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Carl Albert Center Former Graduate Fellows

M. Lynsey Morris Barron is a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia (U.S. Department of Justice). Before joining the Justice Department, she was an attorney with the law firm Jones Day in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her B.A. with honors in 1999 from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, with a double major in political science and philosophy/religion. At Berry, Barron was president of the Student Government Association, competed on the speech and debate team, and interned for Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). As a Carl Albert Fellow, she participated in the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods at the University of Michigan in 2000. During her APSA Congressional Fellowship in the office of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), she was the primary staff coordinator for the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and the Pro-Choice Caucus. After completing the APSA fellowship, Barron was a lobbyist for the American Association of University Women and then for the March of Dimes. Barron graduated with honors from Emory University School of Law, where she received a full scholarship and served on the Emory Law Journal. She also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Beverly B. Martin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Nancy L. Bednar teaches at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California. She graduated magna cum laude from California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California with a B.A. in political science. Before becoming a Carl Albert Fellow, she spent a semester in the graduate program at the University of Southern California. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 1990-91. Her research interests include candidate emergence and congressional elections. She is co-author with Allen Hertzke of a book chapter, "Oklahoma: The Christian Right and Republican Realignment," in The Christian Right and the 1994 Elections, edited by Mark J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox (Rowman and Littlefield Publishing), and a journal article, "The Christian Right and Republican Realignment in Oklahoma," published in PS: Political Science and Politics 28:11-15. Nancy's dissertation, "The Christian Right and Congressional Elections in Oklahoma: Can a Social Movement Impact Candidate Centered Elections?" was completed in 1999. She taught at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas for three years. Nancy presented a paper, “The Hispanic Civil Rights Movement: What You Should Know That’s NOT in your Textbook,” at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association, Las Vegas, NV, in Spring 2008. 

Lauren Cohen Bell is professor of political science and Dean of Academic Affairs at Randolph-Macon College.  

Ken Cosgrove is an associate professor of government at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Courtney Cullison is a policy analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

William Curtis Ellis is Chair and associate professor of History, Humanities and Government at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jocelyn Jones Evans is the Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities and a professor of political science in the Department of Government at the University of West Florida.

Matthew O. Field is Director of Oversight at Committee on House Administration for the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to that, he was a Program Specialist within the Exhibits and Education Division of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Matt graduated summa cum laude with Departmental and Honors College Honors from Western Illinois University with a B.A. (2000) and M.A. (2002) in U.S. History. As a Carl Albert Fellow (2004-09), Matt specialized in American government, political theory, and international relations, earning his M.A. in 2007 and Ph.D. in 2011. His dissertation, Congress, the Constitution, and Divided Government, was published by LFB Scholarly Publishing (2013). He was an APSA Congressional Fellow in 2007-08. Matt worked as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on House Administration for four years and was a Project Management Coordinator for the Congressional Research Service before joining the Exhibits and Education Division in the fall of 2013. 

Lesli E. McCollum Gooch is the senior vice president for government affairs and chief lobbyist for the Manufactured Housing Institute, the national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York, College at Brockport, with a B.S. in political science. During her senior year, she worked as an intern in the Office of the Clerk at the United States Supreme Court. As a Carl Albert Graduate Fellow, a paper she co-authored with Professor R. Keith Gaddie on the incumbency advantage won the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for the best paper presented at the 1998 meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association and served as a foundation for later publications in the American Review of Politics and in The House of Representatives: Reform or Rebuild?, edited by Joseph P. Zimmerman and Wilma Rule. Lesli’s essay on the Oklahoma judiciary appeared in The Almanac of Oklahoma Politics (1998, 2000, and 2002), edited by Gary Copeland, R. Keith Gaddie, and Craig Williams. From 1999-2000 she worked as an APSA Congressional Fellow in the office of Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.) and continued to serve as Rep. Roukema’s legislative director until the congresswoman retired in 2002. Lesli then served as legislative director and senior policy advisor for Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-Calif.) from 2002-2007 and received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oklahoma in 2006.

William E. Granstaff graduated with a B.S. and departmental honors in political science from Oklahoma State University where he was a Presidential Scholar and a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Societies. His unique background includes recording with the Beach Boys and working for 10 years as a professional writer-producer-arranger-performer in various San Francisco Bay Area recording studios. His dissertation explores the values of Senate deliberations in the making of U. S. foreign policy. He is the author of Losing Our Democratic Spirit: Congressional Deliberation and the Dictatorship of Propaganda published by Praeger Press in 1999.

Ronald J. Grimes is Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). A lifelong political activist, he remained in Washington, D.C. after his congressional fellowship and served as Legislative Assistant (1984-1990) and Legislative Director (1991-1999) to U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-Ohio). Ron served as Director of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the 106th Congress (1999-2001). He served as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) during the 108th and 109th Congresses (2003-2006).

Jessica Hayden received her Ph.D. in 2018 and is an assistant professor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Jessica also has a master's in political science from the University of West Florida (2012), a juris doctorate from the University of Florida (2010) and received her bachelor's from Appalachain State University in 2007.

Tyler Hughes is an assistant professor of political science at California State University, Northridge.  

Steve Jarding is an American and international educator, lecturer, writer and political consultant on the faculty of Harvard University.  

Walt Jatkowski III is an assistant professor of political science at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.

Karen M. Kedrowski is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Robin M. LeBlanc is a professor of politics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Lori D. Lester completed her dissertation, “Congressional Budgeting for Defense: Theory, Process, and Outcome,” in 1993. She was a senior resources manager for the U.S. Department of Defense for many years and then worked as a freelance writer after her retirement.  Lori died on September 3, 2005.

J. Tony Litherland was a professor of political science at Oklahoma Baptist University. He retired in 2016 after 26 years of service.  

John P. Meiers is a Senior Procurement Manager with DST Systems, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. He previously worked at H&R Block and was a professor of political science at Rockhurst University.

Matthew C. Moen is President of the Gettysburg Foundation in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the foundation, he was a professor of political science and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Dakota.

Jonathan D. Mott is the founder and CEO of Aspire|Ability. He previously was chief learning officer at Learning Objects, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Caitlin O'Grady is currently a Senior Survey Research Analyst at the College Board in Reston, Virginia. In 2008, after earning her B.A. degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University, she began at the University of Oklahoma as a Carl Albert Graduate Fellow. Her graduate research focused largely on representation in Congress and inequality policy. While a Carl Albert Fellow, she attended the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods at the University of Michigan in 2009. She additionally assisted Professors Rosenthal and Peters in their research for the book, "Speaker Pelosi and the New American Politics." She co-authored the article with Professor Tyler Johnson "Speakers and the Spotlight: Explaining Media Coverage of Leadership in the House of Representatives," which was published in American Politics Research in 2013. Research for her doctoral dissertation, "Do As I Say, Not As I Do: A Study of Representation in Congress," was completed while she served as an APSA Congressional Fellow in the Office of Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI). She remained in the Washington, D.C. area following this fellowship and successfully defended her dissertation in August 2013.

L. Marvin Overby is professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

John David Rausch, Jr. is the Teel Bivins Professor of Political Science at West Texas A&M University.

Victoria Anne Rickard is an assistant professor of political science at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Cindy Simon Rosenthal is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Oklahoma. She was director and curator of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center from 2005 to 2018. She also served as a Norman City Council Member from 2004 to 2007 and as Mayor of Norman from 2007 to 2016.

Melody Huckaby Rowlett is a lecturer at the University of Oklahoma and practices law in Oklahoma City.

J. Michael Sharp is professor emeritus of political science at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Frank J. Smist, Jr. was a full-time writer and emeritus professor of political science at Rockhurst University where he taught for eighteen years, achieved the rank of full professor, and served as chair of the Political Science Department and the first director of Rockhurst’s global studies program. In that position, Frank led numerous trips to the former Soviet Union, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, and Greece. In 1982-1983, during his APSA Congressional Fellowship in Washington, D.C., Frank conducted over 500 interviews for his dissertation research.The dissertation, Congress Oversees the United States Intelligence Community, received an award from the National Intelligence Study Center for serious research and objective writing on intelligence published in 1988. His book by the same title was published by The University of Tennessee Press in 1990. The second edition, published in 1994, was updated to include the Bush and Clinton administrations. Frank’s critique of the book Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics appeared in the Kansas City Star and other syndicated newspapers around the country. Frank died on January 24, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.

William "Doc" Syers most recently served as Vice President for Legislative Relations at the Aerospace Industries Association in Arlington, Virginia. Doc went to Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1984 as an APSA Congressional Fellow and began his career with Rep. Dick Cheney (R-WY). He later served as an Appropriations Associate on the House VA-HUD and Defense subcommittees for a ranking member and then Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA). He received his bachelor’s degree from Bradley University, a master’s degree from the University of Denver (1980), and a master's degree from OU in congressional studies (1985).

Joseph A. Theissen is a consultant with JTA Management Consulting and previously served as senior vice president for programs and communications at Voices for America's Children.  Joe was actively involved in managing and consulting with several state legislative campaigns in his home state of Minnesota before becoming a Carl Albert Fellow. His dissertation research on congressional conference committees was based on some very interesting cases, including the 1986 tax reform legislation. He took a staff position with Rep. Tim Penny (D-MN) after completing his APSA Congressional Fellowship in Washington, D.C. and later served on the staff of Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). Joe was National Policy Director of the Concord Coalition in both Washington, D.C. and Boston, and he worked on Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign.  He then went back to the Hill as policy director for the Blue Dog Democrats under Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN). Joe served as senior director of congressional and public affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1997 to mid-2001. He left the U.S. Chamber to become executive director and CEO of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., fighting for policies that are both environmentally and economically sound.

Arturo Vega is associate professor of political science and program director of Master of Public Administration at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Mary Scribner Wallace formed her own firm – MKSWallace Law, LLC – in 2010 and practices estate planning, probate, homeowner association, and employment law in Columbus, Georgia. A significant portion of her practice is also devoted to providing research and writing services to other local attorneys. Mary is a graduate of Berry College in Georgia. As a Carl Albert Fellow, she completed her master’s degree at The University of Oklahoma in 1991. During her APSA Congressional Fellowship, she served as a legislative assistant to Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.). Upon returning to Georgia, she taught in the political science departments of Berry College and Columbus State University. In 2002, she received an Atlanta Law School Fellowship and completed a J.D. degree at Emory University School of Law in 2005.

Jean Shumway Warner was an APSA Congressional Fellow in the offices of Rep. Mary Rose Oakar and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (1990–1991) and received her Ph.D. in 1995. In 2001, she worked with the Carl Albert Center to establish N.E.W. Leadership and led fundraising and coordinated the program during its first three years. She created the Oklahoma Women’s Network website and blog in 2006, and in 2008, she co-founded the Oklahoma Women's Coalition.

Craig A. Williams is vice president at John Hopkins HealthCare and special advisor to the President of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Walter C. Wilson is an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas, San Antonio.