About the Center

The Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement, created in honor of the late Senator and St. John's graduate, fosters dialogue and involvement regarding politics, values, and public policy. The McCarthy Center facilitates opportunities for creative and integrated learning through programming and experiential learning on and off campus.

In this day and age of "Crossfire" political reasoning and us/them political rhetoric, many young people are unfortunately steering away from political engagement. As a result, the faculty and core group of students from the Center work diligently to create venues for constructive, responsible and interesting civic debate and engagement in community affairs. Through events, conferences, lectures and social gatherings, the McCarthy Center gives students unique learning experiences

View our brochure for more information.

Director Matt Lindstrom

Matt Lindstrom is the Edward L. Henry Professor of Political Science at St. John's University/College of St. Benedict and the Director of the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at St. John's University. He also serves as Co-Director for the CSB/SJU Washington, D.C. Summer Study Program and Co-Director for the College of St. Benedict Jackson Fellows Program

He edited Encyclopedia of the U.S. Government and the Environment: History, Policy, and Politics, (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011) (Publisher page). He co-authored The National Environmental Policy Act: Judicial Misconstruction, Legislative Indifference, and Executive Neglect, (Texas A & M University Press, 2001) and co-edited Suburban Sprawl: Culture, Ecology, and Politics (Rowan and Littlefield, 2003).  Lindstrom's interest in experiential learning resulted in an essay titled, "What's a Bus Ticket Got to do with my Political Science Class" which won a "Best Paper Award" from the American Political Science Association.

Prior to starting at CSB/SJU in 2005, Lindstrom taught at Siena College outside of Albany, NY for eight years. At Siena College he chaired the Political Science department for two years, and together with his wife, Amy Braig-Lindstrom, also created the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market (www.troymarket.org), a year-around entity with over 70 vendors.

Born in Willmar, MN, Matt graduated with a BA in Government from St. John's University and in 1997 Matt received a Ph. D. in Political Science (with distinction) from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Matt and Amy are parents of Isaac and Anna Lindstrom as well as two dogs and three cats.

Coordinator Stacy Penk

Stacy Penk is the Coordinator of the Eugene J. McCarthy Center. She was hired to fill the newly created McCarthy Center "coordinator" position in January of 2009. She is a 1995 graduate of the College of Saint Benedict.

Stacy is also the Chair of the Litchfield Area Empower, Women United in Philanthropy. This group is committed to the early education of children through its early learning initiatives and its focus on parent support and education.

She and her husband Derek Penk live in Litchfield with their three children.

Student Coordinator Tyler Brown

Hometown: Sioux City, IA

High School: Bishop Heelan High School

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

What I'm reading: Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts

Favorite TV Show: Tie between House of Cards and Parks and Recreation

Random thing people don't know: I met one of the guys from LMFAO (the one with the afro) in line at an Arby's in the Atlanta airport.

Student Coordinator Jake Collins


Hometown: Mankato, MN

High School: Mankato West High School

Year: Sophomore

Major: Political Science

What I'm reading: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Favorite TV Show: West Wing 

Random thing people don't know: I love Simons Hall so much that I sleep there sometimes.

Student Coordinator Melissa DeOrio

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado

High School: Highlands Ranch High School

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

Study Abroad: London, England Spring of 2012

What I'm Reading:Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

Favorite TV Show: Dexter and Madmen

Random thing people don't know: This is my 17th year playing the violin.

Student Coordinator Michael Hartz


Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

High School: The Math and Science Academy

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

Study Abroad: Japan, Fall 2013

Reading: Hamlet by Shakespere

Favorite TV Show: Top Gear

Random thing people don''t know: I love music in all forms... except for country.


Student Coordinator Erin Kelso


Hometown: Le Sueur, MN

High School: Le Sueur-Henderson High

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science, German minor

Study Abroad: India, Spring 2014

Currently reading: Chocolat by Joanna Harris

Favorite TV show: New Girl

Random thing people don't know: I eat cookies for breakfast

Student Coordinator Justin Markon


Hometown: Maple, WI (near Duluth, MN)

High School: Northwestern HS

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

Study Abroad: India, Spring 2014

Currently reading: True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society

Favorite TV show: Colbert Report and The Daily Show

Random thing people don't know: My brother just started his Plebe (freshman year) at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Student Coordinator Katie Tillman


Hometown: Shakopee, MN

High School: Shakopee High School

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science and German Studies

Study Abroad: Salzburg, Austria, Fall 2013

Currently reading: The Fault in Our Stars and BossyPants

Favorite TV show: The West Wing and Friends

Random thing people don't know: I am terrified of spiders