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Tonya T. Neaves

Research Instructor; Managing Director, Centers on the Public Service



3351 Fairfax Dr., MS 3B1
Founders Hall – Room 677
Arlington, Virginia 22201

Fax: 703-993-8215



Dr. Tonya T. Neaves is the Director of Extramural Projects and the Director of the Centers on the Public Service with George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. In this role, Dr. Neaves maintains oversight of its day-to-day administrative operations as well as secures new research and development contracts and establishes a series of executive education programs. Other major activities include serving as a Research Instructor in the Master of Public Administration program and Coordinator for its Emergency Management and Homeland Security graduate certificate. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Certified Public Manager® Program. Prior to joining Mason, Dr. Neaves was the Director for the Mississippi Public Safety Data Laboratory at the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University, where she is still an active Research Fellow.

As a scholar, Dr. Neaves’ research portfolio has included securing contracts from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. To date, her total research funding approximates $6 million. Dr. Neaves has also published her efforts in the Review of Policy Research, Journal of Emergency Management, Review of Public Personnel Management, and the American Journal of Public Health. She has also co-authored book chapters in The Future of Disaster Management in the U.S.: Rethinking Legislation, Policy, and Finance, New Voices in the Old South: How Women and Minorities Influence Southern Politics. She was also an editor for the National Academy of Public Administration and American Society for Public Administration’s Memos to National Leaders.

Dr. Neaves holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University, where she also earned a Master of Public Policy and Administration. She has also participated in the University of Zagreb’s (Croatia) Center for Advanced Academic Studies, University of Michigan's Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, Duke University’s Dynamic Management and Leadership Programs, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Management and Innovation Program.

As an active member of the American Society for Public Administration, Dr. Neaves previously served as a District Representative to National Council, a Program Co-Chair for the 2018 annual conference, and the Conference Coordinator for the 2015 Northeast Conference on Public Administration. She is also the Treasurer for its Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. Dr. Neaves is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Urban Management and is a board member for Public Personnel Management.

Areas of Research

  • Communal Resiliency
  • Emergency Management
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • High Threats
  • Traffic Safety
  • Rural Mortality
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Performance Management
  • Research Design
  • Survey Methodology