Thank you to everyone who supported ICAPP during our inaugural year! As you will see in this newsletter, ICAPP made a big splash this year and we are so happy to share it all with you. If you are interested in supporting ICAPP, there are many ways you can help us continue setting ourselves apart by increasing student opportunities for research and engagement.


Please let us know if you would like to serve as a mentor, if you have an internship opportunity, would be willing to speak to our students, or are able to support our programming through a monetary contribution. Funding for the ICAPP is being used to support research, travel and experiential opportunities for students and faculty.


We would like to recognize the following Team ICAPP donors for their support:

Stephen and Emily Ankney | Stephanie and Joel Crandall | Speaker Robert and Lisbeth Cupp | Abraham Jacob and Kevin Benson | Jay Meyers | Kristen McKell |  Ellie and Paul McManus | Hannah Ray | Mark and Anna Schloemer


We are especially grateful to Scott and Rhonda Miller for the establishment of the ICAPP Public Engagement Fund, which supports applied learning experiences relating to public policy, public engagement, and civic literacy. This support has been essential as we are planning for a stellar year of civic engagement at ONU.

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Now, let's see what all that support looks like in action!

The Director's Desk

Welcome to the Spring 2021 ICAPP eNewsletter! I am happy to report that we had a phenomenal year as we were able to successfully launch the Institute for Civics and Public Policy in spite of the difficulties COVID presented. In a very short time we have been able to establish our identity as an important source for public engagement at ONU.

From conducting public opinion research to providing political analysis to news outlets across the globe, to forging relationships with local partners, to engaging our student body, the ICAPP is providing a wealth of information to the populace, providing opportunities for student engagement, and offering real-world experience for our students. We are excited to continue our work and are looking forward to celebrating ONU’s sesquicentennial this year. ICAPP’s focus on applied learning with students at the center, is a natural extension of Henry Solomon Lehr’s vision for Ohio Northern University 150 years ago.


I hope you can take a few moments to see what we have been up to and consider ways you might be able to contribute to what we are creating. A partnership between students, faculty and alumni is a powerful means to achieve great things here at ONU. I also hope you will consider ways you might be able to become part of what I am calling—Team ICAPP!



Robert Alexander, BA '94
Founding Director
Professor of Political Science


ICAPP makes a splash

One of the goals for ICAPP has been to contribute to the public discourse and raise the profile of the good work our faculty and students are doing at Ohio Northern. We are happy to report that we were able to meet and exceed this goal in our inaugural year. Dr. Alexander’s expertise was in high demand--especially when it came to the Electoral College. He was a guest speaker for numerous groups, participated in many podcasts and did interviews with Fox News, CNN, the Associated Press, The New York Times, and multiple international media outlets. The ICAPP student fellows also made a splash as they were the subject of interviews for a number of local media outlets. In total, news sources relying on ONU expertise reached over 1 billion people and the earned media coverage totaled over $40 million. ONU is no longer “a best kept secret” and we are excited to build on this success in the coming years.


Events and collaborations

Allen Lima Leadership Partnership — ICAPP partnered with the Allen Lima Leadership Alliance for two events; Lima’s primary mayoral debate and a presentation by renowned author Katherine Gehl. Each event involved both ONU students and members of the local community.


Lima Mayoral Debate — Dr. Robert Alexander was able to moderate the Lima Mayoral Debate. All ICAPP Fellows were in attendance to learn more about local elections and engage with the surrounding community.


Brother to Brother -- ICAPP worked with ONU's Brother to Brother chapter on a presentation examining voting rights in the United States.


Virtual CF Advocacy Day — ICAPP fellow Andrea Hoffman spearheaded the event which featured Representative Scott Lipps (R), Senator Kenny Yuko (D), and Dr. Karen McCoy from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.


Electoral College Surveys — ICAPP partnered with Pi Sigma Alpha (the political science honor society) to conduct the sixth survey of members of the Electoral College. The research has gained international attention and was cited before the Supreme Court of the United States last year. It was also the subject of a CNN Documentary on the Electoral College.


Inaugural Policy Brief — We are delighted that we were able to publish our first policy brief from Professor Keith Durkin and his team of students this past year. “The Nature and Extent of Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Sample of Youths from a Rural Dropout-Recovery School” examines an important but understudied topic. Moreover, their research is helping policymakers make more informed decisions as they consider policy choices. We are looking forward to publishing more policy briefs in a variety of areas.

Critical Questions

ICAPP was able to launch the Critical Question series where the fellows work to tackle a number of current issues. The series was the brainchild of ONU alumnus Scott Miller, BA '77, who felt that ICAPP was uniquely positioned to provide objective research regarding emerging issues for people to consider. It is our hope to give readers a solid background to better understand complex topics that are in the news. We were able to publish articles on seven different topics this spring. These include examinations of a  president’s cabinet selections, the climate crisis, the rise in Asian-American hate crimes, the use of executive orders and many more. To catch up on our latest Critical Questions, make sure to go on the website and scroll to Critical Questions.


ICAPP Fellows

Andrea Hoffman is a junior political science and public relations double-major. Andrea had a very big year as an ICAPP fellow. She wrote an op-ed for in December about living with cystic fibrosis during the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, she was selected by Gov. Mike DeWine, JD '72, to serve on the Ohio Rare Disease Council where she will work to enhance the health of people with CF.

Drew Mantenieks is a senior political science major. Drew is the current Student Senate President who hopes to use his position to improve communication between Student Senate and the student body, increase diversity at ONU, prioritize students' mental health and make sure students are able to vote on Election Day by moving fall break.

Kennedy Cook is a senior political science and communication studies double-major with a minor in management. This year, she organized a Women in Leadership Panel featuring ONU alumnae who shared their experiences and offered advice and support to current ONU students.

Kennedy Aikey is a sophomore political science major with a minor in dance. She is active on campus with involvement in Mock Trial, Student Planning Committee and also serves as an Orientation Leader.

Hailey Trimpey is a sophomore political science major with a minor in public policy. On campus, she is involved with Mock Trial and Polar Paws.


Alumni spotlight

Cheryl Mason, BA '86, currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board), at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Confirmed by the Senate in 2017, she is the first woman and first military spouse to hold the position of Chair. As the daughter of a WWII Navy Veteran and the spouse of a USAF Veteran—her Polar Bear sweetheart—she is passionate about military and Veteran issues, especially supporting and advocating for military families and caregivers, and suicide prevention. In 2020, Mason was named a National Ambassador for REACH, a holistic public health approach to prevent suicide through communication and awareness. She invites you to join her in taking the pledge to #REACHNOW at

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