For more than three decades, TFAS has equipped students with exceptional leadership skills through its Business + Government Relations program, a special track of the D.C.-based academic internship program for students interested in lobbying and government affairs.
Despite challenges from COVID-19 restrictions this summer, TFAS implemented innovative methods to bring students the best of the programming we typically offer in Washington, D.C. Those offerings included online economics and government courses for credit, virtual guest lectures by top policy experts, career exploration panels and small group discussions, and virtual site briefings with key government leaders.
Second-generation TFAS alumna Claire Beemer ’20 participated in the TFAS 2020 Business + Government Relations Program and virtually interned with MetLife, Inc.’s global government relations team. Beemer is pursuing her bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s University in London, studying law and business management. Claire’s father, Britt, completed the TFAS Public Policy+ Economics program track in 1971.
“The opportunities and experiences that TFAS has provided this summer have been so rewarding and influential to my professional development,” said Beemer.
Despite the program being moved online, Beemer shared that she still made meaningful connections with peers and professors.
With the program being conducted virtually, I had no idea what to expect, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how engaging each of the events has been and the connections that I have been able to make—even though we’re not able to speak in-person.” – Claire Beemer ’20
The program provides tomorrow’s business and policy leaders with the opportunity to engage in an examination of the practical and theoretical questions surrounding the vibrant relationship between business and government. Students explore the economic and political issues that shape how business and government interact and the importance of representing company interests before the U.S. Congress. Students are also encouraged to participate in networking events to gain meaningful connections, an opportunity that continued despite the program moving to a virtual format.
Thanks to program staff’s resourcefulness and flexibility, combined with the continued generosity of program supporters and volunteers, TFAS was able to offer students an online version of its curriculum that worked even better than anticipated.
Georgia Southern University student Emma Tirlot ’20 said she “never thought it was possible to learn and grow so much during the span of one summer.”
“This summer has truly made a difference in my life, giving me the confidence that I needed to be successful in the professional world,” she said. “The many networking events deeply enhanced my knowledge of different careers and allowed me to make valuable connections.”
This summer has truly made a difference in my life, giving me the confidence that I needed to be successful in the professional world.” – Emma Tirlot ’20
TFAS alumna Cassi Zumbiel ’13 served as a mentor for the summer program. As the Director of Workforce Initiatives at The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Zumbiel said she is proud to give back to TFAS because her experience as a student provided a key stepping stone in her career.
“TFAS was by far one of the most influential experiences in my life,” she said. “I met some of my best friends, and gained skillsets that have set me up for my career. Now that I serve as a mentor for TFAS students, I get to see the program from another lens.”
Zumbiel says TFAS students she has mentored are bright leaders who ask thoughtful questions and aim to make a difference in their communities.
“I have no doubt that TFAS will prepare them for a positive future that will allow them to grow to be the leaders they aspire to be,” she said.
This past summer, TFAS Business + Government Relations students heard from several successful leaders, ranging from Harrison Wadsworth, who shared an insider’s perspective of Siemens’ frontline, state-of-the-art efforts to fight COVID-19, and Michael Maibach, who provided a topical discussion on “Why the Founders Created the Electoral College.”
Through the TFAS summer corporate lecture series, students were challenged to examine the complexities in business-government relationships, and the economic and political issues that impact them.
Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA, Andrew Powaleny ’08, who served as a a summer guest lecturer, said “TFAS plays a vital role in the lives of the students it serves.”
“At a time when our country is so politically divided, TFAS’s values of honest, open and civil debate are more important than ever,” he said.
At a time when our country is so politically divided, TFAS’s values of honest, open and civil debate are more important than ever.” – Andrew Powaleny ’08
In addition to the summer program, TFAS hosts a corporate breakfast series featuring TFAS alumni and leaders in Washington for internship hosts, mentors and supporters of the program. TFAS thanks Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP for hosting a TFAS corporate breakfast that featured White House Political Director and TFAS alumnus Brian Jack ’09, PPF’13.
TFAS is also grateful to our friends at Holland & Knight, whose plans to host a breakfast for TFAS earlier this year were sidetracked by COVID-19.
We express our appreciation to all of the individuals, corporations, associations and foundations that made our Business & Government Relations students’ summer experience so worthwhile, through their generous participation as sponsors, lecturers, discussion leaders, internship hosts, and mentors.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Computing Research Association
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Edison Electric Institute
Government Affairs Industry Network (GAIN)
Healthcare Leadership Council
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
National Automatic Merchandising Association
Semiconductor Industry Association
The Potomac Institute
The Roosevelt Group
U.S. Fashion Industry Association
U.S.-Taiwan Business Council
World Shipping Council
LECTURERS & DISCUSSION LEADERS
Sean Williams, Airlines for America
Tim Carney, Novak ’03, American Enterprise Institute
Nicole Tieman ’09, The Boeing Company
Brad Viator, Edison Electric Institute
Sarah Meirose ’13, Ford Motor Company
Julie Alsup, International Paper
Andrew Powaleny ’08, PhRMA
Erica Bunker, Pie Insurance
Harrison Wadsworth, Siemens
Sean Redmond, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Shannon Brady, U.S. Fashion Industry Association
Chris Wilson ’90, WPA Intelligence
American Psychological Association
Americans for Tax Reform
The Boeing Company
The CONSILIO Group
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Investment Company Institute
Jessie DaSilva Coaching
Lungren Lopina LLC
National Association of Manufacturers
Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation