Our Alumni

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December 26, 2013

Richard Beck (B.A. 1969)

After graduation in 1969, I was employed by State of Wisconsin Employment Service as a job counselor. In that position, I was Union Steward in the Milwaukee Office of the State Employee Union. In 1982, I began the Doctorate of Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology program at UW–Madison, and graduated in 1987. From there, I began my career as a professor at two universities, until I finally went to work for Southern Illinois University, and retired in 2003. My love has always remained with the Political Science Department at UW.

Contact: drrichardjbeck@gmail.com

July 30, 2014

Elizabeth Bennion (Ph.D. 2001)

I was recently promoted to full professor at Indiana University South Bend where I have previously served as a lecturer ('99-'01), assistance professor ('01-'-06), and associate professor ('06-14). I have won eight campus-wide teaching awards and credit my experiences as a TA at UW for providing such excellent examples in the classroom! I have recently worked on two projects of interest to other political science faculty across the sub-fields. First, I published the co-edited book "Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen" available now through the APSA website (apsa.org/teachingcivicengagement). Second, I co-founded the Inter-Campus Consortium for SoTL Research. You can sign up here: www.tinyURL.com/JoinSotl.

Contact: ebennion@iusb.edu

November 8, 2013

Todd Berry (B.A. 1973)

A fond memory of the department was writing a senior honors thesis with Leon Epstein, after which I went on to what is now the Kennedy School. I spent the better part of a decade in Wisconsin government, and the last four years as Asst. Revenue Secretary. I then got an M.B.A. (Chicago), and worked in marketing management for a decade. Since 1993, I have headed the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan policy research group. On the side, I have served on the Dane Co. Board, the Jefferson School Board, and the North Central College (IL) board. I am married to Margaret Lewis (UW Political Science '76), a former Wisconsin legislator. In recent years, I have taught part-time grad. courses at Madison in state-local and higher ed. finance.

Contact: berrylew@chorus.net

January 29, 2014

Shawn Boyne (M.A. 2003, Ph.D. 2007)

I am a full professor at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law. I just published a book, "The German Prosecution Service: Guardians of the Law?" I teach courses in criminal law, cyber crime, and comparative national security law. In my spare time, I teach meditation to law students and high school students.

Contact: smboyne@iupui.edu

February 19, 2014

Earl Buehler (B.A. 1961)

I attended the UW–Madison, and graduated in 1961 with a major in Political Science. I then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin Law School and obtained his J.D. in 1964. Most of my career was spent as an attorney for the State of Wisconsin, in Madison. I had the good fortune to represent the people of the State of Wisconsin three times before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and won two of the three cases. I was a past president of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Dane County and recipient of the Fritschler Award. I was also a past National president of the American Association of Public Welfare Attorneys. I was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and was a leader in local Madison area Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops.

November 7, 2013

Kathy Cramer (B.A. 1994)

My time in the Political Science department at Wisconsin inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in political science. Fortunately, I was able to become a member of the faculty here just after finishing my dissertation. It has been a privilege and a deep pleasure to be a professor here since 2000, teaching some of the same courses that inspired me years ago. Thank you to the many great faculty, staff and students who inspired me back then, and to the many fantastic students, staff and faculty who continue to inspire me now.

Contact: kjcramer@wisc.edu

November 7, 2013

Sara Eskrich (B.A. 2009)

I finished my degree in Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies by interning in the D.C. office of then Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. I focused on health care reform in her office; it was the summer before the Affordable Care Act passed. The experience launched my career in policy for the City of Boston, and health policy at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. My experience with the Department of Political Science really led me to where I am now—a Masters of Public Health Candidate at UW and working on health policy for the UW Population Health Institute.

Contact: sara.eskrich@gmail.com

April 25, 2014

Calvin (Fred) Exoo (Ph.D. 1979)

Calvin (Fred) Exoo has been named the Charles D., Sarah and John D. Munsil Professor of Government at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He's authored three books on the politics of the mass media. The most recent, "The Pen and the Sword: Press, War and Terror in the 21st Century, was named an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice, the reviewing service of the American Library Association. In 2009, Fred was chosen as the Owen D. Young Outstanding Professor at St. Lawrence University by the senior class. In 2013-14, while on sabbatical leave, Fred and his co-author, his son Christian Exoo, became regular columnists for online magazine Salon.

Contact: fexoo@stlawu.edu

October 31, 2013

William Gandre (B.A. 2011)

Shortly after graduation, I spent a summer volunteering abroad in southern Africa. When I returned, I was able to get in touch with a UW alumnus who graduated with a PhD in Political Science in '07 through connections with the WAA. I've now been working with him for two years at a firm that does work for USAID, with myself acting as a technical implementer for a USAID project battling malaria in 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

November 26, 2013

Lauren Gonzalez (B.A. 2004)

a.k.a. Lauren Patterson

After spending eight years in the United States Navy as a nuclear trained Surface Warfare Officer I have resigned from the Navy and now live in Portugal with my husband who is also a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy.

November 6, 2013

Mark Grapentine (B.A. 1990)

After a brief sojourn as a television sports reporter/anchor, I picked up my law degree from UW. Various positions in the Capitol (and two children, which did NOT happen in the Capitol) ensued: in the Assembly, the Governor's office and then the Senate. In 2003, I started lobbying for the Wisconsin Medical Society, where I still reside—now as the Senior VP for Government Relations. The work is challenging and rewarding, and the UW Political Science experience has helped provide the bedrock of my skill set.

May 16, 2014

Heidi Green (B.A. 1988)

a.k.a. Heidi Knutson

After graduation, I worked at the State Capitol as a legislative aide. A few years later, while living in Chicago for three years, I worked as a lobbyist for Illinois Tool Works. In 1994 we moved back to Madison to start a family and I started my career as a political fundraiser. I was a fundraiser for supreme court races, congressional races and gubernatorial races for 18 years. Now I am happily managing PAC and conduit activities at the Wisconsin Medical Society.

Contact: hkgreen@aol.com

November 26, 2013

Monica Groves (B.A. 2003)

I was a Political Science major and had the opportunity to work for Professor Ken Goldstein on the Wisconsin Advertising Project (WiscADs). A legislative internship class my senior year led to a position as a staffer in the State Senate after I graduated. I currently work at American Family Insurance as a Government Affairs Counsel in three of our operating states. I'm grateful to the wonderful professors and mentors I had at UW and proud to call myself a Badger.

November 25, 2013

Chris Henjum (B.A. 2004)

After receiving my B.A. from UW–Madison in 2004, I came back to Minnesota to work as a legislative assistant for a local TV station. I then received my law degree from the U of MN, while working as a student attorney in the League of MN Cities litigation department. I was then given the opportunity to help establish the State and Local Programs Group within the Office of Compliance and Enforcement at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products in D.C. Since moving back to Minnesota last year, I’ve assisted local governments and businesses in their legal and legislative needs at the law firm of Flaherty & Hood. I’m also on the Board of our local ACS chapter, along with the creator of a mobile software company, Esqyr.

January 3, 2014

Chris Hollenback (B.A. 1998)

Beaufort Book of NYC has published my debut thriller novel, Sleep When You're Dead. Residents are baffled by the unexplained appearances of lifelike statues on college campuses, posed as famous paintings. Passersby eventually realize the disturbingly gorgeous art is the work of a serial killer. For more information: www.ChrisHollenback.com

November 7, 2013

Eric Koch (B.A. 2011)

After graduating in May of 2011, I continued an internship that lasted till September, at which time I began full-time work as a Research Assistance for a Wisconsin State Representative. In addition, I have managed two successful local campaigns: one for the Dane County Board in 2012, and a second for the Madison School Board in 2013. In the fall of 2012, I worked closely with many Assembly candidates, and I currently assist a candidate for the Wisconsin State Senate. During my time in the State Assembly, I have had the privilege of supervising several UW Political Science students who work as interns in my office.

November 15, 2013

Lissa Koop (B.A. 2003)

After graduating with a B.A. in Political Science and History in 2003, I received my J.D. from UW–Madison in 2005. My legal practice, first with Heller Ehrman LLP and now Perkins Coie LLP, has focused on patent litigation and political law counseling. I have received awards from our federal district court for my pro bono work and was recognized by Wisconsin Lawyer magazine as a Rising Star in intellectual property litigation. My current hobby is enjoying as much time as possible with my 8 month old daughter.

November 7, 2013

Stephanie Kundert (B.A. 2005)

I began my career in Washington, D.C. where I worked on Capitol Hill and then at Public Opinion Strategies. Two years later, I returned to Madison and began working for the Wisconsin State Assembly, and also went back to the UW to earn a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. While in grad school, I presented two research projects at the MAPOR Conference in Chicago. After four years in the Capitol, I moved on to become the policy director of Eric Hovde’s U.S. Senate campaign, and then campaign manager for Chad Lee’s campaign for U.S. Congress. I currently work as a public relations and advocacy consultant at Arena Strategy Group, and I serve as Vice President on the Wisconsin Women in Government Board of Directors.

March 20, 2014

Daniel Lewis (B.A. 2001)

I am currently an assistant professor of Political Science at Siena College. After graduating in 2001, I worked in Washington, D.C. for an environmental interest group for two years before pursuing my Ph.D. at Michigan State University from 2003 to 2008. I then worked at the University of New Orleans for five years, studying political institutions and public policy in the states, and serving as graduate director for doctoral students in political science. I recently published a book, Direct Democracy and Minority Rights: A Critical Assessment of the Tyranny of the Majority in the American States (Routledge 2013), examining minority rights under direct democracy institutions.

Contact: dlewis@siena.edu

January 22, 2014

Michael W. Lynch (B.A. 1983)

As well as a Political Science and Economics student, Michael Lynch was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mr. Lynch remained a life-long Badger fan. As detailed in an October 10, 1999 New York Times article, Lynch was an entrepreneur who was tenacious, unintimidated, and competitive. He started with real estate development in Chicago and grew his enterprises with McCook metals and other metal plants. As the highlight to the New York Times article reads, "From real estate to metals, Mike Lynch challenges the giants." Mr. Lynch passed away on November 12, 2013.

March 3, 2014

Bridget Maniaci (B.A. 2007)

After serving as an Alder-person on the Madison Common Council for four years, I am currently splitting my time between Pittsburgh and working on an M.S. Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College. I'll be graduating in the Fall of 2014, and then plan to return full-time to Madison. Brava Magazine named me to their 2014 Women to Watch list, as there's a mayoral race in 2015 (and it's something I'm watching). Since leaving UW, I served as Vice-Commodore to the Hoofer Sailing Club (2008-09) and found time to participate in half-marathons, cycling and soccer.

November 6, 2013

Scott McDonell (B.A. 1996)

I was first elected to the Dane County Board while still a Political Science major in 1996. I later served as Dane County Board Chairman from 2005 to 2013. This year I was elected as the Dane County Clerk. I still play soccer (as I did years ago for UW) and enjoy cooking.

November 26, 2013

Michael Neitzke (B.A. 1987)

Went on to get a Law Degree from Hamline University, practiced law for about 12 years; first as a civil trial attorney, then as General Counsel for a manufacturing company. I have recently been re-elected for my third term as full-time Mayor of Greenfield, Wisconsin (the Badger State's 20th largest city).

Contact: mayorneitzke@greenfieldwi.us

October 31, 2013

David Nelson (Ph.D. 2013)

I returned to academia after several years as a lobbyist and health care policy analyst. While at UW–Madison, I earned a Ph.D., participated in many research projects with faculty and graduated students, and became heavily involved in managing the department's internship program. I enjoyed this work so much that I redirected my plans and took a full time job teaching relevant career courses and managing career and internship programs for the department.

Contact: denelson3@wisc.edu

November 27, 2013

Jeffrey Orenstein (Ph.D. 1971)

After earning my Ph.D., I took a job at Kent State University in Ohio and retired from there as a full professor after 25 years. I wrote several books and was active in professional associations. After "retirement", I became a newspaper editor and now I am the publisher and executive editor of Living On The Suncoast Magazine in Sarasota, Florida. My keen interest (and activism) in transportation policy, especially rail transportation continues.

Contact: orenstein@livingonthesuncoast.com

October 31, 2013

Ryan Owens (B.A. 1998)

I went on to receive a J.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 2001, then practiced law for two years. In 2003, I started a Ph.D. degree at Washington University in St. Louis. I received my Ph.D. (Political Science) in 2008, and then accepted an assistant professor position at Harvard University. I returned to Wisconsin in 2011. In the spring of 2013, I received tenure. My wife and I have two wonderful boys.

Contact: rjowens@wisc.edu

November 11, 2013

Scott Resnick (B.A. 2009)

I currently am the Pro Tempore of the City of Madison's Common Council and Chief Operations Officer at Hardin Design & Development. I am one of the youngest elected leaders in the country, and during my tenure, passed the nation's second open data ordinance, crafted crowdfunding policy, and created a major initiative to tackle the "digital divide" in Madison. I am currently working on project called StartingBlock. The goal of this project is to spur innovation within the entrepreneurial community and expose students and members of the community to 21st century technologies such as 3D printers.

January 29, 2014

Kim Roberts (B.A. 2010)

After graduating in 2010 with a B.A in Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies, I returned home to the UK, where I studied for my M.S. in Security Studies at University College London. Following several years working in public affairs, I am now based in the House of Commons as a Parliamentary Researcher for the Shadow Defense Minister, with specific responsibility for defense personnel, welfare and veterans.

Contact: kroberts3@uwalumni.com

November 10, 2013

Scott Seymour (B.A. 1984)

I went on to obtain a law degree, and started my legal career with American Family Insurance 26 years ago. During that time, I held a number of positions, and am now Vice President of Corporate Legal and Regulatory Affairs which includes our state and federal government affairs departments. I feel that my political science degree prepared me well for my current role.

November 27, 2013

Jose M. Vadi (Ph.D. 1977)

After leaving Madison, I went to Boston and then to California where I started teaching while writing my dissertation. I taught in the California State University system from 1970 to 2008 mostly as a full professor. I taught politics of Latin America and established the first student exchange program with Cuba, with journalist and filmmaker Saul Landau who was my colleague and friend for some fourteen years. Now in retirement, I am dedicated to music and to art. I have two children, Jose Antonio, a writer and playwright working for the Center for Investigative Reporting, and Marissa, a medical doctor.

Contact: jmvadi@gmail.com

November 11, 2014

Jeff Vercauteren (B.A. 2005)

After graduating from UW in 2005, I received my J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 2008. I moved back to Madison in August 2008. I am an attorney with Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. focusing on Commercial Real Estate, Energy & Mining, Sustainability & Renewable Energy, Technology Law, and Government Affairs. I am a board member of Downtown Madison, Inc. and a member of its Government Relations Committee, and I am the President of Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc. and the chair of its Policy Committee.

Contact: jlverca@gmail.com

November 6, 2013

Susan Vergeront (B.S. 1967)

My first job after UW was as a research associate with the Wisconsin Legislative Council. I worked there until 1970 and 14 years later, I was elected to serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly. I served in that body for 10 years from 1985 to 1994 and received several outstanding state and national legislative awards while serving. My political career was great training for my next career in ministry. I learned many good things in relating to constituents as a legislator that have helped me in ministry. I graduated Seminary in 1995, was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, and recently retired from active ministry. Austin Ranney was one of my professors. He truly made an impact on me, and helped to mold my political philosophy.

Contact: svergeront@aol.com

January 5, 2014

Andrew Wachtel (B.A. 2008)

After graduating in 2008, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona to work in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute. After two years editing and ghost writing academic publications, I was promoted to work as their webmaster. Today, I work to protect and promote the digital brand of Barrow Neurological Institute, while creating innovative technologies to connect doctors with patients. I have received a Copper Quill Award for business communications and a Best of Industry Award from the Web Marketing Association.

Contact: alwachtel@gmail.com

November 6, 2013

Dan Weissburg (B.A. 1987)

After school, I pursued a career as a health care attorney. In 2007, after twenty years of practicing in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, I become the compliance officer at UW Hospital and Clinics. My wife, Jamie (B.A. Communications, '88), and I don't miss a Badger men's basketball game, and our oldest son is a freshman at UW–Madison.

August 3, 2014

Christopher Wilbur (B.S. 2002)

I have used my political science major as a high school teacher at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois. I teach both regular-level government and Advanced Placement US Government and Politics. I absolutely love teaching political science, and I could not have had such a great experience teaching if it wasn't for the classes I took at UW. For example, Professor Fowler's Introduction to Political Theory class directly affects my students--I use some of his argumentative methods and content to teach about the foundational questions of "who should rule?" and "how should wealth be distributed in society?". My excellent experience at UW even led me to earn a Masters degree in political science. Thank you for a wonderful education!

Contact: ccwilbur@yahoo.com

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