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Washington DC Career Month 2015
Careers in Government: From Campaigns and Elections to Civil Service

$10 Advance Ticket, $15 at the Door. Free Admission for 2015 Graduates.

Online registration is now closed. Walk-ins and their guests are welcome at the door

Refine your next move by tapping into the UChicago alumni network. Hear from a panel of alumni experts about what it takes to land a government job and what comes before and after working for a political campaign. Confirmed panelists are as follows:

  • Tal Kopan, AB'09, Political Reporter at CNN Digital Politics (Moderator)
  • Steven Berry, AB'94, Senior Vice President at the Association for Rare Earth
  • Jamil Jaffer, JD'03, Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at IronNet Cybersecurity
  • Janelle Johnson, MPP'12, Legislative Aide, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Erika Melman, AB'95, MPP'09, Director of Issuer and Plan Management Operations Branch at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Lucas Schleusener, AM'11, Assistant to the Chief Speechwriter, United States Department of Defense
Getting ahead takes talent. It takes knowledge. It takes skills, practice, and connections. We all have our own mix of each. Polish and perfect your unique mix with UChicago's network of resources this Career Month . UChicago alumni experts can help you focus on professional growth, expand your network, and gain new job-hunting and job-landing skills. 

See below for more information about our panelists:

Tal Kopan, AB'09 (Moderator) is a reporter for CNN Politics, where she covers breaking news, the 2016 campaign, legal issues and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the network, Kopan was a reporter for POLITICO in Washington, D.C., where she reported for their breaking news team and policy verticals. Most recently, she was a reporter for POLITICO Pro Cybersecurity, where she covered cybersecurity policymaking on Capitol Hill and followed cyber-related issues in the Justice Department such as cybercrime. On the breaking news team, Kopan covered campaigns as well as state political trends.

Kopan was selected as a 2014-2015 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Fellow and a member of the 2015 class of Journalist Law School at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She was also the recipient of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Midwest Chapter's 2008 Ephraim Family Scholarship.

Kopan graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's in law, letters and society.

Jamil Jaffer, JD'03, Jamil N. Jaffer is currently Vice President for Strategy & Business Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a startup technology firm, and also serves as an Adjunct Professor and Director of the Homeland and National Security Law Program at the George Mason University School of Law where he teaches classes on national security, cybersecurity, surveillance, and foreign relations law. Jamil most recently served as the Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to joining SFRC, Jamil served as Senior Counsel to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. House of Representatives (HPSCI).

In the Bush Administration, Jamil served in the White House as an Associate Counsel to the President, handling Defense Department, State Department, and Intelligence Community matters and at the Justice Department as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the front office of the National Security Division. Jamil also served in other positions in the Justice Department, including in the Office of Legal Policy where he worked on the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Jamil holds degrees from UCLA, the University of Chicago Law School, and the United States Naval War College. 

Janelle Johnson, MPP'12, is a 2012 graduate of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at UChicago.  After graduation, she was selected to serve as the inaugural Donald M. Payne Foreign Policy Fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.  As a fellow, she spent nearly two years advising two Members of Congress in the House and Senate on U.S. national security and foreign policy issues in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.  Janelle currently serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she advises committee leadership as part of the African Affairs team.


Erika Melman, AB'95, MPP'09 has fifteen years of experience working with local, state, and federal health and human services programs. Ms. Melman worked for several years in academic research, a decade in management consulting focusing on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other human services’ agencies. Ms. Melman is currently at CMS’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), managing the certification process for health plans applying to sell products on the Federal Marketplace as part of the Affordable Care Act legislation. Ms. Melman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and an Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Luke Schleusener, AM'11, currently serves on the speechwriting staff of the Secretary of Defense, a position he has held since January 2012. Prior to which, he served as an Associate for National Security at the Presidential Office of Personnel, from June 2011. He campaigned for President Obama in 2008, during both the primaries and the general election.  He attended the University of Chicago, where he received an AM in Middle East Studies and Wesleyan University, where he received a BA in History of Religion.

Staff Liaison
Alexandria Schultz, AM'13



Event Information
Wednesday, Nov 4 2015 at 6:00pm - 8:30pm [ iCal ]
National Press Club
529 14th St. NW 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Look Who's Coming:
Jaime Allentuck
Cynthia Arnold
Nadene Bradburn
Kevin Cardella-Koll
Carl Cohen
Alina Epstein
Jordan Franklin
CJ Fritts
Maria Gaona
Beverly Gaucher
Luisa Godinez Puig
Jason Goitia
Jing Guo
Jamil Jaffer
Janelle Johnson
Leslie Kan
Tal Kopan
Rachelle Large
Erika Melman
Frank Menna
Jenny Menna
Olivia Myszkowski
Michael Perino
George Petersen
Ellen Platts
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Omero Sabatini
Yevgen Sautin
Luke Schleusener
Rachel Sullivan
Tanyi-Tong Terrell
Esteban Valencia
Jennifer Van Ee
Teresa Wilson
... a total of 35 guests.