On Friday, December 9, the 2016 Fall Semester Programs’ largest class in five years gathered together to close the semester with a graduation and awards ceremony. The 31 Capital Semester and Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP) students joined family, friends, professors and internship supervisors at the TFAS headquarters to receive congratulations, advice and a warm welcome into the 16,000-strong TFAS alumni network.
After a word from TFAS president Roger Ream, student speakers Paige Richie (LTAP 16) and Ashley Yup (CSF 16) took turns at the podium and summed up the diverse and memorable experiences of the semester. Each spoke of challenging classes, valuable internships and exciting opportunities behind the scenes of Washington life.
The most important opportunity of all, however, according to both Richie and Yup, was the chance to build lasting friendships and connections with TFAS classmates and mentors. During their semester, the students coined the term “TFAM” to describe how their classmates had become more than friends. “I’m glad that it’s so hard to say goodbye, because that means I was lucky to have something this memorable,” said Yup.
The featured speaker of the ceremony, Judy Black, a policy director in the government relations department of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP and longtime TFAS friend, offered wisdom gained from her years of experience on Capitol Hill. “What I’ve found,” she said, “is you really need to do what excites you, what really grabs you.” She also encouraged the students to make the most of the relationships they forged in their semester in Washington.
“Keep up this TFAS network that you’re connected to right now,” Black encouraged. “Don’t forget about the importance of personal connections.”
At the end of the graduation ceremony, TFAS staff members presented awards to students who made outstanding achievements and to the internship site that went above and beyond to provide a valuable experience for their interns. Each student in the Fall 2016 class made great strides and efforts in their coursework, internships and personal growth during the semester, making the selection of award recipients difficult for the judges. However, nine students were chosen for their stand-out work during their time in Washington, D.C.
Congratulations to the TFAS 2016 Fall Semester Programs Award Recipients!
Academic Excellence in Economics: Katherine “Ellie” Thomson
Academic Excellence in Constitutional Studies: Nicholas Schwartz
Academic Excellence in Media Studies: Yinon Reiss
Academic Excellence in Public Policy: Lewis Chapman
Outstanding Student Awards: Harry Cutler and Audrey Anderson
Eureka Award for Academic Excellence: Emma Leach
Presidential Leadership Award: Terry Gaines
Gipper Award: David “Todd” Truesdale
The Outstanding Internship Site Award went to The Charles Group, an organization with a long-standing friendship with TFAS. Two members of The Charles Group, member and senior policy analyst, Connor M. Martin (ICPES 07) – an alumnus of TFAS – and the director of government affairs and policy, Hayley Andrews, accepted the award. Martin and Andrews congratulated their fall interns from TFAS, Harry Cutler and Todd Truesdale, along with the rest of the Fall 2016 class.
While most of the Fall 2016 students will be returning to their universities or hometowns, two students will be staying in D.C. Audrey Anderson is continuing her internship at Rumsfeld Foundation, while awaiting commission from the Air Force, and Yinon Reiss accepted a job offer with the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.