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Our Team

Sam Workman - Director

Professor Sam WorkmanSam Workman is a professor of political science and Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Public Affairs in the John D. "Jay" Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics at West Virginia University. As a political scientist and statistician by training, his previous work has addressed public policy, regulation, and how governments use information. Workman's area of expertise is in constructing large data infrastructures to answer fundamental questions about public policy across time and space. He is a member of the West Virginia Economic Development Council and the Consortium for University Public Service Organizations.

In the past,  Workman provided statistical consulting in the private sector. His work focuses on data-driven decision-making and management, custom reporting, and data-informed programming. He is a contributor at Towards Data Science, writing on practical applications of data science and statistics. He is also one of the founding Editors of 3Streams. In addition to editorial duty, Workman writes on rural politics and policy, including public policy in Appalachia. His bylines include West Virginia politics at The Charleston Gazette, The Intercept, and The Conversation. Workman is originally from Fayette County, West Virginia - the land between New River Gorge National Park and the Gauley River National Recreation Area - and is proud to come home and serve the state and its communities. Download or share Director Workman's CV.

Oreoluwa Runsewe - Research and Program Specialist

Program Specialist
Orelouwa Runsewe is a researcher and policy analyst for the Institute for Policy Research and Public Affairs. He leads and coordinates research on various issues affecting state, local, and community leaders in West Virginia and the Appalachian region. Runsewe leads the Institute's community engagement and public outreach initiatives, liaising with state, local, and community leaders to co-develop the Institute's research program and priorities.

Runsewe is also the Institute's point of contact for translational science activities with extensive experience in the world of data journalism. He previously worked for Data in Action, LLC researching strategies for promoting data use in global policy systems. Runsewe was also formerly a policy analyst and staff writer for Ventures Africa, where he worked on issues surrounding economic development, the business environment, and technology policy.

Runsewe joined the Institute after attaining his M.A. in International Studies from the University of Oklahoma, where he worked on issues of financial flows, social movements, and Middle Eastern politics. He is excited to come to the Mountain State and work with West Virginia communities and leaders in meeting the state's challenges.

Ashley Marsh - Research and Program Assistant

Program Assistant

Ashley Marsh is a research assistant and manage public relations for the Institute for Policy Research. She holds an MA in government from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in International Relations and security studies from Duquesne University. Her prior research explored the relationship between historic church-state relations and the development of political and cultural tolerance toward Islam. Marsh is interested in how religion shapes political development in the Western world. 

Marsh previously served as a legislative correspondent in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the Institute, she develops and maintains contacts with various legislative, state, and local agencies and serves as the point of contact for collaborations across campus and communities. Marsh coordinates the different research teams affiliated with the Institute for Policy Research, moving projects to completion, and helping to maintain the Institute's rigorous schedule of research. Beyond these roles, she conducts background research, feasibility, and problem-solves the Institute's various data infrastructure initiatives.

Corinne Connor - Graduate Research Assistant

GRA Connor
Corrine Connor is a Ph.D. student at West Virginia University in the Department of Political Science with a focus on public policy in Appalachia and the role of civil society in policymaking. She received her B.A. in 2021 from WVU in political science and psychology. During her undergraduate studies, she was inducted into the Mortar Board National Honor Society and was a recipient of the George W. Seibert Public Affairs scholarship. In 2020, Connor was awarded the Judith A. Herndon fellowship and worked alongside legislators in the West Virginia state government on education policy. Additionally, she gained valuable insight into the policy process through her work with Congressional offices, think tanks, and advocacy organizations including the West Virginia Innocence Project.

As West Virginia native and first-generation doctoral student, Connor became aware early on that the region of Appalachia has often been "left behind" in research agendas. She conducts both basic and applied research for the Institute for Policy Research and Public Affairs, including state and local policy development and implementation. In particular, Connor focuses on public health, education, crime, and local fiscal policies. Her work involves coordinating with team members and faculty affiliates and state, local, and community leaders on applied research. She conducts and orchestrates data collection and analysis for the Institute's various research priorities and oversees the undergraduate researchers.