Student Bios

Rhett Busk

Rhett Busk grew up in Richfield, Utah from a family of 11. He is only the second from his family to attend a higher education institute and will be graduating from SUU with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish and Legal Studies. Beginning his college career he had to work hard to overcome a difficult high school GPA and low ACT score to receiving numerous scholarships and a full ride to SUU. He plans to continue his education with a master’s degree in political science. He is a member of three separate honors societies: Political Science, Criminal Justice, and Spanish. His ideal career choice would be a governmental position branching into either politics or INS. Because Matt grew up in rural Utah recreation is a favorite pastime; hiking, biking, and other outdoor sports are among his favorite. He learned his Spanish from spending 2 years of his life performing church and humanitarian service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Mexico City, Mexico.

Traves Bills

Traves is studying Political Science at Southern Utah State University. Previous to this he worked in a coal mine for several years. He has also worked in San Bernardo, Brazil at a private English school. During his time in Brazil he became fluent in Portuguese. At SUU Traves volunteers with the Legal Aid Society, he is an active member of Mock Trial Team as well as the Political Science Honors Society and the College Republicans. Traves has also worked for the Math Lab at SUU. He enjoys bowling, hunting, fishing, mountaineering, tennis, and SCUBA diving. He hopes to get an internship this summer in Washington DC. Traves wants to enroll in law school when he has graduated.

Matthew Coates

Matthew was raised in Riverton, Utah, which lies at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. Matthew attended Riverton High School and graduated from there in June of 2010. He chose to attend SUU due largely to the influence of his dad who also attended school in Cedar City. During his free time Matthew enjoys fishing, playing golf, hunting, camping, and spending time with friends. In the next five or ten years, he sees himself graduating with a degree in political science, and going on to attend either law school or grad school.

Josh DeFriez

Josh DeFriez is an undergraduate student at Utah State University majoring in Economics and International Studies. Josh is fluent in Mandarin, proficient in Cantonese, and is having a hard time choosing which language to study next. Aside from working as a research assistant, Josh is also freelance translator, a private language tutor, and an amateur poet with a unique passion for artistic explorations of the similarities of Eastern and Western religious practices. When he's not ruminating on the mysterious nature of the Dao, Josh can be found spending time with friends, reading anything he can get his hands on, taking long walks to nowhere, or eating Kimchi. Among his goals are to serve his nation as a Foreign Service Officer, visit the mysterious mountain kingdom of Bhutan, and read everything ever written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Richard Criddle

Richard Criddle graduated from Army Leaders Training Course in 2010, Army Leaders Development and Assessment Course in 2011, commissioned May 4, 2012 as a Second Lieutenant in the Utah National Guard 1/145 Field Artillery, and will attend Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course-B in 2013. He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s Degree (Cum Laude) in Theory Emphasis Economics with a minor in Quantitative Finance on May 5, 2012. He has been accepted to the Master’s program at Utah State University in the Financial Economics Program. His wife, Michelle, and stepson, Johnny, live in Logan Utah.

Kristen Dawson

Kristen is an instructor at Utah State University through the Political Science department. Her research interests include environmental policy analysis, ethnic conflict and polarization of out-groups, and terrorist organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Master of Science degree in Political Science from Utah State University. During her free time Kristen enjoys horseback riding, soccer, playing the piano and guitar, traveling, and reading.

Luci Griffiths

A dual major in Economics and Political Science, Luci’s undergraduate experience at USU has been shaped by a wide variety of campus opportunities. Currently, she is a co-president for the Huntsman Scholars Program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. Through this program, she has had the opportunity to serve both the local and international community as well as study abroad. In the Fall, Luci will be continuing her studies through the Economics master’s program at USU. Her interests include: jazz piano, soccer, classic movies, and cruising on her motorcycle. Ultimately, Luci plans to work in the economic development field in both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Megan Hansen

Megan Hansen is a senior at Utah State University studying International Studies with a dual major in Economics and a minor in Political Science. Megan enjoys learning new languages and studied abroad in Logrono, Spain while working on her second minor in Spanish. She also recently completed a study abroad program in Amman, Jordan where she studied Arabic language and culture. Beginning in August 2012 Megan will be completing the Huntsman Scholar Semester at Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. In the future Megan hopes to earn a Master's degree in International Development Economics and to pursue a meaningful career in the international sector. In her free time Megan enjoys hiking, rock climbing, yoga and cycling. She also plays the piano and the guitar.

Kayla Harris

Kayla is a student in Utah State University’s Masters in Economics program. She completed her undergraduate work at Utah State University studying International Studies, Economics, and Mandarin Chinese. During her undergraduate work Kayla was active with several on campus organizations including student government, Associated Students of Utah State University; LIFE, Love Is For Everyone; International Student Council; and Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science Honor Society. Kayla enjoys living in Logan because she is able to rock climb, hike, bike, and run. She also enjoys reading, traveling, and finding funny stories on the internet.

Nick Hilton

Nick is a sophomore studying Political Science with a Legal Studies minor preparing to go to law school. He plans to become a criminal defense attorney. As a freshman, he joined the Sigma Chi International Fraternity and served in a variety of leadership roles, the most current being Vice President and serving on an international committee as an undergraduate representative promoting alumni relations throughout the US and Canada. Academically, Nick has also actively worked with fellow students in the creation and implementation of a legal studies student association on campus designed to aid students preparing to enter the legal profession. Business aside, he is an avid trail runner and jumps at any opportunity to spend time running through the red rock of southern Utah.

Justine Larsen

Justine is a freshman at USU, studying Political Science and Economics, as a Huntsman Scholar and an Undergraduate Research Fellow. As a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland, Justine is proficient in French and English. She has studied German and hopes to learn Chinese, while teaching English in China during the fall of 2012. Justine was team captain of the debate team in high school and enjoyed participating on the tennis team and the track team.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is a graduate student at Utah State University’s Masters in Economics Program. He studied Political Science and Economics at Utah State University, and has spent the past year in market research. Chris enjoys biking, hiking, climbing, and reading. His academic interests include game theory, political economy, welfare economics, urban economics, and policy analysis.

Neal Mason

Raised in South Jordan, Utah, Neal grew up working summers on his grandpa’s ranch, camping, playing soccer, and excelling in high school debate. After serving an LDS mission in Italy, Neal earned an Associate of Science degree from Snow College, where he met his wife Brittlyn. Between semesters, Neal has edited citations for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and refinished hardwood floors for the Jordan School District. He and his wife transferred to Southern Utah University while Neal continued preparing for medical school as a Political Science major. Neal loves being involved in the school and community. To this end he has coached athletes from Bingham High School for Special Olympics Utah, judged high school debate tournaments for UHSAA, and currently serves in a variety of student organizations on campus. Since beginning with the Center for Public Lands and Rural Economics in the fall of 2011, Neal has assisted in research involving Medicaid eligibility, rural broadband access, environmental litigation, and green energy.

Amy McIff

Amy McIff is a student in Southern Utah University’s Master of Public Administration program. Amy is a public relations writer for Southern Utah University and also works on an academic research team. Prior to her time at SUU, Amy spent six years in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist, primarily in the healthcare and agriculture industries. A native of southern Utah, Amy enjoys backpacking in the Color Country region and has a great love for music, skiing, horseback riding, cooking, and traveling. Amy hopes to someday help promote her much-loved state in a professional capacity by working with Utah’s tourism industry or with the National Park Service.

Heidi Renate Eysser

Heidi Renate Eysser is a Graduate Student studying Public Administration from Bountiful, Utah. She is a first generation American and speaks Korean, German, and English. As the current student body VP of Clubs and Student Leadership, she oversees all student organizations on campus, providing tools and resources including leadership training for student leaders. She is also a staff assistant for US Senator Orrin G. Hatch and has loved her experience thus far. Aside from work, Heidi is training to run her first marathon. She enjoys traveling, spending time at the gym, loves the outdoors, skiing, and eating chocolate.