Student Leadership at the IOP

The 2018/19 Student Advisory Board

Members of the Student Advisory Board (SAB) work in tandem with the staff and the Board of Advisors to plan programming and carry out the mission of the Institute. 

Please contact Devshi Mehrotra, Senior Chair, at with any questions and for more information about how to get involved in the SAB or with the IOP in general.

Chahat Kapila, AB ’20 – Events Chair

Chahat is a third year in the College from New Delhi, India. She is majoring in Political Science and has a special interest in international relations, electoral politics, business and non-profits.  Chahat joined the IOP in her first year as a Fellows Ambassador to Steven Greenhouse. She then went on to work closely with the Events team as the Speaker Series Academic Intern in her second year. She was a member of the International Policy Program Committee and also participated in the IOP Spring Break Trek to D.C. as well as the WPSP Mentorship Program. In her previous summers, Chahat has served as UChicago’s Admissions Fellow in India as well as an Analyst at Calyx Capital Partners, a Chicago-based search fund. In addition to the IOP, Chahat enjoys working with pro-bono consulting groups and performing in South Asian dance and acapella shows on campus. Chahat considers her experience at the IOP to have been immensely empowering and is thrilled to get the chance to help the IOP offer a similar experience to the rest of the UChicago community. 

Devshi Mehrotra, AB ’19 – Senior Chair

Devshi is a fourth-year computer science major in the College. Having been raised in suburban Irvine, California, she was eager to attend school in Chicago, a city so uniquely defined by its people, culture, and history. Participating in such civic-minded programs as Seeds of Justice and the Sargent Shriver Program challenged her to reevaluate many of her closely-held beliefs and simultaneously inspired a deep passion for engaging in public service. Her past internships at Peking University, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, on the other hand, have helped her identify machine learning and artificial intelligence as an area of interest she hopes to continue pursuing through research and further studies. While these two areas of interest may ostensibly appear to be disjoint, she realizes that there exists great potential in the act of leveraging technology to effect social change. Outside of her involvement with the Institute of Politics, Devshi is also committed to providing opportunities for middle school students to engage with computer science as the director of compileHer.

Dylan Stafford, AB ’20 – Junior Chair

Dylan is a second-year in the College pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in History. He hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has long been interested in innovative means of improving our nation’s civic and political life. At the IOP, Dylan has served as an events ambassador and the events intern for the Speakers Series, and he participated in the IOP-sponsored pre-orientation program, Chicago Bound, upon his arrival in Hyde Park. In past summers, Dylan has interned at CNN Politics in Washington D.C., where he wrote on the latest political news, and he’s worked on a handful of campaigns. On campus, Dylan has also enjoyed writing for the Maroon’s opinions page. He is thrilled to deepen his involvement at the IOP in the year ahead, working to make it an ever-more successful and accessible institution for students.

Dylan Wells, AB ’19 – Communications Chair

Dylan is a fourth year majoring in Political Science with a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.  At the IOP, Dylan has worked as the Summer Programs Intern and Events Intern. She served on The Gate's Editorial Board as the co-Editor-in-Chief, Elections Editor, and David Axelrod Reporting Grant recipient. She was also an Events Ambassador and participated in the IOP's trek to the Democratic National Convention. On campus, she also is on the Marketing Chair for TEDxUChicago. This past summer she interned with the Political Unit at CBS News, after spending the previous summer working in the Political Unit at ABC News. She is excited to work with the Communications team and the rest of the Student Advisory Board this year!

­Jake Gosselin, AB ’19 – Civic Engagement Chair

Jacob is a fourth year in the College double majoring in Mathematics and Economics and minoring in Creative Writing. Beginning his first year, he has been involved at the IOP through The Gate and Chicago Peace Corps. He served as Managing Editor of The Gate during the past academic year. During his summer breaks, Jacob has interned at The Brookings Institute, The Kaiser Family Foundation, and Injustice Watch. He has worked primarily as a data analyst, specializing in health policy. Outside of the IOP, Jacob runs for the University’s varsity Cross Country and Track teams; he will serve as Captain of Cross Country this year.

Kristen Busch, AB ’21 – Campus Community Outreach Chair

Kristen is a second year studying economics and public policy in the College. Originally from Minnesota, she’s been involved with the IOP through the Fellows Ambassadors Program, the Gate, and TechTeam. This past summer, she interned for the Department of the Interior and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, and previously she’s worked for the Illinois House Majority Leader and two biochemistry labs at the University of Minnesota. Kristen is thrilled to join the SAB and help the IOP grow and benefit students interested in public service.

Max Freedman, AB '18, JD '20 - Co-Graduate Student Chair

Max is a first year J.D. candidate at the Law School. A Connecticut native, Max has spent the last four years right here in Hyde Park as a student in the College where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. He has interned at the University of Chicago’s Office of Federal Relations and as a Deputy Clerk of Courts at Illinois’ 19th Judicial Circuit. At the IOP, Max has served as a Fellows Ambassador and as a leader in the Maroon Veterans’ Alliance’s—a group of student civilians who work to advance the cause of Chicagoland veterans. Max was also an IOP Iowa Project Fellow where he worked for the Marco Rubio campaign in Iowa during the lead up to the caucus. On campus, Max has been involved with Student Government serving as Chairman of the Elections and Rules Committee and as Parliamentarian. Max is excited to start law school and to serve as a bridge between the IOP and the larger graduate student community.

Melissa Navas, MPP ’19 – Co-Graduate Student Chair

Melissa Navas is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the University of Chicago focusing on diversifying political leadership. Prior to graduate school, she was the deputy communications director for Multnomah County, Oregon's most populous county. Melissa previously served as press secretary to current Oregon Governor Kate Brown and her predecessor John Kitzhaber. Melissa began her career as a newspaper journalist at The Oregonian writing about K-12 education and health. While at the newspaper, she investigated teachers’ sexual misconduct in Oregon and the backlog of educator discipline cases, which led to changes in state law. She has also written for The Arizona Republic, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and The Wenatchee World.

On campus, she is the President of Minorities in Public Policy Studies, one of the oldest student organizations at the Harris School of Public Policy, and has also served as a Fellows ambassador at the Institute of Politics. She is a graduate of Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. and the University of Nevada, Reno. In her spare time, Melissa finds joy in empowering young people. She has volunteered for youth programs, which has included teaching at a high school journalism camp for underrepresented students, helping students edit college application essays, serving as a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and training girls in self defense.

Michelle Shim, AB ’20 – Career Development Chair

Michelle is a third year in the College studying Economics and English. Born in South Korea, she has lived in Seoul, London, California, New Jersey, and Georgia, and is now attending her thirteenth school. Over her summers, she has worked in New York on the TurboVote Partnerships Team at Democracy Works, and further explored the social impact of political technology at Higher Ground Labs in Chicago. Originally involved with the IOP as Fellows Ambassador and Team Leader, she served as Fellows Program Intern her second year, growing more familiar with the program and the institute at large. Now a member of the Career Development team, she is thrilled to continue connecting students with engaging opportunities in public service. Beyond the IOP, Michelle competes on the UChicago Moot Court Team and is a researcher at the School of Social Service Administration, investigating how bicultural identity and acculturation affect Asian American youth development.

Olivia Shaw, AB ’20 – Fellows Chair

Originally from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, Olivia is a third-year political science major and history minor hoping to specialize in stateless populations and immigration law. The IOP holds a special place in Olivia’s heart as it was one of the primary reasons she decided to come to the University of Chicago in the first place. Since then, Olivia has been heavily involved with the Fellows’ program and has worked as both a fellows’ ambassador and team leader for four rotating fellows. The previous summer, Olivia went back home to work for her senator, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, and this summer, she will be staying in Chicago to work for Common Cause Illinois. Outside of the IOP, she is an intern at the Community Activism Law Alliance, a legal aid clinic that represents undocumented immigrants and underrepresented communities throughout Chicago, and is very active in Model United Nations on campus.