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.

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.

GSR for the 2018-2019 cohort is Marjan Atashkhayer Didra.

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

2018 Cohort

Rechilda AllanRechilda M. Allan

Graduate Institution: Graduate School of Business, Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
Graduate Degree: MBA

Research Interests: Microfinance, economic development at the bottom of the pyramid, inclusive business development, coastal resource and MPA management, local governance issues, public-private sector partnership.

Snapshot: Richie is adept at wearing multiple hats, and so looks forward to overcoming the challenges of parenting a precocious toddler while working on her MAPS degree. She hopes to continue to the PhD program of Evans, bring everything she learned back to the Philippines and make a difference.

She loves to connect and listen to people, and is amazed at the friendliness of everyone she’s met since moving to Washington and settling in the Lake Forest Park neighborhood. She likes to explore the urban outdoors and with her child and a UPass, she has been exploring parks and playgrounds in cities on both sides of Lake Washington.

image of Teresa AllardTeresa Allard

Undergraduate Institution:  University of California, Santa Barbara
Undergraduate Degree: Biological Sciences

Research Interests: Protection, Conservation and Restoration of Wetlands, Environmental Laws, Policies and Regulations

Snapshot: Teresa has lived in Bothell, Washington since 1996.  She has worked as an environmental emergency responder, providing scientific and technical support during oil spill emergencies occurring along North America’s shorelines, rivers, and streambeds.  To date, she has worked on over thirty-seven oil spills, as well as participated in excess of fifty spill drills, exercises and training programs. 

After two decades of recording environmental injury, initiating cleanup, and monitoring the ecosystem throughout recovery, Teresa aspires to bring a unique perspective to the establishment of policies that will preserve our coastal marine habitat and wetlands through focused conservation and restoration programs.

image of Marjan  Atashkhayer-DidraMarjan  Atashkhayer Didra

Undergraduate Institution: University Of Washington BothellUndergraduate Degree: Gender Woman and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests: Immigrant women and their upward mobility after migrating to the USA, specifically Muslim Women. I would like to know if there are identifiable facts that can be either supported or eliminated through policy to make vocational advancements more accessible for immigrant women.

Snapshot: Marjan is an American citizen who was born and raised in Iran. She left Iran to pursue her education in the Philippines in 2003. After living in the Philippines for six years and finishing her Doctorate in Dental Medicine, she moved to Istanbul for almost a year. On September 2009 she was granted a green card and immigrated to the United States. Marjan has been involved with several non-profit organizations that aim to emancipate women in the developing world and works to reduce arrange marriages since she has been part of one back in Iran. Marjan is passionate about gender equality and believes that women of the Middle East such as Iran have been underrepresented through the eyes of the western media, therefore, she hopes to reassess this notion by being a voice and an active advocate for Women of Iran.

In her spare time, Marjan enjoys Yoga, Volunteer works and Traveling.

image of Saiwa S. Conejo-MoralesSaiwa S. Conejo-Morales

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Environmental Studies; Minor in Policy Studies

Research Interests: Law, environmental policy, international relationships, climate refugees, human rights

Snapshot: Saiwa grew up in Seattle and has developed a passion for environmental justice. Part of the inspiration for environmental justice comes from learning about the Cochabamba Water War. As a first generation student navigating college was a challenge. However, she was able to learn and persevere. Through Saiwa's undergraduate independent research on mycoremediation, the Debate Society of UWB and currently as Chair of Campus Events Board at the University of Washington Bothell for the second year, she has been able to find her voice and truth. She looks forward to learning more about politics and gain the skills so that one day she can work for the people in regards to environmental justice and equity. When Saiwa is not in school she likes hanging out with family, friends, staying active, eating food and meeting new people.

image of Robin GreenRobin Green

Undergrad Institute: University of Washington Bothell
Undergrad Degree: Society, Ethics, & Human Behavior

Research Interests: education policy reform, high school curriculum efficacy & reform, veterans affairs, psycho-social & economic outcomes of families of active duty & veteran family members

Snapshot: Robin is a graduate student in the UW Bothell Masters of Policy Studies program. Robin has 10 years experience working in health care in areas ranging from pediatrics, orthopedics, and cardiology. He also has experiencing working with high school students in a Title VIII school's special education department. With his personal interests in seeing young people live happy, healthy lives and obtain a meaningful education, Robin hopes to work within the educational and political systems to bring about the change he wants to see.

image of Kim WansooWansoo Kim

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

Research Interests: Immigration policy

Snapshot: Wansoo Kim is an international from South Korea. He has lived 7 years in Washington. Being one of the international students, he realized that we need to improve immigration policies that help not only the international students but also to solve the problem of certain policies’ side effects. While he was working at CIE (Center of International Education) as an international student ambassador, he learned some immigration policies in the United States through participating immigration events and helped other international students in University of Washington, Bothell. For example, he participated UW lobby day training with student government in UWB where we were aiming to reduce the price of tuition and establish affordable childcare for students who are parents in UWB. That naturally became his interests.

In his spare or extra time, Wansoo loves to make beats for their team rapper as a hobby.

image of Kyra LaughlinKyra Laughlin

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and Society, Ethics & Human Behavior

Research Interests: Prevention, support and response efforts/policies pertaining to sexual assault and relationship violence within higher education; trauma-informed pedagogy; institutional betrayal as it relates to survivors of sexual and relationship violence; (dis)ability and accessibility; and developing policy through a “healing-centered engagement” approach

Snapshot: Since November 2016, Kyra has organized around sexual and relationship violence (SRV). In her role as a vocal advocate and activist, she has worked with 100+ survivors on campus and also identifies as a SRV victim-survivor herself. Her work has included developing a comprehensive resource guide for SRV survivors at UWB,  founding the university’s first student club centered around SRV, facilitating trainings on campus, designing an SRV resources Canvas page which some faculty have added to their course pages and serving as a Communications Intern for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, among other projects. Understanding SRV is inextricably linked to other systems of oppression (e.g racism, ableism, colonialism, cisgenderism, heterosexism, etc.), it’s critical we center the needs of marginalized communities so that all survivors are able to heal and to pursue justice (or not) in the ways that are meaningful and safest to them.

image of Yani LiuYani Liu

Undergraduate Institution: Michigan State University 
Undergraduate Degree: Economics

Research Interests: Gender Equity, Human Rights, Public Relationship, International Relations between US and Asian countries, Policies that impact Women and Children

Snapshot: Yani is an international student from China and studied in US already five years. She is a class of 2017 graduate of the Economics, Bachelor of Arts Degree at the Michigan State University. For Yani, study in US is difficult but it’s worth the effort. She faced a lot, different language, different learning patterns, culture differences and different life style between East and West. But she enjoys overcoming all difficulties and wants to improve herself more. Yani has also traveled to London, UK for MSU study abroad program: Economics of Law and Public Policy - Summer 2015-2016, which is the experience that sparked her interest in policies. She decided to learn more about policies that not only affect economics but also influence other significant matters, like human rights, immigrants, education and environment. So in the autumn of 2018, Yani will begin graduate school at UW Bothell in the Master of Arts in Policy Studies program. Afterwards, she hopes to continue her doctor’s degree with public relations program and she also hopes to pursue a future career in PR at a Fortune 500 company. 

image of Elaine MontesElaine Montes

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy; Community Psychology; and Global Studies.
Minor: Business Administration, Human Rights

Research Interests: Homeland security policy focusing on cyber-security, and human-trafficking. Locally interested in developing current research with the Department of Traffic that handles tolls and urban design of highways.

Snapshot: Washington raised, first-generation student. Currently studying Japanese, however can execute a fun conversation in, Spanish, French, and Korean. Animal caretaker of four, also loves to play the violin and improve her piano skills to pass the time by. If you’re open to have a conversation about human rights, she is delighted to share her previous research project regarding North Korean defectors and the Chinese Repatriation during her time in Washington, D.C. and Seoul, South Korea. Elaine is always open to have a conversation about social inequity over a serious competitive match of Overwatch. If you’re on campus come and swing by the Student Success Center where she can help you find an internship abroad that suits your academic interests.

image of Alexandra PortilloAlexandra Portillo

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington, Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Double Major in Law, Economics, and Public Policy / Global Studies

Research Interests: International Human Rights, minority representation, women’s rights

Snapshot: Born in Texas but raised in the PNW, Alexandra’s Mexican-American culture has influenced her research interests within policy and advocacy. Her research will focus on human rights violations as well as the actions communities and countries can take to reform. After finishing her interdisciplinary undergrad from UW Bothell, Alexandra wanted to further her education through the Policy Studies program at Bothell. Her future goal is to work for international NGOs as a policy analyst. While in this MPS program, she will be interning for a local non-profit and making time to travel around the world.

image of Anjelica RiceAnjelica Rice

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, economics, and Public Policy; minor in Criminal justice from University of Washington Tacoma

Research Interests: Higher Education, and Criminal Justice Reform

Snapshot: Anjelica Rice is a class of 2018 graduate of the Law, Economics, and Public Policy Bachelor of Arts Degree, with a minor in Criminal Justice, at the University of Washington Bothell and University of Washington Tacoma respectively. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Federal Affairs for the Washington Students Association actively working towards establishing a more affordable, accessible and quality system of higher education for all students. Anjelica has a passion for law and policy and hopes to pursue a future in policy centered around criminal justice refom.

image of Amanda SandovalAmanda Sandoval

Undergraduate institution:  University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: BA in International studies, emphasis on human rights, law, state, and society.

Research interests: Social Justice reform, International law, Human rights, social and political policies that impact women, immigrants and refugees.

Snapshot: Amanda has lived in the PNW all her life, after high school she joined the Air Force Reserves and still currently serves at JBLM doing info control/logistics in Air transportation.  She attended the University of Washington Seattle campus for undergrad where she focused on human rights and humanitarian aide.  Currently she works as a community organizer for Senator Rebecca Saldaña; this has given her a chance to see how local politics works as well as given her more insight as to local issues and what policies we as a state need to work on. She hopes to work in several different sectors, nonprofit, private, government, and military.

image of Dustin WoodsideDustin Woodside

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

Research Interests: Welfare, affordable housing, Child Protective Services, Department of Social and Health Services, foster care, poverty, and human rights. With these topics, the purpose of the research is to advocate policies that are equitable, and promote social justice so families and their children have a better chance to get through their hardships.

Snapshot: Dustin Woodside is a born and raised Washingtonian, and first in his family attending graduate school. Throughout his undergraduate career, Dustin has been to Jamaica teaching and assisting in primary schools. Dustin was also an psychosocial intake specialist at a refugee center in South Africa. There he determined the level of vulnerability of each client, and gave appropriate aid based on their needs such as food, grants, rent money, and much more. Throughout his undergraduate career, Dustin was focused on ways we could promote equity and social justice through a human rights approach. Dustin is currently working with children with severe trauma as a behavior specialist. Dustin helps his clients with coping skills, social skills, behavior issues, and client safety using an approach called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Dustin's goal with a masters in policy studies is to find a career in policy advocacy for a nonprofit that fights for equity and social justice. 

image of Olivia WrightOlivia Wright

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics & Human Behavior; Minor in Human Rights; Associate in Arts & Sciences Degree from Bellevue College

Research Interests: Issues of access and opportunity; specifically, the inequitable allocation of state and federal resources to our marginalized communities

Snapshot: Olivia is a 19-year-old northwest native. Her love for policy was born at age 15, when given the opportunity to canvass for a bipartisan campaign running in the 31st district, here in Washington State. She then spent two years attending Bellevue College, as well as competing in Financial Statement Analysis on their collegiate DECA team, where she placed as an international finalist both years. Through her undergraduate studies, Olivia has cultivated a passion for advocacy. She is currently the public policy assistant at the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington State and Northern Idaho Chapter. Olivia also volunteers her time to early intervention for children on the autism spectrum. In her down time, you’re most likely to find her taking photographs, with cameras old and new! 

image of Mudasir ZubairMudasir Zubair

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell campus
Undergraduate Degrees: Media and Communications, Science Technology and Society

Research Interests: Tech and Society relationships, especially in areas of entertainment, arts, gaming, and in developing technologies like VR

Snapshot: Graduating from undergrad in Summer 2018, Mudasir is eldest of three brothers and is the first person in his family's youngest generation to go to Grad School.  Living in the Seattle area for fifteen years, Mudasir was involved in the development of  UW Bothell's art journal as their marketer and editor.  Mudasir has also gotten experience working as a Social Media manager and content creator for technical and industrial companies.  His hobbies include digital painting, analyzing movies, and reading.  Mudasir strongly beleievs that best ways to tackle life's challenges are to blend critical and creative thinking, and draw upon different ideas, views, and experiences.

Contact a Student Ambassador

Connect with current Policy Studies students, ask questions, arrange a campus tour, and learn about the student experience from our Student Ambassadors.