Laura Parker McAleer
Associate Vice President, Federal & Washington Relations
Laura McAleer is the University of Notre Dame’s Associate Vice President for Federal and Washington Relations, responsible for the development and execution of the University’s priorities in the Nation’s capital. In this capacity, she seeks to strengthen Notre Dame’s strategic impact with key research and policy thought leaders and constituencies, as well as provide campus leadership with advice and counsel related to federal policies and regulations that may affect the University. She brings more than twenty years of civilian and military experience to this current position.
Prior to joining Notre Dame, Ms. McAleer served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs and acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, leading the Department of Defense’s strategic engagement and advocacy with the U.S. Congress. In addition to serving as a principal representative and spokesperson on defense legislative priorities, her responsibilities included managing the Senate confirmation process for over 50 senior civilian leaders of the Department.
Previously, Ms. McAleer worked as a senior legislative advisor on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, holding staff positions in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Beginning on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she subsequently served as a national security and foreign policy advisor to four U.S. Senators, leading legislative and appropriations portfolios pertaining to defense, homeland security, intelligence, veterans and foreign affairs.
In addition to her congressional background, Ms. McAleer has worked in a wide range of executive branch capacities, to include service as a strategy and plans officer for U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, as an analyst and program manager with the Office of Naval Intelligence, and as a visiting scholar at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. She also served as the Director for Strategic Initiatives for the Secretary of the Navy, responsible for the development and oversight of key organizational and personnel efforts.
Ms. McAleer graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government/International Studies and Spanish. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, an Advanced Project Manager Certification from Stanford University, and was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Her professional awards include the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award.
Ms. McAleer currently serves as a member of the Secretary of Defense's Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB), the National Council of Women in Defense (WID) and the Board of Directors for the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
Dr. Jill Pentimonti
Director of Research Advancement
Dr. Jill Pentimonti is the University of Notre Dame’s Director of Research Advancement, responsible for strengthening the University's impact and reach with federal research agencies by establishing federal resource guides for faculty, providing DC agency visit support, and coordinating faculty engagements with research communities of interest. In this role, Dr. Pentimonti also continues to pursue her own line of research through managing her current research portfolio of grants (totaling $5 million in funding from the Department of Education as a Principal Investigator), pursuing new funding opportunities, and serving as an Affiliate of the Institute for Educational Initiatives. Dr. Pentimonti brings over twenty years of experience in a variety of educational settings to the role, to include over a decade of experience conducting federally-funded research within both university and non-profit research firm settings.
Prior to joining Notre Dame, Dr. Pentimonti was a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes for Research and a Senior Research Scientist at The Ohio State University, where she was responsible for both securing and managing federally-funded grants. Specifically, her roles at these two institutions involved engagement with all stages of the research advancement process, including oversight of scientific rigor, grants administration, staff and fiscal management, and dissemination efforts.
Dr. Pentimonti’s research fits within the social science and educational policy research context, with an emphasis on understanding factors that may influence young children’s development in early educational settings. Specifically, her work has focused on examinations of applied issues in early language and reading development, to include the development of instruments to assess classroom instruction and empirical investigations of evidence-based interventions in early childhood settings. Her work spans both general and special education settings, and largely involves a focus on vulnerable populations.
Dr. Pentimonti has extensive training in quantitative methods such as hierarchical linear modeling, growth curve modeling, and latent class analysis. Her recent publications include articles in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Clinical Pediatrics and Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Dr. Pentimonti earned a doctorate in Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in Reading Education from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in Education from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.