Allouzi, Yousef
Policy Interests: Energy Policy, International Policy

After growing up in Texas, I am happy to say that I’ve been a proud Oregon transplant for nearly 15 years.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a BS in Economics and a minor in Philosophy.  I’m a licensed and practiced mediator in the state of Oregon and have experience working abroad in the country of Jordan.  I’ve spent over twelve years working in county and federal governments, the last ten being in the Department of Justice.  I love tackling the difficult problems that public policy presents and in my spare time enjoy reading, writing, and hiking.

Amin, Mohsin
Policy Interests: Energy Policy
Internship: Office of the Chief Advisor to the President of Afghanistan
Awards: Fulbright Scholarship Program
Home Country: Afghanistan

I was energy policy advisor to the Minister of Economy and the Inter-ministerial Commission for Energy in Afghanistan. I have my bachelor degree in electrical engineering from Kabul Polytechnic university and started my career as an electrical engineer in one of USAID's funded power transmission project, then joined DABS (the national power utility) as engineering department head and eventually ended up being an energy advisor to the energy commission.

I wrote extensively on regional energy projects e.g. CASA-1000, TUTAP, TAPI, and other development plans going on in the energy sector. Recently, the famous Foreign Policy media outlet published my article on TAPI (A Pipeline to South Asia Prosperity). Last year, a Kabul-based policy research think tank published my analysis paper on Afghanistan's power system (Power to the People: How to extend Afghans’ access to electricity).


Boege, Sarah
Policy Interests: Environmental policy, international policy

After living most of my life in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, I was pretty excited to move to Oregon and enjoy green trees and rain. I graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Sustainability, a BA in Spanish Linguistics, and a certificate in Latin American Studies. Studying abroad in Chile and also Trinidad & Tobago solidified my desire to work in Latin America in the future. Throughout my sustainability studies I focused primarily on international development. In my senior year of undergrad I became really interested in the impact policy could have on sustainable development issues. I saw this program as an logical and effective step towards my career goals.


Cogle, James
Policy interests:
Environmental Policy
Internship: Benton County Department of Community Development
Home Country: United Kingdom

Originally from the United Kingdom, I moved to Corvallis, Oregon, in 2014 with my wife.  I completed my undergraduate degree in Ecological Science from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Following graduation, I worked in marine fisheries compliance, marine conservation policy, land use and biodiversity policy for the Scottish Government.  While working I also completed a masters in Aquatic Ecosystem Management from Edinburgh Napier University and captained my local Ultimate Frisbee Club.  After arriving in Corvallis I volunteered for a number of local organizations and worked at a remote sensing company before starting OSU’s MPP program.



Crawford, Tessa
Policy Interests: Rural Policy

I am from a small town in rural Northern California, in Mendocino County. My undergraduate education was at California College of the Arts where I studied painting and drawing. After graduating, I returned to Mendocino County to teach art to “at risk” youth. I worked with non-profits to promote arts education in my hometown. My training as a Doula, (a non-medical person who assists women during childbirth), motivated me to learn more about women’s health issues. After graduation, I intend to work with multiple sectors including local non-profits and policy makers, to promote vibrant rural communities!

My hobbies include playing board games, running, reading, and baking. Above all, in my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my rescue dog, Gemma.

Degner, Rebekah E.
Policy Interests: Social Policy
I am proud to share that I am a native Oregonian. After spending most of my childhood at the base of Mt. Hood, I moved to the Willamette Valley in 2013 to attend Western Oregon University, where I earned a BS in Political Science, minoring in Sociology. My main policy interests reflect my desire to advocate for social justice. This aspiration stems from my own experiences being raised in a working-class household. From the training and experience I will gain as a graduate student at Oregon State University I hope to build a fulfilling career revolved around helping others over come socio-economic barriers.


Ding, Lin
Policy Interests: International policy
Home Country: China

I was born and raised in Hunan, China, a beautiful place with very delicious food. I received my Master of Business Administration in Accountancy degree from OSU College of Business in 2014. During my graduate school study in OSU, I volunteered at the Human Services Resource center to provide food to low income students or citizens, a service offered through OSU’s Food Pantry. The experience gave me an impressive sight of public service in United States and inspired me to go depth with public policy.

Currently, my policy interest is international policy focuses on doing research and analysis on international policies or issues, but since there are many interesting concentrations in MPP program, I would like to learn more policy related knowledge and find a real interest through learning in this program. For my career goal, I wish I could integrate my study of business administration and public policy in a position of non-profit sectors.

Edwards, Bree
Policy Interests: Social Policy

I was born in the central valley of California, raised in the San Francisco Bay area in a little town named Hercules, and attended undergrad at San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!) While at SDSU, I studied psychology with the intent to pursue a future as a marriage and family therapist. It was during my junior and first senior year that I decided one-on-one therapy wasn't for me. Then, I found public administration and I began to be interested in community well-being and policy. I had always wanted to visit Oregon and applying to a master's program at OSU was that opportunity. So, I moved my partner (now fiance) to a city about as opposite as you can find from San Diego. I am studying the parole system in Oregon and specifically looking at the relationship between the parole officer and parolee to understand how these relationship form, are sustained, and impact the parolee's successful reintegration. 


Filimoehala, Sione
Policy Interests: Education Policy
Internship: Oregon Department of Human Services, Aging and People with Disabilities Division
Awards: Transatlantic Students Symposium Fellowship, 2016

I am a Willamette Valley native, and I studied Philosophy and Political Science here at OSU as an undergrad. I am interested in policy related to students in at-risk populations at K-12 settings. During my undergraduate studies, I became involved with the philosophy lab Phronesis (the Aristotelian term for engaged philosophy). Our primary experiment was to run a class on peace and social justice for students at the local alternative high school program, with our aims to allow the students to engage with the various local decision makers (the mayor of Corvallis, the Chief of Police, local community organizers) in an attempt to peel back the veil of power, hoping to reducing feelings of disenfranchisement from the community. In my free time I enjoy various modes of exercise, games with friends (board or otherwise), and am a musical hobbyist.

Flathers, Courtney
Policy Interests:
Rural Policy
Awards: 2016 International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute

I was born and raised in rural Eastern Oregon and now call the beautiful Oregon coast home. In 2010, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Sociology from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Minneapolis following graduation, I returned to my native Oregon where I worked in politics and state government for three years. After a brief foray into the non-profit world, I am pursuing my MPP with a focus in rural policy. I look forward to the opportunity to use my education and experience gained through this program to contribute to the long-term health and wellbeing of rural Oregon.

Freitas, Anna
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy

Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, a town known for stunning beaches and forests as well as organic agriculture, laid the foundation for my interest in how agriculture impacts human health and the environment. Classes in biology, rhetoric, and horticulture, also revealed a fascinating, complex dynamic between the scientific and sociopolitical aspects of agrienvironmental issues, and inspired me to pursue a multidisciplinary course of study at Willamette University. In December 2015, I received two bachelors degrees in Biology and Environmental & Earth Sciences (social science focus), through which I furthered my understanding of biology, environmental sciences, agriculture, and policy. Although I greatly enjoy plant ecology and restoration, I realized that I needed a graduate program in public policy in order to work toward answers to the many questions I have about environmental policy and how to incorporate science into policy.

Gonzalez, Veronica
Policy Interests:
Rural Policy; Social Policy
Awards: 2016 International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute

I am from the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area in California. I graduated summa cum laude from Saint Mary's College of California with a B.S. in Social Psychology. With a passion for research methods and food politics, and a desire to utilize my skills in an applicable way, I decided to pursue a Masters degree in Public Policy, where I hope to specialize in Rural/Social Policy. During my undergraduate years, I worked as a research assistant and spearheaded several quantitative and qualitative projects. I also took part in various activities related to food policy; I participated in food desert immersion trips, worked on Fair Trade committees, volunteered in school gardens, head-started a farm-to-table education project to promote conscious consumer behavior, and contributed to educational conferences on the food industry at elementary schools. At OSU, I hope to investigate the links between food security, health education, and preventable disease. My interests outside of school include watching political documentaries and playing acoustic guitar.

Gray, Daniel
Policy Interests: Education, Environmental and Energy Policy.

After growing up here in Corvallis, Oregon, a long trail led me back. My bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oregon left me looking for a career field that I felt would still focus on thoughtful deliberation but have more of a direct impact on society. After flirting with the idea of law school, I moved to Japan where I taught English for two years and became interested in education policy. When I moved back to the U.S. I interned at the Oregon legislature, which only increased my interest in policymaking. Public policy to me is a perfect combination that engages with theories of government and societal values, but can also directly impact and improve people’s lives. In my free time I enjoy playing board games with friends, cycling, and camping.



Gunther, Stephen
Policy Interests:
Energy Policy

I was born and raised on Long Island, NY but after receiving my BA in Political Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, I decided to move to our nation’s capital. During my five years in DC I worked with several trade associations related to renewable energy and then at a consulting firm. While there, I primarily supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through strategic communications services for voluntary programs related to energy efficiency and other climate protection initiatives. OSU’s strong focus on energy policy makes it a perfect fit for my interests and it doesn’t hurt that Corvallis is in striking distance of some great surf and rock climbing spots.


Hensley, Jordan
Policy Interests: Social and Education Policy
Internship: Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion
Awards: Transatlantic Students Symposium Fellowship, 2016; Hatfield Fellowship, 2016

I grew up in Camas, Washington, before completing an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Idaho in 2011. Following that I managed political campaigns in north Idaho, worked in communications and event planning for the City of Vancouver, WA, and served a term as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Portland YouthBuilders, an alternative school in SE Portland.

My main interest is in social policy, specifically educational equity issues, though I consistently find myself fascinated by a wide range of policy topics. My hope is to take the research skills I acquire in the MPP program and apply them to pressing educational needs in both our region and country.

In my spare time I enjoy singing (often at high volume), running, watching football, and playing scrabble.

Johnson, Jennifer (Jenna)
Policy Interests:
International & Social Policy

I am a native Los Angeleno, but I spent most of younger days in the
Willamette Valley and Ashland areas. I have spent the last four years in
Germany, where I work in Special Education for the Department of Defense
Education Activity (DODEA). I received my undergrad in Sociology from
Arizona State University, and I recently completed my Masters of Social
Work with the University of Southern California. My most recent internship
involved working with USC Telehealth, providing virtual psychotherapy for
under-served populations throughout California. I have also worked as a
domestic violence advocate. I am passionate about women's issues, equal
rights and international social policy. I enjoy working in macro
environments, I feel directing my efforts towards creating strong public
policies is a worthwhile endeavor.

Khan, Muhammad Salar
Policy Interests:
Energy and International Policy/Governance
Internship: World Bank
Awards: Fulbright Scholarship
Home Country: Pakistan

I come from Peshawar, Pakistan. I moved to Lahore where I got my undergraduate joint degree in economics and politics from LUMS.  After graduation I led an automobile startup in Peshawar and in the meantime conducted feasibility studies for businesses. Thereafter, I landed on the Parliament of Pakistan while working as Junior Expert/Consultant with British Council. Rendering consultancy to the Parliament and Parliamentarians specifically associated with Public Accounts Committee, I have achievements in my name like preparing business plan and procedure manual which otherwise are constitutional requirements for the Committee’s business. I am personally interested in governance issues whereas the dismal situation of energy in my country demands me to delve into energy issues too. I am looking forward to a cool and a vibrant stay over here.



Lagouit, Ennada
Policy Interests
: Social and International policy
Internship: Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Awards: 2013 Coca Cola Scholarship, 2015- 2017 Fulbright Scholarship
Home Country: Morocco

I’ve spent the biggest part of my life in Casablanca, Morocco where I graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor in Industrial Engineering. Before coming to Oregon, I worked in the Kerosene and pipe manufacturing sectors. Without my experience in North African based factories I wouldn’t be feeling as strongly as I do, that my need to impact policy in developing countries far outweighs my desire to use my engineering degree.

As an MPP student at OSU, I hope to direct my passion for problem solving towards public issues. My policy interests are diverse but mostly centered around social and labor policy in the Middle East and North Africa. I am interested in understanding how constraints on female work conditions and opportunities are compound by institutional and religious norms operating within the region.

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn broadly, to interact with distinguished individuals and to enjoy everything that Oregon has to offer.

Larmer, Zoe Marie
Policy Interests: Social Policy

I am originally from Colorado, but have spent the last eight years in Oregon. I received my B.A. from Willamette University in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2012. I spent the following four years working for the Oregon State Legislature in the Committee Services office, primarily staffing the Senate and House Rules committees.  I am particularly interested in policy issues surrounding affordable housing and education equity. I hope to use the skills I gain through the MPP program to address the growing disparity of resources in these areas. 


McRae, Caitlin
Policy Interests: Energy Policy

I grew up in rural northeastern Utah. I attended the University of Utah and received a BA in economics. Afterwards, I returned to my hometown and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for a year. During that time, I became interested in public policy.  Currently, my policy interests range broadly from natural resources, to energy, and economic policy. In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities such as running, hiking, fishing, and occasionally cross country skiing.

Nilson, Roberta
Policy Interests: Environment/natural resource, rural, international.

Growing up in a timber-dependent community of southwest Washington State sparked my interest in environmental issues.  After getting my B.S. in environmental science at Washington State University, I joined the US Peace Corps and served as an environmental education promoter in rural Nicaragua from 2012 to 2014.  My main role was working with local public school teachers to improve science education and incorporate environment-based activities into the curriculum.  In addition I assisted a local NGO with management and training at a private nature reserve.  I feel fortunate to have worked as a Cougar Gold cheese-maker at the WSU creamery, and in seasonal positions at Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone, and Olympic National Parks.  I especially love hiking and making moderately healthy baked goods in my free time. 

I am interested in policy issues that affect resource-dependent communities, domestically and internationally, as these communities often seem underappreciated for the crucial roles they serve of providing necessities and protecting resources for the rest of the population.


Osipova, Polina
Policy Interests:
Environmental Policy
Home Country: Russia, United States

I was born in Russia and grew up in the San Diego area in California. I earned my undergraduate degree in Environmental Systems from UC San Diego and plan to focus on environmental policy at OSU. I have experience in working for environmental nonprofits and local government. Most recently, I worked as an outreach assistant for the City of San Rafael, where my time was divided between implementing zero waste projects and developing an outreach plan for a residential carbon reduction program. I am passionate about helping people connect to the natural world, and about finding solutions to complicated environmental problems, especially in the areas of climate change, waste, and land use. I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful program and look forward to exploring Oregon's open spaces!


Plendl, Trevor
Policy Interests: Environmental and Social Policy
Internship: League of Oregon Cities

I was born and raised in the St. Paul/ Minneapolis metropolitan area in Minnesota. However, I spent the last ten years living in northern Minnesota in the City of Bemidji. I graduated from Bemidji State University with a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Environmental Studies specializing in Policy and Planning. Before returning to school full time in 2012, I owned and operated a recycling services company. The experiences I had providing recycling services begot an interest in economics, public policy and public administration.


Rhodes, Amanda
Policy Interest: Social and Food Policy
Internship: Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition
Awards: 2016 International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute

My childhood and adolescence were spent in various places in the U.S. most of it in Grants Pass, Oregon. From there, I spent time as an exchange student in the Slovak Republic, and then joined the US Coast Guard at the age of 20. I spent 6.5 years enlisted as an Avionics Electrical Technician where my duty was to fix aircraft electrical systems as well as perform important missions such as search and rescue and marine environmental protection. The service brought me to Texas, California and then to Kodiak Island in Alaska. Toward the end of my service, I made some life changes for myself on a personal level regarding health and fitness. Those changes lead me back to Oregon to pursue an undergraduate degree in nutrition. I spent a year in Seattle attending the Bastyr University Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I was nationally certified in July 2015. Over the course of my internship, it became distinctly aware to me that policies regarding food were lacking, and the sphere of influence that Dietitians have in one on one counselling sessions is minimal. To make a greater impact, I wanted to put my time and effort into creating an environment conducive to healthy eating behaviors, so that's how I came to be in the Master of Public Policy program.


Salih, Latifa
Policy Interests:
Water Policy
Internship: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program
Award: 2015 International Comparative Rural Policy Summer Institute

I'm from Denver/Fort Collins, Colorado by way of about 12 other U.S. states and 2 other countries. I love the Pacific Northwest though and hope to make the Seattle area my permanent home when my time at OSU comes to an end. I completed my BS in Environmental Science, with a minor in Geography, here at OSU. I'm interested in all aspects of natural resource policy and management, but I'm most interested in water resource policy. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and exploring with my little family.



Sandoval, Jonathan
Policy Interest:
Environmental Policy

I was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I went to Southwestern University, a small liberal arts school in Georgetown Texas, and received a BA in Environmental Studies. It was at Southwestern that my interest in policy first started due to the guidance of my adviser and the way the degree is structured. After graduating in December 2015 I spent the next six months interning for the City of Georgetown's Finance and Budget Department. It was a very rewarding experience and a good way to get experience in local government. Moving to Corvallis has been very exciting for me due to the distinct change in scenery from Texas. My hobbies include tennis, hiking, and playing board games.

Starr, Christopher
Policy Interests: Agricultural Biotechnology, Politics and Policy of Technological Change, Environmental Policy, Other Rural/Agricultural Issues

I was raised in the western suburbs of Portland, Oregon, which are influenced by the unusual culture of Portland, mainstream American culture, and conservative reactions against the culture of Portland. I was personally connected to people who held an extremely wide variety of basic values, beliefs, and worldviews, and placed a high level of importance on their values. I was strongly affected by this. I developed a specific interest in biotechnology. I went to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I obtained a B.S. in Biotechnology. While there, I worked on a research project that attempted to develop a middle ground position in the debate over agricultural biotechnology. I decided to pursue a career related to agricultural biotechnology, and obtained a M.S. in Molecular Plant Sciences from Washington State University. After being forced to reconsider my professional identity, I realized that the field of public policy was a better fit for my capabilities and interests. I hope to work on policy issues related to ongoing technological, economic, and cultural changes that affect the physical and social environments of rural areas, either in a U.S. or international development context.


Trant, Lindsay
Policy Interests: Environmental/Rural Policy
Internship: Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems
Awards: 2016 International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute

I was born and raised in Los Altos, California and moved to Oregon to attend Willamette University and earn a B.A. in Sociology.  After graduating Willamette I worked on a small organic farm in Salem, Oregon in the summer season and worked for the Oregon State legislature at the capitol in the legislative session.  Working these two jobs each year sparked my interest in learning how to provide policy support for small farms. 

Vazquez, Maria Dolores, MS, PhD
Policy Interests:
Food and Technology Policy
Home Country:

I was born in Mexico City but grew up in Chiapas and Sonora (farthest south and north of Mexico). I have a BS in Biotechnology, a MS in Crop Science, a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics and now I am a second year MPP as a re-entry student. I have 15 years of experience in agricultural research, working closely with several universities and agricultural institutes. My goal after finishing my master in Public Policy is to work for an international organization that works closely with different systems of governance around the world in the advising of best strategies to improve communities livelihoods by technology and agriculture . At the same time, I am aiming at continuing working in collaboration with academia and agricultural research centers.

Warden, McKenzie
Policy Interests: Rural policy, education policy
Internship: Strengthening Rural Families, Philomath
Awards: 2016 International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute

I hail from the small town of Monroe, Oregon, just twenty minutes south of Corvallis. I completed my undergraduate studies here at Oregon State with a double degree in History and Secondary Education with a minor in Political Science. With experience teaching in rural Eastern Oregon and my own personal upbringing, I am particularly passionate about making educational opportunities accessible to students living in high poverty, rural areas.

Whelan, Patrick
Policy Interests:
Rural Policy, Policy Theory

I have come back to school late in life after managing a large municipality for many years, then using my retirement portfolio to start a nonprofit counseling center for at-risk youth and their families in Central Oregon. I graduated from Oregon State University Cascades in Human Development and Family Sciences in 2015, and moved to Lebanon for my first year of graduate school in the College of Public Health.

A large part of my education has been involved in plate tectonics, and I see a need to initiate policies surrounding the protection of vulnerable populations that may be affected by a catastrophic natural event such as the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. Oregon State University is in the process of building a new Marine Studies Building and related student housing in Newport adjacent to the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center. I am targeting my focus on being a part of that new center. The more I understand about public policy creation and implementation, will provide me with a better foundation to make a contribution to Oregon residents.

Widiyasari, Ika
Policy Interests:
Rural policy
Awards: 2015–2019 BPS-Statistics Scholarship, 2016–2017 USAID PRESTASI Scholarship
Home Country : Indonesia

I am originally from Java, but dedicate myself to work in Papua/West Papua Province, Indonesia. I received my undergraduate degree in Economic Statictics from the Government Institute of Statistics in Jakarta, Indonesia. After graduation, I worked at the BPS-Statistics Indonesia as government officer in Division of Development of Census and Survey Methodology. A year later, I moved to Papua Province, working in the same office but in a different division (Social Statistics Division). I was responsible for socio-economic data in Papua Province and often got many challenges in collecting data due to the geographical isolation. From my daily interactions with rural communites, I found myself interested in rural policy and received an opportunity to study rural policy at Oregon State University. Currently, I have moved to West Papua Province, but am still dealing with the same job in BPS-Statistics of West Papua Province.  

Yang, Ling
Policy Interest: Education Policy
Home Country: China

I was born and grew up in Hangzhou, a beautiful city with six million population near the coast of southeast China. Throughout my life, I’m always interested in people’s different cultural identities. My M.A. thesis was about American Jews and my volunteering experiences include six months at World’s Expo. After completing my M.A. in English Literature at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, I worked as a high school English teacher for two years and then moved to Oregon. I want to focus my research on the equity and diversity of education policies related to immigrants, and feel so lucky that the MPP program can provide me effective access to abundant research resources and methods. My personal interests are piano and learning foreign languages (currently Spanish).  Corvallis is a great place to stay and I do enjoy my life here!