutions of the United States and the everyday lives of its citizens, incorporating experiential learning and guest speakers to enhance students’ exposure to real world examples.

David Lukens, Visiting Assistant Professor of Urban Studies

David Lukens is an urban geographer with a Ph.D. in Geography from Clark University (2019). His research addresses the relationship between economic restructuring and urban governance, particularly as it is manifest in urban redevelopment, municipal finance strategies, and housing policy implementation. This research is largely comparative and seeks to disaggregate the roles of finance and state actors in shaping processes of urban change, particularly gentrification, in South Korea and the United States. David has taught at Central Connecticut State University and Clark University and worked as a visiting researcher at Seoul National University’s Institute for Korean Regional Studies. David’s teaching philosophy is based on constructivist pedagogy, emphasizing the importance of experiential learning and problem solving where the professor functions primarily as a facilitator and emphasizes the ability to ask questions through the application of theory to case studies.

Kevin McMahon , John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science

In 2024, the University of Chicago Press will publish his next book, A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other: The Deepening Divide Between the Justices and the People. In 2014, the Supreme Court Historical Society selected his book, Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences (Chicago, 2011), for its rarely-awarded Erwin N. Griswold Book Prize. Upon receiving the award, Professor McMahon delivered a lecture on the book in the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court. Nixon’s Court was also selected as a 2012 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Professor McMahon’s first book,  Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown (Chicago, 2004), won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book published that year on the American presidency. He is also the co-author/co-editor of three books on the presidency and presidential elections and author or co-author of many book chapters and journal articles.

Professor McMahon earned his PhD at Brandeis University in 1997. As an advanced graduate student, he taught for two years in Russia with the Civic Education Project (a.k.a., the “academic Peace Corps”), first in Yekaterinburg and then in Krasnodar. Before arriving at Trinity in 2005, he taught at the State University of New York, Fredonia, where he was honored with the Hagan “Young” Scholar Award. In 2006, he was a Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair at the University of Montreal. In the classroom, his teaching style is Socratic in spirit, driven by a philosophy that students perform best when they are asked to actively participate in their own learning.

Elda Sinani, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Dr. Elda Sinani is a transformational leader that elevates organizations through process improvement, building a culture of trust, and aligning technology with business objectives with 20+ years’ extensive experience developing and directing successful business models, teams and functions that facilitate operational efficiencies and positive culture. Demonstrated success leading functions across the enterprise with capability to transform and effectively restructure and organize departments to improve organizations. Adept at analyzing and implementing change management strategies across culture, technology, and people. Proven ability to partner cross-functionally to formulate, prioritize, and drive key strategies and initiatives.  Authentic and servant leadership style that nurtures an inclusive climate and generates trust, loyalty, respect, and results. Attended worldwide conferences, and spoken at well-known institutions such as Yale, Trinity College and Harvard University on subjects of Negotiation, Leadership Development, Public Policy, Arbitration and Conflict Resolution and the author of several reports and articles on human rights, public policy, leadership development, and immigration issues.

As a public policy and leadership development professor, her primary goal is to empower students to become the next generation of public sector leaders by helping them develop their intellectual skills, and understand that knowledge itself is not given; rather, it is constructed by individual experiences and interactions within a social and cultural environment.  She encourages her students to embrace their critical and independent thinking through theory and practice.

Abigail Williamson, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Law

Abigail Fisher Williamson researches and teaches on immigration policy, health policy, urban politics, and civic engagement. Her book Welcoming New Americans? Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation (University of Chicago Press, 2018) explains why cities welcome immigrants and how these efforts both promote and restrict incorporation. She is a co-editor of The Politics of New Immigrant Destinations: Transatlantic Perspectives (Temple University Press, 2017). She works with an interdisciplinary team of scholars on the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study (ARCHES), which examines how people form and change their understandings of whose health deserves society’s attention and investment. Her research has received funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ruth Landes Memorial Fund, and Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS).

From 1998-2001, Professor Williamson worked for the Eurasia Foundation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, ultimately as Associate Country Director for the Foundation’s Tbilisi, Georgia office.  From 2003-2005, she served as a Research Associate and then as Associate Director of the Saguaro Seminar for Civic Engagement at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

In the classroom, Professor Williamson aims to cultivate civic engagement while enhancing the skills and knowledge necessary to make meaningful contributions.


Public Policy Graduate Program

Graduate Studies Office 103 Vernon St.
Hartford, CT 06106
M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.