About the Dreier Roundtable at Claremont McKenna College

Mission Statement

The Dreier RoundTable at Claremont McKenna College is dedicated to cultivating responsible and collaborative leaders who value public service and civil discourse. Our mission is to inspire students to engage with diverse perspectives and promote understanding through meaningful conversations and hands-on experiences. As future leaders in the public sphere, we aim to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to drive positive change and advance the common good.

DRt’s mission reflects the legacy of trustee and alumnus David Dreier’s 32-year career in public life, and CMC’s mission to foster “leadership in business, government, and the professions, and to support faculty and student scholarship that contribute to intellectual vitality and the understanding of public policy issues.” DRt is particularly focused on issues Dreier emphasized throughout his Congressional career: international trade, immigration studies, institutional development, and information flows. DRt plans to build on his work in those areas, among others.

The DRt also hosts the Annenberg – Dreier Commission, a special focus program that seeks to strengthen the free flow of goods, services, capital, information, ideas and people throughout the greater Pacific. Inspired by the Congressional work of Chairman Dreier, the ADC is an affiliated program under the Dreier Roundtable focused on addressing policy challenges within these areas by developing concise, actionable recommendations that are readily adoptable by key stakeholders.

Meet the Team

Founder: David Dreier

Director: Michael Fortner

Co-Directors: John Pitney, Terril Jones

Managers: Mateo Colbert, Melanie Kallah

Advisory Board: Governor Steve Bullock, Aditya Pai


Student Fellows

Melanie Kallah, Manager

Melanie Kallah is a member of Claremont McKenna College’s class of 2025 as a recipient of the prestigious McKenna Merit Scholarship. She is studying International Relations and studied Geopolitics and Arabic abroad in Amman, Jordan for the Fall 2023 semester. Melanie was drawn to the Dreier Roundtable both because of it’s goal to inspire future public servants amongst students and because of it’s appreciation of civil discourse. As Co-Manager she hopes to establish the institute on campus so that the DRt may invest in students and students may invest in the DRt. She brings to the role extensive research and leadership experience and a strong interest in public service. Beyond DRt, she is the DEI Director of the CMC Model United Nations team, ranked 1st internationally. She is also a Committee Lead at the CARE Center, and a research assistant at the Gould Center. Outside of work, she loves playing piano and painting! Contact: mkallah25@students.claremontmckenna.edu

Mateo Colbert, Manager

Mateo Buadu Colbert is a second year student at Claremont McKenna College. He is majoring in International Relations as he believes the way in which domestic policy affects international policy is significant in understanding how the world works. He was intrigued by the Dreier Roundtable and its commitment to civil discourse. As Co-Manager of the DRt he hopes to establish the institute so that students may engage with each other to better recognize and appreciate the many perspectives on campus. He believes that in doing this, the student body will be more United and better equipped to tackle the challenges of all students on campus. In addition to the Dreier Roundtable, Mateo is a recruitment director for the CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, and works at CMC’s Axelrood Pool. He will be studying abroad in Copenhagen Denmark with a focus on Humanitarian Law and Armed Conflict. Contact: mcolbert25@students.claremontmckenna.edu

Jacob Smagula.

Jacob Smagula

Jacob Smagula is a first-year (‘26) student at CMC dual-majoring in Government and Middle Eastern Studies. He joined the Dreier Roundtable to examine inequity and the power of public policy to impact people’s lives, and to further develop his understanding of complex issues and leadership skills. In addition to his role as a DRt Fellow, he is a Research Assistant for the “Race and Islam” Lab at The Gould Center and works at the Athenaeum.  Contact: jsmagula26@students.claremontmckenna.edu

Julius Skestos.

Julius Skestos

Julius Skestos is a sophomore at Pitzer college majoring in Political studies, focusing in comparative politics. Growing up in Columbus OH Julius had friends of varying political orientations and was always happy to provide and facilitate points of connection between people of different political backgrounds. This commitment to bipartisanship led him to join the Dreier Roundtable in 2022 because of the Roundtable’s commitment to fostering civil discourse, working across political lines, and encouraging public service. Expected to graduate in 2025, Julius continues to work as a Dreier Fellow assisting both with creating a newsletter and with other Roundtable functions to continue the mission of inspiring interest in public service and encouraging bipartisanship. Outside of academics Julius likes music, outdoor adventures, collecting antiques, traveling, and meeting new people.

Contact: jsmagula26@students.claremontmckenna.edu

Kylie Ha.

Kylie Ha

Kylie Ha is a member of Claremont McKenna College’s class of 2026 and is a recipient of the Shaw Wagener Global Family Scholarship. She is studying Public Policy and International Relations, and has interests in national defense, international security, and counterintelligence. Kylie joined the Dreier Roundtable in 2023 because of the program’s spirit for public service and its commitment to educate, shape, and promote students into future leaders of public policy and civil discourse. As a Student Fellow, she hopes to continue her life-long passion for public service, as well as closely examine and advocate the power of public policy in homelessness through tiny home communities and urban planning. In addition to her role as a DRt Fellow, Kylie is also a Cadet in the Army ROTC Program, Student Director of Student and Parent Engagement at the Office of Admissions, Finance Manager for the Claremont International Relations Society, and Co-Founder of 5C Triathlon Club. Outside of work, she loves studying the Arabic language, venturing outdoors, and hopes to study abroad in Geneva, Switzerland with a focus on International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy.

Nathanel Worley.
Nathaniel Worley

Nathaniel is a senior at Claremont McKenna majoring in Government and Public Policy with a focus on surveillance and intelligence. At the DRt, he works alongside award-winning journalist and lecturer Terril Jones to research issues relating to government and modern journalism. Outside of the DRt, he is the director of Free Food for Thought on campus, the student-run podcast that interviews Athenaeum speakers, as well as a writing consultant at the Center for Writing and Public Discourse. In his free time, he enjoys practicing leatherwork, stained-glass, and guitar.

Austin Anderson.

Austin Andersen

Austin Andersen is a member of Claremont McKenna’s class of 2025 majoring in International Relations. He is studying abroad during the Spring 2024 semester due to his deep interest in learning about life outside of the U.S., particularly when it comes to unique cultures and different political systems. He became interested in the Dreier Roundtable after an insightful meeting with Professor Fortner regarding drug laws in the 1970s and 1980s, which further stimulated his intrigue in the role of public policy on a day-to-day basis for individuals across the country. He also hopes to make strides towards cultivating an environment of open dialogue as a Dreier Fellow. As a journalist for the Claremont Independent, he brings a strong background in research and writing. Outside of the DRt, Austin plays defensive back for the CMS football team and is a member of the CMC Social Life Working Group. Apart from academics, he loves to be in nature, travel to foreign countries, and listens to all types of music, particularly EDM, Reggaeton and Country.

Johnny Russell.

Johnny Russell

Johnny Russell is a rising second year student at Claremont McKenna College from Orlando, Florida. Johnny wanted to be a Dreier Roundtable fellow because he saw it as a great opportunity to work alongside such accomplished 5C students and faculty who share his own emerging passion for politics and public policy. A government major, Johnny believes that the institution’s goal to promote healthy civil discourse around campus will reshape the way he thinks about pressing social and political issues in America today. Thus, he hopes to gain from his experiences as a fellow some helpful tools to become a thoughtful participant in the American political system and most importantly an open mind. In addition to the Dreier Roundtable, Johnny is a first year guide and member of the nonprofit organization Student Connections.

Shay Suresh.
Shay Suresh.

Shay Suresh

Shay Suresh (she/her) is a rising senior at CMC, dual majoring in Government and Literature. On campus, Shay is involved in Advocates, the CARE Center, and the Dreier Roundtable. This summer, she will be working as a DEI intern for the DNC. In her spare time, Shay enjoys literary fiction and curating music playlists.

Theo Siasat 

Theo Siasat is a senior at Claremont McKenna College as a Kravis Scholar. He is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, Economics as he loves to dive into the multidisciplinary nature of the three subjects. He is excited to be working under Professor Michael Fortner as a liaison for the Dreier Roundtable to promote civic engagement and political thought across disciplines. He aims to unlock the Roundtable’s potential to identify common areas of agreement and engage students from academically and personally diverse backgrounds. In addition to being involved with the Roundtable, Theo is also the Director of Tik Tok for CMC’s Admissions Office, a Tour Guide, President of Kasama, and a research analyst from the Lowe Institute of Political Economy. He plans to write a senior thesis in Philosophy on social democracy as distributive justice.