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Quick Facts

  • Top 25% - Ranking among doctoral programs in "Public Policy, Public Affairs and Public Administration" according to the National Research Council
  • 72 - Number of students enrolled in the program in Fall 2016
  • 12 - Number of program graduates in 2015-16

ABD Student Dissertations

Lloyd Duran, ABD

Wanzhu Shi, ABD

Shabu Varghese, ABD


 Lloyd Duran - ABD, Social Work Track

Dissertation Chair: Professor Ana LeonLloyd Duran

Dissertation Title: The Effects of Social Support and Working Alliance on Latino-American Combat Veterans

Latino-American combat veterans have been found to endorse more and higher magnitudes symptoms of PTSD, even after controlling for combat exposure. Theory states that there are specific cultural factors that may explain this phenomenon. The study, which is taking place at the Orlando VA Medical Center, aims to test if social and interpersonal factors that are pertinent to Latino-American culture have an effect on psychological functioning on the said population undergoing any type of PTSD psychotalk therapy, and if so, to what extent.  Analyses will use cross-sectional data and include confirmatory factor analysis and test a structural equation model.


 Wanzhu Shi - ABD, Public Administration Track

 Dissertation Chair: Thomas Bryer

 Dissertation Title: How and Why Social Media is Important to Nonprofit Organizations and their Stakeholders

Social media tools, as the advanced technology, have penetrated into nonprofit management field prevalently. Nonprofit organizations adopt social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for attracting potential supporters, raising advocacy, and running fundraising campaigns. Social media tools break the limitation of time and space through the Internet. They change the way of how people communicate and interact with each other. The philanthropy industry hopes that social media tools could bring them new opportunities to engage with their stakeholders, such as donors, volunteers, and customers. However since this technology is still developing, the studies of using social media strategically in nonprofit field are still at the infant stage. Many nonprofit practitioners are confused and questioning the effectiveness of applying social media tools to the public. Technology itself is not a panacea for the challenges that nonprofit organizations need to face within today's competitive world. But learning how to adopt it strategically to help nonprofit organizations having more opportunities is critical. Therefore, this study will use a mix of methodology to examine whether social media tools could help nonprofit organizations to gain a stronger relationship with their stakeholders. In addition, the study will explore which kind of current strategies that nonprofit organizations adopt could be the most effective one for having a stronger stakeholders' relationship. The study is guided by social capital and social exchange theory. It also adopts the communication models from Lewis, Hamel, and Richardson's work (2001) to develop the framework.


Shabu Varghese - ABD, Social Work Track

SAVDissertation Chair: Professor Sophia Dziegielewski

Dissertation Title: Determinants of Health-related Quality of Life of Patients with End-stage Renal Disease.

End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) constitutes a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), in 2011, the Medicare spending alone accounts for $34.4 billion for the treatment-related expenses for ESRD. The purpose of this study is to examine the causal relationship of two important determinants, perceived social support and treatment adherence with the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of ESRD patients. The study will utilize a non-experimental research design and statistical analysis that will evaluate the causal nature of the relationships between the variables in the study. It is hoped that the results from this study will provide the foundation for future interventions, which will enhance the HRQOL of the ESRD patients.

Professionally, Shabu has more than 15 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Addictions Professional (CAP) working in the field of Community Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Health Care Social Work.

If we can change the system and bring people together to have the right kind of conversations, then we can really make a long-term change in people's lives -- and that is the goal.
— Nancy Ellis,  Director, Center for Community Partnerships, UCF; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
I am especially proud to be a graduate of the program. The outstanding faculty and multidisciplinary curriculum have provided me with the unique opportunity to enjoy the kind of academic career I always envisioned.
— Joe Saviak,  Assistant Director and Associate Professor, Public Administration Program, Flagler College; Ph.D., public affairs, '07
Our goals are to offer students a venue for exploring interdisciplinary approaches to policy issues, building various skills for the professional work environment and creating comradery among PAF students.
— Lauren O'Bryne,  Doctoral Student and Secretary, Doctoral Program in Public Affairs Student Organization
I like the interactions that I have with my professors as advisors in developing my dissertation because they are critical, yet encouraging at the same time.
— Matt Bagwell,  Doctoral Student and Graduate Research Assistant, Rural Health Research Group
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