There are several other industry-specific networking receptions hosted by the Alumni Office and Career Center throughout the year. Students can find these events through Handshake.
SPA provides students the opportunity to meet alumni and employers through Industry Weeks. These events will feature panels of industry experts and networking receptions here on campus.
Lisa Manning, Director of Events
Chennelle Ashman, Events Specialist
Kerwin Hall, Room 305 on a mapSPA Events 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States
Join us for Industry Weeks sponsored by the School of Public Affairs and the AU Career Center. Through a combination of in-person and virtual events, Industry Weeks provide students the opportunity to hear from and meet alumni and employers currently working in that industry through. It provides employers the opportunity to meet students and discuss job and internship opportunities. Whether you are seeking new talent, or hoping to strengthen your professional network, you won't want to miss Industry Weeks. Industry Weeks are free to participate in for all AU students, graduate and undergraduate.
Beginning this academic year, SPA and the AU Career Center will offer hybrid Industry Weeks. Industry Weeks allows us to offer multiple opportunities for students to engage and connect with alums and employers virtually and in-person, following all health and safety protocols/procedures. Industry Weeks will consist of virtual panels, employer meetups, informational sessions, and more. Registration for all industry week events will be run through Handshake, the Career Center’s online platform. Questions can be directed to Mr. Justin Williams, Associate Director of Undergraduate Recruitment & Retention, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working for Justice Industry Week
Monday April 17th 6pm EST Virtual Panel
Tuesday April 18th 4pm EST In-Person How to Network Workshop
Tuesday April 18th 4:30-6:30pm In-Person Networking Reception
Employer Networking Reception Registration
Alumni Networking Reception Registration
Monday February 13th 5pm EST Campaign Virtual Panel
Tuesday February 14th 5pm EST Lobbying (Advocacy) Virtual Panel
Wednesday February 15th In-Person How to Network WorkshopWednesday February 15th In-Person Campaigns, Congress, & Lobbying (Advocacy) Networking Reception
Nonprofits Making a Difference Industry Week Virtual Panel
Nonprofits Making a Difference Industry Week In-Person Networking Workshop
Nonprofits Making a Difference Industry Week In-Person Networking Reception
National Security & Intelligence Community Virtual Panel
National Security & Intelligence Community IN-Person Networking Workshop
National Security & Intelligence Community In-Person Networking Reception
Working for Justice
Week of March 14th
Gain insights, advice & build your professional network directly with professionals working in loss prevention, re-entry, social justice & social assistance-based non-profits, policing, private security & more. The week will feature a panel of alums/employer offering firsthand experiences, talk about trends in the field and take questions. There will also be various employer virtual meetups and info sessions. Learn more about the wide range of options and register through Handshake.
Working for Justice Industry Virtual Panel: Life after the Legal Studies Major
Wednesday April 13th 6-7pm EST
Hear from four graduates of the Legal Studies program as they describe the impact the degree has had on their careers and the decisions they’ve made on their pathway to professional success. This panel will not be recorded.
Kristen Pulkstenis, Assistant Prosecutor, Atlantic County
Amanda Merkwae, Legislative Advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Dan Honold, Senior AUSA in the Special Proceedings Division
Edwin Gonzalez, M&A Senior Associate, KPMG
Moderated by Professor Michelle Engert, Senior Scholar in Residence in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology.
Campaigns, Congress, & Lobbying (Advocacy)
Campaigns, Congress, and Lobbying (Advocacy) – learn more about these industries by hearing directly from people who work in them. Discover current trends in this industry, helpful tips for entering these fields, available opportunities, and more. Please join American University's School of Public Affairs and the AU Career Center for industry days – several days offering a wide range of opportunities to hear from alums and employers who work in these fields.
Monday February 14th 7-8pm EST will be a virtual alumni/employer panel focused on campaigns..
Tuesday February 15th 7-8pm EST will be a virtual alumni/employer panel focused on lobbying (advocacy).
Employer Meet-Ups (Virtual):
Meet with employers during info sessions:
Meet with representatives for 20-min 1:1 meetings.
Share your resume with employers!
Jobs & Internships
Throughout the week there will be various employer virtual meetups and info sessions. Learn more about the wide range of options and register through Handshake.
Friday February 18th 10am-3pm EST Virtual Government, Education & Nonprofit Career Fair. Register through Handshake.
Member of the Florida House of Representatives, 113th District
Representative Michael Grieco is currently serving in his second 2-year term in the Florida Legislature. Michael graduated from AU’s School of Public Affairs in 1997 and during his time in DC he also spent time working as an aide in the U.S. Congress and at C-SPAN. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law. After law school, Michael worked in the Miami prosecutors office, focusing mostly on longterm gang and narcotics investigations before becoming a felony division chief. Upon his departure from the public sector in 2006, Rep. Grieco went on to private criminal defense work and still manages his solo boutique firm today. Michael has appeared countless times on CNN and MSNBC as a legal analyst and still handles many high profile state and federal cases. In 2013, public service again called and Michael ran for an won a seat on the Miami Beach Commission. In 2018, Rep. Grieco chose to pivot into state politics, winning his election by 25% and then returning unopposed in 2020. Michael is now running for the Florida State Senate and if successful, will represent over 550,000 people.
President & Founder | MDW Communications
Michael Worley is a nationally recognized political strategist with over a decade of experience helping progressive campaigns and causes win.
The recipient of over a dozen industry awards for excellence in political media, Michael has successfully advised some of Florida’s most competitive campaigns since 2014, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and State Senator Shevrin Jones’ history making victories in 2020.
He has also served as a top advertising consultant for advocacy campaigns on behalf of some of Florida’s largest corporations and political organizations, including Uber, The Seminole Tribe of Florida, The Miami Dolphins and Formula 1, Planned Parenthood of Florida, Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), Equality Florida and the United Teachers of Dade.
After serving as the National Communications Director for the College Democrats of America, Michael founded MDW in his college apartment in 2011, while finishing his education in Washington, DC.
Under his leadership, MDW has grown to become one of the most sought-after political agencies in the Southeastern US, named “the go-to for digital and mail for Florida Democrats” by FloridaPolitics.com.
He currently serves on the executive boards of the American University Alumni Association and the South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
He lives with his wife and son in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Campaign Manager for Rep. Val Deming's U.S. Senate campaign
Zack Carroll (SIS '15) has been working on political campaigns since his days at AU with the AU College Democrats when he worked for then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth's first win to Congress in 2012. Having worked in field, fundraising and management on ten campaigns throughout his career across seven states, Zack managed Rep. Andy Kim's upset win to Congress in 2018, followed by Jaime Harrison's campaign in 2020. Zack is currently managing Rep. Val Demings' campaign for U.S. Senate in Florida.
Principal | Lewis-Burke Associates
Laura Uttley develops and executes comprehensive advocacy strategies that resonate with congressional and federal agency audiences. In close consultation with clients, she leverages experiences gained on Capitol Hill, with federal agencies, and in academia to advance client priorities across a diverse issue portfolio.
As the firm’s lead for defense health and biosecurity issues, Laura has broad federal agency expertise, including the Department of Defense (DOD), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others. The breadth of this knowledge benefits clients’ interagency priorities and promotes multi-pronged approaches to achieving federal funding goals. Laura couples her agency expertise with legislative advocacy to successfully promote client interests in authorization and appropriations legislation.
Government Affairs Director | Small Business Majority
Awesta Sarkash directs Small Business Majority’s policy and government affairs efforts in our nation's capital and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Awesta served as the Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), a nonprofit membership association that supports the community development sector in DC. She was responsible for facilitating the development and execution of CNHED’s budget and policy advocacy strategies across a broad range of community development issues, including workforce development, small business entrepreneurship and neighborhood-based commercial corridors. Prior to joining CNHED, Awesta served as the grassroots and advocacy manager for the American Land Title Association. She also served as assistant director for the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies’ Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at American University and in Brussels for the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.
Originally from Afghanistan, Awesta grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and received her Master’s in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C. with a focus on American politics and advocacy.
Joe Layman is a Professional Staff Member at the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations. He works on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies subcommittee where he oversees domestic nutrition programs within the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area which is the Department of Agriculture’s focal point for the Nation’s farmers and ranchers. Joe came to Capitol Hill in 2018 as a Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow in the office of Representative Sanford Bishop (GA). He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from American University in 2010 and his Masters of Public Administration from American University in 2011. Previously, Joe was a Budget Analyst for the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Partner | Bee Keeper Group
Mike Panetta is an award-winning public affairs campaign strategist who specializes in using the Internet and social media for creative issue advocacy and grassroots activism.
As a founding partner of Beekeeper Group, he manages a number of the firm’s nonprofit, trade association, and political clients and leads its embrace of mobile and social technology for political, marketing, and advocacy purposes. His work has been recognized with top honors from the American Association of Political Consultants, the Public Affairs Council, and George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet.
In November 2006, Mike was elected to the city-wide position of U.S. “Shadow” Representative in the District of Columbia, and served in this role for 3 terms until January 2013. Mike continues to be a leading voice in the fight for District of Columbia statehood and voting representation in the U.S. Congress.
Mike also has experience working with government agencies to help them utilize technology to better serve their stakeholders. Working as a Deputy Task Leader for Internet Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a contractor with Advanced Technology Systems, Mike maintained the agency’s flagship site, www.hud.gov, and provided advice and counsel for many of HUD’s other Internet projects. Mike also worked with a number of regional HUD field offices on best practices regarding local government web sites and trained HUD staff on technical issues.
Mike graduated from American University’s School of Public Affairs with a bachelor’s in political science and earned a master’s in political science from the same university with a concentration in American politics.
Take part in the U.S. Intelligence & National Security Industry Week - Monday, Nov 8-Thursday, Nov 11. Students will connect with employers in intelligence, cybersecurity, counterterrorism & national security fields. Review ways to connect below!
Employer Panel & Networking:
Hear from representatives of the FBI, DHS & CP3, followed by networking.
Meet with employers & get questions answered during info sessions:
Share your resume with employers!
Jobs & Internships in Handshake:
Nonprofits Making a Difference Industry Day: Monday, September 13th at 7pm EST
Steven Marchio (they/them), BA SPA ’16: Steven joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in May of 2020 as the Associate Director of Affiliate People Operations. They lead on all things related to people (HR) and talent functions for the ACLU’s 54 affiliate offices. Through best practice development and individualized affiliate support, they seek to deploy solutions that work best for an affiliate in regards to employee policies, hiring, retention, compensation, and beyond. Prior to the ACLU, Steven led talent recruitment and onboarding for two education non-profits and served as a career coach in support of job seekers with disabilities and barriers to employment. Prior to graduating with their Bachelor’s in Political Science in 2016, Steven worked as a Peer Advisor in the AU Career Center and Marketing Assistant with the Office of Enrollment. Originally from Somerville, MA, Steven now lives in Seattle, WA with their Pitbull, Oogi.
Jaleesa Hall is a native of Miami Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Arts, Radio, TV, Film from Clark Atlanta University, Master of Public Administration from American University, and is a recent graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary where she attained a Master of Divinity and Community Engagement Fellowship. In 2017, Jaleesa founded Raising A Village Foundation (RAV), a non-profit organization that provides high-quality intervention programs and community resources to underserved children and families.
Prior to Raising A Village, Jaleesa held leadership positions at some of the most notable non-profit and government organizations in the District, including Center City Public Charter Schools, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Wesley Theological Seminary. She’s also been awarded numerous fellowships including the Newman Civic Fellowship, The Change Makers Project (London, England), and the Community Engagement Fellowship. As Founder and CEO of RAV, it is Jaleesa’s mission is to improve the lives of children and families by creating innovative and sustainable programs that encourage safe, healthy, and whole communities.
Kristen Scott Kennedy is the Council on Foundations' Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Council she was a director in the office of the president at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations where she supported the priorities of the president and CEO, facilitated GEO’s Board of Directors, managed partnerships and developed programming on emerging topics in philanthropy.
Previously, Kristen worked for the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, a membership organization that promotes the use of cooperatives as a development paradigm. For four years she was managing director at The Bhutan Canada Foundation, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to improving education in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Kristen began her career in communications and operations at The Unusual Suspects Theater Company in Los Angeles before working in fundraising at The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto, CA and Macmillan Cancer Support in London, UK.
Kristen received her master of public administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs. She is an alumna of the University of Southern California and a recipient of the Nonprofit Executive Scholarship at the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Lizzie Martinez is passionate about using fundraising and communications to connect people with social justice and anti-poverty initiatives. She has spent the last decade fundraising for incredible nonprofits in Portland and Washington, D.C. In Portland, she has worked as a fundraiser for Housing Oregon (formerly Oregon Opportunity Network) and Latino Network. She is currently Director of Development at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, the statewide anti-hunger advocacy group. In Washington, D.C., she worked for ServiceNation (now part of Service Year Alliance) advocating for expansion of AmeriCorps programs. She is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum and lifetime Girl Scout member! She is a graduate of Linfield College (B.A.) and American University (MPA).
She currently volunteers as a member of the Multnomah County Library Advisory Board and as board chair with MRG Foundation. She also leads the Fundraisers of Color affinity group, through Willamette Valley Development Officers. With WVDO, she is also an instructor in the Nonprofit Certificate program. In her spare time, she likes to travel around the world (when it's not a pandemic!), read good books, play with her nieces and nephews, and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Panel: Wednesday April 7th 7-8pm EST
Virtual Networking Time Period: April 8th - April 22nd
Join the Career Center and AU's School of Public Affairs at our Working for Justice Industry Day Virtual Panel Wednesday April 7th from 7-8pm EST. The panel will be moderated by Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology Assistant Professor TaLisa J. Carter, PhD. This panel provides students the opportunity to gain insights, advice, and continue building their professional networks by hearing directly from people working in this industry. This industry includes areas like loss prevention, re-entry, working in non-profits, policing, private security, and more. Panelists will offer first hand experiences and tips to participants. Panelists will also take questions from participants. This panel will not be recorded.
Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police for the Fairfax County Police Department, Retired
Mr. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. recently retired as the Chief of Police for the Fairfax County Police Department after more than 32 years in the law enforcement profession. During Mr. Roessler’s career with the Fairfax County Police Department he served in all ranks from Patrol Officer to Chief of Police.
Mr. Roessler was appointed Chief of Police in 2013 and during his tenure he led strategic transformational reform initiatives that were co-produced by the organization and community. Through engagement with all stakeholders, the co-production model for law enforcement reforms has become the gold standard for creating real change for use of force, responding to mental health calls for service, transparency, accountability, diversity recruitment, and constantly meeting the needs for the delivery of essential police services.
Mr. Roessler is a graduate of Arizona State University, the George Washington University, and the American University’s Key Executive Graduate Program. Mr. Roessler has attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute and National Academy. Mr. Roessler continues to serve on many committees and boards to transform the law enforcement profession. Additionally, Mr. Roessler is an advocate for mental health wellness programs for public safety employees and community members.
Lori James-Townes, President & CEO of Expand-Now, LLC. & Assistant Training Director for the National Association of Public Defense
Lori James-Townes is President & CEO of Expand-Now, LLC. She also serves as an Assistant Training Director for the National Association of Public Defense. Lori’s passion is adding value to others through speaking, training, development activities, coaching, and consulting. Lori has over 25 years of teaching, clinical social work, leadership, and management experience in juvenile justice, mental health, and public defender settings. She is an adjunct clinical instructor at Towson University, Department of Family Studies and Community Development.
Her most recent public defender position was Director Social Work, Leadership and Program Development, with Maryland Office of Public Defender. With over more than 800 employees, she served as one of the first Directors of Leadership in a public defender setting. While in this position, she demonstrated her ability to help others grow in the areas of teamwork, leadership, and management. She also led the agency’s social work staff, consultants, and interns. Lori is a certified John Maxwell Trainer, Coach, and Speaker. She has developed programs that are now national models for other agencies. In 2015, The Daily Record Newspaper named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. As a speaker, she is requested both nationally and internationally. She resides in Maryland with her daughter, Maya.
Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. Senior Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project
Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. has an academic and professional background in analyzing criminal justice policies and practices, racial disparities, juvenile justice systems, and long-term imprisonment. Her documentation of the prevalence of life imprisonment has served as a national resource for academics, advocates, policymakers, reporters, and incarcerated persons. She is the coauthor with Marc Mauer of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences (The New Press, 2018) which has received praise from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly, and has been featured on National Public Radio. Dr. Nellis is also the author of A Return to Justice: Rethinking our Approach to Juveniles in the System (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) which chronicles America’s historical treatment of youth in the justice system and the need to reorient juvenile justice practices toward the original vision. She has presented her work at a wide range of academic and policy convenings, and is frequently interviewed by a range of news media. Dr. Nellis received her Ph.D. in Justice, Law and Society from American University’s School of Public Affairs.
Campaigns and Lobbying-- have you heard about these industries but aren’t entirely sure what they entail? Do you know you want to pursue opportunities in either or both of these fields? Do you just want to get more information about these industries to help you make more informed decisions? If so, please join us for these virtual panels featuring alums and employers who have worked or currently work in them. Students can attend one or both panels. After the second panel, registered students will have the opportunity to set up one on one virtual meetings with alums and employers to learn more and ask questions.
Monday, March 15th Virtual Campaign Panel moderated by Department of Government Professor Candice Nelson. Students register through your Handshake account.
Tuesday, March 16th Virtual Lobbying Panel moderated by Department of Government Distinguished Professor James Thurber. Students register through your Handshake account.
Wednesday March 17th - Wednesday March 31st One on One Networking time frame.
Christian Curto, Senior Account Executive and Political Director, Campaign Solutions
Tom Bonier, CEO, TargetSmart
Anne Caprara, Chief of Staff, Governor J.B. Pritzker
Quentin Fulks, Executive Director, Think Big Illinois
Laura Uttley, Principle and Lobbyist, Lewis-Burke Associates
Awesta Sarkash, Government Affairs Manager, Small Business Majority
Scott Goodstein, Founder and CEO of Catalyst Campaigns
Mike Panetta, Partner, Beekeeper Group
National Security, Cyber Security, Counterterrorism, and Intelligence work-- do you work in any of these fields or have an interest in learning more about them? Please join American University's School of Public Affairs and Career Center for a virtual networking event. Employers, AU students, and alumni will have the opportunity to network, provide helpful tips for entering the ﬁeld, and discuss available opportunities.
Monday, November 9th Intelligence Community & National Security Panel. Students register through your Handshake account here.
Tuesday, November 10th - Wednesday November 25th One on One Networking time frame. Alums and Employers register here. Students register through Handshake
Education, Housing, Food, Environment & Sustainability, and or Social Advocacy & Equity Nonprofits. If you work for an organization focused on any of these areas, or if you’re interested in working in these ﬁelds, please join American University's School of Public Affairs and Career Center for a virtual networking event. Employers, AU students, and alumni will have the opportunity to network, provide helpful tips for entering the ﬁeld, and discuss available opportunities.
Tuesday, October 6th Nonprofits: Making a Difference Panel. Students need to register, through Handshake, in order to get instructions and links for both parts of the industry day. Please register by noon EST October 6th.
Wednesday, October 7th - Wednesday October 21st One on One Networking time frame. Alums and Employers register here. Students register through Handshake.
George Garcia, Director of Education & Workforce for Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)
Jaleesa Hall, Founder & CEO of Raising a Village
Kristin Scott Kennedy, Chief of Staff at Council on Foundations
Lizzie Martinez, Director of Development at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
Marley Rave, Director, Individual Relations and Philanthropy for Autism Speaks
Monday February 10, 2020, 6-8pm
6-6:15pm: Registration & Check-in
7-8pm: Networking Reception
Intelligence Community (IC) Panel will have representatives from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), FBI, and US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).
Law Enforcement & Courts Panel will have representatives from FBI, Fairfax county Police Department, and Prince George’s County Police Department.
Monday October 21, 2019, 9-11AM
9-9:15am Alum/Employer/Student Check in & Networking
9:15-10am Panel “Working for a Non-Profit”
10-11am Networking Reception
Samantha Paige Davis
Kristen Scott Kennedy
Tuesday September 24, 2019, 6-8PM
6-6:15PM - Alum/Employer/Student Check in & Networking
6:15-7PM - Panels on campaigning and lobbying running simultaneously
7-8PM - Networking Reception
Tom Bonier, CEO, TargetSmart
Christian Curto, Campaign Solutions
Alicia Kolar Prevost, Director of the Voter Study Group, Democracy Fund
William R. Sweeney Jr., Distinguished Practitioner, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs
Laura Uttley, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Awesta Sarkash, Director of Advocacy & Communications, Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)
There are several other industry-specific networking receptions hosted by the Alumni Office and Career Center throughout the year. Students can find these events through Handshake.