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Liberty + Leadership News: March 25, 2021


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 Public Policy Fellows Explore American National Character

What does it really mean to be an American citizen? Following a year of political and social upheaval, societal tensions and economic uncertainties, the TFAS Public Policy Fellows met to discuss what it is that makes Americans one people.

TFAS Public Policy Fellows snap a selfie in front of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello during their spring retreat.

As part of their year-long examination of “The Experiment in Self Government,” the Fellows convened in Charlottesville, Virginia, for an academic retreat on “American National Character.” Fellows discussed seminal texts, decrees, speeches and letters from America’s Founding and explored what can be done to renew a unified and spirited commitment to freedom and self-reliance today.

Colleen Harmon, PPF ’20, the intern program manager for The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program, said this powerful speech captured the spirit of the retreat and that she was struck by Jefferson’s quote: “Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind, let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which Liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things.”

“In this time of political division, I think Jefferson’s message of civic friendship, that is, finding common affection for one another based on the shared love of country and love of the essential principles of the Declaration of Independence, most resonated with me,” she said.

Read more about the spring 2021 TFAS Public Policy Fellowship retreat at TFAS.org/PPFRetreat21.

Alumni Staff Spotlight: Haley Sisler

TFAS students know firsthand the transformational benefits of our programs. Some alumni participate in multiple programs to see more of what TFAS has to offer, and some alumni are so captivated by TFAS’s impact they return as staff members. This affords them the opportunity to pass along their enthusiasm for liberty and leadership to the next generation of TFAS students. In our interview series with these individuals, we’re introducing the seven current alumni staff members to showcase the people behind our programs.

Haley Sisler ’07 is the planning + outreach program director for TFAS high school division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics.

In this feature, we’ll hear from Haley Sisler, a 2007 alumna of the Business + Government Relations program who worked at TFAS from 2008-2012 with admissions, recruitment and program management on TFAS’s D.C. Summer Programs. Today she leads planning and outreach for TFAS’s high school programs through Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), which is headquartered in California.

Sisler shared that participating in a TFAS program ultimately prepared her for her future by encouraging her to remain hard-working and thoughtful – both personally and professionally.

“My participation in TFAS prepared me in many ways for a future career,” Sisler shared. “It taught me the value of a hard day’s work, about dedicating yourself to something you feel is important, to create and value professional and personal relationships with others, and to question your beliefs in a thoughtful, positive way so you understand what you believe and why.”

Visit TFAS.org/SislerSpotlight to read more about why she chooses to give back through a career with TFAS.

TFAS U.S. Programs Director Shares Lessons from the Virtual Internship in The Hill

After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools, businesses and professional offices across the country in March 2020, students looking forward to spending a summer in the nation’s capital had to quickly adjust their expectations for a successful summer internship. Like many across the D.C. area, TFAS also had to pivot our D.C. Summer Programs to a fully virtual format.

TFAS U.S. Programs Director Joseph Starrs reflected on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year in an op-ed in The Hill.

U.S. Programs Director Joseph Starrs reflects on the lessons learned over the past year in a recently published op-ed in The Hill, posing the question: “A year in, what have we learned about the future of internships and the prospects for young people in the workforce?”

During our summer 2020 program, TFAS placed over 200 interns in virtual internships across D.C. Despite challenges, Starrs believes that the limitations posed by the pandemic allowed for more growth and creativity.

“While there have been many challenges, it turns out that the COVID-19 experience has been a time of creativity and resilience for many interns and employers alike,” Starrs shared. “Ultimately, there are significant reasons for optimism about the continued potential for the internship to serve as a critical bridge between college and the workforce for America’s young people.”

Read more of Starrs’ insights in The Hill.

Economics Lesson of the Week: The Environment Is An Economic Good

TFAS provides resources to help teachers and parents continue the important task of educating our nation’s future leaders. Our “Economics Lesson of The Week” series features new lessons from our high school programming division – the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) – each week.

This week’s lesson is “The Environment Is An Economic Good.” In this workshop, students will look at the environment as an economic good. They will look at the scarcities and limitations of the environment, exploring how people’s choices about the environment are affected by incentives. Students will also look at the consequences of choices regarding environmental issues, gaining an understanding of how to anticipate the potential unintended, secondary effects.

Visit TFAS.org/FTELessons for a one-stop guide to our available resources.

Post of the Week


Serena Sigillito, Novak ’19, explains how the new temporary changes to the Child Tax Credit will impact families in an article for Newsweek.

Moss Brennan ’19 shares the uplifting story of two best friends who are staying connected during the pandemic by leaving notes for each other at their elementary school in a piece for the Watauga Democrat.

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Don Devine writes for the American Spectator on the shortcomings of big government and centralization.

Read an excerpt from 2015 Novak alumna Grace Olmstead’s recently published book, “Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind,” shared by The American Conservative.

Mollie Hemingway, Novak ’04, analyzes a recent statement from Judge Laurence Silberman about partisan control of the press in an article for The Federalist.

TFAS Director of International and Continuing Education Programs Brenda Hafera reviews the lessons that “Madame Bovary” and “The Feminine Mystique” teach on feminism in her latest piece for Law & Liberty.

Matthew Walther, Novak ’16, explains the history, uses and abuses of the term “woke capital” in an article for The American Conservative.

Christopher White, Novak ’13, explains how Catholic leaders are standing in solidarity with farm workers in California to protect their rights to organize in a piece for National Catholic Reporter.

Melanie Benit ’14, ’15, PPF ’18, coauthors an article to support the right of Arkansas farmers to sell home-cooked meals in an article for Courier News.

Firas Maksad ’01 is now the director for strategic outreach and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Charles McElwee, Novak ’20, discusses the vital economic and civic role of churches in small towns in a piece for City Journal.

Micha Gartz ’18 analyzes the different causes of youth deaths, paying special attention to the stark contrast between COVID-19 and suicide, in an article for Citizens Journal.

Helen Andrews’, Novak ’17, book “Boomers” was reviewed by Samuel James in Mere Orthodoxy.

Ryan Anderson, Novak ’07, speaks out about Amazon removing his book from shelves in The Wall Street Journal.

Emily Taylor ’12 is featured in POLITICO for her new role as the communications director for Congressman Peter Meijer.

Alexis Black ’17, ’19 was accepted into Georgetown’s Masters in Foreign Service program.

Brent Skorup, Law ’10, PPF ’13, appeared on C-SPAN to discuss competition policy and consumer rights.

Grace Olmstead, Novak ’15, opines for The New York Times, examining the lessons she gleaned from her great-grandfather about the importance of rootedness and stewardship in preserving our food systems, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katherine Mangu-Ward, Novak ’05, co-hosts the latest Reason Roundtable podcast episode where she explains vaccine prospects.

Connect with @TFASorg on social media!



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