Institute of Politics

  • About
  • Our Team

Staff

David Axelrod, AB '76

David is a preeminent American political strategist and commentator; the former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama; and senior political commentator for CNN; and host of The Axe Files podcast.

Zeenat Rahman

Zeenat comes to the IOP with over two decades of experience in the public and social sectors working to strengthen democracy and civil society. She previously, served at the U.S. State Department as a special advisor to Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry; and as acting director at the Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives at USAID.

Koran Addo

Before joining the IOP, Koran worked as Director of Communications for the St. Louis Mayor’s Office and as a political and education reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other publications.

Joel Ebert

Joel joined the IOP in November 2021, after spending nearly a decade reporting on state legislatures and government in South Dakota, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Illinois. His award-winning reporting has garnered national recognition.

Noureen Hashim

Noureen joined the IOP in April 2022. Her background includes working as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Tenth District Office of Cook County; and as the national portfolio manager for Ismaili CIVIC, a faith-based civic engagement organization committed to improving communities through volunteerism and community organizing.

Christine Hurley

Christine began at the IOP as Associate Producer then Director of the Speaker Series. Before joining the IOP, Christine was Associate Producer for “Chicago Tonight,” a nightly news magazine on PBS where she was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Ashley Jorn

Ashley joined the IOP in 2015 as the program coordinator for the Pritzker Fellows and Speaker Series teams. She’s held her current position with the Pritzker Fellows program since 2017. Prior to joining the IOP, Ashley worked in education as a teacher, tutor, and coach.

Laresa Lund

Laresa joined the IOP staff in spring 2022. Before coming to Chicago, Laresa worked at Indiana University’s Liberal Arts and Management Program, where she managed communications, events, alumni engagement, and career advising.

Katrina Mertens

Katrina joined the IOP in the fall of 2012. Prior to joining the IOP, Katrina worked at the Illinois State Board of Education, Before that, Katrina worked in the narcotics unit of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.

Purvi Patel

Purvi joined the IOP in February 2019. She previously worked as an administrator in diversity and student life at Washington University in St. Louis, Loyola University Maryland, and Oberlin College.

Gabe Pimsler

Gabe comes to the IOP from Washington, D.C. where he helped non-profits and corporations navigate Congress and the White House as a government relations professional. Prior to his time in D.C., Gabe served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Kyiv and Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

Dani Salazar Castro

Dani joined the IOP in August 2022. Before joining the team, they worked as a multimedia specialist at the University of Florida College of Education.

Alicia Sams

Alicia has 20-plus years of experience producing and directing award-winning documentaries and films, including chronicling the presidential campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama for HBO, resulting in the Emmy Award-winning film “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.”

Mark Schauerte

Before joining the IOP, Mark served as chief of staff to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL. Mark is an attorney and practiced law in Chicago in addition to working as an award-winning journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Chicago Lawyer.

Allyson Siegal

Allyson has served as the Chief of Staff to IOP Director David Axelrod since June 2017. She also co-produces “The Axe Files” and “Hacks on Tap” podcasts. Prior to joining the IOP, Allyson worked on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reelection campaign.

Jennifer Steinhauer

Jennifer Steinhauer came to the IOP in February 2022 after a 25-year reporting career at the New York Times. She has written several books including "The Firsts" which chronicled the first year of the largest female class in Congress.

Headshot of Matilda Thornton Clark

Matilda Thornton Clark

Before joining the IOP, Matilda worked as an organizer and organizing director with student public research interest groups, running campaigns to turn out the youth vote in elections.

Careers at The IOP

In all job openings, we seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join a vibrant, mission-driven organization. The IOP encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to engage with students, stakeholders, and the broader community.

No open positions currently.

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