CEEP STAFF

Maxim Thorne

MAXIM THORNE, Chief Executive Officer

Maxim Thorne earned a B.A. (cum laude honors) in Economics and Political Science from Yale College and a J.D. from the Yale Law School. Maxim has served as the Managing Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications and Development Officer of NAACP, the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation and the Executive Director of NJ Head Start Association. As a dedicated leader and advocate, Maxim has served on the Board of Directors of many organizations as well, including the founding Board of Yale Black Alumni Association, Chaired the 40th Anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, Honorary Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, the Board of Governors of Yale University, Executive Committee of the Yale Law School, GLAAD, the North Star Fund, Amistad Research Center, Barnert Hospital Foundation and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. He also serves on the Yale Alumni Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

“I know what it is like to feel the entire continuum of being young, marginalized and disenfranchised to becoming whole, empowered and American. Now more than ever, we need to reimagine, protect and strengthen the pillars of our democracy. We have to turbocharge and make real an intersectional and holistic democracy movement building on the centrality of the rich diversity of youth. Every innovation and tried and true is on the table, be it texting, digital organizing, short films, dorm storming, student panels, marches and more.” – Maxim Thorne


BRENNA LIMBRICK, Operations Manager

Brenna started with Campus Elect in 2012 as the State Director for Ohio. After a break to take care of her two young sons, she returned in 2018 during the Ohio midterms, again as the Ohio Director to oversee the Ohio Fellows and help non-fellows campuses continue their democratic engagement. In 2020 she transitioned to an operations role to help CEEP gain its official 501(c)3 nonprofit status and oversee new process implementation. Brenna has a degree in Computer Information Systems and more than 20 years of administrative, technical and program knowledge that helps her administer Campus Elect’s operational processes. 

She believes that democracy (voting especially!), justice and equity should be taught in our society at a young age.  She is dedicated to her family and kids, volunteering her time in the community when possible. Brenna resides in Pataskala with her husband and two boys who are very active in soccer.

CECILIA MCDERMOTT, Statewide Organizer

Cecelia McDermott (she/her) is a passionate organizer from Appleton, WI. She’s a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Political Science and Geography alongside several certificates. While in college, Cecelia was deeply committed to youth organizing. Through various roles and organizations, Cecelia hosted several state summits and conventions, established new organizing groups across Wisconsin, managed national leadership teams, and launched several text-based outreach programs to reach more students one-to-one. Last year, Cecelia managed a successful campaign for Madison City Council for a student running for local office. Most recently, Cecelia served as Program Manager: Systems at the Andrew Goodman Foundation, where she combined campus portfolio work with data analysis projects.

Outside of organizing, Cecelia loves reading, making unnecessary spreadsheets, attempting to learn coding, and hanging out with her cat Oscar. She looks forward to combining youth organizing and data-driven strategy in her role at CEEP.

CHRISTINA POLLONAIS, Co-Chief, Youth Civic Power

As a U.S. citizen growing up on the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Christina Pollonais, Esq. lived in a very culturally, racially, and politically diverse society. Her multinational and multicultural upbringing taught her that a functional democracy must be rooted in equal voice and inclusion for all. With this exposure, she was motivated to attend Spelman College and earn a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Christina’s objective at CEEP is to amplify the voices of people who are so often ignored. She believes a key way to ensure all voices are heard is by protecting voting rights and encouraging citizens to exercise these rights. In her spare time, Christina enjoys cooking, traveling, and relaxing at the beach.

ELISE ORLICK, Donor Advisor

Elise (she/her) works with Campus Elect’s supporters to build capacity for the organization’s critical youth empowerment work. An experienced organizer and advocate for democracy reform at the state and national levels, she joins Campus Elect after working at the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Previously she was a State Director for WashPIRG, where she took a major role in helping pass automatic voter registration, same-day registration and pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds in Washington state. She has also worked as a Democracy Advocate for U.S. PIRG, where she led federal campaigns to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and introduce federal ethics legislation.
 
Elise graduated from the College of William & Mary cum laude. She now lives in Seattle with her boyfriend and their cat Pixel. In her spare time, Elise enjoys plant-based cooking and walks along the Salish Sea.

ELLEN WEHRMAN, Co-Chief, Institution Civic Power

Ellen (she/her)  joined CEEP in June 2019 as the State Director for Michigan. As Co-Chief for Institution Civic Power, she leads our voter friendly institutional engagement program.  Before starting at CEEP, Ellen spent twelve years working in higher education student affairs, including roles at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Marietta College (Ohio), and Central Michigan University.  Ellen has taught multiple leadership theory courses, and has a deep scholarly interest in rural students’ transition to college and patterns of civic engagement. She received her B.S. in Public Administration cum laude from the University of Arkansas and her Master’s in Higher Education – Administration & Policy from Loyola University Chicago.  Ellen lives in Michigan with her husband, their two sons, her mom, and their mischievous dog, Sprite. 

JAN BRENNAN, Mountain West Director

Jan brings a strong background in civic engagement, education and social change to her role as CEEP’s Mountain West Director, working with our campus partners in Colorado and New Mexico. Jan has a Master of Public Administration from the University Colorado Denver. She has held a variety of positions in civic engagement, community-engaged learning and in education and cultural policy. She most recently worked with Education Commission of the States’ National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement, where she published extensively on civic learning policy and served as the project leader for a national service-learning initiative. Jan is a Senior Fellow with the National Civic League and is licensed as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and as a Youth Program Evaluator.

JARED LUCERO, Statewide Organizer

Jared is from Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a recent graduate from The University of New Mexico with a degree in Political Science & minor in Entrepreneurship. Jared also studied politics & anthropology in Amsterdam, Netherlands at Vrije Universiteit. Jared enjoys the fast-paced nature of elections and brings years of community organizing, having held roles in finance, field, digital strategy, and governance. Jared also brings his activism for youth in politics as he started his civic engagement in high school, serving on his City’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and was selected to attend the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Jared has also been a volunteer firefighter & EMT student and encourages everyone to take a stand in their local community. In his spare time, Jared enjoys triathlon training, hiking, and video-editing.

JESSICA ROGERS, Chief of Donor Engagement

Jessica (she/her) joined Campus Elect in July 2021. As Chief of Donor Engagement she leads our philanthropic efforts and development team to drive the organization’s revenue growth and advance our mission. Jessica has worn many hats in the nonprofit sector over the last decade and has a wealth of experience in institutional fundraising, annual and capital campaigns, and systems management. While Jessica spent much of her career working with organizations that strengthen the social safety net, she believes strongly that we must act now to protect and preserve our democracy. Jessicaholds a Bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Roger Williams University and a Master’s of Public Administration from American University and lives in Rhode Island with her husband.

JOHANNA MUDRY, Statewide Organizer

Johanna is an experienced and dedicated intrapreneur. For the past eighteen years, she’s worked to improve communities and serve those with greatest need. She’s made social change her prime focus since graduating from Eastern University with an M.S. in Nonprofit Management. Earlier she graduated with honors from Temple University where she earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Johanna has worked to advance communities and individuals in a wide variety of capacities; whether building homes for families, tutoring and mentoring youth, working for environmental or healthcare improvements, or working on grants and fundraising. She looks to continue this success through empowering others, including students, to become productive and active citizens, while increasing her own power as a change agent.

Johanna is also a proud resident of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, where she actively participates in her neighborhood association, local food co-op, and tends to her community garden.

LIAM HYSJULIEN, Statewide Organizer

Liam Hysjulien received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and his Master’s in Environmental Sociology from the University of Tennessee. Before starting at CEEP, Liam spent six years working in higher education as a Political Science program coordinator at the University of Tennessee and Duke University. Liam worked on developing and implementing voter-related service-learning initiatives that helped to empower students to become more civically engaged around issues of voter registration, voter awareness, and voter education.

LUKE VERDECCHIA, Statewide Organizer

Luke Verdecchia joined Campus Elect in April 2017, and he has worked to engage 30+ higher-education institutions in his home state of Wisconsin since then. Luke supported cohorts of student fellows, including 30-person cohorts in 2018 and 2020, to increase youth civic power and strengthen institutional support for youth voting across the state. In addition to leading the organization’s work in Wisconsin, he chairs Campus Elect’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining the team, he worked with his municipal clerk to provide the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 40,000+ students with educational materials about voting processes for the 2016 presidential election. Luke holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Luke is excited to continue leading Campus Elect’s work in Wisconsin given that the state will be closely watched during the 2022 midterm elections. He lives in Madison, and he enjoys running, reading and exploring all that the city has to offer (preferably by bike).

MEG MCCORMICK, Co-Chief, Campus Civic Power

Meg McCormick grew up in a household where discussing politics was off the table and she never took a civic class in school.  So, when she turned 18, she didn’t bother to register to vote because — 1.) she didn’t know how to, 2.) no one asked her if she was registered, and 3.) she didn’t think her vote mattered. As a first-generation college student, there were times when she wanted to drop out because she wasn’t connecting what she was learning in academia to the “real world” and felt that she couldn’t afford to be there, both financially, but also morally– there was too much going on to be “doing nothing”.  Then,  someone asked her to join a student-led activism  group which led to working on her first campaign — for a US Senator in Vermont— and it all clicked.

Since then, Meg served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Northwest Indian College’s department of service-learning, and then went on to  direct their Institute of Indigenous Foods and Traditions, where she supported 28 tribes in Washington on food policy campaigns and revitalizing tribal food systems.  She also served as Maine Campus Compact’s Director of Programs for three years and co-founded their Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program.  Most recently, Meg founded and directed Maine Students Vote, a nonprofit focused on training the next generation of civic leaders at Maine high schools and colleges.

Meg resides in Portland, Maine (Wabanaki Territory), and when she is not working she is either being a hermit in the woods or trying to spark a dance party at every social gathering.

MICHAEL NORRIS, Statewide Organizer

Prior to joining the staff of Campus Election Engagement Project, Mike spent ten years as the Associate Director of Florida Campus Compact. Mike is well known for his work with college and university faculty and staff throughout Florida on issues related to civic engagement. While at Florida Campus Compact Mike started the Engaged Faculty Fellows program assisting faculty to redesign course curriculum to include service-learning and community service components. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of music theater at Tallahassee Community College. In his role as the Florida Co-Director for CEEP, Mike supervises Fellows in North and Central Florida, and consults with staff to increase student voter engagement throughout the state.

Originally from Arlington, Virginia Mike holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Samford University in Alabama. Prior to his work in the field of higher education engagement, Mike held full time positions as a music educator and church musician in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Tallahassee.

NAUSHEEN ANSARI, Liaison, Organizing, Advocacy & Learning, and Donor Engagement

Nausheen was a former White House intern, and she received her B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida and her Master’s in Public Administration Degree at the City College of New York. Nausheen has spent the last few years working in the voter engagement space at Campus Election Engagement Project and the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Nausheen has worked as an adjunct of Political Science at a local community college in New Jersey for the past four years.

NATE HALL, Statewide Organizer

In his role at CEEP, Nate is returning to his roots in campus organizing. He got his start doing voter registration and GOTV work at Ohio University. From there, he worked on various campaigns in Ohio, including managing two races for state representative, culminating in two years as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives. For the last four years, he has done political organizing work for a labor union, primarily in Ohio and Michigan. As part of this work, Nate managed a team of 20+ organizers working on races across Michigan. He also helped to draft a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to address payroll fraud and misclassification, and helped managed the bipartisan coalition that passed it out of committee. Nate spends his free time fixing up his house in Columbus, working out, and caring for Harley, a 10 year old pit bull, with his girlfriend Nicky.

PAYGE HARDY, Development Assistant

Payge Hardy joined Campus Elect as a fellow in 2019 and held several campus-wide events at her community college in New Jersey. Enthralled by the opportunity to work as a member of the development team in 2020–Payge continues to develop as a young professional and proponent of civic engagement. 

Payge attends Columbia University in the City of New York and aspires to fight the ongoing affront to democracy in the United States. A progressive advocate for social justice–Payge is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. She continues to share her perspective as a young leader, and hopes to kindle the flame of democratic justice by sharing the mission of Campus Elect and her own personal story. 

Payge is excited to innovate her work upon our organization’s relaunch–and continues to dream in color. In her free time, you may find her curled up with a book, exploring nature or making friends at community events (preferably with live music).

RACHAEL GAMBINO, Chief of Staff

Rachael firmly believes that your vote is your voice. An innovative and results-oriented professional, she brings over eight years of fundraising, event planning, program development and volunteer management experience in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to CEEP. Prior to joining, she worked with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a partner organization advancing youth civic engagement across the nation, and Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit  whose mission is to transform lives and communities through entrepreneurship. With a focus on strategic planning, an emphasis is placed on the maximization of resources, prioritization of team well being, and optimization of creativity.
 
Rachael currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and rescue dog, Charlie. She received her Bachelors of Science in Communications from the State University of New York at Cortland. She is a proud alumni of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, serving two terms across the Northeast.

RACHAEL HOUSTON, Faculty Resources Coordinator

Rachael Houston joined Campus Elect in March 2018. She is extremely passionate about equipping young people with the knowledge to become informed voters and active participants in our democracy. During her time at Campus Elect, she has empowered and mentored young people in the state of Minnesota and across the country. She has also helped build Campus Elect’s faculty institutional programming over the years. In addition to her role at Campus Elect, she is an academic who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. (ABD) at the University of Minnesota. She studies American politics and political methodology. With a specialty in quantitative methods, Rachael is excited to help Campus Elect make strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation to fight voter suppression efforts.

Prior to joining the team, Rachael attended Coastal Carolina University for a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Communication. She covered community stories for a local news station and served as a Constituent Services Representative for a U.S. House Representative. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, rock concerts and binge-watching Survivor.


CEEP Guides Team

Ellen Finkelstein

ELLEN FINKELSTEIN, Lead Campaign Guides Researcher

Ellen holds a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University. She worked at Encyclopaedia Britannica for 19 years, honing her fact-checking skills and sense of nuances as a copy editor for a variety of yearbooks, project coordinator for several books, and project manager for the online Britannica. She worked on all phases of print publications—from concept and development of articles, soliciting authors, review and editing, design, page proofs, and finished product. Ellen worked as organizer for Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, where she wrote, solicited, and edited articles for newsletter, email alerts, & other publications, as well as organized and provided support for programs, forums, and conferences. She was director of a summer program for high school students that helped high-school students develop leadership, competency and confidence, to interpret the world and solve problems, and to advocate for themselves and create positive change in their communities.

“Much of my work and political experience has been, at core, about communication (written and verbal) and about making things accurate, accessible, and clear – to create information that gives different audiences the tools to act for positive social change. I have a deep commitment to empowering people, giving them support, skill, and information to find their voice(s) and become effective advocates for themselves.”

JOHN BOYLAN, Candidate Guide Partner Relations

John Boylan is a Seattle-based writer and producer who helped research and edit CEEP’s 2018 nonpartisan guides. In 2016 he created and produced 9e2, a nine-day festival of art, science, and technology that included work by more than 100 artists, performers, engineers, scientists, and technologists. For more than 20 years, he has hosted a roundtable conversation series about art, politics, and science, featuring major artists, scientists, poets, writers, musicians, architects, actors, activists, and impresarios. Boylan worked in web publishing at Microsoft for 15 years, and has also been an editor, journalist, art critic, and researcher. He holds an MA in communications from the University of Washington and two BA degrees, in history and English literature, from Pennsylvania State University.


CEEP Interns

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JEFF MURRAY, Social Media Intern

Jeff Murray is a visual designer living in the DC Metro area who strives to use his creativity to solve tricky problems with elegant design. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, he grew up in Seattle and graduated in 2009 from The Evergreen State College. A winding road eventually led him to continue his education in design at Montgomery College in Maryland, taking their Digital Tools for Visual Arts class over the summer of 2016 and General Assembly’s UX Design course in the summer of 2020. During his free time he enjoys playing board games, going to shows, and spending time with his partner (who is an amazing cook) and their lazy, albeit precocious, cat, Des.

Jenna

JENNA SITTLER, Social Media and Design Intern

Jenna is an undergraduate student at American University majoring in Film and Media Arts in the University’s School of Communications and pursuing a minor in Graphic Design. She is interested in gaining experience in the communications field and learning more about social media outreach. Jenna’s other interests include yoga, painting, and supporting her local coffee shops.

Lauren Ban headshot

LAUREN BAN, Faculty Resources Intern

Lauren just recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, obtaining a BA in History and Economics with a minor in Political Science. This fall, she plans to begin law school. Having previously worked as both a CEEP Fellow and an Assistant State Director, Lauren is excited to be able to continue supporting nonpartisan election engagement. When she is not working, you can find Lauren with her nose buried in a book or out in the garden.

NehaUpadhyaya

NEHA UPADHYAYA, Faculty Resources Intern

Neha Upadhyaya is an honors student at the California State University, Fullerton. She is majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Politics. Some of her passions and future career interests include advocacy work on important social and political causes, so she is very excited to work for an organization like CEEP to help further encourage civic engagement. Outside of school, during her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and exploring new restaurants.

TaNiyaBellamy

TANIYA BELLAMY, Fellows Program Intern

TaNiya Bellamy is an undergraduate student at Virginia State University, studying Philosophy and Political Science. She became involved with Voter education and voter registration efforts through her work with The Association of Political Science, and decided to continue her involvement as a CEEP Fellow in Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021. TaNiya enjoys serving and educating underrepresented communities and people; she believes everyone deserves a voice and a chance to participate in the political process. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, reading, volunteering as a tutor and DIY crafts.