Truman-Albright Fellows Program
Stay in the nation's capitol following Summer Institute and be a part of this inspiring yearlong program. The Truman-Albright Fellows Program will take place from September to May of each year.
Each Fellow should be employed in an entry level position by a public service organization and will have the opportunity to participate in both an educational and service component throughout the year in Washington DC. Organizations that have hosted Fellows in recent years include:
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Brookings Institution
- Center for American Progress
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Department of Agriculture—Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Department of Agriculture—Office of Rural Development
- Department of Education
- Department of Health and Human Services—Administration for Children and Families
- Department of Health and Human Services—Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
- Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Rural Health Policy
- Department of Homeland Security—United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Department of Interior—Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Department of Transportation—Office of the Secretary
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Human Rights Campaign
- Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University
- Office of Leader Nancy Palosi (D-CA)
- Office of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
- Office of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
- Office of U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- US Supreme Court
- White House - Office of Management and Administration
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The 2016-2017 Truman-Albright Fellows will begin meeting this Fall. Please find their bios below:
Grant Addison (AR 15) graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas with degrees in history and political science and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honors society. While in college, Grant served as Chairman of UA College Republicans, a member of the Arkansas Student Alumni Board, a senator in the Associated Student Government, and played trumpet in the Razorback Marching Band. Interested in education and public policy, Grant worked as a research assistant for UA’s Department of Education Reform and as a policy research assistant for a member of the Arkansas State Legislature. Grant is currently interning with the American Enterprise Institute’s Program on American Citizenship. He plans to pursue graduate degree programs in political theory and law.
Rashaun Bennett (NC 15) is a Policy Analyst within the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). His sub-department is within Human Services Policy, where he assists with national-scale policy research aimed at providing economic support for families, combatting homelessness, and providing resources for Promise Zones. Originally a native of Charlotte, NC, he graduated from Davidson College cum laude with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. He intends to use his time at DHHS to help prepare and inform his decision to pursue a joint JD and MPP degree in order to return to North Carolina to pursue public-interest law concentrated on economic justice for vulnerable populations.
Michael Beyer (LA 15) graduated in Political Science from the Louisiana State University Honors College in Baton Rouge. He has worked as a Research and Communications Assistant at Louisiana Progress and also served as the Research and Policy Co-Coordinator for Equality Louisiana, where he researched initiatives and legislation related to LGBT issues. Michael helped co-organize the Louisiana Queer Conference and has interned at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Center for American Progress. He was also an opinion columnist for LSU's student newspaper, The Daily Reveille. This past summer, Michael interned at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration focusing on the agency's LGBT portfolio. Michael is currently working as an Organizer for the New Hampshire Together campaign to elect Democrats up and down the ticket in November.
Becca Boslough (MT 13) graduated from the University of Montana in 2014 with a B.Sc. in natural resource conservation. During her time at UM, she was a leader in the UM Wilderness Association and student government. Becca explored her passion for conservation through positions at The Wilderness Society, the Glacier Institute, and the US Forest Service. She worked for Senator Tester in both Montana and DC. Following graduation, she moved to Germany as a Congress Bundestag (CBYX) Fellow, where she completed research on micro plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea. As a 2015-2016 Energy Corps AmeriCorps member, she worked on climate and zero waste initiatives in Missoula, Montana. She is a 2016 New Leaders Council Fellow and was just selected as one of Forward Montana’s ’25 under 25.’ She will be completing her Truman Albright Fellowship at the U.S. Forest Service.
Jordan Burns (CO 14) completed her BS in Civil Engineering with a Business Minor at the University of Colorado in 2015. She worked as a water resources engineer for an international consulting firm during the past year, and has recently returned to Washington, D.C. to work with the World Bank Inspection Panel. She has previously interned with USAID's Ethiopia Mission in Addis Ababa and partnered with a Rwandan community to construct a sustainable water supply through Engineers Without Borders. Jordan is an avid world traveler and proud Irish dancer. She enjoys rock climbing, folk music, and getting lost in the mountains whenever she has free time.
Lia Cattaneo (VA 15) graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2016 with a double major in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Environmental Sciences. In her current role as a Truman-Albright Fellow and Policy Analyst in the Office of the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, Lia focuses on improving the environmental and community impact of transportation. Though a recent grad, Lia has already worked in government, academia, nonprofits, and the private sector, using research to advance action on climate change in the United States and abroad. While at UVA, she founded and led several sustainability organizations and helped to pass the world’s first nitrogen footprint reduction goal. Passionate about community engagement and public service, Lia served on the Board of Directors of UVA's volunteer service organization and currently volunteers with a nonprofit ice skating rink in DC that primarily serves low-income residents.
Adam Cohen (ME 15) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with a major in Urban Studies. Throughout his time as an undergraduate, he worked extensively in West Philadelphia’s public high schools helping to provide college and financial aid counselling services to aspiring first-generation students. His research focused on the effectiveness of different Housing First models in improving the wellbeing of people experiencing chronic homelessness, the impacts of local procurement efforts by large anchor institutions, and service-learning pedagogy. During his senior year, he served as the chair for his university’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships Student Advisory Board. Adam recently finished an internship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he worked on the Promise Zones initiative and is now completing his Truman-Albright fellowship with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
Ileana Cruz (PR 13) currently works at the US Association for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) on the Partnership for Refugees initiative, which was created to support President Obama’s Call to Action for the U.S. private sector to make new and significant commitments that will have a durable impact on refugees. Prior to her role at USA for UNHCR, Ileana served as a special assistant to Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. Supreme Court. Before moving to D.C. from Puerto Rico, Ileana worked at ConPRmetidos, a start-up social enterprise that seeks to advance Puerto Rico’s economic competitiveness through public-private partnerships focused on youth unemployment, urban resiliency, and diaspora engagement. Ileana has also completed internships with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office for South & Central Asia, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico. Ileana graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations.
Teresa Danso-Danquah (VA 14) is a recent graduate from Cornell University, where she studied Industrial and Labor Relations and served as a leading ally and self-advocate for individuals with disabilities. Her passion for this community has led her to work on youth employment in Hyderabad, India, to lead therapeutic arts lessons with teen girls in Cusco, Peru, to conduct research on siblings of individuals with disabilities, and to serve as a disability policy intern in a U.S. Senate Committee. Teresa currently works to help businesses recognize, foster, and create inclusive spaces for the untapped talent of individuals with disabilities and other minorities. In her spare time, Teresa enjoys salsa dancing, being outdoors and training her first marathon.
Brandon DeBot (WI 13) is a Policy Advisor at the White House National Economic Council, where he focuses on federal tax and budget policy. Prior to joining the NEC, DeBot was a Research Assistant at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank in Washington, DC, where he analyzed how federal tax and budget policies affect low- and moderate-income families. Originally from Stevens Point, WI, he graduated from Dartmouth College summa cum laude with a degree in Government and Public Policy and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was also the recipient of the Barrett All-Around Achievement Cup and the Colby Prize for Government. At Dartmouth, DeBot competed for the Men's Varsity Tennis Team, leading the team to its highest national ranking in program history and being named Second Team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy. He also worked as a researcher in the Policy Research Shop and as a James O. Freedman Presidential Research Assistant in the Government Department. He plans to pursue a career in economic policy.
Bill De La Rosa (AZ 15) recently graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Latin American Studies. A Mexican-American, first generation college student, Bill is passionate about immigrant rights and has conducted grant-funded research on the human consequences of border security and volunteered for humanitarian organizations that provide food, water, and medical assistance to migrants in distress in the Sonoran Desert. He is a John Lewis Fellow, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Gates Millennium Scholar, and in 2016, he was named the Hispanic Scholar of the Year. During Summer Institute, Bill interned at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), working on state coordination efforts between public assistance and workforce programs. During 2016-2017, he will serve as a Truman-Albright Fellow and Policy Analyst for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) before pursuing a master’s degree in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford in the fall of 2017.
At the University of Delaware, Erin Dugan (UT 15) conducted research on place-based initiatives for the advancement of health equity, economic policies with health impacts, and the produce consumption patterns of pregnant women in Delaware. During her senior year, Erin served as the president of UDaB, University of Delaware Alternative Breaks, and coordinated 16 student-led service trips with over 350 participants to locations throughout the country. Her internships with Governor Jack Markell's Office of Federal Affairs, Detroit's Wellness Plan Medical Centers, Alliance for a Better Utah, and Salt Lake Head Start have reaffirmed her interest in working at the intersection of social policies and health. This past summer, Erin interned with the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Legislation. She is currently employed at Health and Human Services' Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation's office within the Health Care Quality and Outcome Division.
Karim Farishta (TX 16) is currently one of the youngest staff assistants at The White House and works in the Office of Management and Administration. In his role in White House Personnel, he assists with various projects related to presidential transition, employee recognition and appreciation, and professional development. Prior to joining this office, Karim was an intern in The White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, where he focused on local government outreach. He has previously interned at USAID Office of Inspector General and several NGOs as well as traveled to Chile, Jordan, and Nepal to conduct comparative human rights research. Karim hails from Sugar Land, TX, where he founded the youth-led Global Issues Summit. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University.
Rahfin Faruk (TX 14) completed degrees in economics, political science, public policy and religious studies and a mathematics minor at Southern Methodist University, graduating summa cum laude. Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, he was awarded the school's Most Outstanding Senior Award. Rahfin is the founding CEO of a Dallas microfinance startup, and he has worked at Grameen Bank, the U.S. Department of State, the American Red Cross, and McKinsey & Company. At SMU, he served as the sole student trustee on the Board of Trustees. He, before that, was the editor in chief of the student newspaper and ran the school's student policy center. Rahfin was a fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and he has presented (including at APSA) and published original research on microfinance and migration. He actively publishes in the Dallas Morning News and the Huffington Post. Rahfin currently works as a Consultant at FSG, a nonprofit consultancy founded by HBS Professor Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, where he advises organizations across sectors, industries and issue areas on how they can drive social change. He also serves as a researcher for a public scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. God gave him two gifts--an arm that can summon a 136 km/hr yorker and an ability to speed eat ghost peppers.
Originally from Basile, Louisiana, Catherine Fontenot (LA 13) grew up in a small town but used her time at Louisiana State University to learn something about the world. She earned her BS in Biological Sciences and plans to earn an MD and an MPH. Catherine is focused on addressing racial and socioeconomic inequality and will devote her career to improving health in under-resourced areas, increasing access to health care, and combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her first year as a Truman-Albright Fellow was spent staffing the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Catherine still works in the Department of Health and Human Services, now in the Office of Health Policy of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). In her spare time, Catherine enjoys cooking Cajun food for her northern friends, throwing giant parties, and casting herself in a good light for medical school applications.
Thomas González Roberts (MN 15), of Morris, Minnesota, graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor's in Astrophysical Sciences and a certificate in Russian language. With an emphasis on global security and the peaceful use of outer space, Thomas' independent research focuses on international science collaboration through space policy. Currently, he is a Research Assistant and Program Coordinator at the Center for Strategic & International Studies' (CSIS) Aerospace Security Program. Outside of his research, Thomas enjoys giving tours of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, exploring D.C., and listening to R&B and soul music.
Mariah Grubb (ID 13) graduated Summa Cum Laude from Willamette University where her studies focused on indigenous and environmental justice. During this time, she traveled to Rwanda to conduct independent field-based ethnographic research regarding the volunteer tourism industry and its true impact on the host communities. State-side, she mentored Native youth at the Chemawa Indian Boarding school, guiding and supporting them in their aspirations to obtain higher education. Her anthropology thesis provides an in-depth ethnographic analysis of the dialogue between Indigenous populations and the US federal government concerning the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and considers collaborative opportunities to move this discussion and relationship forward in a positive and meaningful capacity. After graduating, she joined the Chief of Staff's office at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Subsequently, she worked in the Senate where her portfolio included environmental, Native American and judiciary issues and then joined a conflict resolution organization, RESOLVE, where her work focused on convening and facilitating consensus building and policy dialogues around environmental and health disputes. Mariah is currently working with the Chief of Staff's office at the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Kate Hamilton (DC 15) completed her BA in Political Science at Middlebury College, graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She currently works as an Assistant Account Executive on the Hillary for America team at the political communications firm GMMB. Previously, she has worked as a field organizer for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, as a staff assistant for Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and as an intern at the the White House. At Middlebury, she chaired the Academic Judicial Board and edited the opinions section of the college newspaper. She also directed MiddVote, an organization founded to increase civic participation among Middlebury students. Ultimately, Kate plans to pursue a law degree and use her legal career to fight barriers to democratic participation. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, running, and skiing and co-hosted a country music radio show.
Joyce Iwashita (HI 14) is a Project Assistant at the Police Foundation, a DC-based non-partisan, non-profit research organization that looks into ways to better policing. There, she supports projects including Collaborative Reform and Critical Incident Reviews. Born and raised in Hawaii, Joyce received her BA in Economics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Joyce is passionate about increasing public safety. While at school, Joyce pursued interests in international affairs and criminal justice and graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Joyce has previously interned at the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Criminal Justice Association, and has done work for the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship.
Pierre Joseph (MA 14) is a proud native of Springfield, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in political science at Amherst College, where he specialized in urban politics, policy and participatory governance. His primary research interests revolve around rising inequality and the production of race, space, and community. At Amherst, Pierre worked as a community engagement advisor, public service internship coordinator through the Center for Community Engagement. He also served as a teaching assistant for the Regulating Citizenship “inside-out” class, a community based learning course with both undergraduate students and incarcerated men. In 2013, Pierre joined the Student Board of Advisors for the Roosevelt Institute, a nationwide group of thinkers and doers – from emerging leaders in 38 states to Nobel laureate economists – where he has worked to push an agenda that redefines the rules that guide our social and economic realities. In 2014, Pierre was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar, the nation’s highest award for undergraduate public service. As a Truman Scholar, Pierre hopes to tackle rising inequality by pursuing a degree in urban planning and business, in an effort to rethink communities, as places where all residents can live, build wealth and prosper. Currently, Pierre resides in Washington, D.C. where he a Truman-Albright Fellow in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy on human service policy to incorporate two generations strategies, and financial asset building for rural communities. When he is not pursuing policy work, Pierre enjoys catching up on TV, playing his PS4, and cooking.
Teresa Kennedy (AL 15) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2016 with a B.S. in English Literature. In college, Teresa was a member of the Jewish Midshipman Club, a Writing Center tutor and founded the Never Again Initiative which worked to expand genocide response education within the Brigade. She is passionate about socio-linguistics and mass atrocity prevention, and in 2017, will travel to the University of Oxford to read for an MPhil in Social Anthropology. She loves diners, horror movies, camping, and is an avid patron of the performing arts. Teresa is the 2015 Alaska Truman Scholar.
Andrew Lubash (OR 14) graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oregon’s Robert D. Honors College, majoring in economics and political science. At the UO, Andrew was a board member for multiple state and national student advocacy organizations that work to make higher education more affordable and accessible, especially for traditionally marginalized communities. Andrew also served as a student senator advocating for increased sexual violence prevention programming on campus. His thesis investigated the political implications surrounding Oregon’s recent higher education governance restructuring won the Bennett Award for best political science honors thesis. This past year, Andrew has worked as a paralegal at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he assisted in enforcing federal consumer finance laws. Currently, he serves as the Resident Scholar for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. His hobbies include playing dodgeball, watching reality television, and completing triathlons.
Keith Martinez (SC 15) is from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Keith graduated from Villanova University with a B.A. in Communication Public Relations, where he is a Presidential and a Gates Millennium Scholar. For several years Keith served as the Chair of the Youth Advisory Board for Lakota Children's Enrichment, a nonprofit that empowers youth in his home community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Keith has received numerous awards for his service to the community he was named South Dakota's Youth Service Ambassador by Youth Service of America (2013-14); Champion For Change (2014) and he is the recipient of a scholarship to the PPIA Summer Institute at Princeton University (2015). Keith frequently speaks about the power of education, hard work, seeking help, and perseverance. Keith made his international speaking debut in the summer of 2014 at the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the United Nations.
Grace May (TN 15), of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee recently graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. Her academic and career interests center on the intersections of education, immigration, and social justice. She is passionate about using education as a catalyst for social change and community development. At the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service she was a coordinator for the DC Schools Project - a tutoring, mentoring, and advocacy organization that provides English language services to immigrant youth and their families. As a research assistant with the Georgetown Community Research Group she studied systems impacting youth, focusing on juvenile justice reform projects. As part of the Truman Foundation's Summer Institute, Grace interned at the Office of Policy and Strategy, within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Department of Homeland Security.
Mara Menahan (MT 14) is an illustrator with an interest in environmental change. Currently, Mara works at the United States Botanic Garden as a botanical illustrator, creating interpretive materials to help the public understand the importance of plants. Mara graduated with honors from the University of Montana with a BA in Environmental Studies and a BSc in Geography, along with two minors in Wilderness Studies and Climate Change Studies. During college, Mara worked as an advocate for climate action, serving as a delegate to the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Warsaw, and biking across Bhutan with youth from the Himalayas to explore the regional impacts of our changing climate. She also experimented with ecological design as a resident of the University of Montana Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology, an urban sustainability demonstration project. As a visual artist, Mara uses natural history illustration to connect people with place. Her work has been published by Yonder Journal, Camas Environmental Magazine and used by several environmental organizations including Montana Audubon, the National Foundation for the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Wilderness Foundation. Mara is also a Udall Scholar.
Jacob Miller (MA 15) is a recent graduate of UMass Dartmouth where he focused his time and energy on civic engagement and service. He majored in political science and English and minored in Leadership and Civic Engagement and Urban Studies. Jacob is a first generation college student and a graduate of a Career and Technical high school. Jacob is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and finds solutions to improve the community by working closely with others. He has passed state health care legislation, coordinated a capacity building organization SouthCoast Serves, wrote service learning curriculum, opened the university's first student-run business Jumpin' Juice, founded the Common Project that focuses on boosting millennial civic engagement, created workforce development programs, started biannual youth civic engagement summits, and has helped register hundreds of people to vote. He also served as an elected student representative to the UMass Board of Trustees. He enjoys running, kayaking, cycling, reading and hanging out with his friends.
Victoria Ochoa (TX 15) is a graduate of St. Edward's University and a proud native of the Rio Grande Valley. Currently, she works at the Department of Commerce in the Secretary's Office as a Confidential Assistant to the Deputy Chiefs of Staff. Previously, she was an assistant at the University of New Mexico's Office of Government Relations and researched Latino politics at Stanford. Passionate about Texas and community engagement, Victoria also interned at Annie's List, the Texas House of Representatives, her Congressman's DC office and was a White House as a Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs intern. Throughout her career, she wants to work on issues that economically and politically empower minority communities, particularly those in Texas. She likes to run and dance to Beyonce.
Alex Paterson (MT 15) completed his BS in Economics at Montana State University, graduating summa cum laude. Passionate about quantitative analysis and LGBTQ advocacy, he has conducted research on the economic impacts of anti-discrimination policy and organized campaigns for improved campus support for LGBTQ students. This year, Alex serves as a Truman-Albright Fellow and Policy Analyst in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Outside of his lifelong goal of empowering LGBTQ youth to become the fabulous leaders they were born to be, Alex loves to dance, eat bagels, and rollerblade.
Awarded the Scoville Fellowship, Marlee Pittman (LA 14) works at the Truman Center for National Policy to create progressive foreign policies that promote Middle East peace and counter violent extremism. Pittman graduated Magna Cum Laude with College Honors from Louisiana State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in International Studies. Pittman’s undergraduate career involved extensive study abroad throughout Asia and the Middle East, where she attended universities in China, Malaysia, and Jordan. Pittman’s past volunteer efforts include working with Syrian refugees in Jordan, teaching English to Acehnese students in Indonesia, and tutoring international students at LSU. For her undergraduate Honors Thesis, Pittman used statistical analysis to identify policies that have the potential to mitigate security concerns posed by the Syrian refugee crisis. To expand her understanding of national policy making, Pittman has interned for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Media Matters for America, the Partnership for Public Service, and the World Affairs Council.
Raised in Hemingway, South Carolina, Emmanuel Pressley (SC 15) graduated from Hemingway High School as the first African-American male valedictorian in June of 2011. He furthered his education at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He has interned for the 16th Circuit Court Family Division in Kansas City, Missouri under the Honorable Martina L. Peterson and the Queens County Supreme Court in Queens, New York under the Honorable Martin E. Ritholtz and Common Cause New York. In April of 2014, Pressley became a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Emmanuel graduated magna cum laude from Claflin University in May of 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in Politics and Justice Studies. He recently completed a year of service with City Year AmeriCorps teaching second grade. As a Truman-Albright Fellow, Pressley will be working at the U.S. General Service Administration in the Office of Citizen Services & Innovative Technologies. He plans to pursue a dual degree program obtaining his JD/PhD with aspirations of practicing law and teaching.
Matthew Perdue (ND 15) is an alumnus of Dickinson State University where he graduated with degrees in Political Science and Secondary Education in Composite Social Science along with a Leadership Studies minor. During his time at Dickinson State, Matt was a member of the Blue Hawk football team, the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Programs, and several other clubs and organizations. He was named DSU’s 2016 Outstanding Graduate. Matt was raised on his family’s farm and managed his own small operation for five years. He was recently the coordinator for the Main Street Success Project, which helped rural communities in western North Dakota address economic development and quality of life factors. Matt is deeply interested in agriculture, energy, and rural policy issues and plans to devote his career to serving North Dakota and rural America.
Samuel Ritholtz (NY 13) is Human Rights Programs Coordinator at Perseus Strategies, where he coordinates the human rights strategy and advocacy efforts of the firm and provides research, writing, and Spanish translation support on international human rights topics. Previously, he wrote for the Daily Beast and its Women in the World Foundation. Samuel has conducted research in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America on issues pertaining to the rights of marginalized populations. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S., magna cum laude, with Distinction in Research in international agriculture and rural development with a focus in development economics. He is the 2013 New York Truman Scholar and a United Nations Youth Ambassador for Voices of African Mothers, an African non-profit organization that advocates for women and children.
Shoshana Silverstein (VT 14) received her B.A. in Government and Public Policy from Dartmouth College. She is in her second year as a Program Analyst/Truman-Albright Fellow in the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Her portfolio includes such policy areas as education, climate change, child welfare, homelessness, and Generation Indigenous initiatives. Shoshana has supported multiple interagency efforts including staffing the Executive Director of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, and assisting in planning and organizing the Inaugural White House Tribal Youth Gathering and the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference, attended by over 1,000 Native youth, hundreds of tribal leaders, Members of Congress, Cabinet Members, First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama. Next year, Shoshana will attend law school and will continue pursuing a career in public service and Indian law.
Cara Thuringer (SD 15) is a research specialist at CNA, where she works on climate, environment, water, and energy issues as they relate to national security. She also frequently works on issues related to environmental and natural resource governance in the Arctic. She is a 2015 South Dakota Truman Scholar, and graduated with degrees in environmental science and photography from Montana State University.
Zahava Urecki (WV 15) was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. At the age of 11, Zahava gained her passion for politics and government after watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Her fascination with government, coupled with her desire to help her home state, led to her tenure as an intern in the office of U.S Senator Joe Manchin (WV) during college. After four summers in the Manchin office, Zahava was recently hired on as a staff assistant. After some time on Capitol Hill, Zahava hopes to return to West Virginia where she wants to work on issues related to Appalachian development. In particular, she hopes to help her home state to end its reliance on coal while finding viable solutions for coal miners affected by this transition. Zahava earned a BA in Political Science from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude and was named the senior scholar in political science. Besides being named Roanoke’s first Truman Scholar, Zahava is also a Schusterman Foundation REALITY Scholar.
Daniel Waqar (NV 15) graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). During Summer Institute, he worked with Executive Vice President, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, at the Brookings Institution on a book about Secretary Kissinger’s efforts in the 1970s Middle East peace process. After studying Arabic and peace and conflict studies in Haifa, Israel, he received the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program Scholarship to study U.S. foreign relations at Howard University in Washington D.C. He published his research honors thesis on the historic relationship of power imbalances and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also authored a white paper on the state of urban elevated expressways for Brookings Mountain West. For his research and public service accomplishments, he has won the John S. Wright and Rosemary Masek Awards for best history student and the Lance and Elena Calvert Award for Undergraduate Research.
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