On Sept. 12, more than 30 current and former TFAS Public Policy Fellows (PPF) convened at TFAS Headquarters for a reception to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program, commemorate the 50th year of TFAS and connect with other Fellows as the 2016-17 class concluded and the 2017-18 class inaugurated.
The Public Policy Fellows program is a year-long networking and education program for TFAS alumni, designed to develop young leaders with a shared commitment to improving public policy. The goal of the fellowship program is to provide events that allow young alumni in the public policy or journalism field to develop connections with other alumni, network with public policy leaders, participate in academic discussion sessions led by TFAS faculty and enhance their professional development through skills-based sessions.
The Sept. 12 reception allowed the new 2017-18 Fellows to meet for the first time and gain advice from past fellowship recipients while discussing their hopes and expectations for the exciting year ahead.
New Fellow Harry Cutler ’16, PPF ’17, was eager for the PPF program discussions to come. “This is a great opportunity to keep up on relevant policy issues today,” he said. “I’m hoping for a good dialogue, that not everyone is in agreement at all times and there’s some back and forth, because if we have a civil discussion that’s how we’re going to learn from each other.”
Cutler also shared that he was as excited to network with his new program-mates as he was to tackle the topics presented in the discussion sessions. “The networking aspect of TFAS is second to none,” he said. “My mentor [from Capital Semester Fall 2016] is in the same industry as I am and the exposure helps. I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to learn and get exposed to other great young professionals.”
One Fellow just finishing her time in the 2016-17 program, Samantha Summers ‘13, PPF ’16, was happy for the chance to attend one last official get-together with her class. “The group was so diverse,” she said. “We had every kind of industry represented. The retreat we went on was great bonding. We learned a lot, did a lot of leadership training and gained some great friendships.” She noted that her Fellows group had also arranged their own gatherings including hiking trips over the spring and summer, proving that TFAS connections transcend beyond the programs themselves.
Other incoming Fellows voiced their excitement about the kick-off of their fellowship year. Cynthia Nassif ’10, PPF ’17, explained that her current doctoral work places her at the nexus of the issues the Public Policy Fellows will be debating in their time together. “Part of what I’m working on is integrating development work with policy,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having some controversial conversations.”
The 2017-18 Public Policy Fellows will enjoy a year of monthly readings and in-person discussion sessions, led by experienced TFAS professors and speakers, as well as guest lectures, outings and other opportunities to expand their knowledge and networks. For more information on the Public Policy Fellows program, please visit www.TFAS.org/PPF.
Meet The 2017-2018 TFAS Public Policy Fellows:
Emily Adamec ’14, PPF ’17, is a media relations coordinator for the Centers for Monetary and Financial Alternatives and Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. She is responsible for handling all incoming inquiries from journalists, keeping highly updated media lists and pitching out policy material relevant to the news cycle. Prior to joining Cato, she worked for two years as a research assistant in the Clemson Political Science Department, where she assisted Dr. Dave Woodard in writing his political biography on George W. Bush. Emily’s first TFAS experience was in 2014, participating in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) program and interning at the 60 Plus Association in Alexandria, Virginia. She also participated in the Charles Koch Institute’s Internship Program, interning with the Network of Enlightened Women during the summer of 2015. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both economics and political science from Clemson University.
Zach Barnes ’14, PPF ’17, is a legislative assistant in the Office of Representative Ralph Norman (SC 5), serving as his principal adviser on issues related to agriculture, energy, telecommunications and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Born and raised in South Carolina, Zach graduated from Wofford College in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in government. In the summer of 2014, he participated in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) program and interned in the Continuing Legal Education Department of Georgetown Law. Prior to moving back to D.C. in late June, Zach worked on Republican political campaigns in Ohio and South Carolina.
Kelsey Brinkman ‘12, PPF ’17, works in the Senate for Senator Rob Portman from Ohio. She is originally from Ohio and moved to D.C. in the spring of 2014. Kelsey attended the University of North Carolina and majored in psychology with a minor in anthropology, graduating in 2012. She played varsity field hockey at Carolina, helping her team win the National Championship in 2009 and place as runner-up in 2010. Kelsey moved back to Ohio after graduation and became a retail inside sales and customer care representative at Worthington Industries in Columbus, Ohio. She worked at Worthington for a year, then moved to D.C. to pursue other opportunities and landed an internship in Senator Portman’s Office, where she has risen to the position of correspondence manager and operations assistant.
Kelsey enjoys D.C. and everything that it has to offer, from activities to cultures, to all the different kinds of people. She loves to cook, get outside, explore new areas and restaurants and try new beers and breweries. She is an avid sports fan and follows most college and some professional sports. Kelsey also loves to travel. She studied abroad in Florence and traveled all over Europe during college.
John Bush ’16, PPF ’17, is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2017 with a bachelor’s in government, with a minor in business administration. The primary focus of his undergraduate research was Republican polarization in the United States House of Representatives. As a Presidential Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, he conducted a case comparison research project between the Speakerships of John Boehner and Newt Gingrich to analyze and demonstrate effective styles of leadership for Republican caucus members.
John is a TFAS alumnus from the Capital Semester Spring 2016 program in Washington, D.C. As an intern, he worked at the Rumsfeld Foundation in the personal office of Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and at the United States Department of State in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He currently lives in D.C. and is pursuing a master’s degree in government analytics at Johns Hopkins University part-time. He recently accepted a position as a federal contractor at the FBI.
Ryan Elizabeth Cinney ’14, PPF ’17, is a young and determined digital marketing professional with a focus on corporate communications, nonprofit work and social media. In her four years since college, she has learned firsthand what works well for government-funded organizations, developed a love for graphic design and created email strategies for Fortune 500 brands. In Ryan’s current role she is the marketing manager for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. In this role, she provides all internal and external communications for the trade association, as well as interacting with congressional members for their yearly fly-in event on the Hill. In addition, she has taken the initial steps on the associations’ rebrand and provides strategic support to the director of marketing and communications.
Harry Cutler ’16, PPF ’17, recently moved to Washington, D.C. and began work as an administrative assistant at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). SEPA is a non-aligned 501(c)(3) whose mission is to facilitate the utility industry’s smart transition to a clean energy future through education, research, standards and collaboration. In his role with SEPA, Harry supports the four-person executive team by scheduling meetings, managing calendars, arranging travel and completing other projects as needed. Prior to his move to D.C., Harry graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and global studies.
Throughout his undergraduate career, Harry was fortunate enough to intern in D.C. on two separate occasions in both the public and private sector. In addition to internships, he studied abroad in Meknes, Morocco and participated in multiple other programs, seminars and workshops related to public policy, while completing his undergraduate degree. In his free time, Harry enjoys traveling to new cities, continuing his study of the Arabic language and staying active with organized sports leagues.
Samantha Dybas ’15, PPF ’17, grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in Bartlett, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a degree in political science and legal studies. She spent her summer after graduation in Washington, D.C. participating in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) program. Currently, she is the legislative correspondent for Congressman Darin LaHood (IL 18) and handles a portfolio of issues including homeland security and immigration.
Anna Ebers Broughel ’07, PPF ’17, is a post-doctoral scholar at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland. Her primary research is in renewable energy policy and investor behavior, currently evaluating policy and regulatory risks in the wind power sector. Previously, she researched renewable energy economics and policy at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She completed her doctorate at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and Syracuse University and earned a master’s degree in international economics from the University of Konstanz, Germany.
Danielle Hamel ’12, PPF ’17, is the associate director of The Network Science Initiative for National Journal, providing custom policy research to government affairs professionals at Fortune 100 organizations, associations, think tanks and nonprofits in the D.C. area. At National Journal, she conducts core research across a diverse array of policy verticals, including technology and healthcare policy, creating deliverables that provide qualitative and quantitative insight to influential government affairs professionals in Washington responsible for shaping legislation. Danielle is also responsible for briefing partners on key findings expected to impact their strategic and policy priorities for the year.
Originally from upstate New York, Danielle graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, where she double-majored in finance and chemistry (formerly pre-med). Danielle is also a TFAS IBGA graduate of 2012, a TFAS summer mentor and she completed General Assembly’s data science certificate program in 2015.
India Heckstall ‘14, PPF ’17, is a program coordinator at AccessLex Institute. India is responsible for assisting with policy and legislative affairs, conducting research on the Center’s policy priorities and providing administrative support to the policy team. India previously served as a research intern with AccessLex Institute, where she published a research brief with Tiffane Cochran on the law school pipeline. Prior to joining AccessLex Institute, India interned with the policy research team at the Institute for Higher Education Policy and worked as a research assistant at a consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. She has a plethora of experience, ranging from working on Capitol Hill to managing a political action committee.
In her spare time, India is actively engaged with a book club in Washington D.C. and loves to eat at different restaurants in the DMV area. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from American University and a bachelor’s in political science from Campbell University.
Jake Medvitz ’16, PPF ’17, is a recent transplant to Washington, D.C., having moved to the District this past May following graduation from Duquesne University. He is currently a staff assistant for Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. and is excited to join TFAS for a third time, after attending the February “Liberty and Equality” seminar and participating in the IBGA program in the summer of 2016. Jake is passionate about policy, both foreign and domestic, especially security studies and health policy. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading history books, playing basketball and having discussions, be it debating political theory or arguing over who is the best NBA player of all time.
Amanda Munger ’10, PPF ’17, is an energetic strategic communications and public affairs professional with extensive experience working on public outreach, media, and strategic and crisis communications efforts across multiple government agencies and in the private sector. She currently works as a senior account executive at Melwood Global, a strategic communications firm out of Washington, D.C. and Boston. Before starting at Melwood, Amanda served as the deputy press secretary at the Department of the Interior, where she worked on a variety of issues including renewable energy, science and development and water. Prior to joining Interior, Amanda served as a spokesperson at the Department of Homeland Security, executing high-profile communications plans.
Amanda is a proud alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she studied political science and journalism. In the summer of 2010, Amanda discovered her love for Washington, D.C. as a student at The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ). Amanda lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Kristopher, and their cat, Oakley. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys exploring national parks and learning to fly.
Cynthia Nassif ‘10, PPF ’17, is a peace builder and a Fulbright Scholar, fluent in English, French and her native Arabic. She developed a deep understanding of the conflict and context of the Syria crisis and the MENA region while working with Mercy Corps as the capacity development manager for South Central Syria and as the refugee status determination associate at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Beirut, Lebanon. As a practitioner in conflict resolution, she has focused on development of youth and on their contributions to civil society through nongovernmental organizations and/or faith-based institutions. She has worked with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) global support programs in the fields of conflict prevention, infrastructures of peace and crisis recovery. As part of this program, UNDP launched a Global consultation on radicalization with the rise of groups like Al Shabab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State to inform policy makers and guide development programming.
As a current doctoral student at George Mason University, Cynthia is examining the integration of policy recommendations toward violent extremism in development programs. She hopes to contribute to the literature that aims to support government and nongovernmental organizations in their programs and policies towards peace and sustainability.
Dylan Reed ’12, PPF ’17, leads Advanced Energy Economy’s efforts on policy issues at both the federal and state level. Dylan oversees AEE’s congressional affairs at the federal level to educate key offices on Capitol Hill on the value of advanced energy technologies. He also advocates for greater deployment of advanced energy in wholesale markets. At the state level, he manages AEE’s engagement on legislative and regulatory initiatives in the Southeast, including North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Prior to joining AEE, Dylan spent time with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Dylan received a Master of Public Administration degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania.
Anabella Ron ’16, PPF ’17, is originally from Caracas, Venezuela and graduated with degrees in both economics and industrial engineering. Since then, her career has been focused on international development. In 2014, she worked at the Organization of American States in the Secretariat of Integral Development. In 2015, she started working in the Inter-American Development Bank headquarters at the Development Effectiveness Division. In 2017, she moved to the Office of Strategic Planning. In her free time, Anabella enjoys hiking and exploring different cultures.
Nadia Tawfiq ’11, PPF ’17, is currently the New Business Innovations Coordinator at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Most recently, Nadia served as the Strategic Development Associate for Valens Global, a consulting firm specializing in the study of violent, non-state actors and the threats they pose to international security. Prior to Valens Global, Nadia served as the Development Coordinator at Young Invincibles (YI), an advocacy organization committed to mobilizing disenfranchised young adults and expanding their economic opportunities. Nadia acted as lead on generating letters of intent, proposals and reports, in addition to tracking all grant-related submission deadlines and program officer outreach.
Eleanor Thomas ‘04, PPF ’17, is a seasoned management consultant dedicated to helping government agencies achieve their missions. She has an extensive background in the complex fields of federal acquisitions, human resources, strategic human capital management and business process re-engineering. She has focused her career on developing innovative solutions to government by applying results-driven management approaches and economic analysis, earning her clients numerous accolades for outcomes produced. She worked for a female-owned management consulting firm for eight years following graduate school, working her way quickly up the ranks from management consultant to vice president. She recently joined The Millennium Group International as a senior program manager. Eleanor received her master’s degree in economics from George Mason University and her bachelor’s in economics from Florida State University. She attended Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) in the summer of 2004. Eleanor currently lives in Ashburn, Virginia with her 5-year-old daughter.