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Staff

Director, Fellows and Study Groups Program

Eric Andersen became the Institute of Politics (IOP) Fellows and Study Groups Programs Director in September 2003. Andersen joined the IOP in the fall 2001 as the Fellows and Study Groups Programs Assistant. Andersen began his tenure at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 1999 as a Staff Assistant at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Media, Politics and Public Policy. He serves on the Harvard College Board of Freshmen Academic Advisors, the selection committee for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program’s “From Harvard Square to the Oval Office,” is a member of the Phillips Brooks House Summer Urban Program Auction Host Committee, and has served as a judge for the John F. Kennedy Library’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Andersen is a graduate of St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA and received a B.A. in Government and French from Skidmore College. He is currently a Master’s Degree (ALM) Candidate at the Harvard School for Continuing Education. Andersen is married to Carey Capone Andersen who is on the staff at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. They are proud parents of Liam Lincoln Andersen.

Executive Assistant to the Director

Candice Antrop joined the IOP in September 2014 as the Executive Assistant to the Director, Maggie Williams. For the past ten years Candice served as the Executive Assistant to Maggie Williams and Dr. Patrick Griffin at Griffin Williams Critical Point Management, a consulting firm that specializes in helping clients navigate challenging communications, organizational and political environments. Prior to joining Griffin Williams Candice held a management position for the Center for Hospice Care in Connecticut. A native of Mystic, Connecticut Candice now resides in Quaker Hill, Connecticut with her husband Mark.

Forum Assistant

In January, 2013, Meredith Blake began service as the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Assistant, responsible for the planning, marketing, and implementation of Forum events, including outreach and fostering co-sponsorships with interested undergraduate student groups and Harvard Kennedy School centers and recruitment. She is also responsible for the training and management of a part-time staff of College students who serve as ushers for all Forum events.

Previously, Blake served as the Institute’s Internships Assistant in 2012 supporting its Director’s Internship, HKS Campagin Stipend, Summer Stipend and Gov. 2.0 grant programs. Before joining the IOP in January 2012, Meredith worked for several Boston-based non-profits while simultaneously pursuing a BS in Political Science at Northeastern University and interning at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

She is also very afraid of snakes and spiders.

Staff Assistant / Receptionist

As the IOP's staff assistant, Kerri Collins runs the IOP's front desk/reception area, handles requests for IOP room reservations, helps staff IOP events, directs incoming phone calls, and assists the Director, Executive Director, IOP Fellows and guests. Kerri graduated with a degree in Travel and Hotel management. Prior to joining the IOP, she worked in guest relations and catering sales departments at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge for 10 years. Kerri is an active volunteer with the Boston chapters of Make a Wish Foundation and the Jimmy Fund.

Website Communications Coordinator

Daily generation and management of Institute’s web content, development, layout and design of visual and information architecture for the IOP’s web site and design of electronic and printed IOP marketing collateral. Delaney previously worked for the area’s premier regional sports channel, New England Sports Network (NESN) as a production artist creating dynamic and informative on-air graphics and design for daily and weekly original programming and collaborated and contributed to NESN design and animation projects. Delaney also previously served as a learning management systems administrator at Simmons College and as a web designer for the Boston Globe and a number of freelance clients. Delaney holds a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Boston and participated in a masters program at New York University-CADA.

Director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Carrie Devine joined Harvard’s Institute of Politics in February 2013 as the Director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Prior to joining Harvard, Ms. Devine served as Chief of Staff for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee and was Deputy COO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee. She traveled extensively from 2007-2012, serving as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s planning team for NATO and APEC, in the White House Executive Office of the President and Obama for America as an advance lead. Ms. Devine has held management roles in the software industry and with numerous events throughout her career, including three Olympic Games and two World Cups. She holds a journalism degree from Marquette University.

Director of Conferences and Special Projects

Christian Flynn is Director of Conferences and Special Projects at the IOP. In that role he is responsible for some of Harvard University's highest profile conferences and events for elected officials and political operatives, including: Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress; Campaign for President: The Managers Look at the Presidential Campaign; and IOP Director's Dinners. Flynn also works with the student’s Special Events Committee and the Harvard Political Union. Flynn has worked at Harvard since 1995 almost exclusively for the IOP. In 1994, he worked as a surrogate scheduler for Senator Kennedy during the 1994 Senate campaign and had the opportunity to work with many members of the Senator’s extended family. Flynn and his partner, Dan Schutt have a son named Derrick and live in Milton, MA.

Internships and Career Services Staff Assistant

Greg Honan joined the IOP in August 2014 as the Internships and Career Services Staff Assistant. He is a native of Wellesley, MA and a graduate of Elon University, where he studied political science, served as executive intern in the Office of the President, and founded the Politics Forum, a non-partisan political discussion group on campus. He also interned for Professor David Gergen at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and for the Elizabeth Warren for Senate campaign. As a member of the Internships and Career Services team, Greg works on the Director’s Internship Program, Stipend Program, Research Assistantship Program, Gov 2.0 Grants, Summer in Washington Program, and Career Services Program.

Director of Internships and Career Services

Amy Howell joined the IOP in August 2005. A New Hampshire native, Amy earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, Amy returned to her home state to work on the Jeanne Shaheen for Senate campaign, serving as the national travel and fundraising coordinator. Following the campaign, Amy went to Washington, DC, to work for EMILY's List as the Major Gifts Coordinator. Since April of 2007, Amy has coordinated the IOP’s Director's Internship Program, the IOP Stipend Program, Research Assistantships with the Kennedy School of Government, Gov 2.0 grants, IOP HKS Campaign Stipends, and the IOP Summer in Washington Program. Amy resides with her children - Kathryn, Huntting, and Margaret - and her husband, Carson, at Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA.

Executive Director

Catherine McLaughlin has served as the Executive Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) since 1994. McLaughlin served as the Director of Alumni Affairs and the Coordinator of the Press and Public Liaison Office at the John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1986 - 1989. She left the Kennedy School in 1989 to serve as the Tour Manager for a nationally known band, New Kids on the Block, traveling extensively in the US and across Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Over the years, Ms. McLaughin has worked on several presidential campaigns including the Vice President Mondale's campaign in 1984 and the Gov. Dukakis' campaign in 1988. Ms. McLaughlin also served as an advance person during the Clinton administration.

John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator

Cathey Park is the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator.  She is responsible for the planning, marketing, and implementation of Forum events, including outreach and fostering co-sponsorships with interested undergraduate student groups and Harvard Kennedy School centers and recruitment.  Previously, Park coordinated the Institute's "Women’s Initiative in Leadership” (WIL) created to address the interest and importance of female students at Harvard in developing leadership skills.  In addition to overseeing WIL she worked on special events and conference.  Park also served as the staff assistant in the JFK Jr. Forum Office and was responsible for student outreach, publicity, and staffing dozens of events during the academic year.   Before joining the IOP, Park worked on the staff of former Harvard Kennedy School Dean, Joseph S. Nye, Jr.  Born in Seoul Korea and raised in Portland, Oregon  Park attended Boston University and majored in Political Science. 

Director of Communications

Esten Perez joined the IOP at the end of August of 2004 as the IOP's Communications Director, responsible for communications outreach, management, and strategy. Before coming to the IOP, Perez' experience included serving as a press secretary for the 2004 Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) in Boston, as a Communications Director for the Women's United Soccer Association in Washington, D.C., and as an account executive with Fenton Communications, a D.C.-based public relations firm. Perez also served for over five years in various legislative positions on Capitol Hill for Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).

Internships and Career Services Coordinator

Sadie Polen joined the IOP in May 2013. After graduating from high school in Alaska, she spent the summer interning in the US Senate before moving to California, where she attended the University of California, Davis and spent a semester interning in the Office of the Attorney General of DC and conducting research on juvenile recidivism. After graduating, Sadie worked with children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and with youth in a state-mandated rehabilitation facility. Prior to joining the IOP, she worked at Harvard’s Center for European Studies. As part of the Internships and Career Services team, Sadie works on the Director’s Internship Program, the Stipend Program, Research Assistantship Program, Gov 2.0 Grants, the Summer in Washington Program, and the Career Services Program.

Digital Communications Strategist

Kellie Ryan joined the IOP in October, 2012 as the Institute’s Digital Communications Strategist – a new position responsible for utilizing social media and digital tools and platforms to tell compelling stories that advance communications and engagement strategies. Ryan previously worked for Simmons College where she served as a multimedia and content producer handling digital asset creation, distribution and marketing. Ryan’s experience also includes working as an associate news producer for WCAC-TV and as an account coordinator for the Albion Group handling implementation, design and strategy of client recruitment collateral and advertising. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College in the great state of Rhode Island.

Executive Assistant to the Director

Julie Schroeder, Executive Assistant to Director Trey Grayson, joined the staff of the IOP in the Fall of 2001, moving to Cambridge from Frankenmuth, Michigan. She is responsible for managing Director’s office communication & scheduling, assists with staff organization, oversees the Institute's extensive event calendar and represents the IOP on the HKS Sustainability Initiative. She also is leading the IOP's new initiative to better integrate alumni into IOP programming. Julie was a news producer back in Michigan for many years and has two grown sons, one of whom was an active student at the IOP during his days at Harvard. She is also Nana to Blake, a famous baby model in the greater NY metropolitan area.

Director of National Youth Engagement

Laura Simolaris is the Director of the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, a program that unites 23 colleges and universities around the country who are committed to creating a more civically engaged campus. One program the Campaign administers at Harvard is HVOTE, an intermural competition to register, educate and mobilze Harvard students to vote. Laura works on the Institute's Women's Initiative in Leadership (WIL) that provides workshops and discussions for a select group of undergraduate women each semester around leaderhsip and gender issues.  Additionally, Laura oversees many of our student committees including the Policy Group Program, which facilitates students conducting policy research and developing policy recommendations in a number of areas. Simolaris has been with Harvard University since 1999.  She lives in Arlington with her husband Joe, and children Joey and Elena.

Fellows and Study Groups Staff Assistant

Alysha Tierney joined the IOP in August of 2013 as the Institute’s Fellows and Study Groups Staff Assistant. In this role, she is responsible for handling logistics for guest speakers and semester long study groups; compiling evaluative data on Fellows program including study group attendance; and oversight of 30+ student liaisons for Fellows including outreach and communications regarding study groups. Previously, Tierney served as a volunteer coordinator for the American Red Cross in Dedham, MA, charged with coordination, scheduling and management of volunteer teams and team data and systems. In 2012, Tierney worked as field organizer for the Obama Campaign in Nashua, NH and later as a crowd coordinator for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee in Washington, D.C. Tierney holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Virginia.

Director of Finance and Operations

Theresa Verbic is the Institute's Director of Finance and Operations, and has been with the IOP since September 2000. Verbic has been with Harvard University for thirty plus years. Verbic began her Harvard career with the University's School of Public Health as a Financial Assistant for the School's Health Policy and Management Department. She then transitioned within the school of Public Health, moving to the School's Continuing Education Office to serve as the office's Financial Assistant.

Director of Polling

John Della Volpe is Director of Polling at the Institute of Politics and has been affiliated with the IOP since the late 1990’s. Each semester, John leads a public opinion survey group of students who develop, field and report on the attitudes of young Americans (Millennial Generation) toward politics and public service. Since 2000, the IOP survey has tracked pre- and post-9/11 attitudes; accurately predicted youth turnout since; marked the generational shift in attitudes toward foreign policy; and provided insight into the ways in which Millennials communicate and form opinions. John was honored to receive an Eisenhower Fellowship (China, Korea) in 2008 and selected as a delegate to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission on Media in 2011. In addition, John is Founder and CEO of SocialSphere, Inc. a big data and social media analytics company located in Harvard Square, Cambridge.