Mentors 2013-2014

Mentor Registration is now open for the 2014-2015 school year. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor please fill out the simple application form.

Jacob Barnes
Street Law Director, Minnesota Justice Department
While attending St. John's University Barnes became interested in politics, followed that with a major and some relative internships with congressional campaigns. After graduating in 2009 Barnes joined the BVC and worked in Newark, NJ as a volunteer civics instructor. He returned to MN in 2010 and began law school. Since enrolling in law school he has clerked for Governor Mark Dayton, cofounded a political org. (North Star Equality), chaired a LGBT legal group, and sat as the Symposium Editor of the Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy. Barnes will receive his J.D. this May and plan to seek employment within the public sphere.


 Ryan Battis
Operations and Customer Relations Specialist, United Health Group

Ryan Battis (Political Science major, Class of '12) currently works at UnitedHealth Care within the benefit operations and consumer services area, specifically with large group and individual health and pharmacy plans. Battis has been doing most of his work with relation to our new OptumRX prescription plan that started on 1/1/2013. In his personal time, Battis loves playing hockey and is a part time assistant coach for a AAA team in the South East metro. Skateboarding is another hobby of his, if he has any time left in my week. Battis frequentd the campus to watch his brother play football on the weekends so don't be surprised if you see him around!

 Amy Canfield
Chief, Benefits Assistance Service, U.S. 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.

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 Dad, you can consult the company website at

 Clement Huaweilang Dai
Marketing Analyst, Minnessta 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 reserched 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.

 Peter Eckrich
Legislative Assistant, U.S. House of Representatives
Peter Eckrich is originally from South Dakota and has always been interested in politics. Eckrich studied political science and history throughout his college career. After graduating from St. John's in 2010, I moved back to South Dakota to work on a campaign for Kristi Noem. After a successful campaign he began working for Kristi Noem in her Washington, D.C. office and has been in D.C. ever since.

Timothy Enright
Foreign Affairs Officer, 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; Enright is again in Washington D.C. 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.

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 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 the St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Luke Hellier
Press Secretary for Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus
A 2007 graduate of Saint John's University, Luke Hellier currently holds a position as with the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus where he is acting as Press Secretary. Hellier has previously worked as the District Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Eric Paulsen. In 2006, he 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
Associate, Higher Education Division, American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO
Nicole Hochsprung is proud to work for the nation's largest higher education union. The issues she works on include academic freedom, faculty diversity, college affordability, student engagement, and preventing for-profit fraud and abuse. Executing this means everything from wonky hearings to launching mobile apps to one-on-one organizing conversations. Hochsprung was first exposed to AFT Higher Ed through her Washington DC Summer Study internship, but between that experience and obtaining her current position she managed a fundraising campaign for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, helped state colleges secure arts and humanities grants, and did a lot of electoral campaign work. At St. Ben's (class of 2010) Hochsprung was a history and political science double major and has also worked in museums. In DC she is active in the reproductive rights and queer communities. She tries to practice her Russian as much as she can.

 Mark Irion
President, Levick
Mark Irion is a highly regarded Washington communications strategist who provides situation assessments for CEOs, general counsel, and heads of government affairs on policy and political environments relevant to corporate or organizational objectives. He is an expert in crafting and executing strategies for achieving clients' legislative, regulatory and corporate positioning goals before the Congress, the White House and its agencies, and states. Irion has been repeatedly recognized by The Hill as a Washington "Top Lobbyist" and has orchestrated integrated advocacy and communications campaigns for some of the world's most important energy, chemical, clean tech, manufacturing, and nutritional companies. For nearly two decades Irion was the chief executive of Dutko Worldwide, one of Washington's most prominent government and public affairs firms. With his partners he created the first national public policy management consultancy in the United States. Under his leadership, the firm grew to be the largest independent multi-disciplinary public policy communications company and was repeatedly recognized in Fortune rankings as an elite Top 10 Power firm. Irion started his career as a Senate legislative aide working on environment and energy issues. He also extensively participated in the overhaul of the Clean Air Act as well as the Resource Conservation Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Irion graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Theology from St. John's University and a Master of the Arts in Public Affairs from The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at 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, he lobbies on legislative and regulatory issues in six Midwestern states and California. Johnson represents one hundred forty-eight skilled nursing / assisted living facilities' interests, primarily 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. His professional 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. Larry has been married to Kate, a 2000 graduate of the College of St. Benedict for twelve years and resides in Rosemount, Minnesota with their three 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 middle school special education. 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 Liaison through their Gear Up Federal Grant at Brooklyn Center High School providing students with curriculum and advising sessions about college access and financial aid literacy.  He is also actively involved in education policy and political organizing in the Twin Cities.  Joe is a 2009 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.

 Lindsey Krause
University of Minnesota Law School J.D. Candidate, Class of 2016
Lindsey Krause is currently a student at the University of Minnesota Law School. After completing her degree in Political Science at CSB/SJU, she took time off to work as a teller at Beacon Bank in Eden Prairie MN and as an assistant at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Minneapolis. While at FaegreBD, Krause worked closely with the firm's Chief Talent Officer, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Director of Human Resources. Krause's main roles there included assisting with the hiring process for new lawyers and supporting the firm's Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. During undergrad, Krause was heavily involved in political campaigns and served as an intern in Amy Klobuchar's Washington D.C. office during the summer of 2010. Her interests include craft beer, Ultimate Frisbee, collecting political campaign buttons and anything else that can take her mind off of the stresses of law school.

 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. In 2011 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, in 2012 she transferred to the Rural Utilities Service, and is responsible for writing regulations, and provides advice and guidance on electrical and renewable energy issues.

Zack Liebl
Army Engineer Officer, MN Army National Guard
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. Liebl is currently an Army Engineer Officer for the MN Army National Guard and am based out of Cambridge, MN. This past year he was the Independence Party of Minnesota's candidate for MN House Distinct 17B (Kandiyohi County) and had a very successful campaign as an independent candidate. Liebl is currently looking at the "next steps" and working with his team as they are working towards 2014.

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.

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
Vice President of 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.

 Shana Mengelkoch
Senior Planning Analyst, Hennepin County
Shana Mengelkoch graduated with degrees in Psychology and Spanish from CSB in 2001. Immediately after college she began working for Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health. In 2006 Mengelkoch received her M.A. in Public Policy and Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She has continued to work for Hennepin County during this time; Mengelkoch has  held case manager positions, supervised a unit of case managers, and is now a planning analyst providing support to a management team.

Robyn Meyer-Thompson
Law Clerk, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
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 Law Clerk for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Service (SMRLS) in St. Paul, while completing her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law. Meyer-Thompson's work at SMRLS primarily consists of working with crime victims who qualify for an immigration benefit called a U visa as a result of their cooperation with local law enforcement. Robyn also has experience working with family-based, employment, asylum, and removal cases through Wilson Law Group, Grell & Feist, 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, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Chile. Meyer-Thompson will graduate from William Mitchell in May of 2014 and will take the bar exam this upcoming summer.

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.

Katie Misukanis
Government Relations Director, Rasmussen College
Katie Misukanis is currently the Government Relations Director for Rasmussen College, she has served in this capacity since April 2011. Her time with Rasmussen also includes her work as a Firector of Admissions for the Rasmussen College's Lake Elmo/Woodbury campus. She is passionate about serving students and helping them attain post secondary credentials. In her current role, she acts as a liaison for the college to local and state legislators in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Kansas. She also advises policy decisions and actions. In this role she serves as Chair of the Wisconsin Council for Independent Education and Minnesota Career College Association.

Prior to Rasmussen College, Misukanis was a Field Sales Representative at the Bureau of National Affairs. She spent a majority of her career with Thomson Reuters in their inside sales department. She was initially a Sales Representative and quickly moved into a role as a Sales Manager. In this position she managed 20-25 Inside Sales Representatives focusing on Local and State Government entities in the western part of the United States as well as the Federal Government team with annual quotas exceeding $25M. She was the recipient of two President Club awards and consistently exceeded quota.

Misukanis is passionate about serving others and her roots. She has served as the President of the Visitation High School Alumnae Board, currently sits on the Development Sub-Committee for the Visitation Board of Trustees and recently finished her tenure as President of the Junior League of Saint Paul. She has been involved with Children's Home Society and Family Services Polo Classic on the steering committee. She is active in her church and enjoys reading, boating, and an occasional run.

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 1998 graduate of St. John's University has worked at the Minnesota legislature for the last 11 legislative sessions. During his time at the legislature he worked for Senators from suburban, urban and rural districts. O'Rourke spent eight years as a Committee Administrator for the Education Policy and Economic Development Finance Committee. On these committees he worked on a wide range of legislation and policy proposals. Prior to working at the Capitol, O'Rourke worked in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist and also worked on many campaigns throughout Minnesota.

 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 30 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 1st Vice 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
Public Housing Manager, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority
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.

Matthew Pahl
Policy Director, New Mexico Public Education Department
Matthew Pahl (SJU '05) collaborates to define and implement education policy and programs to improve educational outcomes for the state's education department.  Prior to that, he evaluated education and social service policy and programs for New Mexico's Legislative Finance Committee. Pahl 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. Matthew 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 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.

Alex Ricci
General Campaign Consultant, Pederson for Congress, St. Cloud, MN
Alex Ricci is a recent graduate from Saint John's University, and is now working as an independent contractor for John Pederson's campaign for U.S. Congress in Minnesota's sixth district. Employed by the McCarthy Center during his time at SJU, Ricci was also an active member of the student senate, KJNB radio, and the political clubs on campus. He looks forward to a career involving government and public relations, and is enthusiastic about extending and building the CSB/SJU network.

David Sandager
Capitol Interpreter, Minnesota Historical Society - Minnesota State Capitol & Minnesota History Center
David Sandager graducated 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 and Minnesota History Center as an interpreter, as well as being the Set-Up Assistant for MHS at the State Capitol . He is also the Site Manager for the Washington County Historical Society's Hay Lake Museum complex near Scandia, MN.

 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
Senior Advisor for Regional Policy to the Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Department of Defense
John graduated from CSB/SJU with a degree in Political Science and Spanish, then promptly moved to China for two years teaching English and studying Chinese. Since 2005 he has worked in Washington, D.C. on international and defense policy. For 5 years he worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on a range of issues including Asia, Energy, and the day-to-day operations of a 200 preson think tank. For the past three years he has worked for the Department of Defense in several roles focused on U.S. Defense policy in the Asia-Pacific. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of the University of Minnesota.

Anna Schumacher 
Operations Associate, Groundswell, Inc.
Schumacher, a Saint Paul native, graduated from CSB in 2010 with a degree in Economics. During her time at CSB/SJU Anna was a member of Cultural Affairs Board, Saint Ben's Senate, an RA, and worked at the McCarthy Center. She was also a Marie & Robert Jackson Fellow at MN Campus Compact and a John Brandl Scholar at the Citizens League and spent a semester abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile. Following graduation she served as Director of Operations at Sertich Consulting, a firm focused on higher education, rural economic development, and leadership. Following her time at Sertich Consulting she spent a year in India as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Anna relocated to Washington, DC in 2012 and now works as the Operations Associate at Groundswell, a DC-based non profit social enterprise focused on clean energy and community development. She is a member of the Professional Development Committee of the DC chapter of the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network (YNPN) and a StartingBloc Fellow.

 Jenny Schwope

Paralegal, Faegre Baker Daniels
Jenny Schwope is a paralegal with the labor and employment group, concentrating in immigration and global mobility, for Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. She works closely with attorneys and Fortune 500 companies to prepare employment-based immigration applications and petitions on behalf of foreign nationals. In addition, she has had the opportunity to provide comprehensive assistance on a variety of pro bono cases ,including matters with the Advocates for Human Rights. Prior to this position, she worked as a paralegal in a worker's compensation and personal injury law firm. As an undergraduate student, Schwope served as a research assistant with the Minnesota State Office on the Economic Status of Women; participated in the CSB/SJU Washington, D.C. internship program and worked as a public policy and government relations fellow with AAUW (American Association of University of Women); and worked in the CSB Annual Giving Department during her tenure as a student. Schwope graduated from CSB with a degree in Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies in 2011.

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.

 Drew Stommes
Research Assistant, Woodrow Wilson Center
Drew Stommes recently graduated from St. John's University with a degree in political science. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. and works as a research assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In this capacity, Stommes provides research support for Dr. Jonathan Caverley's projects on the United States' role in the global arms trade as well as the impact that U.S. military education of foreign officers has on the likelihood of coups occurring in those countries. Stommes has previously been the South Asia intern at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a student coordinator at the McCarthy Center at Saint Johns. His primary interests are in international security and U.S. foreign policy.

 Dan Thompson
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, William Mitchell College of Law
Dan Thompson 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 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.

Chris Van Guilder
Customer Experience Representative at Starkey Hearing Technologies

This summer, Van Guilder began a new position with Starkey Hearing Technologies. In addition to this position, he serves as a partner for the Iron Oak Group, a consulting group working in Texas and Minnesota, which provides political consulting services to Republican candidates at all levels of elected office. Van Guilder is a communications and media professional with experience in political campaigns and legislative settings at a statewide and national level. He has extensive knowledge of and experience in public relations, crisis management, media writing, public speaking and grassroots organization. Van Guilder has previously served as the Communications Director for a top-tier United States Senate campaign, where he helped create and execute a paid, earned, email and social media campaign with a multi-million dollar budget and national reach. Chris has experience in organizing and executing countless press conferences, grassroots rallies and other events involving prominent national figures and organizations to large audiences with reach to statewide and national media. In addition to directing communications strategy, Chris has several years experience serving as an on-the-record spokesman for his previous employers, ranging from a major party-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, a State Senate Majority caucus, and a United States Congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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.

 Dick Virden
Diplomat in Residence, Department of Political Science, CSB/SJU

Dick Virden retired from the Department of State in 2004 after more than 38 years in the Foreign Service, the final two as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Brasilia.  He had a previous tour in Brazil (1972-1974) as well as postings in Portugal (1986-1990), Romania (1990-1993), Poland (1977-1980, 1994-1997), Thailand (1967-1969, 1980-1983) and Vietnam (1970-1971). A graduate of the National War College, 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. A native of Minnesota, Virden now lives in the Minneapolis suburbs.    From 2004 to 2013 he served as diplomat-in-residence at his alma mater, St. John's University, and its sister college, St. Benedict's.  He is a frequent contributor to local media and speaker in the Minnesota International Center's Great Decisions series.

Amy Walstien
Director of Education and Workforce Development Policy and Elections, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Amy Walstien is a 2000 graduate of the College of St. Benedict and a 2004 graduate of William Mitchell College of Law 2004. Currently the Director of Education and Workforce Development Policy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Amy is responsible for policy development in these issue areas as well as lobbying at the state Capitol. Amy also manages election efforts and campaign finance issues for the Minnesota Chamber. Previously, Amy served as the Committee Administrator for the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee and as the Director of Government Relations for the Minnesota Department of Education. Prior to her work in public policy, Amy worked as an attorney representing small and mid-size businesses in the areas of corporate planning and transactional law, election law, estate planning and probate, securities offering and compliance, and federal/state legislation and policy.

Andrea Wuebker
Communications Director, University of Minnesota, OVPR

Mike Zumwinkle
Corporate and Government Affairs
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.