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Students Celebrate The Conclusion Of Summer Programs With Commencement Ceremonies In D.C.

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TFAS welcomed nearly 400 new members into the TFAS alumni network through its “Live. Learn. Intern.” programs in Washington, D.C. this summer. In early June, students from all over the world arrived in D.C. to visit important centers of power, hear from industry leading professionals and participate in life changing discussions – ultimately molding them into responsible leaders of tomorrow.

Just two months later, this impressive group of young people celebrated the culmination of a summer well spent during their TFAS commencement ceremonies.

Student Andrew Konnerth (IEIA 15) addresses his TFAS peers and friends during the U.S. Summer Programs Commencement Ceremony.
Student Andrew Konnerth (IEIA 15) addresses his TFAS peers and friends during the U.S. Summer Programs Commencement Ceremony.

After spending eight weeks as a student in the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) and interning with Time Warner Cable News Abby Witt (IPJ 15) said graduation was the perfect capstone to her TFAS experience.

“Having all of the students, faculty and staff together to celebrate how much we have grown individually and together was amazing,” Witt said. “Knowing everyone in that room was a complete stranger eight weeks ago, to feeling like I had an entirely new family in D.C., was an amazing feeling.”

Students graduated from one of six TFAS “Live. Learn. Intern.” programs in D.C. this summer, including the Institute on Economics and International Affairs (IEIA), the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ), the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES), the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA), the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS) and the Legal Studies Institute (LSI).

Student Andrew Konnerth (IEIA 15) reflected on his summer experience during testimonial remarks at the U.S. Summer Programs Commencement Ceremony on July 30. Konnerth said he was proud to be a part of TFAS and IEIA, getting to meet and interact with a “diverse student presence on the international stage.”

Jim Forbes offers inspiration and expertise to the TFAS Class of 2015.
Jim Forbes offers inspiration and expertise to the TFAS Class of 2015.

“The convergence of different ideas and people’s passions has been fundamental for IEIA as a learning system,” Konnerth said. “Students learn the most from interacting with one another and truly engaging with D.C. as a center of political thought.”

Konnerth was joined on stage by student representatives from each institute to share about their TFAS experience. Those students were Austin Sheehy (IPCES 15)Caroline McKee (IPJ 15)M.C. Tilton (IPVS 15) and Suzanne Youngblood (IBGA 15).

Following student testimonials, Jim Forbes, director of communications for U.S. Representative Mike Bost of Illinois, offered keynote remarks.

Forbes gave a compelling speech to the students on how to have meaningful and successful careers. He shared a frightening statistic that “more than 60 percent of professionals will not be happy 10 years down the road.” He challenged students to get “back to the basics” in the simplicity of happiness and success to avoid being a part of that statistic.

Forbes guided students with his “alphabet of vision” and shared what he thinks it takes to know your life’s plan. His key elements were: attitude, belief, communication, determination and enthusiasm. Forbes believes that these elements are essential to seeing your vision for your future.

Forbes concluded his remarks by wishing the students good luck and reminding them that they can be happy in their careers too.

“I really, really wish the very best for you,” Forbes said. “I hope 10 years down the road you can say you’re happy with what you do.”

On July 29, the Legal Studies Institute (LSI) students ended an eventful summer with a commencement ceremony and rooftop reception at the National Association of Realtors.

Student Amanda Klopf (LSI 15) represented the 2015 LSI class to reflect on her summer experience at the commencement ceremony. Klopf is a rising third year at Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University and she interned with Quarles & Brady, LLP this summer.

“The TFAS website reads: Live. Learn. Intern.,” Klopf said. “These are three simple words that mean so much.”

Klopf went on to explain the ways she and her LSI peers lived, learned and interned from navigating D.C. life to learning important lessons in her internship and classes.

New LSI graduates Akua Amaning (LSI 15) and Amanda Klopf (LSI 15) enjoy the view from their post-graduation ceremony rooftop reception.
New LSI graduates Akua Amaning (LSI 15) and Amanda Klopf (LSI 15) enjoy the view from their post-graduation ceremony rooftop reception.

“We learned about what is fundamental to our country in the context of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers,” Klopf said. “The chance to learn from four of the greatest minds within the legal field is something that is truly invaluable. These courses have really changed my appreciation for liberty and limited government, and motivated me to really defend these principles going forward.”

Klopf was thankful for this experience and gave praise to the TFAS staff who made it possible.

“The Fund for American Studies staff stopped at nothing to ensure we had an educational summer,” Klopf said. “Thank you to everyone at TFAS, its donors, board members and alumni for believing we are leaders and that we are worthy of admittance into this incredible program. Thank you for making our dreams to live, learn and intern in the nation’s capital a reality.”

Cleta Mitchell speaks to LSI graduates at the commencement ceremony at the National Association of Realtors.
Cleta Mitchell speaks to LSI graduates at the commencement ceremony at the National Association of Realtors.

Keynote speaker, Cleta Mitchell, partner at Foley and Lardner, LLP, offered advice to the future lawyers about the key principles they will need to succeed in their legal careers.

Mitchell reminded the students that there are many different platforms, opportunities and places a law degree can take them, but no matter where that is, they should always do what is right.

“You have to listen to your clients,” Mitchell said. “Do what is right, and follow your instincts … a very underrated quality is being willing to speak up and have just a little bit of courage. Occasionally, be the one to speak up.”

The new graduates join the international network of more than 15,000 TFAS alumni who are forging careers in politics, law, government, business, philanthropy and media around the world.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2015 STUDENT AWARD WINNERS!

Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES)

  • Outstanding Student Award: Ambyr Payne (ICPES 15), Abilene Christian University
  • Dr. George Viksnins Economic Award (Economic Problems and Public Policies):Charles Wedding (ICPES 15), Wofford College
  • Academic Excellence in American Political Thought: Nicole Callan (ICPES 15), University of Illinois at Chicago; Felix Knutson (ICPES 15), United States Air Force Academy
  • Academic Excellence in U.S. Foreign Policy Award: Kieran Doyle (ICPES 15), University of Denver

 

Institute on Economics and International Affairs (IEIA)

  • Academic Excellence in Economics Award (International Economic Policy): Eva Forslund (IEIA 15), Uppsala University; Christina Hambleton (IEIA 15), Denison University
  • Academic Excellence in U.S. Foreign Policy Award: Luke Zaro (IEIA 15), Fordham University
  • Outstanding Student Award: Katherine Brana-Milian (IEIA 15), Florida Atlantic University

 

Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ)

  • Academic Excellence in Economics Award (Economics for the Citizen): Rachel Zhang (IPJ 15), University of Hong Kong
  • Director’s Award: David Estrada (IPJ 15), University of the Ozarks
  • Award for Excellence in Communications and Public Relations: Claire Jones (IPJ 15), University of Oklahoma
  • John Chamberlin award for Excellence in Journalism: Lora Strom (IPJ 15), Temple University

 

Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA)

  • Peabody Outstanding Student Award: Rachel Sullivan (IBGA 15), University of Dallas
  • Academic Excellence in Public Policy Award (Public Policy and International Affairs Seminar): Christian Wiese (IBGA 15), Hillsdale College
  • Academic Excellence in Ethics and Leadership Award: Kaitlyn Grueter (IBGA 15) University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • Academic Excellence in Economics Award (Economics of Regulation): Christian Wiese (IBGA 15), Hillsdale College

 

Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS)

  • Outstanding Student Award: Bailey Herbstreit (IPVS 15), Arizona State University; Emily Ahern (IPVS 15), Baldwin Wallace University
  • Academic Excellence in Economics Award (Political Economy of Nonprofits and Humanitarian Aid): Allison Nasson (IPVS 15), University of Puget Sound

 

RELATED LINKS:

From Student to Pro: Top TFAS Tips from Alumni on How to Make the Most of the TFAS Experience

Sen. Rand Paul and TFAS Invite D.C.’s Summer Interns to Capitol Hill Lecture Series on Topics of Liberty

TFAS Students Learn About Role Models for a Free Society During Inaugural Neal B. Freeman Lecture

LSI Students Study Constitutional Law and Gain Real-World Legal Experience in Nation’s Capital

 

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