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 GordonActing Director
Responsible for supporting membership services, assisting with the coordination of new and current outreach programs, and fulfilling material requests.
Erika BurkhartCommunications Associate
Responsible for correspondence with foundations, assisting the Development & Communications Department, and assisting the Board. Erika's professional experiences have involved an equal measure of politics and music. She graduated from the University of Arizona where she studied vocal performance. Erika's previous job was performing improvised operas for children. She joined Vote Smart staff in 2015.
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."
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."
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)
Esther MandelbaumLegislative 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. 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.
Andrew BryantLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking and summarizing major legislation in multiple states, in addition to coordinating intern schedules for the Austin office. Andrew graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 with a B.A. in German. He previously worked as a Legislative Research Intern and joined Vote Smart staff in 2015. In his spare time, Andrew pursues other foreign languages, hikes in the hill country, and dusty old fantasy novels.Fun Fact: "I played oboe and marching cymbals until graduating high school."
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."
Jace SternadelLegislative Research Associate
Responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in multiple 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)."
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."
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."
Jamieson BatesResearch 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. Jamieson is from North Brunswick, NJ and graduated from Clemson University in 2013, where he studied Financial Management. He began his time at Vote Smart as an intern prior to joining staff in 2014.Fun Fact: "I am almost a pilot."
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 own over 40 pairs of Converse."
Emily FendlerResearch Associate
Responsible for updating public statements and speeches of public officials. Emily is originally from South Orange, New Jersey. 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."
James AughenbaughResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and updating speeches and public statements. James was born in Utah but raised in Raleigh, NC. After going to school for Architecture, he graduated from North Carolina State University with degrees in both Political Science and Sociology. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2014 after completing an internship with the organization.Fun Fact: "I love music and play a variety of instruments, primarily violin."
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 lived and studied in Argentina for a year."
Bill CarriganResearch Associate
Responsible for categorizing and updating speeches and public statements. 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."
Walker McKusickResearch Associate
Responsible for updating ratings and endorsements from special interest groups. 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."
Jesus OrtizResearch 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."