Advisors and Staff

Joseph Mahmud

Phone number:212.237.8985

Room number: 533.06 Haaren Hall

Joseph Mahmud is the academic assessment manager for the MPA Program. He manages program evaluation, assessment, and accreditation. His goal is to enhance the program, so it excels in standards for accountability, inclusiveness, integrity, and justice.

Joseph has worked for several public and private sector organizations over the past 20 years. As an inaugural Ron Moelis Fellow, Joseph won a social innovation entrepreneurship competition, hosted by Echoing Green and Barclays Capital. There, his team pitched a smartphone app that connects justice-affected individuals with essential resources and allows policymakers to make equitable decisions. He was also the inaugural Pinkerton Foundation Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of New York City, where he helped launch the “Case Closed” project, amplifying New York’s record-sealing law. In his free time, Joseph enjoys reading, technology, and learning new skills. He is a co-founder of an e-commerce company that seeks to foster equitable communities around the world through education, representation, and justice. 

Joseph is a member of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Association of Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM), International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

Lisa Rodriguez, MPA

Operations Manager/ Adjunct Lecturer/ Administrative Assistant for ACIA

Lisa Rodriguez has 30 years of experience working for John Jay College in various capacities. From the Library to Public Management, she started as a college assistant and worked her way up to Operations Manager for Public Management. As Operations Manager, she oversees office operations and possesses a thorough understanding and knowledge of the multi college-level system. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer for the department since 2009.

For ten years, she continues to work as the Administrative Assistant to the Academy of Critical Incident Analysis (ACIA), assisting in promoting and disseminating scholarly research relating to the emergence, management, and consequences of critical incidents. The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis has been established to encourage and share academic research on the emergence, management, and effects of critical incidents.

She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology and an MPA with a Specialization in Management and Operations and Human Resource Management. She is also a proud member of Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA), the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration. In addition, she has been awarded several Teacher Appreciation Awards and received the John Jay’s Bravo! Employee Appreciation Award in 2017.

Mechelle Grayson

Phone number: 212.781.5215

Room number: 533.30HH

Mechellé is The MPA Career Advisor and Coach who assists students in achieving rewarding employment. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, she passionately works with MPA Students from all backgrounds, industries, and stages. Students find her to be highly intuitive, motivational, goal-oriented, and supportive. 
Mechellé assists students with the following: Job Search Coaching and Resources, Resume and Cover Letter Writing, Interview Skill Building,  Networking Skills and Opportunities, Fellowship and internship advising, and Confidence Building. 
As an Adjunct Introduction to Marketing Instructor, she teaches students the importance of personal branding and uses marketing concepts to show students how to effectively market themselves. She earned an M.S.ED in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College and a B.S in Marketing from SUNY College at Old Westbury. 



Melissa A. Joseph   
Room number: 533.18HH

M. Joseph is the MPA-IO Advisor and has sixteen total years’ experience in Academic Student Services at universities along the Eastern coast of the United States, and an additional five years in general Student Services at Temple University. Before joining the Department of Public Management in the start of Fall 2016, she was employed in the SEEK Academic Support Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, here at John Jay College. She has worked with a varied cohort of students in the past: Division I student-athletes, students pursuing STEM degrees, active-duty military, veterans, military family members, EOP/EEOP undergraduates, and now graduate students. Each cohort adds to her knowledge base on how to assist students towards their goal of graduation. Her primary duties currently are academic advising and counseling to incoming and continuing Public Administration students, developing Degree Completion Plans for all students, performing degree audits for graduating students, transcript evaluations, and all other duties that are associated with enrolled students.

Ms. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Arts: Criminal Justice from Temple University and a Master in Public Administration: Inspection and Oversight from John Jay College.

Navoda Katukurunde Hewage 

Room number: 533.13 HH

Navoda Katukurunde has earned her bachelor’s in Criminology with a minor in Public Administration at John Jay College. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). She consistently worked with NSLS students in groups, took part in a leadership role, and volunteered for the homeless. 

Currently, Navoda is a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program. She is specializing in Human Resource Management and Criminal Justice Policy. Besides, Navoda is a college assistant for the MPA program. She compiles data, prepares monthly reports, and collaboratively works with academic advisors to accommodate MPA students with inquiries. As she diligently works as a college assistant, Navoda is also a member of the Teaching and Learning Center Advisory Board. As a board member, she focuses on social justice and equity to bring effective practices that can enhance TLC activities and performance. 

Apart from this, Navoda is a passionate and versatile dancer. She enjoys choreographing dance routines and making dance videos in her free time. 

Samiha Rashid Riham

Department Phone Number: 646.220.2464

Samiha pursued her Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity. Prior to her enrollment in the Master’s program, Samiha completed her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and earned several prestigious scholarships for performances on her robotics and artificial intelligence projects. Samiha provides technical expertise to the MPA department that includes faculties, staffs, and students. She also works on the departmental website management and assists to manage a substantial number of department and program-related zoom meetings.

She has worked as a technologist in multiple renowned organizations focusing on projects in database management and microcontroller programming. Samiha also earned her Associate’s degree in Electromechanical Engineering.

Samiha is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Women in Technology & Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY).

Outside her work at John Jay, Samiha is a food lover, great cook, and a big fan of sightseeing. She takes a great interest in traveling and exploring historical backgrounds.