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.

2018 Cohort: coming soon!

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

2018 Cohort

Profiles coming soon!

2017 Cohort

image of Asiya Abdul-AlimAsiya Abdul-Alim

Undergraduate Institution: Seattle Central College
Undergraduate Degree: Applied Behavioral Science

Research Interests: Global disparities in healthcare and foreign healthcare policies and procedures

Snapshot: Asiya is a Brooklyn, New York native who has lived in Seattle for the past 17 years. A single mother of a spirited preteen, she has dedicated a huge portion of her time working with women and children who have been victimized by domestic violence and homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness and chemical dependency.

She has worked in the healthcare field for over 10 years in some of Washington’s top medical facilities. This has made her passionate about being instrumental in creating public policy, which addresses disparities as it pertains to healthcare; to expand on this passion she'd also like to examine healthcare policies and procedures abroad.

In her spare time Asiya enjoys singing at local open mics and traveling.

image of Hussain AltamimiHussain Altamimi

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy; minor in Human Rights

Research Interests: Healthcare policy, primarily revolving around the improvement and further development of the Affordable Care Act; international relations, primarily relating to the Middle East and use of American drone strikes and their resulting effects in the region

Snapshot: Hussain Altamimi is a born and raised Washingtonian and the son of two Iraqi refugees. Growing up Hussain originally intended on pursuing a career in the tech field like his father, however a trip to Iraq in 2008 changed his career goals when he experienced first-hand the effects of government policy. Realizing his dreams would lie in government, Hussain has spent his early adulthood preparing for a career in government service, volunteering for State Senator Monica Stonier's campaign in 2012 and later interning for Congresswoman DelBene and later Senator Patty Murray's Seattle office. 

image of Jean BalbonJean Balbon

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell, De La Salle College of St. Benilde
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies, Consular and Diplomatic Affairs (no degree)

Research Interests: Financial policy, foreign policy, and historical determinism

Snapshot: Jean came to this country with $30 in his pocket. 8 years later, he made that 30 dollars to..... 300 dollars! MADNESS! Yet that's a couple hundred percentage higher than if you invested in the US stock market indices (hence, just bet on Jean!).

Jean advocates for taxing the world's ultra-rich, free from loop holes, and accountability for the country's financial miscalculations in the past. He disfavors the 1% and their direct/indirect participation in manipulating and influencing economies. He disfavors their role in increasing shaky loans and feeding market speculation. Jean just wants a level playing field of opportunities for everyone.

Equipped with his personal and professional experience, he wants to decrease the US' increasing gap in wealth disparity and the economy's recession and depression cycles by implementing fundamental monetary and institutional reforms.

Jean Balbon for 2020!

image of Liza BergLiza Jade Berg

Undergraduate Institution: Western Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology; minor in Psychology

Research Interests: Public and Social policy to help improve policies concerning impoverished youth

Snapshot: Liza is native to Seattle and a first-generation college student. During her time as an undergraduate she found a love for learning leading to her desire to further her education. She has overcome many obstacles, throughout her life, that have led many to doubt her future. Due to her rough past, she has always been interested in working with children that are in and come from similar backgrounds as her. Her hope is to be able to make better policies for those who are facing poverty and those who feel the system has forgotten them. She is excited for the opportunity to attend the University of Washington Bothell Policy Studies program and where it may take her.

image of Nate BlanchardNate Blanchard

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy; minor in Human Rights; AA in Integrated Studies from Cascadia College

Research Interests: Climate Change, Higher Education, Criminal Justice Reform

Snapshot: Nate Blanchard is a class of 2017 graduate of the Law, Economics, and Public Policy Bachelor of Arts Degree, with a minor in Human Rights, at the University of Washington Bothell. Currently, he serves as the 2017-2018 Director of Government Relations in the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell. In the autumn of 2017, Nate will begin graduate school at UW Bothell in the Master of Arts in Policy Studies program. Afterwards, he hopes to attend UC Berkeley's school of law. Nate has a strong passion for law and politics, while also being a firm believer in progressive movements. He hopes to pursue a future career as a political consultant for campaign organization and strategy.

image of Matthew BuycoMatthew Boyco

Undergraduate Institution: Central Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology, Phi kappa Phi, Magna cum laude

Research Interests: Education policy: specifically how boys are falling behind in school; Crime policy; Family Policy: fatherlessness homes and that domestic violence usually involves both partners

Snapshot: Matthew Buyco was born in Seattle and went to Central Washington University for his bachelor's degree. He majored in sociology as he was always interested in social issues. He has a passion for helping people and wants to shed light on issues that are hardly ever talked about in society. He wants to be involved in the political process that can alleviate these problems. He is getting his master's degree at University of Washington Bothell in policy studies and is interested in education, family, and crime policy. He enjoys playing and watching sports in his free time and wants to work in a government agency.

image of Keith ClarkeKeith Tyrell Clarke

Undergraduate Institution: Chaminade University of Honolulu
Undergraduate Degree: Historical and Political Studies

Research Interests: Effect of Media on Low-income communities: Professional Diversity’s effect on Low-income Economic growth

Snapshot: Keith is a husband and father that hails from Florida, with 9 years of active duty service in the U.S Army. He is passionate about socio-economic issues pertaining to diverse communities, as well as being a devout sports fan (Bulls, Seminoles, Cubs, and Jaguars). He enjoys music, reading comics, and playing games with his beloved family, in his leisure time. He also loves movies, and thinks Coming to America is the greatest film ever made. His great inspirations are his wife, and his family. His influential public figures are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, Muhammed Ali, Former Sec. Colin Powell, and Pres. Barak Obama.  Keith is new to the Pacific Northwest, but has hopes of becoming a socially impactful attorney in his new community.

image of Joren ClowersJoren Clowers

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, and Public Policy and American Ethnic Studies; minor in Human Rights

Research Interests: Law, Agriculture, Native Sovereignty, Criminal Justice

Snapshot: Joren has lived his formative years in the Seattle area, attending high school in Capitol Hill and eventually going to Western Washington University before finding UW Bothell. He graduated from UWB this past spring with a double major and minor. His hobbies include cooking, reading the newspapers, and watching Jeopardy! as frequently as possible. This school year he will be the Program Director for Bothell Youth Court, a restorative justice program serving local youth through a partnership between the City of Bothell and UW Bothell, as well as serving as the Government and Community Relations Student Assistant.

image of Hitoe EngelbrektHitoe Englebrekt

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Global Studies; minor in Education

Research Interests: Public policies that affect children, minorities, and underserved group of people negatively

Snapshot: Growing up in Japan as a daughter in a Japanese family, she was told by her father that academic advancement was not necessary, even a hindrance to her happiness evidenced by him naming her 一重Hitoe, “one layered,” or “simple one.” Believing his words as a submissive daughter constituted by the Japanese society and history, she ignored opportunities for education.

Now that Hitoe resides in Washington, she found herself in a predicament and felt unvalued and unwelcome in work society. To move out of this situation and pursue opportunities, she became a motivated student at the University of Washington Bothell where the true value of education was disclosed to her. The social and cultural systems that trapped her were revealed. She continues exorcizing her old mistaken beliefs and obstacles by being curious and compassionate to others.

image of Kaylee GallowayKaylee Galloway

Undergraduate Institution: Western Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics; minors in Energy Policy and Law, Diversity and Justice

Research Interests: Climate change, renewable energy, education (K-12 and postsecondary), and U.S. economic development

Snapshot: Kaylee grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley playing sports and attending Mount Si High School and Bellevue College. Her passion for government began in 10th grade when she served as a Page in the Washington State House. While at WWU, Kaylee was involved in student government and was elected Associated Students Vice President for Governmental Affairs to represent students at the local, state, and federal levels. After graduation, Kaylee interned for the Washington Business Alliance in Seattle before moving to Washington, DC. While in DC, she was a Running Start Star Fellow interning for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and was later promoted to full time Staff Assistant. Kaylee currently lives in Bellingham and works for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene as her Community Liaison for Whatcom and Skagit Counties. In her free time, Kaylee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking, running, hiking, and attending local community events and concerts.  

image of Greg GreshGreg O. Gresh

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

Research Interests: Land management's intersection with conservation; Environmental Stewardship Policy; Preventative Healthcare

Snapshot: Greg grew up in Pennsylvania and after being introduced to the natural sciences realized that he had an affinity for natural and wild places. This passion drove him from exploring the mountainous regions of the eastern U.S. to the Colorado Rocky Mountains while developing a better understanding of the impact of his pursuits and daily routines. The opportunity to move to Washington for higher education after his experience in the National Guard was a logical choice for his career progression. While studying the social sciences at UW Bothell, Greg explored the wild landscape of the Cascades and Olympic Mountains, further deepening his passion of these aesthetic locations. He is interested in identifying management concerns and addressing resource usage and access issues with a holistic approach that considers long-term environmental impacts, heritage preservation, and land rights and justice while promoting stewardship ideals and personal/firm accountability. He intends to promote his interest in holistic wellness through researching and addressing policy concerning systemic reform, stewardship awareness, preventative healthcare, and alternative energy promotion.

image of Laura LubashLaura Lubash

Undergraduate Institution: Seattle University
Undergraduate Degree: Math and French
Graduate Degree: Lesley University, MA in Education

Research Interests: human rights, poverty, homelessness, gender equity

Snapshot: Laura is a Washington native and a mother of three, with two children in college and one in high school. She has spent the last 20+ years as a public-school mathematics teacher and is returning to graduate school in order to pursue her interest in public policy. Laura spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Brooklyn, NY, established a free weekly community meal program at her church, and has been involved as a volunteer and advocate for local social service agencies throughout her life. She has always been passionate about social justice issues and is interested in developing sound public policy that addresses inequity in under-served and under-represented populations.

Graham MarmionGraham Marmion

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

Research Interests: Transportation Electrification, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Carbon Regulation

Snapshot: Graham is a Puget Sound local born and raised in Edmonds, WA. While studying at Western Washington University he discovered a passion for regulatory economics. Upon earning his degree, Graham began working as a Regulatory Analyst for Puget Sound Energy, where he is currently employed and engaged in research regarding pricing, load profiles, and Electric Vehicle programs.

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. In his free time Graham enjoys rock climbing, tabletop games, and craft beer.

image of Jordan RobertsJordan Roberts

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior; AA through Running Start at Everett Community College

Research Interests: Education, Human Rights, Philosophy

Snapshot: Jordan is a 22 year old Washington native who was born and raised in the Lake Stevens area. As a recent graduate of UWB's Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior program, he is looking forward to taking this next step in his education in Policy Studies. His passion includes researching homeschooling and alternative education, and he hopes to use this degree to further influence the community and change the future of local education. When he is not at school, he can be found either working on car projects, or at the local martial arts studio.

image of Megan SampangMegan Sampang

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Health Studies; minor in Policy Studies

Research Interests: Healthcare Policy, Marginalized groups equal rights, Human trafficking, Income and wealth disparities affecting health outcomes

Snapshot: Megan recently graduated with a B.A. in Health Studies with a Minor in Policy Studies from the University of Washington Bothell. She recently participated in the Seafair Scholarship Program for Women where she was crowned as Seafair First Princess, along with winning multiple scholarships she will be utilizing towards her Master’s degree. Megan is active in the Filipino-American community through various associations. She primarily is focused on being an Advisory for the Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance. Through her involvement in the Filipino-American community she is being mentored by the first Filipino-American, Asian-American woman, Velma Veloria, to hold a position in the Washington State House of Representatives for six terms.

image of Sarah SindelarSarah Sindelar

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

Undergraduate Degree: Asian Studies

Research Interests: Early Childhood Education, Opportunity Disparity, Social Development and Diplomacy, Local Governance, Social Movements, Artist Economy

Snapshot: Sarah lives and works in Seattle. While working on her Bachelor’s degree, she became interested in social cultural studies, indigenous storytelling and resource equity. She cares about the production of community art, about the economy, and how people are going to have a safe place to sleep and make art. She would like to use her research to support direct providers that serve unacknowledged individuals and communities. Through this program, she can stay engaged, and improve her position to help, in the process of transforming public and private spaces for the enjoyment of shared experiences in equity.

image of Benjamin StudleyBenjamin Studley

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Community Psychology; minor in Education & Society

Research Interests: Government Policy surrounding Military transition and Veteran readjustment, Education in public schools, Government Appropriations, Leadership & Empowerment in Government

Snapshot: Ben grew up in the outskirts of Snohomish, Washington. Following high school, he served his country as a Chief Gunnersmate in the United States Navy from 1998-2014. Ben graduated from the University of Washington Bothell in 2016 and began working for the House of Representatives on a Wounded Warrior Fellowship.

As the 1st Congressional District Veteran’s liaison he continues on his path of service by providing his fellow Veterans with the resources and assistance they need to succeed. Ben believes in accountability and accessibility in order for the Federal Government to function at the highest possible level. Not all soldiers come back home broken, but we need to be there for the ones who do.

image of Sonyah TerrasonSonyah Terrason

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Health Studies (BA), Biological Sciences (BS)

Research Interests: She wants to reform public health (i.e. Medicaid extension across U.S. population), as she believes that each individual deserves access to basic health. Her research interests are in public health services and policy, Medicaid/Medicare, Affordable Care Act, private insurance health plans, medicine and social sciences.

Snapshot: Born in California and raised in the Puget Sound area, Sonyah at a very early age had determined her future career as a healthcare provider. In high school as part of her International Baccalaureate, she collaborated on an IRB-approved human subjects research at Virginia Mason Medical Center and UW Medical Center. Her extended essay (cumulative research paper) on correlation between human papillomavirus (HPV) and squamous cell carcinoma, earned her the 2012 World Schools Science Award. She has also assisted medical researchers in data gathering and analysis on human immunosuppressive virus (HIV) and skin cancers. In 2017, she graduated with dual degrees (BA/BS) from the University of Washington Bothell.

Sonyah enjoys photography, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.

image not availableSamantha Waehlte

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Law, Economics, & Public Policy; double minor in Business Administration and Human Rights

Research Interests: Homelessness, Prison System, Environment, Education, Disabilities, etc.

Snapshot: Samantha has lived in the PNW all her life. She has seen the social and political injustice in action in this state happen all too often. Her goal is to educate herself on how to shift the climate into something that promotes peace, happiness, equality, and love.

image of Jaren WalkerJaren Walker

Undergraduate Institution: Seattle Pacific University
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science and International Economics

Research Interests: Sustainable economic development, international affairs, and social/gender based equality policy and advocacy

Snapshot: Jaren moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to Blaine, Washington where she attended Blaine High School. Jaren’s love of politics began early on during a student ambassador trip to Fiji and proceeded to take her to 13 more countries exploring this new passion for governance. With an insatiable travel bug, Jaren headed to Seattle Pacific University where she double majored in Political Science and International Economics. While at university, Jaren was Vice President of the Political Union Club and a regular performer in the theater department. In addition, Jaren worked as a program lead for the Gender Based Violence Prevention team in the university’s security department teaching self-defense classes and developing programs to raise awareness and prevent gender based violence. Currently, Jaren works in the Office of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene as her District Scheduler and Staff Assistant. When she’s not working, Jaren loves cooking, hiking, yoga and enjoying Seattle’s theater performances.

image of Kanwal YousufKanwal Yousuf

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

Research Interests: Policies that impact immigrant and low income communities

Snapshot: Kanwal is a first generation child and is the first in her family to go to college in the USA. She was raised in Detroit until she was 12 and feels fortunate to grow up in Seattle. She loves Seattle because of all the opportunities that was given to her and her family, which includes going to a good school and living in a beautiful environment. She has visited countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh and knows that it is a blessing to have clean air and water in Washington State. She has also traveled to Peru for a study abroad during her undergrad, which is the experience that sparked her interest in policies. During this experience, a well-known conservationist told her to go into policies to make a difference. She feels that from that day the world led her to the MAPS program.
strialized Agriculture, Food Waste

2016 Cohort

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.  

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.

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.