OK Policy announces inaugural class of Research Fellows

Oklahoma Policy Institute is very pleased to announce the selection of five Oklahoma graduate students as the first class of OK Policy Research Fellows.

The 2013-14 Research Fellows are:

  • JeVonna Caine is pursuing a Masters of Public Health in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, while also working at the State Department of Health in the Health Planning and Grants department. Born and raised in Tulsa, JaVonna  holds a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion from Oklahoma State University.  She has an extensive background in community health education and research with previous positions at Georgetown University and Youth Services of Tulsa.
  • Ryan Miskell is a Ph.D. candidate in Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Ryan is an English Language Learners teacher at Grissom Elementary School in Tulsa. He also works as a research associate with the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy, contributing research and writing to the center’s team of researchers.  Ryan earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and  his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American University in 2009.
  • Bailey Perkins is  a second year Master of Public Administration student at the University of Oklahoma. A native of Lawton, Bailey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History. Bailey serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy as the advocacy chairman and completed a summer fellowship studying education facility disparities through the Southern Education Foundation. She is also a Graduate Assistant for the Carl Albert Center Women’s Leadership Initiative.
  • Breanca Thomas is a  Ph.D. student in Health Promotion Sciences in the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. A native of Oklahoma City, Breanca earned an MA in political science with an emphasis in public policy and administration from Texas A&M University, and a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Breanca also works as a research assistant with the American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center, helping develop an intervention to reduce diabetes-related behaviors among American Indian children.
  • Jia Wang is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Economics at the University of Oklahoma. A native of Jinan, the capitol of Shandong province, China,  Jia’s research interest lies primarily in public economics which studies the role of government in a market economy. She is also a teaching assistant for Principles of Macroeconomics, which covers topics including unemployment, inflation, and how budget deficit/surplus affects short run and long run growth patterns.

For longer bios and photos of the Research Fellows, click here.

The 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 contribute two blog posts for publication on the OK Policy blog on policy issues related to their research and experience. They will also assist with organizing an OK Policy event over the course of the year.  OK Policy will provide each fellow a $500 stipend.

All five of the 2013-14 Research Fellows participated in the Summer Policy Institute, a three-day policy training that OK Policy hosted at the University of Tulsa in August 2013. All are also in the process of joining the Scholars Strategy Network, a national initiative that brings together scholars to address pressing public challenges at the national, state, and local levels.  The Oklahoma chapter of SSN recently selected Trey Trosper, a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the University of Oklahoma, as its Graduate Fellow for 2013-14.

We congratulate this outstanding group of  Research Fellows on their selection and look forward to working closely with them over the coming months.




Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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