Graduate Assistants

Danielle Barefoot, Ph.D. student, Education Policy

Danielle Barefoot is a second-year Public Policy Ph.D. student working with Dr. Loren Henderson and is in the Education Policy specialization. Their research interests focus on student access and success in Higher Education. Danielle earned a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina and received her M.Ed. in Counselor Education (Student Affairs), at Clemson University. Prior to coming to UMBC, she worked professionally with college students in a variety of different capacities.


Hilary Budzinski Betley, Ph.D. student, Public Policy and Emergency Management
Hilary is a Ph.D. student in Public Policy with a specialization in Emergency Management. She is a graduate of UMBC’s Emergency Health Services Department where she earned a B.S. in Emergency Health Services Management and a M.S. in EHS Administration, Planning, and Policy with a post-baccalaureate certificate in Emergency Management. Her research interests include disaster response and recovery from extreme weather events. She is currently working with Dr. Lauren Clay’s Disaster Research Group on issues of post-disaster food insecurity and is the graduate teaching assistant for the Department of Economics. Hilary is proud to serve as an administrative officer and an emergency medical technician with the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department. She spent Summer 2023 in the ORISE HP-POWER program at the Department of Homeland Security where she interned with CP3, the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, assisting in the development of innovative TVTP (targeted violence and terrorism prevention) programs. She is a research assistant with the Department of Economics and works with Sloan Scholars.


Adebola Daramola, Ph.D. student, Evaluation and Analytical Methods

Adebola is a research assistant to Dr. Susan Sterett.  Before UMBC, he attended Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University where he earned an MBA.  In addition, he has a Master’s degree in Finance from Lagos State University, Nigeria. His public policy experience began as an intern with the financial inclusion unit of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in Washington, D.C. He is in the Evaluation and Analytical Methods specialization. He is from Nigeria, where there is a proliferation of digital financial services and entry of non -bank firms yet there is a large, underserved population. This background informs his research interests in Financial Inclusion, Financial Technology (FinTech), and Regulatory Policy.


Daniel Douglas, Ph.D. student, Environmental Policy

Daniel Douglas graduated Magna Cum Laude from the master’s program in Public Policy student and is continuing into the Ph.D. program. As a research assistant for the School of Public Policy, he conducts background analysis to support EPA-sponsored research on the recreational value of clean water in communities exposed to pollution. His future research will focus on how communities hold political actors accountable for failures to implement climate adaptation and flood mitigation strategies. In FY24-25 he has served as the Graduate Student Association’s Legislative Concerns Chair, a CAHSS Senator, and is the FY24-25 Secretary-elect. He supported union rights for graduate assistants, fought on-campus food insecurity with Retriever Essentials, represented graduate student community interests in Catonsville and Arbutus, and supported graduate students’ registration. He is also the treasurer of International Students Connect – Graduate Christian Organization.


Wendy Dunaway, Ph.D. candidate, Emergency Health Services

Wendy is a Ph.D. candidate with Public Policy specializing in Emergency Health Services. Wendy enjoyed a 20-year career in Information Technology as a subject matter expert in Microsoft architectures and security. Wendy has also been an active healthcare provider in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) since 2005 and is currently a Critical Care Paramedic. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in International Studies afterwards obtaining a master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Wendy hopes to combine her education and experience to affect EMS policy domestically and internationally.


Shadi Seyedi Khabbaz, Ph.D. student, Evaluation and Analytical Methods

Shadi Seyedi holds a B.S. degree in economics from Ferdowsi University in Iran and an M.S. degree in Applied Economics and Econometrics from the University of Delaware. Currently, Shadi is a Ph.D. student in Public Policy, specializing in Evaluation and Analytical Methods, at the School of Public Policy. Additionally, Shadi serves as a graduate assistant, collaborating closely with Dr. Bennett on their research.

Shadi’s primary passion lies at the intersection of health policy evaluation, where they explore the causal effects of health policies by integrating advanced econometrics and machine learning methods for comprehensive evaluation. They are driven by their dedication to researching and promoting positive change in healthcare outcomes and access to quality care for vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved communities.

Inspired by their experience with U.S. health services as an immigrant, Shadi’s current research project examines how Medicaid expansion under the ACA influences the health and healthcare access of foreign-born individuals in the United States.


Smitha Prabhu, Ph.D. student, Health Policy

Smitha Prabhu is a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Policy, specializing in Health Policy. Smitha graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Philosophy and a Minor in Bioethics and worked with community organizations in Baltimore for at least four years, including the Baltimore City Health Department, International Rescue Committee, and Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition. Her education and work experience inspires her research interest in harm reduction, maternal and child health policy, and public policy. She is currently working with Dr. Jane A. Lincove to investigate the impact of a high-impact math tutoring program on learning outcomes among Baltimore City elementary and middle schools.


Mohana Mahfuz Prema, M.A. student, Economic Policy Analysis

Mohana Mahfuz Prema graduated from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh with a bachelor and masters degree in Economics. She is currently graduate student in Economic Policy Analysis (ECPA) and working as a Research Assistant with public policy Professor Dr. Zoe Mclaren. With Dr. McLaren, she is currently working on a research project on health policy in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Tanguy Ringoir, Ph.D. student, Economics

Tanguy Ringoir is a graduate assistant from Belgium, currently working with Dr. Mir Usman Ali. He obtained both his BS in Financial Economics and his MA in Economic Policy Analysis from UMBC. His areas of interest include health economics and antitrust policy. He is the coach of the UMBC Chess Team and his doctoral research investigates the impacts of hospital market concentration.


Tanya Kreutzer Sayyed, Ph.D. student, Health Policy

Tanya is a School of Public Policy health specialization Ph.D. student working with UMBC’s Dr. Yusuke Kuwayama on a Chesapeake Bay Program project to research climate change mitigation solutions and blue carbon possibilities for Crisfield, Maryland. They previously researched environmental justice issues by conducting a scoping review which demonstrated how combining satellite data with socioeconomic data and health data can identify areas disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards and populations suffering from health disparities. The review was presented by Tanya in an Air Quality, Environmental Justice, and Equity NASA training webinar. Tanya is working under the direction of Dr. Nancy Miller to investigate how the American Rescue Plan funds are being used in Environmental Protection Agency designated environmental justice concern areas for community health worker programs which aim to improve health outcomes. Tanya previously worked with Dr. Takashi Yamashita as a Hilltop Institute team member to evaluate the Lifting All Voices (LAV) project. Between 2021 and 2023, the LAV project improved health equity in Frederick, Maryland by addressing COVID-19 health literacy strategies and Healthy People 2030 objectives. Tanya earned her Master of Community Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park and her B.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. She conducted a pilot study of community health workers in Ethiopia and joined food/water security and urban planning projects in Italy and Russia. She previously worked with humanitarian organizations in Ethiopia, Jordan, Sudan, and Pakistan.


Ridwan Islam Sifat, Ph.D. student, Health Policy

Ridwan Islam Sifat is a Public Policy Ph.D. student with a specialization in Health Policy at the School of Public Policy. He received his MS and BS in Development Studies with a focus on economics, social development and public policy. He is currently working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health. He is also a graduate Senator at the UMBC Graduate Student Association. His research interests include public policy and administration, global health policy, health disparities and inequities, comparative politics, AI & Public policy, digital health, climate change & health, reproductive health, and racial/ethnic equity. He worked as a Graduate Coordinator (graduate summer intern) at the Academic Engagement and Transition Programs (AETP) for the UMBC Summer Bridge Program. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he worked as an adjunct Lecturer for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Northern University Bangladesh. His research has been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, The Lancet Psychiatry, Journal of Homosexuality, The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Journal of Social Service Research.