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
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
Walker McKusickInterim National Director
Responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, facilities and administration. Walker is originally from Charlottesville, VA. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with degrees in History and Economics. After graduation, he taught History and Politics in England for one year. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: "I've scored cricket for the Royal Household at Windsor, for a spot of tea."
Ashley KranerAdministrative Assistant, Office Manager, National Internship Coordinator
Responsible for assisting the National Director, managing the Philipsburg, MT office, and coordinating the National Internship Program, including outreach, recruitment, travel coordination and intern placement. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Public Relations from Otterbein University and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.
Development and Communications
Melisa ObertiInterim Development and Communications Director
Responsible for handling outgoing communications and donations. Melisa is originally from Houston, Texas. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.
Cassie ReedDevelopment and Communications Assistant
Responsible for handling outgoing/ online communications and donations. Cassie is originally from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in communications from Penn State University in December 2015. She worked as a Vote Smart intern during summer 2015, and joined the team as staff in April 2016.Fun Fact: I worked at a dog kennel for 5 years when I was in high school.
Great Divide Ranch Headquarters
Erik DewingMaintenance Assistant
Responsible for maintaining the Great Divide Ranch property. Erik was born and raised in Missoula, MT. He is a self-proclaimed "jack of all trades and a master of some." He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: "I will never purchase an item or product if I posses the skills to make it myself."
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."
Shane CourtneySystems Administrator
Travis FlattFront End Developer
Responsible for web and mobile development. Travis lives in and works remotely from San Antonio, TX.
His first programming experience was in BASIC on a Commodore 64.
Adrian SonnenscheinIT Associate
Responsible for web development and maintenance. Adrian lives in and works remotely from Tucson, AZ. He has an M.S. in geographic information systems from the University of Arizona. Adrian joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.Fun Fact: "I've been a guitarist for 15 years."
Legislative Research (Key Votes)
Jace SternadelLegislative Research Director
Responsible for leading the Key Votes Department and the Legislative Research Internship Program. The department tracks, analyzes, and summarizes major legislation in Congress and all 50 states. Jace graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Political Communications in 2013 and has previously staffed several political campaigns. He joined Vote Smart in 2015.Fun Fact: I was a radio DJ for 3 years at KVRX 91.7 Austin, Texas (I had to say that a lot)
Sofia MoralesLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in multiple states as well as outreach and recruitment. Sofia is originally from Monterrey, Mexico and completed her Bachelor in Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 after completing an internship with the organization.Fun Fact: "I boarded down an active volcano in Nicaragua...and ate it pretty hard."
Kathryn ThielLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking and summarizing major legislation in multiple states, in addition to coordinating intern schedules for the Austin office. Kathryn graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 with a B.A. in History and English within the Liberal Arts Honors Program. She previously worked as a Legislative Research Intern and joined the Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: I learned archery in a castle in Budapest.
Casey FlorenLegislative Research Assistant
Casey is a Legislative Research Assistant for the Key Votes Department of Project Vote Smart, which provides nonpartisan information on state and national politicians by providing easy access to Congressional and state voting records and maintaining a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Casey previously served as a Legislative Research Intern for Project Vote Smart in the spring and summer of 2014. Casey graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Government and a minor in mathematics.Fun Fact: My great, great, great, great grandfather was the first governor of Minnesota!
Political Courage Test
Sam DoxzonPCT Director
Responsible for overseeing all major PCT projects including the creation, finalization, and administration of the PCT as well as VoteEasy. 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."
Hannah KrausPCT Associate
Responsible for collecting biographical information on politicians and candidates and updating election information for the Political Courage Test department. Hannah is from Chicago, IL. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in History and Middle East & North African Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: "I am destined to return to Egypt, since I drank Nile water."
Jesus OrtizPCT Associate
Responsible for assisting with various projects in the Research Department. Jesus grew up in Baldwin Park, CA. He graduated from the University of California - Davis with a degree in Political Science in 2012 and recently finished one year of service with Americorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.Fun Fact: "I lived in an abandoned Sam's Club for about a month."
Keith PakelaPCT Associate
Responsible for researching candidate's issues and view points. Keith was born in New Jersey and earned his B.A. in history and political science at Rutgers University.Fun Fact: I don't like chili, eggs, or meatloaf. So do not make those when I come over. Thank you.
Bill CarriganInterim 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. Born in southern New Jersey, Bill graduated from Monmouth University in 2014 with a BA in political science and minors in philosophy and religious studies. He joined Vote Smart in 2015.Fun Fact: "I was once severely injured by a man dressed as a giant peanut."
Savannah NguliResearch Associate, Lodge Manager
Responsible for tracking and updating ballot measures, voter registration, local election offices and city and county officials in addition to ensuring smooth operations at the Great Divide Ranch. Savannah is originally from Long Beach, California and attended Norwich University in Northfield, VT where she received a degree in International Studies. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2014.Fun Fact: "My favorite hockey team is the Montreal Canadiens."
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 like charts."
Rachael AndersonResearch Associate
Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Rachael is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Dickinson College in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 after completing an internship with the organization.Fun Fact: "I have picnicked on top of a glacier."
Britton FraserResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Britton graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin with a major in Political Science. Originally from Connecticut, he joined the Vote Smart team in 2015.Fun Fact: I'm a surprisingly decent cook.
Sam EvansResearch Associate
Responsible for collecting biographical information, including issue positions and contact information, on all political candidates, both federal and state wide. Sam majored in history at the University of Vermont and joined the Vote Smart team in 2015.
Iliana CervantesResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and researching politician's public statements. Iliana graduated from San Diego state with a major in political science. She joined the Vote Smart team in 2016.Fun Fact: I was an exchange student to Italy.
Jesse FischerResearch Associate
Researching biographical data as well as issue positions of candidates running for office or currently in office. Jesse graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education - Social Studies and joined Vote Smart in spring 2016.
Daniel LanderosResearch Associate
Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. Daniel received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and Masters in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from SIT Graduate Institute. He joined Vote Smart in Spring 2016.Fun Fact: I went from novice to very proficient swimmer in a matter of weeks.
Emily WhitingResearch Associate
Responsible for collecting and updating biographical information on candidates and officials. Collected information ranges from Issue Positions to basic contact information. Graduated from the University of Louisville in Kentucky with a BS in Political Science. Go Cards!Fun Fact: I race R/C (Remote Control) Cars all over the county with my Dad and my siblings, Loran and Foster. Great family bonding opportunities!