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About Project Vote Smart

Meet Our Staff

Administration

Jessica Arrigoni
Jessica Arrigoni
National Board Chair

Responsible for Vote Smart's National Board. Jessica has a master's in political science from Truman State University and formerly served as the Director of Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

Fun Fact: "I lived in Vote Smart's only cabin without running water for two years."
Richard Kimball
Richard Kimball
President

Responsible for fundraising and the integrity of Board-approved policies and standards. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Richard served on the staffs of Congressman Morris K. Udall, Senator Walter F. Mondale, and Senator Daniel P. Moynihan. He is also a former Arizona State Senator and Corporation Commissioner.

Fun Fact: Has a world class collection of Daffy Ducks
Kristen Vicedomini
Kristen Vicedomini
National Director

Responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, facilities and administration. A graduate of New York University, Kristen previously led the organization's Political Courage Test department and Research department before being named National Director in 2010.

Fun Fact: "I was born during a hurricane."
Adelaide Kimball
Adelaide Kimball
Senior Advisor, Founding Board Member

Responsible for Major Giver Development and Media. Adelaide is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds master's degrees in American history and library science from the University of Arizona. She is a former archivist for the Arizona Historical Society and has previously directed Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

Fun Fact: Former Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award winner
Melanie Magnotto
Melanie Magnotto
Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, National Internship Coordinator

Responsible for assisting the National Director, managing the Philipsburg, MT office, and coordinating the National Internship Program. Melanie is originally from Plano, TX. She recently received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a Legislative Research Intern at Vote Smart's Austin office in 2012 and joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I was a ballerina for 14 years."

Development and Communications

Stephen Van Gordon
Stephen Van Gordon
Development and Communication Associate

Responsible for supporting membership services, assisting with the coordination of new and current outreach programs, and fulfilling material requests. Stephen hails from northern New Jersey. He attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, where he majored in History and Political Science.

Andy Schaalman
Andy Schaalman
Development and Communication Associate

Responsible for managing donor databases, processing incoming donations, handling member inquiries, and occasionally assisting with media and organizational outreach. Andy hails from near Boston, MA where he cultivated his love for the Sox and incessantly quoting "Good Will Hunting" and "The Departed." He received his B.A. at Stonehill College and M.A. in International Relations at American University prior to joining Vote Smart in 2014.

Fun Fact: "Major League Baseball went on strike in observance of my birth."
Jamieson Bates
Jamieson Bates
Development and Communication Associate

Jamieson is from North Brunswick, NJ and graduated from Clemson University in 2013 where he studied Financial Management. He completed the National Internship Program in summer 2014 then joined Vote Smart staff shortly after.

Fun Fact: "In 2012, my year had 367 days!"
Margaux Meyer
Margaux Meyer
Media/Communications Associate

Responsible for communication operations, including social media presence, the Common Ground E-Newsletter, and publicizing Vote Smart. Margaux also served as the editor of the 2014 Voter's Self Defense Manual. She recently graduated from Truman State University where she earned a B.S. in Political Science. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she joined Project Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I played the accordion for 10 years."

Great Divide Ranch Headquarters

Abigail Adams and POTUS
Abigail Adams and POTUS

Abigail Adams and POTUS are two young St. Bernards who spend their days sleeping and shedding in the office. POTUS is responsible for making sure everyone is sufficiently loved and sniffed while Abigail Adams is a part-time Tennis Ball Manager.

Fun Fact: Abigail: "I once barked for a full hour at a stranger. He turned out to be a long time staff member." POTUS: "I once drank water without spilling it everywhere."
Franklin the Cat
Franklin the Cat

Franklin is an orange tabby cat who can be heard meowing across the ranch. He spends his days hunting mice and begging for cat food. He can use a cat door but refuses. Each evening he can be found laying in the hallway, soliciting mealtime company.

Fun Fact: "I have 50 assassinations according to the white board in the lodge."

Information Technology

Mike Shultz
Mike Shultz
Information Technology Director

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Mike has been with Project Vote Smart since 2007.

Fun Fact: "I once pet a sting ray."
Brian Koontz
Brian Koontz
Information Technology Associate

Responsible for ongoing website and internal application development, systems administration, and staff/intern IT support. Brian is most lately from the Dallas, TX area. He earned an MS degree in computer science from University of Texas at Tyler. Brian joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I used to be an air traffic controller."
Colin Nelson
Colin Nelson
Web Developer

Responsible for website development, design, and user experience. Originally from Delhi, NY, Colin received his B.S. in Information Technology and New Media from Rochester Institute of Technology. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I know how to hypnotize a lobster."

Legislative Research (Key Votes)

Matthew Abel
Matthew Abel
Legislative Research Director

Responsible for managing the Legislative Research department which produces summaries of major legislation and operates an internship program throughout the year at the University of Texas at Austin. Matt previously worked in the Texas House of Representatives and for a healthcare consulting firm. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he received his bachelor's in Public Affairs from Indiana University in 2010.

Fun Fact: "I helped tackle Mark Cuban in an IU Alumni rugby match."
Dilip Kanuga
Dilip Kanuga
Legislative Research Manager

Responsible for tracking major legislation in multiple states in addition to writing and revising comprehensive summaries of legislation. Dilip graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Government & History in May 2013. He previously worked in the Texas House of Representatives, the Jamail Center for Legal Research at the UT Law Library, and as an undergraduate research fellow in the J.J. Pickle Research Apprenticeship Program.

Fun Fact: "Steve Perry once bought me an iPod."
Taylor Calvin
Taylor Calvin
Legislative Research Associate

Responsible for tracking major legislation in multiple states in addition to writing and revising comprehensive summaries of legislation. Taylor is a native of Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A in Government in May 2013. She previously worked for the State of Texas, as well as the public policy departments of the American Society of Association Executives in Washington, D.C. and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers in Austin.

Fun Fact: "I was a Scottish highland dancer in high school."
Esther Mandelbaum
Esther Mandelbaum
Legislative Research Associate

Responsible for tracking major legislation in multiple states in addition to writing and revising comprehensive summaries of legislation. Esther previously worked as an undergraduate intern for Project Vote Smart and as an assistant for the University of Texas Division of Housing and Food Services. She was part of the Jefferson Scholars Program and graduated with a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013.

Political Courage Test

Abby McNeal
Abby McNeal
PCT Director

Responsible for overseeing all major PCT projects including the creation, finalization, and administration of the PCT as well as VoteEasy. Abby is originally from Chapel Hill, NC and graduated from North Carolina State University in 2013 with a degree in Political Science. She joined Project Vote Smart in 2014.

Sam Doxzon
Sam Doxzon
PCT Associate

Responsible for corresponding with candidates regarding the Political Courage Test and VoteSmart.org as well as assisting with other PCT department projects, including candidate research and quality control. After growing up on a small farm in rural Maryland, Sam attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he received a degree in Government & Politics. He joined Project Vote Smart in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I began my college career as an Astrophysics major at Connecticut College."
Andrea Acosta
Andrea Acosta
PCT Associate

Responsible for Quality Control in the PCT Department and ensuring that all candidate lists are accurate and up-to-date. Originally from Houston, Texas, Andrea recently graduated from Stanford University with a BA in English and Philosophy. She joined Vote Smart staff immediately afterwards.

Fun Fact: "I'm an Anglophile who hates British food with a passion."
James Aughenbaugh
James Aughenbaugh
PCT Associate

Responsible for assisting with various tasks in the PCT Department. James was born in Utah and raised in Raleigh, NC. After going to school for Architecture, he graduated from North Carolina State University with bachelors degrees in Political Science and Sociology. James completed Vote Smart's National Internship Program during the summer of 2014 and joined staff shortly afterwards.

Fun Fact: "I love music and play a variety of instruments, primarily violin."

Research

Michael Mowery
Michael Mowery
Research Director

Responsible for leading the Research department which researches and maintains the organization's biographical, campaign finance, public statements, and interest group ratings information on all U.S. elected officials and candidates. Michael is originally from University Park, MD and is a graduate of St. John's College, Annapolis where he studied Philosophy and the History of Math and Science. He joined our staff in 2013 and has previously served as the Public Statements Program Manager and Lodge Manager.

Fun Fact: "I'm terrible at keeping secrets."
Leisha Durstine
Leisha Durstine
Research Associate and Lodge Manager

Responsible for updating public statements and speeches of public officials in addition to supervising related intern work. Leisha also contributes to updating social media content. In addition to her Research Department duties, Leisha also manages and maintains operations and volunteer life at Vote Smart's Great Divide Ranch. Originally from Pennsylvania, Leisha graduated from Chatham University in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. She joined Project Vote Smart as a staff member in 2014 immediately after completing an internship with the organization.

Fun Fact: "Once I lost a spelling bee by misspelling the word failure."
Katherine Matthews
Katherine Matthews
Research Associate

Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Also handles user feedback emails and intern hotline training. Katherine is originally from Orange County, CA and graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2013 with a degree in Political Science. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014 after completing the National Internship Program.

Fun Fact: "I'm allergic to Penicillin."
Colin Colby
Colin Colby
Research Associate

Responsible for managing the 2014 Vote Easy project. Colin received his B.A. from St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM. He received his M.A. through the Eastern Classics Program at St. John's College as well. Colin began at Vote Smart as an intern in 2014 and joined staff shortly after.

Fun Fact: "November 30, my birthday, also happens to be the date of the Sylacauga meteorite's descent, which is one of only three documented cases of an extraterrestrial object striking a person."
Jamie Willett
Jamie Willett
Research Associate

Responsible for collecting biographical information of all candidates and elected officials. Jamie is originally from Wayne County, PA. She graduated from Lock Haven University with degrees in Political Science and International Studies with concentrations in International Relations and Human Geography. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I own over 40 pairs of Converse."
Savannah Nguli
Savannah Nguli
Research Associate

Responsible for tracking and updating ballot measures, voter registration, local election offices, and city and county officials. Originally from Long Beach, CA, Savannah attended Norwich University in Northfield, VT where she received her degree in International Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "My favorite hockey team is the Montreal Canadiens."
Micah Benson
Micah Benson
Research Associate

Responsible for managing the “Political Galaxy” project, linking our data through categorization and tagging, and updating the biographic profiles of candidates and elected officials. Micah is originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming. He graduated from Doane College in Crete, NE where he studied International Studies, German, Political Science, History, and Spanish. He attended graduate school at New Mexico State University where he studied Government and International Relations. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I like turtles."
Emily Fendler
Emily Fendler
Research Associate

Responsible for assisting with various projects in the Research Department. Emily is originally from South Orange, NJ. She graduated from Goucher College with degrees in Sociology and Women's Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.

Fun Fact: "I have ridden an elephant and a camel but never a horse."
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