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Mentors 2015-2016

Teresa Abraham

Senior Analyst, Gryphon Scientific

As a Senior Analyst at Gryphon Scientific, Dr. Abraham applies her scientific and communications expertise to facilitate discussions, gather and synthesize data from a diverse group of scientist and policy leaders in support of a variety of scientific and disaster response projects. For example, in her role as the communications expert to support NIH’s Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS), she ensures that policy makers and the general public understand the importance of influenza research. Previously, as a science policy analyst and AAAS fellow at HHS, Teresa led projects with international partners and coordinated with U.S. agencies to support multilateral initiatives designed to enhance domestic and international health security. With a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a focus on virology, Teresa has over 10 years of scientific and technical experience.

Ahmed Ali

Lead Organizer, Greater MN Worker Center

Ahmed has lived in St. Cloud since 2012 and is actively involved local politics, labor and community service.
Last year, as a lead staff organizer with Greater MN Worker Center, Ahmed has helped raise the minimum wage in Minnesota, act that benefited more than 365,000.

Ahmed is currently working on bringing about meaningful legislative changes to enable millions of Working Minnesotans and their families achieve economic security through the passage of the Working Parents Act, a bill that includes paid family leave, earned safe and sick time, fair and flexible scheduling and wage theft protections.

Michael Beckel

 Michael Beckel works in Washington, D.C., as a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit that specializes in investigative reporting. He specifically covers politics, elections and campaign finance issues, and his work has appeared in a variety of local and national media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News, Des Moines Register, Huffington Post, Salt Lake Tribune, Slate and Time. A Minnesota native who grew up in Cold Spring, Beckel graduated in 2001 from the St. John’s Preparatory School. After that, he attended Colorado College, a small liberal arts school in Colorado Springs, graduating in 2005 with a major in geology and minor in journalism. Since then, he has also worked at the Center for Responsive Politics, Project Vote Smart, Mother Jones magazine and two alternative newsweeklies in Colorado. Outside of the office, he enjoys hiking, camping and traveling.

Chris Bergstrom

Assistant Store Manager - Sales, Best Buy

I am a 2009 graduate of SJU, who graduated with a Political Science degree. However, I did not go into a field that was directly related to my field of study. After I graduated I went into the private sector and hope I can provide guidance to students who are wondering what their options are with their degree.

Neil Bjorkman

Director of Digital Economy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce (U.S.-India Business Council)

Neil Bjorkman serves as the Director of Digital Economy. In this capacity, he advocates on behalf of Information and Communication Technology companies in the United States and India as they seek to increase trade, create jobs, and grow the economy. He helps U.S. companies overcome regulatory hurdles in India while assisting Indian companies in the United States. In addition, Neil serves as the lead for USIBC’s relationship with the United States Congress.

Before moving to Washington, D.C., Neil practiced law with a private firm in San Francisco. He recently served as the Policy Counsel for the Majority staff of the Committee on Rules in the United States House of Representatives, where he handled Chairman Sessions’ India portfolio. In 2007-2008, Neil served as the Judicial Clerk to Justice Dalveer Bhandari at the Supreme Court of India, where he helped craft a landmark constitutional judgment on affirmative action in university admissions.

He lived in India for two years and in Guatemala for a year. Neil speaks Hindi, Malayalam, and Spanish. A graduate of Saint John’s University, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s a big fan of pour-over coffee, extremely dark chocolate, burritos al pastor, and hot yoga. His wife is from Kerala, India. They live in D.C. with their sons, Jai and Jon.

Shanna Buhr

Outpatient Therapist, Minnesota Mental Health Clinics

 Graduated from CSB/SJU in May, 2010; graduated from St. Mary's in 2013. Completed graduate internship in an autism day treatment program and worked as a program coordinator in an autism program upon graduation. Graduate integration project researched the effects of exercise on the brain with a focus on individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Currently provide group and individual therapy to children, adolescents, and adults.

Ashley Bukowski

J.D. Candidate,  University of North Dakota School of Law

I am currently a J.D. candidate at the University of North Dakota School of Law, and expecting to graduate in May 2018.  I am interested in property law and ensuring people of rural communities receive better legal services.

Tyler Brown

Staff Assistant, The Office of Senator Joni Ernst

A 2015 CSB/SJU graduate, Tyler Brown is currently a staff assistant for Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). During his glory days in Collegeville, Tyler was involved in the McCarthy Center and the St. John's Senate, but he was best known for being named the McCarthy Center Mentor Program's "Peer Mentor of the Year" in 2014 and for giving the best impersonation of Matt Lindstrom in the history of the Political Science department. He would be a good resource for students interested in the Washington, D.C. summer study program, competitive fellowships, internships/employment on Capitol Hill, and/or education policy.

After graduating from CSB I volunteered in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Alaska for one year. My husband Dan, an SJU grad and I were married and raised three children in the St. Cloud area. I taught at Cathedral HS part-time and later worked as a Parent Coordinator in the Early Childhood Family Education Programs in Dist. #742 until 1974. At that time I joined Family Counseling Center, a private counseling center in St. Cloud working with parents and children. I retired in 2008 and have since been a caregiver to my aged parents and relatives. Dan and I have eight grandchildren with whom we are involved who live in the Twin cities. I have been involved with the League of Women Voters for the past 10 years serving as co-president (3 years) and board member. Presently I am a member of the Community Outreach Team for LWVSCA.

Amy Canfield

Cheif, VBA Special Outreach Programs, Department of Veterans Affairs

Amy Canfield is the Chief of Policy, Procedures and Site Visit Compliance for the Veterans Benefits Administrations' (VBS) Benefits Assistance Service, VBA Central Office, Washington D.C. Canfield and her staff are responsible for development, implementation, and national compliance of statutory, regulatory, and procedural guidance governing VBA's outreach efforts across the country. Canfield's experience includes developing testimony for Congressional hearings, writing rulemaking packages and legislative proposals, creating procedural guidance based on new legislative directives and budget preparation and execution. Canfield began her career with VA at the Saint Paul Regional Office in 2007 where she processed and made decisions on veterans' claims for benefits. She completed her Bachelors of Arts from the College of Saint Benedict in 2007 with a major in Political Science; she completed her Master of Arts in Public Administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2011. After graduation Canfield served on the College of Saint Benedict Alumni Board from 2008 to 2010 and is an active member of the Junion League in Washington.

Kevin Clarke

Urban Planner and Designer, Hoisington Koegler Group Inc.

Kevin works as an urban planner and park planner for Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. based in Minneapolis, MN. After studying economics and political science at St. John's University, Kevin went on to graduate school at the Hubert H. Humphrey School for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota College of Design to pursue urban planning and landscape architecture. With Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc., Kevin develops comprehensive plans for cities throughout the state and region. These policy documents inform the decisions that cities make regarding land use and the environment, as well as investments in infrastructure, parks, and economic development. His work includes urban design, small area & downtown plans, park plans, public engagement, and redevelopment projects for public and private clients.


Steven Chavez

Attorney & Council Member, Self and Metropolitan Council

Steve Chavez is a legal executive with a high profile, broad practice serving Fortune 500 and mid cap corporate clients in diverse industries headquartered in the Twin Cities area. Presently, he conducts his multi-national transactional practice from his office in Eagan, which includes ethics, compliance, corporate governance, enterprise risk management, business continuity planning and government relations. In March 2011, Governor Dayton appointed Chavez to the Metropolitan Council where he serves as the chair of the Litigation Review Committee, vice chair of the Management Committee, member of the Audit and Community Development Committees and as the liaison for the Metropolitan Council to the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The Metropolitan Council, with 3700 employees, an annual operating budget of $750,000,000 and an annual capital budget in excess of $500,000,000, is the planning authority for the seven county Minneapolis regions and operates public transit, waste water treatment facilities and recreational open space, serving 2.8 million residents. Chavez earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Saint John's University.

John Chromy

Retired Vice President, Cooperating Housing Foundation International (CHF)

CHF International is an international development organization founded in 1952 that works in post-conflict, unstable and developing countries. Chromy has been with CHF International since 1996. He initiated programs in India, Kosovo, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Serbia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Georgia and Lebanon; he also pioneered CHF's unique "Bottom-up Community Participation and Self-Help Planning" approach to economic development, job creation, community stabilization and infrastructure re-construction. John brings a broad experience in managing programs designed to help low-income people on the community and local government level. During his time at CHF, Chromy managed the foundation's relationship with US Congress and the Department of Defense.

Sue Cron

Director of Staffing, Universal Hospital Services

I started my career in teaching, but only survived one year in education before moving to corporate world. I have worked 25 years in the recruiting arena. I currently manage the talent management team for fast growing healthcare company in Bloomington, MN as Director of Staffing. Areas of expertise include management, employee recruitment and retention, on boarding and employee engagement.

Lauren Currie

Legislative Aide, United States House of Representatives

Lauren Currie works as a Legislative Aide for a western Republican congressman in Washington, DC. She is a 2014 graduate of the College of St. Benedict with a degree in Political Science. During her time a St. Ben's, Currie participated in two congressional internships and served as a campaign manager for a Minnesota State House race. She also participated in Mock Trial and Model United Nations. After graduation, Currie worked as a Staff Assistant/Legislative Correspondent on Capitol Hill. She has recently taken over a legislative role and manages the congressman's foreign affairs, veterans' affairs, small business, and housing portfolios.

Bridget Cummings

Staff Assistant, the White House

Bridget is from Chaska, MN and graduated from CSB in the spring of 2015. After graduation, she moved to Washington, DC and now works at the White House in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to her current role as a Staff Assistant, she served in the Office of Legislative Affairs as a summer 2014 White House intern. Bridget participated in the Washington DC Summer Study program after her Sophomore year and interned at the Department of Justice in the Office of Legislative Affairs. While at CSB, Bridget was on the golf team, college democrats, and student senate.


J. Michael Dady

Trial Lawyer, Dady & Gardner, P.A.

Michael Dady is widely regarded as one of the most prominent franchise attorneys in America. He and the other lawyers in his firm, Dady & Gardner, P.A. of Minneapolis and New York, limit their nationwide practice to helping franchises and dealers nationwide preserve and enhance the value of their businesses as effectively and as efficiently as possible. He and his partners have successfully represented franchises and dealers in more than 350 different franchise and supplier organizations, and they currently represent more than 20 different national franchise and dealer associations. Dady is active in supporting several service organizations. He formerly served as both the Chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Chair of the Board of Regents of St. John's University. He has been honored by both his university, Saint John's University and his high school, Sisseton High School, as their Alumnus of the Year. Dady has long been active in Democratic political activities. A native of Sisseton, South Dakota, Dady is a rancher in his spare time, and considers "doing cowboy work" his favorite recreational pursuit. Dady is a graduate of Saint John's University, class of '71. To learn more about Dady, you can consult the company website at

Jeff Dehn

Strategic Communications Manager, Nuclear, Xcel Energy

Jeff manages the communications team for Xcel Energy's nuclear fleet.  This includes strategic planning for stakeholder and media interface, and internal communications strategy for Xcel Energy's nuclear operations. Nuclear energy is a key element of Xcel Energy’s goal of providing over 60% carbon-free electricity to its Minnesota customers by 2030.
Prior to joining Xcel Energy, Jeff spent several years in Washington, DC in international relations and nuclear energy policy, at both the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  He was drawn to DC to pursue a master’s degree in international energy policy and earned an MA degree from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.  He graduated from Saint John’s University with a BA in Computer Science and German in 2002, and studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria.  After graduating, he returned to teach English in Austria under the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship program.

Melissa DeOrio

Graduate Student, University College London

Melissa DeOrio graduated from CSB/SJU in 2014 with a degree in Political Science with a focus in International Relations. DeOrio completed her senior honors thesis on the Civil-Military Relations of Turkey where she explored the impact of civil-military relations on emerging democracies. While a student, DeOrio was involved in the CSB/SJU Symphony Orchestra, Model United Nations, Washington Summer Study Program, and spent much of her time in the McCarthy Center as a student coordinator. Since graduating she participated in a Global Education Internship to Bosnia-Herzegovina where she interned with Fondacija Mozaik to work on flood relief as well as peace and reconciliation projects for youth. DeOrio also completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Turkey, where she taught English Speaking and Listening to Turkish University students. DeOrio is now a Rotary Global Grantee and is pursuing a graduate degree at the University College London for an MSc in Security Studies. 

John Dinger

U.S. Ambassador (Retired)/Senior Inspector, U.S. Department of State

During a career of more than 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, John Dinger held leadership positions in the Department of State as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research, Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador to Mongolia, Consul General in Tokyo, and Director of the State Department Office of Press Relations. In addition to Ulaanbaatar, Dinger’s overseas assignments included London, Rio de Janeiro, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Sapporo, and Johannesburg. Since 2013, Ambassador Dinger has been a Senior Inspector and Inspection Team Leader in the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

Ambassador Dinger is a native of the small town of Riceville, Iowa.  He and his brother, Larry Dinger, have the distinction of being the first siblings in history to rise through the career ranks of the Foreign Service to become Ambassadors: Larry to Micronesia and Fiji, and John to Mongolia.

Timothy Enright

Political Military Officer, U.S. Embassy Abuja, U.S. Department of State

Since graduating from St. John's in 1999, Timothy Enright has worked extensively in the foreign affairs field. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan and since joining the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 2005 has served in Iraq, Russia, Washington D.C., Dubai and Afghanistan; Tim is now serving as the Political-Military Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, where is responsible for coordinating U.S. security cooperation and assistance to the Nigerian armed forces in their effort to combat Boko Haram. He previously worked on European and NATO policy at the Pentagon and for the consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton.


Mike Erlandson

Principal, Aurora Strategic Advisors

Aurora is a big picture public affairs, government relations and communications firm.  Positions prior to joining Aurora include: Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and Vice President of Government Affairs at SUPERVALU (2007-2013) where he also chaired their federal political action committee and helped lead corporate social responsibility; Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Martin Sabo (1993-2006); Member of the Bi-Partisan Policy Center's National Transportation Project (2008-2011); State Chair of Minnesota's Democratic Party (1999-2005). Mike ran for Congress (2006) finishing second in a multi-candidate primary and was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington, D.C. (1991-94).  He has appeared on national television and radio shows including: NBC's Today Show, Hardball, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNN, C-SPAN, and NPR. He graduated from St. John's University and Harvard's Kennedy School's Program for Senior Managers in Government.

Gary Eichten

News Editor-at-Large, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)

Gary Eichten wore many hats during his 40-plus-year career at Minnesota Public Radio, including news director, special events producer and station manager. He served as host for Minnesota Public Radio's live, special events news coverage, and hosted all of the major news programs on Minnesota Public Radio, including Midday, which he hosted for more than 20 years. Among the honors Eichten has received during his career is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting award for best local news program. In 2007, he was inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting's Hall of Fame. Eichten was also awarded the prestigious 2011 Graven Award by the Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards Board for his contribution to excellence in the journalism profession. He currently serves on the Westminister Town Hall Forum advisory board.

Colin Frederick

Consultant, Inter-American Development Bank

Colin Frederick works as a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, which finances development projects and technical strategies to reduce poverty, expand economic growth, increase trade and investment, and foster private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean. During his time at St. John's, Colin was a Washington, DC Summer Study Participant, a Marie and Robert Jackson Fellow and he also represented the school at the Harvard National Model United Nations and the 62nd Student Conference on US Affairs held at the US Military Academy in West Point. Additionally, Colin was a member of the St. John's Senate, played varsity soccer and also served as a resident assistant. To gain international exposure, Colin spent a semester abroad at Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, where he fostered a greater understanding of Latin American anthropology, cultural norms, environmental practices, and volunteered for community-based organizations.


Tom Freeman

Government Relations Advisor, Faegre Baker Daniels

As deputy political director for Minnesota's House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) in 2012, Tom managed day-to-day operations for 30 targeted House races and 21 staff members. His role also included recruitment, direct mail, radio, targeted door knocking, precinct analysis, debate preparation and fundraising. Previously, Tom was committee administrator for the Minnesota Redistricting Committee in 2011-12. As the lead staff member, he was responsible for creating and redrawing legislative and congressional district boundaries. Tom also assisted in the passage of the legislative and congressional district plans. During that time, he also was the committee administrator for the Capital Investment Committee, which passed the first state investment in restoring the Minnesota State Capitol among other important infrastructure projects of statewide significance. Before joining Faegre Baker Daniels, Tom spent one year managing trade shows for Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. From planning to execution, he interfaced with marketing and sales teams to oversee comprehensive operations in every trade show across the United States and select international sites. His duties also included budgeting, communication, logistics, sponsorships, travel arrangements, booth design and corporate social media.

Lindsey Gideon

Associate Marketing Manager, International, Nuvasive

I am a 2013 graduate of CSB/SJU. After graduation, I worked for approximately 1 year in Minneapolis at Medtronic in Clinical Affairs. I now work at a medical device company called Nuvasive- spinal technology company. I am a product/marketing manager for a computer based neurophysiology system, working with our international markets- APAC, LATAM, EMEA. I ran cross country and track at CSB/SJU. I also participated in ETL. I am interested in non profit work, social justice and healthcare.


Luke Hellier

Senior Account Executive, Public Affairs Company

Luke Hellier joined Public Affairs Company after having worked in government and politics prior to joining the firm. Employing a combination of skills in communications, political campaigns, community outreach and new media, Luke brings a wide range of expertise and knowledge for PAC clients. Immediately prior to joining the PAC team, Luke served as Press Secretary at the Minnesota Senate Republican caucus acting as spokesman for the Senate Republican Leader, social media strategist, and media contact for the caucus. Before the Senate Republican Caucus, Luke worked for Congressman Erik Paulsen as his District Outreach Coordinator. He covered a range of policy issues including taxes, trade, medical devices, energy, shooting sports, and health care for the Congressman. He is also is involved in his community and is currently a member of the Edina Lions Club and works as a delegation adviser for the YMCA's Youth in Government Program. Luke earned his degree in Political Science from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN. He lives in Lakeville with his wife Josi and daughter Betty.

Nicole Hochsprung

Higher Education Associate, American Federation of Teachers

One of my favorite coworkers describes me as a "wonk for the workers." I set federal policy for the nation's largest higher education union and the largest affiliate of the AFLCIO. Working in the city that invented the think tank, it is important to me to represent the interests of real people who actually have to live and work under the policies and regulations I advocate for (or against). When I'm not working I enjoy being active in the gay community, reading, bothering Claire Haeg on Facebook, and planning my next vacation. 

Matt Hughes

Minnesota Managing Director, Cooperative Network

Matt Hughes is the Minnesota Managing Director for Cooperative Network, a two state association of cooperative businesses. He directs the business, legislative, and political affairs of the Minnesota office. Previously, he has served as as staff in the Minnesota House of Representatives, the office of Governor Tim Pawlenty, and was a Senior Executive Officer at the Department of Human Services during the Pawlenty Administration. In Washington DC, he served as legislative staff for Minnesota Congressman Mark Kennedy and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, and was a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Administration of President George W. Bush at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC.

Ben Hutterer

Staff Assistant, Senator Amy Klobuchar

I graduated from CSB/SJU in May 2015 with a major in political science and minor in economics. Last summer, I interned in the office of Senator Al Franken with the schools’ Washington, D.C. summer study program. After graduation I interned with Congressman Tim Walz for the summer, and I recently started as a Staff Assistant for Senator Klobuchar's office.

Joe Kane

Education Liaison, Minnesota Office of Higher Education

A 2009 South Louisiana Corps Member with Teach for America, Kane spent two years teaching middle school special education. In addition, Kane led the Special Education Department for a year and a half, becoming a member of the SUNS Center Special Education Leadership Academy. He now works with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as an Education Liaison through their Gear Up Grant at Brooklyn Center High School providing students with curriculum and advising sessions about college access and financial aid literacy. The program was recently the recipient of the Brooklyn Center Schools Community Partner of the Year Award.  He is also actively involved in education policy and political organizing in the Twin Cities having helped elect multiple candidates to school board positions in Minneapolis. Joe is a 2009 graduate from SJU with a degree in Political Science.

Ryan Kelley

Planner, City of St. Louis Park

Ryan Kelley is currently a planner for the City of St. Louis Park. He was previously a land use planner in the Active Living Program at Hennepin County and a planning intern for the City of St. Paul. Ryan received his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and studied landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota College of Design. Prior to graduate school he was the director of a Minneapolis AmeriCorps program and was a program officer for ServeMinnesota, the AmeriCorps State Commission. This was after a year of volunteering in New Orleans where he fueled his passion of how people and place interact, and especially his passion for food!


Sean Kershaw

Executive Director, Citizens' League

In 2003 Sean Kershaw became just the sixth Citizens League Executive Director in its 60 year history. Sean has been a member of the Citizens League's 50th Anniversary report on Doing the Common Good Better prior to becoming the executive Director. During his tenure, membership in the Citizens League has more than doubled; revenue has tripled, and the organization has helped to initiate new ways of addressing public policy issues. Kershaw left his position as a Deputy Director for the City of Saint Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED), where he had worked for 11 years. Prior to that, he was planning coordinator for the Public Housing Authority in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Kershaw is passionate about active citizenship, civic organizing, and good public policy. He is a founding member of the Active Citizens School, a young adult civic leadership program, and is currently part of the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative. Kershaw is on the Board for the Twin Cities United Way.

Daniel Kramer

Director, U.S. Student Programs, Institute of International Education

After having worked in academia for over a decade as a faculty member teaching and conducting research on German literature, I joined the IIE to oversee a number of international scholarship and exchange programs including the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Whitaker International Program, the Confucius China Studies Program, and Global Engineering Education Exchange Program.

Lindsey Krause

Univeristy of Minnesota Law School J.D. Student, Class of 2016

Lindsey Krause is currently a student at the University of Minnesota Law School where she serves as the President of the Women's Law Student Association and as the Lead Student Articles Editor on the Journal of Law and Inequality.  Krause's article on juvenile criminal sentencing reform was recently published in Volume 33 of the journal.  Most recently, Krause served as an extern for Judge Michael J. Davis, former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.  Krause also works part-time as a taproom manager at Excelsior Brewing Company and, after falling in love with the craft beer industry, hopes to pursue a career in Food and Beverage law. During her time at CSB/SJU, Krause was heavily involved in political campaigns and served as an intern in Amy Klobuchar's Washington D.C. office though the school's DC Program. Her interests include craft beer, following the Minnesota legislature, collecting political campaign buttons and anything else that can take her mind off of the stresses of law school.

 Deanna (Dee) Lamb

 Retired, Professor Emeritus, CSB

I have been a learner/educator all my adult life.  My earliest experiences were teaching music and remedial math and reading to elementary children.  I spent the bulk of my teaching career on the CSB Education faculty where my primary assignments were teaching a variety of human development classes and literature for children and young adults.  I was the lead writer for the Education Department's diversity plan, a plan that received accolades from NCATE and the  MN State Department of Education.   LWV nourishes my need for active civic involvement. We have worked to engage regional community groups regarding the overwhelmingly positive longterm benefits of welcoming immigrants and refugees to Central MN.  We are also active in a variety of activities that promote voter rights / registration, support public policy/issues forums, and study many other issues of civic importance.   

 Mary Kay Carle

Retired Lisc. Marriage and Family Therapist - Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Counseling Center

 After graduating from CSB I volunteered in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Alaska for one year. My husband Dan, an SJU grad and I were married and raised three children in the St. Cloud area. I taught at Cathedral HS part-time and later worked as a Parent Coordinator in the Early Childhood Family Education Programs in Dist. #742 until 1974. At that time I joined Family Counseling Center, a private counseling center in St. Cloud working with parents and children. I retired in 2008 and have since been a caregiver to my aged parents and relatives. Dan and I have eight grandchildren with whom we are involved who live in the Twin cities. I have been involved with the League of Women Voters for the past 10 years serving as co-president (3 years) and board member. Presently I am a member of the Community Outreach Team for LWVSCA.

Ashleigh Leitch

Associate Attorney, Best & Flanagan LLP

I am a general litigation associate at Best & Flanagan in downtown Minneapolis. I handle civil disputes in all areas of the law: employment, business, construction, municipal & government affairs, real estate, appellate. I am also on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Justice Foundation and I serve as the Political and Candidate Outreach Coordinator for the LAUNCH Committee of WomenWinning.

As a student, I interned for Senator Klobuchar during as part of the D.C. Summer Program and at Western MN Legal Services as part of the Jackson Fellows program. I also interned for the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs. I'm happy to work with anyone who is interested in any of these things. I'm looking forward to being part of this program again.


Zack Liebl

Battalion Engineer Project Officer, Army National Guard

Zack Liebl was born and raised in the Willmar community in West Central Minnesota. He is a 2010 graduate of the political science program at St. John's University. Zack is currently working full-time for the Army National Guard as a Battalion Engineer Project Officer in Bloomington, MN. He has previous work experience in cooperatives and non-profit organizations.  In 2014 Zack ran a competitive campaign for Mayor of the city of Willmar. In 2012 he was the Independence Party of Minnesota's candidate for MN House Distinct 17B (Kandiyohi County) and ran a very successful campaign as an independent candidate. His interests include current events, fitness, and cooking.


John Lindstrom

Retired Judge and Mediator

Judge Lindstrom was most recently a Minnesota District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District from July 1976 to August 2005. From January 1973 to June 1976 he was a Minnesota State Representative and prior to that, engaged in private practice of law for over nine years. He was the President of the Minnesota District Court Judges Association as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the organization. He is also a member of both the Minnesota and American Bar Associations and the National State Trial Judges Association. He has received numerous honors throughout his career, Lindstrom was a Fellow of the American Bar Association and received a Saint John's University Presidential Citation. Lindstrom currently serves as a mediator and arbitrator with the Gilbert Mediation Center. John is a 1963 graduate of Saint John's University.

Bob Loonan

State Representative MN, St. Paul

Bob Loonan is a Former School Board member. He currently serves as a MN State Representative on the Commerce Committee, Government Finance Committee, Energy/Jobs/Development Committee, and No-Fault Reform Task Force.


Scott McMahon

Associate Vice President for External Relations, Saint Mary's University

Scott McMahon recently made a career change, joining Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in the summer of 2013, as its associate vice president of external relations. In this role, he is responsible for increasing the visibility of the University and fostering key partnerships with key community, government and business leaders. Additionally, he serves as the executive director of The Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership, which is located at the University. The Hendrickson Institute serves as a forum for the exploration of ethical issues. Prior to joining Saint Mary's, McMahon was the director of government and community affairs for the Minnesota Private College Council, where he served as the lead lobbyists for the state's 17 nonprofit, liberal arts colleges and universities for six years. He also spent two years as the research director for the National Institute of Health Policy. McMahon currently serves as the Vice Chair of The Minnesota Project, an organization that champions the sustainable production and equitable distribution of energy and food in communities across Minnesota. He also serves as a member and past board president for the Alumni Board of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. McMahon earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Saint John's University. He holds two master's degrees, a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.


Vic Moore

Co-Owner, Franzen and Moore

Vic Moore is the co-owner of a legislative consulting company called Franzen and Moore. Prior to that, he worked in the Minnesota State Senate for 22 years, and the last 13 years as a DFL Chief of staff. Before that he was a planner and director at the Minnesota State Planning Agency for 10 years. He graduated with a Government major from SJU in 1972. He has sat on the Board of Directors of the St. John's National Alumni Association, and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the CSB/SJU Politics and Public Policy Alum Chapter. In college he played football, basketball and baseball and he is currently on the Board of Directors of the J Club.

Luke Newgaard

Staff Assistant, Republican Study Committee

I am a recent graduate from Saint John’s University in Minnesota. While in school, I had the opportunity to partake in a competitive DC summer study program where I interned at a boutique lobbying firm. We focused on transportation policy, along with a wide range of other initiatives. The internship instilled in me a DC work ethic and a dedication to politics. With majors in political science and Hispanic studies, I knew I wanted to return to Washington, DC. 

Three days after graduation I drove out to DC to begin a summer internship on Capitol Hill. It was here where I developed a passion for policy and solidified my desire to work in the legislative branch of the government. The McCarthy Center provided me with wonderful opportunities and I hope I can do the same for future students.

Jessey Niyongabo

Operation Analyst, the World Bank

A native of Bujumbura-Burundi, Jessey Niyongabo is an Operations Analyst in the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank. Here he supports the project supervision and design in Algeria. Previously he has worked as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. Jessey has also worked in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia as a Research Analyst at the African Climate Policy Centre, a centre for climate policy and Secretariat of the Climate for Development in Africa Initiative, and as a Partnership and Liaison Associate at the United Nations Environment Programme. Through the McNeely Centre for Entrepreneurship for which he was a Scholar, Jessey helped start a car rental service. Jessey holds a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New Brunswick, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Saint John's University.

Breanna Olson

Group Manager, Government Affairs, Target

Breanna Olson is a Group Manager in Government Affairs at Target where she oversees all lobbying activities at the state and local level nationwide. She directs a team of regional and local managers to advance public policy initiatives that are closely aligned with Target’s business and corporate reputation priorities.
Prior to joining Target in 2012, Breanna was the senior manager of the Public Affairs Council’s state and local government affairs practice in Washington, DC where she provided individualized counseling and training to more than 600 member companies’ government affairs teams.

Breanna served as the national finance manager for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential primary campaign, where she worked with business and industry leaders nationwide to expand major donor and coalition initiatives. During the 2006 election cycle, Breanna served on Mark Kennedy’s U.S. Senate Campaign press team. She began her career in Washington, DC working in education policy.

Cap O'Rourke

President ORourke Strategic Consulting

I have spent my entire career working as a legislative strategist, policy advocate and grassroots campaigner.  With every experience I have gained a greater understanding of the complex political, financial and human pressures that affect how public policy decisions are generally made.  Using that experience I founded O'Rourke Strategic Consulting (OSC), which assists organizations strengthen their position and have a greater impact on policies in which they are invested.  Happily, my client base affords me the opportunity to work inside a broad range of issues.   My career started while working on a number of political campaigns across the state of Minnesota, which helped me transition to a staff position in the Minnesota Legislature. Being on the front lines of both state-wide and smaller municipal campaigns was a great experience and allowed me to understand what factors elected officials consider when making decisions. With over a decade of legislative experience I have had the privilege of working first hand on a number of major legislative proposals including tax reform, stadiums, education reform and small business development projects.


David Osberg

Eagan City Administrator

Osberg has been the Eagan City Administrator since March, 2013. Previously, he had been administrator of Hastings since 1989. He's been active and knowledgeable about Dakota County issues, having chaired the Dakota Communications Center Executive Committee for the combined public safety answering point for 911 calls in the country. He was also a previous co-chair of the High Performance Partnership committee of city managers and mayors. Osberg has more than 32 years of full-time experience in local government as a former city manager and city administrator in St. James and Waterville, Minn., respectively. In addition, Osberg currently serves as the President of the League of Minnesota Cities. Osberg has a master's degree in urban and regional studies from Mankato State University, and a bachelor's degree in government from Saint John's University.

 Mary Ostroum

Former Public Housing Employee, Retired

Mary Ostroum has more than 30 years of experience in the Public Housing industry in Property Management and in Human Resources as a Training and Development Coordinator. She has worked as an adjunct professor for a variety of colleges in the Twin Cities teaching Ethics, Human Resources, Supervision, and Training and Development at the Carlson School in the Government HR Generalist Certificate Program. Ostroum was a fellow in the MN Excellence in Public Service Program, 2011-2012 and has served as a campaign manager for a variety of conservative political candidates in state and congressional races. She has been a previous mentor at North Hennepin College in the Woman and Leadership Program and taught mentoring to new mentors of the program. She is now doing political consulting work part-time.

Joyce Overman Dube

Senior Principal Health Systems Engineer, Mayo Clinic

Joyce currently leads the Commitment to Safety Program at Mayo Clinic across all campuses (Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Mayo Clinic Health System in MN, IA, Wi). She brings extensive experience leading a large surgical/procedural nursing division with multiple projects and priorities; an ability to work with diverse multidisciplinary teams and individuals to bring complex problems to resolution; experience as the leader of projects for noise control in the hospital, service excellence and RN bedside handoff across Mayo Clinic campuses; and leadership for the promotion of scholarly activities and health promotion. Joyce has presented and published on a variety of topics locally, nationally and internationally.
Prior to her current role, she served as a staff nurse, nurse manager and nurse administrator. Joyce is a Mayo Clinic Silver Quality Fellow and an Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.


Stephanie Pinkalla

Legislative Assistant, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLC

Stephanie is a 2014 graduate of CSB/SJU. As a Political Science student, her primary focus was environmental policy. Stephanie directed the Full Circle Greenhouse Project, participated in Sustainability Alliance, the Peer Resource Program, College Democrats, and completed the DC Summer Study Program on climate resilience research. She completed a CSB/SJU research fellowship on international climate science and her senior honors thesis on wilderness policy. After organizing in the 2014 election cycle for the DFL, she has worked at the MN legislature for a government relations firm, and worked to oversee an urban children's garden that serves low-income and minority youth.


Patrick Plonski

Executive Director, Books for Africa; Executive Director, Minnesota Agricultural Education Council

Dr. Patrick Plonski currently serves as Director of Books for Africa, the world's largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent. Since 1988, the organization has distributed over 29 million books to African children in 49 African countries. Dr. Plonski has 23 years of experience in university administration, and international non-profit management and literacy advancement, and holds a PhD in international education. Plonski currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Minnesota teaching World Development Problems coursework with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In addition, Plonski previously served as Executive Director of Minnesota Agricultural Education Council (MAELC) at the University of Minnesota.

Gene Ranieri

Director Intergovernment Relations, City of Minneapolis


Alex Ricci

Legislative Assistant, United States House of Representatives - Committee on Education and the Workforce

Alex Ricci is a 2013 graduate from Saint John's University, and is currently working as the legislative assistant for the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to moving to D.C., Ricci worked on multiple congressional campaigns in MN. He sees his post-graduate life as a testament to the strength of the Mentor Program - the alumni connections he made as a student referred him to his first jobs after graduation. Ricci's experiences as a Saint John's student and graduate have inspired him to seek a career helping people solve problems.

David Sandager

Interpreter, Minnesota Historical Society- Minnesota State Capital & Minnesota History Center

David Sandager graduated from SJU in 2010 with a History major and Political Science minor. While in college Sandager participated in the South Africa study abroad trip as well as the Washington D.C. Study Program. After graduation Sandager worked in Ely, Minnesota and then in Washington D.C. prior to moving back to Minnesota in 2011. Sandager managed the Hay Lake School Museum in Scandia, MN for two seasons whilst working with the Washington County Historical Society from 2012 to 2013. Sandager currently is employed with the Minnesota Historical Society at the Minnesota State Capitol and Minnesota History Center as an interpreter, Classroom Lesson Teacher, Food Crawl Tour Conductor, and Event Set-up Assistant.

John Schaus

Fellow, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

John Schaus is a fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he focuses on security challenges in Asia. In addition, he presents CSIS’s flagship presentation on future trends, “Seven Revolutions: Scanning the Horizon Out to the Year 2035 and Beyond.” Prior to rejoining CSIS in July 2014, he worked on Asia issues within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His roles there included serving on the China desk and as regional policy adviser to the assistant secretary for APSA, in particular regarding the rebalance to the Asia Pacific. Prior to working in the Pentagon, Mr. Schaus served as executive officer to the president and CEO of CSIS for five years. He received a B.A. from St. John’s University in Minnesota, and an M.P.P. from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Katie Spoden

AmeriCorps Vista Leader, Initiative Foundation

Katie is a CSBSJU alumna, graduating in May of 2014. She dedicated her first year post-undergrad to serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and increasing healthy food access to low-income communities in central MN. Currently, Katie is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader with the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, MN. Katie provides support, mentorship and training to central MN AmeriCorps VISTA members and their anti-poverty focused service projects. Katie serves as a Board Member for the St. Joseph Farmers Market and for the Central Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association. As a student, Katie majored in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She participated in the Washington, D.C. Summer Study Program, was involved with McCarthy Center programs and was employed in the Political Science Department. She currently lives in Sartell, MN.

Patrick Stewart-Hester


Legislative Assistant, United States House of Representatives

Patrick Stewart-Hester is a 2013 graduate of Saint John’s University. During his time at SJU he studied history and served as the president of the Saint John’s Senate. After graduating he moved to Washington, D.C. where he began interning and later working for a member of the Minnesota Congressional delegation. Patrick now works for a Republican congresswoman as a Legislative Assistant.


Jessica Slattery

Foreign Affairs Officer, United States Department of State

Ms. Slattery is a foreign affairs officer at the State Department in Washington, D.C. in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Office of International Labor Affairs, covering global child labor, the International Labor Organization, supply chains, the informal economy, and labor conditions in the countries of South and Central Asia. In her current capacity, Ms. Slattery provides policy analysis following devastating factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including outreach to domestic and international stakeholders and engagement with civil society on improving labor conditions and workers' rights. Ms. Slattery recently served as political officer responsible for the human rights and labor portfolio at U.S. Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the spring of 2014, Ms. Slattery covered the International Labor Organization multilateral diplomacy portfolio in the Department's Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Office of Human Security. In 2013, Ms. Slattery also served as a political officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union covering human rights and European enlargement as well as the EU's relationship with the countries in Africa. Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Slattery worked as an attorney practicing business and commercial litigation in Minnesota and served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright. Ms. Slattery holds dual M.A.s in International Relations and European History as part of the Atlantis Program through Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland, and the University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia, and West Virginia University, a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas, School of Law, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a B.A. in Management and Communications from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She is the recipient of two of the State Department's Meritorious Honor Awards for her work on Bangladesh and two Franklin Honor Awards. Ms. Slattery has language skills in Spanish, Russian, Polish, and Estonian and has begun lessons in French.


Doug Stang

Public Affairs, 3M

Doug Stang joined 3M's Government Affairs team in September, 2007 following two years working in Government relations at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, PLLP. Stang joined that practice in September, 2005 after serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. Governor Pawlenty appointed him in 2004 after his retirement from the Minnesota House of representatives where he served four terms. As a legislator, Stang was elected by his colleagues as Assistant Majority Leader for the Republican Caucus, and appointed to serve as Chairman of the Higher Education Finance and Vice Chairman of Commerce Committee. He was a Chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee during the 2002 election, which under his leadership, the Republicans increased to their largest majority of 82 members. He graduated from SJU with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Government.

Drew Stommes

Researcher, Euro Monitor International

Drew received his master's degree in international relations at the University of Chicago in 2015, where he focused primarily on political violence and insurgencies in South Asia. He has worked as a research assistant and intern at a variety of academic and research institutions, including the University of Chicago, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Henry L. Stimson Center. While studying at CSB/SJU as an undergraduate, Drew was a student coordinator at the McCarthy Center and spent a semester studying in Kolkata, India. His substantive research interests include politics in South Asia, international security, and non-state armed groups.

Katie Tillman

Native English Teacher, Istanbul, Turkey

After graduating from CSB in 2015 I wanted to travel. I worked at a summer camp in Istanbul as an English Teacher, received certification, fell in love with Istanbul, and found a job teaching. While at CSB I worked for the McCarthy Center, volunteered with the IWL, studied abroad in Austria and Bosnia, and was a participant in the DC summer study program.

Sean Suter

Communications Consultant, Albright Stonebridge

I currently work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC. After completing a graduate degree in international relations and development at Georgetown University in 2015, I received a Presidential Management Fellowship. I will be joining the US government in January of 2016.

Prior to graduate school, I worked as a finance assistant for then-US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and in the Minnesota Senate as an assistant to then-Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller in St. Paul. For a short time, I also taught English at Southwest University in Chongqing, China.

I live in Washington, DC with my wife Kelsey Suter, a 2010 CSB alumna.


Kim Vipond

Law School Candidate, University of Minnesota

Kim grew up in Northern Minnesota, attended CSB/SJU for Political Science and Communication. She studied abroad in London England in the spring of 2013. After graduation, Kim started at UMN Law School and is currently in her second year. She plans on getting a concentration in Business Law. This last summer Kim worked at Anderson Bottrell Sanden & Thompson Law Firm in Fargo, ND. 



Mike Zumwinkle

Senior Program Officer, The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

Zumwinkle is an experienced corporate and government affairs leader. Formerly, he was the director of government relations for Cargill, where he was responsible for government relations impacting the company's food and agriculture business. He was with Cargill's Corporate Affairs division for nearly 15 years. Previously, Zumwinkle worked for SJU in institutional advancement and the U.S. Department of State. He has also held a year-long U.S. Department of State Fascell Fellowship in East Germany. A native of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Zumwinkle received a bachelor's degree in government from SJU, attended the University of Leipzig and earned a Master's Degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota. Zumwinkle also attended the National Security Seminar at the U.S. Army War College and serves on several boards.

Bryan Huntington

Attorney, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren, Ltd.

Upon graduation from St. John’s, I immediately began pursuing a J.D. at Hamline Law.  During ‎law school, I had two internships and a clerkship.  My internships were with a district court judge ‎and a public interest litigation firm.  My 2L summer clerkship was with a downtown civil ‎litigation firm.  Additionally, in law school I was on the law review and was the president of a ‎speakers organization.  I graduated from law school with highest honors.‎

Immediately after law school, I was a clerk for a district court judge.   ‎

I landed my current position without ever formally applying for a job.  I work for a medium-size ‎law firm practicing in real estate and commercial litigation.  Since joining the firm, I have twice ‎conducted interviewing for our summer clerkships.  I have lots of ideas on how students can ‎stand out from the competition and make themselves more appealing to firms.‎

Clement Dai

Eco-system Lead, Solution & Industry Sales, IBM

Currently, Clement is on assignment of delivering and commercializing big data, cloud, and cognitive computation technology to solve energy and environment challenges in China. In the past, he has worked for the United Nations Development Programme on policy and climate change and as a Market Development Analyst for Minnesota Rubber and Plastics. His focuses include China, private-public partnership, and environment energy overall.

Jim Mulrooney

Commercial Banking Relationship Manager, VP, Wells Fargo


Ann Steingraeber

Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

I practice in Winthrop & Weinstine's real estate group, where I focuses on land use law, the purchase and sale of real property, title and survey review, and  leasing matters. I have experience representing both for-profit and non-profit clients in a variety of real estate transactions, including compliance with federal tax credit programs. Prior to attending law school, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama for three years.