Political Science Alumni Participant Bios
Read about the 2018 alumni participants’ biographies and work histories.
Michael Arbittier '13
Mike graduated from Muhlenberg in 2013 with majors in political science and international studies. He currently works as an intelligence analyst at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mike will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9 and speaking in a joint class on Tuesday, April 10.
Luis Campos '99
Luis Campos currently serves as city administrator for the City of Easton, Pennsylvania. As city administrator, Luis is the chief administrative and operating officer of the City of Easton. Luis’s responsibilities consist of managing all aspects of city government and works closely with both the mayor and city council. An appointed position Luis was unanimously confirmed by city council in July 2016. Prior to his current position Luis served as director of administration for Northampton County working closely with the county executive managing a $360 million budget with a work force of over 2,000 employees and 11 unions. Luis has worked in The Governor’s Office of the Budget, The Governor’s Office of Administration and The Small Business Development Center at Lehigh University. In addition to his public sector experience, Luis has served in leadership positions for various private sector companies. From 2008 to 2014, Luis served on The Work Force Development Board for Lehigh and Northampton Counties serving as co-chair of the Industry and as member of the Executive Committees. Luis is currently on the Board of Governor’s for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, where he also serves on the Executive Committee, and is currently the chairperson to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and vice chair of the Fe Foundation. Luis contributes monthly as column writer for the GLVCC publication “Connections”. In 2014 Luis was asked by Mayor Bob Donchez to serve on an advisory panel for the City of Bethlehem providing recommendation on issues facing the Latino community. In 2003, Luis was appointed by Governor Rendell to Chair the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. In 2011, Luis had the honor of being recognized by the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in its ‘20 Under 40’ publication for top professionals. Luis earned his B.A. degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and his M.A. at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.. Luis has presented his graduate thesis: Latino Political Mobilization: the Enfranchisement of Bethlehem’s Latino Community at conferences for the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute and the PA Political Science Association; he has completed graduate course work at New York University’s Real Estate Institute. Luis has been recognized by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute as a National Merit Scholar.
Ron Clever '80
Ron went to Duke University for law school. During the second summer of law school, he worked at a large Philadelphia law firm and he figured out that that is not where he belonged. He came back to Allentown, where he grew up, and has been representing people who have one kind of problem or another. Often, their situations don’t fit neatly into categories, so when people ask Ron “What kind of law do you practice?” or (better yet) “What kind of lawyer are you?,” these questions are not simple to answer. At Muhlenberg, he was in a lot of clubs and other activities. He guesses he’s still doing something like that, as he is active in issues-oriented volunteer activities.
Ron will be speaking in Constitutional Law and attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Amy Cohen '10
Amy graduated in 2010 with a double major in political science and english. After graduation, she joined Teach for America in Baton Rouge and taught over-age high school. She went on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education for an M.Ed in education policy to study turnaround school strategy and teacher quality. She’s been at New Visions for Public Schools in NYC for the past 3 years working with the Renewal and Community High Schools on improvement strategy and data analysis.
Amy will be speaking in Inequality and Public Policy and attending the networking lunch on Monday, April 9.
Laura Csellak '88
Laura graduated Muhlenberg in 1981. She now is a parish pastor serving St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Easton, PA.
Laura will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Caroline Dunleavy '88
Caroline double majored in political science and German at Muhlenberg. She had been planning to attend law school since junior high school, but for a variety of reasons, in her junior year at Muhlenberg, she decided not to apply. She had career exploration discussions with her adviser, Dr. Bednar, who was chair of the political science department at the time. She did a nonprofit internship at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown and ended up working there on a part-time basis while finishing Muhlenberg. Dr. Bednar also encouraged her to attend graduate school, which she had not previously thought about. Caroline earned her master’s in government at Lehigh. She then had a ten-year career in the international reinsurance industry in New York and New Jersey (initially based on her German language skills) before she finally entered the nonprofit sector. While working at Episcopal Community Services, she went back to grad school in midlife to earn a master of arts in religion at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and is now pursuing her doctorate at La Salle University in Philadelphia.
Caroline will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Laura Eldon '11
After graduating from Muhlenberg, Laura went on to earn her M.A in political science from Lehigh University, completing their Community Fellows program. Since then, Laura has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., most recently working for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services implementing the Affordable Care Act.
Laura will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9 and speaking in Public Health Policy and Introduction to American National Government on Tuesday, April 10.
Pat Fligge '10
Pat Fligge graduated Muhlenberg in 2010 with majors in political science and environmental science. During his senior year, he interned with then-Senator Arlen Specter’s Allentown Senate office and his primary re-election campaign. After graduation, Pat worked as scheduler to then-Congressman Tim Holden in his Washington, DC office. Pat returned to Muhlenberg in 2011, working in the Alumni Office on regional clubs, reunion years, and young alumni initiatives. In 2012 he took a newly-created position leading the College’s student and alumni career initiative. He joined the Muhlenberg Career Center in 2015 to continue that work with a deeper focus on engaging alumni through career services. Pat lives in Allentown with his wife Jillian, a 2011 ‘Berg alumna and their dog Steve, a 2.5-year-old golden retriever.
Pat will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Gabe Hurtado '13
Gabe Hurtado ’13 graduated from Muhlenberg with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minor in mathematics. After Muhlenberg, Gabe attended Lehigh University as part of the Community Fellows and Political Science master’s programs. Through his fellowship, he worked for the West End Alliance, a community development organization in Allentown’s West End Theatre District. In 2014, Gabe started work at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission as an intern, and later, community planner. As a planner, he reviewed land development projects, supervised the collection of regional transportation infrastructure performance data and managed multiple public outreach efforts. In August 2016, he was hired as the College’s enrollment data manager & analyst. In this role, Gabe serves as a primary departmental data expert, responsible for campus integration and analysis of admission and financial aid data.
Gabe will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Allyson Margolis '11
Allyson Margolis is currently a graduate student at NYU, earning her master’s degree in education leadership, policy, and advocacy. Prior to graduate school, she was working as an assistant principal at Harlem North West, a Success Academy Charter School in West Harlem, New York. Before this, she lived in New Orleans, LA where she taught literature, writing, and social studies- grades 4 through 8- for five years. She started out as a Teach For America Corps member (in New Orleans), teaching at a public school in Chalmette, Louisiana and then at Firstline Charter in the 7th Ward of Greater New Orleans.
Ally will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Susan Neikirk '95
After graduating in 1995, Susan continued her education and received a masters degree in language and literacy. She is currently an ESL teacher at Conestoga Valley High School. She is responsible for curriculum design and implementation for the education of almost 100 ESL students at the high school, as well as another 150 at other schools in the district. She works for the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a PA EL Trainer. This cohort designs training and teaches best practices for adherence to state laws regarding the education of English learners.
Susan will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Sarah Niebler '04
Sarah Niebler is an assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College. She studies campaigns and elections, political behavior, and public opinion and her research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science; American Politics Research; the Journal of Public Economics; Legislative Studies Quarterly; and Political Communication. Additionally, her research and analysis has been featured on NPR’s podcast Hidden Brain, and in The Hill and Roll Call. At Dickinson, Professor Niebler teaches classes in American politics that relate to how everyday citizens interact with the political process. In election years, she works with students to field an exit poll of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania residents. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but she is a Pennsylvania native, having grown up in Gettysburg, Pa. and attended Muhlenberg College for her undergraduate work. While at Muhlenberg, Niebler was a caller and student supervisor at the Institute of Public Opinion, played varsity tennis, and was a resident adviser.
Sarah will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Jim Schantz '81
Jim loved Muhlenberg. For years, it has been the local pinnacle of political expertise and commentary in the Lehigh Valley. Since he graduated some 37 years ago, he still carries the memories of his classes and his professors in the political science department: Dr. Charles Bednar (head of the department), Dr. Stuart Lee, and Dr. Christopher Joyner. And, of course, the professor who really developed his interest in local politics and how important local races are: Dr. Alton Slane. Jim will never forget the lessons from Dr. Slane’s campaign for school board and how valuable one vote can be. He instilled the lesson of never say quit. Those are lessons Jim still carries with him today.
Jim will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.
Elizabeth Whitney '04
A communications major and political science minor, Elizabeth did the DC semester while at Muhlenberg, then moved there a year or so after graduating to work on Capitol Hill for members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She then became a lobbyist working on energy and environment issues, and took over that firm when her boss retired in 2016.
Elizabeth will be attending the Roundtable Dinner on Monday, April 9.