Staff

Digital Communications Specialist

Mary Cappabianca joined the Institute in September 2015 as the Digital Communications Specialist responsible for creating, building and publishing content for the IOP’s web and digital platforms – and managing the editorial process for content publication to maximize impact. Before coming to the IOP, Cappabianca served as a Senior Associate for Public Affairs and Social Media at the Aspen Institute and as a Media Communications Fellow for the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Cappabianca also previously held internship positions with Clean Communities of Central New York and U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey (D-PA). Cappabianca holds a BA in Public Relations, International Relations and Spanish from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

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Staff Assistant / Receptionist

As the IOP's staff assistant, Kerri Collins runs the IOP's front desk/reception area, handles requests for IOP room reservations, helps staff IOP events, directs incoming phone calls, and assists the Director, Executive Director, IOP Fellows and guests. Kerri graduated with a degree in Travel and Hotel management. Prior to joining the IOP, she worked in guest relations and catering sales departments at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge for 10 years. Kerri is an active volunteer with the Boston chapters of Make a Wish Foundation and the Jimmy Fund.

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Director of Polling

John Della Volpe is the Director of Polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he has led the institute’s polling initiatives on understanding American youth since 2000.  The Washington Post referred to John as one of the world’s leading authorities on global sentiment, opinion and influence especially among Millennials and in the age of digital and social media.  In 2008, he received an Eisenhower Fellowship for which he traveled extensively throughout China, Hong Kong, and Korea (including a supervised day in North Korea) studying Millennials; in 2011, he was appointed to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission on Media.  John is also founder of SocialSphere, a Cambridge based public opinion and analytics company.  He serves on the Board of Trustees of iCatholic Media, the Ad Club of Boston and is a member of the Global Alumni Council for Eisenhower Fellowships.  John appears regularly on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and his insights on the Millennial generation are found in national media outlets in the U.S. and abroad, including the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

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Director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Carrie Devine joined Harvard’s Institute of Politics in February 2013 as the Director of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Prior to joining Harvard, Ms. Devine served as Chief of Staff for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee and was Deputy COO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee. She traveled extensively from 2007-2012, serving as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s planning team for NATO and APEC, in the White House Executive Office of the President and Obama for America as an advance lead. Ms. Devine has held management roles in the software industry and with numerous events throughout her career, including three Olympic Games and two World Cups. She holds a journalism degree from Marquette University.

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Director of Special Projects

As Director of Special Projects at the IOP, Christian Flynn plans and coordinates a range of Harvard Kennedy School's highest profile political and public service-related conferences for elected officials, academics and media. Key events include the Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress; Campaign for President: The Managers Look at the Presidential Campaign; and IOP Director's Dinners. Flynn also works with the Harvard Political Union. Flynn has worked at Harvard since 1995 almost exclusively for the IOP. In 1994, he served as a surrogate scheduler for Senator Ted Kennedy during the 1994 Senate campaign, and had the opportunity to work with many members of the Senator’s extended family. Flynn and his partner Dan Schutt have a son Derrick and live in Milton, MA.

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Executive Director

Amy Howell became Executive Director of the Institute of Politics in April 2017. Previously, Amy served as the founding Director of the Institute’s Internships and Career Services Office, where she greatly expanded the IOP's offerings in research assistantships, public sector internships, career programming, and career advising. During her tenure, Amy and her team built the IOP’s Director’s Internship and Summer in Washington program into two of the Institute’s premier offerings and launched thousands of Harvard undergraduates into careers in politics and public service. Amy received a Harvard Kennedy School Dean’s Award in May 2016 to recognize her innovative achievements, her contribution to Harvard, and her dedication to her students.

Prior to joining the IOP, Amy’s experience included working on the Jeanne Shaheen for Senate campaign, serving as the national travel and fundraising coordinator. Amy also worked in Washington D.C. as the Major Gifts Coordinator for EMILY's List.

Amy graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with an M.Ed. focusing on the intersection of public service and leadership in higher education. Amy is also a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, earning her B.A. in American Studies. Amy resides with her three children and her husband Carson Smith at Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA.

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Fellows and Study Groups Program Coordinator

Abbie joined the Institute of Politics in September 2015 as the JFK Jr. Forum Assistant. In this role, she contributes to the overall planning, marketing and execution of all Forum events. Prior to joining the IOP, Abbie worked as NH Scheduler for Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). A native of Needham, MA, she is a graduate of Saint Anselm College and holds a degree in Politics. While at Saint Anselm, she interned with the Constituent Services Office of Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire.

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John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator

Cathey Park is the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator.  She is responsible for the planning, marketing, and implementation of Forum events, including outreach and fostering co-sponsorships with interested undergraduate student groups and Harvard Kennedy School centers and recruitment.  Previously, Park coordinated the Institute's "Women’s Initiative in Leadership” (WIL) created to address the interest and importance of female students at Harvard in developing leadership skills.  In addition to overseeing WIL she worked on special events and conference.  Before joining the IOP, Park worked on the staff of former Harvard Kennedy School Dean, Joseph S. Nye, Jr.  Born in Seoul Korea and raised in Portland, Oregon  Park attended Boston University and majored in Political Science. 

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Internships and Career Services Coordinator

Sadie Polen joined the IOP in May 2013. As part of the Internships and Career Services team, Sadie works on the Director’s Internship Program, the Stipend Program, Research Assistantship Program, Gov 2.0 Grants, the Summer in Washington Program, and Career Services Programming. She has long been engaged in politics and public service – from interning in the US Senate and the Office of the Attorney General of DC to conducting research on juvenile recidivism rates and  working with children who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses and with youth in a state-mandated rehabilitation facility. Prior to joining the IOP, she worked at Harvard’s Center for European Studies. She holds a B.S. in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studied the intersection of education and community. 

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Executive Assistant to the Director

Julie Schroeder, Executive Assistant to the Director, joined the staff of the IOP in the Fall of 2001, moving to Cambridge from Frankenmuth, Michigan. She is responsible for managing Director’s office communication & scheduling, assists with staff organization, oversees the Institute's extensive event calendar and represents the IOP on the HKS Sustainability Initiative. She also is leading the IOP's new initiative to better integrate alumni into IOP programming. Julie was a news producer back in Michigan for many years and has two grown sons, one of whom was an active student at the IOP during his days at Harvard. She is also Nana to Blake, a famous baby model in the greater NY metropolitan area.

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Director of Finance and Operations

Theresa Verbic is the Institute's Director of Finance and Operations, and has been with the IOP since September 2000. Verbic has been with Harvard University for thirty plus years. Verbic began her Harvard career with the University's School of Public Health as a Financial Assistant for the School's Health Policy and Management Department. She then transitioned within the school of Public Health, moving to the School's Continuing Education Office to serve as the office's Financial Assistant.

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Staff Assistant to Internships and Career Services

Jordan Wilson joined the IOP staff in the fall of 2016. As a Staff Assistant to the Internships & Career Services team she plays a supportive role supplementing research and organizational efforts for programs such as the Director’s Internship Program, the  Summer Stipend Program, the Research Assistant Program, and the Gov 2.0 Grant. Prior to joining Harvard, Jordan gained experience in the areas of political fundraising and federal advocacy with the Congressional Black Caucus PAC as well as the US Senate and US House of Representatives. Jordan holds a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Community Development from Howard University. 

 

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