Category Archives: Alum

Life After Politics 2019: Global Edition

What can you do with a degree in Politics? What is life like after graduation?

Life After Politics is our annual event featuring alumni mentors, panel participants, and networking opportunities. Presented by the Department of Politics and The Career Center, this year’s Life After Politics: Global Edition invited four politics alumni to share their experiences working in various fields, as well as offer insider advice on how to navigate the “life after politics,” demonstrating the great diversity of career choices a politics major can lead to.

In this year’s Life After Politics: Global Edition, the panelists also shared their personal stories and anecdotes from working in various locations and organizations around the world. Many of them mentioned the global perspectives they gained while studying at UVA (and abroad), which proved to be influential throughout their careers.

Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director, House Of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Jason Steinbaum serves as Democratic Staff Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Previously, he was Staff Director for the majority and minority of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere from 2006-2012. He has also served as Washington Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the early 1990’s, Mr. Steinbaum worked for Senator Donald Riegle (D-MI), having served as his Legislative Assistant for foreign affairs and defense.

During his career in Congress, Mr. Steinbaum wrote the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 and the law providing normal trade relations with Albania, has been a leader on policy toward the Balkans, and has monitored elections in numerous countries.

Megan O’Donnell, Assistant Director, Gender Program and Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Development

Megan O’Donnell is the Assistant Director of the Center for Global Development’s gender program and a Senior Policy Analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and measurement, and development effectiveness. Prior to CGD, O’Donnell worked at the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy organization focused on sub Saharan Africa, where she led the development of ONE’s gender and inclusive growth-focused policy recommendations to donors and country governments. Before joining ONE, she coordinated CGD’s gender research program and has also worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for Research on Women, CARE USA, Banyan Global, and the Middle East Institute. She has a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and French from the University of Virginia.

Jerry Rubin, Senior Counsel at Williams Kastner & Gibbs

Jerry Rubin is currently senior counsel at the Seattle law firm of Williams Kastner & Gibbs. Jerry’s law practice concentrates in the area of labor and employment law. Jerry began his legal career as a Federal Government Trial Attorney. Over the past 40 years, he has represented private and public corporations and governmental entities throughout the United States and Asia. Jerry holds a B.A. in Political Science from UVA (1966). His daughter Julia graduated from UVA in 2010.

Christian Yarnell, Brookings Legislative Fellow, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

Christian Yarnell is currently a Brookings Legislative Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, focusing on Europe and Russia. When not on loan to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chris is a career State Department official, most recently serving as the deputy director of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs’ Office of Policy and Regional Affairs, which covers political-military, arms control, and nonproliferation issues in Europe. He has served overseas at our U.S. Embassies in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria working on a broad range of political and economic matters. Chris has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in foreign affairs from UVA (2002). He is, however, married to a Hokie.

Abigail Post Joins Anderson University

Abigal PostAbigail Post joins Anderson University in Indiana as an Assistant Professor of International Relations/National Security in the Department of History & Political Science. Her dissertation was title The Language of Signaling: National Rhetoric in International Bargaining, and her research included laboratory and survey methods. Her committee included John M. Owen (co-chair), Todd Sechser (co-chair), and Nicholas Winter.


Kenny Lowande: from UVA to UMich

Kenneth LowandeStarting Fall 2018, Kenny Lowande will be an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy (by Courtesy) at the University of Michigan.

Kenny earned his Ph.D. from UVA in 2016, and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. He studies American political institutions, policymaking, and the executive branch. The University of Michigan political science program is ranked 4th by the U.S. News and World Report.

Kenny spent four years in the program—advised by Jeff Jenkins (Chair), Craig Volden, Rachel Potter, and David Lewis (Vanderbilt). He first met Lewis during the American Politics Speaker Series at UVA. UVA’s Quantitative Collaborative funded portions of his dissertation and supported other research coauthored with Andrew Clarke. His first published paper grew out of a graduate seminar with Sidney Milkis.

A galvanizing moment of awareness occurred during his stint as Editorial Assistant at the Journal of Politics (2015–2016), while at UVA. “Famous” professors’ papers were routinely being rejected. Authors whose previous work was nonpareil, whose reputations were golden, were regularly being denied, and still they submitted. To Kenny this indicated persistence was key, as was listening to the advice of reviewers and maintaining a leathery hide.

He developed tough skin during the series of steps that led to Michigan. The doctoral program at UVA and multiple postdocs exposed him to different academic cultures, varying research pressures, and a broader range of scholars than one might see going straight from Ph.D. to faculty.

Kenny is a first-generation college student from Burbank, CA. When asked for advice for those who follow, he said…

“Being on the market is a full time job. Expect to spend most of Summer and Fall, preparing for, applying to, and getting a job. The periods between feedback are difficult.”

“There are a lot of talented, accomplished people on the market. It often takes time to find the right ‘fit.’”

“Be a good citizen. Read others’ work, share your data, go to talks, and review manuscripts (quickly).”

Hannah M. Alarian

Hannah Alarian2017-19 Diversity Post Doctoral Fellow, Hannah Alarian’s research includes topics of immigration, integration, national belonging, and public policy. Her dissertation, “Migrant Employment and the Foundations of Integration: A Multimethod Approach,” examines the economic processes through which immigrants integrate across thirty-seven advanced democracies. Dr. Alarian’s previous research considers the role dual citizenship policy and the Eurozone crisis play in global migration and citizenship acquisition trends. Her current research goals concern the impact of integration policy and programs on refugee and migrant incorporation across Europe.