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New Leaders Council

2009 NLC Fellows: Washington D.C.


Washington D.C.

Farid E. Ben Amor, Political Coordinator

Farid E. Ben Amor works on political strategy, with a focus on online organizing and volunteer engagement. His professional interests also include bridging the digital divide across low-income America. In his spare time, Farid enjoys composing and performing with AFM local 161-710. He is an alumnus of Cornell University and grew up in Los Angeles.

Janessa Goldbeck, Director of Membership, GI-Net

Janessa Goldbeck is the Director of Membership at the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-NET), a non-profit organization that works to prevent and stop genocide. Janessa was instrumental in building GI-NETss student-led division, STAND, into an international clearinghouse for student anti-genocide activism. With more than 1,000 active chapters around the world, STAND has been recognized by such notables as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power, UN Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, and President Barack Obama. As Director of Membership, Janessa created the Carl Wilkens Fellowship, a program designed to build adult leadership within the anti-genocide movement. She has served a pivotal role in the organization's success in expanding its membership base both online and offline, and has given numerous trainings on movement-building to advocates and organizations across the country. A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Janessa has produced several short films about the anti-genocide movement and is a contributing blogger for She is originally from San Diego, California.

Caitlin Howarth, Policy Director, Roosevelt Institution

Caitlin Howarth serves as the Policy Director of the Roosevelt Institution, overseeing a national network of student research and innovation across several fields of domestic and international affairs. Her work with Roosevelt began while still a student at the University of Virginia, where she graduated with high distinction in 2007 with majors in Political & Social Thought and Modern Literature. As a writer, editor, and graphic designer, Caitlin has worked to publish over 18 journals and magazines on subjects ranging from criminal justice and community development to Asian American culture and contemporary poetry. As a blogger for the Roosevelt Institution, she specializes in war and conflict, with a focus on genocide. A native of Washington, D.C., Caitlin also thoroughly enjoys lobbying on behalf of students’ ideas with policymakers at the local, state, and federal level.

David Aaron Joseph, Voter Targeting Analyst, Grassroots Solutions

David Aaron Joseph has worked on political campaigns in eight states over the last six years. While a field hand at heart, he has made the transition into voter analysis and targeting. Most recently, David was a Voter Targeting Analyst for Grassroots Solutions where he served as the main targeting and database analyst for the DCCC and GOTV director for the successful Jim Himes for Congress campaign in Connecticut. His previous campaign experience includes: Director of Voter Contact for Chris Dodd's presidential bid in Iowa 2008, Deputy Political Director Hillary Clinton for President Ohio 2008, Director of Finance and Voter Contact for the Indiana Democratic party 2006, John Kerry's presidential campaign Michigan 2004, and Dick Gephardt's second presidential bid in Iowa 2004. Mr. Joseph is a native of Rockville, MD, and has a Bachelors Degree from Indiana University

Mariana Marques, Director of Research Program Development, UMD School of Medicine

Mariana Marques is the Director of Research Program Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she seeks funding opportunities to enhance the School's medical research programs and monitors a $45M contract to develop medical countermeasures against radiological threats. Mariana holds a certificate in International Relations from Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), a B.A. in International Studies, an M.A. in Government and a certificate in Public Health Preparedness from Johns Hopkins University. Mariana is a Truman Security Fellow, a participant in the Anti-Defamation League's Glass Leadership Institute and a contributing editor to the Foreign Policy Digest. She speaks Portuguese, French and Spanish. Mariana grew up in Glen Head, NY and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Scott Winship, Research Manager, Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts

Scott Winship is research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts, where his primary responsibility is developing the research agenda the Project funds. Prior to his current position, he was a senior policy advisor at Third Way and the founding managing editor of The Democratic Strategist. Throughout his career Scott has sought to apply data analysis to policy and political questions and develop policies that account both for economic and political realities. Scott hails from rural Maine, graduated from Northwestern University, and is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation for Harvard University's social policy program, on trends in economic volatility. He lives in Washington DC.

Kate Brandt, Special Assistant to Carol Browner, Energy and Climate Change Czar

Kate Brandt is going to be working as special assistant, to Carol Browner, Energy and Climate Change Czar in the White House. Previous to this, Kate worked on the Presidential Transition team for Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the UN designate and the national security agency review team. Prior to that, Kate was the Deputy Women's Vote director for the Campaign for Change in Florida. She received her masters from Cambridge after completing the MPhil program in international relations where she wrote her dissertation on Chinese relations with Cuba and Venezuela and implications for U.S. foreign policy. Previously, Kate graduated in May 2007 from Brown University with a concentration in international relations at Brown's Watson Institute for International Studies, where she focused on global security and wrote an honors thesis on the role of history and memory in Sino-Japanese security relations. At Brown, she worked as a research assistant for Brown's political science department and was active in University affairs. She was the president and founder of the Roosevelt Institution at Brown, and served as undergraduate representative to the Brown Board of Trustees and student government. She has interned at the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, the World Affairs Council and the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Additionally, Kate has also studied language in Florence and Beijing. Kate is originally from San Francisco, CA but currently resides in Washington DC.

Noah Cuttler, Senior Legislative Aide, Representative Mary Jo Kilroy

Noah Cuttler is senior legislative aide to Representative Mary Jo Kilroy, covering financial services and foreign affairs. He joined Kilroy's congressional office after working on her campaign as senior field staff. Prior to this position, he worked for several years as a telecommunications lobbyist, representing DirecTV and Dish Network. During the 2004 Presidential Election, he was a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and a field organizer for MoveOn PAC's Leave No Voter Behind Campaign. He attended the University of California's Davis School of Law, where he was a senior editor for the UC Davis Journal on International Law and Policy. Additionally, he was awarded the Affirmative Action and Diversity Achievement Award for his work in creating a pre-law program for socially disadvantaged incoming undergraduates. As an undergraduate at UC Davis, he was presented with the V. Glenn Winslow Award, which is awarded to one male year each that is deemed the most outstanding in the areas of leadership, scholarship, integrity and service to the campus community. He is active with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, having raised over $80,000 for the society over the past three years as both participant and coach with their Team In Training triathlon program and as First Runner-Up with their 2007 Man and Woman of the Year campaign. He grew up in Oakland, CA and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Cameron French, Talent Liaison, 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee

Cameron French is a political communications professional, who received his bachelor's degree in political science from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. At UNC, Cameron served two years as President of the College Democrats and co-chaired the Homecoming Committee. In 2006, he was awarded the UNC Charlotte Distinguished Leader Medal and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his work with the Urban Youth Racing School, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia. After the completion of his degree and numerous seasons interning with the Democratic National Committee, Cameron began working for the Podesta Group, a Government and Public Relations firm. As a member of the public relations team, he worked diligently to serve the firms diverse client base. In the spring of 2008 he made the difficult decision to leave the firm and accept a position with the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, where he served as a Deputy Press Secretary. The successful completion of the Convention led him continue his professional development in North Carolina as a Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic National Committee and recently as a Talent Liaison for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. He is originally from Philadelphia, PA.

Sabrina Hersi Issa, Digital Director, Be Bold Media

Sabrina Hersi Issa is the Digital Director of Be Bold Media, founded and is also a writer focused on technology and social change. Previously, she was the Program Adviser for Afghans for Civil Society, an NGO where she did online organizing and developed women's programs and independent media in southern Afghanistan. While at Oxfam America, she worked on strategic communications initiatives and multimedia projects. Prior to that, she was reporter for NPR station WOSU Public Media and participated in National Public Radio's Next Generation Radio Project. She has staffed for the United Nations Association at both the UN Headquarters and the US Department of State and taught global affairs to DC public school students. Sabrina graduated from Ohio State University with degrees in International Relations & Diplomacy, Political Science and Women Studies.

Steven Lubot, President of the Law Democrats, The George Washington Law School

Steven Lubot is currently a law student at The George Washington Law School where he serves as the president of the Law Democrats and will be graduating in May with his juris doctorate. Previously, he received his bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2005 having majored in political science and philosophy, and spent a semester abroad living in Freiburg Germany where he studied the political, military and economic systems of the European Union. He then attended New York University, where he earned his Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Political Science in 2006. Steve has extensive political campaign experience, having first volunteered in 2001 on former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's successful run; he spent 13 months volunteering for Howard Dean's presidential campaign in New Hampshire, New Jersey and Ohio and then attended the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston where he heard Barack Obama's now famous convention speech. He then worked as an assistant to the Regional Field Director for the Kerry/Edwards campaign in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and has recently served as volunteer for the Obama/Biden Presidential Transition Team. Steve is originally from Ringwood, New Jersey.

A. Angelique Roche, Legislative Staffer, Senator Mary Landrieu

A. Angelique Roche is an attorney and writer. She currently works as a legislative staffer in the office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana handling constituent correspondence related to finance, budget, tax, banking, insurance, labor, judiciary, and immigration issues. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Print Journalism in 2003 from Southern University and A & M College, during which she worked for CBS News Productions in New York, NY. She is a graduate of the Southern University Honor's College and served as the student Vice President of the Louisiana Collegiate Honor's Council from 2005-2006. From 2000-2006 she was a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholar serving as a founding member, regional director and the Chairman of the Student Board of Directors for the Thurgood Marshall Club of America. As chairman of the board she actively worked to promote student participation in career leadership programs including the Thurgood Marshall National Leadership Academy which she co-founded. In 2005 she graduated from the Army ROTC Leadership Training Camp at Fort Knox. In 2006 she received her Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center. During her matriculation she served as the first Legal Summer Associate at The Gallup Organization in Washington, DC. From 2004-2006 she served as a teaching assistant to noted legal scholar Professor Nadia Nedzel, JD., LL.M. In 2006 she was selected for induction into American Inns of Court. In 2007 she received her Legal Letters Masters (LL.M) in International and Comparative Law from The George Washington University Law School during which she interned with the Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement bureau in Investigations and Hearings. In addition, she completed her second thesis, a comparative study of international jurisdiction issues in cases of defamation and libel. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity, and Phi Alpha Theta Law Fraternity. Her bar association memberships include The Louisiana State Bar Association, The Black Entertainment and Sports Law Association, and The Federal Communications Bar Association. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana. She is a native of Port Allen, LA and the daughter of Alvin Alphonse Roche' Jr., and Rose A. Lee Roche'. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Mike Simmons, Legislative Correspondent, Senator Dick Durbin

Mike Simmons hails from the Lincoln Square neighborhood on Chicago's North Side. He attended Amherst College for his undergraduate degree, where he became student body president his senior year and led efforts to launch an on campus think tank. After graduating in 2006, he took a job in the private sector before taking his current job with Senator Dick Durbin, for whom he works on mostly banking and homeland security issues. He is looking forward to working on the economic stimulus legislation. He plans to return to Chicago eventually and do work on affordable housing.

Ashely Stover, Foreign Affairs Legislative Correspondent, Senator Robert Casey

Ashely Stover currently works in the Office of US Senator Robert Casey as a foreign affairs Legislative Correspondent. Prior to working on the Hill, she worked in Japan as an English teacher through the JET program and interned in the national security department at the Center for American Progress focusing on nonproliferation and defense research and in the Office of Representative James E. Clyburn. Ashely holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. AtCornell University, Ashely founded the Student Athlete Mentoring Program, and was the co-chair of the International Security and Political Economy Professional Interest Council. She is a member of the Truman National Security Project and Women and International Security organizations. Ashely is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Mike Traxinger, Staff Assistant, Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

'Mike Traxinger currently works for his member of Congress in Washington DC. He graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science, and a minor in animal science. Mike has been accepted, and plans to attend Drake Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, to study agricultural law. He is currently a member of the American Agricultural Law Association. Traxinger continues to maintain a small herd of cattle within Traxinger Simmentals in South Dakota. He hopes to utilize his education and personal experiences to positively affect change in the future of the agriculture industry. Mike is hopeful that NLC will provide an opportunity to gain a broader skill set and knowledge base to assist him with his work in agriculture. Mike was born and raised on a crop and beef farm near Claremont, South Dakota.

Clay M. West

Clay M. West Clay M. West is a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office, where he serves as the Principal of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force and specializes in financial crimes and national security criminal prosecutions.  He has served in the Justice Department since 2005 in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) and currently the Western District of Michigan (Grand Rapids). Clay deployed with the U.S. Army to Afghanistan in 2008 and Iraq in 2007, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge.  He also served as military counsel with the Office of Military Commissions in Guantanamo.  Clay received his law degree from Yale Law School, a master's degree in development studies from Cambridge University, and a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard College.  Following law school, Clay clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and for a justice on the California Supreme Court.  Clay grew up on a small grain farm in Cottonwood, Illinois, and is married with one son.

Avi Zevin, Clean Energy Initiative Policy Analyst, Third Way

Avi Zevin is a policy analyst at the Washington DC based think tank, Third Way, working on the new Clean Energy Initiative. Through this Initiative, Avi is working on creative policy, political, and communications strategies to move the United States to a clean energy economy. Prior to moving to Washington, DC in 2008, Avi was an analyst and field director at the Bay Area polling firm EMC Research, where he worked on various local, state, and international political campaigns, as well as opinion research and communications strategy for non-profit, corporate, and government clients. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Political Science, having spent a year studying at the London School of Economics. After graduation, Avi spent the summer traveling and blogging across the United States for, interviewing Democratic congressional candidates during the 2006 elections.
Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley

New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.