The mission of the Herbert Institute is to increase positive civic engagement among students, policy leaders, and the community by developing future policy leaders; gathering the community to engage in respectful civic dialogue; and building trust in government institutions.

Develop Leaders

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The Herbert Institute teaches and sponsors UVU interns from every major for state, federal, and in-house internships.

The Herbert Institute hosts forums, conferences, debates, and other events to gather the students, leaders, and the community to engage in respectful civic dialogue.

Gather Community

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Build Trust

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The Herbert Institute conducts research to provide information to our community and to recommend evidence-based solutions to policy concerns.

Our Team

Image of Gary R. Herbert
Founder, 17th Governor of Utah, FG 207
Honorable Gary R. Herbert
Decorative Profile shot of Gary R. Herbert

Honorable Gary R. Herbert
Founder, 17th Governor of Utah, FG 206

Former Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert is both the Herbert Institute founder and an essential part of the Herbert team. His founding pillars and vision continue to guide the Herbert Institute in our mission. His office can be found in Herbert Hall, where he serves as both an advisor for the Institute and a mentor to the Herbert Interns.

Gary R. Herbert was born and raised in Utah County, and spent most of his life in Orem, Utah. In high school, he was concurrently enrolled at Utah Technical College, now Utah Valley University. After graduating, he served a mission for his Church, attended Brigham Young University, and joined the Army National Guard. After finishing his military service, Herbert opened his own real estate firm, Herbert and Associates, and taught real estate classes in the Woodbury School of Business.

A successful realtor and businessman, the governor saw firsthand how decisions made by public officials can impact private enterprise. From 1990, he decided to make a difference and served as a Utah County Commissioner for over 14-years, where he gained invaluable experience that benefited his later decisions as governor.

In 2004, Herbert left his job as Utah County Commissioner to join newly elected Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as his lieutenant governor. They were re-elected in 2008, but Herbert’s second term as lieutenant governor came to an unexpected end a year later when Governor Huntsman stepped down to become a U.S. ambassador and Gary R. Herbert suddenly became the 17th Governor of Utah. He was sworn in on August 9, 2009, and was later elected in a 2010 special election.

As governor, Gary R. Herbert led Utah’s recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. His unwavering focus on economic development included attracting businesses and investment to the state while helping homegrown businesses flourish.

Governor Herbert’s focus was on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah’s economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, with an unsurpassed quality of life.

As governor, he served as the Chair of the Western Governors Association and the Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA). His focus as the leader of the nation’s governors was to make the relationship between states and the federal government more collaborative, highlight state solutions and share best practices between states. The governor believes real solutions are found in the states, the real innovators, and laboratories of democracy.

Following his service, Herbert helped launch the Herbert Institute. He rejoined the UVU faculty in January of 2021 to be a lecturer and resource to the University.

Governor Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, are the proud parents of six children and 17 grandchildren.

Image of Justin D. Jones
Executive Director, FG 205
Justin D. Jones
Decorative Profile shot of Justin D. Jones

Justin D. Jones
Executive Director, FG 206

Justin Jones was appointed Executive Director of the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy on Aug. 1, 2021. As the director, he is responsible for the operational, financial, programmatic, fundraising and personnel activities of the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy. He works to achieve several important Institute initiatives, including mission fulfillment and outreach with educational and business partners.

Prior to this appointment, he worked as the Senior Director of Donor Relations and Annual Giving from Nov. 2019 to Jul. 2021. He served as the Chief of Staff to two Presidents of UVU, starting in August 2016. His most recent work included directing the successful leadership transition from outgoing President Matthew S. Holland and welcoming UVU’s seventh President, Astrid S. Tuminez.

Before joining UVU, Jones worked as the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for the Salt Lake Chamber. His primary role was to advocate for and negotiate business friendly policies focused on education, healthcare, water, and other interests with the Utah Legislature and with Utah’s Congressional delegation.

Prior to the Chamber, he directed all strategic public relations, social media, internal communications, and marketing efforts for Rio Tinto Kennecott. He lead the crisis communications efforts during the catastrophic collapse of the Bingham Canyon Mine wall.

His previous work includes working as the senior advisor to the president, government relations director, and spokesperson for the Utah Transit Authority. He worked as the communications advisor for the Utah County Health department, and a grants specialist during the administrations of Governor Michael O. Leavitt and Governor Olene Walker.


  • M.S., Intermodal Transportation Management – University of Denver
  • B.S., Business Administration – Utah Valley University
  • A.S., Communications – BYU Idaho


Justin is married with four children, two of whom are Wolverines. They live in American Fork, UT where he enjoys working in the garden, hiking in the mountains, and spending time with family. Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, he, and his family make annual pilgrimages to enjoy family while boating and other out-door activities in the beautiful Black Hills.

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Student Intern Director
Mike Erickson
Decorative Profile shot of Mike Erickson

Mike Erickson
Student Intern Director

Mike Erickson is a criminal justice student in the college of health and public service. Mike's passion for law and the United States Constitution led him to intern at the Utah State Legislature and under Senator Mike Lee of Utah, where he gained invaluable insights into the legislative process at both the state and federal levels.

He is deeply engaged in exploring the world of public policy and has served in civics clubs and student organizations on campus. Currently, Mike is preparing for the LSAT as he works towards his goal of attending law school in the coming years.

Outside of school, Mike finds satisfaction in camping and gardening.

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Communication & Events Coordinator
Hannah Oh
Decorative Profile shot of Hannah Oh

Hannah Oh
Communication & Events Coordinator

Hannah is a public relations and strategic communication student in the UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She developed an interest in government and political communication when she worked as a Herbert Legislative Intern in Spring 2023. She joined the Herbert Institute as a part-time employee soon after, where she manages the Institute’s communication strategy and implementation and plans events. She is passionate about conflict management, productive civic dialogue, and media literacy, and she hopes to influence the UVU community to be positively engaged in public policy.

Hannah is actively involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America and was the 2022-2023 president of UVU’s award-winning chapter. In that role, she led her executive board in planning events, excursions, and other opportunities for students to network and explore diverse communications roles. Additionally, she began a state-wide initiative to build relationships and mutual support between Utah’s many student and professional chapters.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Hannah has been a proud Utahn since 2016. She lives in Provo with her husband and three young children. She is an avid lover of stories and can usually be found reading, watching, writing, or singing them.

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Herbert Intern
McKay Brooks
Decorative Profile shot of McKay Brooks

McKay Brooks
Herbert Intern

McKay is a political science student specializing in international relations and peace and justice studies. He started working with the Herbert Institute as a legislative intern in January 2022 before transitioning to the research team, where his work centered around election processes, including voting machines and voting by mail. McKay currently works on the institute’s communications team as the outreach liaison and focuses on building and maintaining relationships with different student groups at UVU.

In his time at UVU, McKay has served in the Rotaract and Utah International Mountain Forum clubs and the Herbert Institute Student Organization. As a leader in these groups, he helped host events with dignitaries from the United Nations, Kyrgyz Republic, and US State Department and helped lead a student delegation to speak at the United Nations 67th Commission on the Status of Women in partnership with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. After graduating, McKay hopes to find work in diplomacy or journalism.

McKay grew up in Highland, Utah. His major hobbies and interests include rock climbing, video games, manga (especially One Piece), Dungeons and Dragons, and reading about political theory.

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Herbert Intern
Annaliese Hussey
Decorative Profile shot of Annaliese Hussey

Annaliese Hussey
Herbert Intern

Annaliese Hussey is a Business Management major in the UVU Woodbury School of Business. She started at the Herbert Institute in March 2023 as a Graphic Design and Events intern.

Annaliese grew up on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake and had an introduction to politics at a young age. She worked on Governor Cox’s campaign and wants to help other students get involved with public policy.

Annaliese recently completed her associate degree. She is currently preparing to depart on a mission for her church to Romania this fall. Annaliese loves to travel, play the piano, cook, and listen to music.

Image of Noah Cliften
Herbert Intern
Noah Cliften
Decorative Profile shot of Noah Cliften

Noah Cliften
Herbert Intern

Noah is a senior business management student in the UVU Woodbury School of Business. He became involved with the Herbert Institute in Spring 2023 after connecting with the student director about internship opportunities. He is currently involved in the institute's initiative to promote thriving, resilient communities in the state of Utah, and is passionate about contributing to Utah's plan for growth and helping to create spaces that will be enjoyed by its residents for generations to come.

Noah is the vice president of the Chess Club at UVU and volunteers with Utah's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, where he observes and evaluates the performance of judges who are up for a vote on retention. Following graduation, he plans to continue his education by attending law school.

Noah is originally from Boise, Idaho. Prior to living in Utah, Noah served as a church missionary in North and South Dakota. He and his wife now live in Provo, Utah, and enjoy frequent visits to Boise to visit family.

Image of Mikelle Dahl
Herbert Intern
Mikelle Dahl
Decorative Profile shot of Mikelle Dahl

Mikelle Dahl
Herbert Intern

Mikelle is a political science student with a concentration in public law and political philosophy. She started working with the Herbert Institute as a research intern in May 2023, where her work focused on election processes, including voter ballot access and registration as well as voter responsibilities.

In her time at UVU, Mikelle has had the opportunity to work with professors on research projects about the public stigma of ex-convicts and the effects of Ban the Box on employment. She is currently a senior at UVU and is expected to graduate in May 2024. After graduating, Mikelle hopes to complete an MBA or MPP before finding work as a policy researcher for private companies.

Mikelle grew up in Cedar Hills, Utah. Some of her personal passions are volleyball, horseback riding, and reading fantasy novels. Her hobbies include driving up the canyon, attending farmer’s markets, and handmaking jewelry.