Program Committee Members

The Program Committee consists of representatives from the four units that contribute to the MPP Core Curriculum: Economics, Political Science, Sociology and the School of Public Administration.  The committee oversees the MPP and its members serve as advisors to MPP students.  One committee member serves as the MPP director.

Photo: Michael S.

Michael S. Rocca

Director of the MPP and Associate Professor of Political Science

Professor Rocca received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Davis in 2004. He is currently an Associate Professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. Professor Rocca's subfield is American politics and his primary research and teaching interests relate to American national institutions, particularly the US Congress. Most of his work deals with the politics of congressional position taking and campaign contributions, respectively. Professor Rocca's work appears in The Journal of Politics, The Forum, Politics, Groups and IdentitiesPolitical Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, American Politics Research, Social Sciences Quarterly, Congress and the Presidency and PS: Political Science and Politics. Professor Rocca is an award winning instructor who teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on American politics, the US Congress and the American presidency. He is currently the coordinator of the Political Science Internship Program.
Photo: Assata

Assata Zerai

Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Sociology

Dr. Assata Zerai serves as the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. Zerai’s research interests include African women’s access to mobile technology, making the work of African women scholars more accessible, multiculturalism in U.S. Protestant congregations, and environmental justice/health access and activism in the U.S., Nigeria, and the regions of East Africa, and Southern Africa. She has published five books spanning these topics, the latest of which is African Women, ICT and Neoliberal Politics: The Challenge of Gendered Digital Divides to People-Centered Governance (Routledge 2019).
Photo: Agustín

Agustín León-Moreta

Associate Professor of Public Administration

Dr. Agustín León-Moreta received his BS in Economics from the Catholic University of Ecuador (his country of origin) and his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Public Administration and Policy from the Askew School at Florida State University. A former public service practitioner, he has many years of experience in public sector administration. He is a former Fulbright Fellow and the recipient of awards such as the Florida State University Dissertation Research Grant and the Volcker Junior Scholar Award of the American Political Science Association (APSA). At UNM, he has received the University of New Mexico Teaching Fellowship and multiple University Research Allocation (RAC) Grants. His current research includes municipal government, local public finance, and functional responsibilities such as land and water resource management.
Photo: Xiaoxue

Xiaoxue Li

Associate Professor of Economics

Dr. Li is an applied microeconomist specializing in the fields of Health Economics and Public Economics. Her research primarily focuses on the issues related to efficiency and equity in health care market, with an emphasis on the role of government policies. Her recent research quantitatively evaluates the consequences of various government policies: whether the public provisions of health care improves the health of the disadvantaged; whether the government regulations in private market improves the accessibility of care; and whether public outreach and information disclosure help enhance the effects of public policy. Prior to joining UNM, she received a Ph.D. in Economics from Syracuse University in 2015.