Angie Nga Le
Institution: Florida International University
Graduate Program: Ph.D., Public Affairs
Education: M.A., Development Policy, KDI School of Public Policy and Management; M.A., Public Management and Economics, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vietnam National Economics University; B.A., Economics, Vietnam National Economics University
Mentor: Dr. Hai (David) Guo, Florida International University
When Angie Nga Le graduated from National Economics University in Vietnam, her job as a communication consultant at Care International, run by the Vietnam Ministry of Rural and Agriculture, gave her “a chance to understand the management of policy at the highest levels of administration, and to understand the effect those polices had on remote people,” says Le.
While there, she led and participated in studies that focused on intended versus actual impacts of government funding to unique ethnic groups experiencing high rates of poverty.
“The more I worked, the more I wanted to understand, to feel the impact of public policy on the lives of people,” says Le.
For Le, policy is all about great design. Good policies allow those who are financially struggling to focus on the other aspects of their lives, as opposed to worrying about whether or not they’ll receive the funding they need to go on.
Le’s hunger for knowledge has led her across the globe, from Vietnam to South Korea, and finally to Florida International University (FIU), where she expects to receive her Ph.D. in public affairs in summer 2022. At FIU, she has studied the impact of grant funding on local government behavior in Florida as it intersects with K-12 education.
In Le’s dissertation, “Assessing the Impact of the Intergovernmental Grant Policies in Education – The Case of Florida,” she explores the extent to which Florida’s education grant programs actually achieve their intended or stated goals, particularly when it comes o opportunity equity and performance outcomes.
“I tried to focus the research on grant programs, how it affects local behaviors, local authority, and public service to local people,” said Le.
In 2021, Le and her advisor at FIU, Dr. Hai David Guo, published “The Effect of Results-Based Intergovernmental Transfers in the Educational Accountability System: An Examination of the Race to the Top Program [in Florida].” Guo said he loves to work with Le. Her positive attitude makes her a wonderful researcher, said Guo, and he’s come to count on her as a teaching assistant in his more difficult courses.
“’[Quantitative] Research methods,’ is the so-called ‘harder’ course for the master students,” says Guo. The course involves calculations, analysis, and computer skills. Le helps grade and tutor the students.
“I always get positive feedback [about Angie]. She’s a very good role model for them,” says Guo. “She’s a very diligent, hardworking person, and she has very good ideas about research.”
From the first moment they met, Guo says, Le knew she wanted to investigate the intergovernmental, fiscal relationship with education finance. Since then, Le has expanded on what she’s learned about finance within Florida to author a paper on the impact of grant policies in low- and middle-income parts of Vietnam. That paper was presented at the Asian Association of Public Administration Annual Conference in September 2020.
Guo believes Le will thrive anywhere she chooses to go after she defends her dissertation.
“I could see her being a great researcher. Because of her patience and her willingness to work with other students, she could become a good university faculty member in a school of public affairs,” says Guo.
For Le, the arc of her work is contingent upon being able to continue to learn. “I like ideas, and I like to learn about situations, gather all the information ,and come to initiatives that help people,” says Le. “I hope that I can develop my career as a researcher and still work on policy and administration issues, to dig deeper into the topic.”