Home » News » Liberty + Leadership News: July 16, 2020

Liberty + Leadership News: July 16, 2020


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.”

FTE Mentor Teacher Tom Rooney Awarded Prestigious James Madison Fellowship

FTE mentor teacher Tom Rooney leads 2019 Annual Conference attendees in an economics simulation of “Tic-Tac-Toe Tariff.”

In February 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic closed classroom doors in the U.S., Tom Rooney, a history and economics expert – but not an English teacher as he would point out – asked a writing teacher colleague to assist him in editing down two responses on his application to become a 2020 James Madison Fellow.

The two teachers didn’t share the same planning period, but Rooney’s 9th hour AP U.S. History class was with the same students as his colleague’s AP English class.

The English teacher came to assist during Rooney’s History class, but instead of doing so quietly at the back of the room, he turned the activity into a spur-of-the-moment life lesson for the students. Editing quickly became a group project for the class. The students and teachers took about 20 minutes of class time to edit the responses, and worked together to help share Rooney’s story with the judges at the James Madison Foundation.

Fast forward two months to April, and the world looked completely different. Rooney was teaching the same group of students, but this time over a video call from his home in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. During class, a notification appeared in his email that he couldn’t wait to open: “Congratulations!,” it read. “You’ve been awarded a James Madison Fellowship!”

It was a full circle moment: he was able to first share the good news with the same students who helped him craft the responses that led to his award.

Learn more about Rooney’s accomplishments and passion for students at TFAS.org/RooneyFTE.

Law Fellows Discuss Core American Institutions and Freedoms in Expert Guest Lecture Series

Josh Holdenried, PPF ’18, discussed the impact of religious liberty laws on faith-based nonprofit organizations.

Each year, the TFAS Summer Law Fellowship provides students from top law schools across the country with the opportunity to attend exclusive guest lectures and networking sessions with our nation’s most prominent judges and legal professionals, and this year’s virtual program is no exception. Fellows have heard from key professionals on topics ranging from constitutional originalism to campaign finance law.

In addition to courses and legal internships, the Fellows continue to meet virtually with numerous scholars, experts and legal professionals each week. Discussions have included a session on “Religious Liberty Cases in Review” with TFAS alumni Lori Windham ’00 and Josh Holdenried, PPF ’18 and a lecture by Dr. Yuval Levin to hear about themes from his new book, “A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream.”

When Levin met with fellows via video call, he explained that though institutions like family, church, politics and school have lost public trust over the years due to corruption or incompetence, they remain necessary and unifying components of American society. American University Washington College of Law student, Heather McGuire, Law ’20, believes that Levin’s assessment of the political institutions in our country is a prime example of why institutional reform must take place.

“I was most intrigued by Dr. Levin’s assessment of hyper-transparency and social media, and how each has turned the legislature into a theater,” McGuire said. “Because any uttered sentence from a legislator’s mouth could become a soundbite, many representatives have resigned to playing safe politics. I believe this is unfortunately a true indictment of many on either side of the aisle.”

To learn more about these events, please visit TFAS.org/Law20Lectures.

Teachers Convene for “Environment & the Economy” Training in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Teachers participate in economic simulation activities with FTE professor Don Fell in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

TFAS’s high school programming division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), is committed to continuing its mission of providing professional development training for teachers, despite challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

From June 22-25, FTE conducted its first in-person professional development program for high school teachers of the summer. Twenty-eight teachers from 11 states gathered for the annual “Environment & the Economy” program in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. FTE and hotel staff worked cautiously to provide social distancing in the meeting room and dining areas, and ample amount of hand sanitizer, masks and temperature checks in keeping with best practices during the current climate.

The teachers engaged in four days of intensive training and curriculum on how economic principles can be used to analyze environmental issues.

The participating teachers – one of whom traveled from as far as California to attend – explored how a rational, economic approach to environmental issues can help their students understand the complexity of these issues. Learn more about the program at TFAS.org/FloridaEE.

Post of the Week

The 2020 TFAS Global Political Economy Seminar is underway for students previously enrolled in this summer’s TFAS Prague and Asia programs. Student Godwil Coronel Magat ’20 is one of the nearly 100 students virtually attending weekly lectures and discussion sessions on political philosophy and economics.



Jen Hale ’99 shares what it’s like being a sports reporter during the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with NOLA.com.

Brian Carlson ’98 discusses China’s response to the coronavirus crisis in a piece for the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, opines for the Institute for Family Studies on how attending middle school at home amid the coronavirus pandemic could impact teenagers’ development.

Ryan Lovelace, Novak ’17, reports for the Washington Times on the political divisiveness of face masks.

Kat Timpf, Novak ‘12, discusses Harvard’s transition to online classes in a piece for Fox News.

Illinois state senator Dan McConchie ’93, ’95 discusses state responses to COVID-19 in an interview with Fox News.

Graham Kilmer ’14 reports for Urban Milwaukee on continued record unemployment claims amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Akash Shrestha ’15 was interviewed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) about Nepal’s COVID-19 recovery plans.

TFAS Trustee Peter McPherson discusses how protection from coronavirus liability can help schools safely reopen this fall in a piece for Forbes.

Kristin Tate, Novak ’19, discusses the exodus of Americans from large cities to rural areas, especially now during the coronavirus pandemic, in a piece for The Hill.

Madison Iszler, Novak ’17, reports for San Antonio Express-News on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Texas’ tourism industry this spring and summer.

Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19 argues for extending short-term renewable health care coverage to ensure stability for Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in a co-authored piece for The Hill.


Jamie Brown Hantman ’93 discusses what it’s really like to work in Washington and how to survive this election year on Josie Dovidio’s podcast “Josieology.”

Mark Hemingway, Novak ’02, writes for RealClearInvestigations on ways that states are starting to promote intellectual diversity on college campuses.

TFAS alumnus Roy Abdo’s ’06, ’07 journey to becoming an American citizen is featured in The Epoch Times.

Remley Johnson ’11, PPF ’14, met her now-husband Robert Flock while working as a TFAS program assistant in D.C. in 2013. Read about their love story in the New York Times.

Fred Lucas ’98 interviews Craig Shirley about his book on the life of Mary Ball Washington in a piece for the Daily Signal.

TFAS Director of International and Continuing Education Programs, Brenda Hafera, shares her thoughts in Law & Liberty on recent efforts by protestors to remove D.C.’s Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park.

TFAS Regent Emeritus Lee Edwards shares how we can learn from history amid today’s revolutions in the Daily Signal.


Former Ohio Senate minority leader Capri Cafaro ’94 was interviewed by Fox 5 on her new “bipartisan” cookbook featuring recipes from Democratic and Republican leaders across the country.

Sarah Caldwell ’04 is now the development director for a Raleigh-based nonprofit organization Note in the Pocket, which helps children in need of clothes for school. Hear more about her work in an interview with The Lisa Show.

TFAS alumna and 2019 John Jay Fellow Maggie Roberts ’17 is featured by the John Jay Institute.

Daniela Lozana, PPF ’19, has taken a new job as a business development manager for the R Street Institute.

Lauren Khouri ’08 has been named a partner at Correia & Puth, PLLC.

Laura Vanderkam ’99, Novak ’06 discusses tips on working from home in her new book coming out on July 21 titled “The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home.”

TFAS Virtual Summer student Kenley Green ’20 is featured in PR Newswire for her remote internship with kglobal Public Relations.

Casey Campbell ’04 is running for Texas’ 4th congressional district.

Lhens Vilson ’11 has joined Wiggin and Dana, LLP as an associate in the corporate department this year.



Recent Posts


Beyond the Law: Fighting for Liberty When Justice Fails with Diana Simpson

This week, another exceptional TFAS alumna joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Diana Simpson, 2009 TFAS alumna and attorney.

Gary and Aldona Robbins Scholarship Established for Economic Education

The Gary and Aldona Robbins Scholarship at TFAS was established in 2024 to honor the work of a husband and wife who together made outstanding contributions to the field of economic policy. Upon Aldona’s passing in May, TFAS regent and friend of Aldona,…

Maintaining Our Republic: Mitch Daniels Delivers Annual Neal B. Freeman Lecture

The 2024 cohort of D.C. Academic Internship Program participants welcomed former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at George Mason University for this year’s annual Neal B. Freeman All-Student Lecture on June 11.