About Us

Current Students

The Master of Arts in Policy Studies program defines itself as a community of people who believe policy can make a difference. Students engage in the academic pursuit of policy solutions in arenas, such as: environment, labor, education, health, human rights, technology, and local and state government.

Read about some of our dynamic Policy Studies graduate students, their educational backgrounds, and research interests.

2014 Cohort

James Campbell

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics and Public Policy

Research Interests: As it currently stands, our government, the mainstream media and multinational corporations (especially the banking system) have become so intertwined as to be indistinguishable from each other.  Lobbyists incessantly preach the virtues of free market economy to our politicians while decrying wealth redistribution as a socialist ill. However, wealth is primarily being redistributed upward to the “Capitol Club” members, not to the unrepresented citizenry outside the Beltway. James' research interests primarily focus on how public policies in the U.S. are influenced, and often corrupted, by wealthy individuals and corporations; and the resulting social impacts of economic inequality.

Snapshot: James was born and raised on the East Coast along with seven brothers and sisters.  After graduating from high school (Long Island) and community college (Tampa), he moved to Washington State with his wife (married 30 years). They started Storybook Homes Inc., a homebuilding business, in 1984. Meanwhile, they raised two sons who both graduated from the University of Washington. In 2008, at the beginning of the Great Recession, he retired from homebuilding. As the recession wore on, and the causes of it were exposed, he took a particular interest in how virtually none of the white collar financial crimes were prosecuted. He also began to take notice of how our prisons are disproportionally burgeoning with people of color; many of whom were convicted of crimes far less serious than the multi-billion dollar offenses on Wall Street. When he learned of the LEPP program at UWB, James found it was necessary to step out of retirement and refocus his life on these issues. They are too important to ignore because America, in his opinion, has become an aristocracy in grave danger of self-destructing. 

Sarah Domondon

Undergraduate Institution: Washington State University
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science, Global Option

Research Interests: International development and diplomacy, conflict resolution and gender policy

Snapshot: Seattle native, but avid traveler and global citizen. Sarah's background is in the health care field, working as a medical assistant, interning with the Washington Health Foundation and partaking in several medical missions to the Philippines. She wanted to take from this the spirit of helping others, but on a much different level as a policy actor. Her long-term trajectory includes working in international policy, focusing on women's roles in economic development. She currently serves as a Mentor and Facilitator for Young-Women Empowered and loves to work with other inspiring youth and women in the community. Her interests include travel, surf, being an avid foodie and living an active lifestyle.

David Gordon

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics and Public Policy

Research Interests: Effects of marijuana legalization locally and worldwide, economics of drug trafficking

Snapshot: David likes to spend his free time in his sandbox or riding his trike. He recently built a treehouse in front of his house, so that's where he can be found these days.

Lisa Maynard

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies

Research Interests: Social justice, human rights, international development, cultural studies, underprivileged children’s access to education, international non-profit, structural growth in connection and relation to social growth

Snapshot: Lisa tries to travel as often as she can, but she was born and raised in the Seattle area and she's grateful for it. Because her undergraduate education was such a great experience, she is excited to return to the UWB campus for graduate school. Her goal is to work with both local and international nonprofit organizations to ensure social needs are continuously developing and met. She is excited for the new opportunities and endless possibilities to come.Lisa hopes to visit Europe and more of Latin America in the next few years. She enjoys photography, traveling, movies, and keeping busy.

Richard Meyer

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics and Human Behavior

Research Interests: Agricultural policy, environmental policy, food production/distribution, human rights, labor rights

Snapshot: Richard was born and raised in the Seattle area. During his time as an undergraduate student at UWB, Richard developed interests in policy, environmental issues, and human rights. He feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue his studies at UWB as a graduate student in the MAPS program. Richard is a big Seattle sports fan. He loves spending time with friends and family, and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities.

Oscar Meza-Garcia

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Business Administration, options in Marketing and Information Systems

Research Interests: Healthcare, education and immigration policy

Snapshot: Oscar currently work as a Regulatory Compliance and Business Development Analyst for a company in the healthcare field.  he is not sure if he wants to remain in this field but he plans on learning as much as he can about healthcare and other fields throughout his time in this program. He grew up in the Seattle area and looks forward to making a positive impact in this community in the near future.  In his free time he spends time with friends and family, tries new bars and restaurants and plays baseball in the summer. 

Michael Richmond

Undergraduate Institution: Renton Technical College, Western Governors University
Undergraduate Degree: Automotive Technology, Business Management

Research Interests: Higher education, public education, and international/domestic business

Snapshot: Michael worked as an ASE Master Automotive Repair Technician for Puget Sound area Ford dealers for 13 years. In 2006 he was granted the opportunity to become an instructor for Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT). He teaches in the Automotive Repair Technician program at LWIT where he instructs in the areas of Brakes, Steering/Suspension, Engines, Heating & A/C, and Automatic/Manual transmissions. While at LWIT, Michael has participated in such committees as Strategic Planning and Accreditation.

Maia Williams

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Comparative History of Ideas, with a minor in Education, Learning, and Society

Research Interests: Education system, prison industrial complex, economic policy, and other areas related to social equity and justice

Snapshot: Born and raised in Seattle, Maia is passionate about creating and maintaining a city and region that allow everyone to grow and thrive. While excited by many aspects of the area, such as the strong tradition in alternative education, Maia wants to improve existing systems and create new ones to give everyone access to the resources, opportunities, and outcomes needed to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

2013 Cohort

Mojan Ahmadi

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy

Research Interests: City development, urban planning, public education system

Snapshot: Mojan developed a passion to improve the community during her time as an undergraduate at the University of Washington Bothell. She is now an intern for the City of Kirkland in the City Manager's Office with hopes of advancing in local government. She is also an Assistant Career Advisor at the UWB Career Center. The MAPS program is an incredible opportunity for Mojan to refine her passion and apply it in a focused, direct manner alongside her cohort. Her hobbies include listening to music, playing volleyball, and makeup artistry. 

Bryan Austin

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics and Human Behavior & Community Psychology

Research Interests: Policy creation concerning the use of UAV/Drone technologies in both foreign and domestic arenas, and its impact on human/civil liberties. Areas of possible focus would be access and application at both the federal and state levels.

Snapshot: Bryan was born and raised in Texas. After high school, he spent some time in the Navy where he developed a fascination for traveling and experiencing different cultures and environments. He has since met and married a wonderful woman who shares this fascination. They have thus far been fortunate to have visited places like Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, China, Philippines, the Persian Gulf region, England, France and Italy as well as domestic travels to every state (except North Dakota and Alaska) west of the Mississippi.

Bryan has recently rejoined the learning community simply because he has learned that the ‘school of hard knocks’ can only get you so far and because opportunity has presented itself. He has always had the desire to learn but has had to struggle with the means in which to pursue those desires. He is truly blessed at this moment in his life.

Kelly Berg

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies

Research Interests: U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, International non-profit policy, Human Rights (specifically as it pertains to children and refugees)

Snapshot: After moving around the country, Kelly has settled in the Seattle area, recently graduating from the University of Washington Bothell with a degree in Global Studies. She would like to carry on learning about global issues as they relate to policy, particularly in the non-profit sector. She is currently a Refugee Resettlement intern at World Relief, and – on a completely unrelated level – works in administration and sales for Springfree Trampoline. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys the same outdoorsy activities that all Washingtonians do, cooking, and spending time with her husband and corgi. She also represents the Policy Studies program as a Student Ambassador.

Megan Conaway

Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science and Spanish

Research Interests: Environmental policy, education, international policy, human rights

Snapshot: Megan is excited to join this cohort and meet individuals with different opinions. She enjoys photography, and hopes to travel to South Korea, Germany, and China.  She is interested in working for a nonprofit organization and creating a planning structure for bringing schools to rural communities.  She would like to work on a substantial research project while at UWB to prepare for a doctorate program. 

Tosin Dada

Undergraduate Institution: Utah State University (BA), Indiana University South Bend (MLIS)
Undergraduate Degree: Economics, minor in International Business (BA), Management Information Science (MLIS)

Research Interests: Foreign policy, international development, and global health. Tosin is particularly interested in understanding the dynamics of US policy changes as it relates to African emerging market opportunities and its implications for US-African relationship. Her other interest is in understanding the economic impact of nutritious diet choice among poor populations and how it can be further improved through implementation of good policies.

Snapshot: Tosin lives in Everett with her husband and kids. She’s a full time student and mom of three. She aspires to make important contribution to sustainable development in Africa. She’s a co-founder of MeGOLD Foods and Agriculture, a private organization helping in Nigeria to address micronutrient malnutrition among poor populations through dietary diversity with improved production and availability of nutrient-dense produce. She loves spending time with her kids, reading, and research.

David Doyle

Undergraduate Institution: Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Undergraduate Degree: Applied Sciences (Computer Science & Physics)
Graduate Institution: University College Dublin, Graduate School of Business (Ireland)
Graduate Degree: MS in Technology Management

Research Interests: Technology Policy. David’s work encompasses the creation, customization and delivery of software to customers all over the world, and is very excited to explore the Technology Policy space as part of the MAPS program, as well as other areas of Policy outside of Technology.

Snapshot: David currently works as a Senior Test Lead in the Windows International Test team at Microsoft, where he’s worked for over 15 years. Originally from Ireland, he moved to Seattle 10 years ago and is a single dad of a wonderful 7 year old daughter. A voracious reader, his other hobbies include golf, walking/hiking/jogging, a deep interest in politics and current affairs, good conversation, traveling, and is a passionate lifelong Manchester United fan.

Megan Hammond

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies

Research Interests: Correctional institution policy; anything to do with prisons, the carceral state, human rights, and punishment/rehabilitation theories; finding out how to get situated in the conversation of prison reform and just how policy gets made around this topic, of course this is a very specific interest so of course she will remain open to discover exciting new places and interests where this degree could take her

Snapshot: Born and raised in the Seattle area, Megan loves hiking, traveling, fishing, doing anything outdoors, and playing with her Bengal kitty, Percival. She is thrilled to be returning to the UWB for grad school as her undergrad experience was amazing. Highlights include two internships with great companies, a trip to D.C. with Bruce Kochis, and a quarter spent working and advocating for social justice with the Seattle street newspaper "Real Change." She has a phobia of ceiling fans and her favorite food is cheese (of all varieties).

Stephanie Hughes

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Business Administration: Finance

Research Interests: Healthcare policy, public policy, education

Snapshot: After graduating from UW last June, Stephanie now works at the UW Medical Center as a Fiscal Specialist in the Department of Pathology. Looking for new learning opportunities, Stephanie hopes to use her background in finance and years of experience at the medical center as a solid base for what she will be exposed to in the MAPS program.  Outside of work and school, Stephanie likes to be active and stay busy. Her interests include playing tennis, hiking, crossword puzzles, and spending time with her friends and family.

Cole Jensen

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy

Research Interests: Labor and Human Rights policy specifically pertaining to persons with physical disabilities and their capability to obtain gainful employment; understanding and eliminating barriers to success, bias and prejudice associated with individuals who have disabilities and other related limitations.

Snapshot: Born and raised in Washington State. Cole enjoys learning and sharing knowledge with the people around him. The decision to return to school and further his education was one of the best he has made over the last several years. It has steered him in a new direction and continues to unfold new pathways to success. His goal is to become an effective problem solver in the realm of Human Rights and Labor policy by applying the social science theories taught through the Policy Studies program.

Adrian Lindekugel

Undergraduate Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Undergraduate Degree: Social Work

Research Interests: Prison reform and prison policy; how current policies and laws disproportionately have a negative effect on minorities and the low income and the conflicting interest that exists between “for-profit” prisons and prisoner rehabilitation

Snapshot: Adrian was born in Seattle and graduated from Rainier Beach High School. After several years in finance he opted for a more fulfilling life path and finished his undergrad in Social Work in his parent’s footsteps at UT Austin. Adrian is very interested in the disproportionality of our prison system and wants to advocate for change. Adrian rowed crew for UT and enjoys snowboarding and a good microbrew – local of course!

Ismaila Maidadi

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies

Research Interests: Ismaila is attracted to the MAPS program because of the opportunity to investigate and address pressing global challenges of access and opportunity. He is specifically interested in: higher education retention; human capital migration (“brain drain”) and its effects on all nations involved; impacts of resource scarcity on communities at risk of conflict; and parallels between the "Arab Spring" and South America's “Dirty Wars."

Snapshot: Ismaila currently works as Program Manager for the Center for University Studies and Programs (CUSP) at the University of Washington Bothell. He grew up in Cameroon and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997. After completing the first two years of college, he worked in sales for 9 years before moving to Seattle in 2008. Ismaila currently lives with his wife, baby daughter, and two crazy cats. His interests include hiking, camping, debating, music, movies, reading, and staying informed on current events. Ismaila also represents the Policy Studies program as a Student Ambassador.

Heidi Schauble

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior

Research Interests: Education policy, cultural studies, public health

Snapshot: Heidi is a recent UWB graduate with a strong interest in Education Policy. She has a background volunteering with at risk youth for a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing student achievement and well-being through performance arts engagement. She also spends her free time helping alternative high school students through the college application process. Heidi started off her academic career at Cascadia Community College as a high school student through their Running Start Program and transferred to UWB to complete her undergraduate education. She is now looking forward to joining the MAPS program as the next step in her pursuit to make a difference in the community.

Denise Scully

Undergraduate Institution: Central Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary in Social Science

Research Interests: Social justice, human/civil rights, state government, socioeconomic and ethnic diversity

Snapshot: Denise is a mother of three children ages 17, 15, and 9 and is married to an amazing man who has always been supportive and encouraging. They are originally from Texas and moved to Washington in 2010 for her husband’s new job. Denise has since worked for the Department of Corrections (DOC) in Monroe and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for the Child Support Division in temporary roles. She fell in love with DOC and hopes to be able to return and gain the valuable experience that would allow her to create policies that make a difference for staff, inmates, and the community. However, she also has a desire to explore the opportunities available within the Legislature. She intends to keep her options open in order to capitalize on possible internships that could provide more insight, give her valuable experience, and jump-start her career. She is very excited for the many possibilities that lie ahead.

Liz Theaker

Undergraduate Institution: Western Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: English Literature

Research Interests: Nonprofit compliance on the State and Federal levels, ethics, organizational and governmental transparency, and generally streamlining and simplifying complex policy to better serve the intended audience

Snapshot: Liz is originally from a small town in Illinois.  She’s always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of dissimilar environments and experiences, and left art school to spend five years as a jet mechanic in the Navy (1998-2003).  In 2005, her husband and she traded North Chicago's vast paved surfaces for Western Washington's hiking trails.  She’s spent the past five years as the Executive Director of a small nonprofit museum, which has been every bit as frustrating and insanely gratifying as she anticipated.  Although Liz had spent over a year researching a variety of programs, she didn't become excited about graduate school until she read about the Policy Studies program at UW.  She envies anyone who knows exactly what they want to do in terms of a career.  Her career goal includes being part of a team that is making real and positive change in the world.  Beyond that, she’s open to the opportunities and possibilities that happen organically.  Her interests include exploring regional art, driving aimlessly into the mountains with her husband and 6-year old daughter, obsessing over world politics, and finding new ways to cook all the odd vegetables she brings home from the Skagit Valley farm stands.

Melissa Watkinson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies; Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior

Research Interests: International and community development, environmental refugees, foreign policy, conflict prevention, and human rights

Snapshot: Between her travels, Melissa always returns to the NW where she grew up and calls home. Melissa focused her undergraduate studies on human rights and international affairs. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at UWB and as Lead Organizer for the Seattle Oxfam Action Corps. Her recent travels to Haiti, Washington D.C., and Holland are part of her attempt to learn about the diverse needs of development and policy. Melissa's passion to advocate for human rights has motivated her to continue her education and deepen her understanding of sustainable solutions to injustices.