The Team

Daniel M. Donovan Jr.

Director Staten Island, New York

Our Director, Daniel M. Donovan Jr., brings over 30 years of public service to the Carey Institute for Government Reform. His credentials include: serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (2015-2019), District Attorney of Staten Island (2004-2015), Deputy Borough President (2002-2004), Borough Hall Chief of Staff (1996-2002) and Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (1989-1996.)

Dan’s background brings a unique perspective, and under his guidance, the Institute is developing solutions for issues that government has yet to resolve.

Dan is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law (cum laude) where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Saint John’s University.



Dr. Abraham Unger

Research Director

New York

Dr. Abraham Unger is Associate Professor and Director of Urban Programs in the Department of Government and Politics at Wagner College. He is a Visiting Research Scholar in the Political Science Department at Fordham University.

Dr. Unger advises private organizations and municipalities on how to leverage local assets to support urban economic development in their communities. He has been a member of the Staten Island Borough President’s Strategic Policy Advisory Committee. He is also Project Manager for the East Shore Local Development Corporation, which was established based on a major HUD Community Development Block Grant.

Dr. Unger is also the author of numerous scholarly papers and several peer reviewed books on public policy, including the volumes Business Improvement Districts in the United States: Private Government and Public Consequences (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and The Death and Life of the American Middle Class: A Policy Agenda for American Jobs Creation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He has contributed to popular publications, such as the Huffington Post and The Hill, and is cited frequently in the media on urban policy. Dr. Unger has served as a faculty member for the American Bar Association, and has several research appointments, including as Senior Research Fellow at NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, and as Senior Fellow at the OU Center for Communal Research. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University in Political Science.



Maya Barr

Research Assistant

New York

Maya Barr is a nursing student at the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing at Wagner College. She is a 2021 candidate for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Maya became interested in research her first semester at Wagner College when she became Dr. Abraham Unger’s student in his Government and Politics class. Maya has published one article titled A Physician’s Right to Conscience in the Wagner College Undergraduate Research Forum, Spring 2019. She works for the Hugh L Carey Institute for Government Reform as its research assistant.



Holly Alexander

Administrative Assistant New York

Holly Alexander is a senior English and Government & Politics major. After taking one government course her first semester, Holly chose it as her second major and has been passionate ever since about the political climate in the U.S. She knows that there is always room for improvement, and believes that the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform is honing in on some of the areas that need the most attention. Holly is also a proud member of the honor societies Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Society of Leadership and Success, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Sigma Tau Delta. Holly will graduate in May of 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and hopes to pursue a career in foreign service.

Our Scholars


Dr. Patricia Tooker

Dean of the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing

New York

Patricia Tooker, Dean of the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing, received a BSN, MSN, and post-master’s nurse practitioner’s certificate, all from Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y. She received the Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree at Wagner College with research focused on the Heroin Epidemic Among Teens and Young Adults on Staten Island, in December 2016. She holds RN licensure in both New York and New Jersey and has current BCLS and ACLS certification. Pat’s 20 plus years of practice prior to entering higher education consisted of many staff and leadership/management positions within acute care and ambulatory settings.

Her teaching responsibilities in the Spiro School of Nursing have included undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses, with expertise in critical care, leadership and management, community health, and health care administration. Pat has also taught for many years in Wagner’s undergraduate general education learning communities’ curriculum. She is the recipient of the Excellence in Service award 2005-2006, the Civic Engagement Faculty Recognition award 2008-2009, and the Excellence in Teaching award 2009-2010. She received tenure in 2005.

In 2010, she was appointed to the position of dean for integrated learning which she held until January 2017. She was responsible for overseeing the undergraduate curriculum, better known as the Wagner Plan, and continues to represent Wagner as an active member and spokesperson within the national circuits in higher

education. She is currently the Dean of the School Nursing. Her recent publications include an academic article in Metropolitan Universities (2017), Peer Review (2015), the NYU Faculty Resource Network Journal (2015), and Learning Communities Research and Practice (2014). Pat is a board member at Eger Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc. on Staten Island and was appointed to the Staten Island Health and Wellness Advisory Council, which is overseen by the Borough President of Staten Island.

Specialties: Surgical/trauma intensive care, ambulatory surgery, emergency department, community-based nursing curriculum, learning communities in higher education and the health-care delivery system.



Dr. Richard Flanagan

Research Fellow

New York

Richard Flanagan is a political science professor at The College of Staten Island, City University of New York where he teaches courses in American politics, public policy and urban studies. Flanagan is author of three books, including Robert Wagner and the Rise of New York City’s Plebiscitary Mayoralty: The Tamer of the Tammany Tiger (2014) and policy reports for such organizations as the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, the New York City Council, and the Vision for Staten Island. Flanagan was principal investigator of the Staten Island Social Capital Community Benchmark Study (2007), and co-author with Dr. Abraham Unger of the report, “Bringing Back Bayonne: A Strategic Plan for Development” (2017).



Dan Ziebarth

Research Fellow

New York

Dan Ziebarth is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at the George Washington University, and an alumnus of Wagner College, Hamline University, and Fordham University. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Hamline University and an M.A. in Ethics and Society from Fordham University. He has published work pertaining to sub-national government and public law that has appeared in scholarly journals which include the Journal of Urban Regeneration and RenewalLocal Economy, and the Kentucky Law Journal Online.

His book project, tentatively entitled “George Washington and the Nationalization of Virginia Politics” is currently under contract with Academica Press and expected to be released in Fall 2020. He has been nominated for and received multiple awards for papers based on his research, and received numerous travels grants for presentations of his work across the United States. Dan has also spent years volunteering for a number of public education programs, working with students at P.S. 020 in Staten Island, NY, Hamline Elementary in Saint Paul, MN, and Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary schools in Beaver Dam, WI.



Patrick O'Connor

Research Fellow

New York

Born in Leominster, Massachusetts, Patrick O’Connor moved to New York and graduated from Wagner College with a degree in finance in 2013. While at Wagner, he captained the football team and was named the college’s 2013 Male Student-Athlete of the Year. After three years of risk management work at JPMorgan Chase, he was accepted as a 2016 Teach for America corps member. For the last four years, he has taught high school algebra in Lawrence, Massachusetts while obtaining a master’s degree in education at Boston University in 2018. O’Connor has been accepted to Harvard Law School and will matriculate there in the fall of 2020.



Bradley Tusk

Research Fellow

New York

Bradley is a venture capitalist, political strategist and writer. Bradley is the Founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings, which includes Tusk Ventures, Tusk Strategies, Kronos Archives, Ivory Gaming and Tusk Philanthropies. Tusk Ventures is the world’s first venture capital fund to work with and invest solely in high growth startups facing political and regulatory challenges. Tusk Philanthropies is leading the U.S. efforts to allow people to vote in elections on their phones.

Bradley recently wrote a memoir called The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups From Death By Politics, hosts a podcast called Firewall, and writes columns regularly for outlets like CNN, CNBC and Quartz. Previously, Bradley served as campaign manager for Mike Bloomberg, as Deputy Governor of Illinois, as Communications Director for Senator Charles Schumer and as Uber’s first political strategist.  Bradley is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received his BA and has a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.


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