Research Team

Tracey DeFrancesco, MPP
Associate Editor & Senior Researcher
Natalie Leppard, PhD
Jeffrey Hendricks, MA
Senior Researcher

Kate Wraith, LLM
Associate Researcher

Tracey DeFrancesco, MPP, Associate Editor & Senior Researcher
Tracey DeFrancesco

Phone: 310-451-9596
Ext. 115

Email: [email protected]
Tracey Marie DeFrancesco graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a BA in International Studies (International and Intercultural Communication concentration). As an undergraduate, Tracey interned at CNN and worked for the network at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

Tracey earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy (MPP) from the UCLA School of Public Affairs, with a Counterterrorism and National Security concentration. Her coursework focused on counterterrorism policy, models of deterrence for nuclear terrorism, and decision under uncertainty. She was a teaching assistant for courses in policy analysis, imperfect rationality, and crime control policy.

Tracey has worked as a policy analyst and consultant, and as a disaster analyst in the field of emergency preparedness. She is a Senior Contributor for Tennis View Magazine, having written several articles, including "Doping in Tennis: Exploring the Debate on Performance-Enhancing Drugs" (Aug./Sep. 2011), which featured references to Sports and Drugs In July 2015, Tracey was elected Vice Chair of the Solar Turbine Project Board of Directors.

In addition to her research duties, Tracey is also primarily responsible for maintaining's social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Tracey joined on June 25, 2007 as a researcher and was promoted to Senior Researcher in Feb. 2011. Tracey has been serving as Associate Editor since Feb. 14, 2014.

- Churches and Taxes
- College Football
- Cuba Embargo
- Drinking Age
- Drone Strikes
- Golf
- Medical Marijuana
- Reagan
- Social Networking
- Sports and Drugs
- Standardized Tests
- Video Games

Contributed to*:
- 2008 Election
- 2012 Election
- Big Three Auto

Jeffrey Hendricks, MA, Senior Researcher
Jeffrey Hendricks

Phone: 310-451-9596
Ext. 108
[email protected]
Jeffrey D. Hendricks is a two-time graduate from California State University at Long Beach. As an undergraduate Jeffrey majored in Modern United States History and was recognized on the President's Honor list. During his graduate level studies, Jeffrey maintained a 4.0 GPA while earning his Master of Arts in United States History. His main areas of historical interest are the cultural and intellectual aspects of Environmental history, Native American history, and the history of social and environmental justice movements in the United States.

His Masters Thesis, "Constructing the Panopticon: Perceptions of Wilderness, Methods of Domination and the Colonization of Native America," was published in December, 2006, and it deals with how perceptions of wilderness influenced the colonization of North America. Other topics he has researched include the effects of colonization on the Tohono O'odham Nation of Southern Arizona, witchcraft persecutions in the Colonial US, and the Weather Underground - an anti-war organization active during the Vietnam War period.

Jeffrey has worked with many organizations including the Save Ward Valley Coalition, Los Angeles and Long Beach Food Not Bombs, the O'odham Solidarity Project, and others.

Jeffrey joined on June 25, 2007, and he was promoted to Senior Researcher in Jan. 2012.

- 2012 Election
- 2008 Election
- Alternative Energy
- Animal Testing
- Cell Phones
- Climate Change
- Concealed Guns
- Death Penalty
- Felon Voting
- Obamacare
- Insider Trading
- Right to Health Care
- Under God in the Pledge
- US Iraq
- Vegetarian
- Voting Machines
- WTC Muslim Center

Contributed to*:
- Gold Standard
- Milk

Natalie Leppard, PhD, Researcher
Natalie Leppard

Phone: 310-451-9596
Ext. 114
Email: [email protected]
Natalie R. Leppard graduated from Meredith College with a BA in English and earned a Master's Degree in English from North Carolina State University, with a focus on American Literature. While completing the MA, she taught an Honor's Colloquium focused on community service and wrote the thesis, "'The joy of meaning and design wrenched out of chaos': The Modernismpostmodernism Continuum of James Joyce's Ulysses and Don DeLillo's The Names."

Natalie earned a PhD in English from the University of South Carolina, focusing on Twentieth Century American Literature. Her dissertation, "Finding a Pen in a Pile of Grenades: Postmodern American Literature, a Spectacular Definition of Terrorism, and the Response to 9/11," was completed in August 2007 and explores terrorism in post-1985 literature as pre- and post-9/11 while creating a definition of terrorism based on spectacle. During her graduate studies, Natalie was a First Year English Instructor and taught literature courses on controversial topics. She also co-chaired the American Literature Colloquium.

Natalie worked as an English Professor for Kaplan University. She published articles in The Explicator and the "Terror and Textuality" edition of Exit 9.

Natalie joined on July 16, 2012.
- Born Gay
- College Education
- Euthanasia
- Gay Marriage
- Gun Control
- Illegal Immigration
- Obesity
- Prescription Drug Ads
- School Uniforms
- Tablets & Textbooks

- Vaccines

Kate Wraith, LLM, Associate Researcher
Natalie Leppard

Phone: 310-451-9596
Ext. 113
Email: [email protected]
Kate Wraith graduated from the University of Bath (UK) with a BSc (Hons) in Sociology and earned a Masters of Law (LLM) in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from Lancaster University (UK). Her Master’s thesis investigated the legal standing of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Prior to joining, Kate worked as a Research Associate with the Omega Research Foundation, a UK-based nonprofit, researching the human rights impact of security and policing equipment. She has provided research support, briefings and reports to a number of organizations including the UN Committee Against Torture, the US Bureau of Industry and Security, Amnesty International, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; contributed to the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights’ Weapons Law Encyclopedia; and provided training workshops for civil society organizations, journalists, and UN special mechanisms worldwide.

Kate has also worked as a Research Consultant with the University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute where she provided research support and editing services for the online Post Graduate Certificate in Ethics, Human Rights, and Health.

Following a stint as a volunteer researcher, Kate joined the staff of in April 2015 as a part-time Associate Researcher.

- Abortion
- Corporate Taxes
- Gold Standard
- Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- Milk
- Prostitution
- Social Security
- Teacher Tenure

*Usually one person leads the research process on an issue website, and it is common for several researchers to contribute by adding biographies, questions, pro and con responses, resources, etc. The researcher in charge of the website is acknowledged as being in charge of the website, and any researcher who contributed over 250 hours or 33% of an issue website (whichever is less) is acknowledged as a contributing researcher.