The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) D.C. Academic Internship Programs are well underway in Washington. Nearly 300 students hailing from 170 colleges and universities and representing 27 countries moved into their residence halls on Saturday, June 4. They have already had an exciting schedule of living, learning and interning in the nation’s capital. Two hundred seventy-eight students ventured to Washington for an in-person experience, and 13 students are participating in the online program track.
One student, Mohamed Hassan from Denison University, called TFAS an incredible program with the perfect recipe to help him discover what career he should pursue.
“For starters, this program is well-rounded because not only do you get to participate in an internship in the U.S. capital, but on top of that, you have the opportunity of attending numerous networking events,” he said. “In addition, I could not pass up the opportunity to learn alongside people from around the world.”
Students began courses and internships during their first full week in Washington. TFAS staff and faculty introduced students to the program with a formal Welcome Ceremony at the George Mason University Arlington campus.
The orientation began with remarks by TFAS Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Anne Bradley, who spoke about the value of learning the tools of economics if one hopes to expand human flourishing. The students also heard from TFAS President Roger Ream ’76, who shared an overview of TFAS’s history, mission and programs, and encouraged them to consider new ideas with an open mind and commitment to free expression and civil discussion. Jordan Rodell ’18 shared remarks as the special alumni guest speaker. A legislative issue manager at Stateside Associates, Rodell shared an anecdote about how being courageous and ambitious opened new doors along her career path.
Chris Ullman, founder and president of Ullman Communications LLC and TFAS Regent, delivered the keynote address. In a world with so much noise and temptation to provide opinions on everything, Ullman offered advice to the students for interacting with their peers from different backgrounds, and he shared his wisdom on the meaning of courage.
“Talk less, listen more,” he said. “Courage is not a binary. There’s a lot of space between timidity and bravado.”
Ullman implored students to ask questions and be courageous in their own thoughts, and not shy away from questioning the status quo or orthodoxy.
On June 7, students attended events with professionals working in their program track fields during the first in-person evening guest lectures of the summer. The speakers included Greg Lukianoff, CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE); alumnus Stephen Oldfield ’85, who spoke about his documentary, “Rush to Judgement: The Media vs. Covington Catholic High School;” American University Professor Bruce Weinrod; and TFAS alumna Lauren Belive ’05, who is the director of government affairs at SoftBank Group International.
These lectures and events give students the chance to make vital career connections, open their minds to new ideas and explore a variety of interesting topics. Each week for the remainder of the summer, TFAS students will continue to hear from more impressive speakers, including top economists, journalists, policymakers, scholars and industry experts.
In addition to the special lectures, students met their mentors at the Mentor Breakfasts, participated in small group discussions and attended a Professional Development Seminar on developing vital skills for the workplace.
When asked about the impact of donor support, Emma Zubak, a TFAS Leadership Scholar and student from Duke University, expressed immense gratitude for the supporters who helped her dreams become a reality.
“I just want to give a huge thank you to the TFAS supporters who made my summer here possible,” she said. “It was a really generous offer for me to be able to receive this scholarship and coming to D.C. was a dream!”
In the coming weeks, TFAS students will have countless more opportunities to live, learn, intern and grow through their internships, program events and other engagements.
To learn more, please watch the highlight reel below. To see up to the moment program updates, please follow @TFASorg on social media.