2017 SPI Participants [O-Z]

2017 SPI Participants [O-Z]

Alphabetical by last name.

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Lashandra Peoples-Johnson

My name is Lashandra Peoples-Johnson, and I am a second-year student at the University of Tulsa College Of Law. I am originally from Dallas, Texas but I have been living in the Tulsa area for twelve years. My goal is to perform criminal defense work that aids in the fast exonerations of the innocent, similar to the Innocence Project. Additionally, I would like to provide high quality, yet affordable criminal defense to the legally underserved. My ultimate goal is to hold a political position that will allow me to drive the mass change needed in our criminal justice system.


Gabriela Perez

Hello, my name is Gabriela Perez and I am a junior majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice at Northeastern State University. I am a member of the Pi Gamma Mu Social Science honor society as well as a member of the AAUW student organization on campus. Upon graduation, I plan on attending law school in Tulsa so that I can one day practice Immigration Law in the city. Public policy is something I am very passionate about as I hope to one day help create policies that are progressive, inclusive, and overall valuable to our community.




Ayshia “Ajay” Pittman

My name is Ayshia “Ajay” Pittman.  I am a six-generation Oklahoman. I have dual citizenship as an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. My interest are in Health Administration, Public Health Policy, and State and tribal Compacts. I currently serve as the OU Physicians Corporate Health and Wellness Administrative Coordinator, and part time student. My family background includes health professionals, public servants, educators, entrepreneurs and musicians. I have gained hands on experience through summer camps, civic organizations and employment in the Healthcare industry. I volunteer in various community events, political projects, and develop collaborative skills through selective leadership roles. 

Tina Pollard

Twitter: @Augmn26

Tina Pollard has worked for the CPCDC since 2008 and served as the Consumer Lending Manager since 2009.  She has countless hours teaching a range of personal finance subjects to adults and children.  Ms. Pollard serves as the Government Relations Chair for the Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition.  She is a strong advocate against predatory lending and closing the Justice gap.  Ms. Pollard is currently earning a Master’s in Leadership and a Master’s in Business Administration at Grand Canyon University.  When not studying, she enjoys the company of her cat, Friday, attending the theater, going to concerts, visiting art galleries, traveling, and playing Canasta with friends. 

Jessica Pongonis

Twitter: @Jpongo_22

My name is Jessica Pongonis and I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana. Recently I graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BA in Political Science, minors in Economics and Russian, and an International Studies Certificate. I played on the basketball team at TU and volunteered with several Tulsa area non-profits and Tulsa Public Schools. My main Oklahoma policy interests are criminal justice reform and poverty reduction. Additionally, I am interested in foreign aid and global food aid reform. I am excited to attend the Summer Policy Institute and hope to walk away with a better understanding of the state budget.


Kaylee Rains-Saucedo

Twitter: @kayleerainss

Kaylee Rains-Saucedo is a senior at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration with a minor in Constitutional Studies. On campus she is involved with the Student Government Association serving as the Chair of the Undergraduate Student Congress. Additionally, she served as Chair of the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature OU delegation, was a research fellow with the Carl Albert Center, and is the founder of the OU It’s On Us campaign. Kaylee recently interned at the Oklahoma State Capitol, and is now currently working as a political consultant at Skyfire Media.


David Roland

Hi, I’m David Roland.  I am married with a five year old daughter in my 40s and have been in Oklahoma for two years.  I am also a non-traditional political science graduate student in ECU’s M.S. Water Resource Policy and Management program.  My. B.A. is in International Affairs and Political Science.  I have lived in Yupik Eskimo villages in Alaska and in Chicago among other places.  Wherever people live we all have needs and government policy affects each of us.  Sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse.  Let’s work to make government work for everyone.

Mayra Salazar-Valdivia

Mayra Salazar-Valdivia is a second year D.O./M.P.H. student at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mayra has a passion for social justice and a research focus on reducing healthcare inequalities. She is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow and is working on implementing a program that addresses the rising incidence of diabetes and hypertension in her hometown. Mayra has received the 2017 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service. On her campus she is the National Liaison Officer for Student Osteopathic Medical Association and the Political Action Chair for American Medical Women’s Association. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.  She is an avid music lover, foodie, and environmentalist.


Zoya Sattar

Twitter: @_naansense_

Zoya Sattar is a currently a freshman at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, majoring in International Studies with a focus on Conflict Resolution. She aspires to become a diplomat and work to resolve the increasing global tensions in this rapidly changing world. Zoya is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and has lived in Edmond for most of her life. Throughout high school, she was heavily involved with CAIR Oklahoma and played an integral role in bringing the Oklahoma Muslim Gamechangers (OMG) program to life, volunteered at numerous CAIR events and graduated from the MYLS program.

Zoya was also a member of her school’s varsity debate and varsity swim teams. She was the first Muslim swimmer in Edmond to ask for more modest swimsuits to be allowed in local competitions. Zoya actively volunteered at the HOPE Center and served as the President of the HOPE Center Teen Board her senior year. She was a valedictorian in her graduating class, and one of few selected to give a speech on graduation day.

Emily Scott

Twitter: @EmySuz

Emily Scott is the Marketing Coordinator for ProCure Proton Therapy Center and Board Chair for the OK Autism Center Foundation.  Her work and volunteer time focus on community engagement, education, and healthcare advocacy. Emily has been involved in grassroots advocacy for nearly a decade. She has worked on the successful passage of three House bills and is a founding member of Oklahomans for Autism Insurance Reform.  In 2016, they received the Advocacy Group of the Year award from Autism Speaks and the Catalyst of Change award from TARC. Emily is a graduate of FIDM and is currently pursuing an Administrative Leadership degree at OU.


Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart is a master’s student at the University of Oklahoma. Growing up in poverty created a passion in which Sarah felt driven to help others find sustainability that led her to begin working with low-income populations. Sarah has previous experience as a social services specialist with OKDHS. She now works for the Homeless Alliance providing supportive case management services to previously homeless families with disabilities that require more intensive case management. Sarah has the grandiose desire of improving systems of care that at-risk populations navigate and understands that it will take community collaboration to actualize this goal.


Annaly Sullivan

Inspired by Oklahoma’s growing abundance, Annaly Sullivan recently moved home from the UK to pursue her passion of impact evaluation, water security, and community resilience. Currently, she is working at the Oklahoma Water Resource Board to evaluate the economic, health, and environmental justice impacts on communities dealing with sensitive water supplies and sub-par water quality. Ultimately, this work will form her thesis for her Masters of Science in Impact Evaluation, which she is completing through the University of East Anglia in the UK. In her free time, you can find Annaly deadlifting at the gym or cruising on her longboard. 


Amanda Swope

Twitter: @swoop_thereitis

Amanda Swope is a Tulsa native that grew up in the Tulsa Public School system and received her BA in Psychology from Northeastern State University in 2013. She is currently employed as a Development Director at Iron Gate and recently began working on her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma; where she will be acting as the Vice President of the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa Student Government Association during the 2017-2018 school year. Amanda stays actively involved in the Tulsa community by participating in the Junior League of Tulsa, TYPROS, and the League of Women Voters.

Luke Teague

Twitter: @El_Teagre

I’m a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City and an alum of Mount. St Mary High School, who now attends Washington and Lee University in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. There, I study Policy and Russian Politics, as part of the class of 2018. When not in class, I like to enjoy the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, and all the amenities that my college town of 4,000 people has to offer.



 Anna Thom

Twitter: @annathom1984

My name is Anna Thom. I am married with 3 kiddos. I am from Broken Arrow, OK and attend Cameron University, majoring in Elementary Education. I am currently serving as Legislative Representative of the Student Oklahoma Education Association.





Mauree Turner

Twitter: @MaureeTurner

Mauree Turner is a student at Oklahoma State University (OSU), majoring in Sociology and Political Science, and she will graduate in the Spring of 2018. At OSU, Mauree is the President of the NAACP Chapter. In addition to being the OSU-NAACP president, she is also the president of Oklahoma’s NAACP Youth and College Division. Mauree is heavily emerged in fighting for multicultural students and their rights on OSU’s Campus and in the nation. Civil rights have been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember, and she has her mother to thank for that.


Jordan Westcott

Twitter: @westcottjb

Jordan Westcott is entering her second year of graduate school at Northeastern State University for a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She volunteers her time at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center and Planned Parenthood. She currently works as a case manager at an inpatient crisis stabilization unit with clients struggling with severe mental illness, and previously worked as a mental health technician on the same unit. Her research interests include GLBTQ+ issues, historical trauma, and resiliency, and she plans to pursue a PhD after completing her graduate studies.



Alesia Wright

My name is Alesia Wright, and I am a thirty-two year old single parent. My daughter, Anaija, is eight years old, and is part of the reason my life is wealthy. I am a full time paralegal student at Tulsa Community College, and anticipate transferring to the University of Tulsa to complete my studies and obtain an accelerated degree in Business Law. 

My life assignment is to enlighten, motivate, and empower individuals impacted by the autocratic practices of the corporate world by transforming it through just legal reformation and fostering an environment of mutual cooperation.

Justice touches everyone everywhere.



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