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Alumni Spotlight

peter skopecPeter Skopec, Class of 2012

Peter has been working at the Public Interest Network, a national public interest advocacy group, since graduating in 2012. His experience in the Brady Program and its emphasis on strategic, well-researched approaches to making lasting social change through community organizing was what drew him to organizing and advocacy work after college.

Peter worked for two years at NJPIRG, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, where he campaigned with community and student leaders to get Big Money out of politics. Using many of the skills he developed through the Brady Program – targeted research into social problems and strategic solutions, campaign planning, getting a diverse group of stakeholders to work together, and reaching out to the media – Peter trained college students to build an organizing team that gathered petitions, lobbied local and federal elected officials and generated media attention throughout New Jersey. The students worked with community members across the state to pass 15 municipal- and county-level resolutions, including in Newark, Princeton and Essex County, calling on policymakers to pass a constitutional amendment that would stop the flood of Big Money into our elections. Eventually, New Jersey’s legislature became the ninth in the country to support sensible limits on campaign spending and the overturn of recent Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United.

In 2014, Peter moved to Wisconsin to take over as the director of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group. Among other campaigns, WISPIRG is currently working with local activists and leaders in Milwaukee to reform the state’s

jenna gottesmanJessica Gottesman, Class of 2011

After graduating from Northwestern with dual degrees in Political Science and Violin Performance, Jessica Gottesman spent a semester as an Advanced Research Intern in the Special Projects division of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), followed by nearly two years as an associate at Triage Consulting Group in San Francisco. Currently, Jessica is pursuing her Master of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, specializing in International Security and Economic Policy. She is a recipient of a fellowship through the Robertson Foundation for Government, which generously includes full tuition, a stipend, and summer internship funding. This December she will travel to Berlin for a conference on nuclear nonproliferation as a graduate research assistant to Prof. Catherine Kelleher. Jessica is also continuing her study of philosophy and ethics, inspired by the Brady Program, through an independent study on post-conflict reconciliation. After graduation Jessica hopes to work for the federal government, focusing on international conflict mitigation and post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. Her background from the Brady Program has been invaluable in developing this path.