2017 American Politics DC Winter Seminar Students

Cara Alcorn '18
My name is Cara Alcorn and I am from Ashburn, Va. I have wanted to come to W&M since the 1st grade and I am so happy to be at my dream school! I am currently a junior and plan on majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Public Health. In addition to being a member of Kappa Delta sorority, I am involved with the Public Health Brigades. Every spring break, we go to Honduras and complete public health projects. I am an avid runner and love being outside. Some fun facts about her are: I ran a half marathon at midnight in Iceland over the summer and I have a pet hedgehog! 
Samantha Cohen '17

Samantha Cohen is a senior at the college majoring in Accounting with a Finance concentration. Samantha grew up in Evanston, Illinois but currently resides in Naples, Florida where she spent two summers interning with a professional hockey team. This past summer Samantha interned at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Miami and plans to pursue her CPA after graduation. She looks forward to being able to study American politics in the capital and to learn how government regulation will affect her future career in the world of accounting and finance. 

Michael Donato '18

Michael Donato is a history major at the College of William & Mary from Spotsylvania, Virginia. He has served the National Park Service at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Colonial National Historical Park, and Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. In his spare time, Michael serves in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and as a National Weather Service SKYWARN spotter. Michael's goal is to continue to serve the people of the United States in his career.

Jesse Ernest '19

Jesse is a sophomore at the College of William & Mary pursuing a major in Government and Business, with an interest in law. On campus he is involved in College Partnership for kids, a local nonprofit working with local middle schoolers with severe disabilities, Club Soccer and Young Democrats. This summer he volunteered for the Democratic Party. His interest in lobbying stems from assisting a professor with research focused on lobbying efforts by the Republic of Georgia here in the U.S. A resident of Vienna, VA, he is excited to explore the academic and professional world of D.C.

Jay Feyeraband '19

Jay Feyerabend is a sophomore at the College pursuing a major in History. This past year, Jay worked as a field director for Benny Zhang’s city council campaign in Williamsburg and is excited to continue to explore American Democracy in DC this winter. On campus, Jay is currently serving on the executive board for both the club Tennis and Golf teams as well as being an active member in Greek Life. 

Elena Gaffney '19

Elena is a sophomore who will most likely be pursuing a Government major and Public Health minor, with a concentration in Hispanic Studies, and is really interested in sexual health on a national policy level. She is a native of New Rochelle, NY and was lucky to be an intern for New Rochelle mayor Noam Bramson. On campus, she is captain of the William & Mary Running Club, is a sister in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, and is a SPAN Peer Mentor at the Center for Student Diversity. She is passionate about running, baking, and drinking good coffee with good friends at Aroma's, and is extremely excited to be a DC Winter Seminar student. She is looking forward to spending time studying in DC to study American Politics and meet some incredible people.

Alyssa Grzesiak '20

Alyssa, a freshman at the College, is a prospective business marketing major with a concentration in business management and a minor in Hispanic studies. She is a sports and business intern for the Flat Hat here on campus. Back home in northern Virginia, Alyssa has been a volunteer youth volleyball coach for the past four years, was a member of a small jazz ensemble, and was a co-founder of her high school’s Writing Center. In her free time, she loves to sing, play volleyball, and write. Alyssa looks forward to getting hands on experience in the Washington, D.C. area and learning more about the inner workings of our country’s political system. 

Henry Han '20

Henry Han is a sophomore leaning towards Chemistry and Accounting double major. He was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, “the city of Heaven” as described by Marco Polo. He is an RA and working in Professor Young’s research lab while inhaling delicious chemicals. During his free time, he loves playing ping pong, strumming guitar, swimming, and travelling. He recently fell in love with theater and literary journalism after spending the past summer at Columbia University and he hopes to fall in love with politics after the DC winter seminar. He is also working hard to achieve his goal before graduation: travelling to all five communist countries in the world.

Rebekah Harris '17

Rebekah is a senior at the College of William & Mary majoring in English. She spent the summer studying abroad at the University of Cambridge, where she had the opportunity to speak to many locals about the United Kingdom’s recent decision to leave the European Union and, in return, was bombarded with questions regarding Donald Trump. Her experience abroad fueled her interest in American politics and foreign affairs. On campus, Rebekah is an editorial member of the literary magazine “The Gallery” and is a committed blood donor for the American Red Cross. In her free time, she enjoys leading zipline tours in Harpers Ferry and reading outside with her dog Bronson. 

CeCe Hess '18
Luke Hogg '19

Luke is a sophomore at the College, majoring in Government. His goal is to pursue a carrier in either the public sector, working in domestic policy, or in the private sector as a federal consultant. On campus, Luke is the Historian of the Kappa Alpha Order and works as a research assistant for Dr. Jeffrey Kaplow in the Government Department. He plays banjo and guitar as part of the College’s Appalachian Music Ensemble and enjoys spending his summers in the mountains as a backpacking guide in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. Luke regularly spends his time enjoying the College Woods and Lake Matoaka with friends, along with playing board games and binge watching the latest season of Family Guy. Luke is especially excited to have the opportunity to spend time in the nation’s capitol while learning about some of the most pressing and least discussed issues with our government.

Adam Illowsky '18
Erin Johnson '19
Monique Johnson '19

My name is Monique Johnson and I am a sophomore from Alexandria, Virginia.  I intend to major in Public Policy.  My extra curricular activities include being a Resident Assistant, membership in Circle K International, and membership in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  I am very excited about participating in this program.  I love Washington DC and the workings of the American Government and I am excited to learn more about the roles of government.

Andrew Kett '19
Kathleen Martin '19

Kathleen is a Sophomore at The College of William & Mary, and is planning to major in Government and minor in History. On campus she is involved in the Admissions Office as a Tribe Ambassador, and is a new member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Kathleen is very involved in helping to build confident young women through Girl Scouts and her sorority’s philanthropy “Girls on the Run”. She is from Arlington, VA and is looking forward to both taking classes in the Washington Office, and meeting with a variety of individuals/groups that work in DC. 

Milka Mered '20

Milka Mered is a freshman pursuing Public Policy as a major while minoring in Spanish. She is a proud native of northern Virginia. As a senior in high school, Milka found an interest in improving policymaking regarding gender equality and mental health issues. While Milka finds a strong interest in issues regarding gender equality and mental health issues, she also values cultural identity and sisterhood, as seen in her participation in the African Cultural Society, as well as the female mentorship program “Pearls of Great Price” sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Milka is also a  PLUS Scholar and hall representative in Jefferson Hall. She is very excited to participate in this year’s DC Winter Seminar because she believes that the American Politics course will be her opportunity to understand where government draws the line in which it serves the people and when it serves itself. Milka hopes that by studying in DC, she will be able to pursue her dreams of becoming a policymaker in government in the interests of gender and mental health.

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson '17
Anna Nicholson '17

Anna is a Senior at the College of William & Mary from Burkes Garden, Virginia, majoring in English. She is excited to join the Winter Seminar in exploring the different facets of the federal government in DC. After graduation, she plans to enter the workforce while working towards law school. Her time studying abroad at the University of Exeter has led her to pursue a career with a more international focus, hopefully in the field of law. On campus, she works for the Historic Campus as a proctor and tour guide in the Wren Building, and has completed and presented two independent research projects as a Monroe Scholar. In her free time, she enjoys both playing and listening to music, reading, and traveling.  

Tori Reese '20

 Tori is a freshman at the College and is planning on double majoring in Computational and Applied Math with a focus in statistics and Government. Tori’s hometown in Winchester, VA, but she absolutely adores the city of DC. She hopes to work as a policy analyst for health policy one day and is eager to learn about the relationship between the government and the citizens because it is such a critical factor in making and analyzing policy. Around campus, Tori is a member of the Debate Society, Team Blitz, which is a competitive running club, Project Phoenix, a tutoring organization, and the Public Health Brigades. When she’s back home, Tori enjoys cooking, bonding with family, and coaching for a local swim team. You can almost never find Tori sitting down as she loves all activity from running, to swimming and biking. Tori is very excited to spend part of her break studying the government in DC. 

Kylie Rose '18

I am currently a Junior majoring in Kinesiology with a premed concentration. I was born and raised in Stafford, Virginia and I spend a lot of my free time exploring Washington D.C. - particularly Nationals Park, with a W-shaped pretzel in hand. This past summer I began working as an EMT in the emergency department in Richmond and as a Scribe for physicians and mid-level providers in Hampton and Newport News.  I have a dog and two cats, one of which is severely overweight despite dieting efforts.  I enjoy hiking, beach adventures, and activities outside my comfort zone. I look forward to continuing that tradition by studying representative government in D.C. this winter.

Aaron Spitler '19

Aaron Spitler is a sophomore at the college majoring in Anthropology with a focus on cross-cultural communication. Aaron is currently secretary of J Street U and writes for the William & Mary Policy Review. His passion for understanding people has taken him around the world, as he most recently spent the summer teaching English to Arab and Jewish youth in Jerusalem. He looks forward to learning more about the political power of diversity and how it shapes the community we all share.

Stephanie Tabash
My name is Stephanie Tabash and I am a sophomore at the College. I am excited to participate in the DC Seminar program (American Politics) because not only do I find the topic very intriguing, especially during this election season, but I am also a multi-cultural child. My mother is from Haiti, with roots in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. My father is half Colombian and half Palestinian. Coming from this diverse background and having lived in Amman, Jordan for 3 and a half years, I welcome the opportunity to enrich myself with more knowledge. These experiences have allowed me to see events in multiple perspectives. Therefore, I look forward to seeing how American politics is viewed from different angles and how my personal experience can contribute!
Allison Thibault '19

Allie is a sophomore at William & Mary majoring in Government and minoring in Business Analytics.  Allie is currently involved in the International Relations Club and is directing a historical committee on the League of Nations for the WMHSMUN conference this fall, being a member the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, writing for Tribe Attache, and working at the student recreation center as a lifeguard.  Between classes and other activities Allie enjoys walking in Colonial Williamsburg, petting dogs, and drinking coffee with friends at the Daily Grind on campus.  She is super excited to explore DC and to have the opportunity to study in the nation’s capital. 

Forrest Via '17

Forrest Via is a senior at the College pursuing a major in government.  He is a native of Williamsburg, Virginia and graduated from Jamestown High School.  This past summer he interned in U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office on Capitol Hill.  Forrest participates in the Appalachian Music Ensemble on campus and studies mandolin.  He is planning on going to law school after graduating from William & Mary and enjoys music, reading, and being outdoors.  He is excited to spend time in D.C. this winter and learning more about the implications of interest groups and policymaking.