Faculty & Administration

The faculty of the Graduate School of Political Management represents a broad diversity of professionals and scholars in the public relations and political management fields.

Lara M. Brown

(Ph.D., M.A., B.A., University of California, Los Angeles; M.A., University of Arizona)
Associate Professor and Program Director, Political Management Program

Lara Brown, a political scientist, researches and publishes on political parties, national elections, presidential aspirants, and congressional scandals. She is the author of Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants (Cambria Press, 2010) and the co-editor of The Presidential Leadership Dilemma: Between the Constitution and a Political Party (SUNY Press, 2013).

Brown currently serves as an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Political Management Program. Prior to joining the Graduate School of Political Management, Brown served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Villanova University. As an education policy adviser and strategic planning consultant, she worked with a number of education reform organizations and educational technology companies that were involved in the initial passage and early implementation of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Brown was also appointed by President William J. Clinton to serve as the Coordinator for Corporate Outreach in the Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education.

Regularly interviewed by journalists on national election dynamics and candidate positioning, Brown writes weekly for U.S. News & World Report’s “Thomas Jefferson Street Blog”. Along with appearing on MSNBC, CBS Evening News, and WJLA, she has been a frequent guest on the PBS television show, “To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe”. Brown has also been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR Online and the New Yorker.

Brown earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a M.A. from the University of Arizona. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the electoral consequences of scandal for congressional incumbents. She lives in Washington, D.C.


Nancy Bocskor
(B.A., Otterbein College)

Nancy served on the board of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale for seven years, where she chaired the school’s Curriculum Committee for five years. She is on the board for Running Start, an organization that encourages young women to run for office, and is a faculty member for Project 2012, a program hosted by the Center for American Women & Politics at Rutgers that recruits women 40 and over to run for public office.

Most recently, Nancy received the 2010 the Distinguished Alumni Award at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio for “her passion to affect change in national and international communities, training and consulting with the nation’s and world’s political leaders, and commitment to educate others, particularly women, around the world.”

Nancy Bocskor spreads democracy throughout the world…the lively American travels from one country to the next coaching candidates on how to win elections, especially encouraging women to make it into parliament.
*Translated from Die Welt, 11/07

Ann Collier
(M.B.A., The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; B.A., University of South Carolina)

Ann Collier is president of Collier Communications Consulting, LLC (a consulting practice focused on business strategy, investor relations and integrated corporate communications programs) and an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University. Ann has more than 30 years’ experience helping companies build profitable business strategies and communicate those strategies to key stakeholders. Ann teaches the graduate level PMGT 6230: Issues Management class for GWU’s online and on campus programs and to both graduate strategic public relations and political management students. She also has facilitated several courses in the online GSPM program.

Ann spent more than 16 years at Circuit City Stores, Inc., a Fortune 200 company, where she established and led the investor relations and corporate communications function as vice president. She led this function during a time when Circuit City was a high-growth company and the top performing stock on the NYSE, as well as during periods of industry maturity and corporate transition. She was an integral part of the management team that developed and launched the public offering for the CarMax used and new car retail superstore business, which is today a separately traded Fortune 500 company. After leaving Circuit City, she served as senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Collegiate Funding Services, a rapidly growing student loan lender, which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase.

Ann’s experience includes start-up, high-growth, and mature companies. She has participated in initial public offerings, secondary offerings, spin-offs, divestitures, and acquisitions. She has managed crisis communications ranging from human resource issues to financial surprises. She has led consumer brand research and channel analysis, competitive analysis, and consumer trend research and is attuned to the rapidly changing impacts of online communications, both from a news and social marketing perspective.

During her career, she has had extensive experience with senior management. She has worked directly for four CEOs. She has one-on-one experience with Wall Street and understands public company disclosure, governance requirements and corporate financial statements. She has worked directly with general counsel, outside securities counsel and outside auditors. Ann has worked with all major media outlets, including financial publications, daily newspapers, television news and feature programs, as well as trade and consumer specialty magazines. Ann earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of South Carolina and Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Cornfield
(Ph.D., Harvard University; B.A., Pomona College)
Associate Professor and Research Director of the Global Center for Political Engagement

Michael Cornfield, a political scientist, studies and advises on campaign politics, public affairs, and the internet. He is the author of two books on the subject: Politics Moves Online: Campaigning and the Internet (The Century Foundation, 2004) and The Civic Web: Online Politics and Democratic Values, co-edited with David M. Anderson (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

Cornfield currently serves as Acting Director of the Political Management Program. He has been an Adjunct Professor at the GSPM since 1994. He helped found its Semester in Washington Program for visiting undergraduates and its Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet.

Cornfield is interviewed frequently about online politics by the press, and has lectured on the subject at colleges, universities, and professional conventions throughout the world. Among his many journalistic publications, he co-authored (with Lee Rainie) a review of the state of online campaigning in 2006 for the “Outlook” section of the Washington Post. He has contributed chapters to numerous academic anthologies, the latest being The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency (Larry J. Sabato, editor, Longman, 2007), and Rewired Politics: Presidential Nominating Conventions in the Media Age (Costas Panagopoulos, editor, LSU Press 2007). From 1999 until 2007, Cornfield wrote a monthly column for Campaigns & Elections magazine.

Cornfield has served as a Senior Research Consultant to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, where he pioneered the study of political online advertising, blogs, and subscriber email, collaborated in survey research and analysis of political media use by citizens, and commented on related new developments in online campaigning.

Cornfield received his B.A. from Pomona College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before coming to The George Washington University, he taught at the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary. He lives with his wife Kathryn Mimberg and son Matthew in Arlington, Virginia.

Sean Gagen
(M.P.S., University of the State of New York, The Graduate School of Political Management; B.A., Westminster College)
Before teaming up with Grassroots Solutions, Sean spent five years as Executive Director of Participation 2000, a progressive grassroots organization dedicated to empowering young people in politics co-chaired by former governors Dick Celeste (OH), Ann Richards (TX), and Senator Bill Bradley.

Sean also directed the Missouri Democratic Party (1997 to 1999) where he created the Camp Carnahan training program. He then joined the Bill Bradley for President Campaign in 1999, where he was the National Director of Organizing, managed the Ballot Access Teams, and served as Deputy Director at the Iowa Caucuses. Sean has worked on campaigns for state and federal offices across the country, including Bill Richardson for Governor (D-NM), Russ Carnahan for Congress (D-MO), Tom Keefe for Congress (D-WA), Leslie Byrne for Lt. Governor (VA) and Judi Dutcher for Governor (D-MN). In 2004, Sean was the Get-Out-The-Vote Director for America Coming Together in New Mexico. Sean is also an Adjunct Professor at The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University.

Mark Meissner
(M.A., American University; B.A., Indiana University)

With more than a decade of experience managing public affairs and political campaigns, Mr. Meissner implements state and national broad-based issues management programs for a wide range of clients. His areas of focus include finance, trade, health care, transportation, energy, and housing.

Mr. Meissner also provides strategic counsel on matters intersecting business and government. His insights regarding emerging corporate and nonprofit issues help him identify and execute opportunities that benefit his clients. His own political experience includes work for Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).
In 2002, Mr. Meissner was a candidate for Indiana’s open second Congressional District seat. He waged an underdog campaign and finished second among a field of five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. The campaign was hailed by local media as “relentless” and “impressive.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Meissner specialized in public affairs campaign management and grassroots/grasstops organizing. He also served as a consultant for the White House and Conference on Small Business, where he coordinated national event planning involving business leaders from all 50 states.

Christopher B. Shank

Member of House of Delegates since January 13, 1999. Minority Whip, 2007 -. Member, Judiciary Committee, 2003- (civil law & procedure subcommittee, 2003-). Legislative Policy Committee, 2007-; Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, 2007-. Member, Commerce and Government Matters Committee, 1999-2003 (transportation subcommittee, 1999-2003); Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, 1999-2003; Joint Advisory Committee on Legislative Data Systems, 2003-05. Deputy Minority Whip, 2002-03. Assistant Minority Leader, 2003-06. Chair, Washington County Delegation, 2003-06. Member, Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, 2001-; Maryland Rural Caucus, 2002-; Taxpayers Protection Caucus, 2003.

Member, Task Force on the South Mountain Battlefield Historic Tourism Initiative, 1999-2000; Task Force to Study Driver Licensing Documentation, 2003-04; Task Force to Study Criminal Offender Monitoring by Global Positioning Systems, 2004-05; Western Maryland Children’s Center Advisory Board, 2005.

Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, June 30, 1972. The Johns Hopkins University, B.A. (history), 1994. Phi Beta Kappa. George Washington University, M.A. (political management), 1998 (valedictorian; Howard Paley Academic Excellence Award). Legislative assistant, Washington County Delegation, 1994-98. Procurement specialist, Meadows Agency of Insurance, 1998-. Member, Advisory Committee, Cold Weather Homeless Shelter of Washington County, 1997-. Vice-President, Washington County Chapter, American Cancer Society, 1998-. Lifetime member, Christ’s Reformed Church.

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