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2023 TFAS Year in Review


The year 2023 has been a journey of many milestones for The Fund for American Studies (TFAS). From exceeding enrollment goals for both D.C. Academic Internship Programs and High School Programs, to celebrating 30 years of TFAS International, 2023 has proven to be a monumental year.

Thanks to the support of alumni, supporters, faculty and friends, TFAS developed countless courageous leaders and looks forward to continuing to teach the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom in the new year. Read below to see this year’s highlights.

TFAS 2023 Year in Review


D.C. Academic Internship Programs


Students connect during Capitol Hill briefing.

Nearly 300 courageous young leaders embarked on a journey of a lifetime through the TFAS Academic Internship Program. Students spent the summer gaining real-world experience through living in the nation’s capital, taking courses for academic credit at George Mason University and successfully completing an internship at Washington’s leading think tanks, lobbying firms, congressional offices and more.

Summer Law Fellowship

Through the TFAS Law Fellowship, 23 law students engaged in legal internships, academic coursework, networking events and career development sessions, as well as a law and public policy lecture series with leading constitutional scholars, judges and practicing attorneys.

Fellows represented top law schools including Yale, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, Washington & Lee, University of Alabama, Wake Forest, Catholic University and more. 


The 2023 Capital Semester Spring class gathers at TFAS headquarters for a welcome ceremony and orientation.

Held from January to May, the Spring 2023 Capital Semester welcomed a cohort of driven college students from the United States and Poland. These young leaders spent their semester expanding their knowledge on international affairs and public policy while earning up to 12 credit hours of intensive academic courses through George Mason University.

In addition to their internships, students gained real-world knowledge from attending guest lectures, exclusive site briefings and from key professionals during networking events.

TFAS International Programs

TFAS Santiago

TFAS Prague students travel to Valparaiso on a boat excursion.

In January, TFAS welcomed 51 participants from 17 countries to its two-week program in Chile, TFAS Santiago, in partnership with Universidad de los Andes (UANDES). TFAS and UANDES were thrilled to host the program again after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Students gathered to study the political theory of constitutional government and Latin American economic and political development while exploring sites around the city and in the neighboring port city of Valparaiso. 

TFAS Prague and European Journalism Institute

EJI participants explore the city of Prague.

Celebrating 30 years of academic programs abroad, TFAS returned to the Czech Republic this past summer to kick off the three-week-long TFAS Prague program and the week-long European Journalism Institute (EJI). TFAS Prague and EJI brought together a combined 88 enthusiastic young leaders from 30 different countries. Participants in TFAS International Programs not only earned college credit but also gained an extended network of worldwide contacts and international experience to advance their educational and professional pursuits.

High School Programs

FTE students participate in the “Mission” activity.

Economics for Leaders

Through TFAS’s high school program division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), more than 1,000 students learned the importance of how protection of private property, voluntary trade, and the rule of law make human flourishing possible. In addition to the existing programs, FTE launched a successful new programs: Environment & the Economy.

Teacher Programs

This year, over 1,400 teachers completed training through 57 different FTE programs. These workshops ranged from one hour webinars to weeklong residential programs. Through these training sessions, teachers developed a better understanding of free enterprise concepts and learned to become more effective educators. FTE-trained teachers reached an estimated 166,000+students this year.

FTE director of curriculum Debbie Henney leads a group activity for the “Economic Issues for Teachers” conference.

Some of this year’s program topics included:

  • Realities of Socialism
  • Economic Forces in American History
  • Making Sense of the Federal Budget, Debt & Deficits
  • Issues of International Trade
  • Bidenomics: Boom or Bust?
  • Right Start in Economics
  • Environment & the Economy
  • Economics for Teachers


Center for Excellence in Journalism

Sierra McClain accepts the 2023 Rago Fellowship.

The newly-launched Center for Excellence in Journalism is the latest in TFAS’s long history of efforts to advance the field of journalism. TFAS offers world-class journalism training for students and young professionals nationwide. As an established leader in journalism and education for nearly six decades, the center features TFAS’s current work in journalism and new programming.

Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowships for Excellence in Journalism

TFAS was pleased to award Sierra McClain as the 2023 recipient of the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism. Since August, McClain has worked with the opinion section of The Wall Street Journal through a nine-month internship.

2023–24 Robert Novak Journalism Fellows.

Robert Novak Journalism Fellowships

On November 14, TFAS presented seven early-career journalists with 2023–24 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowships during the 30th Annual TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. Fellows are spending one year researching and providing in-depth reporting on their chosen topics surrounding the principles of a free society.

Student Journalism Association

Launched this fall, the Student Journalism Association provides grant funding and educational opportunities for independent student publications at select colleges and universities, as well as training, mentorship and award recognition for individual student journalists. Currently, the TFAS Student Journalism Association is active on 15 campuses. 

Professional Programs

Public Policy Fellowship

2023-2024 Public Policy Fellows explore Philadelphia during winter retreat.

In May, the the 2022-23 TFAS Public Policy Fellows completed their year long academic programming with TFAS. Engaging in spirited discussion and debates, the group considered the most important questions facing fusionism through study of key thinkers during series of academic discussion sessions and weekend retreats.

In September, TFAS welcomed a new cohort of young professionals from the nation’s leading think tanks, government offices and policy organizations in Washington, D.C., to the 2023-24 Fellowship. The 20 Fellows are participating in a rigorous year-long program for young leaders with a shared commitment to improving public policy.

Future of Freedom Luncheon Forum 

In 2023, TFAS completed the first year of the Future of Freedom Luncheon Forum series made possible through the John William Pope Foundation’s Future of Freedom Initiative. This series brings together young leaders from the conservative and libertarian movements for wide-ranging conversations about how to enhance the principles of freedom and the Western rule-of-law tradition.

The series kick started again in September and will continue though May. Throughout the fall, TFAS welcomed esteemed guest discussion leaders including:

  • Stephanie Slade, Reason on “Frank Meyer’s Locus of Virtue”
  • Samuel Goldman, George Washington University on “The Work of Robert Nisbet”
  • Tim Carney, Washington Examiner on “Social Isolation And Extremism”
  • Richard Reinsch, American Institute for Economic Research on  “Stuck with Freedom, Stuck with Virtue”
Future of Freedom Luncheon Forum participants engage in conversation.

Freedom & Tradition Online Library 

This fall, TFAS launched the Freedom and Tradition Online Library, one of many new resources available under the Future of Freedom Initiative, to revitalize and reinvigorate curriculum on fusionism. The interactive online library serves as a home for leading fusionist content, the political philosophy that grapples with the enduring tension between freedom and tradition, and how to navigate that tension in order to achieve a prosperous, virtuous society.

Alumni Engagement

Alumni Reading Groups

National security and foreign policy panel at the first “Alumni Industry Insiders” event.

TFAS launched Alumni Reading Groups this fall as part of the inaugural alumni reading program. These groups consisted of 12-14 top students from the previous two summers, nominated by professors and staff. Throughout September, four one-hour sessions per week were held to encourage thoughtful discussions and enhance learning. These discussions were moderated by TFAS faculty members, Dr. Anne Bradley and Dr. Rosolino Candela.

Industry Insiders

TFAS kicked off the new year by introducing Alumni Industry Insiders,” a networking series aimed at bringing together individuals from the same field or industry to connect. Industries have included national security and foreign policy, Capitol Hill + government affairs and journalism, communications and public relations. Stay tuned for upcoming events at alumni.TFAS.org.

Regional Events

Boston area alumni gather for a happy hour.

The TFAS Alumni Engagement team continued to travel throughout the country and the world in 2023 to connect with alumni and welcome recent graduates to the TFAS Alumni Network. TFAS alumni near and far have connected with one another at exclusive networking events in Santiago, Prague, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis, New York and Washington, D.C.

Virtual Alumni Mentoring Program

TFAS launched a virtual Alumni Connect Career Community” in September in an effort to bring together alumni of all ages from around the world. TFAS alumni have the unique opportunity to not only seek guidance as mentees but also share their expertise by volunteering as mentors in their respective fields. The community serves as a valuable resource for addressing one-time questions or to start ongoing conversations on topics such as resume revisions, salary negotiations, breaking into an industry, developing leadership skills in one’s field and much more. 

2023 Young Alumni Award

Alexis ’17, ’18 and Justin Black 18, ’19 accept the 2023 Young Alumni Award. 

At the D.C. Closing Ceremony in July, married TFAS alumni, Justin Black ’18, ’19 and Alexis Black ’17, ’18, were presented with the 2023 Young Alumni Award for their outstanding achievements. Together, they are co-founders of Redefining Normal, a media platform that works to redefine societal norms and inspire people to talk about their trauma, as well as coauthors of the books, “I Love You More Than Cereal: Maeva and Dad Redefine Love” and “Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovering Healing, Happiness, and Love.”

2023 Alumni Achievement Awards

David Kustoff ’89 accepts the 2023 Alumni Achievement Award.

Rep. David Rouzer ’93, ’94 of North Carolina and Rep. David Kustoff ’89 of Tennessee were both presented with the 2023 Alumni Achievement Awards this summer for their courage and leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. TFAS honored Rouzer during the TFAS Capitol Hill Briefing in June, where students toured the House Floor for the first time since 2019. The following month, Kustoff was honored during the 33rd Annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner surrounded by TFAS alumni, supporters and friends. 

Both recipients have demonstrated their commitment to the principles that make this nation free and great, namely, limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty.

2023 Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award

Kurt Couchman ’02, PPF ’07, senior fellow of fiscal policy at Americans for Prosperity was presented with the 2023 Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award during the 2023 TFAS Leadership Summit. TFAS recognized Couchman for his longtime commitment to enhance and further the mission of TFAS as a mentor and volunteer. 

TFAS president Roger Ream records an episode of the Liberty + Leadership Podcast.

Liberty + Leadership Podcast

In 2023 TFAS president and host of the Liberty + Leadership Podcast, Roger Ream ’76, welcomed nearly 40 TFAS alumni, supporters and friends from around the world to share their extraordinary experiences, career stories and their unique leadership journeys. The release of season two marked a significant achievement for TFAS as it reached a milestone of 50 episodes this past summer, and now, there are more than 60 episodes and 1,469 minutes of TFAS stories on the archive.

Thank you, TFAS Supporters

TFAS is grateful for our dedicated alumni, supporters and friends who continue to make our programs possible. To help us reach even more courageous leaders in 2024, visit TFAS.org/Eoy23.

Holiday Greeting 2023 Video


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