The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service announced its 11th class of fellows, featuring two people who worked on 2020 presidential campaigns as well as four other experienced figures in politics and political journalism.
The six new fellows are Faiz Shakir (LAW ’06), who directed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign; Lis Smith, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign communications adviser; author and CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham; Trump administration senior adviser Kevin Hassett; former Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah); and Errin Haines, editor at large of The 19th.
The GU Politics fellows program began in fall 2015, and the program generally draws five or six political figures from diverse backgrounds and fields every semester. As of spring 2020, the program has invited 51 total fellows. This fall marks the fifth anniversary of the program.
The GU Politics fellows serve for one academic semester and share their experiences with students through discussion groups and office hours. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Georgetown University’s decision to hold classes online, this will be the first year in which fellows will hold these events virtually, beginning with a Sept. 10 virtual open house.
GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee (SFS ’94) said that while the fellows program has always looked to bring in experts, he believed the fifth anniversary of the program was an opportunity to draw even bigger names in politics.
“Each semester, GU Politics brings some of the biggest names in public service to Georgetown for students to interact with on a weekly basis,” Elleithee wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We wanted to go big with our fifth anniversary class, and I think we nailed it with an ideologically diverse class of six of the top operatives, public servants and journalists in the country.”
The GU Politics summer events demonstrated students are eager to connect with fellows, according to Paula Pecorella (GRD ’23), manager of fellows and career programming.
“Based on the enthusiasm we saw from students this summer, we anticipate even more students will engage with the program this semester to stay connected to the Hilltop and have these important conversations no matter where they are,” Pecorella wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Shakir looks forward to giving back and teaching about running a presidential campaign, but also getting to learn from the other fellows and students he will be working with.
“I’ll use my discussion group to explain all the facets that go into managing a presidential campaign, but I also want to get into sharing all the various other experiences I’ve had in government and hopefully help better inform students’ perspectives on a path that might excite them,” Shakir wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I’m looking forward to not only learning from the other Fellows but also from the students. I’ve always had a desire to go into teaching, and this is going to be my first real taste of it. So I’m very thankful to Mo for giving me the opportunity.”
Haines is the founding member and editor at large of The 19th, a nonprofit news organization that focuses its coverage on the intersection of politics and gender named after the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. She is also an Associated Press reporter covering the intersection of race with the 2020 presidential election.
Ham is a journalist and senior writer for The Federalist, as well as a regular commentator on CNN. She previously appeared as a commentator for Fox News and was an editor at large of the conservative news site Hot Air. In 2015, she coauthored “End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).”
Hassett is an economist who served in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019 as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and returned to the administration for a second stint in April 2020 as a senior adviser in response to the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Love served as a U.S. Representative in Utah’s 4th district from 2015 to 2019, a distinction that made her the first Black female Republican elected to Congress. She now is a political commentator for CNN.
Smith is a political strategist who most recently was Buttigieg’s senior communications adviser for his 2020 presidential campaign. She is often credited with increasing Buttigieg’s national presence during the Democratic primaries by securing one-on-one conversations with national reporters.
Shakir served as Sanders’ campaign manager during his 2020 presidential campaign. In doing so, he became the first Muslim and first Pakastani American to manage a major U.S. presidential campaign
Shakir said he was inspired to be part of this program in part because he was able to work with political veterans during his own time as an undergrad at Harvard University, an experience that ended up shaping his own career path.
“When I was a student in college, I participated in a program much like what GU Politics offers. And it had a profound impact on inspiring me to pursue this career,” Shakir wrote. “One of my goals is to hopefully give a future generation of political and policy staffers the motivation and knowledge they need to pursue a career in bending the arc toward justice.”