Home » News » Liberty + Leadership News: June 11

Liberty + Leadership News: June 11


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.”

TFAS High School Division Reaches Record-Breaking Student Enrollment

This year, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is excited to announce record-breaking summer enrollment numbers for our high school economics programs.  More than 900 students will participate in summer programs hosted by TFAS high school division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE). Through a series of academic and leadership seminars, high school sophomores and juniors will learn “the economic way of thinking” regarding national and international issues through an engaging active-learning curriculum.

The Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) teaches high school students “the economic way of thinking” in engaging ways.

From June 14 to Aug. 2, TFAS will offer three primary student programs – Economics for Leaders (EFL), Economic Forces in American History (EFIAH) and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy (EGE) – all correlated with both the Common Core state standards and all 50 states’ standards in economic education.

Student reviews have consistently ranked our core program, Economics for Leaders (EFL), as ‘top-notch,’ ‘wonderful’ and ‘life-changing.’ The EFL program provides students with a unique week-long opportunity to learn about economic principles and successful leadership.

“The Economics for Leaders program exceeded my expectations in every way,” said Aviva Teller ’20, who participated in FTE’s summer program last year. “The teachers were engaging, the content was interesting, and the other students were so friendly… it broadened my world view and opened my mind up to different ideas that I’d never considered before.”

In addition to providing top-ranked programs to high school student leaders, FTE has offered programs for educators since its founding in 1975. By participating in these programs, high school teachers receive guidance to become more effective instructors of economics.

Visit TFAS.org/FTESummer21 to learn more about these programs.

Alumni Staff Spotlight: Meghan Brandabur

Megan Brandabur ’18, ’19, ’19 first encountered TFAS in the D.C. Academic Internship Programs International Affairs track in 2018. In January 2019 she traveled to Chile for TFAS Santiago and later that year participated in another D.C. summer program, this time in the Public Policy + Economics track. Brandabur began working at TFAS in March 2020 as the International Affairs and Summer Law Fellowship Program Coordinator to help bring the same life-changing experiences she had to young leaders around the world.

Brandabur believes that TFAS programs are unique in their ability to expose students to a variety of career paths through the impactful mentorships and exclusive briefings.

Meghan Brandabur ’18, ’19, ’19 completed three TFAS programs before joining the staff as the Program Coordinator for the International Affairs Programs and Summer Law Fellowship.

“Having had the opportunity to participate in three TFAS programs made me realize how unique TFAS programming is, since we strive to introduce college students to their desired career field,” Brandabur said. “Without my experiences with TFAS programs and mentorship through TFAS alumni, I would never have understood how many different directions a career in international affairs could take or which direction is best for me. I am forever grateful to TFAS for helping me learn this important lesson.”

Brandabur also shared that the friendships and connections she made through TFAS will last a lifetime, especially those formed through participating in multiple programs.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I have made so many lifelong friends through TFAS,” Brandabur shared. “Some of my closest friends are Danyale Kellogg ’18, ’19, Will Mendonsa ’19, ’19, and Bryce Leech ’19, ’19, since I did two programs with each of them. The double impact of those programs bonded us in a super unique way, so we are still great friends and are regularly in touch with each other.”

Learn more about Brandabur’s experience and why she loves working at TFAS at TFAS.org/BrandaburSpotlight.

The People Behind the Programs: Dr. Jamie Wagner

TFAS high school programs division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), introduces young individuals to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues through engaging student and teacher programs. Known nationally for its emphasis on active learning, FTE faculty members are high-energy individuals who breathe life into the programs they facilitate, making each program unforgettable for students and teachers alike.

Some of the topics that are the most impactful for students are the ideas of opportunity cost: with every decision, you have to give something up. Understanding this concept is really powerful for everyone. It really helps students think more critically and make more thoughtful, informed decisions.” – Dr. Jamie Wagner

Dr. Jamie Wagner is one of many dynamic FTE professors who loves making economics accessible. She earned her Ph.D. in economics and currently works as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She also directs the Center for Economic Education in Omaha, where she uses her skills to work with K-12 teachers to help them learn how to effectively teach economics and personal finance in active and engaging ways.

Wagner said the two fundamental economics topics she enjoys teaching most are opportunity cost, and supply and demand. She believes these are the most vital lessons for students to learn because they are the key to understanding economics and making better decisions in their everyday lives.

“Some of the topics that are the most impactful for students are the ideas of opportunity cost: with every decision, you have to give something up,” she begins. “Understanding this concept is really powerful for everyone. It really helps students think more critically and make more thoughtful, informed decisions. I also think the supply and demand model is important because it helps us understand how dynamic markets are and where the prices of goods and services come from.”

Read more about Wagner’s experience with FTE and why she loves teaching the “economic way of thinking” to students at TFAS.org/Wagner.

Post of the Week

On Monday, June 7, TFAS faculty and staff welcomed nearly 300 participants to the 2021 D.C. Summer Programs during a virtual welcome ceremony.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DCinternships (@dcinternships)


In a review for The Bulwark, Mike St. Thomas describes “Uprooted” by Grace Olmstead, Novak ’15, as “an important read for those who care about rural America.”

Nina Trentmann ’08 writes about new financial strategies for retail businesses to generate post-pandemic profits in The Wall Street Journal.

Joy Pullmann, Novak ’13, writes about increased homeschooling rates in The Federalist.

Danyale Kellogg ’18, ’19 was selected for Pacific Forum’s 2021 Young Leaders Program, which is designed to serve as a catalyst for young professionals to be successful in the international policy space.

Carrie Sheffield ’06, Novak ’06, argues the importance of ensuring that public policy incentivizes work and revitalizes the economy in a piece for Independent Women’s Forum.

TFAS Trustee Emeritus and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels is interviewed by Forbes on Purdue’s new civic literary requirement.

Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05, and Peter Suderman, Novak ’10, discuss the presidential spending bill, vaccination requirements, and the U.S.’s pandemic progress in the Reason Roundtable podcast.

Christian Townsend, Law ’19, is now an attorney with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19, co-authored an article on post-pandemic healthcare for RealClearPolicy.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, shares solutions for the foster care system in a piece for Independent Women’s Forum.

Marianne March ’16, ’16 is now the digital marketing and communications strategist for the Institute for Justice.

Gabriella Ciuffetelli ’16 was promoted to producer for “Special Report” with Bret Baier on Fox News.

Michelle Bernier ’20 co-authored an article on peace and private enterprise for the Alianza Iberoamericana por la Paz.

Mene Ukueberuwa, Novak ’19, discusses how the future mayor of New York City can tackle rising crime rates in a piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Connect with @TFASorg on social media!


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.