Sen. Cory Gardner
After realizing her elementary school dreams of becoming the next Barbara Walters would not be her reality, Amber knew her calling was to join the United States Army as a Combat Medic. Amber’s heart and soul are fueled by her passion for helping others. It made sense that she chose a profession which would allow her to do just that, while honorably serving her country.
First and foremost, Amber is a MOM to an incredible tween. Amber is also a Gold Star Widow, a two-time cancer survivor, and is a current Graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is seeking to earn her Master’s of Science in Organizational Dynamics, and is a member of Penn’s prestigious Organizational Consulting and Executive Coaching Cohort.
Since the death of her husband, Army Ranger SGT Ryan “Doc” Baum, Amber has dedicated herself to non-profit work in the Trauma, Veteran, Military, and Gold Star communities. Amber is honored to have been the keynote speaker, subject matter expert, and motivational speaker at countless schools, fundraisers, and various Veteran, Military, and Gold Star functions.
Amber has a passion for being part of a team which facilitates positive growth and change, individually and collectively, within dynamic cultures and systems. She uses her strengths in social awareness, adaptability, and conceptualization to create holistic solutions within challenging workplace dynamics. Amber is committed to excellence through steadfast hard work, and a unique grit. On any given day, you will find Amber with an endless amount of spirited energy.
For fun, she greatly enjoys Crossfit, outdoor adventures, and sipping ice cold Arnold Palmers while reading a good book.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew
Alexander Chafetz enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17, serving four years on the Presidential Support Program, of which two were at Camp David. Following his enlistment, he attended Columbia University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. In 2015 he founded a non-governmental organization (NGO) while living abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. This organization raised donations for nutritional aid and school supplies that Alex personally delivered to refugee camps in southeastern Turkey. For the past two years, Alex has worked in New York City as an associate in the Global Client Management and Corporate Banking division of the Bank of New York Mellon, covering Fortune 500 companies. During this time he acquired a broad understanding of credit analysis, financial markets, and the global banking system.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Daniel W. Dick is a current HillVets Legislative Fellow with Sen. Sinema (D-AZ). He has held this title since March of 2019, working with the Senator and her staff in policies involving veterans, the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and foreign policy. Daniel in his work assists in briefing the Senator before meeting with military and administration leadership, constituents, advocates, and staffs hearings and meetings with these leaders. Daniel is also currently attending the Wilson Center’s Congressional Cyber Lab on Cyber Security Policy.
Before working as a HillVets Fellow, Daniel received his commission into the US Army as an Air Defense Artillery Officer from Texas A&M in 2010. Daniel proudly earned his boots as a member of the Corps of Cadets in N-1 and Sq. 20. As an Air Defense Artillery officer Daniel held many titles including Launcher Platoon Leader, Tactical Control Officer, Headquarters Battery Executive Officer, Battalion and Brigade Unit Movement Officer. Daniel deployed twice to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2011 through January 2012 and then from November 2013 through August 2014 for a total of 15 months. He was also responsible for rapidly deploying billions of dollars of worth of THAAD missile equipment to Guam, and an entire PATRIOT Battalion to Turkey, as well as his own PATRIOT missile Battalion to the CENTCOM AOR. Daniel left the service honorably in February of 2015.
Most recently before becoming a HillVets Fellow Daniel previously worked for the Beto For Texas campaign. Daniel traveled over 3,500 miles across the entire northern half of the state of Texas to organize farming and ranching communities, college campuses, small towns, suburbs, and all parts of the DFW metroplex that lead to the largest turnout for a Democratic candidate Texas had seen in over 20 years. Daniel is currently pursuing an Executive Masters of Public Service and Administration through the Bush School of Public Service with a track in Homeland Security. Daniel has also received two graduate certificates from the Bush School. The first was in Advanced International Affairs with an emphasis in Counter-Terrorism in 2015. The second was in Homeland Security Studies with an emphasis in Critical Infrastructure Protection. Daniel would like to pursue a full-time career on the Hill or helping to develop policy in veterans issues, national security, and foreign policy. In his free time, he likes to go for slow runs, attend cultural events, participate in social justice ministries with his church, and making new friends.
Sen. Doug Jones
Elise Fink is a six-year veteran of the United States Army. As a human resources officer, she served in the Republic of Korea, Germany, and Fort Drum, N.Y and was the direct advisor to commanders regarding policies that effect the military’s most important resource: soldiers and their families. Over the course of her career, Elise designed and implemented several personnel systems that streamlined Army personnel structures in Korea and Europe. She collaborated and worked with numerous foreign militaries supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve and developed a keen understanding of policy in this area.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Wade Giltz decided to follow his family’s tradition of military service by enlisting after high school as a fourth-generation Marine. He served as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Crew Chief before being assigned to the Advisor Training Cell on Camp Lejeune, NC. During his deployment to Afghanistan, Corporal Giltz served as an advisor and liaison to the Afghan National Army in Helmand Province, supervising a medium-machine gun course. When his service ended in 2015, he attended West Virginia University and studied Political Science and International Relations.
Outside of his studies, he spent his time in college working on a local election campaign, interning with Camp Lejeune’s community relations office, and three years working in WVU’s Veterans Resource Center assisting veterans with their benefits and learning about the issues they face after their service. Those experiences during college, coupled with his time spent on active duty, made working in D.C. on Veteran’s Policy the obvious next step. Wade is currently serving as a Veterans Policy Fellow in Senator Duckworth’s office.
Rep. Andy Kim
Anand Jantzen is serving as a Legislative Fellow in the office of Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ). He supports the Congressman’s legislative agenda by researching, drafting, and proposing cyber security and maritime security legislation in the House Armed Services Committee. He also supports Veteran’s Affairs and Foreign Policy Asia/Westpac portfolios in service to the people of New Jersey’s 3rd district in Burlington and Ocean counties.
Anand started his service in the US Navy as an enlisted electrician aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer before receiving a nomination from Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter to attend the US Naval Academy where he graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree and commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer. As an officer Anand served on the destroyer USS Mustin, cruiser USS San Jacinto, and Carrier Strike Group 10 staff embarked on the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Anand has driven warships and executed maritime missions at the tactical and operational level in the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf.
Anand also holds a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Virginia and has worked as a senior national security engineering consultant at the Mitre Corporation. Anand was born in Mongolia and grew up riding horses before immigrating to the US and settling in Virginia.
Rep. Ted Lieu
Yi Liu is a proud veteran who served 5 years in the Air Force. Yi was born and raised in mainland China and after waiting 13 years for her visa, she immigrated to San Francisco with her parents right before turning 21. Yi speaks fluent Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese.
Yi earned her Master of Science degree in cybersecurity in 2018 and she is now serving as a Congressional Fellow in the office of Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33). When not working on the Hill, Yi runs a small eco-friendly food ware business to promote the reduction of single-use plastic.
Sen. Jack Reed
Dimitrios Meritis is a former U.S. Marine and current HillVets House Legislative Fellow working on technology issues for U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
With extensive experience in public, private, and nonprofit sectors, he brings a multifaceted approach to examining whole of government solutions for dealing with AI, cyber, disinformation, digital literacy, and other technology topics. In addition to his technology portfolio, he assists in a variety of other topics including defense, foreign affairs, security, trade, education, employment, energy, and climate change.
Mr. Meritis also serves as a HillVets House National Security Fellow at The American Legion’s DC headquarters, advising leadership on transatlantic national security issues.
He holds a Master of Science (MSc) in European Affairs from Lund University (Sweden), a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University.
He currently resides with his wife, Kristiina, in Arlington, VA.
Rep. Gil Cisneros
Kevin Penn enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996 and served as a helicopter dynamic component mechanic, a Drill Instructor, and an intelligence officer. Following a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2008, Lieutenant Penn was selected for the Junior Officer Strategic Intelligence Program and relocated to the national capital region. There, Lieutenant Penn earned a Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) and also was promoted to Captain. After completing the MSSI program, Captain Penn worked in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. He then served as a Company Commander and retired in August of 2016.
Kevin has always been driven to serve and to volunteer, particularly with children. He spent over 10 years with the Young Marines in Tustin, California and joined the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in 2010. He has since been to many national and regional seminars, family campouts, and sporting and special events all across the country. He spends much of his time visiting his TAPS kiddos and families, going with them to parks, shows, museums, holiday events, and even their schools. He considers the building of these memories to be the best thing he does with his time and he believes TAPS isn’t something he does, it’s something he is.
Kevin is currently on a congressional fellowship through HillVets, and he is working in the office of Representative Gil Cisneros from California. Therein he is working on veteran and service member issues in general, but on transition assistance more specifically. Making sure his sisters and brothers are properly prepared for the civilian world is something he has been passionate about for years, and he is excited to serve again.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez
Robert Thompson enlisted as an infantry soldier in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard shortly after 9/11 while pursuing his degree at Valley Forge Military College. Following graduation and his subsequent enlistment he switched to the Navy and served four years as a Quartermaster navigating minesweepers at sea, deploying twice to the Middle East as well as Central America and the Panama Canal zone where he was instrumental in piloting his ship through the Canal. Following military service, he worked in media and film both behind and in front of the camera on movies, shows, and commercials and for networks such as National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.
He attended the ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and was a field coordinator for the 2016 David Trone for Congress campaign. He currently serves as a fellow in the office of Congressman Jimmy Gomez of California. In that capacity, he has brought a focus to military and veterans issues and worked with the legislative staff on appropriations and major legislation. He’s also aided the communications director as an interim press assistant during the Congressman’s appearances on news programs such as Hardball, The Situation Room and The Last Word.