Laura Vanderkam (IPJ 99, Novak 06), Best-Selling Author and TFAS Alumna, Delivers Keynote Speech
“Always remember that freedom is a blessing!” That was the directive President Roger Ream (ICPES 76) gave as he welcomed the soon-to-be TFAS graduates to their Closing Ceremony on July 27, 2017.
After eight weeks of studying principles of freedom and gaining real-world experiences at their internships, 343 students gathered at Lisner Auditorium on The George Washington University campus to reflect on their summer and be welcomed into the nearly 17,000-strong TFAS alumni network. This summer’s class helps mark the 50th Anniversary of TFAS and represents students from across the country and around the world.
President Ream, a 1976 graduate of TFAS, advised the promising future leaders of the great responsibilities that come with leadership and the blessings of freedom. He challenged the students to “be a force for light, truth, freedom, justice and morality in a world that has too much ignorance, too much injustice, too little freedom and too many untruths.”
Students were also treated to keynote remarks by Laura Vanderkam (IPJ 99, Novak 06), a TFAS Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) alumna, 2006 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient, best-selling author and motivational speaker. Vanderkam’s books, television appearances and TED Talk have gained national attention by encouraging audiences to rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of a more meaningful life.
With the right people behind you, there is absolutely nothing you can’t do.”
– Laura Vanderkam (IPJ 99, Novak 06)
Best-Selling Author and TFAS Alumna
True to her message, Vanderkam reminded the students that the lessons they had learned through TFAS would stick with them for a lifetime, and provided them with three daily habits of success.
First, Vanderkam encouraged the graduates to do something memorable every day, even if they risk a failure by doing so. “Emotional intensity makes life memorable,” she said. She told the students that as we get older, time and life can start to feel repetitive. Taking risks and trying new things can make every day more memorable and time more vast.
Second, Vanderkam advised the students to learn something new every day. She said, “The world is an amazing place and if you approach it with the spirit of curiosity and always ask it – What can I know by the end of the day, that I didn’t know at the start? – the world will deliver untold wonders to you.”
Finally, Vanderkam challenged students to make one genuine human connection every day. “Human connections are different than just networking,” she noted. “You’re establishing a community.” Vanderkam also reminded the students to reach out and show appreciation to the people in their internship sites, who took a risk bringing them into their workplaces.
Students and staff led the remainder of the ceremonies. Veronica Droulia (IPVS 17), a TFAS Tisdale Scholar and Louisiana State University student, gave an invocation and led the audience in prayer, followed by Walter Castillio (IEIA 17), a Saddleback College student and military veteran, who led the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, six students representing each of the six summer undergraduate programs gave brief remarks on their experiences in the program, speaking on the themes of “Live,” “Learn,” “Intern” and “Serve.”
This local diversity and rich culture that I have been absorbing and exposed to this summer emphasizes to me that the United States is still the land of opportunities based on the key principles from the Founding Fathers, freedom and liberty.”
– Simon Hansen (IEIA 17), Missouri Valley College
STUDENT TESTIMONIAL SPEAKERS
- Simon Hansen (IEIA 17) of Missouri Valley College represented the Institute on Economics and International Affairs (IEIA).
- Stephen Ridley (ICPES 17) of Wofford College represented the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES).
- Carter Woolly (LTAP 17) of Lenoir-Rhyne University represented Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP).
- Jasmine Campbell (IPJ 17), a recent College of Charleston graduate, represented the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ).
- Ryan Van Dusen (IBGA 17) of Concordia University Irvine represented the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA).
- Mária Takáčová (IPVS 17) of Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia represented the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS).
TFAS Chairman Randal C. Teague offered the final words of the morning, reminding the students that a new chapter of their lives was beginning as the summer programs ended. He ended the proceedings by saying, “I wish for each of you the individual liberty that is necessary for human progress.”
Following the ceremony, the students and their program managers and advisors gathered for individual certificate ceremonies and recognition of award winners. Please see below for a full list of this summer’s award recipients.
Thank you to the generous supporters, faculty, staff, volunteers, students, parents and friends who made this summer possible. It is thanks to you that these future leaders have learned the value of honorable leadership, limited government and free-market economics.
To watch the student testimonial speeches and hear Vanderkam’s full remarks, watch the TFAS 2017 Closing Ceremony below.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 STUDENT AWARD WINNERS!
Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES)
- Outstanding Student Award: Michael Bugay (ICPES 17), Broward College
- Outstanding Student Award: Dacia Medley (ICPES 17), Florida Atlantic University
- Award for Academic Excellence for Public Policy and International Affairs: Rainbow Fu (ICPES 17), University of Hong Kong
- Dr. George Viksnins Award for Academic Excellence for Economic Problems and Public Policies: Briana Katinic (ICPES 17), University of Kentucky
- Award for Academic Excellence for American Political Thought: Hannah Durbin (ICPES 17), U.S. Air Force Academy
- Award for Academic Excellence in U.S. Foreign Policy: Natasha Blaskovich (ICPES 17), U.S. Air Force Academy
Institute on Economics and International Affairs (IEIA)
- Award for Academic Excellence in U.S. Foreign Policy: Jamie Kwong (IEIA 17), University of Southern California
- Award for Academic Excellence in U.S. Foreign Policy: Taylor Ray Derebery (IEIA 17), University of Alabama
- Award for Academic Excellence in International Economic Policy: John Murdy (IEIA 17), Clemson University
- Award for Academic Excellence in International Economic Policy: Peyton Tatonetti (IEIA 17), Case Western Reserve University
- Award for Academic Excellence in International Economic Policy: Rosemary Newsome (IEIA 17), Texas Christian University
Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ)
- Outstanding Student Award: Can Sarihan (IPJ 17), University of Istanbul
- John Chamberlin Award for Excellence in Print Journalism: Sarah Nelson (IPJ 17), Bethel University
- Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism: Kylee Zempel (IPJ 17), Maranatha University
- Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism: Alexandra King (IPJ 17), University of Tennessee
- Award for Excellence in Public Relations: Blake Hesch (IPJ 17), Indiana University Bloomington
- Academic Excellence Award: Elin Johnson (IPJ 17), Linfield College
Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA)
- Outstanding Student Award: Yael Ozair (IBGA 17), Arizona State University
- George Peabody Award for Academic Excellence in Ethics and Leadership: Connor Kelly (IBGA 17), Pennsylvania State University
- George Peabody Award for Academic Excellence in Ethics and Leadership: Hailey Quigley (IBGA 17), George Mason University
- Award for Academic Excellence in Economics of Regulation: Moises Balayla (IBGA 17), Santa Fe College
- Award for Academic Excellence for Public Policy and International Affairs: Ryan Van Dusen (IBGA 17), Concordia University Irvine
Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS)
- Outstanding Student Award: Sarah Cameron (IPVS 17), University of Virginia
- Award for Academic Excellence in Behavioral Economics: Kathryn Manning (IPVS 17), Gardner Webb University
- Award for Academic Excellence in Behavioral Economics: Andrew Folkes (IPVS 17), Fisher College
Leadership and The American Presidency (LTAP)
- TFAS Outstanding Student Award: Benjamin France (LTAP 17), Pennsylvania State University
- Presidential Leadership Award: Cecilia Milano (LTAP 17), Boston College
- Gipper Award for embodying the spirit of President Reagan: Anthony Moore (LTAP 17), University of Florida
- Eureka Award for Academic Excellence: Benjamin Rankin (LTAP 17), University of Missouri
- Eureka Award for Academic Excellence: Molly Schwall (LTAP 17), Cedarville University
- Time for Choosing Award: Josue Barron (LTAP 17), University of North Texas
- Time for Choosing Award: Krista Kohr (LTAP 17), Community College of Allegheny County