Category: Fellows, Press Releases and Announcements

Title: Meet the Fall 2023 GU Politics Fellows

Today, ahead of a new school year, Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) is excited to announce their Fall 2023 Fellows Class. The new Class will showcase various career paths in politics and public service and will also represent varied viewpoints on the political spectrum.

While each Fellow brings a very different area of focus and expertise, they share a common goal: to roll up their sleeves and explore the world of public service with members of the Georgetown community. They all believe (as we do) that figuring out how to work through polarization is the best way to prove our motto true – that public service is a good thing, and politics can be too. During their time on the Hilltop, the Fellows will share what drives and inspires their work, while also helping students grow their own passion for purpose driven service.

Throughout the semester, students from across campus will have the opportunity to engage with the Fellows in discussion groups, case studies, one-on-one conversations, and even site visits across town – providing a unique behind the scenes look at how D.C. really operates.

“I am thrilled to welcome the newest class of GU Politics Fellows to campus this fall. These six individuals bring decades of experience in politics and public service and represent the diversity of our country,” said Mo Elleithee, Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. “As we progress through the semester, I look forward to seeing them not only engage with and inspire our students, but also walk away with a renewed spirit that comes from working alongside the Georgetown community.”

Please join GU Politics in giving a welcoming Hoya Saxa to the Fall 2023 Fellows!

Dark blue graphic with faces of the six Fall 2023 Fellows in black and white.

Meet the Fall 2023 GU Politics Fellows

Cristóbal Alex

Former Deputy White House Cabinet Secretary, Biden Administration; Former Senior Advisor, Biden-Harris 2020; Former Founding President, Latino Victory Fund

Cristóbal Alex is a senior government, political and advocacy leader. He serves as head of Tusk Strategies’ DC office. He is also a Political Analyst on MSNBC. Cristóbal previously served as the White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary linking the White House and Cabinet, supporting agency coordination on a portfolio of President Biden’s top priorities. Cristóbal served as a Senior Advisor to Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign, as well as the Biden-Sanders Unity Taskforce and later on the Presidential Transition. Prior to that, Cristóbal was the founding President of the Latino Victory Fund helping elect more than 70 candidates to office. Before his transition into politics, Cristóbal worked with the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation. Cristóbal started his career as a civil rights lawyer. His discussion group is titled Building a Modern Presidential Campaign.


Brenda Gianiny

Republican pollster (Mitch McConnell, John Thune, Liz Cheney & George W. Bush)

Axis Research’s founding principal, Brenda Gianiny, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of public opinion research with over two decades of experience honed at the highest levels of corporate America and Republican political campaigns.  Having worked with clients including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John Thune, and Former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Brenda has established herself as a sought-after resource for data-driven campaigns. Brenda also provides data and insights to corporate clients like Walmart and Anheuser-Busch to bring political thinking and analysis to the corporate environment. Her discussion group is titled How Data Drives Politics.


Joe Hack (C’09)

Former U.S. Senate Chief of Staff (Sen. Fischer, R-Neb.); Senior Vice President, The Daschle Group

Joe Hack is a government relations specialist, political consultant, and former U.S. Senate Chief of Staff with more than 15 years of Capitol Hill press, policy, and leadership experience. As Senior Vice President with The Daschle Group, Joe provides strategic and public policy counsel to a broad range of clients. He maintains strong relationships with policymakers on both sides of the aisle and is known for his expertise in Senate politics and procedures. Joe also founded Swann Street Consulting, where he offers political and strategic communications advice to U.S. senators, statewide officials, candidates, and political Organizations. Previously, Joe spent 12 years as a senior advisor in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, including more than six years as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). Appointed at the age of 27, Joe was among the youngest to ever hold the position of Senate Chief of Staff. In that role, he acted as the senator’s closest advisor on all policy, communications, and campaign operations. He initially served Fischer as Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to that, he worked for Senate Whip Jon Kyl as Communications Director and chief spokesman. Joe is also a veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant for Rep. J. Randy Forbes (VA-04). He began his career in the office of Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Joe is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and the George Washington University School of Law. His discussion group is titled What It Takes to Survive and Thrive in a Messed Up, Magical Place Called Washington.


Nia-Malika Henderson

Senior Political Analyst, CNN

Nia-Malika Henderson is a senior political analyst for CNN. She covered her first presidential campaign as an intern for Newsday in 2004.  Since then, she has covered every midterm and presidential campaign, most recently the 2022 cycle. Henderson also reported for The Washington Post, Politico, Newsday and The Baltimore Sun, covering the Obama White House, local government, courts and crime.  She has appeared on all of the major political programs, including Meet The Press and Washington Week. Henderson was a double major in literature and cultural anthropology at Duke University and earned master’s degrees in American studies at Yale University and journalism from Columbia University. She lives with her wife and daughter in Washington. Her discussion group is titled Covering the 2024 Election In Real Time.


Emily Horne

Former Spokesperson and Senior Director, National Security Council, Biden Administration

Emily Horne is the founder and CEO of Allegro Public Affairs and a Senior Advisor with WestExec Advisors. She was the first Spokesperson and Senior Director for Press at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Biden Administration, and led communications for the successful confirmations of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Emily was previously Vice President of Communications at the Brookings Institution and led global policy communications for Twitter. She spent nearly a decade at the State Department, including as communications director for counter-ISIS efforts and spokesperson for South and Central Asian Affairs, and an adjunct professor of media and foreign policy at American University. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Emily holds a BA and MA from The George Washington University. Her discussion group is titled Contemporary National Security and the Press.


Craig Minassian

Consultant, Comedy Central; Chief Content, Communications and Marketing Officer, Clinton Foundation; Former Producer HBO; Former White House Director of Television News

Craig Minassian brings a unique blend of strategic communications and content development to serving some of the most impactful and recognizable public and private sector organizations and leaders. He is the chief content, communications and marketing officer for the Clinton Foundation, including CGI, served as White House assistant press secretary and director of television news for President Clinton, and on numerous presidential campaigns. Craig spent much of his career as an executive, consultant and producer for HBO, Comedy Central, and MTV among others working on programming including Comic Relief, HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, The Daily Show, and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. In 2006, he founded Minassian Media and serves on the School of Communication advisory board for the University of Miami. His discussion group is titled Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood: How Politics Became Content.


The GU Politics Fellows offer students a rare peek behind the curtain into the way politics and public service actually work. Students will be challenged, informed and inspired through weekly discussion groups, office hours and small group conversations.

Want to get involved with our Fellows?

  • Attend their discussion groups | For eight weeks, our Fellows host weekly 90-minute, off-the-record discussions with members of the Georgetown community. You’ll talk about big ideas and the specific details needed to put them into practice… and be shocked by the special guests and experts they’ll bring. Read their discussion group topics.
  • Visit them in office hours | Imagine being mentored by politicos at the top of their field. Hang out with our Fellows one-on-one to chat about news of the day and how to get your start in public service or answers to your burning questions about behind-the-scenes moments in politics you can’t hear anywhere else. This opportunity is open to all Georgetown students and faculty. Office hours begin the week of September 11. 
  • Join their Student Strategy Teams | Collaborate closely with one of the Fellows by joining their team of five students who craft discussion group topics, help with research and campus outreach, and partner with the Fellow to brainstorm fresh ideas to make politics work better. Learn more and apply.

Mark your calendar for our Meet the Fellows Open House — the first chance to meet these leaders in person, learn more about their backgrounds and hear what they have planned for the semester. The Fellows open house will be held on Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 4:00-5:30 PM ET in HFSC Social Room.