Prior to starting at COD in 2019, Maureen taught at University of Illinois at Chicago, Dominican University, and Wright College (City Colleges of Chicago). Prior to teaching, Maureen worked in the nonprofit sector in the fields of international and community development both domestically and internationally. From work with migrant farmworkers in New York State to Peruvian working and street children to urban youth and foster children in Chicago and Los Angeles, Maureen has extensive experience at the grassroots and policy levels. She has trained volunteers to work overseas in education and community development as well as done lobbying and policy work on global economic and trade policy.  Her research interests are primarily focused on urban resiliency and understanding how cities bounce back from economic shock, social capital and inclusive cities, international development, globalization, and methods of social change.


PhD in progress in Political Science 

University of Ilinois at Chicago, Fields: Comparative Politics and Urban Politics

M.A. International Relations

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Concentrations: Social Change and Development; International Economics   

B.A. International Studies

The American University, Minors: Spanish and Economics                                                                       


Recent Courses Taught

American Politics

Introduction to Political Science

Comparative Politics

Selected Publications

Zhang, Yue and Maureen Heffern Ponicki. "Fighting Economic Decline: What Can America's Rustbelt Teach Us?" Under review 2021. 

Filindra, A. and Heffern Ponicki, M. (2020). “Segregation,” Caliendo, Stephen M. and Charlton D. McIlwain, eds. 2020. The Routledge Companion to Race and Ethnicity (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Heffern Ponicki, Maureen. “What Can a Micro-level View Tell Us About Plurinational Bolivia?” (2018) Journal of International and Global Studies Vol 10 (1). (Review Essay)

Book review of Ambassadors of the Working Class: Argentina’s International Labor Activists & Cold War Democracy in the Americas by Ernesto Semán (2017). Journal of International and Global Studies Vol. 9 (2).

Simpson, Dick, Maureen Heffern Ponicki, Allyson Nolde, and Thomas Gradel. 2017. “Chicago’s Evolving City Council: Chicago City Council Report #9,” Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago.


Selected Conference Presentations

A Cross-national Comparison of Urban Resiliency: Power of Intergovernmental Support and Social Connectivity - The American Political Science Association, September 2020

Cities and Economic Shock: Can Social Connectivity and Intergovernmental Support Provide an Answer? - The American Political Science Association, September 2019

Discussant, State Structures and Policies Panel and Roundtable Member, Service-Learning Panel - The Midwest Political Science Association,  April 2019

Inclusive Resiliency in America’s Rust Belt: Comparing Buffalo and Pittsburgh -The American Political Science Association, August 2018

Deindustrialization in America’s Rust Belt: Do Governing Coalitions Build Urban Resiliency in the Case of Buffalo, NY and Pittsburgh, PA? - Urban Affairs Association Conference, Toronto, April 2018 and Comparative Historical Social Sciences Conference, Chicago, May 2018

Public Housing Reform: Can It Improve the Well-being and Capabilities of the Poor? - Illinois Political Science Association, November 2016 and Midwest Political Science Association, April 2017



2019 University of Illinois at Chicago Dean's Scholar Fellowship Award

2018 University of Illinois at Chicago HOPE (Honoring our Professor’s Excellence) Award

2018 University of Illinois at Chicago Provost’s Award for Graduate Research

2018 UIC Political Science Milton Rakove Memorial Fund Award for Graduate Research

UIC University Library Special Collections Graduate Student Fellowship (2018 – 2019)

The 2017 UIC John Echols Memorial Award for Best Graduate Paper in Comparative Analysis



American Political Science Association

Midwest Political Science Association

Urban Affairs Association

Chicago Council on Global Affairs



Faculty Co-Advisor, Model UN

Chair, Latin American Studies Committee

Member, COD Women's Committee

Member, COD Votes Team