About Project Vote Smart
Meet Our Staff
Jessica ArrigoniNational 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."
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 VicedominiNational 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 KimballSenior 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 MagnottoAdministrative Assistant, Office Manager, National Internship Coordinator
Responsible for assisting the National Director and managing the Philipsburg, MT office. Originally from Plano, TX, Melanie recently earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a Legislative Research Intern at Project 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 GordonDevelopment and Communication Associate
Responsible for supporting membership services, assisting with the coordination of new and current outreach programs, and fulfilling material requests.
Andy SchaalmanDevelopment and Communication Associate
Jamieson BatesDevelopment and Communication Associate
Mike ShultzInformation 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 KoontzIT 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 NelsonIT Associate
Legislative Research (Key Votes)
Matthew AbelLegislative 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 KanugaLegislative 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 CalvinLegislative 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 MandelbaumLegislative 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 McNealPCT 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 DoxzonPCT 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 AcostaPCT 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."
Michael MoweryResearch 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 DurstineResearch 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."
Margaux MeyerResearch Associate
Responsible for updating the Voter's Self Defense Manual and working with Political Galaxy. Margaux 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."
Katherine MatthewsResearch 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."
Jamie WillettResearch 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."