Current and Former Students

Undergraduate Students

Brianna Casaus – Brianna was an undergraduate in Dr. Wehde’s Research Methods class in the Fall of 2019, Dr. Wehde’s first semester at ETSU. In that course, Brianna took on the added challenge of using originally collected, county-level data to examine the relationship between health outcomes and health policy, specifically the relationship between Health Professional Shortage Areas and Income and Obesity outcomes. They then worked together on expanding this project for presentation at ETSU student research conferences, sadly cancelled due to COVID19. Brianna also helped Dr. Wehde expand an existing side-project on policy feedback and the Affordable Care Act. Brianna graduated from ETSU in Spring 2020 and began her post-grad career as an Americorps member. She is now a graduate student in Data Analytics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon. Whatever comes next for Brianna will certainly be exciting and people-centered, as all of her work so far has been!

Picture of young man, smiling, in blue suit jacket and yellow tie.David Crabtree – Growing up in both rural Virginia and later Morristown Tennessee, David Crabtree is now a student at East Tennessee State University where he studies Political Science and International Affairs. He has taken Dr. Wehde’s Research Methods and American Public Policy courses, and is currently working with him to publish research on the state of welfare opinions in the U.S. after COVID. That research will be presented at the 2022 Southern Political Science Association meeting and is under review currently. David states, “Dr. Wehde has consistently been one of the most accessible and helpful faculty members in my program, and his teaching of research methodology and applied statistics has been invaluable to my growth as an academic.” With a solid foundation in methodology, he hopes to continue his education through a graduate program for comparative politics and research methods. In his (rather spare) free time, he enjoys playing strategy games, jamming out to Taylor Swift, and having philosophical discussions with friends. He is currently applying to graduate programs in Comparative Politics – be on the lookout for this rising superstar!

Amy Howard – Born in Onondaga, New York and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Amy is currently a senior at East Tennessee State University, and a non-traditional student at the age of 47. She is majoring in political science and minoring in international affairs, with a strong interest in both identity politics and foreign policy, specifically as pertains to the Middle East. She is currently a research assistant for Dr. Wehde, working on a project that aims to improve the effectiveness of emergency communications by examining which forms of communication are most used and trusted by the public and by emergency managers themselves, and how effective these forms of communication are in reaching the most vulnerable communities. We are about to field a conjoint survey experiment that will explore attitudes toward transgender American politicians, with the goal of increasing our understanding of nuanced transgender identities, sexual orientations, and ideology. She is also an avid supporter of an independent Kurdistan, and has devoted the last 20+ years to advocacy and volunteer work to that end. She is currently applying to graduate school in comparative politics or looking for employment in the fields of political and policy advocacy. She will be top-notch, kind, and ridiculously hardworking wherever she goes next!

Graduate Students

Smiling white woman witth brown hair in black vest over red shirt against bright blue background. Katie Gouge- Katie Gouge is a graduate student in the Public Administration program at East Tennessee State University. Katie earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Katie has been working with Dr. Wehde as his graduate assistant since Spring of 2021. Under Dr. Wehde, she has taught lectures to students in the following undergraduate courses: “Intro to American Government” and “Intro to Public Administration”. She is currently working on a graduate capstone concerning rising religious nationalism and the regulatory response of administrative agencies. Katie is applying to political science PhD programs in the fall of 2021 with the hope of specializing in American Politics and political behavior. “Dr. Wehde has been an enormous resource during my time here at ETSU. Not only has Dr. Wehde helped me navigate instructing undergraduate classes, he has provided so much important feedback regarding PhD programs and my personal statement.” Katie is already a great instructor with a deep interest in research and religious nationalism in the US. Any PhD program would be lucky to have her!

Picture of young black girl smiling into camera with braids, shiny dangling earrings and a red turtleneck. Oromidayo Tunji-Ajayi – Dayo is an international graduate student from Nigeria who worked with Dr. Wehde from Fall 2019 to Spring 2021. She earned her undergraduate degree at Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Nigeria where she studied English and Education. Thereafter, she got a master’s degree in Brand and Media Strategy from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City. During the course of her Master’s program, she was awarded a graduate research assistant position in the Dept. of Political Science, International Affairs, & Public Administration where she assisted Dr. Wesley Wehde with research and class administration for close to two years. Her research experience with Dr. Wehde was on public policy with specific focus on environmental policy, climate change, natural hazards, and disasters. She states, “Working with Dr. Wehde taught me how to collect, summarize, and analyze data better for research purposes. As a result, I was equipped with more practical skills on researching which eventually helped me with my successful thesis writing and graduation.” Dayo is currently looking for new opportunities in Media and Branding, professional or academic. Your company or organization needs her attention to detail and grant writing capabilities (seriously, she helped me get $12,000!).