Student Staff

The Rose Institute stresses a high level of interaction between student Research Assistants, faculty, and staff. In student’s research in areas relating to state and local government, students and faculty work side by side. Students receive guidance and instruction from professors, fellows, and research associates experienced in the operations of both the public and private sectors. While every student has experience working with faculty members and senior staff on an individual basis, the Rose Institute student staff is overseen by senior student managers.

Sophia S. Helland ’20
Student Manager 2019-2020

Sophia is from Claremont, California, and is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) with a dual major in economics and a sequence in public policy analysis. At the Rose, Sophia has researched California tribal courts, county election officials, time served in local jails, and campaign finance. She also managed the Competitive Districts project and wrote an article for the Inland Empire Outlook. Elsewhere on-campus, she has served as a research assistant for the Policy Lab and a Harrison Fellow at the Salvatori Center. In her spare time, she loves listening to podcasts on just about anything and re-watching Parks and Recreation.

Rachel S. Alaynick ’20
Associate Student Manager 2019-2020

Rachel is from Los Angeles majoring in Government. As a California native and persistent political junkie, she spent much of high school lobbying in the state capital and working with various groups on education policy reforms. Since coming to college, she has maintained her interest in education policy and government generally, leading her to conduct legal research for an international human rights NGO, spend 2 months researching populism in New Zealand (during their very cold winter season), and write political satire. She attributes her interest in government to her parents’ wise decision to watch so much of The Colbert Report and The Daily Show during her childhood. At the Rose, she’s worked on the Kosmont Cost of Doing Business Survey, the Terrorism Database Project, the Crime Project with Professor Bessette, and has managed the Redistricting Project. In her free time, you can find her laughing too loudly at stand-up comedy, reading a Simon Rich book, or doing only arm day at the gym.

Zenaida M. Huerta ’20

Zenaida is from Whittier, California who is pursuing a dual major in Government and Media Studies. In high school, she was an intern for California State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon and, since August 2015, worked as a student organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. At 17-years old, she was elected as the youngest delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention for Bernie Sanders. In her free time, she enjoys reading about art history, watching Game of Thrones, and drinking anything caffeinated at the Motley.


Joseph G. Noss ’20

Joe is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Joe is interested in studying anything related to political science, pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). While in high school, Joe was extremely involved in Model United Nations, traveling with his team internationally. In his free time, Joe is a member of the CMC Model UN team and the coffee club. Otherwise, Joe can be found drinking coffee, reading the news, and making films. Joe hopes to bring his Canadian frame of reference and amiability to the Rose, while also absorbing knowledge about the workings of American state and local government. Over his four years at CMC, he has worked on a wide variety of projects, working on things like Kosmont. Differently, Joe was the project manager for the first ever ILG video project and has also published a study on the effects of Proposition 47 on the criminal justice system. Currently, Joe plays a role in helping on the technical side of the Inland Empire Vision conference, while also working on some other projects.


Nicholas Sage ’20, New Hire Manager

From Seattle, Washington, Nick is a senior History and Government dual major at Claremont McKenna College. Nick has worked in a number of positions related to local, state, and federal government. In the summer of 2018, he worked as a policy intern for the Center for Children and Youth Justice–a non-profit based in Seattle that focuses on reforming Washington State’s juvenile justice, education, and child welfare systems. He participated in the CMC Washington Program in the Fall of 2018, working in the office of Senator Patty Murray. The following summer he returned to the Senate as a communications intern for the Democratic staff on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Nick also embraces his inner historian, conducting research for his senior thesis in the Churchill Archives at the University of Cambridge in August of 2019 and working as a researcher for German history Professor Jonathan Petropoulos. At the Rose Institute, Nick has worked on a variety of projects, including the Inland Empire Outlook, the California Voting Rights project, Redistricting, and ILG video voter. He is now grooming the next generation of Rosies as the Institute’s New Hire Manager.

Zane G. Tolchinsky ’20

Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Zane is a fourth-year student at Claremont McKenna and is pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), with a sequence in Public Policy. He found his passion for politics through his schoolwork and experience in community organizing, including within the mentally-impaired community. Zane hopes to expand his own knowledge of politics and make information more accessible to the public through working with the Rose Institute, specifically in relation to education, institutionalized recidivism, and election reform. Outside of the Rose Institute, Zane co-founded a podcast: The Laymen. He is also a member of the Boxing Club. In his free time, Zane enjoys cooking, reading, and drinking coffee.

Melanie L. Wolfe ’20

Melanie, who was born and raised in South Florida, is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Melanie found her passion for politics while field organizing with the Florida Democratic Party leading up to the 2016 election. At the Rose, Melanie enjoys researching a broad range of topics from campaign finance to standardized testing reform. On-campus, Melanie keeps busy with the Free Food (for Thought) podcast, student government, and the new CMC Roosevelt Institute chapter. Still, she always makes time to keep up with her personal podcast queue and bake in Janie’s Kitchen.


KAtherine AdelmanKatherine P. Adelman ’21

Katherine is from San Antonio, Texas, studying Government and Economics with a Public Policy Sequence. On-campus, she is involved in Claremont Women in Business and CMC Survivor, which one can find airing on YouTube this fall. From a young age, Katherine has been invested in the local politics of her hometown, attending meetings with many civic leaders to gain perspective on the inner workings of local politics. Her goals for this semester are to win CMC Survivor, finish re-watching the West Wing, and learn everything about California politics she can.


Elena I. Castellanos ’21

Elena is from Hawthorne, CA, studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). She has always been invested in civic engagement projects around her community and Claremont. In Claremont, Elena leads a group called College Knowledge that supports school-wide programs focused on increasing college attendance. Elena’s time at the Rose has strengthened her understanding of local and state politics, especially within the context of Redistricting. Also, having availed of a chance to take an Adobe InDesign workshop last summer, Elena has been training others at the Rose to use the program. Elsewhere on-campus, Elena can be seen picking up a Coconut Crème Bowl of Soul at the Motley, nerding out over the latest redistricting news for her research at the Rose Institute, or attempting to stay on the beat during spin at Roberts. Elena loves listening to political podcasts, re-watching West Wing episodes, and yelping her next food adventure.


Sevion D.J. DaCosta ’21

Sevion is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sevion is currently a PPE major, with a legal studies sequence, and an RDS BA Scholar. At CMC Sevion is President and CFO of the Mock Trial Club, was selected as an Appel Fellow in 2018, is a member of Black Student Affairs and CMS Christian Athletes. This past summer Sevion worked as an Investigative Intern at the Public Defenders Service in Washington, DC. and was on the tech team. This year Sevion is working on the Rose Miller Initiative Database and Fiscal Analysis. Outside of school and the Rose, Sevion loves to spend time with his family and friends, workout, read, cheer on the New England Patriots, and meet new people.

  William P. Frankel ’21

Will is a Junior from Shaker Heights, Ohio majoring in Public Policy. He spent the summer of 2019 in Washington, DC as a Government Affairs Intern at Internet Association, a trade association that represents Google, Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of other tech companies. This fall, he is participating in CMC’s Silicon Valley Program as a Trust & Safety Intern at Quizlet, an e-learning website used by two-thirds of American high schoolers. His Rose experience includes work on single payer healthcare, Proposition 64, the pension crisis, and the Video Voter series. Outside the Rose, Will is a member of CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and an analyst for the Claremont Consulting Group. As you may have guessed from reading his peers’ bios, he also likes The West Wing.


Anna E. Green ’21

Anna is a junior from Fairfield, CT pursuing a major in Government. This fall she is interning in Washington, D.C. honing her research skills as a governance studies intern at the Brookings Institution. At the Rose, she has contributed to the Miller-Rose Initiative, California Almanac, and the design team. Anna also works on-campus as a tour guide in the Office of Admission and as an interviewer for the Free Food (for Thought) podcast. In her free time, Anna loves exploring Southern California, reading, spending time with friends, and looking for the best coffee in Claremont.


Jacob S. Leischner ’21

Jake is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, pursuing a dual major in Government and International Relations. Jake discovered his interest in politics from his involvement in high school Speech & Debate but tailored his interest to local politics through his internship on an Albuquerque mayoral campaign. He is especially interested in criminal justice and education reform. Jake is also involved in CMC’s Model UN and debate teams. When he’s not working at the Rose, Jake is napping, listening to Serial, or binge-watching Survivor.


Johnson Lin ’21, Tech Manager

Johnson is from Portland, Oregon and is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a Data Science Sequence. At the Rose, Johnson is currently the Tech Manager and has worked on projects such as True Time Served, ILG Videos, as well as collaborating with Professor Bessette on a literature review for the Bureau of Justice. Outside of the Rose, Johnson is involved in CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, the Asian-Pacific-American Mentoring Group, and ASCMC, where he is serving his third consecutive year as Class President. In his free time, you can find Johnson shooting hoops at Roberts, laughing at memes, and grimacing at his blisters from rock climbing.


Benjamin J. McAnally ’21

Ben is from Ashland, Oregon and hopes to major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He became interested in state and local government through coordinating a mentoring program to promote educational equality at a local charter school, Kids Unlimited Academy, and through teaching a U.S. citizenship class in high school. At the Rose, Ben hopes to pursue research in education and immigration policy. In his free time, he enjoys creative writing, mock trial, and ballroom dance.  Ben is participating in the Washington, DC program in the Fall 2019.


Naseem Nazari ’21

Hailing from Claremont, California, Naseem Nazari traveled long and far to work at the Rose Institute. Naseem’s interest in state and local government piqued as she listened to NPR on long car rides with her sister, and realized the power that politics/ politicians bestow in enacting lasting and purposeful change. Serving on the board of a local non-profit dedicated to education in high school, she is especially passionate about educational equality and is hoping to do research pertaining to this field while working at the Rose. As of now, her major is undeclared. However, she is deeply interested in Middle East Studies, Government, and Public Policy. During her free time, you can catch Naseem working out at Roberts Pavilion, eating sour candy, or playing with her incredibly adorable puppy, Joon.  Naseem is in Madrid, Spain in Fall 2019.

Nandeeni K. Patel ’21

Nandeeni Patel is from Murrieta, California and is planning on dual majoring in Government and History. Throughout high school, all of her experiences have pulled her towards a path founded in policy reform and public service. Specifically, having been the State President of the California Association of Student Councils and President of the Murrieta Youth Advisory Committee, Nandeeni found an interest in research-based advocacy catered to state and local education policy. She is looking forward to learning from the Rose Institute and getting a deeper understanding of the works of federalism. In her free time, you can catch her drinking V8 Spicy Hot, watching reality TV, or seriously struggling in the back of the only studio at Hot Yoga Claremont. Nandeeni is participating in the Washington, DC program for Fall 2019.

David Almaraz-Roman ’22

David hails from Whittier, California, and he intends to major in Government. In high school, David pursued his love for government by interning for Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon. At the Rose, David hopes to research education policy and fiscal analysis. His passion for education has been shaped by his time teaching code to elementary students, mentoring at-risk high school students, and organizing ‘Operation College’ to support underrepresented minorities through college applications. At CMC, David enjoys early morning workouts at Roberts and the warm cookies at Collins.


Calder B. Altman ’22

Calder is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and is planning on majoring in Philosophy and Government. Calder’s interest in government stems from his belief that government can be a force for good. Before arriving at Claremont McKenna, he interned at the Louisiana State Senate, worked on a gubernatorial campaign, and organized a series of community forums centered around race and equity. Calder is particularly interested in understanding the philosophical foundations of the American government, combining his passion for politics and philosophy. Around campus, he is also a member of the CMC’s Model United Nations team, plays with the Claremont Colleges’ frisbee team, and is a cook in the Athenaeum kitchen. In his free time, he loves to cook and play board games.


Maria Gutierrez-Vera ’22, Communications Manager

Maria is first-generation American from Whittier, California studying Public Policy and Literature. Her interest in law and politics stems from the two summers she spent as a legal intern, as well as from campaigns she’s worked on in her hometown. Maria runs the Rose Communications team and works on the Inland Empire Outlook, True Time Served, and Rose Playbook. She enjoys doing research that makes politics and policy more accessible to all Californians. Maria also works as a consultant at the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, and is a member of the Claremont Government Society. In her free time, you can find her journaling, drinking coffee at The Motley, or re-watching episodes of The West Wing.


Maya Ghosh ’22

Maya hails from Dallas, Texas, and is hoping to major in Environment, Economics, and Politics. She developed a passion for politics due to her intense love for reading the Economist and listening to the podcast Deep State Radio. In high school, she pursued this passion by leading her school’s Political Action Club and environmental group, and by interning for Colin Allred’s congressional campaign. At CMC she also works for the Roberts Environmental Center, Mock Trial, The Forum and the Athenaeum’s kitchen staff. In her spare time she enjoys running, backpacking, road-tripping and watching football.


Nandini Jayaram ’22

Nandini is from Bettendorf, Iowa and is majoring in Economics with Sequences in Financial Economics and Data Science. In high school, Nandini was an active member of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC), where she and 23 members across the state drafted and pursued bills through the Iowa state legislature. Nandini also interned for U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, which sparked her interest in learning more about local campaigns. At the Rose, her experience includes managing the Fiscal Analysis project, analyzing Census data for the Paramount project, and is a member of the communications team. In her free time, you can find Nandini singing, spending time with friends, and enjoying coffee.

Gait W. Nairn ’22

Gait is from the central valley of Northern California. As a high school student, Gait garnered an interest in politics through his debate and mock trial teams. Participating in American Legion Boys State allowed Gait to explore the opportunities and complexities of state and local government on a hands-on level. At the Rose Institute, Gait is acquiring valuable skills in policy research, specifically looking at the dichotomy between the vast interests of California, such as working closely with Professor Miller as Project Manager on the Miller Rose Initiative Database. On-campus, Gait is an attorney on the CMC Mock Trial team. In his free time, Gait plays Spikeball, spends far too much time watching Netflix, and enjoys cooking for his friends.


Robin M. Peterson ’22

Robin is from Boulder, Colorado, majoring in Government. In high school, she worked on registering her peers to vote and working with local legislators on laws surrounding voting rights for ex-felons. At the Rose, Robin hopes to pursue research on policy related to gun control or sustainability. Outside of the Rose, she enjoys annotating her pocket Constitution, pole vaulting, and re-watching Madam Secretary. If she’s not struggling with Introductory Arabic, she’s either serving in uniform as an ROTC Cadet or trying to catch up on sleep.


Adhitya Venkatraman ’22, Design Manager

Adhitya is from San Jose, California and plans to major in Economics and Computer Science. He gained an interest in politics from a healthy combination of the Daily Show and speech and debate. At the Rose, Adhitya has worked on the Redistricting Project, the Crime Project with Professor Bessette, the California Almanac, the Inland Empire Outlook, and manages the Design Team. This past summer, he worked at an international NGO that prevents torture in prisons. Outside the Rose, Adhitya is involved with SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting and the Free Food for Thought Podcast. In his free time, you can find him baking, wearing beanies in 100° weather, and failing to perform magic tricks—usually all at once.


Phillip D. Williams ’22

Felipe is an Inland Empire native from Fontana, California majoring in Government with a Public Policy sequence. At the Rose, he has worked on research projects focused on public policy in California. Passionate about politics and local governance, Felipe served as the co-chairman of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council for his hometown and was involved in efforts to increase teenage engagement with civic affairs. On-campus, he serves on the board of the Claremont Government Society and is an ROTC cadet. His free time consists of hiking, reading, obsessively binge-watching The West Wing, consuming copious amounts of In-N-Out hamburgers, and spending time with friends and family.


The Rose Institute welcomes the following students:

Marshall Bessey’23

Camille Hermosillo’23

Tara Mehra’23

Nohl Patterson’22

Henry Schulz’22

Jensen Steady’22

Nathan Tran POM’23