About IOGP

The IOGP was founded in 2011, following the vision of USU President Stan Albrecht and Provost Raymond T. Coward to help every student understand the important role government plays in society. Their belief was that if students could understand that role, they would be better prepared to contribute positively to their industries and their communities.

The Institute of Government and Politics provides exceptionally valuable opportunities for civil discussion and hands-on learning experiences both on and off campus.

Noelle Cockett

Our Mission

To enhance students’ understanding of government institutions and the political process by providing opportunities that bridge practical skills and academic training.

The non-partisan IOGP engages Utah State students, faculty, political and community leaders, and citizens in the discussion of policy development through its internship program, visiting speakers, seminars, and policy forums.

The IOGP was founded in 2011, following the vision of USU President Stan Albrecht and Provost Raymond T. Coward to help every student understand the important role government plays in society. The vision of the IOGP is to provide substantive opportunities for students to learn about a life of public service from experiences beyond the classroom - through internships, seminars with policymakers, working on campaigns, engaging with community leaders, and experiencing the world of policymaking up-close with a first-hand view.

Contact Us

For Appointment: Grace Barr at (435) 797-0257

List of directors and coordinators are listed below

Location: Come visit us on the Second floor of the David B. Haight Center


Shannon Peterson

Shannon Peterson, Interim Director 

Shannon Peterson was first introduced to politics as an intern in Washington DC. She went on to pursue a Masters Degree in Political Science at USU and a Ph.D. in International Relations at the Ohio State University. Her love of all things international led her to work  for the European Union in Washington, D.C. and Samsung in South Korea. Since returning to USU, she taught in the Political Science Department for 8 years before moving on to teach International Economics and create and direct the Huntsman Scholar Program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business for the next 10. In addition to her current work with the IOGP, Shannon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. 

Robert Ross

Robert Ross, Co-Director of Operations

Robert is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and he enjoys teaching about American political and constitutional development. He has a Masters degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Robert coordinates the academic components of the internship program, helping students earn university credit as a part of their internship.

Sara Jensen

Sara Jensen, Intern Coordinator

Sara is a USU alum who enjoys Aggie football in the fall and a scoop of Centennial Aggie ice cream every spring. She completed a Capitol Hill internship during her time as a student. While in DC, she spent much of her free time wandering through museums and way too much money trying to figure out which Georgetown shop actually has the best cupcakes. Sara now directs the IOGP's recruiting efforts for internships in Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City and works to create new internship opportunities. 

Grace BarrGrace Barr, Program Coordinator

Born and raised in Texas's capital city of Austin inspired Grace's interest in politics from a young age. An avid bookworm from the age she could hold up a book, Grace pursued a degree in English Literature from Texas A&M University. After graduation, she went to work for the State of Texas in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. There, she worked directly with the administrative and executive branches of the agency by working in the Chairman’s office. Grace relocated to Logan in 2019 and is excited to be an Aggie for a second time around.

Lauren PalmerLauren Palmer, Intern

Lauren is a current USU student majoring in International Studies with minors in Asian Studies and Anticipatory Intelligence (and a certificate in Global Peacebuilding). She loves Aggie sports and is a big fan of taking naps on the TSC couches. She has completed internships on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in the Dominican Republic, and with a tech company in Salt Lake City.