Our Team


Rachel Paine Caufield, Ph.D.
Dr. Rachel Paine Caufield (RPC) is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Drake University. Originally from upstate New York, and arriving in Iowa via Washington, D.C. in 2001, she founded the Iowa Caucus Project at Drake University in 2007. She also chairs Drake’s Political Visitor Team, organizing logistics for campaign and media events. She loves caucuses, dogs, politics podcasts, James Madison, and Birkenstocks.
John Altendorf
Campus Engagement Staffer
John Altendorf is a junior politics and strategic political communications major from God’s Country, Minnesota. Throughout his time at Drake, he has converted from Minnesota to Iowa politics through working on a gubernatorial campaign, as a clerk in the state legislature, and by advocating for agriculture policy alongside commodity groups and international trade organizations.
Samantha Bayne
Campus Engagement Team Lead
Samantha Bayne is a Drake University alumna who studied law, politics, & society and politics. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. In her free time, Samantha enjoys trying new restaurants (especially ice cream shops), watching sitcoms, and exploring whichever state she is in. She has gotten lost in cornfields twice.
Sam Bennett
Communications Team Lead
Sam Bennett is a junior politics and data analytics double major. She is from Illinois, so she is excited to get involved in a stable political environment. She enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.
Will Follett
Campus Engagement Staffer
Will Follett is a senior politics major from Wheaton, Illinois. A New England native, he enjoys running, photography, and defending the honor of Tom Brady.
Morgan Garner
Communications Staffer
Morgan Garner became interested in politics in fifth grade when she fell in love with President Barack Obama’s inspiring “Yes we can” message and way of speaking. Since then, she’s followed her local Missouri politics closely, but was persuaded to cross the border into Iowa for college because of the importance of the Iowa caucuses. Morgan is especially interested in candidates’ speech writing and their venue and photo-op selections.
Tanner Halleran
Campus Engagement Staffer
Tanner Halleran is a sophomore studying politics and graphic design. His claim to fame in the Iowa political scene is setting the record for the youngest county chair at 17 and 1/2. You can find him at your nearest political event or thrift store.
John Hirl
Podcast Producer and Host
John Hirl is a junior majoring in politics and strategic political communications from Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a proud Iowan that enjoys spending Saturdays in Kinnick Stadium. He refuses to take Twitter seriously and only tweets about the Iowa Hawkeyes and Chicago Bears.
Madison Kelly
Brand Manager
Madison Kelly is a graphic designer and freelance journalist whose work focuses on LGBTQ+ relationships, sex education, and mental health. She's also a magazine media and graphic design student at Drake. Typically, you can find her watering her houseplants, caking on orange eyeshadow, or snacking in bed.
Adam Koch
Video Producer
Adam Koch is a sophomore law, politics, & society and politics double major from Grimes, Iowa. He is the world’s biggest fan of Ben & Jerry’s Milk and Cookies flavor.
Ian Klein
Campus Engagement Staffer
Ian Klein is a junior politics and economics double major from Bloomington, Minnesota. He enjoys watching/playing tennis, reading about U.S. presidential history, and gushing over “Midwestern nice” culture.
Mallory McQueen
Communications Staffer
Mallory McQueen is a junior studying politics, history, and Spanish from Sheldon, Iowa. She is a true Iowan with a deep love of sweet corn and small town roots.
Runal A. Patel
Chief of Staff
Runal A. Patel is a junior studying politics and economics. Originally from Des Plaines, Illinois, he enjoys cooking, choral singing, and petting Drake's live mascot, Griff. He can often be found wearing business casual and/or tweeting.
Kiley Roach
Campus Engagement Staffer
Kiley Roach is a senior studying politics and English. A fierce proponent of organization and wonky political analysis, you can find her listening to political podcasts nearly every day and meticulously updating her calendar. For her first caucus cycle, Kiley is looking forward to meeting as many of the 2020 candidates as possible before the chaos unfolds.
Avery Van Den Berg
Social Media Manager
Avery Van Den Berg is a sophomore at Drake studying strategic political communication and Spanish. A native of Springfield, Missouri, she is excited to experience her first Iowa caucus, though less excited about being around more corn. She is an avid fan of etymology, overweight cats, and authentic Italian food.