POST Alumni Office Hours -Spring 2020 Series

POST Alumni Office Hours Spring 2020
Please see below for the bios of alumi that will be holding office hours this semester.

Stephen Colón

Stephen Colón ’15 believes in making government programs work better for working people. At Pitzer, he majored in Organizational Studies, but took a bunch of politics classes because he’s a Will Barndt and Rachel VanSickle-Ward fanboy.

Since graduating, Stephen’s managed job training programs that have found employment for more than 10,000 San Diegans, representing an investment of more than $6 million in funding from DOL, HUD, HHSA, the CA Employment Development Department, the CA Department of Community Services and Development, and local tax revenue. He also formed public-private partnerships that brought funders like Gap Inc, Microsoft and the James Irvine Foundation into the work of empowering local labor.

Stephen is currently the Senior Manager of Integrated Services for the San Diego Workforce Partnership, a joint powers authority of the City and County of San Diego. In that capacity, he founded a new division that’s transforming the experience of job seekers by reducing paperwork requirements and eliminating a bunch of those dumb “press 3 for someone who cares” phone menus. This mainly required reading long PDFs with names like  20 CFR 651-658 and asking too many questions.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, February 5th from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.


Michael Ceraso

Communication Strategist 

Founder and Executive Director of Winning Margins

Cofounder, President and Executive Director of Community Groundwork 

Michael has over 15 years of electoral, advocacy, and government experience. Michael started his career in advocacy at Greenpeace, where he was a face-to-face fundraiser and a city coordinator. He joined the 2008 Obama presidential campaign in New Mexico as a field organizer. Between 2009 and 2011, Michael worked on several city council and state senate races in New York and Washington D.C. before he rejoined Obama’s campaign team in New Hampshire as the deputy field director. Michael’s experience includes program director for Airbnb, a researcher on Capitol Hill, New Hampshire Deputy State Director and California State Director for Bernie Sanders, and New Hampshire State Director for Pete Buttigieg. In 2017, Michael founded Winning Margins’, a company that lowers the barrier of entry for underfunded candidates who lack the financial resources and staff talent to compete. Michael is a communication’s strategist and consultant, his most recent clients include the Georgetown Beeck Center, GenForward,, and Rhode Island Department of Labor. Most recently, Michael ran for Claremont City Council, founded Community Groundwork, a 501(c)(3) focused on training community college students interested in a career in government and politics, and was a writer for the Claremont Courier. 

Office Hours will be held on Friday, February 12th from 9:30am-10:30am (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

John Kalapos

John graduated from Pitzer College in 2017  and worked on a couple of democratic campaigns, then worked for the DCCC. Now he teaches at a boarding school, is a firefighter, and was elected to the Housing Authority in his town.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, Feb. 19th from 9:30am-10:30am (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Miller Saltzman

Miller’s passion is making the world a better place through public policy. After graduating from Pitzer in 2017 he worked as a Legislative Aide for California State Senator Jerry Hill in the capitol in Sacramento. He then moved to his hometown of San Diego to work on a political campaign. Once the campaign was over, he worked for San Diego Council President Jennifer Campbell, staffing homeless policy, transportation policy and representing a part of the district. Now he works for California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins in San Diego, where he represents the beach communities, and works on several policy areas including: homelessness, environment, cannabis, military, veterans, CalTrans, and unemployment insurance.


Office Hours will be held on Friday, February 19th from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.


Claire Wengrod

Claire Wengrod graduated from Pitzer College in 2019 with honors in Political Studies and a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, Claire joined Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) Washington DC staff. In serving her home state, Claire covers Health Care, Education, Child Welfare, Arts and Humanities, Native American Affairs, Veterans Affairs, and Telecommunication in the on behalf of Senator Heinrich in the United States Senate.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, February 26th from 9:30am-10:30am (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Carlos Perrett

Carlos is a native Houstonian and the first in his family to attend and earn a degree from a four-year college. He graduated from Pitzer College in 2018 with a BA in political studies and Spanish, and currently serves as a Manager of Persistence at EMERGE, a leading educational nonprofit in the city of Houston. Prior to joining EMERGE, he worked as an Education Consultant for the Costa Rican Ministry of Education. He was also the former Program Director at the Institute for Central American Development Studies. Carlos has worked closely with political parties across the spectrum in the U.S. and in Costa Rica to identify, prepare, and launch candidates into local, state, and national positions. He has served as an Election Judge, Deputy Clerk Specialist, Election Monitor, and Party Vacancy Chairman for parties/elections in the U.S. and in Costa Rica as well. Carlos is fascinated by political parties and the power they yield in elections, policy, and other areas of government. He is currently pursuing an MBA at INCAE, Latin America’s #1 Business School.

Carlos ran for a seat on the Houston ISD School Board when he was a student at Pitzer (he campaigned half the week in Houston and attended school in Claremont the other half). He is a trustee on the Pitzer College Alumni Board and a Board Member for the Rice Young Owls Program. Carlos is a two-time winner of the Kallick Community Service Award.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, February 26th from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Hajar Hammado

Hajar Hammado ’18 is a Policy Associate at Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) where she has spent the last two years engaging in policy reform to address the breakdown of our democracy and uncover corruption in the Trump Administration. Hajar uncovered illegal activity at the Environmental Protection Agency that prompted a congressional investigation into the destruction of water quality records. She also co-authored a report with the policy team, “What Democracy Looks Like,” considering policy reforms to the most critical issues facing our democracy. This report includes specific policy solutions to issues throughout our systems of government.

Prior to joining CREW, Hajar worked as a Regional GOTV Director in Iowa, as an opposition researcher at Reger Research, and served in the California Department of Justice under Attorney General Xavier Becerra. During her time at Pitzer College, Hajar was elected student body president and spent much of her time advocating for the student voice and working to improve campus life. Hajar is originally from California and received her B.A. with honors in Political Studies with a concentration in American politics.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, March 19th from 9:30am-10:30am (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Drew Phelps

Drew graduated from Pitzer in 2015 and received his MA in American Politics from Claremont Graduate University in 2016.

Born and raised in Tulare, a town in California’s Central Valley, Drew returned home after school and began working as a policy and data analyst for a Fresno-based homebuilder, Granville Homes. That role eventually expanded to include work in land development.

In early 2019, Drew announced his candidacy for California State Assembly District 26, which encompasses his hometown area of Tulare County, along with Inyo County and parts of Kern County — a district larger in size than the state of Maryland. His campaign was focused primarily on local rural issues, such as clean drinking water, improving access to healthcare, and creating more diverse job opportunities. Though he ultimately lost the race in November 2020, he set numerous records along the way, including receiving almost 25,000 more votes and raising over 8 times more in funds than any Democrat before in AD 26.

Today, Drew is back to his day job at Granville, where he now serves as the Senior Entitlements Manager. Politics and policy remain a focus though — he recently started and is managing the company’s 501(c)4 and associated PAC, which are aiming to support quality candidates and promote sound public policy in the Fresno area.

Drew also remains active in politics personally and is in the process of founding his own candidate recruitment and training organization to help provide the necessary campaign infrastructure to folks seeking local offices in the south Central Valley.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, March 19th from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Dana Nothnagel

Dana was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Pitzer College in 2019 with a degree in Political Studies. After graduation she received a fellowship with the Capital Fellows Executive Fellowship program in Sacramento, CA. Through the Capital Fellows program, she was placed at the California Research Bureau, an advisory agency that provides non-partisan, confidential research to the Governor’s Office and Legislature. After completing her fellowship, she moved to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research where she conducts research on the economic impact of national security investment in California communities.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, April 2nd from 9:30am-10:30am (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Emma Huang

Emma is a Principal Transportation Planner with Los Angeles Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI). Metro is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies in that it serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for LA County. OEI is a fairly new department that serves as Metro’s strategic think tank and project incubator. At OEI, Emma’s project portfolio includes working on issues around strategic planning, congestion pricing, incentivizing mode shift, and new mobility. Emma worked to design, implement, and project manage a 2-year pilot partnership, funded by the Federal Transit Administration, with the ride hail company Via for on-demand first-and-last mile shared ride service. She also was part of the project team and a contributing author to Vision 2028, Metro’s agency wide strategic plan that was adopted by the Metro Board in 2018. She co-authored UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the United States, a white paper published by the Eno Center for Transportation. She received her Master of Public Policy degree from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where she focused on urban policy, and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies from Pitzer College. Before graduate school, she spent four years working for a civil rights firm in Venice Beach, California that focused on police brutality and misconduct cases. She approaches her work in public transportation from a social justice lens and is motivated to improve the quality of life for Angelenos through better mobility.

Office Hours will be held on Friday, April 2nd from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Nicholas Romo

Nick Romo currently serves as Revenue and Taxation Representative for the League of California Cities, where he represents 482 cities across the state. Prior, he served as a policy consultant to California State Senator Connie M. Leyva where he primarily focused on state environmental justice, education, and housing policies. He got his start interning for current Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and former Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. He graduated from Pitzer College, in 2014 with degrees in Political Studies and Sociology where he also served as student body president.

Nick was born and raised in Northeast Los Angeles. From a family of public school teachers, he learned the value of public service and education. Raised by a single mother who, along with his siblings, have physical disabilities, Nick strongly believes in expanding access, equity and empathy across many sectors. He keeps close to the famous Dr. Seuss line, “A person is a person no matter how small.”

Office Hours will be held on Friday, April 9th from 12:00pm-1:00pm (PST). Please click here for sign up sheet and zoom link for session.

Rachel Bolton

Rachel grew up outside of Boston, MA. She graduated from Pitzer College in 2017 with a degree in Political Studies and Gender Studies. After graduation, she managed backcountry hotels in NH. Then, she returned to Boston to work direct care at Women’s Lunch Place, a community drop-in center for unhoused women. Rachel currently is the outreach coordinator for a drug user health program in Cambridge where she offers training to identify and respond to overdoses, works alongside community-members to advocate for the rights of people who use drugs, and distributes harm reduction supplies.

If interested in speaking with Rachel please feel free to contact her via email [email protected]