Blog Staff

Executive Editor

Lancy Downs is a second-year MPA student focusing on policy analysis. She currently serves as an intern for the Criminal and Civil Justice team at the National Conference of State Legislatures and for the Pathways to Better Jobs Dialogue at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. Before coming to Trachtenberg, she worked in strategic communications for a range of non-profit clients, including PBS, Ken Burns, The National Constitution Center and Catholic Charities of New York. She graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 2016. In her spare time, Lancy loves to read, go to the movies and do the New York Times crossword puzzle. 

Deputy Editors

Leisha Goel is a second-year MPP student interested in regulatory studies and foreign policy. Originally from Chicago, Leisha has worked in the non-profit and private sectors on projects involving global health issues and foreign affairs. In her free time, Leisha can be found exploring DC and reading in local bookstores with a cup of tea or coffee.

Gio Liguori is a second-year MPP student concentrating in budget and public finance. He graduated in 2022 from GW with a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice. Gio’s policy topics of interest are transportation, energy and social welfare policy and how they relate to mitigating the effects of human-caused climate change. Last year, Gio was a staff writer for Brief Policy Perspectives, authoring articles on nuclear energy and HIV prevention policy. In his free time, you can find Gio faithfully rooting for his favorite sports teams, playing video games or exploring the outdoors.

Annie Robey is first-year MPA student interested in studying digital media in community relations initiatives. Annie graduated from The University of Alabama in 2022, earning a B.A. in Political Science, minoring in Spanish. In her free time, Annie enjoys hiking, reading and finding the best-overpriced latte.

STaff Writers

Patrick Carr is a first-year MPP student focusing on policy analysis. He currently works as an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ International Price Program. Before coming to Trachtenberg, he worked as an intern at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and in the U.S. House of Representatives. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, volunteering, running, and playing music with fellow musicians.

Louie Kahn is an MPP student studying politics, policy, and administration. Louie also earned his bachelor’s degree at GW, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in political science and political communication. Louie works on Capitol Hill as a Communications Fellow for the New Democrat Coalition. In his free time, Louie enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and rooting for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mateo Pierce-Mosquera is a first-year MPP student. Before coming to Trachtenberg, he worked as an intern for the Research and Planning Division and the Hispanic and Latino Affairs Division at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. He graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Global Studies. A proud Colombian American and a brother of the oldest Latino fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Mateo likes to spend his spare time reading, going to museums, and playing with his dog Mari.

Yaokun Shen is a second-year MPP student with a concentration in foreign policy. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in finance in 2021. Yaokun has written several articles discussing public affairs when he was in China, and served in the GMU student government. In spare time, he enjoys reading, playing soccer, and driving or biking around the DMV.

David Trimmer is a second-year MPA student focusing on social policy. In 2021, he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has served as a guest contributor to Brief Policy Perspectives and as pro-bono consultant. In his most recent project, he and other Trachtenberg students evaluated community indicator projects across North America and presented their findings at the Community Indicator Consortium. Outside of Trachtenberg, he is a part-time tennis instructor for JST and the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Althea Ulin is a first-year MPA student focusing on education policy with a specific interest in K-12 schooling. She currently at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. She graduated from Colby College where she received her B.A. in Government. Ali has long been involved in civic engagement work, serving as the Fellow for ColbyVotes, Colby’s voter registration and education organization, and as the Political Affairs Director for Maine College Democrats. In her spare time, she attends St. John’s at Lafayette Square, watches baseball (she is an avid Dodgers fan) and enjoys live music.

Julia Vanella is a third-year MPP candidate concentrating in social and health policy. She is originally from Southern California and graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in political science. Julia is currently working at the EPA in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer in the Office of Budget with the Resource Planning and Regional Operations staff. When she’s not working or studying, Julia loves to explore the city, scope out new restaurants and events and hang out with friends.

Nathan Varnell is a first-year MPA student focusing on urban policy and public finance. He currently interns in the office of U.S. Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux. Before coming to Trachtenberg, Nathan graduated cum laude from Texas A&M University with a BS in political science and journalism, where he served as an editor at The Battalion newspaper and worked with local non-profits serving essential workers in the campus community. In his spare time, he is a member of the George Washington Boxing Club, listens to podcasts and attends St. John’s at Lafayette Square.