Courtesy of Benjamin J. Myers / The Hill
AU alumni Dan Lindner and John Sonsalla made The Hill’s annual “50 Most Beautiful People” list on July 25.
The Hill is a newspaper focused on business and political activities in Congress and has the largest print circulation on Capitol Hill at over 24,000.
The paper’s readers sent in 400 nominations of most beautiful people working on Capitol Hill, according to the Hill’s Features Editor Kris Kitto. After going through the nominations, The Hill staff invited 80 nominees to a photo shoot and then voted on the top 50.
“We basically look at who took the best photo and after we choose, we get to know them a little better,” Kitto said. “Just because someone is good-looking does not mean that they can take a great picture.”
Lindner, who graduated from the School of Public Affairs in 2011 with a Masters in Applied Politics, is currently a press assistant for Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. He said he was surprised to find himself on the list.
“When I got the phone call from The Hill, it was a pretty secretive experience,” Lindner said. “They don’t let you know in advance if you’ve made the cut, so you basically show up for a photo shoot and an interview, and then have to wait and see if you’re in the issue.”
Like Lindner, Sonsalla was surprised and wary of his nomination.
“When I was first contacted by The Hill, I thought it was one of my friends having a good laugh at my expense,” Sonsalla said. “Afterward, I found out that I had been nominated by a few people in my office.”
Sonsalla graduated from SPA in 2011 as well with a double major in Political Science and CLEG (Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government). He currently works as a policy assistant at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, a lobbying firm in D.C.
During their time at AU, Sonsalla and Linder were active in school and internships. Sonsalla held four internships both on and off Capitol Hill, participated in the SPA Leadership program and served as president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Lindner interned at the Environmental Protection Agency and wrote speeches for an unnamed member of President Obama’s cabinet while teaching a class on Congressional behavior as a graduate assistant.
Both Lindner and Sonsalla give AU credit for their careers in politics.
“I credit my time at American with helping me find my professional trajectory and developing the skills I need to succeed in communications,” Lindner said.
Sonsalla emphasized AU’s location as a key factor in his own political success.
“American provides its students with an opportunity to study government under some of the leading professionals in the District and the invaluable experience of being directly involved in the political process,” Sonsalla said.
With all the serious work done on the Hill, Kitto said, The Hill runs the 50 Most Beautiful People List because it is a fun and light feature that always works well in summer.
“Overall, it was a fun experience to be chosen, but all credit goes to my Mom for the good looks,” Sonsalla said.