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TFAS Recruitment: It’s All In The Family

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Alissa Swango (l.) with her brother Blake (far right) and V.P. of Programs Steve Slattery during the Fund's 40th Anniversary celebration.
Alissa Swango (l.) with her brother Blake (far right) and V.P. of Programs Steve Slattery during the Fund’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

In 2009, over 70 students who attended a Georgetown Institute were referred by a TFAS alumnus, an increase over the previous year. Alumni spread the word and didn’t hold back recruiting their friends, fellow students and in a number of cases, family members. Each year brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of enthusiastic TFAS alumni attend programs in the U.S. and overseas.

One family in particular has made an impact on TFAS by attending multiple programs and staying involved as active alumni. With the addition of Kelsey this past summer, the Swango family has had all three siblings attend at least one Institute:

• Alissa Swango: IPJ 2000, IIPES 2002, 2001 IPJ Program Advisor
• Blake Swango: IBGA 2002, AIPES 2004, 2003 IBGA Program Advisor
• Kelsey Swango: IBGA 2009

TFAS staff asked sisters Alissa and Kelsey about how TFAS has influenced them and their family.

Alissa Swango
Producer, The Chicago Tribune

About how TFAS has impacted her siblings:
“I never wanted my brother and sister to necessarily follow in my footsteps. We have different personalities, as well as different goals and different ways of achieving those goals. I wanted Blake and Kelsey’s decisions to participate in TFAS to be their own. It’s interesting to see how TFAS has impacted us in different ways.

(r.-l.) Kelsey Swango and Rep. John Boehner (Ohio). Swango had the chance to meet Boehner at an event through her internship with Tyco Electronics.
(r.-l.) Kelsey Swango and Rep. John Boehner (Ohio). Swango had the chance to meet Boehner at an event through her internship with Tyco Electronics.

I believe the two programs Blake participated in (IBGA and AIPES) motivated him to achieve goals he didn’t originally set for himself, and because of that, I truly believe TFAS has changed the course of his life. At his internship, he worked with respected Washington lobbyists and learned how to network, a skill he uses every day at his job at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

I admit, my sister Kelsey got a little pressure to attend a TFAS program after Blake and I had been active as alums over the course of eight years! Still, we let her make the decision if it was the right thing for her. I am extremely proud of Kelsey’s willingness to step into an environment she knew nothing about and learn from scratch. I believe her greatest achievement was gaining confidence within herself and identifying her personal strengths.”

About staying involved with TFAS:
“I hope TFAS exposed Kelsey to endless opportunity, as it has done for me. I think there’s a place for everyone at TFAS, and though it may take years to process, I hope Kelsey will realize how one short summer is just a launch pad for social and professional growth over the course of her life.”

Kelsey Swango
Student, University of Missouri

About her interest in attending IBGA last summer:
“I wanted to attend TFAS after hearing about the amazing opportunities my brother and sister had while in the program. It was evident that after spending their summer in Washington, they were more aware of their career paths and well prepared for the professional world. I also chose TFAS because I wanted to gain a broader education of business practice in relationship to government affairs.”

About her summer:
“I was impressed by the outstanding opportunities TFAS provided and by the program’s willingness to customize each student’s experience to fit his or her academic and professional goals.

The highlight of my summer with TFAS would definitely be my internship. I worked for Tyco Electronics in their government affairs office. It was a small office of four people, which gave me the opportunity to connect with each of them on a personal level. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Hillary Clinton, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. James Clyburn and the Ambassadors to Chile, Mexico, India and the Vice Premier of China. I also made personal connections with government affairs leaders of Kodak, General Mills, Wal-mart, Texas Instruments and General Electric just to name a few.”

The benefit of having siblings as TFAS alumni:

“My brother was always there to answer questions, offer guidance or just hang out," said Kelsey about her brother Blake, who lives in D.C. The two are pictured here at a Nats game this summer.
“My brother was always there to answer questions, offer guidance or just hang out,” said Kelsey about her brother Blake, who lives in D.C. The two are pictured here at a Nats game this summer.

“My brother was always there to answer questions, offer guidance or just hang out when I needed to get away from all of the politics. After going through the program himself, he knew how stressful the lifestyle could be.

The best advice my brother and sister gave me was to listen. By listening to what other people had to say, I would be able to figure out what ideas and values meant the most to me. They told me I would learn more than I would ever want to know about government and politics in the short two months I would be spending in Washington. They were right!”

These other 2009 TFAS “legacies” also hold a special place in the TFAS Family:

 Caitlin (E 06, A 08) and William Bigham (J 03) recruited their sister Emily to attend IBGA
• Lawrence Hanna (E 75) referred his daughter Jessica to IPVS
• Kenneth Klatt’s (E 70) daughter Kathryn attended ICPES
• Lauren Khouri (B 08) encouraged her brother Jonathan to participate in ICPES
• Alanna Ream (A 07) recruited her sister Kelly to attend IIPES
• Colleen Wilmoth (J 99) and Meghan Jenkins’ (B 04) sister Kara attended IPJ

If you are interested in sharing information with friends or family members about our 2010 Institutes, please contact alumni@TFAS.org

 

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