MPA Administrative Team
Robert E. Forbis Jr., PhD
MPA, PPA, MPP Interim Director
Dr. Robert E. Forbis Jr., is a former Assistant Professor of Political Science; adjunct professor for the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech University (HSC-TTU) and Research Associate with the Climate Center at Texas Tech University (CC-TTU). He is also a former Research Affiliate with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the Idaho National Laboratory (CAES-INL). His research interests primarily concern the policy nexus of environmental protection and energy development. He is the author of numerous journal articles and the book “Altered Policy Landscapes: Fracking, Grazing, and The Bureau of Land Management” (2019). He teaches courses on Public Lands and Resource Management, Climate and Sustainability, Energy and Environmental Policy, Environmental Theory, and Environmental Justice. Dr. Forbis is a recipient of the “Professing Excellence” Award (2014) and “Phi Beta Kappa Honored Professor” (2018) from Texas Tech University.
JaTara Smith, MPA
- Special Circumstances and petitions
- Graduation planning
- Dual degrees & Certificates
- Alumni connection & networking
JaTara is originally from Lubbock, TX. She is an alumna of Penn State University, where she received her Master of Public Administration degree. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of North Texas. She has worked in Utah for the last few years. She comes to the MPA program from the Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah as the Inaugural Coordinator for the African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative and the Black Cultural Center. JaTara enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying great food and a good book.
Victoria Medina, MA
Accounting and Finance Manager
Victoria Medina is the Accounting and Finance Manager for the three graduate programs housed in the Programs of Public Affairs; Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, and Master of International Affairs and Global Enterprise.
Since 2015, Victoria has overseen the finances and human resource operations for all three programs. Prior to joining the Programs of Public Affairs, Victoria spent eight years managing the Tanner Human Rights Center finances and working on their annual forum, as well, she worked in the Social and Behavioral Science college office.
Before moving to Salt Lake and working at the University of Utah, Victoria taught in Southern California, mainly in Los Angeles inner city schools. She also spent summers traveling to China to teach English.
Victoria has a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and in Rhetoric and Composition, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education, both from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. She also has certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Cal Poly Pomona, and a Grant Writing Certificate from the University of Tennessee.