Stennis Program for Congressional Interns

Fall 2021 Intern Biographies

Delanie Blubaugh

Delanie Blubaugh

Office of U.S. Rep. David Trone

Delanie Blubaugh (she/her) is a senior at Frostburg State University (FSU) with a double major in political science and legal studies. She serves as senior intern for U.S. Rep. David Trone. She holds various leadership roles at FSU, including student affairs committee chair of the Student Government Association, editor-in-chief of The Bottom Line, and student program coordinator of the Office of Civic Engagement. She was also recently named as Frostburg State’s Newman Civic Fellow for the 2021-2022 cohort. Delanie plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or campaign management once she graduates in the spring and hopes to return to Capitol Hill after completing her program. Her policy interests include foreign affairs, accessibility and care for the disability community, and rural equity.

Sameer Chhetri

Sameer Chhetri

Office of U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel

Originally from a small village in Nepal, Sameer is proud to now consider himself a Philadelphian. He majors in political science at The Pennsylvania State University. He has worked extensively with the refugee and immigrant communities in Philadelphia, where he was part of a coalition of local organizations, city government, and nonprofits that helped refugees and newly arrived immigrants assimilate into the United States. Additionally, he taught basic civics, English, and American history classes and helped them navigate the complex healthcare system and any required paperwork. Sameer plans to work on the Hill in the future to continue to help the underprivileged and disenfranchised. He also plans to further his education with a master’s degree in public policy. His main policy interest areas are civil rights, immigration reform, and foreign affairs. He also wants to work on campaigns to get experience on both sides of the coin.

Alexandra Dorotinsky

Alexandra Dorotinsky

Office of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen

Alexandra was born and raised in Maryland and currently lives in Damascus, Maryland. She is a 21-year-old graduate from the University of New Haven class of 2021 with a B.A. in political science. Alexandra is interning in the state office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen for the fall 2021 session. She was involved on campus in the Model United Nations for all three years of her undergraduate experience, participated in five National Model United Nations Conferences, and was selected as chair of the UNHCR committee in her final conference. Alexandra was a part of the Model UN leadership team for her school as the secretary-general of her own conference and the assistant recruitment director in her first year. Alexandra was also an active member of the Chi Kappa Rho sorority on campus for two of her undergraduate years, holding the academic leadership position for one of those years. During her last semester, she was a legislative intern on the Public Health Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. Through her studies, Alexandra spent extensive time researching public health and public policy issues, including women’s reproductive rights, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, vaccine requirements, and public health. Alexandra hopes to find a legislative or research position for the spring and summer with an elected official or nonprofit and attend graduate school for a master’s degree in international relations and diplomacy next fall.

Adam Duffy

Adam Duffy

U.S. House Committee on Rules

Adam graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in sociology and public management, leadership, and policy with a specialization in education policy. He is particularly interested in issues related to childhood poverty and education. Through volunteer work and internships, he has worked on issues ranging from childhood literacy to desegregation to support diverse students in higher education. Following graduation, he worked for a congressional campaign in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and a government relations firm. Outside of work, Adam is an avid baker and Taylor Swift enthusiast. He looks forward to a long career in public service.

Drew Ficociello

Drew Ficociello

Office of U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne

Originally from Indianapolis, Drew studied law and public policy at Indiana University (IU) before moving to Washington, D.C., to pursue her master’s degree. She currently studies political management at George Washington University. Drew is a fighter for students in higher education across the Midwest, where she advocated for access, affordability, and opportunities for low-income and independent students. As an undergrad, Drew served as the chief of staff of the IU Student Government and was elected to serve as associate director of the Association of Big Ten Students. Drew also served on the College Democrats of Indiana statewide executive board, where she helped colleges start their own chapters. Through her work at EMILY’s List in 2018, Drew assisted the state and local campaigns team to support pro-choice women running for office. Once she finishes her master’s degree, Drew plans to work in political communications and go back to the Midwest to hit the campaign trail.

Mini Ganesh

Mini Ganesh

U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor

Mini, a proud Kentuckian, is in the class of 2023 at Harvard College, where she concentrates in economics. She currently serves as the Harvard College representative to the Advisory Committee for Shareholder Responsibility for Harvard’s $41 billion endowment and served on the Harvard Undergraduate Council from September 2019-January 2021. Mini’s interest in government began in high school when she interned in both the district and legislative offices of Congressman Brett Guthrie. She went on to intern for the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018 and was a White House intern during summer 2019. She is currently interning for the House Education and Labor Committee and is excited to be back in D.C.

Natalie Gilbert

Natalie Gilbert

Office of U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen

Natalie Gilbert is a sophomore at Georgetown University and a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. Natalie is pursuing a major in political economy and a minor in justice and peace studies. She is very passionate about criminal justice reform and plans to pursue a career in law. When she is not captaining Georgetown’s Mock Trial team, running, or hanging out with her amazing dogs, you can find her binge-watching almost any crime show!

Ava Goble

Ava Goble

Office of U.S. Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele

Originally from Plattsburgh, New York, Ava is majoring in administration of justice at the University of Hawai’i. Ava has spent time with Americorps in their JumpStart program working for public and charter schools throughout Chicago for the past two years. Her experience working in under-resourced communities fostered a passion for education policy and an awareness of the need for creating equal access to education across the United States. Meanwhile, her time spent working in a law firm in Upstate New York introduced her to the tenets of constitutional law and how those fundamental rights and duties overlap with public policy. These experiences shaped Ava’s passion for eliminating barriers to inequity in any situation, leading her to be a strong advocate of the Clean Slate Initiative, which seeks to expunge conviction records and create employment opportunities for previously incarcerated or convicted individuals throughout the United States. Ava hopes to pursue a career in constitutional law and public policy to help further move the needle toward equitable employment, education, and disparities in access to health care.

Diana Grechukhina

Diana Grechukhina

Office of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen

Diana was born and raised in Kazakhstan. Later on, her family moved to Russia, where she graduated from high school and spent her adolescence. Today, Diana is a proud U.S. citizen. Diana is a senior at Salisbury University, studying international relations with a minor in political science. Her multicultural background inspired her to submerge in the world’s diverse cultures, languages, and other regulators of human lives. Having lived in countries other than the United States, Diana observed various forms of human inequality and injustice, ranging from economic to ethnic matters. This exposure reinforced her desire to contribute to social justice, national security, and the consolidation of international affairs. One day, Diana hopes to become part of the CIA, Homeland Security, or USCIS to utilize her skills and knowledge to help prevent potential foreign threats and/or assist people with immigration issues. In her free time, Diana enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and baking.

Kathleen Griffith

Kathleen Griffith

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

Kathleen recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a mass communications degree, pre-law cognate, and leadership distinction in community service. This Charleston, South Carolina, native’s interest in serving others led a mission trip and pursued internships with both the local and federal government. Kathleen is currently interning with the Senate Special Committee on Aging. She hopes to pursue a career in the communications field, organizing content, listening to people so she can advocate for them, and providing constituents the information and resources they need.

Kathleen utilizes her communications degree by creating posts for the Senate Aging Twitter account (@SenateAgingGOP), aiding with development of monthly newsletters, and supporting her policy staffers with their reports. She recently proposed the creation of a Senate Aging GOP Facebook account (@SenateAgingGOP) to reach a larger percentage of aging Americans. Kathleen is currently working to create content for the Twitter and Facebook pages; feel free to follow both accounts to see what she has been up to!

Kendall Groza

Kendall Groza

Office of U.S. Rep. Billy Long

Kendall is from Louisville, Kentucky. She studies political science and communications with a minor in international affairs at Northeastern University. Having spent semesters in London, Boston, Los Angeles, and D.C., she is excited to continue her academic and experiential journey into law school in the fall of 2022. Currently, she interns in the office of U.S. Congressman Billy Long and hopes to continue pursuing her interest in government, law, and policy well into law school and beyond. When Kendall is not working or studying, she is reading her way through the Library of Congress’ list of “Books That Shaped America.”

Amanda Guilardi

Amanda Guilardi

U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary

Amanda Guilardi is a 2L at American University, Washington College of Law. Born and raised in California, she earned her B.A. from the University of California San Diego. Amanda has been working as a political fundraiser since 2018. She is currently taking a leave of absence to serve as a legal intern for the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. Outside of work, Amanda is heavily involved in Israel advocacy with Israel Policy Forum, where she helped found the D.C. steering committee and is currently participating in the Bronfman Conveners Program. She is interested in intellectual property and technology policy and hopes to return to the Hill once she receives her law degree. Amanda enjoys pretending to work out at the gym, volunteering with the Junior League, puzzles, and teaching Jewish Sunday school in her free time.

Kylie Harlan

Kylie Harlan

Office of U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady

Kylie is a senior at Texas Tech University pursuing a B.S. in agricultural communications and minors in political science and public relations. Currently, she is completing the CASNR Government and Public Service Internship Program at Texas Tech and is interning with U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. During her time at Texas Tech, she has been the associate editor of The Agriculturist, president of the Agricultural Council, an Agricultural Communications Writing Fellow, and the marketing and communications intern for the Texas Peanut Producers Board. Originally from Sherman, Texas, she grew up in a primarily rural county surrounded by agriculture. This heavily influenced her path in college and is now impacting her future career aspirations as well. Kylie hopes her future career combines her passions for communications and agriculture in a way that she can give back to the industry that has impacted her so much.

Victoria Izaguirre

Victoria Izaguirre

Office of U.S. Rep. Randy Weber

Victoria Izaguirre is a recent Texas A&M graduate with a B.S. in university studies-leadership and a double minor in extension education and sociology. Victoria is from McAllen, Texas, where her close upbringing with ranching sparked her interest in agriculture as a whole. Being able to witness how the USDA and NRCS play a critical role in land management and water resources from a young age inspired her to want to impact the field of agriculture positively. Throughout her time at Texas A&M, Victoria gained the opportunity to intern for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in Comal County. While there, her interest in family and community health grew. She learned about various wellness programs such as “Better Living for Texans” and “Walk Across Texas.” Victoria also worked toward her master wellness certification and diversified her skillsets by helping create a 4-H program curriculum. Upon completing her internship, Victoria hopes to utilize knowledge learned to: create and implement national and international healthy living initiatives, enhance the incorporation of agricultural production with nutrition and physical activity, and reinforce the positive role farming and ranching has on agricultural sustainability.

Niklas Kleinworth

Niklas Kleinworth

Office of U.S. Sen. James Risch

Niklas is a graduate of the University of Idaho, with a B.A. in political science and a minor in pre-health professions studies. His public policy research focuses on both health care and education issues in the Gem State. He is a strong advocate for public policy solutions that place America first, are fiscally efficient, limit government, and expand the free market.

Catherine Lawson

Catherine Lawson

Office of U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady

Catherine Lawson is a recent Texas A&M graduate with a B.A. in genetics and a minor in public health. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She possesses a passion for medicine and public health and hopes to learn more about the legislative process and public policy implementation to promote public health as a doctor one day. At Texas A&M, she was involved in several student organizations where she could serve the College Station/Bryan community. Catherine most enjoyed volunteering at the Bryan Boys and Girls Club, where she mentored students and learned how much her voice and guidance mattered. Catherine was also a member of a research team that investigated the adaptation and speciation of birds to understand evolutionary processes better.

Catherine is a current intern of U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady. After interning in the fall of 2021, Catherine plans on pursuing her medical degree. She is eager to work with members of Congress and learn how to lead her own public service endeavors. This internship offers unique insight into how ideas may be established into effective policy, which Catherine can one day apply in the field of medicine. Overall, Catherine hopes to develop into a stronger professional and more involved member of society.

Haley Ledford

Haley Ledford

Office of U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra

Haley is a proud Iowan and first-generation college student who studied international business at Drake University. Growing up, she was involved in 4-H and served as a page in the Iowa Senate. These formative experiences led her to clerking in the state legislature throughout college, gaining an invaluable perspective on public service and policy advocacy from her mentors. As a college student, Haley was the chairwoman of the Drake Political Action Committee and a member of the Drake Student Senate, helping Drake University achieve one of the highest campus voter registration and participation rates in the nation. Haley also participated in Club Tennis, Model United Nations, Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and Collegiate 4-H. Outside of school and the Iowa Senate, she is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, advocating for abused and neglected children in Iowa’s child welfare system. Haley also assists Iowa farmers and butchers facing pandemic-related economic hardship with grant writing. Currently, she is interning in the office of U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra through the end of the fall semester. Haley’s upbringing in Iowa has piqued an interest in agricultural law and policy, and she plans to pursue her J.D. next year.

Laura Ludwig

Laura Ludwig

Office of U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta

Laura Ludwig was born and raised in San Jose, California. She currently attends the University of California, Davis, where she majors in political science public service. She has grown a passion for voting rights, immigration reform, and women’s rights through her academic work. She is working toward being a committed public servant by interning in the U.S. House of Representatives. In her spare time, Laura enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending time with friends and family.

Sophie Mittelstaedt

Sophie Mittelstaedt

Office of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Strickland

Sophie is a recent graduate of Parsons (The New School), where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in strategic design and management. After developing an interest in politics, Sophie supplemented her Parsons education with a semester at Georgetown, where she studied political theory and constitutional law.

Jennifer Rivera-Galindo

Jennifer Rivera-Galindo

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Jennifer is a first-generation Salvadoran-American from Miami, Florida. She is currently a senior studying international relations and political science with certificates in national security and Middle Eastern studies. She is a proud first-generation college student aspiring to become a foreign service officer. Jennifer is interested in foreign policy, the environment, and national security. She has previously interned for the Department of Energy, State Department, and House of Representatives. At Florida International University, she serves as the outreach coordinator for UN Women, advocating for women’s rights.

Owen Rosenberg

Owen Rosenberg

Office of U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Owen is currently pursuing his bachelor’s in political science alongside a Master in Public Administration at American University (AU). Long surrounded by friends and family dedicated to the ideals of public service in many different careers, Owen has always wanted to follow in their footsteps. His career in public service started before he left his hometown, first interning with his town supervisor the summer of his junior year of high school and continuing to work within that institution each summer since. Since coming to Washington, Owen has worked on several political campaigns, continues to work weekend shifts at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, serves as a member of the AU Conduct Council, and is the vice president of the American University Aerospace Society. His passions lie foremost in giving back to the community, which made him who he is today, but more specifically in the policy concerns of small businesses, environmental conservation, firearms, and foreign policy.

Caroline Rykard

Caroline Rykard

Office of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter

I am a third-year student studying political science and religion at the University of Georgia (UGA). I am currently interning on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter. On campus, I am a UGA presidential scholar, an inductee in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and an active member in UGA’s Students for Life. Originally from Midway, Georgia, I grew up in a community immersed in military tradition and service. I believe this community has influenced my desire to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Upon completing my undergrad, I plan to attend law school and ultimately commission into the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate (JAG). Driven by my passion for serving others, I hope to pursue a career that enables me to serve all members of our society and ultimately leave it more equal and inclusive than I found it.

Natalie Salazar

Natalie Salazar

Office of U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Natalie is a Hispanic, first-generation college student currently studying in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon with an intended degree in business analytics and technology and a minor in public policy and politics. She leads in her community as a residential assistant for first-year students and mentors low-income students as a Tartan Scholar ambassador. Natalie serves as vice president of the Black and Latin Business Association. She is also involved in FirstTogether, the Spanish and Latin Student Association, and the Treblemakers (an award-winning co-ed a cappella group). This past summer, Natalie interned at the Office of the President at Carnegie Mellon. She also served as an SAT trainer, where she coordinated and led SAT workshops for low-income, first-generation high-school students in her Houston community. Natalie currently interns at the Office of Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. With a passion at the intersection of immigration, social justice, and women’s rights, she intends to pursue careers with international development and humanitarian organizations and pursue law school after graduating.

Ethan Sanders

Ethan Sanders

Office of U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher

Ethan grew up in rural Oklahoma and is currently a junior at Oklahoma State University majoring in political science with minors in campaigns & lobbying and intelligence & security analysis. Ethan worked on multiple political campaigns, completed political advocacy work for a nonprofit, and interned in a congressional district office before his current position with U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher. He also serves as vice president of Oklahoma State University College Democrats. He is extremely passionate about helping to create a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQIA+ community, protecting voting rights, and combatting problems that affect people regardless of their political ideology. Ethan plans on pursuing a career on the Hill as a legislative staffer after graduation.

Benjamin Savercool

Benjamin Savercool

U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

Ben is currently interning for the House Committee on Appropriations. Additionally, in the evenings and on weekends, he grades papers as a graduate teaching associate for the department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico. He is halfway through his Master of Arts in political science and hopes to specialize in the rise of China and the role of science, technology, and artificial intelligence. He is a self-proclaimed nerd!

Alexandra Schindewolf

Alexandra Schindewolf

Office of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck

Alexandra recently graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University, majoring in history and a minor in Russian language and literature. Alexandra’s studies on past political systems and their implications on current times, as well as her instruction in the Russian language, compelled her to return to Capitol Hill as an intern specifically interested in issues pertaining to foreign affairs/homeland security, and more broadly, issues related to the First Amendment. As of right now, she plans to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to transition her current role as an intern into a Hill staffer. For the long term, she plans to pursue a career in law and government.

Alex Siegal

Alex Siegal

Office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist

‘Alex is a legislative intern in the office of U.S. Representative and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. He is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where he studied economics and political science with particular focuses on legislative behavior and the intersection of economics with the law. His honors thesis found statistical evidence indicating that members of Congress who share living space also engage in elevated collaboration with one another. He was a DNC Presidential Fellow with the Biden-Harris campaign. Alex also has prior professional experience as an intern with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s constituent services office, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Manatee County’s government, where he created a virtual memorial to honor local Gulf War-era servicemembers. He will be attending Harvard Law School through the Junior Deferral Program and hopes to pursue judiciary reform, military justice, and election policy.

Jaydn Smith

Jaydn Smith

Office of U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer

From the plains of Nebraska, Jaydn grew up working on his family’s farm in Chapman, Nebraska. He received his AAS degree in welding technology before attending Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. He graduated in 2021, earning a B.A. in political science and history. Jaydn’s academic research specializes in political psychology, the history of American racial conflict, and American legal history. He worked as a welder and interned as a judicial clerk for Nebraska’s 9th Judicial District before coming to the Hill to intern for Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02), Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03), and U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (NE). Jaydn intends to gain experience working on the Hill before eventually attending law school and, one day, becoming a U.S. attorney. As a farmer and former law clerk, Jaydn is particularly interested in agricultural and judicial policy.

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith

Office of U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones

Sydney Smith is a participant in Claremont McKenna College’s Washington Program, which allows her to pursue a government and public policy dual major with a leadership sequence while completing a semester-long, full-time internship in U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones’ Washington, D.C., office. Her passion for politics and education policy was sparked as a fellow on a congressional campaign and matured through her time as an intern for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs. Sydney is excited to couple the department-level perspective with that of a House personal office. She believes the personalness of policy requires a congressperson to be in touch with their constituents and community, and she is eager to be a part of this process as an intern. After majoring in government and public policy, Sydney’s goal is to use her skills, abilities, and passion to influence policy effectively.

McKayla Steineke

McKayla Steineke

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

McKayla is a senior at Northeastern University studying international affairs & Spanish with minors in international security & Arabic. Her interest in public service stems from a young age, participating in youth leadership conferences in middle school and interning with a federal defender’s office in high school. Currently, she is an intern with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, serving on the human rights and civilian security team, where she focuses on issues related to democracy, migration and refugees, humanitarian crises, and international organizations. McKayla hopes to build upon the knowledge gained in this position to pursue a future career with the federal government, preferably in an overseas environment that would allow her to continue her passion for studying new languages and cultures. Outside of the public sector, McKayla has previously worked as an assistant teacher at Bright Horizons, an early childhood education center, inspired by her experiences volunteering at a local elementary school. After graduating in May 2022 with her B.A., McKayla will remain at Northeastern for an additional year to complete her master’s degree in security and resilience studies. In her spare time, McKayla enjoys martial arts, trying new restaurants and bakeries with friends, and, as a New Jersey native, spending time at the beach. She would like to extend a huge thank you to her office for nominating her and to the Stennis Center for hosting this exceptional program.

Jessie Xu

Jessie Xu

U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Jessie studies public policy and economics at Duke University and is particularly interested in financial regulation, urban studies, and economic justice. Jessie has researched banking discrimination with the Federal Reserve Board and now studies affordable mortgages with Self-Help Credit Union for her senior thesis. Outside policy research, she is passionate about driving private sector capital toward public mission. She oversees one of the largest undergraduate funds nationwide at Duke Impact Investing Group and advocates for economic paradigm change with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Jessie hopes to pursue a career in urban and financial law, exploring how public-private partnerships can democratize access to wealth. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and acting in her school’s monologue production.

Not Pictured

Jeremy E. Rodriguez-Melendez, Office of U.S. Rep. Don Young, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

One Research Boulevard, Ste. 104, Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409

201 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Ste. C-7, Washington, D.C. 20002 

(202) 546-1837

One Research Boulevard, Ste. 104, Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409

201 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Ste. C-7, Washington, D.C. 20002 

(202) 546-1837