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Alumni Get Involved With Capital Semester Spring

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Since their semester began on January 17, the 47 students attending Capital Semester Spring have been keeping busy in the Nation’s capital. From attending their classes to attending the Inauguration, these past few months have been a whirlwind.

This hectic schedule can be challenging for those new to Washington. Thankfully, there have been a few alumni on hand to give the newcomers some advice on how to make it through a TFAS semester; these alumni have come in the form of fellow classmates, intern sponsors and mentors.

Dusko Krsmanovic (I 08), Besa Rizvanolli (A 08) and Dejan Tonic (I 08) are all in the midst of their second TFAS program while Evgenia Sotirova (A 07, I 08) is attending her third. The resounding answer from these alumni when asked why they chose to attend another TFAS program was “to gain more real world experience.”

“Experience like this helps you to become a more confident person, better professionally oriented and better prepared to achieve success on all levels – personal, regional, global,” said Evgenia Sotirova (A 07, I 08).

Likewise, Dejan Tonic (I 08) decided to attend a second TFAS program to explore Washington and acquire more lobbying skills.

“I am so glad to be here in Washington, D.C., experiencing both the internship and the lectures. Thanks to TFAS I now have the unique chance to spend time with ambitious young people and experience working at the American Bakers Association. I came here to gain skills in lobbying and I am sure I am going to get just that.”

Internships like the one Dejan speaks of are often available thanks to alumni who volunteer to host students. Various alumni have all hosted interns at their places of business, offering the students real world work experience. This semester, the following alumni served as intern sponsors:

• Mike Thompson (E 89, A 93), CRC Public Relations
• Svetoslav Gatchev (A 94, E 95), Delphos International
• Brendan Williams (J 98), NPRA
• Mary Robb Teague (J 03), Campaign Financial Services
• Rohini Ravindran (E 05), Office of Senator Debbie Stabenow
• Catherine Crane (J 05), Office of US Senator Jim Bunning
• Jessica Taylor (J 05), The National Journal/Almanac of American Politics

“Having gone through IPJ myself and then having been a Program Assistant, I know how qualified TFAS students are and what high quality work they produce,” said Jessica Taylor (J 05). “When I was looking to fill an intern position with the Almanac, my first call was to TFAS. Our intern has provided immeasurable help for us as we’re preparing the 2010 Almanac of American Politics under a tight deadline.”

Students also attended one of three “Meet your Mentor” breakfasts on February 3, March 2 and March 6, all at TFAS Headquarters. The breakfast serves as an opportunity for the students to network with area professionals, both alumni and non-alumni, who help the students get acquainted to D.C.

CLICK HERE for a list of alumni who volunteered to be mentors for the program this semester. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for the summer institutes, please contact Patricia Nichols at pnichols@tfas.org.

In addition to their internships, Capital Semester students have toured the Pentagon and attended a private briefing at the US State Department during February. Throughout March and April the students will have the opportunity to tour the Department of Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and tentatively the White House.

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