Staff

Dan Balz, Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow

Dan Balz is chief correspondent at The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 1978 and has been involved in political coverage as a reporter or editor throughout his career. Before coming to The Post, he worked at National Journal magazine as a reporter and an editor and at the Philadelphia Inquirer. At The Post, he has reported on 10 presidential campaigns. The first political convention he covered was the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. He is the author of several books, including two bestsellers. He was born in Freeport, Ill., and served in the U.S. Army. He is married to Nancy Johnson Balz.

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Staff Assistant / Receptionist

As the Institute of Politics' staff assistant, Kerri runs the front desk and reception area, handles requests for IOP room reservations, helps with 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 the 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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Communications Director

Kelsey is the Director of Communications at the Institute of Politics, overseeing communication strategy and media relations. Kelsey's career has spanned the intersection of politics, public service, and higher education. During the Obama Administration, Kelsey served as the Assistant Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama, supporting the communications strategy surrounding Mrs. Obama's policy initiatives, Let's Move!, Joining Forces, Let Girls Learn and Reach Higher. In addition to her time at the White House, Kelsey held communications and digital strategy roles at U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Education, and EMILY's List. Most recently, Kelsey oversaw communications at Handshake, a career network working to support the job search for college students nationwide. Kelsey is a native New Yorker and received a B.A. in Communications from Marist College.

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Director of Special Projects

As Director of Special Projects at the IOP, Christian 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. Christian 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. Christian and his partner Dan Schutt have a son Derrick and live in Milton, MA.

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Executive Director

Amy 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 2015. Abbie has managed the Fellows and Study Groups program since fall 2017, and prior to that was the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Staff Assistant. As the Fellows Coordinator, Abbie oversees all IOP Fellows experience at Harvard by providing support in implementing weekly study groups and managing all program logistics. 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.

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John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator

As the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Coordinator, Cathey 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, Cathey 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, Cathey worked on the staff of former Harvard Kennedy School Dean, Joseph S. Nye, Jr.  Cathey was born in Seoul Korea, raised in Portland, Oregon and attended Boston University where she majored in Political Science. 

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Internships and Career Services Coordinator

Sadie 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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Director of Finance and Operations

Theresa 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. Theresa 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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Events and Outreach Coordinator

Andrew joined the Institute of Politics in 2019. As the Events and Outreach Coordinator, Andrew organizes event details and outreach for various IOP events such as the Pizza and Politics series with HPU, as well as special conferences and ceremonies such as the Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress. Before becoming a part of the IOP staff, Andrew was a staff assistant at the Harvard Alumni Association on the reunions team, where he helped execute memorable and meaningful Harvard Reunion events in conjunction with reunion committees. A Boston native, Andrew attended Harvard University where he graduated with a B.A. in Classics. While an undergraduate, he was involved in public service through the Phillips Brooks House Association

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Director of Student Programs

Rob is the Director of Student Programs at the IOP and staff coordinator of the Harvard Votes Challenge. His work has focused on themes of civic engagement, community development and educational equity in the US, Latin America and Africa. Prior to joining the IOP, Rob served as a consultant and advisor to organizations that include the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Harvard College, Tufts University, The Social Impact Studio and The Obama Foundation.

 A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Rob has co-founded five civil society organizations in Paraguay, including, Teach for Paraguay, member of the global Teach For All Network and the Paraguayan Government's first national youth service program.

Rob is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, New Politics Leadership Academy Alumnus and former Gates Millennium Scholar. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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