Staff Directory

Center for the Constitution


Jen Patja Howell, Deputy Director
(540) 672-2728 x205

Jennifer Patja Howell is the Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where she has operational responsibility for all programmatic activities, including partnership events, programs and projects, and the execution of content acquisition and distribution strategies. Over the last decade, Jen has worked in higher education through teaching and research positions in the University of Virginia’s Department of Sociology, and in civic education with the Center for Civic Education and Montpelier. Her career highlights include launching Montpelier’s online ConText project, developing and directing the Center's law enforcement and international programs, and coordinating the DC We the People program. In 2013, she was selected to participate in The Frontier Project's Women's Leadership Series through Frontier Academy. Jen has also worked as a freelance editor for over 14 years, specializing in academic, nonfiction books and marketing collateral. She is a member of the Virginia Civics Commission, appointed by Speaker of the House William J. Howell, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the We the People Consortium in Washington, DC. She received her master’s in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Berkeley.


C. Douglas SmithVice President, The Montpelier Foundation
(540) 672-2728 x208

Doug Smith is a non-profit executive with extensive experience in civic engagement and program growth and currently serves at the Vice President of The Montpelier Foundation overseeing its Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution working to build constitutional democracy here and abroad.  He is the former CEO & President of a public interest public policy group where he led an eight-year effort to create one of the most well known state-based policy centers in the country, which included government relations, micro-enterprise development, and the incubation of several new organizations.  Doug was formerly on staff with an international relief organization in Geneva, Switzerland and has served as Senior Web Strategist for a dot com. He is a graduate of James Madison University (B.S.), Lexington Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and in 2005 was named a Fellow of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Heifer International and received such awards as the "Top 40 under 40" in Central Virginia, the Richmond History Makers Award, and was named a "World Changer" by his alma mater.  He serves on the board of James Madison University's School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Mary Washington University's Center for Honor, Leadership, & Service. He and his family live in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Raquel Suarez, Program Coordinator
(540) 672-2728 x202

Raquel Suarez is the Program Coordinator for the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution where she manages the Montpelier Seminars and provides administrative and logistical support for the Center’s events and international programming.  Prior to joining Montpelier, Raquel served as the Program Assistant for the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at James Madison University while working on her master’s degree in Public Administration. She was responsible for planning and implementing social, cultural, and academic programming for the international community on campus. Raquel graduated from James Madison University in spring of 2015 where she earned a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in nonprofit and public management.


Mark A. Trickett, Instructional Design Manager
(540) 672-2728 x203

Mark A. Trickett is the Instructional Design Manager for the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where he overseers the design and implementation of Montpelier’s online educational programs. Prior to taking this position, Mark served as the Research Archaeologist within The Montpelier Foundation. In addition to directing and reporting on the excavation of sites such as the South Yard, Tobacco Barn, and Field Slave Quarters, he also developed various educational and internship programs, print and online educational resources, and aided in the development of two iterations of the Montpelier website. During this time, Mark also served as an instructor and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, James Madison University, and was the principle guide for the Center’s archaeological tours. Mark graduated from the University of Leicester in 1998 (BSc.), the University of Bradford in 2000 (MSc.), and the University of Durham in 2009 (Ph.D.). His Ph.D. was in history and archaeology, focusing upon the biographical, osteological, and isotope biogeochemical reconstruction of two 18th-19th-century populations from Chelsea and Coventry in the United Kingdom.  Outside of the Center, Mark continues to serve as an archaeology and museum consultant.


Emily Voss, Education & Outreach Manager
(540) 672-2728 x202

Emily Voss is the Education and Outreach Manager for the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution. In this role, Emily manages the Virginia and Washington, DC We the People programs, works with the Center’s partner groups, and develops and directs programs for the Center’s audiences. Emily came to Montpelier from Cooperstown, NY, where she spent four years as the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum's Manager of On-Site Learning. Previously, Emily was with the Discover Portsmouth Center in New Hampshire, and has worked with the Vermont Historical Society, Missouri Historical Society, and Colonial Williamsburg, giving her a rich range of experiences and skills in training adult professionals. Emily earned a BA in History from Gettysburg College and an MA in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.