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Introducing The Newest TFAS Alumni Council Members


Introducing The Newest TFAS Alumni Council Members

We are excited to introduce you to the newly elected members of the 2014-2015 TFAS Alumni Council. The mission of the Alumni Council is to keep the flame of TFAS burning among alumni by working to encourage active participation by alumni in current activities of the TFAS community. The Council represents all alumni and serves as its decision-making body.  The Council is comprised of 27 alumni, including the newly elected members.



Shant Boyajian joined the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in March 2011.  As counsel on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, he is responsible for all of the procedural, jurisdictional and legal aspects of the subcommittee’s work.  Additionally, Boyajian focuses his policy work on the core federal-aid highway programs, transportation planning, freight mobility,and project delivery issues. Boyajian received his Juris Doctor from Columbus School of Law and is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.  He resides in Arlington, Va. with his wife Annie.

What is your favorite TFAS memory?
My favorite TFAS memory took place just over a year ago, at the Leadership Fellows retreat in Annapolis, Md. After a full day of discussion with Dr. Boyd, we toured the Naval Academy, went to dinner and then retired to a local pub. Instead of immediately moving on from the weightier discussions of the afternoon to discuss less serious topics, the conversations we had begun on the role of government, civic duty and political theory continued well into the night. I will always look back on that moment as an example of what makes TFAS so unique and so important.

Fun fact: If all goes well, my wife and I will close on our first house next month!



Jessica Ching is a graduate of the Contracts Leadership Development Program (CLDP) and is currently serving as the international contracts lead for the Short Range Defense Systems program, part of the Naval and Area Mission Defense product line at the Raytheon Company. In this role, Ching is responsible for managing all of the international Guided Missile Weapons System (GMWS) and Guided Missile Launching Systems (GMLS) contracts on the program. Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, where she majored in political science and minored in business management and consulting. She has completed additional educational programs with both Georgetown University and George Washington University.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? Meeting my best friends and hearing Roger Ream talk about TFAS weddings. On a serious note, I had such a positive experience and believe the network of future leaders is the best memory I have!

Fun fact: I did another program similar to TFAS through another D.C. university, and I can say hands down TFAS is #1.



Joaquin Gallardo is a graduate of the original ILA program in 2009 and a Leadership Fellow in 2012. He’s served on the D.C. alumni committee to help host events and maintain TFAS alumni involvement. He currently works at Wells Fargo managing corporate relationships in the business banking division.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? When in the Fellowship program, traveling to Gettysburg, Pa. for the retreat and really getting to know the fellows.

Fun fact: I spend at least an hour a week writing to the friends I’ve met abroad, just to stay in touch.



Originally a native New Yorker, Danielle Hamel ended up planting roots in the windy city of Chicago on a full merit scholarship. Since completing her bachelor’s degree in finance, she has been working for the Natural Health Industry, advocating transparency in the labeling and quality of products mass distributed in America. She has been an active young professional on the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and a staunch proponent of attracting peers in her age group to become more involved in current societal issues.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? The networking opportunities that TFAS provided for us. Two years later, I still have job opportunities from staying in contact with relationships I cultivated.

Fun fact: I am an avid ultrarunner and triathlete. This year I will be going after the SilverRush 50 miler at 12,000FT in Colorado.


Jeremy Harrell, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, currently serves as a legislative assistant for Nevada Senator Dean Heller. During his time on the Capitol Hill, Harrell has advised three different members of Congress, specializing in energy, environmental, agriculture and transportation policy. Harrell graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history, and participated in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) after his junior year.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? After class one day, a group of students went to the Tombs with Dr. Hull, one of our professors, to grab a drink and discuss our post-graduate plans.  His advice that day and throughout my time in D.C. led to my decision to come to D.C. and work on Capitol Hill rather than attend law school.  It was experience that changed the course of my professional life.

Fun fact: I really enjoy cooking and experimenting with different ingredients.  I frequently cook for my friends and hope some day to own a restaurant or somehow be affiliated with the industry.



Panagiota Kaltsa is a project manager working for the World Wide Fund for Nature in Greece.  She recently completed her master studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she focused on strategic management and international communication. Among other roles and responsibilities, she has worked as the online education strategist and program coordinator at the Tufts Institute of the Environment, as a brand manager at HSBC Bank and as a research fellow at the University of St. Gallen. She is a Fulbrighter and a triple TFAS alumnus who attended programs in Greece, Czech Republic and in Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? The teared up goodbyes and hugs at the end of IIPES 2005 made me realize that in such a short period 80 people from more than 10 countries had become a strange kind of family. Almost 10 years later, most of my close friends around the world are among that IIPES crew.

Fun fact: While Greeks are known as smoking coffee drinkers who eat lamb on every occasion, I never tried any of the three stereotyped habits.


Joseph Lai serves as senior legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland. Lai serves as Senator Wicker’s advisor on national security policy and intelligence matters. Lai previously served as the foreign and defense policy advisor to U.S. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio and a legislative assistant for foreign policy to U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. In the private sector, Lai led international defense trade and U.S. export control modernization efforts at the Aerospace Industries Association and also worked as a policy analyst at BGR Group. Lai received his masters of arts from Yale University and his bachelors of arts from the University of California at Berkeley.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? Uncle George’s lectures and my life-long friendships formed in the dorms on campus at Georgetown.

Fun fact: I have traveled to every continent on Earth.



Johnathan Lozier currently serves as the project manager, legislator affairs for Women In Government. In his role at Women In Government he serves as the primary contact for legislators from around the country, recruits state legislators for initiatives and conferences, is responsible for the outreach/communications portfolio and creating new program initiatives. Lozier has a background in development, fundraising and logistical planning. He has served in both the private and public sector of politics and the nonprofit world. In his last year of college, he worked for a seasoned political operative and a major donor handler. He worked with news media elites, key political figures and one the largest financial contributors to a national political convention. From there, he worked with a former president of the United States and that experience led to the position of sponsorship and development liaison with Feed The Children. Lozier graduated from East Central University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in communication studies. Lozier also attended The Fund for American Studies, Institute on Business and Government Affairs.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? The first day of the summer 2008 getting to finally meet everyone is person. Everyone attempting to figure out if it was actually the person you thought it might be.

Fun fact: I laugh by myself all the time. On the bus ride home is often times the best place for a quick laugh. Random things come to mind and allow for a quick smile or a small chuckle.



Joey Maxwell is a 2013 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in political science with a minor in history. He attended the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service in 2011 and was a 2012 TFAS Freedom Scholar. Joey is currently a 2013 Corps member for Teach For America in Dallas, Texas.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? My favorite TFAS memory was the academic conference I attended as a Freedom Scholar. The professors led wonderful discussions and the other scholars I met will be friends for life.

Fun fact: I have been skiing since I was 3 years old. If I had the option, I would ski 365 days a year.



Michael Moroney is the director of public affairs at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and a former Fund for American Studies Leadership Fellow. His work has been published in USA Today, Reuters, Entrepreneur, The Hill, Roll Call, CNN, Fox News, NBC, Forbes, The Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere.

Fun fact: I drink an absurd amount of Coke.




Following his experience in ICPES, Richard Oakley spent a short stint in Washington, D.C. He then attended the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and obtained his D.D.S in 1989.  He began his surgical residency in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, finishing in 1993.  He currently lives with his wife Cherron and two children, Anna Marie and Will, in Kansas City, Mo.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? I would honestly have to say that the time spent with my classmates while attending ICPES stick out in my mind more than anything else.  We became very close during our time at Georgetown.

Fun fact: I try to set some type of athletic goal for myself each year.  I climbed Mount Rainier in August of 2012, completed a “Tough Mudder” in Beaver Creek, Colo. last summer and am training for the Seattle to Portland 200 mile one-day ride this July.  I am a “semi” avid cyclist.



John Sweda is currently a foreign service officer with the Department of State. He just finished a three-year tour in Morocco where he experienced the Arab Spring up close and personally. Prior to that he worked with the Department of Defense for six years on counterterror issues. He earned his master’s in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and did his undergraduate work at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. In between he experienced the joy of teaching English to schoolchildren in Seoul, South Korea for a year.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? Experiencing Washington, D.C. for the first time in my life through TFAS’s eyes!

Fun fact: I taught kids English for a year in South Korea.



Adam Vicks is a senior consultant at IBM Corporation where he delivers project management excellence to federal clients. Since joining IBM, Vicks has supported the Department of Homeland Security’s Transformation Program, the National Archives’ Electronic Records Administration and most recently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug program. Previously, Vicks worked in television news as a writer, producer and off-camera reporter for the NBC and ABC affiliates in Washington. Outside of work,  Vicks is a member of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and a speaker for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. Vicks received a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a joint master’s in government and business from Johns Hopkins University.

What is your favorite TFAS memory? My latest would definitely be spending a lovely weekend in Annapolis, Md. with the other TFAS Fellows. Lifelong friendships were made that weekend.

Fun fact: My Native American ancestors were related to the real Pocahontas.



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