Andrews, Kathleen
Policy Interests: 
Energy Policy

I was born in New York, grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, and now live in Newport Beach, California. I work for California's state agency that regulates oil, gas and geothermal resources - the agency was renamed in January 2020 to California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) to reflect the agency's revised mission in the transition away from petroleum and to include regulation of geologic capture of CO2. I have a Master's degree in Geology from San Diego State University, and an undergraduate degree in geology from Oberlin College. My agency employs mostly geologists and various flavors of engineers, mostly petroleum engineers and mechanical engineers. My interest in public policy is in energy policy. I'm excited to develop the skills and expertise during the process of obtaining a Master's Degree in Public Policy at OSU to help write regulations, evaluate options, and design and guide the energy transition. 

Before joining CalGEM eleven years ago, I worked in the environmental consulting industry for a couple of small- to medium-sized companies in southern California. I'm interested in a lot of subjects, and have been interested in systems for a long time. 

I have two daughters in their mid-twenties, and live with Lance, my partner of about ten years, my dog and constant companion Cleo, and a cat. In my spare time I like to jog, cycle, travel, read, and the art form I've gravitated to is called Zentangle.  

Allen, Solomon
Policy Interests:
Social Policy
Internship: Office of Representative Dan Rayfield

Born in Washington and living most of my life in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest is my home. I took a long path in completing my undergraduate degree in Political Science, beginning at Oregon State in 2008, taking a long hiatus to work and start a family, and finally returning to school and finishing my degree in June 2017. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college and I owe all of my success to the love and commitment of my family and friends who have, and continue to, support me through my journey.

With my professional life devoted to customer service, I have always been passionate about being attentive and responsive to the needs and concerns of others. With a deep desire to have a greater impact than promoting a company’s interests, the MPP program is the perfect fit to help me fine tune my knowledge and skills to pursue a career in the public sector and work to promote the interests of individuals rather than businesses. I am most interested in health care, education, and sustainability for the benefit of the working class and future generations.

Barker, Ross
Policy Interests:
Social and Environmental Policy
Home State: Oregon

I was born in Connecticut, grew up in Southern California and spent my early adult years in the San Francisco Bay Area - but now having lived in Portland for more than 20 years, I am very proud to call Oregon my home. I have a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Northwestern. My career has taken a series of twists and turns, each bringing a new set of challenges, and has included work as a financial analyst at as night vision goggle manufacturer, public school teaching, and a long stretch as a market researcher. I currently work for Mars Petcare, where I lead a team focused on developing innovations to benefit the health and wellbeing of dogs and cats. 

I am now preparing for the next stage of my professional life. To that end, I am excited to be pursuing a Master's degree in Public Policy through the online program at Oregon State University. The study of public policy is appealing to me because I want to develop skills and expertise that will help me play an active role in creating positive change for our society and communities. My passion is currently strongest in the area of social policy. I hope to gain skills and expertise so that i can help address issues related to access to education, affordable housing and wealth inequality. 

I live in Portland with my wife, three kids, two dogs and four cats. I spent a lot of years coaching youth sports when our children were younger, everything from basketball to soccer to softball. Now I have more time to pursue other activities I love, such as hiking, running, reading and traveling - especially when all five of us cant get away together. 

 

Bashar, Shahinur
Policy Interests: International and Environmental Policy
Home Country: Bangladesh


I was born and raised in Chittagong, a city of Bangladesh. I completed my undergraduate in the University of Dhaka and Master's in Development Studies in University of Dhaka. Immediately after completing my Master's I joined as a lecturer at Brac University. My research interest lies in International and Environmental policy and development. During my teaching days I grew interest for International politics as well. Apart from that the social issues that has impact on the society we are living also grabbed my attention for future research in different social policy related fields.
I am pursuing my Master's degree in Public Policy at Oregon State University.
In my spare time I like to go travelling, reading and painting.

 

Beck, Kendra
Policy Interests: Law and Crime Policy
Home State: Oregon

I am from Canby, Oregon, which is only an hour north of Corvallis. I completed my undergrad at Oregon State University in the spring of 2020 with a BS in Sociology, during which time I discovered a passion for law and crime policy. I loved OSU and decided to continue my education here by pursuing my Master's in Public Policy, which I hope to use in pursuing juvenile justice system reform. I don't have any professional work experience under my belt yet, but I am looking forward to using what I learn in the MPP program to make a difference in my community and beyond! Outside of academics, I am on the OSU Dressage and Hunter-Jumper teams with my horse, Duck, and I also enjoy playing the bass, reading, and watching movies. 

Beck, Sabrina
Policy Interests: Food Insecurity; Food and Agricultural Policy
Home State: Maine

I grew up in Maine, where hunting, fishing, and growing your own food was and still is a valued part of life. I fell in love with the outdoors and the gratification of farming and decided to study Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Sustainable Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, where I earned my B.S. in 2018. 

In the two years since I graduated from my undergrad, I have worked on several small organic vegetable farms in the northeast and for a sustainability nonprofit on Nantucket Island. In that position I hoped to learn how programs like SNAP and WIC are implemented at farmers' markets. Unfortunately this did not happen, but I did learn important lessons about how non-profits fit into the food system and how they can better serve their communities. This experience was just one of many that fueled my desire to learn and understand more about the policies that influence food access. In my search for graduate schools and programs I strongly considered sticking with horticultural science, but the social aspect of food kept pulling at me. I aspire to use my degree to better understand how to increase the accessibility of locally source, nutritious food to low-income households. 

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, fishing, playing rugby, reading, cooking, and experimenting with fermentation! I can't wait to explore all the Pacific Northwest has to offer!

Blakeman, Harry
Policy Interests: Social and Rural Policy
Home State: Oregon

I was raised on the Oregon Coast, but now live in Vancouver, Washington with my wife and our scrappy terrier. I received my B.A. in History from the University of Portland in 2014, and have since worked in graphic design and marketing both as a freelancer and in a corporate environment. I am currently enrolled in Oregon State's Master of Public Policy program with the goal of becoming a public servant and giving back to my community. I am interested in social and rural policy, and after graduating I hope to find a job where I have a meaningful positive impact. I want to find solutions to my community's complex problems, and make our shared home a better place to live and work. In my spare time I enjoy writing, typeface design, and photography. 

Bonkoski, Sheila
Policy Interests: Social and Environmental Policy
Home State: Indiana

I was born and raised in Indiana and moved around the country for awhile before settling in western Oregon with my partner. I graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in political science and a minor in women's studies. While living in rural, western Maine, and later Nashville, I encountered the struggles of many food-insecure residents in both rural and urban settings. In Nashville, I also worked to promote the integration of immigrant families by teaching English as a second language. 

In Oregon, I became a part of an organization that provides trauma-informed and survivor-centered services to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. These experiences have broadened my understanding of social and structural inequalities and have strengthened my passion for finding solutions related to social policy. 

In my free time, I enjoy reading, trail running, drinking craft beer, and traveling. Any occasion to combine those elements is a surefire way to have a good time, and I have found all of them suited to my new life in Oregon. Being this close to the magnificent natural beauty of the West has further deepened my desire to develop and champion solutions to improve our world. 

Brandt, Diane
Policy Interests: Sustainability
Home State: Oregon

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I’ve spent the last couple decades working as a science teacher in the United States and internationally, and then as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department for nearly 13 years.  After living around the world, my family and I have settled in Corvallis for our next adventure.  I completed my undergraduate studies in Zoology and Spanish at the University of Washington in 2000, and now want to look into public policy’s role in sustainability.

Calvo-Leni, Rodrigo
Policy Interest: International and Environmental Policy
Home Country: Chile

I was born in Belgium and had no citizenship until my family returned to Chile 6 months later. I then migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of 10. I completed a B.A. in Political Science, International Relations at University of California, San Diego. I went on to work as the sole U.S. west coast representative for CORFO (Chilean Economic Development Agency), and later joined the solar industry working for SolarCity and Tesla. My experiences showed me the importance of international and national policy in regards to business, immigration, and the environment, which have led me to further my studies through seeking an MPP at OSU.

My hobbies include playing the trumpet and roller-skating. I am an active player of rink hockey (roller hockey on roller skates), where I am a member of the national rink hockey committee, and have participated as a player on Team USA during the 2017 World Roller Games in Nanjing, China, 2018 Pan American Games in Bogota, Colombia, and most recently in the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona, Spain. I was also elected to be the Under 19 Team USA Manager during the 2018 Pan American Games and the 2019 World Roller Games. I moonlight as a roller derby trainer for Corvallis' Sick Town Roller Derby Dames.  

Chi, Erik
Policy Interest: International Policy
Home Country: Oregon

I was born and raised in Oregon. I have attended Oregon State University for the past four years. Prior tyo my admission in the MPOP program I was an undergraduate in Economics and Political Science. My international policy interests stem from my heritage as a Taiwanese-American, and the coursework that I was exposed to as an undergraduate student at OSU. After graduation, I was able to intern at teh Formosan Association for Public Affairs where I developed a deeper interest in advocacy work. My goal in this MPP program is to bring my interests in the Indo-Pacific into the policy sphere. 

In my spare time I enjoy cycling, running, and cooking for friends. 

 

Crouse, Alexis
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy
Home State: North Carolina

I am from North Carolina, where I have also spent most of my life.  My college experience started at UNC Asheville but I transferred to North Carolina State where I graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering.  After spending a year working as a transportation engineer for a private company I attempted to focus my engineering career in a more environmental direction; and I earned a MS degree from North Carolina State in Biological & Agricultural Engineering.  My graduate work focused mainly in stream restoration and water quality issues; and my thesis was about a prototype instrument I designed, tested and evaluated for surveying cross-sections in streams.  I moved to Alaska for a while after earning my MS degree where I worked for a different company doing water resources and transportation engineering work.  After some time in Alaska I moved back to North Carolina where I performed similar work for several years and earned my professional engineering licenses in North Carolina and Virginia. Green infrastructure was the intended career direction with my earlier MS degree but I was very limited by cultural and political barriers, especially in North Carolina.  I want to focus on how to overcome cultural and political barriers to green infrastructure development.

Dermody, Lori Slane
Policy Interests: Water and Environmental Policy
 

I have always had a love for the outdoors and an interest in environmental science. I was born and raised in the Midwest but moved to the Pacific Northwest for my first graduate degree at Oregon State University (OSU) twenty years ago. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Kansas State University and a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources/Biogeography from OSU with emphasis in wetlands and riparian ecology. 

I now have worked in the biological and water resources field in the public sector in California for 18 years, 17 of which are for the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Aqueduct Division. In my present position as a Watershed Resources Supervisor, I manage many broad ranging environmental mitigation projects and compliance monitoring programs that result from the City's past and present water exports from the Eastern Sierra. This work includes wetland and stream restoration, habitat enhancement, and native revegetation projects. I have also overseen LADWP's Land Management and Environmental Permitting Programs for the Aqueduct Division. Throughout my career I have developed a keen interest in environmental policy, water rights, and water law as well as sustainable management of water resources in the American West. Although continuing to work full time, I am currently a student in OSU's Executive Master of Public Policy Program where I intend to concentrate my study in Water and Environmental Policy. 

Outside of work and school, I am a busy mother of two and love to spend time with my husband (also OSU alumni) and kids hiking, kayaking, and skiing in the Eastern Sierra. 

Eilers, Michael
Policy Interests: International Policy and Environmental Policy
Home State: Southern California

I was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the Antelope Valley. I enlisted in the Army after high school and attended Hawaii Pacific University while stationed in Oahu, HI. I graduated with a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration on Security Studies. While working in the Indo-Pacific, I was able to travel around the region and begin to acquire a real appreciation for how interconnected the world is and just how many organizations exist to help others. I am studying at OSU to broaden my knowledge of policy creation, and how particular policies affect the world around us. 

When not engaged in work, I enjoy golfing, hiking, and lifting heavy objects off the ground or over my head (depending on the day). 

Ems, Keaton
Policy Interests: International & Economic Policy
Home State: Oregon

As a third-generation large timber and Christmas tree farmer, I grew up on the border between the urban and rural divide. I originally attended Oregon State University in 2009 through 2011 before dropping out and going to culinary school instead. After trying my hand at several restaurant ventures, I found some modicum of success with a food cart in downtown Portland. After selling my stake and moving back to the farm, I started studying as a paralegal while training and breeding Friesian horses. 

Thanks to a near fatal riding accident, and subsequent spinal surgery, I re-enrolled into an undergraduate degree program at Portland State University where I finished with a BS in Communication Studies. While studying at PSU, my Political Communication professor introduced me to the formal concept of lobbying, or advocating, and literally introduced me to the University's VP of Government Relations. After following up with an interview, then internship, and full hire, I worked in the President's Office at the University to help advocate for more funding. A successful campaign led us to secure an $82 million ask for a new Science Building that serves the diverse needs of students in the metro area. 

That experience then took me to the state legislature where I served as a Policy Analyst during the short session and have been consulting on a few election campaigns. This Master of Public Policy program is a perfect fit to credential my career. Especially as I look forward to positions in the federal government, state department, or embassies abroad. 

Fatuma, Ali
Policy Interests: Social Policy
Home Country: Kenya

I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. After completing high school in Kenya, I attended a community college in Seattle, Washington and transferred to Oregon State University where I graduated with a BS in Public Health focusing on health promotion and health behavior. I decided to switch from public health which is heavily based upon advocacy, education and active groundwork within the community to public policy where I will get a better understanding on how policies impact individuals at a community level and I believe that I will be able to make greater organizational changes through Public Policy. My primary focus is Social Policy particularly focusing on youth education of drug use and how immigration policy affects refugees in regards to low income housing, youth gang membership and high crime rates in areas with section 8 housing.

During my free time, I love to cook. Born and raised in a city, I had to adjust to being outdoors and I absolutely love it! Crater Lake and painted hills are my favorite places in Oregon.

Ferrone, Carly
Policy Interests: Behavioral Health and Social Policy
Home State: Pennsylvania

A current graduate student of OSU's Executive Master of Public Policy program, I've always been excited about opportunities to enhance systems and processes in order to promote high quality behavioral health care for vulnerable populations. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 2015 with an undergraduate degree in Psychology, I started my career in academic and government research and evaluation before transitioning into the behavioral health field. I'm currently a Quality Improvement Analyst at a public behavioral health oversight agency, where I collaborate with stakeholders around local efforts to improve behavioral health services for those with medical assistance. 

I'm thankful to live in the city I grew up in, Pittsburgh, PA, with my husband and our pets. In our spare time, we enjoy disc golfing/hiking and playing video or board games together and with friends and family. 

Fisher, Bryan
Policy Interests: Healthcare Policy
Home State: Washington, DC

I live in Washington, DC and work in media relations for a large healthcare company after many years on Capitol Hill and in non-profit healthcare advocacy. My professional experience in public policy developed in tandem with the Affordable Care Act's acrimonious, yet profoundly meaningful, evolution. Many of the policy questions raised during the consideration, implementation, and continuing operation under the law (now entering its eighth year) remain open in the absence of broad political consensus and/or definitive data to parse its impact on complicated, interconnected variables (e.g. income, employment, the cost of care, the burden of disease, and overall health). Countless scholars and entire institutions do nothing but answer those questions, but for my part I'm hoping this program will help me develop a more formal framework to balance competing interests, weigh various policy solutions for myself, forge consensus, and affect change. 

Related to this professional focus on healthcare policy, I would like to examine the connection between healthcare and how we use land for housing, transportation, agriculture, economic development and recreation. With each passing year working in healthcare, I appreciate more and more the argument that our health, as a society and individuals within it, rests on so much more than healthcare itself. The healthcare focus captures so much of our energy and passion but is only the most visible part which also obscures many of the elements that seem to actually matter the most. 

Turning to more serious issues, as an East Coast resident, I never miss an opportunity to head west for skiing, biking, and hiking. I'm a big fan of Park City, Utah because of its snow quality, proximity to a major airport (Delta hub), surprisingly good food scene, and access to five national parks and seven national forests. 

 

Francis, Michelle
Policy Interest:
Rural and Health Policy

I was born in Louisiana; however, I really consider myself an Oregonian since I have been here for 30 years, with a few other states mixed in. I graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Public Health; and have stayed in Portland, Oregon to work with non-profits. My focus in my professional life has been on health issues concerning the elderly, homelessness, and underserved communities; as well as working to eliminate the stigma around mental health and HIV/AIDS diagnosis. My MPP path will hopefully take me into a career of creating and co-creating policy to better serve people who have very little voice regarding their healthcare.

The picture attached is me climbing Mt Saint Helens, and that’s why I call the PNW my home, you can’t get this in Louisiana.

Garrett, John
Policy Interests: Social and Environmental Policy
Home State: Maryland

My interests within environmental sociology have their roots in my family's small farm in central Maryland. Here I first became aware of the persistent challenges that land managers face in pursuit of balancing human and ecological needs, and came to love working wildernesses.

Throughout my undergraduate studies at Colgate University, I focused on ecology and geography. These interests culminated in two large projects: 1. Designing riparian buffer zones for the streams of my family's farm using GIS (which were later implemented) and 2. A yearlong thesis study of the impacts of anthropogenic acidification of streams in the Adirondacks, NY.

After some fascinating studies and research in Nepal, Costa Rica and Trinidad, I found the inspiration to study environmental sociology at the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center (MAERC) in south central Florida. I worked to fulfill MAERC's advisory role in the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and to vet and monitor two large-scale payment for environmental services programs designed to improve statewide water quality. I developed an appreciation for the formidable challenges of collaboration between stakeholders with conflicting interests and unequal power, and a keen awareness of the complex ramifications of environmental policy.

As a masters student at OSU, I hope to build a foundation in social science research methods in preparation for a career studying collaborative conservation, whether in the food, water and/or energy realms.

Gentilcore Ryan, Ava
Policy Interest: Social Policy, Rural Policy
Home State: New York

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY where I developed a love for all things food related. I pursued this passion by studying Sustainable Agriculture at Cornell University. Throughout college and in my work experience afterward, I dabbled in various sectors of the food system to determine what interested me the most and where my skill set was most needed. In doing so, I gained experience with agro-ecological field research, retail food service and waste management, garden-based education, small-scale vegetable farming and, most recently, non-profit community development, alleviation of food insecurity and local food access. I have come to the conclusion that a career in food systems policy would be a perfect fit as it would allow me to address all of these topics and help leverage community voices to change the policies that don’t support small, local agriculture, beginning farmers, the food insecure, the community at large or the environment.

In my spare time, I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and regularly spend time backpacking, skiing, climbing, mountaineering and mushroom foraging with my partner. We are excited to call Oregon home and explore all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer!

Griffin, Augustus
Policy Interests: Food and Agriculture
Home State: Vermont

I grew up in Vermont close to the land, and my first interest in agriculture began in high school. After studying Biology at Colorado College, I pursued a deeper understanding of agricultural systems, working on several small farms. At a winery in California I grew a quarter acre of food for the local food bank. It was here that I realized charity will never be enough. If I hope to create change in the system, I must learn how the system works. I imagine a future where high-quality local food is available to all socioeconomic groups. A future where the farmers that grow the food earn a good living and are rewarded for making environmentally and socially sound decisions. All the better if I can spend some time in the weeds along the way. 

Griffith, Emily
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy
Home State: Washington

I graduated from Washington State University with my B.S. in Biology and minor in Environmental Science. During a few summers of my undergrad, I held a research position studying succession on the pumice plains of Mt. St. Helens. After graduating, I worked for one year at a plant pathology lab. Growing up in the PNW, I developed a love for nature. My environmental science classes and research fortified my passion and encouraged me to pursue a degree in environmental policy. My goals are to expand and use my biology background to work on bridging the gap between science and policy. I want to work on solving environmental justice issues, particularly those involving marine conservation and climate change adaptation. My hobbies include hiking, playing the piano, reading, sports, and finding good restaurants.  

Haro, Alfredo
Policy Interests:  Science and Technology Policy
Home State: Colorado

Hablo Español. My higher education journey began at a community college and I then transferred to the University of Northern Colorado to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. From 2013 to 2019 I was an Academic Advisor with a federal TRIO Student Support Services STEM program. Our program provided intensive academic support to STEM majors who identify as first generation, low income, and/or have a documented disability. In the professional role, I began to understand how local, state, and federal policies shape the experiences of underserved populations. I would like to contribute to the removal of barriers that underserved populations have towards accessing science and technology to improve their communities.

Apart from my role as a student, I enjoy dancing including Latin and Hip-Hop styles. I enjoy solo international travel and endurance sports like running and cycling.

Hasert, Ryan
Policy Interests:  Environmental Policy, Rural Policy
Home State: Washington

I'm originally from Seattle, but in recent years have called several different places throughout Washington, Oregon, and Montana my home. I graduated with a B.A. in journalism and environmental studies from Western Washington University. My professional interests after school allowed me to work within the conservation and land management fields, and later led to positions in GIS and remote sensing, as well as environmental economics research and analysis. Ultimately, working in these spaces sparked my interest in the federal and state policies that influence them. 

As an MPP student, I hope to build foundational knowledge and analytical skills in assessing and creating environmental policy. My research interests include climate change adaptation, environmental economics and conservation finance, as well as rural and underserved community development. Overall, I am motivated towards a career that facilitates more effective policy mechanisms which seek to address the many pressing environmental and socioeconomic issues present today. 

Holding true to Pacific Northwesterner stereotypes, in my free time I can be found outside exploring by foot, pedal, or ski with my partner and dog. 

Horton, Robert
Policy Interests:  Collaborative Governance, Economic and Social Policy

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon in the Summer of 2017.   I have worked in the fire service my entire adult life serving in various roles, ranks, and responsibilities over my 18 year career.  I earned a bachelor of public administration degree from Nevada State College with a minor in business management.  I have a master of public administration degree from the University of Oklahoma with a concentration in public management.  I am excited to return to graduate school to hone in on specific work related to public policy.  My research interests include taking a behaviorally informed approach to the implementation of public policy particularly in the domain of community engagement, preparedness, and resiliency in regards to emergencies and disasters.  I am excited to join the great students and faculty at Oregon State University.  Ultimately, my goal is to earn a PhD to further the body of knowledge in public policy and contribute to community well being in a much different manner than I do today.

Hui, Deeann
Policy Interests:
Technology, Data Analytics

Originally from Omaha, NE, my educational background is in Sports Sciences and Adapted Physical Education.  For the past 18 years, I have been planning activities at two senior living communities.  I have worked with a wide range of seniors, from independent to late-stage dementia.  Despite my love of working with seniors, I am also motivated by a passion for public service and a desire to learn about the policy process---what it takes to develop, to advocate for, and to implement good policy. Currently living in the Silicon Valley, where technological advances (everything from social media to artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles) develop faster than policy, I am focusing on “technology and policy” through a concentration in data analytics.

Irwin, Shelley
Policy Interests:
Social and Rural policy

I was born and raised in the city and suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah. I completed my Bachelor’s degree from OSU-Cascades in 2006 in Human Development and Family Sciences: Human Services, after taking a 10 year break from school upon completion of my Associate’s degree in 1995.  My main focus area in human development was education and early childhood supports.  I began my new career in service to children and families after I was hired at one of my practicum sites. I spent the better part of the following 10 years providing health and development screenings to children 0-5.  In 2016, I started in my current role at a collective impact backbone organization called Better Together. The systems change work I am immersed in at Better Together was the catalyst to my desire to learn more about policy and to learn and understand the systems in play in order to develop ways to support systems change (specifically in education) to a more equitable model. I live in and work with rural areas and am also interested in the intersection of social and rural policy.

Currently, I manage a 10 member multiple site AmeriCorps VISTA project in Central Oregon, focused on improving education outcomes for families living in poverty.  I am also a facilitator for a consortium of youth serving non-profits and am the manager for Central Oregon’s regional volunteer connector-Volunteer Central Oregon.

In my free time, I am exploring the back roads and forests of the northwest with my husband Jeff and my daughter Cydnee, or floating the river in Bend.

King, Jasmine
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy, Health Policy, Social Policy

I was born and raised in San Diego, CA and have not lived anywhere other than southern California, until now! I quickly fell in love with nature and all things environment from an early age through all of my exploration around San Diego, especially the beaches. Hiking, being outdoors, and exploring new places is one of my biggest passions. It took a while, but I cultivated this in my undergraduate education. After stumbling through & failing the pre-med track for 1.5 years, I focused my studies on Environmental Science and Sociology, and graduated with the two degrees in June 2017 from UC Irvine. Throughout my undergraduate career, I held multiple positions on campus centered on diversity and empowering students. And, in my post-graduate employment, I worked as a resource counselor for adults with developmental disabilities. Given my experience working with minority and disadvantaged populations, I became very passionate about Environmental Justice. I applied to graduate school for Environmental Science, but was encouraged to pursue Public Policy in the midst of the process. In retrospect, it made a lot of sense to study public policy to affect these issues, so here I am! I'm excited to continue the work to bring more justice into the Environmental Science/Environmental Health field. In my spare free time, I'll probably be at home being a homebody & watching tv/movies, cooking/baking something new, or exploring Oregon as much as I can!

  Koutnik, Charles Zachary
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy
Internship: Oregon Department of Forestry

Kuschel, Bethany
Policy Interests:
Social and Health Care Policy

I was born in Florida but moved to Oregon in my teens. Currently I live in Bend, Oregon with my husband and our two daughters.

My early work experience in the Restaurant & Hospitality industry allowed me to realize early on that I wanted to work with people.

Later, my experience as a Life Enrichment Director at an Assisted Living Facility brought an awareness of my desire to work with seniors and help them reduce the barriers that they face accessing the services they need for improved quality of life.

I received my BS from OSU Cascades Campus in Bend, Oregon. An internship during my undergrad introduced me to policy analysis, which lit my path on fire.

I hope to use my passion for working with people and my education in public policy to actualize a career where I can improve and enact policy that not only increases access to programs for seniors but improves the quality of their life as well.

Llamas, Bianca 
Policy Interests: Child Welfare
Home State: California

I was born in San Bernardino, California, but was raised in Salem, Oregon. I am a first-generation college student and the first person in my family to attend a graduate program. I will be finishing my Master's in Public Policy at the end of Fall term 2020. In my eyes, children are the future, and I am committed to helping children grow in safe and caring environments. As a current employee of Oregon's Department of Justice, I have practiced my passion for helping children feel included and not forgotten. As a woman of color, I value inclusivity, equity, and diversity. 

McCollister, Malia
Policy Interests: Environmental Policy

Since living in Oregon from the age of 5, I consider myself a native Oregonian. I grew up in the Willamette Valley in the middle of wine country before relocating to Portland to attend Reed College where I graduated with the first interdisciplinary Environmental Studies/History degree. My thesis was about the Klamath River Basin and how white settlers impacted the native ecology and Native American communities in the region. Becoming really passionate about environmental issues led me to pursuing a BS from Portland State University in Environmental Science and Management. Learning more about the management side sparked my interest in environmental policy as a way for me to bring my knowledge of history and science together to help shape more comprehensive policy. I am especially interested in marine policy as it relates to climate change and Native American communities, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not studying I like to read, bake things, and garden.

Mooney, Rachel
Policy Interests: Environmental and Energy Policy
Home State: Wisconsin

I was born in Canada, but I grew up in Wisconsin. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with my B.Sc. in Chemistry and minor in Environment, Society, and Culture. I enjoyed using my scientific background to analyze a variety of environmental issues in multiple disciplines, as well as its application to policy in my university's Student Office of Sustainability. I chose to pursue my Master's in Public Policy in order to bridge the gap between scientists and policymakers. When I am not studying, I enjoy spending time outdoors, drawing, and watch documentaries.

Ojha, Kanchan
Home Country: Nepal
Policy Interests: Environmental and International Policy

I am Kanchan from Nepal, born in the Far Western province of the country which is  supposedly considered as an underdeveloped region. Despite being endowed with immense natural beauty and tranquility, women and minorities face a vast share of struggle and violence in my region. After completing my Undergraduate studies in Environmental Science and my simultaneous teaching job, I shifted to Kathmandu to pursue my further studies. I completed my Graduate degree in Environmental Science from Tribhuwan University in 2012.  The interest about environment and the conservation issues inoculated during my early childhood in my hometown got quadrupled when I got chance to be the disciple of Late Dr. Pralad Yonzon (Noted South Asian Conservationist from Nepal) in my Graduate classes. I was a major in Wildlife and very enthralled in conservation science; his teachings furthermore escalated my interest. I worked under his supervision as a Student Coordinator for a Graduate unit named Environmental Graduates in Himalaya in late 2010. I joined Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) Program of WWF Nepal in the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit from late 2011 and worked till the beginning of 2015. The TAL program is a joint initiative of Government of Nepal and WWF Nepal. It was during those times I worked directly with the community and District forest offices. I was based in Dhangadhi and moved frequently across the Terai (lowlands of Nepal) in the National Parks and Biological corridors. The realization on community involvement through community forests while raising people's voice and making policy impact in the ground level was an eye-opener for me. Community forestry of Nepal is indeed one of the successful advent of community involvement in the world and has been widely recognized. Also the theoretical aspects of what I had studied during my Graduate days helped me correlate it with the ground reality.

After working in TAL for 3 years, I joined WWF Nepal office in Kathmandu in 2015. I worked in the Monitoring and Evaluation unit and dealt with the conservation issues of WWF Nepal working sphere. From the National Parks and Conservation areas of Terai to the Mountains, my working area broadened.  And the following 3 years taught me different aspects of work; policy making by the government and its implementation via public and private sector involvement. While the targeted communities who had troubles, needed their voices heard and aspirations fulfilled. This was the time when I wanted a people centric approach. I felt my work should benefit people and be their voice in some ways thus leading the want to know more about Public Policy. In 2018, I left my job at WWF Nepal to give time to my baby and hunt for further studies. I was a stay at home mom for 15 months before coming to the United States. I believe this time has taught me the most in my life. My patience, resilience and vulnerability turned out to be the greatest strength in this long process.

I love traveling, spending time with my 23 months (soon to be 2 year on November 2019) young son Aarvik and trying every other thing in the world with my husband Ankit.

Pennon, Matthew
Policy Interests:  Social Policy

Husband and father of three, my home is where my family is. i was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and currently live in a small town just North of Santa Barbara called Los Alamos. I recently graduated from Oregon State University with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. I am a consultant with Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services and I currently work for the Pacific Pride Foundation, where I am the North County Manager of Programs and Services. 

The Pacific Pride Foundation is the largest LGBTQ+ center between Los Angeles and San Francisco, serving all of Santa Barbara County, and partnering with more than 60 other educational and nonprofit agencies to create a thriving and visible LGBTQ+ community. We are working to prevent the transmission of HIV and HEP-C. In my role I over see all of our Health and Prevention Services, which include our Syringe Exchange Program, which helps to save more than 500 people annually from potentially fatal overdoses. 

As a consultant with Santa Barbara County child Welfare Services I advise, facilitate and implement policy, programs and trainings that educate resource parents, social workers and community partners. In my time as a consultant I have been able to develop and train hundreds of families that have become safe loving homes that help protect and mentor our children in care. 

In the time that I reclaim for myself and family, we are passionate about the area that we live in and can often be found at one of our many beaches, camping or enjoying the great outdoors. My husband and i created our family by becoming resource parents through Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services. Our experience as a resource family has been a driving force in my professional life, as well as in my education. My hope is that the knowledge that I gain in the EMPP program will allow me to better influence change within social policy throughout California and abroad. 

Pratt, Leah
Policy Interests: Rural and Social Policy
Home State: California

I'm originally from the Central Coast of California, but now live in Blackfoot, Idaho on the 5th generation cattle ranch my husband grew up on. I am a proud alumna of California State University, Chico where I received a bachelor's degree in agriculture science and human nutrition. Since college, I've been an education consultant for non-profit organizations in the areas of health policy and agriculture education. My sister-in-law and I recently started a direct-to-consumer business selling grass finished beef to customers in the Intermountain West, too. I am passionate about rural communities, public education, food security, and environmental conservation. I enjoy traveling, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending time in nature mountain biking, skiing, hiking and rock climbing. 

Safdar, Sana
Policy Interests: Labor Economics, Informal Economies in Developing Countries
Home Country: Pakistan

My name is Sana Safdar and I am originally from Karachi, Pakistan. I completed my bachelor's in business administration from IBA, Karachi, in 2016 and joined the corporate sector after graduation. Before enrolling in the MPP program, I was working in the capacity of Project Coordinator in a garment manufacturing company that was going through a major restructuring of processes and human resources. 

My area of focus is labor economics and informal economies in developing countries like Pakistan. During my graduate studies I hope to learn skills and expertise that would enable me to actively participate in research and policy making in Pakistan. 

 

Sidder, Daniel
Policy Interests: Social Policy
Home Country: Colorado

Growing up on the front range of Colorado, I looked to the grandeur of the rocky Mountains and the endless blue skies for inspiration. The western landscape was not only a source of beauty, but also a reminder to think big. With that spirit I pursued a degree in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University to learn more about large scale social and environmental issues. 

Since graduating with a B.S. in 2011, I have sought opportunities to connect people, place, and community. Before arriving in Corvallis in January 2018 for my wife's Ph.D. program, I taught environmental education on the island of Nantucket, coordinated community events and volunteers in Moscow, Idaho, and worked with college students interested in changing the world at the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact. currently, I am the Development Manager at Benton Habitat for Humanity. At the core of the work I've done, and plan to do, is improving the lives of children and their families. 

My daydreams most often include bikes, road-trips, beer flights, ponderosa pines, limitless library check-outs, playing soccer, and traveling with my wife. 

 

St. John, Mark
Policy Interests: Public Finance, Rural Development, and Housing

I am an Oregon native and have spent my life based in the Pacific Northwest. I spent over two decades in technology, starting in retail information systems and then moving to hardware and software development for underserved international markets. In those latter years, I spent a significant portion on the ground in the target market area throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Upon leaving the technology arena, I have spent the last decade split between financial compliance consulting and now owning a small pet supplies manufacturing company.

I received a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Sociology from Oregon State in 2017. I am currently enrolled in the M.S. in Applied Economics and the Master of Public Policy programs at Oregon State. I am primarily focused on rural development, particularly its intersections with public finance, health and housing.

Venable, Victoria
Policy Interests: Energy and Food Policy
Home State: Maryland

I am from a small town in rural, western Maryland. After graduating from Washington College with a BA in Political Science and Economics, I worked in the Maryland Generally Assembly as the chief of staff for the chair of the Public Utilities Committee, where my interests in environmental economics and community-based policymaking intersected. Working with legislation like the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill to increase Maryland's commitment to renewable energy sources, motivated me to pursue a Masters in Public Policy with a focus on sustainability. I came to Oregon to learn more about the role state and local governments can play in combatting climate change and addressing societal issues like energy production, food security, and waste management by building sustainable communities.

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, cooking and baking, and exploring wine country.

Williams, Victoria
Policy Interests: Marine and Environmental Policy
Home State: Maryland

I was born and raised in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which was in proximity of many estuaries and access points of the Chesapeake Bay. While growing up, I loved being on or in the water. Swimming, kayaking or exploring were activities I loved to participate in.
 
As I continued to move throughout life, I carried those passions with me. While attending the University of Richmond, where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Anthropology in May 2019, I made sure to integrate my interest in marine ecosystems to my academic career. Between snorkeling trips to Belize and working with nonprofits such as The James River Association and Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, I was able to expand my knowledge on marine and coastal ecosystems. Additionally, through these experiences, I grew to understand how human dimensions were intertwined with marine ecosystems.
 
Learning about the cultural, economic, and social dependence that communities have on marine and coastal ecosystems, I found my academic and research calls. The awareness allowed me to research Bocas del Toro, Panama where I analyzed the relationships between marine protected area management and the effect of tourism on the health of the coral reefs. Additionally, the passion for bridging the gap between ecological studies and cultural and political needs allowed me to complete a Research Experience Undergraduates with Maryland Sea Grants, where I worked on a deployable and autonomous CO2 sensor, that would increase the needed spatial and temporal data of ocean acidifications effect on estuaries in the Chesapeake Bay.
 
These experiences and many more I had throughout my undergraduate career, spurred my desire to continue research in an academic setting. Now I am beginning the next chapter of my life as a graduate student at Oregon State University, as I will have the opportunity to continue developing my research abilities and exploring my interests in marine ecology and policy. I hope with my time here, I can develop the skills to become a better scholar and researcher, so I can best prepare myself to pursue a Ph.D. or a career in marine conservation policy in the future.
 
In my spare time, I'll probably be exploring Oregon or other parts of the world, watching TV, or playing with animals!