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Night time traffic lights on Boyd Street OU campus.

The Graduate Association in Political Science (GAPS) is a registered OU graduate student organization in which membership is reserved to those currently enrolled in the M.A. or Ph.D. in political science degree program at the University of Oklahoma. The purpose of GAPS is to engage in such activities that improve socialization and professional training within the department. Examples of these activities include hosting social events, organizing Lunch-N-Learns, hosting graduate student orientation, and other professional socialization opportunities. Dr. Allyson Shortle, director of graduate studies, is the faculty advisor for GAPS.


Joy Rhodes, GAPS President.

Joy Rhodes


Joy Rhodes is a political science doctoral student and graduate fellow with the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the United States Congress, particularly focusing on elite rhetoric, as it relates to social movements more broadly. Joy earned a B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2020 and an M.P.A. from OU in 2022. She is president of the OU Graduate Association in Political Science and received the Provost’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching (Fall 2020).


Eileah Hale, Vice President.

Eileah Hale

Vice President

Eileah Hale (she/her) is a second-year MA student and is the Vice President of GAPS. Eileah is originally from Prosper, Texas, and has been at OU for four years. She started as a freshman at OU in Fall 2020 and graduated in May 2022 with her Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Eileah studies Comparative Politics and Public Policy. Her research focuses on Palestine, state-sponsored repression, identity, citizenship status, and class. Outside of school, Eileah loves cooking, cafe hopping with friends, and spending time outside.


Will Livingston, GAPS Event Chair.

Will Livingston

GAPS Event Chair

Will Livingston is from San Dimas, California and a first-year Political Science doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma. Will has a BA in Political Science and an MPA from BYU where he learned how cool it is to see the political process unfold by interning for the Utah State Legislature, Arizona Governor's Office of Strategic Planning and Budget, and Alpine City.  His research interests include civic engagement of youth, the role of religious institutions in the provision of public services, and citizen perception and trust of public institutions. Outside of school, you can catch him cooking French and Peruvian food, reading Brandon Sanderson, or camping.



GAPS is responsible for sending two senators representing political science to the Graduate Student Senate for a one-year term. Senators are elected by the GAPS membership.

Jerrid Carter, Political Science GSS Senator.

Jerrid Carter

GSS Senator

Jerrid Carter is a senator representing the political science department in the GSS and GAPS. As an academic Jerrid has an interest in political extremism and is working towards his M.A. in the department.


Laken DeBoard, Political Science GSS Senator

Laken Deboard

GSS Senator

Laken DeBoard is a senator representing the political science department in the GSS and GAPS. As an academic Laken has an interest in public opinion and women in politics and is working towards her Ph.D. in the department.


GAPS Photo Album