Institute of Politics

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 previously led the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project, 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.

Johnny Acevedo

Johnny previously worked as Media Relations Representative for the Chicago Cubs and as a paralegal for Kids In Need of Defense, an immigration nonprofit that works to secure pro-bono legal representation for unaccompanied minors.

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.

Jake Huff

Jake previously worked with the Speaker Series to develop content and focus of IOP events. Previously, he has expanded opportunities for students through the Jukebox Ballot magazine, the IOP Book Club, and other original projects.

Jalen Larry

Jalen joined the IOP’s Communications Team in Spring 2021. He previously worked as a multimedia specialist for NFL Films, Gatorade Media Lab, and Nordstrom, specializing in photography, videography, and graphic design.

Ashley Jorn

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

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.

Melissa Navas

Melissa began her career as a journalist at The Oregonian newspaper. She later served as press secretary to Oregon Governors Kate Brown John Kitzhaber. Before that, she worked as deputy communications director for Multnomah County in Oregon.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Current Openings

Director of Career Development

This position leads our student internship program, featuring paid, substantive opportunities throughout the year for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students. Please review the full job description here. Internal candidates can apply on Workday, number JR12489

Associate Producer of Speaker Series

The Associate Producer helps plan and execute events as part of our Speakers Series program. Please review the full description here. Internal applicants can apply through Workday via number JR11521.

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