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Liberty + Leadership News: July 2, 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.”

Last Week at TFAS – Students Attend Exclusive Guest Lectures For Firsthand Look at Future Careers

Tim Carney, Novak ’03, shared his insights on “Crony Capitalism” with students during a virtual guest lecture on June 26.

Each summer, TFAS D.C. Summer Programs give young leaders the opportunity to network with professionals in their field through exclusive site briefings, guest lectures and networking events. Although these must be held virtually this summer, TFAS students still benefit from the lasting connections and career guidance these opportunities provide.

In addition to internships and courses, from June 22-26, students participating in the TFAS Virtual Summer had the opportunity to attend a Professional Development Seminar on virtual networking, learn about the law school admission process from law students and recent graduates, and participate in career exploration small group discussions on intelligence careers, political appointments, marketing, breaking news and more.

Students also heard from key professionals in their program track fields during a series of special guest lectures on Tuesday, June 26. These lectures give students the chance to make vital career connections and gain firsthand knowledge through discussion sessions and networking opportunities. Speakers included David Jimenez, the Federal Legislative Strategist at Prison Fellowship; New York Times investigative reporter, Ian Urbina; Tim Carney, Novak ’03, commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Estonian Ambassador to the United States Jonatan Vseviov.

Read highlights from last week’s special guest lectures at TFAS.org/VirtualUpdate.

High School Students Call Economics For Leaders Summer Program the “Best Online Class Ever!”

A view from a class session during the “Economics for Leaders” virtual program.

One of the many TFAS programs to switch to a virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic and facility closures is the “Economics for Leaders” program organized through the TFAS high school programming division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE). The first of the 22 online 2020 summer programs began on Monday, June, 15, and although the students must meet virtually, they are actively engaging and learning new lessons and skills each week.

Program evaluations from the 186 students who have already completed an Economics for Leaders virtual program showed higher levels of learning and satisfaction when compared with previous in-person offerings. When asked how FTE should improve the virtual classes one student commented, “N/A! The program was very flawless and adapted better than most academic institutions,” and another called the program the “best online class ever!”

Through lectures and interactive games, nearly 620 students from across the U.S. and around the world will explore “the economic way of thinking,” develop leadership skills, gain a better understanding of the world and learn how to integrate economics into the process of everyday decision-making.

See updates from virtual class activities and learn more about the online program at TFAS.org/EFL20Update.

Economics Lesson of the Week: “Cartels and Competition”

TFAS continues to provide resources to help teachers and parents carry on the important task of educating our nation’s future leaders. Each week, we feature a different lesson from our high school programming division – the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE).

This week’s lesson is “Cartels and Competition,” one of the popular activities in our Economics for Leaders summer programs – which are ongoing online now. Through this activity, students experience the interdependent decision-making characteristic of oligopolies, and see firsthand the impact that incentives and competition have on the market. A downloadable guide, instructional video and handouts help instructors facilitate the activity.

TFAS offers a plethora of online lesson plans, readings, handouts, video demonstrations and hands-on activity guides to teach the “economic way of thinking” in engaging and relatable ways. Visit TFAS.org/FTELessons for a one-stop guide to our available resources.

Post of the Week

The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) is featuring TFAS interns on their Instagram page. A student from University of South Carolina, Ny’Tevia Brooks ’20 is interning with CHLI’s communications team while participating in guest lectures, briefings and courses as a TFAS student in the Leadership + the American Presidency program track.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by CHLI (@thechli) on




Tyler Kingkade ’08 writes about an oppressive occupational licensing law in Pennsylvania for NBC News.

Jillian Kay Melchior, Novak ’11, writes for The Wall Street Journal on the denouncement and resignation of Michigan State University administrator Stephen Hsu.

John Lettieri ’03, PPF ’08, sits down for a wide-ranging discussion with Executive Director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee Scott Winship, for the first episode of his new podcast, “The Deep Dive,” with the American Enterprise Institute.

TFAS trustee Peter McPherson urges Congress to pass legislation to protect dreamers in the U.S. after the Supreme Court upholds DACA in a piece for Forbes.

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, writes for Reason on a recent attack of a D.C. area journalist during a protest.

India Heckstall ’14, PPF ’17, shares her story in a blog post for Women in Government Relations on “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.”

Ryan Lovelace, Novak ’17, reports for the Washington Times on Senate proposal to implement a cybersecurity advisory committee.

Haley Britzky ’16 writes for Task & Purpose on Army leaders’ efforts to fix racial disparities in the military’s justice system.

Kylee Zempel ’17, PPF ’19, writes for The Federalist on CHOP’s disbandment in Seattle.

John Stossel interviews Robby Soave, Novak ’17, about mob mentality in the media for Stossel TV.

Robby Soave, Novak ’17, opines for Reason on why reopening schools is important for education systems in the U.S.

Matthew Walter, Novak ’10, opines for The Week on the recent movements across the country to remove monuments and statues.

Ryan Lovelace, Novak ’17, reports for Washington Times on Google’s move to start fact-checking Google Image results.

John Heltman ’02 discusses a recent Supreme Court case over the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a podcast episode for American Banker.

Sara Wilkerson ’20 reports on bipartisan legislation requesting funding for “orphan” oil and gas wells across the U.S. as a part of her TFAS Virtual Summer internship with The Well News.


Joy Pullman, Novak ’13, opines for The Federalist on the impact of prolonged school closures on public education.

Dan McConchie ’93, ’95 discusses the increase in pensions for state legislators in Illinois during the economic crisis in the Chicago Tribune.

Joel Pollak, Novak ’18, reports for Breitbart News on Governor Newsom’s re-closure of L.A. bars after another spike in COVID-19 cases.

Madison Iszler, Novak ’17, reports for San Antonio Express-News on workers’ concerns after COVID-19 cases surge at an Amazon warehouse.

Melanie Benit ’14, PPF ’18, discusses how the pandemic shutdown has exposed Louisiana’s addiction to fines and fees in The Advocate.


Edgar Pabon ’08 is featured in this AfroTech piece on the top 25 black tech leaders who have reinvented themselves, highlighting his career transition from Army veteran to software engineer.

Monica Vendituoli ’12 is joining Denver-based strategic communications firm, Communications Strategy Group, as a financial and professional services associate.

Michael Stewart ’03 was elected as a judge for the Common Pleas Court in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Jonathan McGee ’12, PPF ’14, was promoted to deputy director of regional economic development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Marian Jarlenski ’00 is now an associate professor of health policy at the University of Pittsburgh.


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