According to IBGA alumna Maureen Suda, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That was one of the important lessons she learned while interning with Amoco Oil as a TFAS student in 1990. Suda says that her intern supervisor also served as an important mentor to her during her summer internship and after. He taught her valuable lessons about an ethical approach to lobbying and public policy. And, he paid for her lunch each time they ate together.
When Suda finally asked her supervisor why he always paid for her lunch he said that he had the resources and he liked to be able to help her out. He suggested that when she became a professional, she could return the favor by buying her own interns lunch. Over the last few years, she has bought several people lunches that are looking to get ahead. The other plus to her IBGA internship: her supervisor arranged for her to have an internship in Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s office during her senior year in college.
“Attending IBGA was a pivotal turning point for me as an undergraduate. I attribute the entire direction of my career to the summer I spent with TFAS in Washington. I obtained clarity in what I could do and what I could achieve, how business and government interact and how the process is carried out in a way that formulates public policy,” said Suda.
Not only did her TFAS experience make a profound difference in her professional life, but also for her socially. She says one of her best friends today was her TFAS roommate and fellow IBGA student Kathleen McDonald. Kathleen delivered the graduation testimonial on behalf of the IBGA class and Maureen came back as program assistant a year after attending the program. Kathleen was even a bridesmaid in Maureen’s wedding.
McDonald had just finished her freshman year at Indiana University when she attended IBGA in 1990. She recalls the level of exposure she obtained, both to academics and at her internship at United Technologies during her summer.
“I was transported in a critical period in my life. While you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do you are surrounded by high quality people, word class professors, and big companies allowing you to see and work inside their organizations.”
In fact, her TFAS experience helped her land her first two jobs out of college. In addition, the business and government insight along with seeing both sides of public policy helped McDonald early in her career as the Executive Director of the Huntingburg, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.
”TFAS helped to open more doors for me in my career as well as my personal life,” said McDonald. “I made choices throughout my entire career as a result of my summer in Washington.”
Maureen and Kathleen are coming up on their 20 year anniversary of attending IBGA together. In 2009, both pledged to buy bricks for $350 towards the Building Future Leaders campaign for the Alumni Scholarship Fund.
When McDonald was asked why she decided to pledge $350 for the brick at the new building she responded, “The Fund gave me a scholarship to do the program and I want others to benefit too. I should have been giving [to TFAS] a long time ago.”
Suda gave a similar answer.
“For me, IBGA and my experience with The Fund for American Studies was a transformative event. In a collective sense my learnings from the classes, the professors and the internships – and the relationships I developed – became the foundation and motivation for my career development and current success,” said Suda. “It is an honor to show my appreciation for all The Fund has provided me by making a donation to the development of future leaders.”
If you are interested in buying a brick with your name on it, or donating any amount to ASF, please CLICK HERE.