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Liberty + Leadership News: April 16


We hope you enjoy these top news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Please visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news and information and sign up to receive weekly updates.

TFAS alumni, staff and faculty continue to make headlines. Read news, analysis and updates by visiting this week’s “Quick Links.”

Lasting Connections: TFAS Alumni Launch Careers Following Internship Success

Each year, thousands of young leaders from around the world travel to Washington, D.C., for a chance to shine in the nation’s capital. Whether they are looking to make connections on Capitol Hill or gain policy experience at one of D.C.’s many think tanks, these eager students always leave Washington with a boost to their resumes and a lifetime of memories.

TFAS D.C. Summer Programs take the typical summer internship one step further. Over the course of two months, participants have access to exclusive guest lectures, networking events, professional development seminars, and rigorous economics coursework that provide them with newfound leadership skills and the tools to jumpstart their careers. Many of these students return to D.C. upon graduation having secured full-time roles with their internship sites.

Lind (right) and her classmates attend a guest lecture during the summer 2018 program in D.C.

Rebecca Lind ’18 was unsure of her future career path when she was in college. Though she was always interested in U.S.-Asia relations, the Denver native sought an experience that would give her that “light-bulb moment” when exploring her professional interests. After finding out about the TFAS Academic Internship Programs her junior year through the Denison University career center, Lind was confident the International Affairs program track would give her the clarity she needed. Lind shared that participating in the D.C. Summer Program allowed her to enter the professional world with confidence and a new perspective on her future.

“TFAS really helped me break out into the professional world, obviously through the internship, but also through the site visits, panel discussions, and networking events,” Lind said. “The expectations of the program really pushed me to think about my future. I had such a positive experience through the people I met and the things that I did while being in D.C. with TFAS.”

Read more about Lind’s TFAS journey and more alumni who now work full-time at their TFAS internships at TFAS.org/DCAlumni.

Redefining Normal with TFAS Alumni Justin and Alexis Black

Growing up, Justin Black ’18, ’19 and Alexis Lenderman-Black ’17, ’19 faced more than their fair share of hardship. With Alexis becoming a ward of the state at age 13 and Justin entering the foster care system at age nine, the future seemed bleak for both of them. Attending college was far from their minds – that path to success diverged from the expected trajectory of the kids around them with similar stories.

However, their passion for learning and dedication to overcoming the obstacles in their paths led Justin and Alexis to envision a different future for themselves. Both decided to attend Western Michigan University, where they met in the Seita Scholarship program for foster youth. Their stories merged as they began dating and fell in love as college students. Together, they now aim to break the cycle of generational poverty, addiction and unhealthy behaviors by “redefining normal.”

Justin and Alexis Black participated in the TFAS Asia program together in 2019.

With encouragement from her foster parents and a full scholarship from TFAS and the Ronald Reagan Institute, Alexis attended the Leadership + the American Presidency Capital Semester Program in the fall of 2017. As a TFAS student living, learning and interning in D.C., she was exposed to new adventures that forced her out of her comfort zone. Halfway through Alexis’ time in D.C., Justin decided to visit her. He was impressed with the influence TFAS had on his girlfriend in such a short amount of time and, after observing Alexis’ success, realized how much he could benefit from a TFAS program too. He quickly applied and received a full scholarship for the following year’s D.C. Summer Program, where he participated in the Journalism + Communications program track in 2018.

Justin shared that TFAS’s facilitation of cultural exchange, economic education and leadership development helped him gain a new perspective on life.

“The program’s impact is limitless,” he said. “TFAS took the opportunity to help a kid from Detroit understand how the world works from a global perspective.”

Learn more about Justin and Alexis’ TFAS Journey, including the programs they attended together, their pursuits after college and their new book, “Redefining Normal,” at TFAS.org/RedefiningNormal.

Video of the Week

With a rising popularity in socialism across the United States, TFAS outreach fellows Jorge Galicia and Andrés Guilarte have found their mission more important than ever in sharing the harsh realities of the system that left their home country of Venezuela in shambles.

In a recent webinar hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Galicia and Guilarte described what life was like under Venezuela’s totalitarian regime, and how the U.S. can learn from their country’s mistakes. TFAS Regent Emeritus Lee Edwards also sat on the panel to share his expertise on the common misconceptions about socialism. Watch the video below and read a recap of the interview in The Daily Signal.


Sarah Westwood, Novak ’15, co-moderated an event for the Graduate School of Political Management, the Washington Examiner and the Steamboat Institute on the role of media in political discourse.

Micha Gartz ’18 writes about negative impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on youth in a piece for Citizens Journal.

Samuel Bilotta ’21 discusses the need for future generations to understand the importance of the office of the presidency in an op-ed for PennLive Patriot News.

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Donald Devine writes about recent data on religiosity in America for The American Spectator.

Frederico Bartels, PPF ’18, analyzes the Biden administration’s defense spending plan in The Daily Signal.

President of 1776 Action Adam Waldeck ’06, Law ’07, PPF ’09, discusses efforts to prevent anti-American indoctrination in schools for Fox News.

Executive Director of Students for Liberty Brazil Nycollas Liberato ’20 is highlighted in this piece for his work to reduce poverty in Brazil.

Helen Andrews, Novak ’17, discusses her new book, “Boomers,” in an interview with the Institute for Family Studies.

Saltanat Berdikeeva ’01, PPF ’09, shares about a new initiative to decarbonize the transportation sector in the Northeast U.S. in the Environment Journal.

Senior Counsel at Becket Lori Windham ’00 is quoted in this editorial about campus discrimination against Christians in The Detroit News.

Matthew Ellias ’18 is now a development associate at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, where his TFAS mentor Zach Pagovski ’10, PPF ’12, is a senior manager for business development.

Peter Van Emburgh ’99, ’01 joined Density as the new Head of Industry Strategy.

Sienna Kossman ’13 shares updates on what to know about traveling in 2021 for The Balance.

Kristin Tate, Novak ’19, shares the best places to move for low taxes in an op-ed for The Hill.

Connect with @TFASorg on social media!



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