Staff

Steven Kull, Director
Steven Kull is a political psychologist and is director of the Program for Public Consultation, School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. For two decades, he has conducted in-depth studies of public opinion on public policy issues, in the United States and around the world. He directs the international polling project WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaboration of research centers from around the world and has played a central role in the BBC World Service Poll of global opinion.

Kull has worked extensively with officials in the U.S. Congress, the State Department, and the United Nations to develop surveys that help policymakers gain greater insight into the public values and beliefs on policy issues. He has testified to Congress, and conducted briefings for NATO, the UN and the European Commission.

Sought after by journalists seeking information on public attitudes on public policy, Kull has been regularly quoted in numerous publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today. He has appeared on NBC News, CBS News, CNN, PBS Newshour, BBC, NPR and many other broadcast outlets.

His writing has been published in The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, Political Science Quarterly, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion Quarterly and many other publications.


Marjan H. Ehsassi, Senior Fellow

Marjan H. Ehsassi is a strategic policy advisor, practitioner, movement builder, and a fierce believer in the potential of citizen engagement, inclusiveness, and impactful government-led democratic innovations that reclaim the voices of citizens. She has worked to enhance space for civil society in some of the most complex environments including Cuba, Iran, and North Korea and recently completed a Doctorate in International Affairs (DIA) at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration in democratic innovations, deliberation, comparative government-led citizens’ assemblies, and design integrity. A former COO and Executive Director, she has led large governance teams and significant portfolios of over $50 million in development funds at the National Democratic Institute, Global Communities, and the American Bar Association. She also worked with the Gender Equality Group at the World Bank where she contributed to the publication of The Environment for Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa. Marjan began her legal career at Blake Cassels and Graydon in Toronto, Canada and was a corporate litigator with the New York offices of Shearman and Sterling. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto and received an LL.B. from McGill University’s Faculty of Law in Montreal. Originally from Iran, Marjan was born in Geneva and speaks English, French and Farsi with native fluency. She serves on several boards including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), IPEC (AFSC’s International Programs Executive Council), and is an active member of Democracy R&D and the OECD’s Innovative Citizen Participation Network.


Evan Fehsenfeld, Senior Research Associate
Evan Fehsenfeld’s research interests focus on international relations, political economy and the politics of land use management in Colorado and Maryland. He was a Harrison Fellow and has taught at both the University of Maryland and George Washington University. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science at the University of Colorado and his Master’s degree in International Relations and Political Economy at The American University.


Evan Charles Lewitus, Research Analyst
Charles Lewitus’s research interests focus on public opinion, informed citizenries and media accountability. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Agri-Food Systems at Knox College, and for his Master’s degree, Evan traveled to Vienna, Austria for the heterodox economics program Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy at Wirstchaftsuniversitat Wien. 


JP Thomas, Vice President, Voice of the People
JP Thomas is an organizer and government relations professional with years of experience working in campaigns, advocacy, and policy research. In 2020, he was the Voter Protection Organizing Director for the Joe Biden Presidential Campaign in Wisconsin, building the program that recruited poll observers and poll workers across the state and helped thousands of voters running the campaign’s voter hotline. During the presidential primary, he managed Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mobilization office in Madison. Before hitting the campaign trail, he led federal and state advocacy efforts and campaigns at Brady, focused on ending gun violence and supporting youth-led advocacy. In addition, JP has experience in fundraising and nonprofit operations at the voting rights and electoral reform organization, FairVote.


Allison Stettler, Director of Operations, Voice of the People
Allison Stettler has more than 25 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. Before joining the Program for Public Consultation in 2013, she served as an information technology and graphic design consultant for a number non-profit organizations in the greater Washington region including the Chief Executives Organization (CEO), Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) and the American Conference for the Treatment of HIV (ACTHIV). Before becoming a consultant, Allison worked at the Greater Washington Board of Trade for 15 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Web Development.  Allison holds a degree in English from Virginia Tech.