2021 Political Science Newsletter

Message from the Chair


Eric Lawrence

Dear Political Science Alumni,

We are back! After a year and a half of remote classes and only a handful of students and faculty on campus last year, we have returned to our three-dimensional, in-person campus experience. Students started to come back to campus in mid-August, and it was fun to see the campus increasingly bustling with returning students reuniting with friends, first-year and second-year students arriving in Foggy Bottom for the first time and long lines again at the GW Deli.

This semester, GW celebrated its bicentennial anniversary, and I enjoyed meeting our alumni and parents of current students. The celebration marked a positive step in our return to an in-person student experience. One thing that continued was the ongoing success of our students and faculty, which we detail in this newsletter.

As Bruce Dickson noted in the last newsletter, I began serving as chair on July 1. Bruce is a tough act to follow, but he left the department in good shape. We have a terrific staff to help keep things running smoothly, and we managed a smooth transition in leadership. We always enjoy hearing from alumni, and if you would like to get involved with the department by providing career advice to current students or recent graduates, please send me a note at [email protected].


Eric Lawrence
Department Chair

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Department Spotlights

Welcome New Faculty: Andrew Ifedapo Thompson



Andrew Thompson

Andrew Ifedapo Thompson

We are pleased to welcome to the Department of Political Science Assistant Professor of Political Science Andrew Ifedapo Thompson. Dr. Thompson’s areas of expertise include American politics, political psychology, public opinion, race and politics and experimental methods. 

Dr. Thompson received his bachelor’s in political science and philosophy at Marquette University, and his PhD at Northwestern University. This semester, he is teaching an intro to American politics and government course (1002) and a course on the politics of racial demographic change (3500).

Dr. Thompson was inspired to become a political science professor because he found himself captivated by how people think about politics—what motivates their views, how they change and how they stay the same. His lifelong dream has been the process of studying political attitudes, analyzing them and presenting what he finds to fellow scholars and students. Dr. Thompson thinks that one of the most effective methods for students to become active learners is to ask good, pointed questions. Although, he understands that it is an incredibly hard skill to develop and it is often taken for granted. Students can glean so much from the world by interrogating it actively and openly with inquiry. Dr. Thompson believes it requires humility to do this, but finds it to be a great virtue to develop in learning. 

Professor Thompson says that he was most excited about getting to know his colleagues in the Political Science Department, all of the interesting things that his students are doing and living in D.C. He believes that the city is incredibly vibrant and that he has only scratched the surface of all of the things that are possible in D.C. Dr. Thompson stated that, “on D.C. specifically, a few things I’m still trying to wrap my head around are go-go, Nike boots, Wale and mumbo sauce. I’m not trying to say I don’t get them but… I don’t get them.”

First Gen-Students Graduate with Pride



More than 300 first-generation students earned their degrees from GW this past spring, including political science major Kristy Pham.

Kristy, who arrived on campus from Houston and joined a community of students who think seriously about changing the world, was profiled in GWToday.


Kristy Pham


Kristy Pham

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Alumni Class Notes




  • Sultan Alamer, MA ’14, MA ’17, published in April 2021 "Biden and the War in Yemen: The Larger Context of the Shifts in the American Position” with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and "Deploying Authority: Saudi Arabia and Egypt Strive to Respond to COVID-19" with the ​​American Political Science Association–Middle East and North Africa.
  • Kynda Alzoubi, BA ’21, is an insurance broker and risk advisor in D.C at MarshMcLennan, the world's largest insurance brokerage firm. She hopes to specialize in political and multinational risk.
  • Samer Anabtawi, MA ’18, published "Palestine’s Emerging National Movement: 'Questions On My Mind'" with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in June 2021.
  • Francis Anderson, BA ’95, works for Ellorenz Records as a lead actor, and producer, and is shooting their first full-feature, a comedic superhero origin movie titled Lion of Judah Legacy, in the Washington-Metro area. 
  • Omar Ashmawy, BA ’97, JD ’00, is the staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the U.S. House of Representatives' independent ethics office. He recently marked his tenth year as head of the OCE.
  • Gyungmin Bae, BA ’21, is a risk and compliance analyst at a due diligence company based in Washington, D.C.
  • Andrew Bates, BA ’71, believes his political science work at GW was a perfect stepping stone for his career as an international disaster planner.
  • Isaac Borenstein, BA ’72, is teaching two courses this fall as a lecturer in law at the Boston University School of Law. He continues with a busy mediation and arbitration practice at TMG (The Mediation Group) in Brookline, Mass., and handles the occasional criminal case.
  • Erik Bottcher, BA ’01, won the Democratic primary to be the next New York City Council Member for District 3, which includes the neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen.
  • Ryan Brenner, BA ’13, is starting a new position at ME&A, Inc., an international development firm based in the Washington, D.C., area. She is providing innovative solutions for economic development and social progress in more than 80 countries.
  • Raven Burnett, BA ’11, is in her final year of law school at the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Previously, she worked at Moody's Investors Service as an associate analyst.
  • Gary Carlton, BA ’76, practiced law for 39 years after graduating from GW. He has been a judge since 2019.
  • Nick Carr, BA ’16, advises political candidates, campaigns and advocacy groups on all things political as a senior strategist at The Lukens Company in D.C. Previously, he worked on Capitol Hill as the director of special projects for his hometown congressman.
  • Narciso Castaneda, BA ’81, is the assistant secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is the former ambassador of the Philippines to the Sultanate of Oman. 
  • Nicole Cennamo, BA ’21, is pursuing her MA in politics and education at Columbia University. She is currently working for the New York State Department of Education, the Community College Research Center and Barnard College Events Management.
  • Joseph Cerrone, MA ’20, was awarded the Best Paper Prize by the Transnational Memory and Identity Research Network at the 2021 Conference for European Studies. He was also awarded the 2020-21 Best WID TA Award, received a Centennial Center Research Grant from the American Political Science Association in August 2021, and published "Ranked-Choice Voting, Runoff, and Democracy: Insights from Maine and Other U.S. States" with Dr. Cynthia McClintock in February 2021 on the New America website. 
  • Roy Chernus, BA ’75, is in his tenth year as a superior court judge in Marin County, Calif. He has been happily married for 43 years to Renee Chernus with two married sons and three delightful grandchildren.
  • Sandon Cohen, BA ’82, retired in 2015 after nearly 30 years practicing law.
  • Lawrence Culleen, BA ’79, JD ’82,worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a manager in various chemicals-regulatory programs before entering private practice in Arnold & Porter's D.C. offices.
  • Jennifer Davis, MPhil ’10, PhD ’11, served as a member at large on the Executive Committee for ISA from 2018-2020, and is currently working on a book exploring the spread of negative norms in the international community.
  • Kathleen Dolan, BA ’73, MPA ’82, recently retired from the U.S. government, but remains very active working on international standards and standardization. She currently chairs two committees at the International Organization for Standardization.
  • Bill Dugan, BA ’19, works fulltime in marketing and copywriting for digital magazine and newsletter publishing ventures. 
  • Lillian Frost, MA ’16, PhD '20, received the "Best Dissertation" award from the American Political Science Association Middle East and North Africa Politics section in June 2021. She was also awarded a Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship and stipend for her dissertation, “Beyond Citizenship: Protracted Refugees and the State,” from the U.S. Institute of Peace.
  • Amanda Fugazy, BA ’95, is married to her college sweetheart, fellow GW alumnus Scott Brennan, BBA ’95. They have two daughters and live in Glen Cove, NY. Amanda is a partner at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole LLP in New York City and is head of its Labor & Employment group.
  • Jesus Garcia, BA ’21, is now working for the Court of Appeals of Virginia. He also coaches youth soccer for FC Richmond.
  • Vicki Gaul, BA ’84, was thrilled to participate in GW’s commencement on the National Mall with her husband, Richard Weitzner, for their son, Aaron Weitzner, MA ’21, who graduated from the Elliott School's MA program in international affairs.
  • Fatema Ghasletwala, BA ’16, graduated cum laude from Temple University Beasley School of Law in May 2021. Fatema passed the Pennsylvania Bar Exam and is now working as an associate in the Intellectual Property & Technology group at Blank Rome, LLP in Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Laurie Gibbons, BA ’00, is clerking for New York State Court of Appeals Judge Madeline Singas. She lives with her husband and four daughters on Long Island.
  • Chad Gilmartin, BA ’19, served as the special assistant to President Donald J. Trump and was the principal assistant press secretary under White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. He is currently deputy spokesman to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
  • Nicole Goins, BA ’19, began her career at the U.S. Department of Justice as an investigative researcher, specializing in consumer fraud targeting the elderly. She recently joined a cutting edge team of investigative research analysts at Dun & Bradstreet.
  • Danielle Gonzales, BA ’01, is running for school board in Albuquerque, N.M. She spent her entire career in education. She is a parent/guardian to four school-age children and is eager to bring her experience and perspective to the district.
  • Bill Gralnick, BA '65, MA '68, wrote George Washington Never Slept Here.
  • Elizabeth Grasmeder, MA ’16, MPhil ’18, PhD ’20, published, "Leaning on Legionnaires: Why Modern States Recruit Foreign Soldiers" in the summer of 2021 edition of International Security
  • Lukas Grund, BA ’18, lives in Washington, D.C., where he works in the government affairs shop at the Cato Institute.
  • Simone Haugen, BA ’16, is a practicing attorney in Chicago.
  • Harry Heckel, BA ’67, used his political science training every day and retired from the state of Virginia as a computer programmer and systems analyst. Harry has written several philosophy books and currently resides outside of Richmond, Va.




  • Michael Henrich, BA ’06, joined public relations agency Arch Street Communications, as director of public engagement after a 15-year Emmy Award-winning journalism career. He also founded the media training consultancy Henrich Communications, LLC.
  • John Holder, MA ’90, MPhil ’93, spent more than 20 years teaching political science at Winthrop University in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C.
  • Donald Jacobs, BA ’73, completed 21 years as a municipal management consultant after 20 years as a town manager in Massachusetts. His focus is compensation: employee performance management and classification and compensation.
  • Alicia Jones, BA ’99, is a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, where her practice focuses on international trademark enforcement and portfolio management. She is the mother of two girls and resides in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Aliya Kaimoldinova, BA ’10, is a Chevening Scholar at the London School of Economics. She works as the head of the global relations office at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan.
  • Daniel Kassl, BA ’21, works in litigation support for Sidley Austin LLP, one of the most renowned litigation firms in the world.
  • Craig Kauffman, PhD ’12, published his second book through MIT Press: The Politics of Rights of Nature: Strategies for Building a More Sustainable Future. He also received a $100,000 grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for his current research.
  • Kendrick Kuo, BA ’11, MPhil ’19, PhD '21, was awarded the World Politics & Statecraft Fellowship grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation.
  • Ryan LeCloux, BA ’10, is a legislative analyst with the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, where he conducts research and analysis on policy issues, laws, and legislation for the Wisconsin legislature.
  • Evan Magallanes, BA ’21, attends the University of Texas, Austin, at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, pursuing a master’s degree in Public Affairs. He also serves as a graduate research assistant with the Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute.
  • Max McGowen, BA ’11, MPS ’12, is an operations manager at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. As the world's largest community foundation, the philanthropic organization is a catalyst for change in key issue areas that it has identified as most pressing in Silicon Valley.
  • Shannon McQueenMA ’19, PhD ’21, published “Pipeline or Pipedream: Gender Balance Legislation’s Effect on Women’s Presence in State Government” in the 2021 State Politics & Policy Quarterly
  • Bryce Mendez, BA ’08, MPH ’10, recently returned to GW as a first year student in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. 
  • Christopher Myers, BA ’84, is a strategic marketing consultant, adjunct marketing professor at the University of Memphis, innovator of the special needs platform called REABILITY and author of six books with two more near completion.
  • Jonathon Myers, BA ’92, retired after 28 years as a Marine Corps intelligence officer, culminating as the director of regional intelligence support to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He recently published American to the Corps, a memoir of service.
  • William Olewiler, BA ’66, continues testing the Pfizer COVID vaccine. He also leads communion and preaches every first Sunday at an independent congregation in Florida.
  • Brandon Ona, BA ’16, is the director of business services for the Technical College System of Georgia. He leads Georgia's efforts to promote workforce development programs and registered apprenticeships.
  • Sean O'Neil, BA ’21, is a legislative assistant at the National Grange.
  • Michael Orenstein, BA ’79, completed his 36th year in private practice of state and federal criminal defense.
  • Devan Patel, BA ’16, joined D.C.-based Allegiance Strategies LLC as counsel and senior director of legal affairs, where he oversees advocacy efforts and legislative drafting for clients across the political spectrum in LGBT rights, religious liberty and immigration.
  • Nicholas Prendergast, BA ’19, is graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in May 2022, and then is returning to Washington, D.C., to become a litigation associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
  • Michael Purzycki, BA ’08, is a technical writer on a federal contract. He also writes extensively on politics and national security, including a prize-winning 2020 essay on energy security.
  • Adam Ramey, BA ’04, is a tenured associate professor and head of the political science program at New York University Abu Dhabi.
  • Aparna Ravi, PhD ’21, accepted an assistant professor position at University College London.
  • Patrick Jay Realiza, BA ’11, was appointed chair of the GW Asian and Pacific Islander Alumni Network in July 2021.
  • James Rowe, BA ’07, is a third-year J.D. candidate at Cornell Law School. His immediate plans include matriculating into a doctoral program in political science and joining the world of academia.
  • Rosalie Rubio, MA ’18, published, "A Coup in Jordan? Why Even Fabricated Plots Matter," on the Political Violence at a Glance website in April 2021 and "Jordan’s King Abdullah, feeling the squeeze from within — and without" on the Responsible Statecraft website in June 2021.
  • Diana Santillán, BA ’94, MA ’98, MA ’06, MPhil ’07, is a senior gender advisor for the Office of Population and Reproductive Health in the Bureau for Global Health at the United States Agency for International Development.
  • Ethan Shuchart, BA ’20, is a second-year (2L) student at the GW Law School, where he is focusing on business law and litigation.
  • Sam Stroud, BA ’20, teaches English at a public middle school in South Korea.
  • Borui Sun, BA ’18, received her Master of Public Policy degree last summer and works at the World Bank as a research associate on its Development Impact Evaluation team.
  • Sarah Taub, BA ’20, is finishing her second year of her master’s degree at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, while currently interning with the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Kevin Tierney, BA ’09, is a regional organizer for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, helping advocate for educators by causing “good trouble' throughout the northeast. He and his wife, Kristin, and their two sons, Brendan and Sean, are enjoying life living in the Merrimack Valley region.
  • Amanda Ussak, BA ’10, joined the Montgomery County Innovation Team as a civic designer to bring a human-centered approach to county services.
  • Julian Waller, BA ’13, MA ’16, assisted in publishing, “Mobilization Mass Perceptions and (Dis) information: ‘New’ and ‘Old’ Media Consumption Patterns and Protest,” in the April 2021 edition of Social Media + Society.
  • Brian Washburn, BA ’97, along with classmate Tim Waxenfelter, BA ’97, launched a corporate training and e-learning development company in 2015. Brian's first book, What's Your Formula: Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training, was released in the summer of 2021.
  • Danielle Wilkerson, BA ’02, is taking a career hiatus to attend law school, after spending nearly two decades working on political campaigns as well as advocacy and representational work for labor unions. 
  • William Winther, BA ’10, is lives in Los Angeles and works with elite musicians and YouTuber talents to scale their businesses.
  • Cora Wolfinger, BA ’20, completed a service term with AmeriCorps in New York and started law school in Philadelphia.

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Faculty Kudos


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