Home » News » TFAS to Present Three Outstanding Alumni with Awards at Annual Conference

TFAS to Present Three Outstanding Alumni with Awards at Annual Conference


The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) will honor three of its most outstanding alumni with awards at the 2019 TFAS Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 27-29. Mary Elizabeth Taylor ’10, PPF ’12, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and Kari Travis ’12, Novak ’18, Associate Editor at Carolina Journal, will each be presented with TFAS Young Alumnus Awards. Jeremy Harrell ’07, PPF ’10, Managing Director of Policy for ClearPath, will be recognized as the Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award recipient.

The TFAS alumni awards were formed in 2003 to recognize the distinguished accomplishments of our alumni and commend their dedication and service to TFAS and the world.

“The success of TFAS is best shown through the incredible achievements of our 42,000 alumni,” said TFAS Vice President of Alumni Affairs Michelle Le ’95, ’96. “This year’s recipients are living embodiments of the values and ideals that TFAS programs teach, and proof that TFAS is truly a journey that continues to work with and impact our leaders throughout their professional careers.”

The TFAS Alumni Award recipients were nominated by their distinguished class of TFAS peers and selected by the alumni awards committee of the TFAS Alumni Council. To attend the Alumni Awards presentation at our 2019 TFAS Annual Conference, please visit TFAS.org/AC19 and register online.

TFAS Alumni Award Recipients

Mary Elizabeth Taylor ’10, PPF ’12

TFAS Young Alumnus Award Recipient

Mary Elizabeth Taylor serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The youngest Senate-confirmed advisor at the U.S. Department of State, Taylor began her career as a U.S. Senate Page, and has now spent over a decade working with the Capitol Hill in many capacities. Taylor was listed within 2018 lists of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s list of 8 most influential millennial women in US politics and The Root’s list of 100 most influential African Americans.

From 2017 to 2018, Taylor was Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs at the White House. In that role, she led the process and strategy guiding Senate nominations, spearheading the successful confirmations of more than four hundred nominees, including the high-profile confirmations of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel. Previously she served in the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, working on the Senate floor as the Senior Cloakroom Assistant and acting as a liaison between the majority and minority leadership to negotiate agreements on legislative and executive matters. Taylor also provided members of Congress with parliamentary advice and counsel on floor strategy during consideration of pending legislative matters.

Taylor participated in the TFAS D.C. Summer Program track on Business + Government Relations in 2010, and in 2012, she was selected as a TFAS Public Policy Fellow. A Washington, D.C., area native, Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Bryn Mawr College.

Kari Travis ’12, Novak ’18

TFAS Young Alumnus Award Recipient

Kari Travis is an Associate Editor and award-winning reporter for the Carolina Journal, a North Carolina politics magazine based in Raleigh. The N.C. Press Association has recognized Travis for the past two years, including a first-place award in Election/Political Reporting for a story about juvenile justice reforms in the General Assembly, second place for Investigative Reporting for an article about problems in the North Carolina prison system, and third place awards in the Beat News Reporting and Enterprising Reporting categories.

Last year, Travis was selected as a TFAS Robert Novak Journalism Fellow to produce a yearlong writing project on her chosen topic, “Not for Sale: Liberty, Responsibility and the Role of Conservatism in the Fight Against Human Trafficking.” Travis first came to TFAS as a student in the D.C. Summer Programs tack on Journalism + Communications. She returned to TFAS two summers later to serve as a TFAS program advisor and has participated in three TFAS Curriculum of Liberty Seminars for continuing education.

Travis has completed studies in journalism, economics and Western political philosophy at Georgetown University and George Mason University, and is the recipient of several print and digital media awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including two national Mark of Excellence Awards.

The Young Alumnus Award is given to an alumnus/a who is 30 years of age or younger and has shown great promise in his or her professional field and embodies the values, ideals and potential of an alumnus/a of TFAS programs. Learn more about the award at TFAS.org/YoungAlumnus.

Jeremy Harrell ’07, PPF ’10

Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award Recipient

Jeremy Harrell is Managing Director of Policy for ClearPath, a research and advocacy organization focused on free-market ideas that promote innovation and accelerate clean energy deployment. In his role, he leads ClearPath’s policymaker education, regulatory reform and investment initiatives.

Prior to joining ClearPath, he advised Congressional Republicans on energy, environmental, technology, national security, transportation and tax policies for a decade. That included four years in the Senate advancing legislation through the Committee on the Energy and Natural Resources, Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He got his start in D.C. serving as a Policy and Communications Advisor to his home state Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio shortly after graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Harrell first came to TFAS as a student in the D.C. Summer Programs track on Public Policy + Economics in 2007, and in 2010 he was selected as a TFAS Public Policy Fellow. He is an active TFAS alumni volunteer, generously giving his time and expertise as a TFAS mentor, a panelist for our professional development seminars, an alumni roundtable participant and as a small group host.

The Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award was renamed in honor of the late, dear friend of TFAS, Kevin Burket ’85. Kevin passed away on  Sept. 1, 2007 after a brief battle with cancer. Learn more about the award at TFAS.org/BurketAward.

To attend the Alumni Awards presentation at our 2019 TFAS Annual Conference, please visit TFAS.org/AC19 and register online.


Recent Posts


NPR Editor’s Tell-All Confirms What We Already Knew About The Media

Below is an excerpt from an op-ed by Roger Ream that originally appeared in The Hill. You can find the entire article here.  2024 has not been kind to American journalism. Mainstream news outlets — including NBC News, CBS, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,…

Jillian Lederman and Luke Lyman Selected as 2024 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellows for Excellence in Journalism

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) and The Wall Street Journal are pleased to announce Jillian Lederman and Luke Lyman as the two recipients of the 2024 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism. The Fellowships are being awarded to two…

Defining Work and Rethinking Retirement with David Bahnsen

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: David Bahnsen - Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group.