Our Leadership

Alex Shura

Alex is a fourth year political science and economics major with a minor in history. He’s from Naperville, Illinois and spent last summer working on CARES Act oversight at the U.S. Government Accountability Office in Boston. Over the past three years, Alex led PDI project teams which studied the Arizona Clean Elections Act’s influence, gathered data and wrote a report on autonomous vehicle testing and state policy, and proposed legal strategies to affirmatively further fair housing in Chicago. He also led two COVID-19 pandemic response projects in spring 2020 which focused on fair federal lending to small businesses and alternative sources of state lead investigation funding. As President of Research, Alex is looking forward to supporting PDI's project leaders as they create and publish new research on topics from equitable neighborhoods to global environmental policy.

President of Research


Allison Kanter

Allison is a second-year Political Science major from Princeton, New Jersey. During her first year in PDI, she researched the work social workers do to provide trauma-informed education in Chicago schools. This year, she is leading a project looking at police accountability. In her role on the Board of Recruitment and Training, she hopes to support new researchers and develop a welcoming community within PDI.

Recruitment Committee Member


Juhi Gudavalli

Juhi is a third-year Economics major from Fairfax, Virginia. She has been involved in PDI since her first year, when she worked on an autonomous vehicle testing project. Most recently, she led a research project examining the role of social workers in Chicago schools. In her role as President of Education and Partnerships, Juhi hopes to support PDI’s research through educational activities and partnerships both inside and outside of the university community.

President of Education & Partnerships


Kristy Lam

Kristy is a third-year Political Science major from Hong Kong. During her first year at PDI, she was part of a team that researched housing discrimination in the Cook County region. More recently, she helped lead the PDI team for the Global Student Policy Alliance (GSPA), working on international environmental policies. As the President of Recruitment and Training, she hopes to improve the support system for PDI's diverse group of researchers and build community within the organization.

President of Recruitment


Michael Bushnell

Michael is a third year undergraduate studying Economics and Political Science. As President of Finance, Michael oversees internal operations such as financial planning, budgeting, monetary allocation, and big-picture goals. With PDI, Michael has co-authored and presented a policy research paper on police arbitration to the Chicago Office of Police Accountability, who expressed interest in utilizing PDI research to inform and correct their status quo operations. Last summer, Michael co-led a team of student researchers from PDI and The Wilberforce Society of Cambridge University to produce a policy paper advising specific reforms to international plastic waste trading practices in the U.S., the U.K., and China. In addition to leading a project for PDI last summer, Michael interned with New Heights Communications, a digital media and marketing firm in Washington, D.C., where he contributed to dynamic strategies for several robust clients.

President of Finance & Operations


Miranda Zhang

Miranda is a third-year Fundamentals and Public Policy double major from Hong Kong. She has been involved with PDI since her first year, beginning as a researcher on environmental policy and then taking leadership responsibility over PDI's media. This summer, she interned with Council Member Carlina Rivera, a rising Democrat in New York City Council. Her latest social impact fascination is with community-based research in Chicago and effecting change through narrative. This year, as PDI's President of Media she is working towards her aim of intersecting communications and policy. Outside of PDI, Miranda can often be found talking about environmentalism, existentialism and eudaemonia.

President of Media