The Missouri Science and Technology Policy Fellows idea arose as part of the State Affairs Committee of the University of Missouri Graduate Professional Council (GPC). After learning of California’s state science policy fellowships, Hallie, as former GPC president, requested that Mike (Director of State Affairs) look into the feasibility of creating a program in Missouri. As a State Affairs committee member, Rachel enthusiastically joined the team, and the rest is history. Below is a bit more information about our founding members and acting directors.

Thanks to GPC for taking the initial leap of faith with us and remaining financially and logistically supportive as we get our program up and running!


Mike Hendricks | Co-Founder & Co-Director

Mike is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri—Columbia. He researches different aspects of Chinese investments in Latin America, as well as extractive protests in Latin America. He is also pursuing the certificates of Public Management, Nonprofit Management, Global Public Affairs, and Grantsmanship from the Truman School of Public Affairs. He holds a B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in international development from the University of Delaware. During his time as an undergraduate, Mike had the opportunity to intern in the district office of U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. as well as for Delaware’s Attorney General Beau Biden. He received his M.A. in Comparative Politics and International Relations with a minor in international development at the University of Missouri—Columbia. After graduating from the University of Delaware in 2011, Mike served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua for 27 months (2011-2013). After his service in Nicaragua, Mike extended his Peace Corps service as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in China for 6 months. During his time at Mizzou, Mike has been awarded the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship and the Cambio Center Fellowship. Mike is also a Brady Deaton International Development Scholar and the J.G. Heinberg Scholar of Political Theory and Comparative Politics. Mike also served as the University of Missouri’s Graduate Professional Council’s Director of State Affairs and the graduate student representative for the Associated Students of the University of Missouri System for two years.


Rachel Owen | Co-Founder & Co-Director

Rachel is a doctoral candidate in the School of Natural Resources, researching the impact of a changing climate on wetland ecosystems and landowner perceptions of climate and agricultural threats in the Great Plains. She is also pursuing graduate certificates in Public Policy and Grant Writing.  She completed her B.S. in Agronomy and Global Resources Systems at Iowa State University, where she traveled abroad extensively, including completing a summer internship in Ukraine. Rachel received her M.S. in Plant Science from South Dakota State University. She has been involved in leadership and professional organizations through the duration of her university career, including Co-Director of VEISHEA, Inc. at Iowa State, Founder of the Plant Science Graduate Student Association at South Dakota State University, and Graduate Representative to the Board of Directors of the Soil Science Society of America. In 2017, Rachel was awarded the Science-to-Action Fellowship through the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, allowing her to pursue outreach opportunities with stakeholders in the Great Plains.


Hallie Thompson  | Co-Founder

Hallie is a doctoral candidate in plant science at University of Missouri. In research supported by the Pioneer Maize Biology Fellowship, she assessed corn’s responses to drought stress in local soils. Hallie has advocated tirelessly for students and scientists in Jefferson City and in Washington, D.C. She served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, working with Congress on issues like student debt, visas, and health insurance coverage, and training other students from across the country to advocate successfully for themselves. She was also the Early Career Representative to the American Society of Plant Biologists Science Policy Committee, and represented post-doctoral researchers and graduate students at meetings on Capitol Hill. She served as Research Network Coordinator for the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Plant, Algae, and Microbial Metabolomics Coordination Network and founded the Early Career Ambassadors Program for the International Society of Root Researchers. She is an alumna of the 21st Century Sue Shear Leadership Academy and the University of Missouri’s CAFNR Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders for Science (PTLS), and has worked in various capacities to mentor, connect, and aid skill-building in other young leaders.