TFAS has remained committed to providing engaging academic courses, hands-on internships, guest lectures, and the opportunity to live and work in the nation’s capital to undergraduate students for more than 50 years. This experience is so profound for many alumni that they encourage their children to attend a TFAS summer program years later.
John Lee ’85 still remembers packing his car and driving from New Jersey to Washington on his own after completing his sophomore year at Villanova University. As a participant of TFAS’s Public Policy + Economics program track, John found himself immersed in a new environment with a diverse group of peers from the U.S. and abroad who contributed to his eye-opening TFAS experience in Washington.
“The program was a platform for a great summer experience,” said John. “I remember the relationships that were built, the camaraderie between all of us in class and having that bond with people from all around the country and the world that The Fund for American Studies program provided. For me, it was really the overall TFAS experience, the friendships and the life-changing kind of approach to the program that was most important.”
For me, it was really the overall TFAS experience, the friendships and the life-changing kind of approach to the program that was most important.” – John Lee ’85
John says his TFAS experience prepared him for his future in countless ways. The educational experience with world-class professors allowed him to think about ideas more broadly and openly through the faculty’s new and exciting approaches to the course content.
Ultimately, John felt that the life experience and practical leadership skills he gained from his internship outside of a typical college environment were transformational.
After graduating from Villanova in 1987, John moved back to New Jersey. He has worked in the financial industry for over 30 years and now serves as the senior managing director of wealth management for Northern Trust in New York City. John has three children, Campbell, Jack and Abigail, who have all participated in programs offered through TFAS high school division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics.
John’s middle child, Jack Lee ’21, took the leap and followed in his father’s footsteps to attend a TFAS summer program in Washington, D.C. Jack participated the Business + Government Relations track and is currently a senior at Elon University.
Jack’s positive experience with FTE’s Economics for Leaders program combined with hearing about the impact TFAS had on his father furthered his interest in applying for a summer program.
“My dad would always describe TFAS as one of the most influential summers of his life, so I always had it in the back of my mind,” Jack said. “And after looking into the program, I knew it was something I wanted to do too.”
Jack found his economics class with Dr. Anne Bradley to be the most rewarding part of the TFAS academic experience. As an economics minor, Jack took note of the difference between this class and the several courses he has taken before.
“It was extremely refreshing to hear different perspectives on issues I have studied previously,” he said.
Reflecting on his time at TFAS, Jack feels he has gained valuable professional experience in the workplace through his internship and attending TFAS networking events and guest lectures.
“Whether it was a guest speaker, a small group conversation, or a networking event, I gained valuable information that improved both my professional and social skills,” he said.
Like his father, Jack also understands the benefit of making meaningful connections with his peers.
“Living with people from all over the world and the experiences I had with all of my fellow students was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I made lasting friendships with people I surely never would have met otherwise, all because of TFAS and this program,” Jack said. “I want to thank TFAS supporters for giving me, and every TFAS student, the opportunity to have an unforgettable summer.”
This story is part of a series of students and their parents who have completed a TFAS program. Stay tuned for more featured family alumni.