Today, the President’s Commission on White House Fellows announces the appointment of the 2018-2019 class of White House Fellows. The highly regarded White House Fellowship provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service for one year by serving in various roles in the Federal government.
Created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellows Program was designed “to give the Fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.” The Fellowship was created as a non-partisan program and has maintained this tradition throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations. The mission of the White House Fellows Program is to encourage active citizenship and service to the Nation. Throughout the year, fellows actively participate in an education program that expands their knowledge of leadership, policy-making, and contemporary issues. Community service plays a vital role in the program, and Fellows take part in service projects throughout the year.
The highly competitive selection process to become a White House Fellow is based on a record of professional accomplishment, evidence of leadership skills, the potential for further growth, and a commitment to public service. Selected individuals spend a year working as a full-time, paid fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries, and other top-ranking government officials. Additional information about the White House Fellows Program is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/participate/fellows.
2018-2019 Class of White House Fellows:
Jonathan Ahlstrom is from Ellicott City, Maryland, and is placed at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Jon is a Commander in the United States Navy. As a Nuclear-Trained Submarine Officer, he has led sailors at sea during multiple deployments and strategic deterrent patrols, completing missions vital to national security. Most recently, he served as the Nuclear Officer Program Manager, where he oversaw the community of more than 5,000 nuclear-trained officers across the Navy and managed an $80 million pay portfolio. His service awards include the Meritorious Service Medal and Naval Submarine League Rear Admiral Frederick B. Warder Outstanding Achievement Award. Following his Fellowship, he will command one of the Navy’s attack on ballistic missile submarines. As an active member of the community, he promotes early-age language education through his participation in the Interagency Language Roundtable. He has also served as a Military Mentor to the 56th U.S. Senate Youth Program and was a delegate to the 2018 American Council on Germany Young Leaders Conference. He is an Olmsted Scholar and received an M.A. in Military History and Defense and Security from Institut d’études politiques d’Aix-en-Provence in France as well as a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy.
Travis Brown is from Kansas City, Kansas, and is placed at the National Security Council at the White House. Travis is a lieutenant in the United States Navy and a Navy SEAL. Over the course of twelve years, he has deployed to South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and to South Central Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Travis’ military awards include various valorous citations for combat leadership in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. He graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Political Science. Additionally, he received an MPhil in European Studies from the University of Cambridge. He was a member of the U.S. Junior National Triathlon Team, competed in cross country while at Kansas State University, and represented the University of Cambridge in the Modern Pentathlon Varsity Match. Travis volunteers and raises money for fallen service member organizations and helps his wife coach their three children in soccer, track, and basketball.
Brian Churchill is from Long Beach, California, and is placed at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Brian is a Sergeant-II with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was assigned to the Media Relations Division, where he managed the Department’s public video messaging and the release of body camera footage. Previously, he worked as a Watch Commander, Gang Enforcement Detail OIC, in counterterrorism, and as patrol officer. During his tenure, he has received more than 80 commendations. He serves as an officer in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, assigned to Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. He began his military service in the California Army National Guard, where he was deployed to Kosovo. Recently, on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, he developed policy for the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior to enhance freedom of the press and establish cooperation between media and law enforcement. He also conducts law enforcement training throughout the United States and Mexico. Brian volunteers with the Sister Cities Organization, Boy Scouts of America, and other youth programs in the Los Angeles area. He earned an MSc from the University of London’s Centre for Financial and Management Studies and a BLS from Boston University.
Christina Fanitzi is from Milton, New York, and is placed at the National Economic Council at the White House. As a Military Intelligence Officer, she led soldiers in Asia, Europe, and the United States, including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Christina recently redeployed to Afghanistan where, as the Director of Operations, she organized and led a 1,700-soldier military intelligence unit to enable Afghan National Security Forces with over 56,000 hours of intelligence collection. She instructed Leadership, Accounting, and Negotiations in West Point’s Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department and led the West Point Negotiation Project, an initiative to train cadets, prominent business schools, and conventional and special operations units in principled negotiations. While at West Point, Christina created the first Army Negotiation Conference, served as a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, and received recognition as a finalist for the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. She received her B.B.A from the George Washington University, was commissioned from Georgetown University Army ROTC as a Distinguished Military Graduate, and has remained committed to her community and campus. Her service merited the Baer Award for Individual Excellence, as well as the two highest national Alpha Delta Pi awards for overall and philanthropic excellence— the only 2003 graduate to receive both awards. Christina is also a graduate of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where she earned an M.B.A., established Dartmouth’s Alumni Veterans group, and received the Julia Stell Award for significant leadership and community contributions, as well as the Dux Femina Facti Award for outstanding female leadership.
Clayton Fuller is from Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and is placed at the Office of the Second Lady. Clay served as an Assistant District Attorney for Georgia’s Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, where he prosecuted some of the circuit’s toughest violent and sexual crimes. He secured convictions in numerous cases, including rape, child molestation, and armed robbery—resulting in life sentences for the perpetrators. He also argued criminal cases before the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals of Georgia. Clay is a Major and a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate in a reserve force of the United States Air Force, where he advises commanders in order to provide the nation with superior F-16 capabilities. Following a thirteen-hour surgery and a two-week ICU stay at Walter Reed, he defeated cancer but was inspired to leave Air Force active duty to fight rural poverty in his native North Georgia. He then founded a non-profit, “think-and-do tank,” as well as a venture capital firm focused on ending rural poverty. He played basketball at Emory University and graduated with a B.A. in English before earning an M.P.A. from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University. He is a distinguished graduate of the Air Force’s Officer Training School and a graduate of the Marine Expeditionary Warfare School.
Elizabeth Gillis is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is placed at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Elizabeth is a Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander with experience in shipboard operations and financial management. Most recently, she served as the Comptroller and Operations Officer at Base Los Angeles/Long Beach. Previously, Elizabeth was a high-level financial analyst at Coast Guard Headquarters. For her efforts and leadership, Elizabeth earned two DHS Chief Financial Officer Team awards for efficiency, innovation, and transparency. Elizabeth also led diverse operations and teams over seven years at sea in fast-paced, hazardous situations. She commanded three ships, including Coast Guard Cutter WRANGELL, homeported in Bahrain during a period of elevated threats in the Arabian Gulf. Domestically, she interdicted over $1 billion in cocaine, apprehended more than 25 narco-terrorists, and rescued over 120 people in distress. Following a particularly difficult rescue, her ship was selected as the Coast Guard Foundation’s Unit of the Year for heroism. Elizabeth earned an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in Oceanography. She cross-commissioned into the Coast Guard upon graduation, the first Department of Defense Service Academy graduate ever to do so. In her spare time, Elizabeth volunteers extensively, works on her goal of visiting all seven continents, and enjoys swing dancing.
Michael Harrison is from Rural Retreat, Virginia, and is placed in the Office of the Vice President of the United States. Mike is a Major in the United States Army. As an Infantry Officer, he has led soldiers throughout Asia and Europe, including 28 months deployed to northeastern Afghanistan. Throughout his career, Mike formed and led organizations executing counterterrorism and counter-insurgency missions, as well as strategic deterrence operations within the European theater. He most recently led 4,100 soldiers as the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team’s Executive Officer while a member of the 4th Infantry Division. Mike previously served as an Assistant Professor and Executive Officer in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, where he taught courses on American politics and economics and mentored cadets. In addition to his professional exploits, Mike ran the New York City marathon to raise awareness for underprivileged youth, volunteered as the West Point chapter’s Big Brothers Big Sisters officer mentor, served as a women’s soccer team and men’s football team academic mentor, and was an active Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. In his free time, he continues to volunteer and serve underprivileged youth and Gold Star families. He received a B.S. in Pre-Law from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Jeremy Hosein is from Papillion, Nebraska, and is placed at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Jeremy is a senior Neurosurgery Resident at the University of Colorado, where he specializes in the surgical management of diseases of the brain and spine. He was selected as a Leadership Fellow of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and recently completed a term as president of the Housestaff Association, representing 1,100 physicians-in-training in Colorado. During medical school, he was elected to serve on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Prior to this, he served as an intern with Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska. He subsequently served as a policy advisor to former Nebraska Governors Dave Heineman and Mike Johanns. Jeremy received a B.A. in Politics from New York University and received his medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine.
Thomas Ogden is from Honolulu, Hawaii, and is placed at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Tom is a Commander in the United States Navy. He recently served as Director, Strategic Initiatives Group, United States Pacific Fleet, after a successful tour as Commanding Officer of the USS CHUNG-HOON (DDG 93), a $1.5 billion national asset manned by 325 outstanding sailors. The ship deployed to the South China Sea and was recognized with the “Battle E” award as the best ship in his squadron of nine destroyers. Throughout his 20 years in the United States Navy, he has served afloat as an engineer, navigator, Operations Officer, Executive officer, and Commanding Officer, deploying to the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Arabian Gulf. Ashore, Tom played a critical role in the planning and execution of counter-drug operations at Joint Interagency Task Force South, including restarting the Air Bridge Denial program in Colombia in 2003. Since 2010, Tom has focused mainly on the Pacific, including a tour as the Executive Assistant to the Director for Operations (J3) at United States Pacific Command, where he responded to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as multiple provocations from North Korea. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where he played soccer, and holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University. Tom is also the co-author of the professional naval book “Division Officer’s Guide.”
David Rogers is from Lee, New Hampshire, and is placed at the White House Office of American Innovation. David is the Founder and CEO of Allogy, a software company. At 22, he went to South Sudan and led a small team in reopening Mundri Secondary School near the frontlines of a long-running civil war. Five years later, David returned home to enroll in graduate school and founded the first mobile software team at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training (IST). While at IST, David participated in many research opportunities, ranging from support for Department of Defense medical applications to the National Science Foundation’s sponsored research of the Haitian Earthquake response. The software developed by his team had commercial opportunity, and in 2009 he founded Allogy. Allogy has grown to 14 employees and is the service provider for Deployed Medicine, the Defense Health Agency’s next-generation learning system. David continues to design and develop technology platforms for healthcare and education, and he also serves as a technology advisor to non-profit organizations. David is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and earned a doctorate in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida.
Latham Saddler is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is placed at the White House Office of Economic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship. Latham is a lieutenant and Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. During his career as an active duty Navy SEAL, he served on both East and West Coast SEAL Teams and deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations overseas. Latham was previously detailed to the National Security Council and served as Director of Intelligence Programs. He is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fluent Persian-Farsi and Dari speaker with extensive experience in Central Asia and the Middle East. Prior to his military service, Latham worked for IBM Corporation in New York City, where he sold hardware, software, and services to Manhattan’s financial sector. Latham earned an M.S. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech and worked for the FBI at the National Counterterrorism Center under the FBI Scholastic Honors Internship Program. He was awarded the National Security Education Program’s (NSEP) Boren Fellowship to study in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and later traveled through Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey. Latham also earned a master’s degree in Persian Studies from the University of Maryland – College Park as an NSEP Flagship Fellow. He holds a B.B.A in Economics from the University of Georgia, where he served as Student Body President.
David Schulz is from Harbor City, California, and is placed at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dave is a Major in the United States Army. As an Infantry Officer, Dave led soldiers during multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. As an Army Foreign Area Officer assigned to the Western Hemisphere, Dave is a political-military regional expert, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and has served at U.S. Embassies in San Salvador, El Salvador, and Mexico City, Mexico. Most recently, Dave served as the Military Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor to U.S. Northern Command. Dave also served as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School. Dave volunteers as a Big Brother and mentor in the communities where he is stationed and is committed to serving underprivileged children by creating opportunities for them to earn an education and better their lives. Dave enlisted in the U.S. Army at 17, earned an ROTC Scholarship, and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dave also attended the Naval Postgraduate School and earned a dual master’s degree in Defense Analysis and in National Security while also serving as the elected chairman of the President’s Student Council.
Jason Shell is from Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is placed at the U.S. Department of State. Jason is a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy who most recently served as the Executive Officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit TWO in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As a Navy EOD Officer, he commanded platoons that countered roadside bombs and enemy weapons networks in Iraq and Afghanistan for special operations units. He also served at Joint Special Operations Command and as an Aide-de-Camp on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Jason has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and is a qualified Navy Diver and Military Free Fall Parachutist. His published work has appeared in Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, where he won the 2015 Leadership Essay Contest, and in War on the Rocks. Jason is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an alumnus of the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction Program for Emerging Leaders, and a volunteer with veterans’ service organizations, including the EOD Warrior Foundation and Operation Second Chance. Jason received a B.S. in History from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Joseph Van Valen is from Martinsburg, West Virginia, and is placed in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Joseph is a Major in the United States Air Force, previously serving as the executive action officer for the Air Force’s only Contingency Response Wing. In this capacity, he directly assisted executive leadership in developing and executing the strategic vision for a 1,500-member logistics organization with a unique humanitarian relief mission. Joseph also served as a USNORTHCOM liaison to FEMA during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, coordinating all Department of Defense airlift support for FEMA’s response efforts. In 2016, while deployed to Iraq, Joseph advised Department of State and Government of Iraq officials on logistics challenges preceding the Iraqi-led push to recapture Mosul from ISIS. As an Instructor Pilot on the $202 million C-17 aircraft, Joseph has flown over 270 combat hours in Afghanistan and Iraq, delivering the first M1A1 Abrams tank into Afghanistan in 2010. Prior to entering the Air Force, Joseph was a Senior Software Engineer for America Online, Inc., and is a named inventor on three U.S. technology patents. Joseph graduated high school at the age of 15. He received a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University and an M.A.S. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine.