More than 300 bright young leaders joined TFAS for the summer 2022 D.C. Academic Internship Programs. On June 6, students attended the formal Welcome Ceremony at the George Mason University Arlington campus. From the moment they stepped into D.C., TFAS students have been building the skills necessary to become courageous leaders in their communities around the world.
With four weeks complete and four remaining in the summer 2022 program, TFAS has a plethora of updates on how this summer’s class has been living, learning, interning and connecting in America’s capital city. TFAS students have a full schedule of classes, internships, extracurricular activities, professional development events, site briefings, guest lectures and more!
TFAS courses are upper-level college classes covering everything from economics to foreign policy and public policy to the American presidency. Students have been acclimating to the working world of Washington through internships at some of the city’s most exciting offices. They gain hands-on experience through internships on Capitol Hill, at nonprofits, in lobbying firms and a variety of other sites.
Janeen Green ’22, a rising senior at Florida State University participating in the Journalism + Communications program track, interns at The Well News. She said she feels excited to be in Washington and is already learning more than she imagined, especially at her internship.
“My first day, I will say, I was very nervous,” Green admitted. “But it went really well! I met all the other interns, I met my director, and I met the editor. It was great, and I’m very happy to be there! I definitely feel like I’ll be able to, after this, work more efficiently and effectively and build a great professional network.”
In addition to classes and internships, students attend guest lectures with their program track cohort each Tuesday. TFAS invites industry professionals in the international affairs, public policy and economics, journalism and communications, and business and government relations sectors to give students an insider’s view of working in the nation’s capital.
For example, one Tuesday evening Journalism + Communications students discovered what it’s like to be a White House reporter through the testimony of Jon Decker, a White House correspondent and senior national editor for Gray TV. Business + Government Relations students learned about economic liberty from Erica Smith Ewing, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. At the same time, International Affairs and Public Policy + Economics students explored the rise of authoritarianism with Weifeng Zhong, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.
Brandon Rank ’22 is a rising junior at DeSales University participating in the Business + Government Relations program track who says the TFAS program is creating new opportunities for him to make valuable connections and formulate new ideas.
“My favorite thing this summer has been meeting new people, but also getting to learn a lot, both academically and in my internship,” he said. “I’m getting real world, practical experience that I can apply going forward in my professional career.”
I’m getting real world, practical experience that I can apply going forward in my professional career.” – Brandon Rank ’22
Furthermore, the cohort of talented young leaders has engaged in various Professional Development Seminars, Career + Industry Exploration Small Group Discussions and site visits throughout Washington. These activities allow students to round out their educational experiences with practical skills for the future while gaining a new perspective and sound advice on how to live up to their potential.
Students have already benefited from two Professional Development Seminars in a series of four: Growing your Professional Network and Law School Admissions. Through the career exploration sessions, students have explored careers on Capitol Hill, in national security, multinational corporations, print media, think tanks, public affairs firms and many more. They also visited the U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. State Department, the Senate, Time Magazine headquarters and the Mercatus Center among others.
TFAS was proud to welcome two special alumni who currently serve in the United States Congress for a private meeting with students: Rep. David Kustoff ’89 of Tennessee and Rep. David Rouzer ’93, ’94 of North Carolina.
Rep. Kustoff reflected on his time in a TFAS D.C. Academic Internship Program more than 30 years ago, which he referred to as “eye-opening.” He shared his insight and advice with the students and reminded them to enjoy their time in D.C.
“Take this experience and soak it in,” he advised the class. “Really just enjoy it. If you’re like me, 30 years later you’ll reflect on it positively. I really think you’ll appreciate it.”
Take this experience and soak it in. Really just enjoy it. If you’re like me, 30 years later you’ll reflect on it positively.” – Rep. David Kustoff ’89 of Tennessee
Students continued building their professional networks through the TFAS Mentorship Program. They first met their mentors at the annual Mentor Breakfast in mid-June. One pair, Mary Black ’22 and Katherine Lopez ’13, bonded over their shared experience as cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.
“I think the mentorship program is really valuable, especially having somebody that went to the same college as I did, or in my case, military academy,” Black said. “Having somebody who has walked the same career path that I intend to follow is really important. I really appreciate Katherine’s advice and mentorship.”
The engaging opportunities and events continue for students on the weekends, too! With a guided tour of the monuments and memorials, an excursion to Mount Vernon, a student BBQ, museum visits, socials and a walking tour of quintessential D.C. neighborhoods, there have been ample opportunities for immersion in Washington’s rich history.
To stay up to date with students this summer, follow @TFASorg on social media, or sign up for the weekly Liberty + Leadership News. You can watch a recap video of Weeks 1 + 2 and Weeks 3 + 4 below.