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.


Melissa J. Muller ’18,  Student Manager 2017-2018

Melissa is from Pleasanton, California, dual majoring in PPE and Government. She found her love of public policy by competing on her high school competitive civics team and is thrilled to work at the Rose Institute this year as the Student Manager. She has held internships at the California Governor’s Office, Bipartisan Policy Center, Global Public Policy Institute, and the Supreme Court of the United States in the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice. She is particularly passionate about constitutional law and political theory. In her free time, find her practicing her German, playing Settlers of Catan, and scoping out restaurants around Claremont.


Ellen I. Lempres ’18, Associate Student Manager 2017-2018

Ellen Lempres is a senior, PPE major at Claremont McKenna College, hailing from Berkeley, CA. While at the Rose, Ellen has managed communication, analyzed the California Voting Rights Act, reported for Video Voter, and assisted with all sorts of odd jobs in between. As associate student manager, Ellen is dedicated to fostering a strong sense of community among Rose research assistants driven by collaborative research, a helping dynamic, and interesting work. Outside of the Rose, Ellen has interned domestically at NextGen America, C-SPAN, the National Security Archive, and Erickson & Co, and internationally at the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakech, Morocco. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, conversations over coffee with friends, and playing board games like Scrabble!


Wesley Whitaker ’18

Wesley is majoring in Philosophy and Public Affairs and became interested in local government while covering his school board for his high school newspaper. At the Rose Institute, Wesley has worked on projects tracking trends in incarceration, videos describing ballot initiatives, and opinions of county election officials towards ballot access and security. This past summer, Wesley worked as a Legislative intern for the League of Women Voters of California, where he analyzed bills, testified before committees, and researched publicly financed campaign systems. Wesley is thrilled to be a fellow at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum this year. He spends his free time hiking, taking photos, and petting any cat he finds.


Katherine R. Hill ’18, New Hire Projects Manager 2017-2018

Katie is from the greater Seattle area, majoring in Government and Economics. At the Rose, Katie has worked on the County Election Questionnaire, Southern California Almanac, Kosmont, and Three Strikes Projects. Outside of the Rose, she can be found playing for the CMS lacrosse team and volunteering at local schools through the Center for Civic Engagement. Katie spent the summer of 2017 in our nation’s capital interning for the Senate Finance Committee, and looks forward to (probably) returning to Washington, D.C. post-graduation.


Shaneli N. Jain ’18

Shaneli Jain is a senior from La Cañada, California, majoring in Science & Management. Her passion for government originated in high school where she consistently participated in student government and served as the Student Body President. She enjoys traveling with her family, and in her free time, you can find her running or eating chocolate. Shaneli has worked as a healthcare analyst for Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, DC and recently, spent a year at the University of Oxford studying medicine and economics. She is excited to be back at the Rose and continue her research with the team.


Brian A. Landeros ’18

Brian is from Phoenix, Arizona, majoring in Science & Management. In high school, he was involved with a variety of clubs and played for the varsity football and baseball teams. Prior to working at the Rose, he served as a fellow for the Fred Duval for Governor of Arizona campaign. You can find him speeding around campus on his longboard, jamming out to Chillstep during long study sessions, or getting never-ending seconds at Collins Dining Hall. Brian worked as a Summer Analyst at Aspiration Investments, a LA-based company at the intersection of finance and technology.  He spent the fall 2016 semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain.


Shivani P. Pandya ’18, Data/Tech Manager

Shivani is from Sugar Land, Texas, pursuing a dual-major in Government and History. At the Rose, Shivani manages ArcGIS training and projects, as well as fills others tech needs. On campus, Shivani runs a podcast called Free Food (for Thought). In her free time, Shivani enjoys watching her beloved Packers win, reading books about World War II, and watching anything created by Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin. She spent the summer of 2016 interning for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.


Caroline C. Peck ’18

Caroline is from Carlsbad, California, interested in studying Government at CMC. At the Rose Institute, she has researched demographic data through the Southern California Almanac and published a paper on primary elections. On campus she is involved in the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Senate, and when she is not studying, Caroline is watching her favorite movies and making mac and cheese.



Kathryn G. Ridenour ’18

Kate is from the greater Chicago area, pursuing a major in government. At the Rose, Kate manages a project examining campaign finance trends in California legislature elections and works on the Miller-Rose Initiative Database. Outside of her Rose work, Kate is the President of CMC’s Model UN team and works on the student run podcast Free Food (for Thought). She intends to pursue a law degree and a career in public policy, focusing on campaign finance reform and government ethics. Kate spent summer 2017 in Washington D.C. working as a Policy Fellow for K&L Gates, a global law firm and lobbying practice.


Lindsay B. Burton ’19

Lindsay Burton, a Southern California native, is a junior currently dual majoring in Government and Middle Eastern Studies at CMC. At the Rose Institute, Lindsay focuses on terrorism history and counterrorism policy in the state of California, while also functioning as the Content Manager. When she’s not working at the Rose, you can find her either in her uniform at ROTC training, or deciding between the Red Eye or the Bowl of Soul at the Motley (depends on the kind of day). Lindsay recently returned from Tangier, Morocco on the Critical Language Scholarship State Department program where she took a language pledge and intensively studied Modern Standard Arabic for eight weeks.


Nicholas R. Fedorochko ’19

Nick is from Bridgewater, New Jersey, planning to dual major in Economics and Government. At the Rose Institute, Nick manages a project on campaign finance, researches fiscal policy, and co-manages the design team. Outside of the Rose he is involved with Mock Trial and the Lowe Institute. He spent the summer doing communications and policy research on a congressional campaign in New Jersey. Nick also plays the upright bass, loves to ski, and is a major coffee geek.



Charles Harris ’19

Charlie is from Davis, California, majoring in Government. Charlie’s interest in politics stems from his belief that government can be a positive force in people’s lives. He had the chance to spend last summer interning in the office of State Senator Lois Wolk where he learned a lot about how things actually get done in state politics. Charlie hopes to take his experience with state government and use it to be an effective research assistant at the Rose. In his free time, Charlie enjoys being a CMS cross country and track and field athlete, spending inordinate amounts of time in the dining halls, and doing The New York Times crossword puzzle.


Alec M. Lopata ’19

Alec is from Deerfield, Illinois (just think Chicago, it is easier!), majoring in Government with a focus in Public Policy Analysis. At the Rose, Alec is the Miller-Rose Initiative Database Project Manager, has also managed Video Voter, and has worked on two independent projects related to congressional elections. When he is  procrastinating on his work, you will find him re-watching West Wing, cheering on the Cubs, or trying to find the best food around the 5Cs. Last summer, he interned at the State Innovation Exchange in Denver, CO. He is spending the Fall 2017 semester in Washington DC.


Bryn C. Miller ’19

Bryn is from Sudbury, Massachusetts planning to major in International Relations with a focus on Spanish and Arabic. She is interested in increasing the accessibility of information about politics and the news. On campus, she is the news editor for the CMC Forum, plans events for the Class of 2019, and is a journalism fellow at the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies. When she’s not working, you’ll probably find her at the Scripps pool.



Richard C. Wiltshire-Gordon ’19, Content Manager

Skip is from Wilmette, Illinois, pursuing a dual major in Government and History. Skip spent last summer working for a lobbyist in Chicago, advocating permeable pavement and green infrastructure at the municipal and state levels. At the Rose, Skip heads the Content team and works on the California Voting Rights Act project. In addition to the Rose, Skip works for the Free Food (for Thought) podcast, interviewing Ath speakers and Alumni. He also helps teach music theory to underprivileged youth through Uncommon Good. In his spare time, Skip can be found reading the New York Times, listening to political podcasts, and tossing a frisbee.


Melia M. Wong ’19

Melia is from Seattle, Washington, and is majoring in Government at CMC. Melia enjoys working on Rose projects related to education policy, criminal justice, and voter rights and education. She spent the summer of 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland writing about music and the Brexit vote. This past summer, Melia worked at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. in the Generation Progress division, a millennial outreach arm. Outside of the Rose, Melia enjoys excessive amounts of coffee, tea, and literature.



Zachary R. Wong ’19, Kosmont Project Manager 2016-2017

Zachary is a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major from Hinsdale, IL.  He is interested in the justice system, voter education, and making politics accessible to everyone.  Outside the Rose, Zach is an avid cyclist and photographer and a member of the Model UN team and Free Food (for Thought) podcast. He spent summer 2017 working on a political campaign in New Zealand and a ranch in Southern California.



Bruno G. Youn ’19

Bruno is a Government and Mathematics major who hopes to balance out his political knowledge by working at the Rose.  A local boy from Seal Beach, California, Bruno is a former Economic major who was converted to be a Government major by John Pitney’s Government 20 Honors class. On campus, he is also a consultant for SOURCE Non-profit Consulting and writes for the Claremont Radius. Last Summer, Bruno worked with a local county supervisorial campaign and an autism research institute. In the nanoseconds of free time Bruno is afforded each day, he enjoys lurking Reddit, listening to ’80s Swedish metal, and obsessively checking Politico. His favorite food is homemade Calabrese Pasta (pasta, balsamic onions, preserved tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese).


Rachel S. Alaynick ’20

Rachel is from Los Angeles majoring in Economics. She has helped write state laws regarding education policy, developed her own technology, worked closely with various nonprofits, and watched all nine seasons of The Office… three times through! After growing up watching The Colbert Report and The Daily Show — a wise parenting move — she became interested in the role of government. She looks forward to honing her research skills and gaining a comprehensive understanding of state and local government at the Rose. In her free time, you can find her enjoying a good book/movie, hiking, attempting to earn her skydiving license, watching stand-up comedy, or going for a 4th run through of The Office.


Sophia S. Helland ’20

Sophia is from Claremont, California, and is pursuing a dual major in Government and Mathematics. At the Rose, Sophia has researched California tribal courts and helped analyze a survey of county election officials. Sophia spent the summer of 2017 interning for the office of Assemblyman Chris Holden and learning about the day-to-day operations of the state legislature. She also helped run a city council campaign spring of last year. In her spare time, she loves dancing, reading, discussing politics, and re-watching Parks and Recreation.



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, hoping to major in Government. While in high school, Joe was extremely involved in Model United Nations, travelling 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.


Leon Ren ’20, Kosmont Assistant Project Manager 2017-2018

Leon is from Sunnyvale, California and is pursuing a dual major in Government and Economics. Leon spent the summer of 2017 interning at the Office of Congressman Ro Khanna and clerking for Judge Le Jacqueline Duong at the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Previously, Leon was a Student Attorney at Santa Clara County’s Peer Court and a Senior Advisor in the City of Sunnyvale’s Teen Advisory Committee. Outside of the Rose, Leon enjoys photography, badminton, and reading through the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and the Washington Post.


Nicholas Sage ’20

Nick is from Seattle, Washington, and is majoring in History and Government at Claremont McKenna. Nick has worked as a curator for the civic startup ActiveGiver, which is working on a crowd-funding style campaign finance platform. He researched many issues on the local, state, and federal level and had the opportunity to represent the company in front of local and state politicians from across the country at the 2016 National Convention of State Legislators in Chicago. In the Summer of 2017, he was awarded CMC’s Appel Fellowship, and drove 9,500 miles around the United States writing about American history and politics. On Campus, Nick is also involved with the Claremont Radius – a student-run political newspaper.


Melanie L. Wolfe ’20

This is Melanie’s second year at Claremont McKenna College, where she hopes to major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Born and raised in South Florida, 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.