MenuMenu Image

Ph.D. Student Directory

Nate Kratzer
Patterson Office Tower 405

Before joining the Ph.D. program at the Martin School, Nate graduated from Centre College with a B.A. in philosophy.


Nate’s research focuses on the use of information in public policy, inequality, poverty, and the welfare state.

Barrak Algharabali
Patterson Office Tower 1171

Barrak Algharabali is a Ph.D. student in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. He received his master in Public administration (M.P.A.) from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. His research focuses on public financial management and public performance measurement. Barrak is highly interested in playing a role in reforming the public sector in his home country, Kuwait.

Research Interests

  • Public Financial Management
  • Public Performance Management and Measurement
  • Natural Resource Curse
Jinhai Yu
Patterson Office Tower 471

Jinhai Yu is a PhD student in Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at University of Kentucky. His research interests include public budgeting and finance, policy innovation and diffusion, and experimental methods. Before 2013, Jinhai received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in public administration at China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China.

Research Interests

  • Public budgeting and finance
  • Policy innovation and diffusion
  • Experimental methods
Jue Young Mok
Patterson Office Tower 471

Jue Young has a BA in social welfare and psychology and an MA in psychology from Yonsei University in Seoul.  Her research interest is on citizen behavior and public management, focusing on how citizens perceive information, judge government performance, and make decisions.  This research utilizes psychological concepts and experimental methods.

Research Interests

  • Public management 
  • Citizen behavior 
  • Psychology 
  • Experiment
Zihe Lauren Guo
Patterson Office Tower 415

Zihe (Lauren) Guo is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration in University of Kentucky, specializing in public financial management. Her research and teaching interests include public finance and budgeting, debt management, financial management for public and nonprofit organizations. Her dissertation research examines the concerns about borrowing costs of local governments in the U.S. and China, particularly paying attention to debts issued through conduits.


  • Dwight V. Denison and Zihe Guo, 2015. Local Government Budget Stabilization and Debt Management. In Local Government Budget Stabilization: Explorations and Evidence, edited by Yilin Hou, New York: Springer.
  • Zihe Guo. Does Conduit Debt Financing Reduce Issuance Costs of Local Governments? Working paper
  • Zihe Guo, Dwight V. Denison, J.S. Butler, Quasi-Municipal Bonds of Chinese Subnational Governments: Borrowing, Pricing and Fixed-Assets Expenditures. Working paper
  • Dwight V. Denison, Zihe Guo. Do Nonprofit Organizations Have Systematic and Nonsystematic Financial Risk? Working paper
  • Zihe Guo, Dwight V. Denison. Rise of the Municipal Securities in China: A Comparison of Municipal Bond Markets in the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Working paper
  • Wenchi Wei, Zihe Guo. Rainy Day Funds and Expenditure Volatility of State Governments-- An Analysis during the Great Recession (2007-2010). Working paper
Jawad Ali Shah
Patterson Office Tower 1171

Jawad is a Ph.D. student at Martin School. He received my MPA (EMPA) degree from Maxwell School at Syracuse University as a Fulbright Scholar. He has served as tax collector and administrator in Customs, Sales Tax, Income Tax and Federal Excise. He's interested in public financial management and within that field particularly focused on tax policy and administration. His recent interest are in Local government Finance, Consumption taxes especially Value added tax (VAT) and property tax administration.

Research Interests

  • Public Financial Management
  • Tax Policy and Administration
  • Consumption Taxes
  • Value Added Tax
  • Property Tax Administration
  • Local Government Finance
Wenchi Wei
Patterson Office Tower 471

Wenchi Wei is currently a Ph.D. student in public policy and administration at the Martin school. His research interests include Public Finance and Budgeting, Municipal Bonds, State and Local Government Fiscal management, and Public Funds management. Before joining the Ph.D. program at the Martin School, he got a Master degree in public policy from University of Maryland and a bachelor degree in political science from Wuhan University in China.


  • Wenchi Wei, Zihe Guo, “Rainy Day Funds and Expenditure Volatility of State Governments: An Analysis during the Great Recession (2007-2010)”
  • Wenchi Wei, “How does the Municipal Government Form Affect the Public Funds Management: An Implication of the Principle-Agent Model”
  • Zihe Guo, Wenchi Wei, “Nonprofit Organizations’ Fiscal Reserves and the Expenditure Volatility”
Saerim Kim
Patterson Office Tower 1173

Saerim Kim joined the doctoral program at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration in August 2013 after finishing her Master's degree in Public Policy at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University. Her main research interests involve public budgeting and finance, nonprofit financial management, and public service provision. Currently, she is working on her dissertation entitled "Financial Collaboration in the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sector" and teaches Economics and Business Statistics as a primary instructor for junior and senior undergraduate students at the Gatton College of Business and Economics. She is also a member of the Association of Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM), Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), and Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). She plans to graduate this coming year and apply for an academic position, which would allow her to contribute to the research on the budgeting and finance and public service provision in the government and nonprofit sectors.


  • Saerim Kim, Revenue Volatility Measurement and Risk Management in the Nonprofit Sector, working paper
  • Saerim Kim, State Determinants of Government Grants to Nonprofit Organizations in the United States, working paper
Kyung Ha Oh
Patterson Office Tower 405

Kyung Ha Oh is a Ph.D. student in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. Her research focuses on education policy (particularly in K-12 Education but not limited to), economics of education, education finance and financial management. Before joining the Ph.D. program at the Martin School, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea and earned her Master’s degree from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Research Interests

  • Education Policy
  • Economics of Education
  • Education Finance
  • Financial Management
Whitney Davis
Patterson Office Tower 405

Whitney joined the Ph.D. program in 2012. Before joining the Martin School, Whitney received a B.S. in Financial Economics from Centre College, Danville, KY in 2010 and then spent two years working in nonprofit.

Research Interests

  • Fiscal Federalism
  • Public Finance
  • Environmental Policy
  • Energy Policy
Alex Combs
Patterson Office Tower 405

Alex arrived at the Martin School in 2013, obtaining a Master of Public Administration in 2014 before beginning the Ph.D. program. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and Minor in Philosophy. While an undergraduate, Alex was involved in university administration and higher education policy and maintained this involvement working in the nonprofit sector after graduation. Alex’s research interests primarily include issues concerning public finance and public choice of higher education and their effects on student access and success. Alex is expected to complete his degree in 2018 and plans to apply to an academic position.

Alex Combs, Estimating the effect of distance on degree completion in Kentucky
Alex Combs, The effects of high tuition-high aid policies on student migration and the higher education market
Alex Combs, The effect of NCLB sanctions on college attendance and academic performance
Alex Combs, State financial aid policy: How allocation decisions between need- and merit-based aid impact college completion