Emily Schroen ’19, Program Coordinator for International Affairs and Law Programs
TFAS students know firsthand the transformational benefits of our programs. Some alumni participate in multiple programs to see more of what TFAS has to offer, and some alumni are so captivated by TFAS’s impact they return as staff members. This affords them the opportunity to pass along their enthusiasm for liberty and leadership to the next generation of TFAS students. In our interview series with these individuals, we’re introducing the current alumni staff members to showcase the people behind our programs. You can find the other featured interviews linked at the bottom of this page.
In this feature, we’ll hear from Emily Schroen ’19, an alumna of TFAS D.C. Academic Internship Programs who returned to TFAS as the program advisor (TFAS summer assistant) for the International Affairs track during the summer of 2021. Emily began working full time at TFAS in October 2021 as the program coordinator for international affairs and law programs.
TFAS: Which memory stands out to you as a key part of your TFAS student experience?
Emily Schroen: I will always cherish the friendships I made during my TFAS summer. The program brings together so many talented and passionate students, and my friends and I still keep in touch. One day, a group of us went to the Holocaust Museum together. The experience was visceral and tragic, but learning and experiencing this history beside such incredible people gave me hope. I’m lucky to have met them, and I know my friends are going to be great leaders one day.
TFAS: What is the most important lesson you learned from participating in your TFAS program?
ES: The political climate in America is very polarized and it can be difficult to discuss meaningful issues without tension. TFAS showed me how important it is to engage with ideas from the other side of the political spectrum. Understanding people and policies you disagree with is the first step to intelligently confronting them, and your own beliefs may develop along the way.
TFAS showed me how important it is to engage with ideas from the other side of the political spectrum. Understanding people and policies you disagree with is the first step to intelligently confronting them.” – Emily Schroen ’19
TFAS: What was it like to return to D.C. as a Program Advisor (PA) this summer?
ES: I am so grateful I had the opportunity to come back to TFAS as a PA! I was fortunate to have been selected as a Leadership Scholar to fund my TFAS experience as a student in 2019, so it felt especially meaningful to give back to the program. It was a great feeling to encourage students along their academic journeys and share in their D.C. experiences. Being in D.C. again also reinforced my desire to move to the area permanently, and I am now fortunate to work for TFAS full time!
TFAS: How would you compare and contrast your experience as a student and as a PA?
ES: Although my responsibilities and expectations were different as a PA than as a student, I found both experiences equally academically stimulating. I met incredible speakers during both of my TFAS experiences and got to speak with them after guest lectures. I also made meaningful relationships with students and staff during my time as a PA that mirrored my friendships as a student. While I missed taking classes as a PA, organizing events and serving students was a new and exciting experience.
TFAS: What is the most rewarding part of working here so far?
ES: I love working at TFAS because I can contribute to someone else’s life-changing educational experience. I have seen firsthand how our programs create inter-ideological dialogue and more nuanced perspectives on economics. Making this experience possible for more students makes my work feel meaningful. I see myself in many of the students who pass through our doors, and I want to give them the same support and opportunities that TFAS once gave me.
TFAS: How has your TFAS experience prepared you for the future?
ES: Living and working in D.C. was a powerful addition to my resume and exposed me to more opportunities in the capital. The networking skills I honed during my summer as a student equipped me to attend professional networking events and advocate for myself in this competitive environment. I am smarter, bolder, and more professionally equipped because of my time with TFAS.