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Congressional Fellowships
on Women and Public Policy

Class of 2004

This year's class of WREI Fellows speak seven languages and include two former Peace Corps volunteers, two former AmeriCorps volunteers, and a Fulbright Fellow. Their generous funders include the Altria Group, Inc.; the Communications Workers of America; Elizabeth, Martha, and Emily Ehrenfeld; Johnson & Johnson; and Wyeth.

 

Victoria Brescoll works in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), covering a variety of issues related to women and families. She is also pursuing a doctorate in psychology at Yale University, where last year she edited the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism and received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to support her research. Tori also received the Jane Olejarczyk Award for co-founding the Yale psychology department's student/ faculty diversity committee, and the William Kessen Award for excellence in graduate student teaching. Tori graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, where she served as a live-in "house mother" at Father Patrick's, a home for pregnant and parenting teenage girls; worked on the crisis line at a domestic violence shelter; and volunteered as a counselor at the University's Girls in Math and Science Camp.

 

Christianne Corbett is working on a wide range of women's issues for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), including women in the military, the ERA, and women's health. She holds bachelor's degrees from Notre Dame in both government/international relations and aerospace engineering and recently earned a master's degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado, with a focus on women in the technical workforce. From 1992 to 1994, Christi was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, where she taught math and science to 170 high school students and organized a support group for the 30 girls in the student body. Before coming to Washington as a Fellow, Christi worked as an engineer with Ball Aerospace and Technologies in Boulder, CO.

 

Ann Gavaghan is the health and social policy fellow in the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), where she handles welfare, access to and quality of health care, and menu labeling, among other issues. A Pennsylvania native, Ann graduated summa cum laude in political science and classics from Villanova. She recently completed a double master's degree program in public health and international affairs at Columbia University. She spent the summer of 2003 in South Africa with the Mpondombili Peer Education Project, working on HIV and pregnancy prevention with secondary school students. But her HIV-related work really began during a Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan, where she co-founded the Living Care Assoc-iation, a grassroots AIDS service organization. Ann also served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Sunset Park Community HealthCorps in Brooklyn, offering HIV counseling and testing to a predominately Chinese population.

 

Polina Makievsky covers a broad range of health issues for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Currently completing a master's in social policy at Johns Hopkins University, Polina graduated cum laude from Smith College in government and Russian civilization. In 1998, she began working in Ukraine with Project Harmony, a U.S. State Department-funded professional training and community development program. Polina, who was born in Ukraine and raised in New York, started as a program coordinator in Kiev and Odesa, and went on to become country director for Project Harmony's Republic of Georgia office, where she managed the Georgia Women's Leadership Program. Just before starting her WREI Fellowship, Polina developed a communications strategy as an intern at Close to Home, a domestic violence prevention initiative in Boston.

 

Reena Shah is the foreign affairs fellow in the office of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), focusing on international women's rights, including Iraqi and Afghani women's issues, CEDAW, HIV/AIDS, and World Food Aid. Reena graduated magna cum laude in environmental studies and religion from the George Washington University and received her master's in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where she was a Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellow. From 1998 through 2001, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and later spent a summer in Kenya, researching eco-tourism at the African Conservation Center and organizing and training two women's groups in business management and conservation practices. Reena also traveled to Ethiopia during an ongoing famine to research how to best incorporate internally displaced people-mostly women and children-into disaster management planning.

 

Erica Swanson is covering education, child care, and welfare issues in the office of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). She graduated summa cum laude in sociology and political science from Central College in her native Iowa. After completing her master's in public policy/women's studies at the George Washington University in 2003, Erica worked at the Women Legislators' Lobby (WiLL) in Washington, DC. She coordi-nated WiLL's bipartisan state legislator program, whose members advocate for redirected federal spending priorities to reduce militarism and violence. Her political credentials include coordinating a 1000-delegate county convention as interim executive director of the Polk County Democrats, serving as vice president of the Iowa Young Democrats, and helping recruit 20,000 supporters for "Iowans for Sensible Priorities" during the 2000 presidential caucus. Erica volunteered as a counselor for behaviorally and psychologically disturbed adolescents in Des Moines and-during a semester abroad- at a domestic violence shelter in Wales.

 

Jocelyn J. Yee is working on budget and economic policy issues, specifically on the President's budget, domestic and international taxes, banking, labor, and pension reform, in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). She just completed a master's of science in public policy and management at the H. John Heinz III School at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in public policy and international affairs and served as the graduate student representative on the finance committee of the university's board of trustees. Jocelyn began her undergraduate studies at Santa Monica College, where she helped establish the Asian Pacific Islander Task Force, before obtaining her B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley in political science and ethnic studies. Her extensive exper-iences in government include: a summer at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, tracking appropriations bills, budget authority and outlays; seven months as a field representative for California State Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, staffing constituent workshops on elderly health care, insurance, and wellness; six months at the U.S. Department of Education, analyzing civil rights litigation and legislation; and a summer interning in Senator Feinstein's Washington office.