Meet our interns

February 15, 2013
Meet the interns in our Cleveland and Columbus offices. They do some heavy lifting for our research projects! Check out our internships page for more information about how to join our team.  

Derek Dissell 
I am in my last semester of the Urban Studies program at Cleveland State University and specializing in Public Administration. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CSU and in Cleveland and plan on being here for a long time. After I finish my undergraduate degree, I would like to pursue a JD/MBA/MPP/MPA program, starting in the fall of 2014.  

I would like to pursue a career in politics and doing rigorous, focused research with Policy Matters will make me adept in policy. Being a policy junkie, this is also the ideal place to become an expert on state, local, and even federal issues.    

My areas of research and interest are quite broad but include: 3rd party politics, higher education, rehabilitation for returned citizens, and tax policy, among many others. At school, I am doing an independent study on the causes of tuition rises at public universities in Ohio and what students can do to become an organized group around these. I also do some organizing with the Ohio Student Association and look to help expand that in the Greater Cleveland area.

I am active with the Cleveland Toastmasters Club, am the LGBT affairs commissioner with the Cleveland Young Professional Senate, participate in Cleveland State Model United Nations, and edit and write a bi-montly column for Cleveland State’s Cauldron newspaper. I have also worked with the No Cuts Coalition, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, and Cleveland Move to Amend.

Casey Andersen 
I am originally from Cleveland, returning after graduation with a B.A. from Bates College in Environmental Studies, Global Environment and Social Change. My personal and professional interests revolve around the protection of human rights and justices to ensure that our society will continue to thrive well into the future, and I believe that this can ultimately be achieved through successful political cooperation. As a Cleveland native, working to ensure these rights are protected for all people in Ohio is an issue that is particularly close to my heart.

These passions and ideals steered me towards Policy Matters Ohio. As an intern, I enjoy being able to work with staff on policy education and research that ultimately helps Ohio. I look forward to continuing to learn valuable policy research and advocacy tools as a means of achieving social justice for all people in Ohio. I hope to be able to use what I learn about research, policy, group work, and advocacy at Policy Matters Ohio as I continue through my career and life.

Phuong Q. Le
I was born and grew up in Vietnam, went to college in Connecticut, backpacked in Europe and am now learning to be a social worker/macro practitioner in Ohio. This internship is part of my graduate school’s – Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences – field education. Choosing to focus on economic policy might not be the most usual path for a social work student, but I think it is important to gain a broad picture of policy issues and structural problems that are impacting people before I could go in the field and mobilize power to change them for the better. In addition, I appreciate Policy Matters Ohio’s mission for a sustainable and inclusive society, and adoption of accurate research methods.

Laura Harris
I recently graduated from Kenyon College with a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science and Economics.  I am interested in the policymaking process as well as advocacy and research.  I joined the Policy Matters Ohio team to expand my knowledge of state government as well as gain more research experience.  I hope to return to graduate school within the next few years, most likely to study business or public policy.  I look forward to spending the fall semester at Policy Matters Ohio and gaining great work experience.


Sean Hicks
I’m currently in my last semester at Ohio State where I will earn a B.S. in Economics and B.A.  in Public Affairs. On campus I’ve been involved with my fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, Undergraduate Student Government, Sustained Dialogue, and the Undergraduate Economics Society. I’m also working on completed a senior thesis that explores the impact the trade in small arms has on economic development in the third world. I have really enjoyed my time so far at Policy Matters Ohio. I’ve enjoyed being able to contribute to the research done at PMO. It provides me a great opportunity to learn about Ohio’s most pressing issues and sharpen my writing and research skills at the same time.  

Interns from summer 2012 below

Marcy Jagdeo
I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Economics at Howard University in Washington D.C. where I also attained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I am interning at Policy Matters Ohio as a part of Economic Analysis and Research Network’s Summer Program. EARN is a network of state and regional organizations striving to improve the lives of Americans through state and local policy. It is a privilege to spend my summer at Policy Matters Ohio, working for a team who is passionate about ‘forging an economy that works better for all”.  I hope someday to become involved in economic development and believe this internship will assist me in pursuing my goals. It has been an amazing experience thus far and I look forward to the weeks ahead.

Stephen Maillard
I am currently in my last year of graduate school at the University of Akron. I have undergraduate degrees in MIS, E-Business and Spanish. My graduate studies include Applied Politics and GIS. I chose to intern at Policy Matters because of the work they do by giving a voice to those who are in need. I also chose Policy Matters as a way to learn the research process in order to apply it to my studies and future career aspirations. I have gained great insight into this process thus far, and hope to achieve more before my summer internship ends. 


Robin Steiner
I am a rising senior at Ohio Wesleyan University majoring in economics and french. I was initially interested in Policy Matters Ohio because it gave me the opportunity to express my political views, while doing the economic research I enjoy. I look forward to doing further research for Policy Matters as the summer progresses. 


Ellen Kubit
For the summer of 2012, I wanted to be involved with an organization that cares about the future of Ohio. I just completed my sophomore year at Case Western Reserve University, during which I declared majors in Political Science and English with a minor in Public Policy. My interests include education, women’s rights, and Internet regulation, all of which are greatly affected by policy on state and federal levels. By the end of the summer, I hope to gain a better understanding of what policy research entails and of how I can use it to help my community.

Alex Saunders
I’m going into my fourth and last year of undergraduate studies at Ohio State University majoring in Geography with minors in Business and Spanish. I became interested in Policy Matters Ohio because of their mission to create a more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio. It has been a great opportunity to explore my interests in urban development and environmental policy. I look forward to the rest of my time here.



Morgyn-Britney Hall
I am a rising senior earning a BA in Sociology, Applied Statistics and Spanish from Smith College. While unapparent from my degree, my research interests largely revolve around education, the arts, and the (not) working class. I have recently returned from a year of study at the University of Cordoba in southern Spain and look forward to strengthening my local and national understanding of Ohio and U.S. public policy during these ten great weeks at Policy Matters. 

Alex Vitale 
I’m a graduate student at Ohio State about to enter my second year at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs’ Master in Public Administration program. I chose to work at Policy Matters Ohio because of the organization’s mission of advocating for under-represented populations, as well as my interest in economic policy research and analyzing. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Kent State University.


Victor Matsunaga 
I am currently a senior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Political Science and Sociology. I was interested in working at Policy Matters Ohio because it gave me the opportunity to explore some of my interests, such as the impact of social welfare programs like Social Security, while at the same time gaining some valuable practical experience and insight into the realm of public advocacy, an area of professional interest. Working here at Policy Matters Ohio has been great so far and I look forward to continuing into the summer.


Joey Mallin
Currently I’m at Cleveland State University’s Center for Educational Leadership earning a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Principal’s license. I am also a 5th year special education teacher at Mayfield High School. My work with Policy Matters fulfills requirements of the Community Leadership class required in my course of study. I’m working with Policy Matters this summer to explore the local school district budget costs that will be imposed by the new teacher evaluation framework included in Ohio’s Mid-Biennial Budget. I’m excited to be working with such a great organization and look forward to a challenging summer.



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