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Research Fellows

The OK Policy Research Fellowship program is intended to recognize and support top-performing graduate students who are conducting promising research on public policy issues. Research Fellows are each expected to prepare a blog post on issues related to their research and experience in the fall and to conduct a legislative bill analysis in the spring. OK Policy provides each fellow a $500 stipend.

Students in any academic discipline who are: a) actively enrolled in a graduate program at an Oklahoma university, or b) residing in Oklahoma while completing a graduate program out-of-state, are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to students whose research addresses public policy issues of direct importance to Oklahoma. We will be inviting applications for our next class of Fellows in August 2016; subscribe to our email alerts to be notified of this and other opportunities.

Past Research Fellows


AlexandraBohannonAlexandra Bohannon is currently a second-year student in the Master of Public Administration program with a concentration in public policy at the University of Oklahoma. She works as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Carl Albert Congressional Studies and Research Center, which aims to empower women to consider opportunities in public service. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Leadership Studies in 2013. She has previously worked for Smart Start Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s early childhood policy advisory council, and The Journal Record Legislative Report. Her policy research interests include representative bureaucracy and democracy, health disparities across income levels, policy implementation, and all levels of education policy. She aspires to work for the Oklahoma Legislature as a legislative staffer, or perhaps run for a seat herself someday.

Matthew-HecoxMatt Hecox is in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Oklahoma.  He is currently working as an academic tutor in the University of Oklahoma athletic department. Hecox graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  Hecox has previously worked as a legislative assistant for the Oklahoma House of Representatives during the 2014 legislative session and in Norman Public Schools as an AVID tutor, athletics worker, and a special education teacher assistant.  His research interests include health care, tax policy, voting reform, and common/higher education.

John LepineJohn Lepine is pursuing a M.Ed. in Educational Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision at the University of Oklahoma. John moved to Oklahoma in 2009 to study economics at the University of Tulsa. After graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2013, he joined Teach For America to teach eighth and ninth grade English at Tulsa’s McLain Magnet High School for Science & Technology, where he continues to serve as a reading specialist and English department chair. After completing his M.Ed. in May of 2016, he will begin a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. As a research associate with the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy, John is involved with ongoing revisions to Oklahoma’s school accountability program and research into teacher turnover and school climate.

Candace Smith's PictureCandace L. Smith is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Norman Campus. She is also a research assistant at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Planning, Research and Statistics. In this position, she assists with a federal grant which offers self-management workshops to individuals suffering from chronic health conditions. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology, both from OU. In addition to her studies and work at DHS, Candace teaches an Introduction to Sociology course in the OU Sociology Department. Her research interests include corrections, victimology, fear of crime, and the impact of chronic conditions in Oklahoma. Concluding the completion of her Ph.D., Candace intends to continue working as a researcher at the state or federal level.