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Spring Scholars Join TFAS Alumni Network

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TFAS welcomed 10 young leaders into the TFAS Alumni Network during our Spring 2019 Capital Semester Closing Ceremony on May 2, 2019. After 15 weeks of living, learning and interning in the nation’s capital, the students came together to celebrate a semester well spent and reflect on the lessons learned.

Now, as TFAS alumni, and emerging leaders for free societies, it is our responsibility to never forget the legacies of those who came before us, nor lose sight of the responsibilities we have to those who will come after us.” – Jack Naismith ’19

Jack Naismith ’19 says TFAS exceeded high expectations during his student testimonial.

During the closing ceremony, Jack Naismith ’19, an international relations student at Flinders University in Australia, provided a moving student testimonial highlighting his TFAS experience.

Naismith recalled the countless site briefings, networking events and professional development activities that made the TFAS program unique and brought him and his peers closer together.

Throughout the semester, students studied economics, international affairs, media studies and public policy while simultaneously interning at top-tier D.C. organizations and cultivating their leadership skills through TFAS Professional Development Seminars.

“Today, after many taxing late night study sessions, newly found, yet lifelong friendships and downright determination, we join the ranks of an organization that has, for over 50 years, taught the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership,” he said.

He challenged his new companions with the responsibility to take what they learned during the semester and use it to make a difference in their futures and the world.

“Now, as TFAS alumni, and emerging leaders for free societies, it is our responsibility to never forget the legacies of those who came before us, nor lose sight of the responsibilities we have to those who will come after us,” Naismith said. “We have inherited something special, and it is on our shoulders to keep it.”

TFAS alumnus Jeff Phillips ’07 shares his TFAS Journey with the new graduates.

TFAS alumnus and country manager at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency Jeff Phillips ’07 echoed this challenge when sharing the experience and wisdom he has gained along his TFAS Journey. Phillips – who met his wife, Amber Phillips ’07, as a TFAS student – proclaimed that TFAS has impacted his life in many important ways.

“I literally owe everything that I have to TFAS,” he said.

He commented that TFAS has had a personal and professional influence on his life and provided the knowledge, desire and passion to pursue a career in international relations and economics.

For the first time I had a sense of where I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure exactly what would be the path to do that, but after TFAS, I was a new man.” – Jeff Phillips ’07 

“When I was in your shoes, I was very excited,” he said to the new alumni. “For the first time I had a sense of where I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure exactly what would be the path to do that, but after TFAS, I was a new man.”

TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley shares parting wisdom with the new alumni on behalf of the Capital Semester faculty. This semester’s courses were taught by Bradley, Richard Benedetto, Dr. Richard Boyd and Karen Czarnecki.

He described his diverse professional background, explaining that – like most young professionals – his initial charted career course didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Phillips said his policy experience on Capitol Hill, international experience in Taiwan and business experience in Boston was all “tied together into a bow” with his TFAS education as the figurative “knot.”

Looking back on TFAS and the economics training he gained as a student, Phillips said “it all directed me to a career in international trade.”

Phillips closed his remarks by wishing the students luck along their TFAS Journeys, reminding them how blessed they are to share this experience.

“You wouldn’t have come here if you didn’t have some sort of ambition,” Phillips said. “That ambition is going to lead you to great places. We have high hopes for you, but also remember to give yourself the freedom and flexibility and time to explore who you are.”

New TFAS alumnus Cody Hickman ’19 accepts the Capital Semester Outstanding Student Award from Program Coordinator Chase Forrester ’16.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR SPRING 2019 STUDENT AWARD WINNERS:

Natalia Giergiel-Biniek ’19, Academic Excellence in Political Philosophy
Cody Hickman ’19, Outstanding Student Award
Tyler Kelleher ’19, Academic Excellence in Economics
Katie Kline ’19, Academic Excellence in Public Policy
Shawn Sukert ’19, Academic Excellence in Media Studies

To learn more about the TFAS Capital Semester Program, please visit the programs page.

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