Our Team


Photo of Christina Sanders

Christina Sanders, M.P.A.

DGSS Director
(509) 335-4811
Email: cmsanders@wsu.edu

Christina Sanders is currently the Director of the WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services. She has been with this applied policy research and outreach unit since 2005. Christina is responsible for unit oversight as well as project and program development and management. Her areas of expertise include program evaluation, facilitation of public and group processes, and applied research using surveys, interviews, assessments and focus groups as well as analysis and reporting.

Christina has extensive experience working collaboratively with all levels of government: Federal, tribal, state and local. Christina’s research interests include emergency management & response, program evaluation, disaster preparedness, ethics, as well as based policing, and community-oriented policing.

Christina also serves as the Assistant Director of Extension’s Community and Economic Development Unit, is an Emergency Response Team trainer, serves as a delegate of the Extension Disaster Education Network and currently co-chairs the Western Regional Evaluation Network.

In her spare time Christina enjoys spending time with her children, bike riding, hiking and watching sports.

Season Hoard, Ph.D.

Interim Associate Director, Associate Professor
(509) 335-4093
Email: hoardsa@wsu.edu

Season has been a Project Manager with DGSS since 2016, and is responsible for developing applied research designs, conducting evaluation research, coordinating research projects, and managing client expectations. Prior to 2016, Dr. Hoard served as the Research Coordinator for the unit (since 2012), coordinating and conducting applied research projects.

Prior to joining DGSS, Season earned her Ph.D. from the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at WSU with a focus on comparative public policy and gender and politics. She developed expertise in mixed-methodology and policy analysis during this time,  and utilizes these skills at DGSS to design, conduct and lead quality evaluation research in the Pacific Northwest. Through her evaluation research experience with DGSS, Dr. Hoard has gained considerable expertise in secondary data analyses, needs assessments for organizations, qualitative and quantitative methods, and survey methodology. She provides consultation on research design and analyses, including survey sampling, design, implementation and analysis.

Through her leadership on DGSS projects, she has helped numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and conducted applied research projects on numerous topics, including biased policing, low-income senior housing needs, trust in law enforcement, and impact of minimum wage increases in Washington State.

Travis Franklin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Email: t.franklin@wsu.edu

Dr. Travis Franklin is an Associate Professor in the Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS). He joined the team in 2022 and is responsible for proposing, designing, and carrying out research projects for the many entities served by DGSS throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to joining DGSS, Travis spent 13 years working for Sam Houston State University as a tenured associate professor of criminal justice in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University. He has extensive expertise in quantitative research methodologies, program evaluation, and survey design. His research has focused primarily on the treatment of marginalized populations by the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on criminal court decision-making. His research has appeared in high-ranked, peer-reviewed journals, including Justice Quarterly, Journal of Criminal Justice, Crime & Delinquency, and Criminal Justice and Behavior.

Since joining DGSS, Travis has engaged in a range of applied social science research and outreach activities, including research conducted on behalf of the Washington State Legislature to address complex issues such as the rapid rise of catalytic converter theft throughout the state; the impoundment of vehicles occupied as primary residences; and the rise of homelessness and housing insecurity. Travis has also worked with state agencies to design and execute large scale program evaluations for innovative pilot programs to address the challenges of treating justice involved individuals with substance use disorder and serious mental health treatment needs. He brings his extensive experience as a researcher and professor to help navigate solutions for these and other concerns faced by communities across the region.

Daniel Mueller, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
(509) 335-3329
Email: daniel.mueller@wsu.edu

Dr. Daniel Mueller is an Extension Associate Professor in the Division of Governmental Studies and Services at Washington State University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Washington State University in 2019, after which he taught as a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse from 2019 to 2020, and where he continues to teach online courses in Environmental Policy and American Government. He then taught as a Lecturer at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut from 2020 to 2023, teaching American Government and a variety of other political science courses.

His research interests include environmental policy and politics, climate change and sustainability policy, collaborative and environmental governance, environmental ethics, and American politics. He has worked on a broad scope of research projects with DGSS for several years, including a federally funded project investigating the role of community capitals in developing sustainable aviation biofuel and climate resilience and projects with state agencies and NGOs in Washington investigating problems related to trucking and transit, policing, and housing. He also has broad teaching experience in American politics, environmental policy, comparative politics, public policy, public administration, global politics, state and local politics, research methods, and political theory. His research skills are centered on mixed methods approaches, with experience in quantitative analysis, surveys, interviews, focus groups and workshops, and GIS.

Daniel Mueller, Ph.D. – Curriculum Vitae

Kayla Wells-Yoakum

Associate Professor
Email: kayla.wells@wsu.edu

Kayla Wells-Yoakum is an Associate Professor with WSU Extension.  Kayla is the County Director of the WSU Okanogan County Extension Office and has worked on various projects since joining WSU Extension in 2011.  Kayla has her Master’s in Teaching from WSU Spokane and one of her areas of expertise is education and community engagement.  Kayla is an active member of the WSU Extension Parenting Team and provides expertise for the following programs: Guiding Good Choices and Positive Indian Parenting.  Some of the project areas that Kayla has worked on or is currently working on are: Community Food Safety, Personal Financial Education, Broadband and Digital Equity and Workforce Development through the Remote Work Certificate Course.

Administrative Staff

Jessica Johnson

Operations Manager
Phone: (509) 335-4796
Email: jhjohnson@wsu.edu

As the Operations Manager since 2023, Jessica is primarily responsible for managing DGSS’s financial and personnel activities. She also assists with the preparation and submission of grants and contracts.

Prior to joining DGSS, Jessica worked in several finance positions within WSU and the private sector.  Jessica began her career in retail banking, where she served as a personal banker and branch manager.  Jessica started her career at WSU in 2014, as the Accounts Payable supervisor and later became the Accounts Payable/Travel Services Manager. She managed daily operations in accounts payable, travel services, electronic payment processing, purchasing card operations and reconciliation, and contracts. 

Jessica has completed the WSU’s Supervisory Management Series and the Research Administration Series.  She is also certified in Tidal Leadership, accredited as an Accounts Payable Manager, WSU budget certified, Mental Health First Aid and First Aid certified, and has been nominated for several customer service awards.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two children, as well as friends and family in the area.  She also enjoys playing basketball, watching her kid’s sporting events, coaching youth sports and helping others as a fitness coach.