Current Events & Information

May 2012

Links to employment opportunities in the House and Senate were posted to Informational Resources on the Internet.

April 2012

A new edition of the Newcomer's Guide to Washington, D.C. was posted to the site.

Club Elections

Poltical Science Club elections took place on Wednesday, September 7, resulting in the election of Anabel Castañeda as President, Elizabeth Elsbach as Secretary/Treasurer, Alex Lowe as Senior Class Officer, London Lamar as Junior Class Officer, and Abby Burgan as Sophomore Class Officer for 2011-2012.

Political Science Power Lunch, 2011

The 10th annual Power Lunch was held in Spring 2011, as Lisa Bontempo, Leslie Tedrow McGuire, and Michelle Fitzgerald met with current political science majors to share how they utilized a political science degree from Saint Mary’s College.

alumnae return to campus to meet with political science students

Lisa Bontempo (1983) most recently worked with the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, raising money for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.  Previously she worked at the National Propane Gas Association for a number of years. [far left in picture]

Leslie Tedrow McGuire (1992) has spent the last seventeen years working for the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, the state’s non-partisan agency responsible for ensuring accountability and effective oversight of state government operations.  Director of the Performance Audits Division since 2008, Leslie is responsible for conducting performance audits and evaluations of state programs to determine whether they are administered efficiently and effectively.  These evaluations have resulted in cost savings, improved efficiencies, a greater focus on programmatic outcomes, legislative and budgetary changes as well as the identification of fraud, waste and abuse in Georgia government.  Previously, she has served in a variety of roles and functions within the Performance Audits Division, including analyst, team leader, audit manager, deputy director, quality control coordinator, and recruiter.  She is also involved with and has served on the Executive Committee of the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society. 

Leslie has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and economics.  Leslie is also a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).  [far right in picture]

Michelle Fitzgerald (2006) is an Associate at Cathedral Consulting Group, a management consulting firm for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.  While working for the New York City office of Cathedral Consulting, she is a student at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, obtaining her Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy.

Michelle graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religious Studies.  Her degree was accompanied by the prestigious Alumnae Association Outstanding Senior Award and the Helen M. Carroll Award in Religious Studies. During her time at SMC, Michelle led the creation of SMC-TV and was actively involved in many student organizations including leadership in student government, campus ministry, and the Friends with Sisters program.  She was also a member of the debate team of the University of Notre Dame and worked part-time for all four years at the front desks of the residence halls.  Immediately after graduation Michelle spent three years in Santiago, Chile as a volunteer for Holy Cross Associates, a post-graduate service program through the Congregation of Holy Cross which offers participants an opportunity to integrate their Christian faith through service, community living, spirituality, and living in solidarity with the poor. Throughout this time, Michelle devoted herself to a diverse range of volunteer work, many of which led her to create and coordinate projects designed to meet the needs of the surrounding Chilean community. [second from right in picture]


Honors Convocation

The 2010-11 academic year concluded with the Political Science Department honoring Megan Griffin at the Saint Mary's Honors Convocation. Megan was awarded the Juliette Noone Lester Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.  Congratulations, Megan, and to a successful graduating class!


Political Science Power Lunch, 2010

The 8th annual Power Lunch was held in Spring 2010, where Mariá Balata, Kristen Matha and Gina Esposito met with current political science majors to share how they utilized a political science degree from Saint Mary’s College. After graduating in 2008, Mariá served as a volunteer teacher with the Olancho Aid Foundation in Juticalpa, Honduras. Having experienced poverty and political injustice while abroad, she realized her calling to be a lobbyist for social justice issues. Now back from Honduras, Mariá is pursuing a Master’s in Ethics at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and intends to study abroad in Israel this coming fall through her graduate program. In June, Mariá will be interning with NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C. Kristen Matha is an assistant director of enforcement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association where she investigates and reviews enforcement matters related to Division I men’s basketball. Prior to joining the NCAA major enforcement staff, Kristen was a member of the NCAA post-graduate program. Kristen received her law degree Magna Cum Laude from Michigan State University College of Law in 2006 and was admitted to practice law in the state of Indiana. She gained experience in athletics compliance while interning for the Michigan State University Office of Compliance Services. Kristen received her undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College in 2003, where she majored in political science and minored in women’s studies. As a student-athlete, Kristen was a four-year letter winner in basketball and was a student-athlete representative to the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. While at the NCAA, Kristen has been involved in the planning of the NCAA Gender Equity & Issues Forum, which reviews a broad range of gender equity topics in college athletics. Gina Esposito graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Mary’s College in 1992 as a political science major. After graduation, she volunteered full time at So Others Might Eat, an organization in the center of the District of Columbia dedicated to empowering and assisting the poor. In 1996, Gina landed a job at Merck and Company selling vaccines to a diverse group of customers in Columbus, OH. In 1999, she relocated to Philadelphia as a Health Education Liaison and Promotion Manager and was promoted to a Merck Vaccines Business Manager in 2002. She leads a team of Vaccine Specialists in Ohio and Kentucky. All three women are accomplished professionals and each has utilized a political science degree from Saint Mary's College in a different way.


Alumna Chris Bodewes Visits with Studentsstudents sitting around a table talking

On March 18, Christine Bodewes returned to campus for the College’s Alumnae Board meetings and spoke with some of our students.  Chris earned her law degree at Illinois, practiced in Chicago, and became a partner in her law firm.  She then became a Maryknoll lay minister with extensive experience in Africa.  Chris spoke with our students about career and life paths following graduation.

(At right: students enjoy an after-dinner conversation with Chris.)


Club Elections

Poltical Science Club elections took place on Thursday, September 3, resulting in the election of Kelli Ripp as President, Emily Newton as Secretary/Treasurer, Erin Bantz as Senior Class Officer, Laura Smith as Junior Class Officer, and Hannah Bienicki as Sophomore Class Officer for 2009-2010.

Political Science Power Lunch, 2009

The 7th annual Power Lunch was held in Spring 2009, where Darcey Palmer-Shultz, Natalie O'Donnell Wood, and Patricia McCabe Estrada met with current political science majors to share how they utilized a political science degree from Saint Mary's College. Darcey recently took the position of Director of Strategic Vision at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, where she serves as a liason between the agency staff and the board of directors, launched an advocacy initiative and alumni program, and evaluates agency departments. She is a 2008 graduate of the Generation Now Series of the United Way of Central Indiana Leadership United Program which chooses 25 young professionals in the central Indiana community for a year-long leadership program. Prior to Darcey's professional success she studied political science, public relations, and Italian at Saint Mary's College, and graduated with the Juliette Noone Lester Award for academic achievement in political science. Natalie O'Donnell Wood is a Senior Policy Specialist at the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She began working at NCSL in 2000 and is currently the liason to the Illinois General Assembly and to the Louisiana State Legislature. She graduated from Saint Mary's College with a degree in poltical science and is currently working on a Master's Degree in political science, politics, and public policy at the University of Colorado at Denver. Patricia McCabe Estrada currently serves as the Deputy Public Information Officer at the U.S. Supreme Court and has worked at the U.S. Supreme Court since 1991. As Deputy Public Information Officer Patricia handles press and public inquiries regarding the Supreme Court. She completed her undergraduate at Saint Mary's College and received a M.A. from the University of Notre Dame. All three women are accomplished professionals and have each utilized a political science degree from Saint Mary's College in a different way.


Penna speaking in front of a class

Melanie Penna, a 1989 Saint Mary's Alum, talks with POSC majors at the departments 6th annual Power Lunch on Saturday, April 5, 2008. Melanie is current at VP at Comcast in Philadelphia. She was joined by Veronica Villalobos, 1996, and Madeline Carpinelli, 1999. The panelist provided our majors with priceless insights into some of the career acheivements and challenges and the contribution their Saint Mary's education as Politicacl Science Majors. Veronica is currently working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington DC while Madeline is about to begin a Ph.D program at the University of Minnesota after almost a decade as a poliicy analyst and consultant on presciritption drug policy.


Honors Convocation

The 2009 academic year concluded with the Political Science Department honoring Kasey Murray and Audrey Anweiler at the Saint Mary's Honors Convocation. Kasey Murray was awarded the Juliette Noone Lester Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Audrey Anweiler received the Louis Tondreau Award for Service in extracurricular and professional activities in political science.

On May 3, 2008, the Political Science Department honored several of our outstanding seniors at the Saint Mary's Honors Convocation. The Juliette Noone Lester Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement was given to Lesley Weaver. Lesley was also honored as the Valedictorian of the class of 2008. The Louis Tondreau Award for Service was shared by 2007-2008 Political Science Club President Maria Balata and our Student Academic Council Rep Katie Thompson. Two of our seniors were also honored by other departments as Beth McKevitt shared the English Department's Creative Writing Award and Jeanne Choquehuanca received the Intercultural Studies Prize. This was our biggest class of majors in 15 years and an outstanding one!




  • For anyone who plans on or is thinking about going on the Washington Semester Program: The Political Science Department has received a multimedia CD-ROM on the program. The CD tells you about the different programs, including internships, and gives you a feeling of what the program is like. And instead of just reading about the program on paper, you can get a feeling of what it is like through the interviews of other students. Also they give you ways to apply to this program on the CD. If you would like to check this CD out (sorry, you can't keep this one), you need to contact Sean Savage.
  • Project Vote Smart's National Internship Program allows students to get a behind the scenes view of the U.S. political system while simultaneously receiving academic credit. The program seeks students interested in making factual, unbiased political information accessible to all. The 10-week minimum internship is located at the Great Divide Ranch in Montana where, according to the brochure, you will be surrounded by…enormous trout. For more information, see Sean Savage or check out Project Vote Smart's website at
  • The Woodrow Wilson School offers a summer program in policy analysis for students of color from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in pursuing careers in public and international affairs. The goal of the summer institute is to help students who are one or two semesters away from obtaining an undergraduate degee to prepare for graduate study at Princeton. Participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the Woodrow Wilson School and the opportunities for professional careers in public policy and international affairs. For more information, see Pat Pierce.
  • Consider LegalCorps, the AmeriCorps program of Indiana Legal Services. The South Bend office of Indiana Legal Services is currently seeking a half-time (20hrs/wk; 900 hrs total) Hispanic Outreach member and a quarter-time (10-15hrs/wk; 450 hrs total) Hotline Interviewer member. See Sean Savage for more information.
  • If anyone will be in the D.C. area this summer and still needs a place to stay, contact Catholic University about their summer housing opportunities. Call them at 202-319-5277 or e-mail at
  • Resources for the Future, an independent nonprofit organization specializing in research, policy analysis and public education on environmental, energy and natural resource issues, has several paid summer internships available for graduate and undergraduate students. See Prof. Savage for more details.For more information, access this website:
  • Senior POSC majors seeking jobs and housing in Washington, DC after they graduate may want to email Erin Reese (class of 2003) at
  • The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund has a Legislative Internship program and a Fellows program for Latina students. See Prof. Savage for details.
  • IUSB School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) has scholarships for the Master of Public Affairs degree with a concentration in community and economic development. The scholarships cover all fees, including books. They also include a required, paid internship. For more information and application, please call the IUSB SPEA office at (219) 237-4131.