Brown in Washington Welcomes New Faculty and Staff to Program

October 5, 2018

Students in the fall 2018 cohort of the Brown in Washington program, a partnership between the Swearer Center and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, will have the pleasure of working with both new and returning faculty and staff members this semester.

New faculty members include John Tambornino, Ph.D, who will teach PLCY 1822, and Jennifer Klein, who will join returning Watson senior fellow Pamela Reeves as co-instructor for PLCY 1825. Also joining the Brown in Washington team are Yohannes Abraham, who will work with students as a visiting fellow, and Izetta Autumn Mobley, who will advise students and direct co-curricular activities. Read more about the faculty and staff members in their bios and course listings below.

John Tambornino​’s teaching reflects the animating concerns of his career - political science, public engagement, and social justice – having taught political theory and public policy, and addressed issues of poverty and disadvantage in the U.S., through positions in the Executive Branch, Congress, and in academia. He is Senior Advisor (career staff) in the White House Office of Management and Budget, leading cross-cutting initiatives to strengthen government capacity to use evidence to improve public policy. His prior public service includes serving as Senior Advisor to Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) as an APSA Congressional Fellow, serving as Director of Economic Support for Families in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and in senior career positions at the Social Security Administration and at Health and Human Services.

Through these positions, he has connected social science to policy development and program administration, and developed expertise in poverty, disability, public assistance, social insurance, health care, financial services, and program evaluation. He has been faculty at Western Washington University, New York University, and Johns Hopkins University, where he received the Excellence-in-Teaching Award. His academic writings include The Corporeal Turn: Passion, Necessity, Politics (Rowman & Littlefield); with Jason Frank, Vocations of Political Theory (University of Minnesota Press); articles and essays in Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Polity, and Theory & Event; and he has authored a variety of government studies and reports. He earned a BA (Phi Beta Kappa/Magna Cum Laude) in Philosophy and Political Science from Macalester College, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins, where he was a James Hart Fellow.

PLCY 1822: Social Policy and Social Justice: Contestation and Compromise
This seminar is for students in the Brown in Washington, DC program and is designed to complement the other required seminar and the 25 hour/week internship that each student will complete during the semester. The course will examine domestic politics and policy, and the relationship of scholarship to public engagement and governance, by focusing on enduring questions of social justice and their expression in contemporary social policy. Issues to explore include poverty, inequality, freedom, rights, race, gender, community, class, citizenship, paternalism, punishment, and the appropriate roles of government (federal, state and local), markets, capital, labor, and voluntary organizations.

Jennifer Klein is a consultant to nonprofits and foundations on domestic and global women’s issues. She also teaches, most recently with the Brown in Washington program, Yale Law School and Georgetown University Law Center.  Klein served in both the Obama and Clinton Administrations. During the Obama Administration, from 2009 to 2013, she was Deputy and Senior Advisor in the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. During the Clinton Administration, she had a dual appointment as both Domestic Policy Advisor to the First Lady and Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.  Most recently, she served as Senior Advisor on Women’s Issues for the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign and transition team. Early in her career, Klein practiced law at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett in New York. She graduated with honors from Brown University and Columbia Law School, after spending her third year of law school at Yale. She currently serves on the boards of the International Center for Research on Women, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Brown University School of Public Health.

PLCY 1825: The New National Security: Transnational and Cross-Border Issues (Co-teaching with Pamela Reeves)

The objective of the class is to encourage a new understanding of the complexities of national security. The traditional paradigm of players, approaches, influences, and desired outcomes, no longer accommodates the corpus of transnational and cross-border issues that crosscut every policy decision in today’s world. Gender, climate, health, technology, food security, and other “non-traditional” security issues must shape the way we look at security, stability and just governance both as a sovereign nation and as a global actor. This course is part of the Brown in DC program.

Yohannes Abraham​ is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he previously served as a Residential Fellow at the Institute of Politics. Prior to Harvard, Abraham served as Senior Advisor at the Obama Foundation. Before joining the Obama Foundation, Abraham served in the White House as Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council. He also served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. In his role as Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett’s top aide, he oversaw the team tasked with engaging state and local governments, the private sector, organized labor, civil rights organizations, and advocacy groups across the spectrum to inform and promote President Obama’s policy priorities.

Abraham first began working for then-Senator Obama during his Iowa Caucus campaign in 2007. He went on to serve as Senator Obama’s Virginia Field Director in the 2008 general election, helping turn Virginia blue for the first time in 44 years. During President Obama’s first term, Abraham served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other key pieces of the President’s agenda. He went on to serve as the National Political Director at Organizing for America during the 2010 midterms. Abraham was one of the first staffers hired onto President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, ultimately serving as Deputy National Political Director. Abraham is a graduate of Yale College and a native of Springfield, Virginia. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia and sits on the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Community College System and the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee.

Izetta Autumn Mobley is a native Washingtonian with more than 15 years of experience working as a facilitator and social justice educator specializing in organizational climate and development, youth engagement, and diversity and equity. In 2001, she was a Diversity Yes! Kellogg Foundation grantee, exploring the critical connections between equity, multiculturalism, and the service-learning movement. Her work produced a paper on the history and role of Black women in the Civil Rights and community service Movements.

Ms. Mobley has served on several boards, including the National Network for Youth and the now defunct youth journalism organization, Children’s Express. In 2000, she helped to organize and conceive the first National Youth Summit, co-sponsored by the National Youth Leadership Council and Points of Light Foundation. Ms. Mobley has appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Good Morning America, and C-Span.

She has planned, facilitated, and presented in conferences on student diversity leadership, race, gender and sexuality, social justice, and youth empowerment. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in American Studies, Izetta created and launched a Diversity Office at a national education nonprofit dedicated to addressing the college access gap, where she served as the organization’s first Senior Diversity Officer. Her doctoral research examines the ways in which Black bodies are depicted in visual culture. Her Her most recent work, Micromatic, will be featured in the 2014 Powerlines Journal.

Ms. Mobley has extensive experience within the art field: working with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Museum of African Art. Ms. Mobley works as a museum educator, community capacity builder, and project manager.