Meet the Staff

The School of Public Policy staff are dedicated to serving the needs of students in a variety of areas. These administrative staff with extensive experience at Pepperdine, broad exposure to policy and student service, and exceptional commitment to the mission and success of the school are identified below with job functions and service areas.

Pete Peterson

Pete Peterson (MPP '07)
Interim Dean
Executive Director, Davenport Institute

310.506.8054
pete.n.peterson@pepperdine.edu

  • Administration and Faculty
  • Development and Strategic Planning
  • Consulting/Training, Public Engagement Skills
  • Training, Online Engagement
  • Writing/Speaking, Public Engagement
Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith
Assistant Project Director, BetaGov

310.506.7490
kelly.smith3@pepperdine.edu

  • Data Quality Assurance
  • Project Fidelity
  • Research
Sheryl Covey

Sheryl Covey
Assistant Dean for Administration

310.506.7470
sheryl.covey@pepperdine.edu

  • Academic Affairs
  • Administrative Services
  • Budget Management
  • Information Technology
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Student Affairs
Ashley Trim

Ashley Trim (MPP '09)
Assistant Director, Davenport Institute

310.506.6878
ashley.trim@pepperdine.edu

  • Annual Grant Program
  • Events
  • External Relations
  • Institute Administration
  • Public Engagement Blogs
  • Research
  • Student Relations
Marissa Davis

Marissa Davis
Director of Student Services

310.506.7561
marissa.davis@pepperdine.edu

  • Admission
  • Academic Advising
  • Financial Aid
  • Database Management
  • Student Services
Melinda van Hemert

Melinda van Hemert
Assistant Dean for Admission, Student Services, and Financial Aid

310.506.7492
melinda.vanhemert@pepperdine.edu

  • Admissions
  • Career Services
  • Financial Aid
  • Internship Services
  • Recruitment
  • Student Counseling
Maurice Derrico

Maurice Derrico
Executive Assistant to the Dean/Project Coordinator

310.506.7686
maurice.derrico@pepperdine.edu

  • Administrative Services
  • Donor Relations
  • Events
  • External Relations
  • Graduate Assistants
Kirsten Vassie

Kirsten Vassie
Admission Assistant

310.506.7572
kirsten.vassie@pepperdine.edu

  • Admission
  • Campus Tours
  • Database Management
  • Events
  • Recruitment Calendar
Mary Jo Hardman

Mary Jo Hardman
Administrative Assistant, Office of the Dean and Faculty

310.506.7395
maryjo.hardman@pepperdine.edu

  • Administrative Services
  • Events
  • Room Reservations
  • Student Affairs
James Wilburn

James R. Wilburn
Dean Emeritus

310.506.7490
james.wilburn@pepperdine.edu

  • Advancement and Development
  • External Relations
  • Instruction
  • Research
  • Strategic Planning
Jonathan Kulick

Jonathan Kulick
Project Director, BetaGov

310.506.8052
jonathan.kulick@pepperdine.edu

  • Grant Writing
  • Research
Yiwen Zhang

Yiwen Zhang (MPP '13)
Assistant Projector Director, BetaGov

310.506.7353
yiwen.zhang@pepperdine.edu

  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Research
Christina Ramirez

Christina Ramirez
Director of Communication

310.506.7497
christina.ramirez@pepperdine.edu

  • Community Relations
  • Creative Services
  • Events
  • Marketing
  • Media Advisor/Public Relations
  • Web and Social Media
Diane Yaris Adkins

Diane Yaris Adkins
Director of Career Services

310.506.7488
diane.yarisadkins@pepperdine.edu

  • Career Guidance
  • Employer Relations
  • Internship Assistance
  • MBIT Assessment
  • Professional Development
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