Navigating Minefields

Posted April 18, 2008 at 5:09pm

For Colleen Shogan, working on Congressional defense issues has proved to be almost as dangerous as working on a battlefield itself.

[IMGCAP(1)]Well, OK, that’s an exaggeration. But Shogan, who was recently hired as a research manager at the Congressional Research Service, did have a mishap when she was an American Political Science Association Congressional fellow for Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.). During her fellowship, she often worked at high-profile defense meetings. At one of those meetings with the Armed Services Committee, Shogan almost passed out.

“The lights in the Armed Services hearing room are so hot,” Shogan said in a telephone interview. “I told the person next to me, I think I’m gonna faint.”

That person told her to skedaddle out of that meeting. She followed the advice and has thrived ever since. After finishing her yearlong fellowship, Shogan became a legislative assistant for Lieberman and handled appropriations, transportation and small-business issues. She will start her new job at CRS on May 12. There, she will supervise 10 other analysts in the Congress and Judiciary sections.

Shogan is excited to start.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to gain management experience, and they’re excited about doing it,” she said. “I think it’s an important skill to learn — management — and that’s what caused me to make the switch.”

Shogan, 32, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College in 1997 and her Ph.D. in political science from Yale in 2002. She spent five years teaching political science at George Mason University before coming to Capitol Hill.

Shogan is originally from Pittsburgh and enjoys long-distance running. She recently competed in the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. She also enjoys volleyball and is part of a competitive league that plays on the Mall during the summer. Shogan is a member of St. Charles Church in Arlington, Va., and is also a member of the Arlington County Democrats.

“I want to stay in government service and continue up the management track, or come back to Congress in a senior staff position,” Shogan said. She currently resides in Arlington with her husband, a former staffer for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

Cubin’s Climbers. When Betsy Kammer, the new office manager for Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), finished an internship with Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), she took an unusual route: She went to work for a steak house.

That’s not the whole story, though. Kammer worked at the Fran O’Brien’s Stadium Steakhouse in downtown Washington, D.C., coordinating Friday night dinners for injured soldiers cared for at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda hospitals and their family members.

In a press release, she said her hometown is “wherever the Air Force sent her dad, including Idaho, Italy, Washington state, Germany, Florida and Colorado.”

Kammer is a 2006 graduate of the University of Wyoming, where she majored in political science and completed a minor in international studies. She has worked in marketing and dealer networking for DaimlerChrysler Motors in Denver and for the city council in Laramie, Wyo.

Her brother is an Army Quartermaster who is serving in Iraq.

Kammer is filling the spot vacated by Joy Downey when she was promoted to the position of legislative aide in Cubin’s office.

Downey traveled to all of the lower 48 states with her mother and two sisters while she was in high school. She claims that “one day I will make it to Alaska and Hawaii!”

She is from Pasadena, Calif., and earned her bachelor’s degree in communications, law and government from American University in 2005.

She completed internships with Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) and John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, the Independent Women’s Forum and the College Republican National Committee. She also worked as an administrative assistant for federal affairs at the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Downey and Kammer are joined by Rachael Seidenschnur, Cubin’s new press secretary. From Little Rock, Ark., she earned a bachelor’s degree in politics and religion from Washington and Lee University in 2006.

She interned with then-Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the White House and the Heritage Foundation. She later served the Heritage Foundation as a communications executive assistant and worked for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) as a scheduler/office manager.

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