Karisa Vlacek | School of Public Administration
Karisa Vlasek is the coordinator of grants and stakeholder outreach for the Omaha Public Power District. Vlasek, is responsible for OPPD’s grant strategy which includes finding grant funding, writing grant applications, and managing funded programs. Vlasek has been involved in applications with numerous funding agencies on the state, federal, local, and nonprofit sector level including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, American Public Power Association, and Solar Electric Power Association. In addition, she supports OPPD's stakeholder outreach efforts and engages the public in OPPD business matters involving transmission and distribution projects, environmental issues, and other areas.
Vlasek holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and a Master of Public Administration with an aviation administration minor from UNO. She proudly supports the School of Public Administration by serving as a member of the MPA Advisory Board and she met with the MPA reaccreditation site team in January. She is a long-serving board member on the Grant Professionals Association Nebraska Chapter. She is also a member of the International Association for Public Participation which seeks to promote and improve the practice of public participation.
Vlasek spends her free time with husband, Scott, and daughter, Izabella, supporting UNO athletic events. The Vlasek family are avid supporters of volleyball; hockey; swimming and diving; basketball; soccer; and tennis.
Deniz Leuenberger | School of Public Administration
Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger, Ph.D., is the chief of staff and vice president for planning and strategy at Bridgewater State University. She is a proud graduate of the Ph.D. and MPA programs at UNO and credits her professional success largely to the support and mentorship of the faculty of the (then) UNO Department of Public Administration.
Leuenberger was a professor of political science/public administration at BSU and a chair and professor at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She served as the coordinator of the Master of Public Administration Program and the faculty director of the Institute for Policy Analysis and Regional Engagement. She is the former coordinator for the Center for Sustainability and is also the past director of the Institute for Regional Engagement.
She is co-author of “Sustainable Development for Public Administration” with John R. Bartle, Ph.D., and has published a number of book chapters on sustainability and public finance. She has published articles on sustainable development, strategic planning, and caring labor in Administrative Theory and Praxis; Public Works and Management Policy; State and Local Government Review; and Water Policy. Leuenberger has over 25 years of experience working with non-profit organizations and government agencies. She specializes in sustainable development; finance and budgeting; strategic planning; design thinking; and leadership development.
Leuenberger and her husband, Derek, are parents to two daughters, Kelsey and Jocelyn, and live in Massachusetts.
About the CPACS Alumni Award
The individuals honored with a CPACS Alumni Award for Excellence in Public Service demonstrate, through both their daily deeds and greatest achievements, the finest attributes of public and community service: integrity, stewardship, volunteerism, leadership, and a commitment to social justice and human dignity. They are a credit to their professions, their families, and our college. We congratulate them for this and all their achievements.
The 2019 awards are presented at a Celebration on March 5.
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