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Programs >> Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program
Stennis Programs

In an effort to fulfill its mandate to provide training opportunities for congressional staff, the Stennis Center and the Senior Stennis Fellows created the Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders program in 2000.  The Emerging Leaders program is a mentoring program whose purpose is to provide personal encouragement and guidance from veteran congressional staff to younger staff who have demonstrated significant leadership potential during the early stages of their careers on Capitol Hill.  To date, some 99 young staffers have participated in the program.  Many continue to serve on Congressional staff and several of them have gone on to become Stennis Fellows.

The program reflects the desire of Senior Stennis Fellows to help develop newer staff members who demonstrate a commitment to a career on Capitol Hill.  Through a combination of one-on-one mentoring and group discussions, the program nurtures leadership skills and fosters a commitment to public service among congressional staff.

In the 113th Congress, 20 Emerging Leaders are paired with 20 Senior Stennis Fellows who serve as mentors.  Mentors and Emerging Leaders will meet as a group five to six times to learn how to be more effective in their jobs.  Together they discuss legislative procedures used on the House and Senator floors, the nexus between policies and politics, and how to help their Members achieve legislative goals. The mentors also provided advice on career advancement on Capitol Hill.  The program also connects the Emerging Leaders in a network not only to each other across party lines and chambers, but also to the Senior Stennis Fellows.

“Working on Capitol Hill is an amazing experience, but for a young staffer, it can also be confusing and intimidating,” said Rock Cheung, a junior analyst on the Senate Budget Committee. “There are few formal opportunities for junior staff to receive mentoring from senior staff, especially on a one-on-one basis. The Emerging Leaders program has reinforced my passion for public service. It has also developed in me a deeper, more profound appreciation for Congress and the men and women who truly make it great - the staff.”

Jim Dykstra, a Senior Stennis Fellow who had over two decades on Capitol Hill in both the House and Senate has been a mentor since the program began in 2000.  He said, “The Emerging Leaders have the opportunity to meet their young colleagues, as well as current and former senior staff, from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Hill.  Those bipartisan, bicameral relationships, coupled with the plenary sessions focused on issues identified by each EL class, help make them better, more effective staffers.  The program provides value not only to the Emerging Leaders and their Members, but to the legislative process itself.”

From the mentor’s perspective, Jim says, “The Emerging Leader Program also is a great way to connect with the next generation of Hill leaders.  I've been blessed to be paired with an EL in each of the past seven Congresses -- since the very first class.  We ‘mentors’ clearly get as much out of the program as we give, and it's been great developing friendships that will last a lifetime.”

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Julia Angelotti
Appropriations Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf
Mentor: Katherine McGuire

Keenan Austin
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson
Mentor: Monique Watson

Kelson Kauanoe Batangan
Legislative Correspondent
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt

Michelle Christensen
Analyst in Government Organization and Management
Congressional Research Service
Mentor: Colleen Shogan

Travis Cone
Senior Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr
Mentor: Bill Tighe

Elizabeth Cooney
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
Mentor: Michaeleen Crowell

Katie Donnell
Legislative Assistant/Legislative Correspondent
U.S. Rep. Tom Petri
Mentor: Bob Cochran

Meredith Gourash
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Trey Radel
Mentor: Debbie Gebhardt

Jocelyn Griffin
Counsel
House Committee on the Budget
Mentor: David Pomerants

Avenel Josephy
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey 
Mentor: Geoff Brown

Sean Joyce
Communications Director and Senior Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster
Mentor: Jim Dykstra

Colin MacDermott
Staff Assistant
Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Senate Committee on Appropriations
Mentor: JC Sandberg

Makeda Okola
Energy/Environment Policy Advisor
U.S. Delegate Donna Christensen
Mentor: Erika Jeffers

Kelli Ripp
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock
Mentor: Janet Poppleton

Nicholas Rodman
Clerk
House Committee on Armed Services
Mentor: Adam Magary

Nathan Schelble
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Michell Lujan Grisham
Mentor: Jedd Moskowitz

Jessica-Phillips Tyson
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham
Mentor: Greg Dean

Wintta Woldemariam
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
Mentor: Caroline Holland

Perry Yates
Administrative Aid
Subcommittee on Energy and Water
House Committee on Appropriations
Mentor: Damon Nelson

Michael Zetts
Press Secretary
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan
Mentor: Matt Dinkel

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Taylor Adreae
Legislative Aide
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham
Mentor: Shellie Bressler

Binta Beard
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
Mentor: Phil Karsting

Tate Bennett
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie
Mentor: Mike Quaranta

Lee Brooks
Legislative Assistand and New Media Coordinator
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter
Mentor: Damon Nelson

Adrian Deveny
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Mentor: Geoff Brown

George Everly
Professional Staff Member
Senate Committee on the Budget
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Synarus Derron Green
Legislative Aid
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson
Mentor: AJ Jones

Luke Holland
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe
Mentor: Jim Dykstra

Priscilla Koepke
Professional Staff Member
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mentor: Chris Tuttle

Mindy Levit
Analyst in Public Finance Congressional Research Service
Government and Finance Division 
Mentor: Judy Schneider

Eric Love
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Melvin Watt
Mentor: Kristin Nicholson

Paul Milotte
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Don Young
Mentor: Adam Magary

Christy Paavola
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble
Mentor: Pamela Day

Scott Rosenthal
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
Mentor: Tom Mahr

Kristin Rzeczkowski
Legislative Aide
Senate Special Committee on Aging
Mentor: Trudy Vincent

Jane Sheehan
Staff Assistant
U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt

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Patrick Brennan
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan
Mentor: Kevin Kayes (106th Congress)

Jonathan Cardinal
Legislative Correspondent
Office of Sen. Kristin Gillibrand
Mentor: Paul Bock (106th Congress)

Scott Exner
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee
Mentor: AJ Jones (110th Congress)

Kristen Fallon
Legislative Correspondent
Office of U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns
Mentor: Shellie Bressler (109th Congress)

Marcus Fleming
Associate Director for Business Outreach
Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
Mentor: Tamera Luzzatto (105th Congress)

Matthew Giroux
Professional Staff Member
Senate Committee on the Budget
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Ben Hammond
Professional Staff Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
Mentor: Chris Yianilos (110th Congress)

Thaddeus Inge
Research Analyst
Senate Small Business Committee
Mentor: Mike Evans (107th Congress)

Kate Schmucker
Senior Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo
Mentor: Jim Dykstra (103rd Congress)

Harry Stein
Legislative Correspondent
Office of U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl
Mentor: J.C. Sandberg (109th Congress)

Jasmine Vasquez
Policy Advisor
Office of U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt (106th Congress)

Sarah Wilson
Professional Staff Member
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Mentor: Scott Gudes (105th Congress)

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Holly Biglow
Staff Assistant/Scheduler
U.S. Representative Charles Rangel
Mentor: Patrice Willoughby (106th Congress)

Jonathan Black
Professional Staff Member
Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
Mentor: Geoffrey Brown (109th Congress)

Jobina Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger
Mentor: Mildeen Worrell (106th Congress)

Tom Culligan
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Frank Wolf
Mentor: Diane Liesman (106th Congress)

Ken Cummings
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen
Mentor: Mike Evans (107th Congress)

Peter Henry
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Kit Bond
Mentor: Jim Dykstra (103rd Congress)

Alex Herrgott
Minority Research Assistant
Senate EPW Committee
Mentor: Nils W. Johnson (106th Congress)

Matthew Kaplan
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur
Mentor: Gene Fisher (108th Congress)

Mark Roman
Legislative Assistant & Webmaster
U.S. Representative Ray LaHood
Mentor: Ted van der Meid (105th Congress)

Samantha Smith
Special Assistant
U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi
Mentor: Win Boerckel, Jr. (108th Congress)

Shelly Stoneman
Legislative Director
U.S. Representative Steve Rothman
Mentor: Kristin Nicholson (109th Congress)

Hilary Swab
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
Mentor: Jo-Ellen Darcy (108th Congress)

Adam Telle
Legislative Assistant & Deputy Press Secretary
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Eric Thu
Research Assistant
Senate EPW Committee
Mentor: Paul Bock (106th Congress)

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Erica Antonson
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Bart Gordon
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt (106th Congress)

Nicole Austin
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Judy Biggert
Mentor: Jim Dykstra (103rd Congress)

Wendy Fleming
Counsel
U.S. Senator David Vitter
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Lauren Garry
Legislative Correspondent
U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe
Mentor: Alison Taylor (108th Congress)

Jamison Girard
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey
Mentor: Bob Dobek (107th Congress)

Brian Heindl
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
Mentor: Jo-Ellen Darcy (108th Congress)

Michele Hennessey
Legislative Director
U.S. Representative Bill Shuster
Mentor: Diane Liesman (106th Congress)

Steve Higley
Correspondence Manager
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Mentor: Nils Johnson (106th Congress)

Terence Houston
Legislative Correspondent
U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Mentor: Win Boerckel (108th Congress)

Paige Jennings
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Tom Carper
Mentor: Joe Crapa (104th Congress)

Michael Kuiken
Professional Staff member
U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services
Mentor: Paul Bock (106th Congress)

Jennifer Kuzichev
Professional Staff Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy
Mentor: Kate Sparks (107th Congress)

David Montes
Professional Staff Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Mentor: Robert Simon (106th Congress)

David Pappone
Professional Staff Member
U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget
Mentor: Katherine McGuire (105th Congress)

Scott Parman
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Tom Cole
Mentor: Mark Wellman (108th Congress)

Jordan Press
Sr. Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Christopher Shays
Mentor: Terri Ann Lowenthal (103rd Congress)

Annie Russo
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Steve Rothman
Mentor: Chuck Atkins (105th Congress)

Andrew Stevens
Sr. Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Gwen Moore
Mentor: Rick Healy (107th Congress)

Kathleen White
Professional Staff
U.S. House Committee on Rules
Mentor: Wendy Selig (106th Congress)

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Daniel Bresette
Research Assistant
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Mentor: Patrick Von Bargen (104th Congress)

Mimi Braniff
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
Mentor: Katherine McGuire (105th Congress)

Frank Cavaliere
Deputy Legislative Director
U.S. Senator George Allen
Mentor: Andy Wheeler (106th Congress)

Rock Cheung
Budget Analyst for International Affairs
Senate Budget Committee
Mentor: Tamera Luzzatto (105th Congress)

Weston J. Coulam
Tax Policy Advisor
U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe
Mentor: Nils Johnson (103rd Congress)

Michael Dillon
Senior Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Rob Simmons
Mentor: Jim Dykstra (103rd Congress)

Molly Harris
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
Mentor: Joe Crapa (104th Congress)

Nicole Kunko
Staff Assistant
House Appropriations Committee
Mentor: Diane Liesman (106th Congress)

Josh Martin
Senior Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess
Mentor: John Lampmann (106th Congress)

Sonja Nesbit
Professional Staff Member for the Minority
House Ways and Means Committee
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt (106th Congress)

Kate Riley
Legislative Assistant
Representative Sam Farr
Mentor: Nora Matus (105th Congress)

Patricia Rojas
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
Mentor: Terri Ann Lowenthal (103rd Congress)

Danielle Rosengarten
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Christopher Shays
Mentor: Jay Eagen (103rd Congress)

Erica Stocker
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Jim Saxon
Mentor: Ted Van Der Meid (105th Congress)

Brett Thompson
Legislative Director
U.S. Senator Jim Talent
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Jamila Thompson
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Barbara Lee
Mentors: Mildeen Worrell (106th Congress) and Carlottia Scott (103rd Congress)

Heath Weems
Legislative Assistant
U.S. Representative Cass Ballenger
Mentor: John McCamman (105th Congress)

Donny Williams
Professional Staff Member for the Minority
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
Mentor: Paul Bock (106th Congress)

107th Congress Emerging Leaders 3872
Alison Bean
Professional Staff Member
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
Mentor: Susan Hattan (104th Congress)

Calli Daly
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Larry E. Craig
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)

Kacey Guy
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative Ronnie Shows
Mentor: Cheryl Johnson (105th Congress)

Joey Hefferon
Legislative Director
Office of U.S. Representative Porter Goss
Mentor: Dave Bartel (103rd Congress)

Margo Hennigan
Staff Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative Henry Waxman
Mentor: Rochelle Dornatt (106th Congress)

Adam Jarvis
Professional Staff
House Committee on Rules
Mentor: John McCamman (105th Congress)

Justin King
Professional Staff Member
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Mentor: Tom Sliter (104th Congress)

Ben Miller
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl
Mentor: Patrick Von Bargen (104th Congress)

Kristina Moore
Staff Assistant
Office of the Speaker of the House
Mentor: Diane Liesman (106th Congress)

Damon Nelson
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative George Radanovich
Mentor: Jay Eagen (103rd Congress)

Ned Steiner
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative Sam Farr
Mentor: Richard Boykin (106th Congress)

William Smith
Deputy Chief Counsel
Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight
Senate Judiciary Committee
Mentor: Nils Johnson (106th Congress)

Dan Utech
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Jon Corzine
Mentor: Paul Bock (106th Congress)

Quinn Warnick
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett
Mentor: Jim Dykstra (103rd Congress)

106th Congress Emerging Leaders - Pilot Class 4095

Joseph A. Clabes
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative Ken Lucas
Mentor: Kelly M. Sharbel, Jr. (103th Congress)

Shannon C. Gawronski
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative George Radanovich
Mentor: James M. Eagen, III (103th Congress)

Elise M. Kenderian
Legislative Director
Office of U.S. Representative Jim Saxton
Mentor: James H. Dykstra (103th Congress)

Brian J. Kennedy
Legislative Assistant & Systems Administrator
Office of U.S. Representative George Radanovich
Mentor: Douglas D. Ritter, Jr. (104th Congress)

Stacey Leavandosky
Legislative Director
Office of U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey
Mentor: Tamera Luzzatto (105th Congress)

Paul M. Nash
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Tim Johnson
Mentor: J. Thomas Sliter (104th Congress)

Randi Reid
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Michael B. Enzi
Mentor: Connie Ann Veillette (105th Congress)

Erin Coyle Strawn
Senor Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Representative Curt Weldon
Mentor: Daniel J. Keniry (105th Congress)

Tola Thompson
Legislative Assistant/Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Representative Carrie Meek
Mentor: Leslie L. Atkinson (103rd Congress)

Daniel Whiting
Legislative Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Larry E. Craig
Mentor: Rick Valentine (104th Congress)