Meet the Graduate Admissions Office

Feb 23 2015
The Graduate Admissions Office recruits prospective students with a diversity of interests and experiences. We also seek to make the application and admission processes as smooth as possible for all applicants to the School.


Lisa DuffyLisa Duffy
Graduate Admissions Assistant

I started in the Graduate Admissions Office in September 2013, but I am not new to Princeton University. I grew up and attended college in New Jersey and earned a degree in music education. I accepted a position in the University’s Undergraduate Admission Office after graduating from college and worked there for almost 11 years. I took an “extended” leave to have my two children and be a stay-at-home mom, while traveling and experiencing life in different parts of the country. I’ve lived in North Carolina, Texas, California and Florida. My journey has brought me back to New Jersey and to Princeton. I really enjoy working at the School where I manage the Junior Summer Institute admissions process as well as advertising and marketing for the Graduate Admissions Office. I also support the MPA, MPP and Ph.D. admissions processes.


Melissa LylesMelissa Lyles
Graduate Admissions Officer & Social Media Strategist

One of the many important skills you will acquire at the School aside from the quantitative curriculum is to learn who is who at the School, despite the fact that many of the administrators share either the same first or last name.  I am Melissa Lyles – sometimes referred to as the other Melissa.  The upside is that you only have to remember the name Melissa once.  The downside is that we may both answer you at the same time and occasionally you may send an email to the wrong Melissa.  So let me tell you a few facts about me that will hopefully differentiate the two Melissas in the Admissions Office from one another.  Prior to starting my role as a Graduate Admissions Officer/Social Media Strategist in September 2013, I spent ten years as the director of the Graduate Program Office and director of the PPIA Junior Summer Institute. I am responsible for reading all graduate applications for admission and traveling throughout the country to talk about the School to prospective students. One of my favorite things about the job is learning about social media without having to ask my 13 year old daughter!


Melissa McGinnisMelissa McGinnis
Office Manager & Technical Administrator

I have been with the Graduate Admissions Office for over 15 years, serving as the Office Manager and Technical Administrator for the past seven years. Prior to becoming Office Manager, I was a Graduate Admissions Assistant who loved answering prospective student questions and helping people complete their applications. During my time at the School I completed a M.Ed. in College Student Affairs. My favorite part of the job is maintaining relationships with admitted students after they arrive and supporting them in their journey as they pursue their careers in public service. “Seeing application forms turn into actual people who come by the office to thank you for your help during the application process is very rewarding.”



Vance StephensVance Stephens
Graduate Admissions Assistant

I joined the School in September 2013 as a Graduate Admissions Assistant. My favorite part of the job has been learning the art and the science that go into creating a well-rounded and dynamic class of students. I’ve been at Princeton in varying capacities for 10 years, each experience building upon the preceding one and providing insight for the next. As a high school student I participated in the Princeton University Preparatory Program after which I matriculated at Princeton, majoring in Sociology with certificates in African American Studies and Urban Studies. After graduating, I worked at the Princeton-Blairstown Center and in the Office of the Dean of the College. Now, I coordinate information sessions, recruitment and admit hosting weekend and work with Melissa Lyles on social media strategy and implementation. I am also a resource for prospective students with questions about the MPA, MPP and Ph.D. graduate degree programs and application processes. If you send an email to the office, I am probably the person replying to your message, and if your phone call is greeted with a smooth and baritone “Graduate Admissions,” rest assured, it is I, ready to answer any of your questions.


John TempletonJohn Templeton
Associate Dean for Graduate Admissions

I am from northern California and I love mountains, oceans and waterfalls.  Over the years home has been Madison, W.I.; Indianapolis, I.N.; Southborough, M.A.; Bangor, M.E.; Hancock Point, M.E.; the San Francisco Bay Area; Walla Walla, W.A.; Princeton, N.J.; and Red Sox Nation, Fenway Park. By crisscrossing the U.S. many times, I have visited 46 states and made international forays to other countries in Latin America and Europe. As a mono-linguistic individual, I welcome any and all opportunities from international students to remedy this shortcoming. My favorite activities are hanging out with students and alumni, spending time with my eight grandchildren, dabbling with painting, photography, gardening and anything outdoors.  If curiosity is your passion, Google my name on the website and learn more. Working in secondary and higher education is incredibly rewarding, a “wicked good" gig, and the variety of people, cultures and lives led before and after the School by our students and alumni are inspiring.  We are a place with a purpose: public service.  This institution is a public good and well worth the trek to visit and experience a vibrant, challenging, exciting and special community.