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.

Note on Graduate Student Representatives (GSR): GSRs facilitate mechanisms and spaces by which students in the program can contribute to discussions about the program and degree.  In this capacity they serve as a resource to other students and the program director.

2015 Cohort: Caitlin Moore
2016 Cohort: Jessica Cole

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

2016 Cohort

Nicholas BegleyNicholas Begley

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

Research Interests: Food Justice, Indoor Agriculture Methods, Intersection of Agriculture with Human and Environmental Health, Biology, Industrialized Agriculture, Food Waste

Snapshot: Nick’s passion for sustainable agriculture and public health policy attracted him to the Policy Studies Program at UW Bothell. He plans to spend the next two years focusing on sustainable agriculture policy with an emphasis on how it impacts human and environmental health. Nick was awarded the UW Bothell Founders Fellowship award last year and he has spent many hours conducting research with various agriculture crops, using different hydroponic methods. Nick has also served as an editor for a peer reviewed research journal—which he says has strengthened his understanding of different research methodologies. He hopes to one day create his own foundation dedicated to education, research, and policy analysis, with a strong community outreach program that addresses the complex interdisciplinary issues surrounding our food systems. Nick has excelled at the undergraduate level and he plans to bring that same standard of excellence into his future research.

Robert A. CalkinsRobert A. Calkins

Undergraduate Institution: University of Texas at Arlington
Undergraduate Degree: History

Research Interests: Policy approaches to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and United States Military, specifically creating sustainable military retirement and compensation programs and improving personnel and talent management systems within the Armed Forces

Snapshot: Robert was born and raised in Northern California, joining the United States Army in 2002 in order to better serve his country. He later received a Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History, as well as commissioning as a Military Intelligence officer. He has served in various locations during his time in the military, such as Kentucky, Texas, and South Korea, with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is married to another service member and they have two daughters together. He enjoys reading, playing and watching sports, and spending quality time with his family. While keenly aware of the current policy issues that affect our Armed Forces, Robert chose the Policy Studies program at UW Bothell so that he can improve the lives of service members and develop programs that are both beneficial and solvent.

Jessica L. ColeJessica L. Cole

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

Research Interests: Underserved populations of people in both K-12 and higher education, specifically how policy prohibits or allows for institutional supports of these populations, and the history and effects of domestic and international education policy

Snapshot: Jessica is a wife and mother of three children; Robert, Jocelyn, and Gavin. Her passion about access to education stems from her childhood and motherhood, and is fueled by her love for her children. Early on, through watching the public education system fail her brother and family repeatedly for 13 years, Jessica recognized how significant of a role that primary education plays in the individual’s life outcomes. After becoming a mother, she could see a similar story to that of her brother begin to unfold for her oldest son. While legislation states that every child should have equal access to a quality education, Jessica understands first-hand the inequities still present in our public schools. Through her studies in policy, she hopes to discover how policy advocacy and reform can allow our public schools to serve a broader range of learning styles and levels of functioning while nurturing each child’s passion and drive.

Jessica has a history as an advocate, leader, and community builder through her work in the Making School Accessible Project, the Parent Union, the Childcare Advisory Committee, and the Board of Trustees for the Clearwater School.  

Christin DeakinsChristin Deakins

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Environmental Studies, with a focus on Sustainability and Society

Research Interests: Sustainable urban planning and international environmental policy

Snapshot: Christin is a Washington State native who grew up in the suburbs of Seattle running through green belts and playing in the area's many wetlands. Her love for the environment was rekindled after returning to school to complete her undergraduate degree at University of Washington Bothell. Here she took a special interest in examining the seemingly disparate relationship between our urban lives and our interactions with natural world. Christin believes that in order to create a sustainable future, we need to find a way to bridge this divide by building green cities which incorporate trees, parks, gardens and walkable trails for commuting. It is a desire to build this future that has brought her to the Policy Studies program.

Shelby GuidryShelby Guidry

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Community Psychology

Research Interests: Public policy in regards to social and economic inequality, the influence of inequalities on community civic participation, social justice and advocacy, and gender policy

Snapshot: Shelby is a first generation college student from an incredibly small town in the state of Louisiana, and never thought that the dream of graduate school could be a reality. She has lived in Washington for the past seven years and calls it her home. Her undergraduate experience with social research at UWB has pushed her to pursue graduate coursework in the Policy Studies program, with the ultimate goal of continuing on to a Doctoral program and continuing with research. As for her personality, she believes a Doctor Who quote best sums up the type of person she is, far better than she could describe. “I am and always will be the optimist, the hoper of far-flung hopes, and the dreamer of improbable dreams.”

Shibuki HanaiShibuki Hanai

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies, minor in Human Rights

Research Interests: Geography, GIS, Liberalism and Harm Principle, Geovisualization

Snapshot: Shibuki was born and grew up in Japan, prior to starting his life in the Pacific Northwest. From the moment he decided to leave his county, his life turned into a powerful, unique mix of two different cultures, fitting his entire life into a suitcase (and 1 bass guitar). He has witnessed that geography contributes to policy and decision making in various unique ways through domestic and international trips. Shibuki is interested in the interplay of geography and social norms that impacts policy making. Currently, he is a staff member at UW Bothell and serves as Development Representative of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. He is a big fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and loves British music.

Ryan JonesRyan Jones

Undergraduate Institution: The Evergreen State College
Undergraduate Degree: Sustainable Food Systems, minor area of emphasis in Organization Development

Research Interests: Sustainable urbanism, food systems, environmental policy, electoral reform, strategic planning

Snapshot: Ryan was born in Colorado and lived in various places around the Denver metropolitan area before moving to Olympia, Washington in 2012. After Graduating from The Evergreen State College in 2014, Ryan moved to Seattle to serve an AmeriCorps term with the King County Housing Authority. Since then he has been working in grocery stores and volunteering for political causes in the Seattle area.

Mary Alice LeFloreMary Alice LeFlore

Undergraduate Institution: Trinity University (San Antonio, TX)
Undergraduate Degree: Anthropology, minors in Religion and Mathematics

Research Interests: The changing nature of work, especially impacts of the gig economy, multiple careers, and job mobility on occupational expertise and satisfaction, income and wealth disparities, and community cohesion

Snapshot: Alice grew up with two sisters in Galveston, a sunny sandbar off the coast of Texas. A brief stint as a community activist after college brought her to San Diego, where she quickly found a new passion dealing in secondhand and collectible books at an independent neighborhood bookstore for 12 years. In 2013 she relocated to Seattle and made a career change from bookselling to higher education, now working as an application and transcript evaluator in UW Bothell’s Admissions Office. Alice’s favorite things to do are traveling and its more affordable alternative, reading, and spending time with her niece and nephews.

Graham MarmionGraham Marmion

Undergraduate Institution: Western Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Economics, minors in Energy Policy and Political Science

Research Interests: Market-based solutions to the problems of energy that both lower the price of energy and promote the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation

Snapshot: Graham was born in Edmonds, WA and has lived along the Puget Sound his whole life. He discovered a passion for regulatory economics while studying at Western Washington University. From 2013 - 2014, Graham worked as an Economic Analyst for the Community Energy Challenge where he identified the sizable impact the organization had on promoting energy efficiency. Upon finishing his undergraduate degree, Graham began working as a Regulatory Analyst for Puget Sound Energy, where he is currently employed and engaged in research regarding pricing and load profiles.

Graham’s passion extends into policy advocacy as well. During his undergraduate studies, Graham directed the Representation & Engagement Programs offered by the Associated Students of WWU, which included incredibly successful voter registration drives. He has recently been engaged with CarbonWA and the campaign in favor of I-732. In his free time Graham enjoys rock climbing, learning improv, and playing tabletop games.

Bill OrrBill Orr

Undergraduate Institution: California State University Northridge
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science

Research Interests: Environmental Policies and how sustainable energy development, and economic growth can coexist with preserving our wilderness areas; healthcare policies and healthcare reform and how it impacts the aging Baby Boomer cohort; accountability for state and local governments, and how to measure the effectiveness of tax dollar spending, and measuring the results and unintended consequences

Snapshot: Bill was born in Hollywood, CA and was raised in Southern California very much like the Television Series "The Wonder Years." A lifelong skier, surfer, and mountaineer, Bill has combined his love of the outdoors with most of his career in the ski and sporting goods industry. Rounding out his career, Bill has also held leadership positions with Starbucks and Whole Foods Market in those companies' rapid growth phases. 

His attraction to the Policy Studies Masters represents a change of life move to fulfill an unrealized goal from the past. The program has many areas of interest to Bill. The critical thinking skills required in the program, coupled with learning and sharpening research skills, will lead the direction of his research.

Sabrina R. SadlerSabrina R. Sadler

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Science, Technology, and Society

Research Interests: Policy that pertains to children’s safety and children’s rights

Snapshot: Sabrina was born and raised in Seattle, WA. She graduated from an alternative high school where she took evening classes and worked during the day. After graduation she spent the next 10 years working various jobs in the food service, retail, and construction industries. As a single mother at the age of 28, she decided to go back to school in order to secure a better future for her daughter. Sabrina’s academic journey began at North Seattle Community College where she received her AA, and continued at UWB where she received her BA in Science, Technology, and Society. Over the course of earning her degrees, Sabrina met her partner Paul, and during her attendance at UWB, they gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Sabrina currently works as a Research Assistant, and is excited to continue her education with the Policy Studies program at UWB. As a full-time student and a working mother of two, Sabrina hopes to be an inspiration for all single parents.

Anthony ThatcherAnthony Thatcher

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior; minor in Education

Research Interests: Education, Environmental Science, Policy, History

Snapshot: Anthony Thatcher is a twenty three year old Washington native. Last year he received his bachelor's degree from University of Washington Bothell in Society, Ethics, and Human Behaviors, minoring in Education. Anthony has spent the last five years working in Early Childhood Education and hopes to use a degree in Policy Studies to reform education systems and prepare upcoming generations to find success by their own standards.

2015 Cohort

Ashley BrandonAshley Brandon

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Environmental Studies, minor in Ecological Restoration

Research Interests: Domestic and international policy approaches and framework for addressing global climate change, sustainable development of energy resources, biodiversity conservation

Snapshot: Ashley was born and raised in the Seattle area, discovering her love for the environment during her undergraduate studies at UWB.  She didn’t feel her journey at UWB was complete upon graduation, and is ecstatic to continue her education within her home she has found within the community of UWB. Her ultimate goal is to work with a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the mitigation of global climate change. In her time not spent at school she works as a bartender, loves to spend time with her fiancĂ© and kitty and enjoys reading.

Paul HansonPaul Hanson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Tacoma
Undergraduate Degree: Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Research Interests: Economic illiteracy’s effect on public policy, the illegitimacy of using intentions to justify policy over real world effects, unaccountability and short sightedness of political action in modern liberal democratic states, or the mechanical design in policies that allows and leads to corruption in the modern state

Snapshot: Paul was born in Hawaii and spent years moving in a military family, that retired to the south sound area. Completed high school in Auburn Washington. After which, Paul was employed as a landscaper, HVAC construction, and spent years as a licensed massage practitioner (LMP). For multiple reasons he joined the US Army and became an intelligence analyst. In this role he did a deployment to Iraq and after four years in the Army he ETS out of the serves. After which, he spent a year contracting with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Afghanistan. Within his past job experiences while working as a contractor for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the US Army as a governmental analyst, he reviewed foreign country policies and identifying corruption within their bureaucracies. He has a strong interest to keep developing his ability to analyze policies and to understand second and third order effects that policies will have on the world. To this end, he started his higher education after his time in Afghanistan and just finished a politics, philosophy and economics interdisciplinary studies bachelor's degree from UW Tacoma. He now wishes to pursue graduate studies in order to better evaluate political actions and their effects.

Deborah HopkinsDeborah Hopkins

Undergraduate/Graduate Institution: University of New Hampshire/University of Connecticut
Undergraduate/Graduate Degree: BS in Pre-Veterinary Medicine/MS in Cell Biology

Research Interests: Intersection of environmental and health policy, specifically how policies can address global climate change and its detrimental effects on health and disease in the developing world

Snapshot: Deborah was born and raised in New England and moved to the Pacific Northwest after graduate school, in 1995.  She fell in love with the natural beauty and community of this region and hopes never to leave. She has spent the last 20 years working as a Scientist in the biotechnology industry researching Oncology and Inflammatory disease, at the same time raising two children with her husband. As her work in science comes to an end and the kids are becoming more independent, she is thrilled to embark on this new opportunity through the UWB Policy Studies program. Deborah is passionate about the environment and as she looks to the future she is concerned about the impact of climate change on the worlds’ most vulnerable in every community. She hopes to learn how to evaluate policy successes and failures and build new initiatives to enact change where it is needed at the intersection of health and environmental policy. Outside of work, Deborah spends a lot of time at track and swim meets and dance recitals (cheering) and enjoys running, biking, supporting the arts and horseback riding when she can find time.

Michelle JacobsonMichelle Jacobson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies, minor in Human Rights

Research Interests: Environmental policy and climate change

Snapshot: Michellehas lived in Washington for the past 11 years. She is married and has one daughter who is completing her doctorate in Chiropractic medicine. She has had the opportunity to travel around the world several times, visiting over 35 different countries. She lived in Mexico and Thailand and spent several months in Turkey. Michelle is a "change of life student" and recently graduated from UW Bothell with honors. Her traveling experience has complemented her UW undergraduate degree in Global Studies and minor in Human Rights. Her passion in life is nature. Michelle loves the outdoors, the ocean, and animals. It is her desire to affect policy change in the environment because a healthy environment is a human right we all deserve. Especially water, as it is our greatest resource. The ecosystems of our oceans, rivers, lakes, and the rest of our water resources are being destroyed. It is her goal to help change current policies that lack the necessary regulations to protect our planet's water. She is honored and excited to be a part of the UW Bothell Policy Studies program!

Amber MonsonAmber Monson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Tacoma
Undergraduate Degree: Psychology and Criminal Justice

Research Interests: Those with mental illness within the criminal justice system, public education and the criminal justice system as a whole

Snapshot: Amber is a single mother of three teenagers and works part-time as a substitute para educator and hopefully soon as an emergency substitute teacher. Mental illness, drug addiction, poverty and the criminal justice system have played large roles in the lives of those she loves and cares about and have influenced her life both directly and indirectly. Her life experiences thus far have left her with the desire to learn more about why things are the way they are. Even with multiple different life stories, she is far from an expert on any of it and still finds herself constantly learning new ways to see things. She knows that change is needed, but if you ask her how they need to change or what exactly needs to change, she would not be able to articulate an answer. This is why Amber has chosen to continue her education. It is her hope that her undergraduate degrees have helped point down the educational path that will aid her in her search for answers and solutions.

Caitlin MooreCaitlin Moore

Undergraduate Institution: Evergreen State College
Undergraduate Degree: Plant Biology and Genetics

Research Interests: Agriculture (especially seeds and GMOs), biological patents

Snapshot: Caitlin grew up in rural Western Washington on an organic farm. After high school she moved to the city and pursued performance and dramatic arts before returning to school to study agricultural systems. She is equally fascinated by the biological and social/political/economic forces that affect our food system. During college she founded one of the country’s first seed lending libraries, and now owns an organic seed company called Root and Radicle and is an intern with the Organic Seed Alliance.

Isaias NietoIsaias Nieto

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

Research Interests: Continuing research on roosting behavior of the UW Bothell crows, avian habitat conservation

Snapshot: Isaias is a non-traditional student who decided to go to college in his late 30's. Even though he started college later than most people, he feels that this was his time to have the college experience. He originally wanted to earn a degree in paleontology because of his love for birds and dinosaurs, but he changed his major after learning about the environmental crisis that the world faces trying to battle climate change. To Isaias, being environmentally conscious and learning to live a sustainable life is one of the most important things a person can do. He knows that the skills he learned at the University of Washington can help me make the world better place for future generations.

James WatsonJames Watson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Environmental Studies with a focus in Conservation Science and Management

Research Interests: invasive species management, critical habitat, and endangered species

Snapshot: James decided to come back to school and finish his bachelor's degree after taking time to work in the field of habitat restoration, in which he worked locally for about two years. He grew up in Western Washington, and has developed a serious passion for all things fishy and fungal. When he has spare time he’s usually in the woods or on the water. James wants to focus on environmental policy while in the Policy Studies program, and has a strong interest in working with policy regarding invasive species management, critical habitat, and endangered species.

Cassidy WattCassidy Watt

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Community Psychology

Research Interests: Food policy around food deserts, school lunch programs and nutrition education

Snapshot: Cassidy moved to Seattle from the Washington D.C. area 4 years ago and quickly made Seattle her home. She found her interest in food policy through volunteering with Teen Feed as a Meal Team Advocate and Street Outreach Advocate and with the Policy Studies degree hopes to influence policy in ways that work to end hunger. When she’s not in school you can find her hiking, teaching yoga or churning ice cream at a local, small batch ice cream shop.

Kate YoungKate Young

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology

Research Interests: Legal policy, especially as it relates to criminal justice, civil rights, and court administration; conflict resolution and reconciliation; and alternative access to justice

Snapshot: Kate is from Federal Way, Washington. She started her college career on time, but took a few years off to wander through life before finishing. She has had some truly unique experiences along the way that have shaped her interest in policy, but it is an ever evolving vision. She loves being outside, camping, swimming, laying on the grass, you name it. She likes almost anything that gets you dirty. Kate's background is in the legal field. While it is an amazing vehicle for settling disputes, it is only one method. She feels there is so much to learn within our system and aside from it that can establish policy that truly ensures justice.

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