White House Appoints 2014-2015 Class of White House Fellows
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships announced the appointment of the 2014-2015 Class of White House Fellows. The Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, varied professions, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service and leadership. The 2014-2015 Class of Fellows and their biographies are included in the following pages.
The White House Fellows program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.” This unique opportunity to work within our nation’s government is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service. The Fellows take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. Community service is another essential element of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout their year in Washington, D.C.
Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each Fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels in the Federal government. Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including leaders in government, business, law, media, medicine, education, diplomacy, and the military. Additional information about the White House Fellows program is available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/fellows.
2014-2015 Class of White House Fellows:
Andrew C. Buher, New York, NY, served as Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Department of Education, an organization with a $25 billion annual operating budget and a workforce of 135,000 employees. In 2013, Andrew turned a $250 million deficit into a $2 million surplus and developed and scaled innovative public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations including City Year, iMentor, College Bound Initiative, and Citizen Schools that impacted over 25,000 students. Prior to his appointment as Chief Operating Officer, he served as Chief of Staff to Chancellor Dennis Walcott. He began his career in the non-profit sector promoting college access for low-income, first-generation students. Andrew has been active in his community, where he coached youth basketball and mentored graduate students. Additionally, he served on the Alumni Advisory Board of Rider University and the Alumni Council of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He earned an M.P.A. from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and his B.A. from Rider University, where he was selected as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency.
Megan E. Carroll, San Diego, CA, led the United Nations Development Programme’s Democracy and Participation portfolio in South Sudan, the world’s newest country. As the first person to hold this role, she served as the focal point for the constitutional review process and elections. Prior to this, she was Acting Director/Deputy Director of The Carter Center’s Democracy Program in South Sudan and Sudan; Democracy and Governance Advisor to USAID/South Sudan at a critical juncture when the mission transitioned from a US Consulate to Embassy in a newly-independent South Sudan; and an international observer in rural insecure areas for South Sudan's referendum on independence. Throughout her work, Megan developed and maintained key relationships with host government representatives, international and national NGOs, civil society, and donors. She has work experience on five continents, including managing Harvard’s Scholars at Risk Program and teaching in Japan through the JET Program. She was a Humanity in Action Fellow, Sauvé Scholar, and was named an International Young Leader by McGill University. Megan holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a recipient of a John F. Kennedy Fellowship and Cultural Bridge Fellowship, and a B.A. in Political Science magna cum laude from Amherst College.
Jacob E. Donnelly, San Francisco, CA, was a Senior Vice President at New Island Capital. He was responsible for private equity investments in companies that generate meaningful social, environmental, and community benefits alongside financial returns. Previously, Jacob was the Co-Founder of Farm Builders, a mission-driven company helping farmers replant tree crops in Liberia. He helped raise the seed capital, including fellowships from Echoing Green and the Rainer Arnhold Foundations, and launched Farm Builders following an internship in the Office of the President, H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. From 2005-2007, Jacob was the Co-Founder and Director of The Freedom Campaign, a non-profit grassroots effort to raise awareness of human rights abuses in Burma. He began his career as a management consultant and served on the Board of Directors of IDinsight, a non-profit organization that helps leaders in developing countries use evidence to improve their social impact. Jacob received his undergraduate degree from Babson College, where he earned the Roger Babson Award. He holds a Master in Public Administration/International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.
Jonathan M. Dorsey, Woodside, CA, is a social entrepreneur and recently served as Co-Founder and Director of the Impact Careers Initiative, an Aspen Institute program researching how to recruit talent to public-impact work. He also worked as an advisor to the Franklin Project, a bipartisan campaign for national service. Previously, Jonny co-founded and served as Executive Director of Global Health Corps, which places emerging global leaders with high-impact non-profits to build health systems around the world. Jonny was inspired to launch Global Health Corps by his experience co-founding and leading FACE AIDS, a nonprofit that mobilized students in the fight against AIDS. Jonny was named an Echoing Green Fellow, a Draper Richards Social Entrepreneur, and received the Next Generation Award from the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Jonny also served on the Harvard College National Advisory Board for Public Service, the Riekes Center Board of Directors, and as a Trustee of Partners in Health. He is a graduate of Stanford University, where he received the Deans' Award for Academic Achievement and was President of the student body. He received his M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Kari M. Fleming, Naperville, IL, is a Major in the United States Air Force. She served as a Special Action Officer to the Commander, Air Mobility Command, where she developed professional development courses and prepared the Commander for strategic engagements. As a Special Operations Instructor Pilot and Aircraft Commander in the C-17A, Globemaster III, Kari amassed over 1900 flying hours, including over 380 combat flying hours. She has commanded worldwide counter-narcotics, medical evacuation, and POTUS support missions and has flown in operations including ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, and UNIFIED RESPONSE. She has deployed three times to Southwest Asia and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, and two Air Force Commendation Medals. She served in a combined and a global air and space operations center and was recognized as an Air Expeditionary Force Outstanding Performer. Kari graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy where she earned a B.S. in Management, with the award of Athletic Distinction. She earned a M.S. from Trident University International in Executive Management and has continued her military education at Air University. As a member of Zonta International, Kari has supported local violence prevention centers and the advancement of women worldwide.
Scott P. Handler, Miami, FL, a Major in the United States Army, was second-in-command of the 782nd Military Intelligence (Cyber) Battalion, which conducts full-spectrum cyberspace operations in support of joint force commanders. Previously, he was an assistant professor of international relations at West Point, where he published three edited volumes on international politics, U.S. foreign policy, and financial planning for service members. Tactically, Scott commanded a military intelligence company, led an infantry scout platoon inside the DMZ as part of the U.N. Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area, Panmunjom, and was the primary and assistant intelligence officer in two light infantry battalions. Operationally, Scott served as Special Assistant to two Commanding Generals of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, which included facilitating an assessment of the Afghan Security Forces. Strategically, Scott served as Special Assistant to the Senior Leadership Team that created U.S. Cyber Command. His awards include the Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his support to the community. Scott received a Ph.D. from Stanford University, a M.U.R.P. from the University of Hawaii as an East-West Center Degree Fellow, and a B.S., as a distinguished graduate, from the U.S. Military Academy.
Kate F. Higgins-Bloom, Norfolk, VA, is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Coast Guard. She commanded a Coast Guard ship in the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and led search and rescue operations off the coast of New England. In addition to coordinating federal, state, and local security operations in the Port of Boston, she conducted extensive counter-narcotics and anti-human trafficking work in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Kate also received numerous awards for rapidly building effective response teams and resolving complex interagency challenges during deployments to major oil spills and large scale incidents such as Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, she served as a member of the Transition Team for the 25th Commandant of the Coast Guard and as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Legislative Affairs, where she supported strategic planning and external engagement for the service’s most senior leaders. She was a founding member of the Harvard Women in Defense, Diplomacy & Development Alumni Group and the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Kate received an M.P.A. from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Wrendon P. Hunt, Midland, MI, was the Associate Commercial Director for Dow Solar at Dow Chemical Company. He was responsible for strategy development, marketing, and sales in the business to business, government contract, insurance company, and college and university markets. Prior to that, he was Dow’s North America Senior Product Manager for Caustic Soda where he managed the profit and loss of the largest caustic producer in North America. Preceding his employment with Dow, Wrendon served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. He completed two Western Pacific Deployments in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and led the pre-deployment preparations for two ships as a Training Liaison Officer for Afloat Training Group San Diego. Outside of the office, Wrendon served as Dow’s Focal Point for the 100K Veteran’s Job Mission, on the Advisory Board for the Children’s Ministry in his local church, and as a regular volunteer at the Juvenile Correction Center and Humane Society. Wrendon received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in the top 10% of his class.
Marguerite Rose S. Jiménez, Missoula, MT, was a postdoctoral fellow at American University’s School of Public Affairs. She taught public policy, worked with undergraduate students in the global health program, and was a faculty adviser for the graduate student research journal. Since coming to American University in 2005, Marguerite has directed study abroad programs in Cuba, contributed to the creation of AU’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, served as co-director of the Latino Youth Conference, and worked to increase resources and support for minority and first-generation students on campus. She has also worked for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Institute for Policy Studies. Marguerite’s research focused on international health cooperation and expanding access to public health innovations such as vaccines in lower and middle-income countries. Her doctoral dissertation provided a comprehensive history of polio eradication in the Western Hemisphere, and she has spent the past several years working on a biography of Dr. Albert Sabin, developer of the live oral polio vaccine. Marguerite studied vocal performance at Berklee College of Music before discovering a passion for public policy. She has an M.A. in International Service and a Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus on global health policy.
Francisco J. Leija, Los Angeles, CA, began his Army career as a private with only a high school degree. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. He conducted operations in the Global War on Terrorism as a Military Strategist and as a Commander of Troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His last deployment was in the Afghan Surge, assigned within the Zharay District of Kandahar Province serving under the famed 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne Divisions. His previous military assignments include being an assistant professor at West Point, being an exchange officer with the U.S. Marine Corps, and service to the 4th, 6th and 1st Infantry Divisions. His last post was with the Joint Staff. His military certifications include Airborne, Ranger, Rappel Master and multiple Mountaineering courses. His military awards include two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. His athletic achievements have included representing multiple divisions as a competitive runner at the Army Ten-miler and a silver medal in the Kansas Cycling State Championship as a competitive cyclist. His volunteer work has extended to the Boys and Girls Club and the Wounded Warrior Program. Francisco received an M.A. in Strategy Formulation from the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) and holds an M.A. in Diplomacy from Norwich University and a B.A. in Social Sciences from Kansas State University.
Tiffany S. McNair, Voorhees, NJ, is an obstetrician-gynecologist and preventive medicine physician. She completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/Gyn) followed by General Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins. Combining her dual areas of expertise, she practiced OB/Gyn in the Greater Baltimore area, while also applying skills in public health and policy analysis at local, state, and federal health agencies. She received an Outstanding Resident Award during her OB/Gyn training, and has since been an invited speaker on women’s health issues. Tiffany’s research focuses on women’s reproductive and sexual health in minority, urban, and other vulnerable populations. She has spoken nationally on these topics and published in the peer-reviewed literature. Actively engaged in professional and community advocacy, Tiffany has held leadership positions in the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), served on the Maryland Maternal Mortality Review Committee, and volunteered with local organizations to educate Baltimore youth on women’s health and careers in healthcare. Her vocational impact and service have been recognized by her selection to the Harvey Fellows Program and ACOG’s National Leadership Institute. Tiffany graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in History and Science and Citation in Spanish. She received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Marisa L. Porges, Penn Valley, PA, was a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her work focused on terrorism and counterterrorism, particularly strategies to combat radicalization, and included extensive fieldwork in Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, interviewing former extremists and senior security officials. Prior to that, she was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Marisa previously served as a policy adviser in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, crafting strategies to combat terrorist financing and corruption, and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where she handled detention issues. Marisa began her career on active duty in the U.S. Navy, as a Naval Flight Officer flying the carrier-based EA-6B Prowler and supporting Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian response after a tsunami struck Indonesia. She has also served as a Trustee at the Baldwin School, a girls’ school outside of Philadelphia. Marisa received an A.B. with honors in geophysics from Harvard, an M.Sc. with distinction from the London School of Economics, and recently defended her Ph.D. at King’s College London. Her analysis has been published widely, including in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Mario Luis Ramirez, McAllen, TX, is an emergency medicine physician who most recently served in the United States Air Force as a Major and led a Critical Care Air Transport Team based at Bagram, Afghanistan from 2012-2013. He and his crew were credited with evacuating over 50 gravely ill and injured service members and were recognized with several medals and citations. Prior to his Air Force commission, he served on the teaching faculty at Vanderbilt University, and was a special instructor at the Nashville Police Academy where he helped to develop an innovative first aid program credited with improving medical care for police officers. He has published several scientific papers, edited a textbook on pre-hospital preparedness, and privately consulted to municipal special operations police units. Mario is board certified in emergency medicine and completed a residency and EMS fellowship at Vanderbilt University. He received his B.S. in biology from Stanford University, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where his area of focus was chemical weapons policy in the Middle East.
Lindsay L. Rodman, Kent, CT, is a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, a judge advocate and a foreign area officer (Latin America). She most recently served as Deputy Legal Counsel in the Office of the Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where her portfolio included military justice, space law, and human rights law issues. Before moving to the Joint Staff, Lindsay was assigned to Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps. From 2010-2011, she was deployed to Afghanistan as an operational law attorney. She previously served as a defense counsel and legal assistance attorney in Okinawa, Japan. Before joining the Marine Corps, Lindsay worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC. In early 2014, prior to being selected as a White House Fellow, Lindsay was selected as a Center for New American Security Next Generation National Security Leader. She has been a member of the Warlord Loop and a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. In her spare time, she has volunteered at the DC Rape Crisis Center. Lindsay graduated in 2003 from Duke University with an A.B. in Mathematics and in 2007 from Harvard Law School with a J.D. and the Kennedy School of Government with a Masters in Public Policy.
Edward Sheen, Irvine, CA, is an internist and was a Clinical Fellow in Liver and Digestive Diseases at Stanford University and the Executive Chair/Senior Partner of the Stanford Healthcare Consulting Group and Course Director of Leadership/Strategies for Healthcare Delivery Innovation. In the California State Assembly, Edward served on the Health Committee staff, where he authored and coordinated Medicaid legislation and supported oversight of health reform implementation, including Covered California. Previously, Edward was President of Stanford GSB’s Public Management Program, Trustee of the California Medical Association, Chair of AMA national committees and health access task forces, and research fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Stanford GSB’s Program in Healthcare Innovation. He advised senior leadership at Genzyme, Blue Shield, startup companies, and the Office of Management and Budget. Edward established the first statewide (now annual) Medical Student Leadership Conference and has been a mentor for Stanford’s Medical Youth Science Program, a motivational speaker for the National Youth Leadership Forum, and volunteer primary care physician at RotaCare Free Clinic. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa/magna cum laude from Brown and received his M.D. from University of California-San Francisco, M.B.A. from Stanford, and M.P.H. from Harvard (Zuckerman Fellowship). Edward is conversational in Spanish and fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese.