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Meet the Board

Graduation Cap

The School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board represents an expansive network of more than 3,000 SPP alumni.

Through professional development events, community service programs, social activities and support of the School’s various academic initiatives, the alumni network plays an integral role in advancing our mission. Join us at an alumni event or contact us to learn more about getting involved.

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Policy Dialogues discusses current events through a policy lens, featuring a diverse range of SPP alumni.

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headshot of Hugo Canto
Policy Director

Prince George’s County Council



Hugo E. Cantu was elected to the Alumni Board in June 2020 for a two-year term. He graduated in May 2020 with a B.A. in Public Policy and a minor in Real Estate Development, making Canto the first President of the SPP Alumni board to graduate from the undergraduate program. He is a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), Engagement, and Steering committee. Canto also holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Montgomery College. In his time at the University of Maryland, Canto has served as a Public Policy Ambassador, an Orientation Advisor, and an Executive Board member and co-founder of UMD’s Public Policy Professional Fraternity, Kappa Omega Alpha. He served on the Presidential Transfer Committee for President Darryl Pines as a member of the University Relations and Communications, and Alumni Association subcommittee. Canto was the Policy Analyst for former Council Member and Lieutenant Governor candidate Monique Anderson-Walker of the 8th District in Prince George’s County. He now works for Council Member Tom Dernoga of the 1st District in Prince George’s County. In his free time, Canto enjoys cooking, reading, and watching sports. 

headshot of Elsie Johnson
Senior Research Associate

National Academy of Public Administration



Elise Johnson joined the School of Public Policy Alumni Board in June 2021 to serve a two-year term. She graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics, and a Minor in Spanish. Johnson also completed the two-year Public Leadership College Park Scholars Program as an undergraduate. During her time in the School of Public Policy, she served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for two years. Some of her other campus involvement included being an undergraduate research assistant for the Center for American Politics & Citizenship, a tutor at a local elementary school, and a peer mentor for the Public Leadership Scholars Program. As a Senior Research Associate at the National Academy of Public Administration, Johnson conducts organizational assessments for federal agencies and non-governmental organizations to solve their critical management and governance challenges. In her spare time, Johnson enjoys spending time outdoors, cheering on UMD sports teams, and participating in trivia nights with friends.


headshot of E. Jonathan Garcia
Research Associate

National Academy of Public Administration



Jonathan Garcia joined the School of Public Policy Alumni Board in June 2022 for a 2-year term. Jonathan graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and a minor in Law and Society. After graduating, Garcia joined the National Academy of Public Administration as a Research Associate. In his role, Garcia conducts organizational assessments and researches diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging initiatives in higher education, local government, and federal government. During his time at UMD, Garcia was a Resident Assistant, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Policy Student Government Association, Director of Recruitment of the premier public policy professional fraternity Kappa Omega Alpha (Gamma Chapter), Images Tour Guide, teacher assistant, peer mentor for La Familia, and member of NAACP, NRHH, Lavender Leadership Honor Society, and Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society. In his free time, Garcia involves himself in grassroots efforts to provide translation services and teach technological literacy to Spanish-speaking communities. Garcia enjoys improv, dancing, reading fantasy books, and watching A24 films.


Headshot of Steph Wagner
Technical Programs Specialist

Electrification Coalition



Steph Wagner joined the School of Public Policy Alumni Board in June 2021 and serves on both the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion as well as Steering committee. After earning their Associates of Arts in Liberal Arts & Sciences, Wagner transferred to the University of Maryland in 2019, graduating in December 2020 with a B.A. in Public Policy. During their time at UMD, Wagner was a council member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board as well as a cohort member of the Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellows. While they have a general interest in energy, issues surrounding the environment, affordable housing, grid electrification, and their intersectionality are their bread and butter.  Currently, Wagner works with Electrification Coalition, providing policy and logistics support to municipalities as well as businesses wishing to electrify their fleet. In their free time, Wagner plays Dungeons & Dragons, hikes, listens to too many podcasts on playback x2 speed, and occasionally refurbishes items into art.

headshot of Jessica Messier
Energy Program Specialist

U.S. Navy's Energy Security Program Office



Jessica Messier, formerly Frech, serves as Past President on the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board and is SPP’s Representative on the UMD Alumni Association Board of Governors. Messier served as President of the SPP Alumni Chapter Board from July 2019 to July 2021. She graduated from the School of Public Policy’s graduate school in May 2019 with a Masters of Public Policy focused on energy and environmental policy and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Resource Economics. During her time in the graduate program, Messier served as the Policy Student Government Association’s Service Director and the Co-President of the SPP Environmental Council. She also held a research assistant position with the Center for Global Sustainability. Before beginning the program, Messier worked in the solar industry for three years as a market and pricing analyst. During her last semester in school and post graduation, Messier worked as an energy management analyst for the City of Alexandria, VA. Currently, Messier works for the United States Navy’s Energy Security Program Office as an energy program specialist.

headshot of Raymond Nevo
State & Equity Policy Manager

National Housing Trust


Raymond Nevo has served on the Alumni Board since July 2020, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee. He graduated in May 2020 with a B.A. in Public Policy. During his time at UMD, Nevo served as the Public Policy Representative in the University Senate, President of the SPP Social Policy Council, and original member of the SPP Diversity Inclusion Belonging (DIB) Taskforce. His experience at UMD strengthened his passion for housing, energy, environmental and racial equity and justice, and led him to the National Housing Trust (NHT).  Through the Energy Efficiency For All (EEFA) project - which NHT is a national partner of - Nevo leads two State coalitions of housing, energy, and environmental policy experts who advocate for affordable, safe, and healthy housing in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Additionally, he leads the Racial Equity Working Group for all 12 EEFA state coalitions, and serves on the Stewardship Council of the Network for Energy, Water, and Health in Affordable Buildings (NEWHAB). In March 2021 Nevo became a candidate for the District Two seat on the Prince George’s County Council and looks forward to sharing his experience and expertise with his community leading up to Election Day, July 19, 2022. Nevo lives in Hyattsville, MD with his husband, Ofir and cat Benita. In his spare time, which he swears still exists, Nevo is a flying trapeze artist and instructor at Trapeze School New York, located in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Southeast Washington, DC.

headshot of Delisha Thompson
Princeton in Asia Fellow; University Professor

Donghai University, Taichung, Taiwan



Delisha Thompson completed the MPP degree in Spring 2018, and her B.A. in Government and Politics with a concentration in East Asian Studies at the University of Maryland in Spring  ’14. Thompson serves on the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board’s Marketing and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees. During her time at the School of Public Policy, she was the lead Graduate Assistant for the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program. She taught undergraduate capstone courses and collaborated with students to create social advocacy projects. She also mentored and supervised five capstone teams of 28 students. One of her student groups, Kicks 4 Kids, won $1,000 prize for their project. Thompson also worked with SPARC on their #30DaysTooLate campaign, which aimed to shine a light on inadequacies in mental health care on UMD’s campus. SPARC won 2nd place in the Do Good Challenge in Spring 18 with research provided by Thompson’s capstone project. Thompson’s master's capstone focused on improving mental health policy at the University of Maryland; she worked with Resident Life and the University Health Center to provide policy recommendations to College Park Scholars for how to improve mental health resiliency in their students. Currently, Thompson works as a Princeton in Asia fellow at Donghai University. She functions as both a cultural ambassador and an English/history teacher.

headshot of Kurt Turnier
Program Coordinator

Montgomery County Collaboration Council



Kurt Turnier began serving on the School of Public Policy Alumni Board for a two-year term in July 2022. He graduated from the University of Maryland, School of Public Policy with a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership. While completing the program, Turnier served as a member of the NASPA: Region II – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Public Policy Work Group where he recruited policy experts for monthly panels that advanced regional members' interest in public policy. Upon graduation from UMD, Turnier secured a summer internship as a Research & Development Intern at Joe’s Movement Emporium where he established a marketing strategy for intentional donor outreach and conducted research on improving literacy development strategies among students of color ages 5 – 24. Currently, he works as a Program Coordinator at the Montgomery County Collaboration Council where he supports the procurement, contract compliance, and fiscal management of 20+ public and private vendors delivering services such as out-of-school time programs and job readiness training to young adults experiencing housing insecurity.

Holding the identities as a first-generation Haitian-American and college graduate, Turnier comes to UMD School of Public Policy Alumni Board transitioning from a career in Higher Education Administration and into Education Policy. He has led various bridge programs aiding first generation, low-income high school graduates into college matriculation and career exploration; created initiatives supporting the retention of collegiate students holding marginalized identities; along with identifying and dismantling factors leading to attrition for these communities. Personally, Turnier enjoys traveling, watching sports, and exploring beaches, hiking trails, and the menus of restaurants.



headshot of Amanda Woodson
Government Relations Specialist

Amputee Coalition



Amanda Woodson joined the School of Public Policy Alumni Board in June 2022 for a 2-year term. Woodson graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in a dual major of Public Policy and Government & Politics with concentrations in International Relations and Foreign Policy.  After graduating, she started working as a Government Relations Specialist at the Amputee Coalition. The Amputee Coalition is the only national nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. representing the limb loss and limb difference community. In her role, Woodson works with colleagues in the Government Relations Department to maintain and grow the grassroots program, and develops organizational policy positions on issues impacting the limb loss and limb difference community. She also sits on a number of national multi-member coalitions as a representative of the Amputee Coalition. During her time at Maryland, Woodson was a member of the University of Maryland Pre-Law Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. She served as co-president of the University of Maryland Chapter of the Roosevelt Network. She is a proud alumni of the University of Maryland Global Communities living learning program. In her free time, Woodson enjoys volunteering as a member of the Junior League of Annapolis, experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes, and spending time with family and friends.

headshot of Mollie Laniado
Communications Associate

Feldman Strategies



Mollie Laniado began serving on the School of Public Policy Alumni Board for a two-year term in June 2021. She graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a minor from the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Finding a passion in combining her public policy education with communications, Laniado got her start in the halls of the Congress, serving to generate media attention and connect constituents to Congressional activities across a wide variety of policy areas. She now serves as Communications Associate at Feldman Strategies, helping to tell the stories of those in many different policy spaces and using strategic communications to connect her clients’ missions with the masses. While not at work, Laniado enjoys traveling, surrounding herself with as many dogs as possible, and watching basketball.

Headshot of Jeffrey Mounts
Head of Foreign Mission Banking



Steering Committee member.  1991/M.P.M./Public Sector Financial Management


​​Jeffrey C. Mounts is Head of Foreign Mission Banking, Citibank and formerly the Comptroller and head of the Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services (CGFS) at the U.S. Department of State and currently the Acting Chief Financial Officer.

As Comptroller, Mounts carried out the delegated authorities and responsibilities of the Department’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and serves as the Department’s statutory Deputy Chief Financial Officer (DCFO).  The Comptroller leads the Department’s global financial management activities, systems, and services.  The Comptroller serves as the primary financial management advisor to the Under Secretary for Management and other Department executives and acts as the Department’s external liaison on all matters relating to the Department’s worldwide financial management operations.

Mounts is also the U.S. representative on the United Nations International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) having served in this capacity since January 2018.  The ICSC is an independent expert body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1974.  The ICSC’s mandate covers all facets of staff employment conditions.

Mounts has 30 years of federal financial management and human capital compensation experience, including executive leadership and subject matter expertise in personnel and pay policy, worldwide payment execution and banking services, after-employment pension and benefit administration, enterprise systems development and program management, and global shared services implementation and operation.

Mounts holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Maryland School of Law, a Master of Public Management (M.P.M.) from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science and Education from South Dakota State University.



headshot of Serena Saunders
Communications & Programs Coordinator

Running Start



Serena Saunders joined the School of Public Policy Alumni Board in June 2022 for a 2-year term. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy with a minor in History in May 2020 and her Master of Public Policy in August 2021 from the University of Maryland. While in undergrad, Saunders co-founded and served as two-term Vice President of the premier public policy professional fraternity Kappa Omega Alpha (Gamma Chapter). She sat on the School of Public Policy Dean’s Student Advisory Council, was a teaching assistant for a policy ethics course and was a recipient of the Banneker/Key Scholarship, the most prestigious four-year merit-based scholarship offered by UMD. Saunders currently works at Running Start and manages their Congressional Fellowship, the only Congressional internship and political leadership training program specifically for college-aged women. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and enjoys films, television and books.


headshot of Andrew Stover
National Grants Coordinator

America Votes



Andrew Stover began serving on the Alumni Board in July 2022. Andrew was one of the first students to be in the undergraduate public policy program the first semester it was offered, and he graduated from the University of Maryland in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a minor in American History. During his time at UMD, Stover was involved with campus organizing and voter registration through MaryPIRG as well as the Student Government Association (SGA). In SGA, Stover served as Denton Community Representative and was later elected as Vice President of Financial Affairs, where he oversaw the distribution of student fee money to student organizations on campus. He also served on the Student Facilities Committee, which distributed money to important facilities projects on campus and during his final semester served as Student Fee Coordinator for the SGA where he advocated for lower costs for students. After college, Stover joined the Judiciary Committee staff for the Maryland General Assembly and went on to serve as Legislative Director for Delegate Jon Cardin. Most recently, Stover joined America Votes as its National Grant Coordinator where he administers a grant program geared towards voter engagement and progressive causes while simultaneously pursuing a Masters degree in Public Financial Management from the University of Kentucky. In his free time, he enjoys watching the Nationals, cooking, and reading. He currently lives in DC with his girlfriend Steffi and their cat, Piper.

headshot of Meredith Sundlof
Chief of Staff, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

U.S. Department of State



As Chief of Staff in the Bureau of Political-Military (PM) Affairs at the Department of State, Meredith Sundlof serves as counselor to the Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary on policy, management, and strategic planning. Sundlof provides operational oversight and supports the coordination of a wide range of issues that affect U.S. national security including regulating arms transfers and defense trade, directing security assistance, advancing security sector governance, and building partner capacity. Sundlof has been with the Department for 13 years, previously serving as a Strategic Advisor in the PM Front Office where she managed a range of policy and planning responsibilities related to security cooperation and bureau performance. As a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, she worked on defense trade controls policy, focused on ensuring the security and integrity of U.S. commercial defense trade. Sundlof also served on Capitol Hill as a Brookings Fellow for Congressman Scott Peters where she managed a diverse portfolio of policy and legislative activities including defense, foreign affairs, energy, environment, and veterans’ issues. Before joining State, Sundlof worked in the private sector for a defense technology and engineering firm where she was responsible for ensuring that all company activities were compliant with federal export laws and regulations. Sundlof graduated with a master’s in public policy and a B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland.  She is married with two young sons and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.