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The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies has created three new posi­tions, to be filled by Chris Malagisi, Ashlea Frazier, and Matthew Mehan. From left: Malagisi, Frazier, and Mehan. Krystina Skurk | Courtesy

Since Asso­ciate Vice Pres­ident and Dean of Edu­ca­tional Pro­grams Matthew Spalding came to the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and States­manship five years ago, Hillsdale’s campus in Wash­ington, D.C. has almost doubled in size. In order to keep up, Kirby staff members are taking on new roles and wel­coming more members to the team.

To stay on track with expan­sions and larger projects down the pike — including the addition of a graduate school program to the Kirby Center — the staff is adapting and growing to ensure the day-to-day tasks at Kirby are in line with the expan­sions. In addition to the newly-hired Exec­utive Director of Out­reach Chris Malagisi, Ashlea Frazier is now the director of oper­a­tions and Matthew Mehan is the director of aca­demic pro­grams and Worsham Teaching Fellow.

After grad­u­ating from Liberty Uni­versity in 2010 with her bachelor’s degree in political science, Spalding hired her as his per­sonal assistant at the Her­itage Foun­dation. While there, Frazier  also served as the program manager for American Studies. She joined the Hillsdale staff in Wash­ington, D.C., with Spalding about five years ago. When she came to the Kirby Center, her title changed to special assistant, and she was tasked with orga­nizing the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program as well as working on budgets for the Kirby Centers’ pro­grams and events.

In 2017, Frazier was one of four people to win the William F. Buckley Jr. Award.

Since coming to Kirby, Frazier has hired a few new Kirby staff members. During the hiring process, she said she looks for people whose strengths are com­patible with hers and others on staff.

“My dad told me to hire people who are smarter and whose strengths are my weak­nesses,” Frazier said. “These people fill various com­po­nents of the team.”

As director of oper­a­tions, Frazier oversees day-to-day projects with a new focus: thinking strate­gi­cally about the systems cur­rently in place and thinking of how to grow Hillsdale’s campus in Wash­ington, D.C. She also manages the Kirby Center staff.

“My role is to see the train is con­tin­u­ously moving and on the right track,” Frazier said. “We want to also be looking at the future, and we are con­tin­u­ously moving forward.”

Before starting at the Kirby Center in Feb­ruary, Malagisi was the editor-in-chief of the Con­ser­v­ative Book Club. He spent time working at the American Con­ser­v­ative Union, where he was the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Com­mittee Director and the Director of Media and External Rela­tions. He also worked for the Lead­ership Institute and, along with Frazier, is one of the winners of the William F. Buckley Award in 2017.

Malagisi has spent most of his pro­fes­sional career in external rela­tions and out­reach in the United States; however, during his time with the Inter­na­tional Repub­lican Ini­tiative, Malagisi  worked on long-term devel­opment ini­tia­tives for the Middle East and Northern Africa Ini­tiative. In the early 2000s, Malagisi helped facil­itate Afghanistan’s first demo­c­ratic election since the Taliban took over in the late 1990s. Malagisi helped educate Afghani cit­izens how to organize polit­i­cally in a func­tioning demo­c­ratic system.

“I’m very blessed and have had a lot of great expe­ri­ences. Being able to work and do stuff that I love means I’ve never really had a day of work in my life,” Malagisi said.

Though his career has been mostly fast-paced — he has also worked on five pres­i­dential cam­paigns and traveled to more than 40 dif­ferent coun­tries — Malagisi said his focus has shifted since he and his wife had their first child.  

“Right now, I’m just enjoying life as a father,” Malagisi said. “I really want to spend time with my son and see the world through his eyes. Life is slowing down a bit.”

Matthew Mehan has taught at Hillsdale’s Kirby Center for five years and began his new role as director of aca­demic pro­grams and Worsham Teaching Fellow in January. He teaches Con­ti­nental Lit­er­ature for stu­dents on WHIP.

After grad­u­ating as vale­dic­torian of his class at the Uni­versity of Dallas, where he studied alongside other Hillsdale pro­fessors like John Grant, Thomas West, and Ronald Pestritto, Mehan began teaching at The Heights School, an all-boys preparatory school in Maryland.

After returning to school to earn his master’s degree in English and Ph.D. in lit­er­ature, Mehan came back to D.C. and began teaching the Arts of Liberty Sem­inars, lec­tures on the liberal arts. Spalding heard of these and hired Mehan as an adjunct pro­fessor.

“We know that edu­cation has pow­erful political and social impli­ca­tions,” Mehan said. “Working at Hillsdale is a match made in heaven.”

Mehan is cur­rently working on cur­riculum for the Kirby Centers’ Graduate School.

With both new and expe­ri­enced staff members, the Kirby Center is undoubtedly moving forward, and at an unprece­dented pace.  

“When you’re working with an orga­ni­zation that your values align with, you just feel like you’re doing some­thing, like you’re moving the ball down the line,” Malagisi said.