TFAS welcomed a new cohort of young professionals who work in the nation’s leading think tanks, government offices and policy organizations in Washington, D.C. to the 2020-21 TFAS Public Policy Fellowship. The 17 Fellows will participate in the rigorous year-long program for young leaders with a shared commitment to improving public policy.
The Fellowship’s curriculum focuses on “The Experiment in Self-Government,” examining the challenges and advantages of a free society and placing particular emphasis on the ideas and seminal texts of the American Founding. Fellows participate in monthly evening discussion sessions and two weekend retreats, giving them the opportunity to learn from key public policy leaders, academics and journalists.
During the opening session and orientation on Sept. 8, Fellows heard from TFAS International professor and assistant professor and research fellow at Hillsdale College, Dr. David Azerrad, and executive director of the Claremont Institute’s D.C. Center, Arthur Milikh. Through an interactive discussion session, Fellows engaged in an honest assessment of America’s current political conditions.
Current Fellow Luke Timmons, PPF ’20, welcomed the opportunity to participate in topical discussions with two policy experts. An analyst at Stand Together Foundation, Timmons believes it is critical now, more than ever, to challenge the U.S.’s current political state in a constructive manner.
“It is abundantly clear that we are at a major political crossroads in the country right now, but I was taken aback by the starkness of Dr. Azerrad and Milikh’s warnings,” Timmons said. “I was excited at the opportunity for an open challenge to the current state of our society and to be able to engage in critical discussion around the answers and solutions to the challenges we are facing.”
A native of the United Kingdom, Timmons is also enthusiastic about embracing new ideals of the American Founding through the immersive TFAS Public Policy Fellowship.
“When I came across the Fellowship, I knew I had to apply,” Timmons said. “I knew this would be an enriching experience and opportunity to dive deeper into the concepts of free market economics and limited government through thoughtful discussion and meaningful engagement with recent and historic literature.”
I knew this would be an enriching experience and opportunity to dive deeper into the concepts of free market economics and limited government through thoughtful discussion and meaningful engagement with recent and historic literature.” – Luke Timmons, PPF ’20.
Another member of the 2020-21 cohort, Luis Parrales, PPF ’20, said that he is most looking forward to learning about the institutions and traditions that make American democracy so successful.
“Especially at a time when some people on the political fringes dismiss how inspiring American ideals and institutions can be at their best, it’s important to develop a confident vocabulary to talk about the American intellectual and political tradition,” Parrales said. “I’m excited that TFAS is giving us the space to do that, and I hope to improve my own vocabulary on these issues through conversations with other Fellows and speakers.”
The 2020-21 TFAS Public Policy Fellowship will continue over the next several months with lectures by esteemed scholars and policy experts like Michael Anton of Hillsdale College in D.C., Lori Windham ’00 of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Dr. Josh Mitchell of Georgetown University and Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State, Peter Berkowitz. Azerrad and Milikh will also return for a conference on “American National Character” and a discussion on “Will America Ban Hate Speech?”
For more information on the TFAS Public Policy Fellowship, visit TFAS.org/PPF, and meet the 2020-21 cohort below.
MEET THE 2020-21 FELLOWS
Calvin Blaylock is the executive assistant to the vice president of development at The Heritage Foundation. In this role, he works to optimize the vice president’s performance, lead key initiatives for the development department and craft strategic communications to Heritage’s 500,000 generous donors.
Prior to joining Heritage, Calvin served as a donor relations officer for the northeast region at the Leadership Institute (LI) where he managed relationships with donors to fund LI’s grassroots programs to train conservative activists.
He is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where he studied marketing and social work. Because of his excellence on campus, the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society named Calvin as one of the top 14 students in the university’s class of 2018. Since graduating, Calvin continues to participate in a multitude of fellowship programs, including the Heritage Speechwriters Fellowship, Pepperdine D.C. Policy Scholars Program and Forge Leadership Summit.
Scott Cullinane is the executive director of the U.S.-Europe Alliance Foundation, a bipartisan not-for-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing Americans to advocate for the enduring strategic and economic partnership between the United States and Europe.
From 2011-18, Scott served in various positions with the U.S. Congress, including serving as the professional staff member for the House Foreign Affairs Europe Subcommittee where he was responsible for a jurisdiction that included the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia. He is currently a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason University. Scott’s work has focused on democratic transitions and rule of law in Europe. He has served as an election observer with the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe and participated as a Penn Kemble Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy.
Scott holds a master’s degree in national security affairs from the Institute of World Politics. He has also completed course work at John Cabot University in Italy and Central European University in Hungary.
Isaac Easton is a research assistant in the office of Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, where he works on energy, natural resources, commerce, science, and transportation issues, and staffs the senator for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Previously, he was an intern at the American Enterprise Institute, where he worked for Christina Hoff Sommers. He is a Constitutional Fellow with The American Conservative and a fellow in the John Quincy Adams Society’s Foreign Policy Leadership Development Program.
Isaac graduated from the University of Chicago with degrees in classics and fundamentals: issues and texts.
Carrie Ferrando, Law ’14, currently serves as an associate counsel at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Prior to her time at the VA, Carrie was a health law and policy associate for a private consulting firm, where she advised capital investors on healthcare market issues.
She previously interned at the Department of Health and Human Services, in both the Office of the General Counsel as well as the Office for Civil Rights, the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council.
Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Chapman University, a juris doctorate from Mercer University, and a master of laws in Law and Government from American University, with additional specializations in health law and policy, administrative law, and legal research and writing.
Colleen Harmon is the intern program manager for The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Colleen grew up in Cumberland, Maryland, and Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Christendom College with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature. Colleen is a graduate of the Heritage Foundation internship program.
Before joining Heritage, Colleen worked as a scheduler for a member of Congress. She is currently pursuing a master’s in government from Hillsdale College. She resides in Washington, D.C.
James Haynes is a China researcher at the Brookings Institution, a research consultant for the New Yorker and an alumnus of Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2018 with a degree in classics and a minor in Mandarin Chinese.
He is also the founder and editor of the China Biotech Bulletin, an email newsletter of Chinese biotechnology policy news. Before coming to Brookings, James worked at Saffron Ventures in Arlington, Va., where he spent over a year working on international education initiatives in China and the U.S. He lives just outside Washington, D.C.
Jacob Lane is director of external relations and special assistant to the president for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). Prior to his current role, he served as managing director of the Collegiate Network, ISI’s nationwide student journalism program.
Jacob attended DePauw University for his undergraduate studies, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and is a graduate of Ball State University, where he earned his master’s in journalism. While at Ball State, he served as a graduate assistant for the journalism department.
He has been involved in Indiana politics since he was an undergraduate student, and worked for both the Indiana House Republican Caucus and the Indiana Republican State Committee before working at ISI.
Jacob is a former regional fellow with the National Review Institute and a Haggerty-Richardson Fellow with the Conservative Partnership Institute. He was also a participant in the America’s Future Foundation Writing Fellowship and was in the inaugural class of Speech Writing Fellows at The Heritage Foundation.
Sam Lucas joined The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in April 2020 as a legal assistant. He assists Becket’s attorneys in a myriad of ways, including cite-checking briefs, preparing and filing court documents and providing general administrative support.
Prior to entering the world of religious liberty, Sam graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Notre Dame in 2017, where he was a Tocqueville Fellow and Kellogg International Scholar. After graduating, he completed a USAID Global Development Fellowship in Blantyre, Malawi, before moving to Washington to work in medicine.
Subsequent experiences at the American Enterprise Institute’s Program on American Citizenship and the James Wilson Institute solidified his interest in law and the American Founding.
Ben Nuelle ’14 is an agricultural journalist on Capitol Hill for Agri-Pulse Communications. He covers legislative and federal policy affecting rural communities and the agriculture industry.
Nuelle is a triplet who grew up on his family’s hay and cattle farm near the small town of Higginsville, Missouri, an hour east of Kansas City. Nuelle has always had a passion for politics and policy.
Before working for Agri-Pulse, he served as an agricultural assistant for U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Nuelle received a degree in multimedia journalism from Northwest Missouri State University, is an alumnus of the 2014 Journalism + Communications program at TFAS and also served as a TFAS program advisor a year later.
Luis Parrales is an academic programs senior associate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he helps develop and execute large-scale public policy conferences and educational seminars for undergraduate students. He was previously a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation and an outreach intern with the startup nonprofit RVA Rapid Transit.
In the summer of 2017, Luis participated in the Natural Law and Public Affairs Seminar at the Witherspoon Institute as well as in the AEI Summer Honors Program. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond in 2018. He will be the co-host of the upcoming podcast Panorama: on politics, Latinos, and conservatism.
Megan Rohn is a freelance public policy writer based in Arlington, Virginia. She has written for the Washington Examiner, No One Left Behind and a U.S. senate campaign. She was a 2019-20 Fulbright English teaching assistant in Lithuania and is currently assisting a fellow grantee with a chapter in his book about Russian disinformation and propaganda in post-Soviet states.
Prior to her Fulbright grant, she graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 2018. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and went on to be a strategic and nuclear defense research intern at the Heritage Foundation. Later, she spent several months at the Cato Institute as the marketing coordinator until she moved to Lithuania.
She is also an alumna of the 2018 American Enterprise Institute Summer Honors program, the 2019 America’s Future Foundation Writing Fellows program, and the 2020 John Quincy Adams Society’s Foreign Policy Leadership Development program.
José Sáenz Crespo was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, in a family dedicated to political activism and public service.
He has worked for the Center for Environmental Policy at American University where he researched the role of technology and innovation in the energy transition and the decarbonization path. José was a communications intern at Exelon Corporation where he conducted research projects regarding corporate reputation, public opinion, and energy markets. He has more than six years of experience working for the Buenos Aires city government as a manager and start-up project specialist, working on various issues, including citizen and community engagement, community policing, and police cultural change. During that time, he co-authored the master plan for the police department and pioneered the design and implementation of police-community relations metrics and learning and collaboration programs to improve community engagement and public security. Additionally, he led the implementation of the first social media-based CRM system for the city government.
José has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina and a master’s degree in public administration in energy, environmental, and technology policy.
Thomas Savidge is the research manager of the Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council. His research interests include public pensions, other postemployment benefits (OPEB), state bonded obligations and fiscal policy.
He earned a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University (GMU) in 2017 and a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from SUNY New Paltz in 2015. His interest in state fiscal policy began in the summer of 2014 while working at the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany, New York for the Koch Fellowship Program. His interest in economics was sparked during his time working with the Mercatus Center as a student fellow and attending lectures with the professors at GMU.
Luke Timmons is an analyst at Stand Together Foundation where he manages the organization’s youth investment portfolio. Previously, Luke worked in various policy and research positions in London and Glasgow in his native United Kingdom.
He started his career at the Dartington Social Research Unit focusing on evidence-based policy and research concerning early childhood and adolescence, overseeing multiple randomized controlled trials and census-level data projects. Following this, Luke was a founding director and senior researcher at Ratio Research, a small consulting group focused on relational social policy and its implications for communities.
Luke was also a senior researcher at the London think tank the Royal Society of Arts where he worked with the organization’s public services and communities’ team on projects focused on policy concerning universal basic income and small business public sector procurement. Luke is interested in reform within the child welfare system, juvenile justice reform, and approaches that harness the power of civil society. In his spare time, Luke enjoys exploring the U.S. with his wife Leah, kayaking, and tasting both bourbon and Scotch.
Michael Turchetti is a director of health policy at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). At PhRMA, Michael works at the intersection of policy, politics and industry on patient affordability and access issues. Prior to PhRMA, Michael was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and The Lewin Group where he worked on federal and state health care program analyses and evaluations.
Michael earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from American University and his master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. While at George Mason, Michael was a Mercatus Center Frédéric Bastiat Fellow.
William Turton ’16 is a legislative assistant for Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee. He joined the office in 2019 as a legislative correspondent.
William grew up in South Carolina and Georgia, and he graduated from Clemson University in 2017 with a degree in political science and economics. After college, he earned a master’s degree in politics from Hillsdale College.
Prior to joining Rep. Green’s staff, he interned at the Heritage Foundation, the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center and the Federalist Society. In 2016, he participated in the Leadership + the American Presidency program with TFAS.
Nathaniel Urban is the associate director of curricular improvement at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. He manages the “What Will They Learn?” project, an annual assessment of the general education programs at over 1,100 colleges and universities. He also writes about the history of general education, the liberal arts and liberal education.
His op-eds and essays have appeared in the Washington Examiner, The Federalist, The Imaginative Conservative and The New Lyceum. Previously, Nathaniel participated in the Koch Associate Program at the Charles Koch Institute, the Writing Fellows Program at America’s Future Foundation, and the Academy Fellowship at the Heritage Foundation. Nathaniel is a graduate of the Ashbrook Scholar Program at Ashland University.