Mentors 2012-2013


 Amy Canfield
Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Amy Canfield started with VA immediately after graduation in 2007. Initially, Canfield processed Veteran's claims for VA disability compensation. Then Canfield was promoted to making decisions on claims for disabilities. This involved analysis of 38 CFR part 3 and 4 and using these regulations to determine eligibility and level of disability. Upon completion of my MPA in December 2011, I moved to Washington DC to take a new position with VA. My current position involves writing policy for a program within the VA.

Heather Cederholm
Member Outreach Coordinator, League of Minnesota Cities
Heather Cederholm grew up in Rochester, Minnesota and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a political science degree. While at CSB, she participated in the College of St. Benedict Maria and Robert Jackson Fellows Program at the Rochester Neighborhood Resource Center (RNeighbors) and completed a McCarthy Center John Brandl Scholars position at the League of Minnesota Cities (an advocacy and resource group for most of the cities in Minnesota). Heather was hired by the League's Training and Conferences department after graduation. Heather is currently the Member Outreach Coordinator in the League's Intergovernmental Relations Department.  

 Steven Chavez
Self-Employed Attorney
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.

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

 Clement Huaweilang Dai
Marketing Analyst, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics, Quadion Corporation
Clement Dai recently transitioned into the private sector after spending the summer working with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. While at the Wilson Center, Dai served Ambassador Roy (China 91-95, Indonesia 96-99, Singapore 84-86) at the Kissinger Institute on China and the U.S.. Simultaneously, Dai researched on China's Investment in Mongolia's Mining Room and Water-energy Confrontation at the China Environment Forum.

Currently, Dai works as a Marketing Analyst focusing on China's medical market at the MN Rubber & Plastics of Quadion Corporation. This work bridges the medical market knowledge gap between the U.S. and China. In addition, Dai serves on advisory boards for two non-profit organizations, Cherish Sunshine Charity in China, and Minnesota-China Business Opportunity Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

 Timothy Enright
Political and Economics Officer, U.S. Department of State
Since graduating from St. John's, Timothy Enright has worked extensively in the foreign affairs field. I have served with the State Department in Iraq, Russia, Washington D.C., Dubai and now Afghanistan. I also previously worked at the Pentagon and for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

 Mike Erlandson
Vice President Government Affairs, SUPERVALU
Erlandson oversees federal, state and local government affairs for SUPERVALU, chairs their political action committee, is a corporate foundation board member, and helps lead their enterprise environmental steering committee. Prior to joining SUPERVALU in 2007 he served as chief of staff to MN Congressman Martin Sabo (1993-2006). He served three elected terms as State Chair of the MN Democratic Party and ran for Congress in 2006 finishing second in a hotly contested multi-candidate primary. He serves on the Bi-Partisan Policy Center's National Transportation Policy Project. He graduated St. John's University and Harvard's Kennedy School Program for Senior Managers in Government.

Anne Finn
Assistant Intergovernmental Relations Director, League of Minnesota Cities
Anne Finn is Assistant Intergovernmental Relations Director for the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC). She represents the League and its member cities before the state Legislature and other levels of government on issues involving public safety and transportation. Finn's background includes a combination of legislative and local government experience. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in government from CSB and a Master of the Arts degree in Public Administration from Hamline University.

Tom Freeman
Committee Administrator, Minnesota House of Representatives
Tom Freeman is currently the committee administrator for the Capital Investment committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Prior to that role he served as the point person on redistricting for the House during the 2011 legislative session. Freeman has spent his years since graduating from St. John's mostly on the campaign trail; working for Norm Coleman's campaign and historic recount in 2008, managing the House Republican's field operations in 2010, and will continue to be deeply involved in the upcoming fall elections as the House Republicans Political Director.  

Janel Goff
Managing Director, Benjamin F. Edwards / The Goff Investment Group
Since graduating in 1991 I have worked in the financial industry. The Goff Investment Group has over 65 years of experience helping families achieve their financial goals. We pride ourselves in building long term relationships with our clients and guiding them through all market conditions. We believe education is extremely important for investors and we have been educating investors at our "Invest In Yourself" seminars for the past 19 years.

Brian Halloran
Lobbyist, Redmond Associates Inc.
Brian Halloran has been a "contract lobbyist" at RAI since 1996. Halloran represents United Health Group, Allina Health, the MN Vikings, Builders (BAM), Energy and Environment groups and the arts. Before RAI, Halloran volunteered in Jerusalem for a year after graduating from SJU working as a nurse's aid, then spent another year in Toronto on behalf of political refugees.

Elizabeth Hayden
Former 7th District County Judge
Judge Hayden served as a judge in Stearns County, Minnesota. She was first appointed by Governor Rudy Perpich in 1986. She serves as assistant Stearns County attorney from 1981 to 1986. She has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on General Rules of Practice. In 2009, she was appointed to preside over the election contest from the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2008. She has also carried out the position of Chair of the Minnesota District Judges Association. She is a graduate of the College of Saint Benedict and the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Judge Hayden retired from the bench on December 11, 2009 and she currently resides in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

 David Hermerding
Assistant Crow Wing County Attorney
Hermerding was born in Tucson, Arizona. He received his BS degree from SJU in 1984. Hermerding taught English in Japan from 1984-1988. In 1993 he graduated from the William Mitchell College of Law. He has held a private practice from 1993 to 1997. He has served in the state Public Defender's Office from 1997 to 2007. Hermerding was named  Minnesota Lawyer, Attorney of the Year in 2003. Currently, Hermerding is employed with the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office, specializing in drug prosecution.

 Luke Hellier
District Outreach Coordinator, US Congressman Eric Paulsen
A 2007 graduate of Saint John's University, Luke Hellier works as the District Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Eric Paulsen. In 2006, Luke served as Political Director for Congresswoman Bachmann's first campaign and followed by four years working for Wells Fargo Bank. Hellier is also a member of the St. John's National Alumni Board.

Nicole Hochsprung
Research Assistant, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
After graduating from CSB in 2010, Nicole Hochsprung returned to Washington D.C. to reprise her DC Summer Study Internship in the Higher Education Department of American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO). While there, she conducted research and wrote about issues such as contingent faculty rights, state higher education budgets, and gender diversity. Hochsprung now works for the Grants Resource Center of the American Association for State Colleges and Universities helping higher education institutions with small enrollments secure external funding. Her expertise is in public arts and humanities funding (NEA, NEH, IMLS) and private foundation giving. Nicole also works as a docent part-time at the Sewell-Belmont House and Museum.

Mark Irion
Self-Employed Consultant
Mark Irion, a veteran government and public affairs strategist, is now self-employed in his own consulting firm. Prior to this role, Irion served as the Regional CEO of Grayling, based in Washington, DC. Before this, he served as CEO of Dutko Worldwide, which was acquired in 2009 by Huntsworth, PLC, Grayling's parent company. As the head of Dutko's energy and environment division, Irion built one of the most respected policy practice groups in the nation's capital. In 1996 he was named Dutko's president. In 2003 Mark was named CEO of Dutko Worldwide and from that time through its acquisition by Huntsworth, he led the firm through a sustained period of substantial growth; establishing nine regional officers and leading to Legal Times naming Dutko as a top-five multi-disciplinary government and public affairs firms. Irion is a native of the Mid-West, and received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in Theology from St. John's University; and has a master's degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. 

Larry Johnson
Director of Government Relations, Golden Living Centers
Johnson has over fifteen years of experience in Government Relations and Legislative operations. As Director of Government Relations for Golden Living Centers, Johnson lobbies on legislative and regulatory issues in four Midwestern States. Johnson represents ninety-six nursing / assisted living facilities' interests, specifically Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and oversight. He works with administrators and staff to drive grassroots efforts to effect policy and administrative changes in each state. After graduating from St. John's University in 1999 he went on to complete his MA in Public Administration at Hamline University. Johnson's career has included experience on staff at the Minnesota House and Senate, a regional lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council and American Plastics Council and nearly five years working in the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson has been married to a Bennie for eleven years and resides in Apple Valley Minnesota with two children.

Joe Kane
Education Liason, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
A 2009 South Louisiana Corps Member with Teach for America, Kane spent two years teaching special education in an underperforming school. In addition, Kane led the Special Education Department for the 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 Liason through their Gear Up Federal Grant at Brooklyn Center High School providing students with curriculum and advertising sessions about college access and financial aid literacy. Joe is a '09 graduate from SJU with a degree in Political Science.

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.

Kristi Kubista-Hovis
Senior Policy Advisor, Rural Development
Kubista-Hovis studied biology and communications at St. Ben's before earning two Master Degrees from Indiana University in 2004, one in environmental and resource management and the other in agriculture and applied ecology. She started her career as an environmental statistician for the USDA, but quickly became a Program Examiner for the Office of Management and Budget, where she acted as an expert on climate change, renewable energy, and human capital programs for 6.5 years. Last year Kubista-Hovis took a position as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Rural Business Service Administrator, an organization that creates economic development programs in rural communities, and just recently transferred to the Rural Utilities Service, and currently provides advice and guidance on electrical issues.

Annie Levenson-Falk
Policy Manager, Citizens' League
Annie Levenson-Falk is the policy manager at the Citizens League. In this role, she organizes members and other stakeholders through all stages of policy development: identifying and framing policy problems, developing recommendations, and advancing the recommendations in institutions of all kinds. She leads the Citizens League's work on electrical energy, water governance, immigrant students' access to higher education, and other policy areas. She has been with the Citizens League since 2006. Annie is also the secretary of the board of NAVIGATE and a volunteer translator for the immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

John Lindstrom
Retired Judge and Mediator
John 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 including and ABA Fellowship and a Saint John's University Presidential Citation. John is a 1963 graduate of Saint John's University. 

Thomas Mans
Vice President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
A native of Northeastern Iowa, Tom Mans earned his BA in government and history from Saint John's University and went on to graduate studies at the University of Iowa. He was a faculty member specializing in American politics, public policy, and public administration at Berea College and Creighton University. He also served as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Creighton and as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Saint Vincent College (PA) and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He joins the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington as Vice President in July of 2012. He is married with four children.

 Scott McMahon
Director of Government & Community Affairs, Minnesota Private College Council
Scott McMahon currently serves as the Director of Government and Community Affairs at the Minnesota Private College Council. In this role, he is responsible for advocating at both the state and federal level for the public policy agenda of the seventeen liberal arts colleges in Minnesota, including the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. His previous work experience includes serving as the research Director of the National Institute of Health Policy, Special Assistant to the Dean at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and as the Program Associate at the Citizens League. Scott received his BA from SJU in 2001 where he studied Political Science. During his time at SJU he participated in the Washington D.C. program where he interned at the Council of State Governments. He earned a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and Master of Nonprofit Administration from the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame.

Robyn Meyer
Legal Assistant, Grell & Feist
Upon graduating with majors in Political Science and Spanish, Robyn taught U.S. History on the U.S./Mexican border through Teach for America. Currently, Meyer works as a Legal Assistant for Grell & Feist, an employment-based immigration firm in Minneapolis while completing her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law. Besides employment-based immigration cases, Robyn has experience working with family-based, asylum, and removal cases through Wilson Law Group and the Immigrant Law Center of St. Paul. While at CSB, she interned for Senator Amy Klobuchar with the Washington D.C. Summer Study Program. In 2008, Meyer was the Secretary of College Democrats and worked with a team of students to mobilize the vote on campus. Meyer had the opportunity to study abroad in Chile. This semester she will serve as a Marshall-Brennan fellow at William Mitchell and teach Constitutional Law to high school students.

Patricia Milun
Chief Judge Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, Judicial Center St. Paul, Minnesota
Judge Milun graduated from CSB in 1981 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 1985. She worked for Larsen, Heck, Klimek & Powell for five years as a workers' compensation attorney. From 1993 until her appointment as chief judge of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals in 2011, she worked as a workers' compensation judge at the department of Labor & Industry and the Office of Administrative Hearings, except from 2001 to 2003 when she was Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Labor & Industry.

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.

Cap O'Rourke
Legislative Assistant, Minnesota State Senate
Cap O'Rourke, a '98 St. John's graduate, has worked at the Minnesota legislature for the last 11 legislative sessions. During his time at the legislature he worked for Senator's from suburban, urban and rural districts. Mr. O'Rourke spent eight years as a Committee Administrator, for the Education Policy and economic Development Finance Committee, working on a wide range on legislation and policy proposals. Prior to working at the Capitol he worked in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist and also worked on many campaigns throughout Minnesota.

David Osberg
Eagan City Administrator
Osberg has recently been named the new Eagan city administrator. 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 30 years of full-time experience in local government as a former city manager and city administrator in St. James and Waterville, Minn., respectively. 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.

Matthew Pahl
Program Evaluator, New Mexico State Legislature - Legislative Finance Committee
Pahl evaluates education and social service policy and programs for New Mexico's Legislative Finance Committee. He came to New Mexico as a Teach For America Corps Member in 2005 and taught first grade and seventh grade for three years on the Navajo Nation. Pahl started his program evaluation career in Los Angeles with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He is deeply interested in advancing educational equity in the U.S., particularly in Native American communities. He proudly holds a degree from both SJU and the University of Southern California.

 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 24 million books to African children. 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. He serves as Executive Director of Minnesota Agricultural Education Council at the University of Minnesota.

Gene Ranieri
Director of Government Relations, City of Minneapolis
In Ranieri's position, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the city's federal and legislative agenda. Renieri has held similar positions with other local governments and non-governmental organizations. He also was principal of a private consulting firm. He majored in History at SJU and has a MA from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

 Dave Renner
Director of State & Federal Legislation, Minnesota Medical Association
Mr. Renner is currently the Director of State & Federal Legislation for the Minnesota Medical Association. He has worked at the MMA for 23 years representing the 10,000 members of the association on health care policy issues before the Minnesota Legislature and the United States Congress. In this role he helps identify key health care issues and develop successful strategies to advocate for Minnesota physicians and their patients. Prior to the MMA, Renner worked for the Minnesota Senate as a Legislative Researcher for the Senate Republican Caucus from 1984 to 1988, with his main focus on health and human services legislation. He also served as a Field Representative for the successful 1984 re-election campaign of United States Senator Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota. Dave is a graduate of St. John's with a degree in Government and has a Fellowship in Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

 David Sandager
Capitol Interpreter, Minnesota Historical Society - State Capitol
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 is currently employed with the Minnesota Historical Society at the Minnesota State Capitol as an interpreter. He is also the Site Manager for the Washington County Historical Society's Hay Lake Museum complex.

Michael Scharenbroich
Administrative Analyst, City of Rochester
After graduating from SJU in 2006, Scharenbroich worked and studied at Sountwest University in Beibei, China after graduation. Then spent a year with AmeriCorps and the Resource Assistance to Rural Environments Program (RARE) in Oregon through the University of Oregon. Scharenbroich has a University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute - MURP degree and worked as a research assistant with the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), the Civil Engineering Department for transportation finance and HR Green Engineering Firm. Continued environmental / building hazards planning / inspection work with URS-Engineering Firm in Seattle, Washington. His Career focus is in Public Works Projects and City Administration.

 John Schaus
Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Department of Defense
Schaus graduates from CSB/SJU with a degree in Political Science and Spanish, then promptly moved to China for two years teaching English and studying Chinese. He has earned a MPP from the Humphrey School of Public Policy and has been in Washington DC since 2005, working in international security with a focus on Asia at think tanks and in the government.

Anna Schumacher
Director of Operations, Sertich Consulting
Schumacher graduated from CSB in 2010 with a degree in economics and went on to work for a consulting company that focuses on higher education, rural economic development, and leadership. In her position she learned about the operations of a small business as well as the tools and practices of consulting and leadership development. Most recently, Schumacher has spent one year living and studying in New Delhi, India as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. When she returns she will continue her consulting work and pursue graduate work.

 Jenny Schwope
Paralegal, Faegre Baker Daniels
Jenny Schwope is currently a paralegal at Faegre Baker Daniels, one of the 75 largest law firms headquartered in the U.S. She works with employment-based immigration matters, assisting global companies with U.S. work petitions and international visas. Prior to this position she worked as a paralegal in a workers' compensation and personal injury law firm. Schwope also served as a research assistant in the Minnesota State Office on the Economic Status of Women. As an undergraduate student, she participated in the Washington, D.C. summer internship program and held a summer fellowship with AAUW (American Association of University of Women) in their public policy and government relations department. In the future, Schwope plans on pursuing law school.

Erin Sexton
Director of Government Affairs, Mayo Clinic
Erin Sexton is the Minnesota State Director of the Division of Government Relations at Mayo Clinic. In this role she is responsible for developing policy recommendations and advocating on behalf of Mayo Clinic to serve the patients and employees. Prior to accepting her position in 2011, Sexton worked in various government relations roles spanning more than 12 years. Her most recent role prior to joining Mayo was State Government Affairs Senior Manager for Medtronic Neuromodulation on legislative and regulatory issues related to device coverage and reimbursement in more than 20 states. Before joining Medtronic, Erin held government relations roles at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Medical Association, and Xcel Energy. Sexton graduated from CSB with a degree in Political Science in the class of '98.

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.  

 Matthew Steele
Business Systems Consultant, Wells Fargo
A Political Science graduate of SJU, Matthew Steele entered the mortgage servicing field in 2010, building technology and business process to match an evolving regulatory landscape. Previously, Steele was an associate at Genesis10, a management consulting firm, working on technology and resourcing/managing analysis for Fortune 500 clients. While at SJU, Steele was an E-Scholar with the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship and gave his time to numerous campus and community organizations including the McCarthy Center. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN.

 Dan Thompson
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, William Mitchell College of Law
Dan is a 1989 graduate of Saint John's University where he majored in management. From there, he went on to attend Bowling Green State University for a Masters in Higher Education: College Student Personnel before finally pursuing a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, the college at which he is now Dean of Students. He has worked as a counselor for Anoka-Ramsey and Sauk Valley Community Colleges, has worked in the Student Affairs Department of Century College and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities before returning to claim his current post at William Mitchell.

 Damir Tokic
Program Officer for Cambodia and Burma
Damir Tokic is originally from the Western Balkans, and through the years he has lived in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. He is currently working for the International Republican Institute on development issues in Burma, Cambodia and Mongolia. Prior to this, Tokic has worked as a Political Affairs Officer with the UN Mission to Kosovo and a Political Officer in the Cabinet of H.E. Gary D. Robbins, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Damir holds a B.A. degree in political science and communications from St. John's University and a Masters in Political and Economic Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He currently lives in Washington D.C.

Ashley Ver Burg
Transportation & Environmental Planner, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.
Ashley Ver Burg works as a consultant in transportation and environmental planning for Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc. She graduated from CSB in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Studies and French. After spending a summer working for the Metropolitan Council on regional transit-way planning, she moved to France to teach English for seven months. She has worked in the non-profit sector for Envision Minnesota and remains active with environmental non-profits and governmental agencies across the state of Minnesota.

Richard Virden
Diplomat in Resident - Department of Political Science CSB/SJU
Dick Virden retired from the state department in 2004, after more than 38 years in the Foreign Service, the final two as Deputy Chief of mission in Brasillia. He had a previous tour in Brazil as well as postings in Portugal, Romania, Poland (twice), Thailand (twice), and Vietman. From 1986 to 1997, Virden directed diplomacy programs successfully at embassies in Lisbon, Bucharest and Warsaw. Virden also served on the faculty of that senior service college for two years and as a diplomat-in-residence at Georgetown University, where he created and taught a course on the evolution of public diplomacy.

Amy Walstien
Director of Education and Workforce Development Policy, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Amy Walstien is the Director of Education and Workforce Development for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for policy development in these issue areas as well as lobbying at the state Capitol. Previously, Walstein served as the Director of Government Relations for the Minnesota Department of Education, working on advancing the agency's legislative agenda as well as the first round Race to the Top grant application. Walstein served as the Committee Administrator for the Senate Finance Committee during 2011, where she was responsible for providing legislators with information on the state budget and for managing the budget process in the Senate.

A licensed attorney, Amy has represented small and mid-size businesses, practicing in the areas of corporate planning and transactional law, estate planning and probate, securities offering and compliance, and federal/state legislation and policy. Walstein received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from CSB magna cum laude (2000), and is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law (2004).

Mary Winzenburg Uran
Program Director, Network for Public Health Law
Upon graduating from CSB, Uran worked for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington D.C. on both the Tobacco Project and coordinating the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute. Returning to Minnesota to obtain her MPH in 2010, Uran launched a new non-profit in the Twin Cities called Girls on the Run Twin Cities, serving as both Executive Director and program coach. Uran graduated from CSB in 2006.

Laura Ziegler
Intergovernmental Liaison for the League of Minnesota Cities
Laura Ziegler currently serves as an Intergovernmental Liaison for the League of Minnesota Cities. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in 2010 with a degree in political science. While attending CSB, she was a Marie and Robert Jackson Fellow and completed internships at the Minnesota State Senate and a public policy think tank. Her background includes work in county government, higher education, and the non-profit sector.

Mike Zumwinkle
Director of Government Relations, Cargill Inc.
As the director of government relations for Cargill, Zumwinkle is responsible for state government relations impacting the company's food and agriculture business. He has been with Cargill's Corporate Affairs division for more than 10 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 Lipzig and earned a Master's Degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota.