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.

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.

2012 Cohort

Kathy Betteridge

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences: major in Society, Ethics and Human Behavior, minor in Human Rights

Research Interests: Broad interest in Human Rights but specifically interested in Housing Policy, especially as it affects persons with disabilities. Kathy is planing to be an advocate for the incorporation of advancing 'Fair Housing' into the private sector and creating more 'Inclusive Communities'.

Snapshot: Kathy is a Washington 'native' who was raised in So. California and finally returned to the beautiful Northwest in 2007. She wanted her two girls to experience life somewhere besides L.A. and be able to gaze at the kind of stars that were in the night sky, not just along Hollywood Blvd.. Some goals of hers are to be able to buy her own kayaks so that she can enjoy that more often (and drag friends along!), and maybe one day have a property with a barn for a horse or two! Work experience has been related to architecture, real estate and escrow - but Kathy is seeking to translate that into creating a world where everyone has the choice to decide where they want to live based on desire, not based on where a builder decides to build a house they can actually use. Her biggest fear is (besides scorpions) having to move to D.C.!!

Jennifer Crownhart

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies with a dual concentration in Global Studies and Society, Ethics and Human Behavior

Research Interests: Healthcare Policy with a focus directed on change in policy for seniors being denied access to affordable medical care, medications, and housing with or without nursing assistance. Another area of interest related to Healthcare Policy is the restricted progress of the biotechnology industry in relation to genetic research and therapy for patients with respect to incurable and debilitating neurological diseases.

Snapshot: Believing education is a lifelong process, Jennifer has continued her education over the span of more than a decade earning multiple degrees while working in the healthcare industry as a certified medical assistant and nursing assistant specializing in senior care. Her interests include art history, writing fiction and poetry, music, dance, and outdoor activities of all varieties. She hopes her continued studies will further her involvement in healthcare policy where reform is desperately needed in an ever increasing population of seniors.

Kerry Francis

Undergraduate Institution: Western Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Anthropology, Political Science

Research Interests: Cultural resource management policies; the 'question' of human rights and its intersection with indigenous groups; international law and jurisprudence

Snapshot: Life-long resident of Washington state; interested in pursuing an advanced degree dealing with areas of research interests.

Eric Hopson

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Environmental Studies; Society, Ethics and Human Behavior, minors in Policy Studies, Human Rights

Research Interests: Environmental policy, environmental justice, fair participation in decision-making processes, environmental psychology, "greenwashing", conservation, reforming the ways in which prevailing discourses limit the power of individuals

Snapshot: After roaming around the country (NY, MA, CA, CO, FL, MN), Eric had a son and finally settled down in the Seattle area where he has been a dedicated stay-at-home father and student. He is excited to be part of a new social circle of like-minded individuals here at UWB with whom he is hoping to: collaborate, hike, trade music, play some pickup basketball, and/or engage in various other adventures. Eventually he hopes to find a meaningful career in either environmental policy or education which will hopefully provide adequate funding for consistent thrift store shopping. Eric also represents the Policy Studies program as a Student Ambassador.

Mandy Knudtson

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

Research Interests: Environmental policy focused on hazardous, electronic waste, as well as developing a community-based science program, which increases public awareness of the global impact of toxins on all species and the environment.

Snapshot: Mandy works as an advocate for a local, non-governmental agency, with the mission to promote stronger policies to eliminate the shipment of hazardous, electronic waste trans-borders. Her focus is to represent those without a voice, in poverty stricken communities, as well as to protect the environment from toxic contaminants.

Agazit Ocbazgi

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology and Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

Research Interests: International human rights, and economic development - North East Africa, Middle East

Snapshot: Agazit is currently interning at the African Chamber of Commerce here in Seattle. She is an artist. She worked as a Research Assistant at a Marketing Research firm after she graduated and taught art here in Seattle. She has had her work displayed in a few galleries here in Seattle and has done a mural as well. Agazit attended one year of Bible school as well and there realized her desire to help people in the policy field. She hopes to learn more on human rights and economic development of newer countries in the Middle East and Northern East Africa, particularly her native country, Eritrea, where she visits frequency. Agazit loves getting more hands on experience and understanding as to how to apply the new skills she attains from this program to help on an international scale.

Michael O'Leary

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science, European Studies

Research Interests: International policy, regional integration and development

Snapshot: Michael has been managing in the gaming industry for 10 years.  He enjoyed it and acquired a lot of skills, but since returning to school and finishing his undergraduate work he has been looking for opportunities to use his skills for an organization that works towards international integration or development.  Now he is excited to join the MAPS program and this cohort to further develop his skills.  Outside of work and school, Michael enjoys books, movies, friends and sailing.

Omer Terrason

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Culture, Literature, and the Arts, minor in Policy Studies

Research Interests: Public policy, law enforcement, socio-economic and ethnic diversity, human rights and social justice, parks and recreation, culture and the performing arts

Snapshot: Omer is a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a former medic and a law enforcement officer who reentered the realm of academia in Spring 2011. To his feat, he obtained his Bachelor's degree from University of Washington Bothell in seven terms while earning the honor of being on the Dean's List for every term. Aside from his zeal for public policy, law, and equal rights, Omer is an avid photographer, an enthusiastic mountain biker, and a connoisseur of performing arts.