Our Team


Mike Hendricks | 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-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.


Joel Lesher
| Fundraising Coordinator

Joel is a Junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His main areas of study include chemistry and political science, with a focus on the way science shapes the legislation that passes through the Missouri State Government. Although studying in Columbia, Joel was born and raised in Kansas City. Growing up in KC, he got involved in sports like tennis and soccer, and created his high school’s Ping Pong Club. Joel is a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity where he works as the Community Service chair. MOST Policy Fellows is an exciting start to what he hopes will be a brighter future for Missouri. Joel is eager to get in on the ground floor and see what positive changes can be made in our state government.


Maggie Mock
| Fundraising Coordinator

Maggie is from the St Louis area. She will be a senior this upcoming fall at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology, Pre-Medicine. Her dream is to go to medical school and to become an ER physician. She is a very active person. She loves to run and to hike especially in mountains. She is very sociable and loves to keep busy. She wanted to do something meaningful this summer, something new, and MOST is giving her that opportunity. She believes in what MOST is trying to accomplish and that it will be beneficial for all MO residents. She is excited to finally put her science background to the test, learn new things along the way, and work towards something great.

Emily Miller| Policy CoordinatorMiller_Headshot.png

Emily is a master’s candidate in Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri, where her area of interest is local food systems and their linkages to rural communities. In her work, she strives to promote sound policies and programs that benefit folks in rural communities through a number of channels, including viable economic markets, environmental stewardship, and improved quality of life. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where she double majored in Animal Science and Agriculture & Society. Emily has interned with the National Reining Horse Association, served as a Horticulture Research Aid at the USDA North Central Plant Introduction Station, and judges horse shows throughout the Midwest. More recently, she served as a Legislative Clerk in the Iowa House of Representatives, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Iowa Farmers Union and the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.



Rebecca Craigg| Policy Coordinator

Rebecca is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences. She is also president of the University of Missouri Organization for Human and Animal Interaction and provides animal therapy services at local retirement centers. Rebecca became interested in policy after studying abroad in Nicaragua and learning about the dynamic between healthcare and policy. This is what caused her to join the MOST Policy Fellows. After graduation, she plans to earn her Masters degree in Healthcare Policy and attend medical school with hopes of working for Doctors Without Borders. She believes that her experience with MOST Policy Fellows and Healthcare Policy degree will help her better understand how to best serve the communities she works with in the future.

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Nicholas Waters
| Partnerships Coordinator

Nicholas Waters is a fourth-year physics major and mathematics minor at the University of Missouri. He is also the Vice President of the University’s Zeta Chapter of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha. He was also a participant in Marching Mizzou during his freshman and sophomore years at the University. Nicholas graduated from Washington High School in Washington, Missouri with high honors. When he first arrived at the University of Missouri, he was undecided in his major, but was planning on attending law school once he graduated. After interning at a law office, he decided against this route, and the physics course he took his freshman year spurred him on his current path. Nicholas plans on pursuing engineering-related work once he has graduated. This coursework has motivated him to work to advance science-based policy in Missouri, leading to his internship with MOST.