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TFAS Welcomes New Class of Capital Semester Students to D.C.


A new class of eager young leaders arrived in Washington to embark on an exciting spring semester with TFAS. For the next 15 weeks, students will participate in the TFAS Capital Semester on Public Policy + International Affairs.

Brent Scher addresses Capital Semester students
Executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, Brent Scher ’10, gives the keynote address at the spring 2020 Capital Semester opening ceremony.

During the program, these nine leaders from across the U.S. and Australia will utilize their passions in foreign affairs and public policy to delve into immersive academic coursework, professional internships and behind the scenes tours with leaders in business, policy, journalism and more.

Capital Semester student Hunter Grate ’20 from Indiana University Bloomington shared that he is looking forward to gaining new experiences and learning about the historical significance of his new home this semester.

“What I’m most excited for this semester is growing my network, improving myself professionally and learning more about the amount of history surrounding me in every part of this awesome city,” he said.

The program officially commenced with a welcome ceremony at TFAS Headquarters on Jan. 16, featuring keynote remarks from alumnus Brent Scher ’10, as well as advice from TFAS and George Mason University leadership.

As executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, Scher said his career in journalism was launched by his TFAS summer internship.

My internship with TFAS set me in motion to where I am today.” – Brent Scher ’10

Capital Semester students with alumni on Capitol Hill
Capital Semester students pause for a photograph following a U.S. Capitol Building tour led by Kevin Sun ’16 (far left) and Sarah Markley ’16 (far right).

Scher also took the opportunity to remind students to take on all internship tasks with enthusiasm, no matter how small or how daunting they may appear.

“Treat every task, no matter how small it is, as it’s the most important task in the world,” he said.

The students also heard remarks from TFAS Executive Vice President Steve Slattery, who welcomed them with a charge to take on new possibilities and opportunities throughout their semester in Washington.

“Take advantage of everything that is here for you,” Slattery said. “TFAS staff and faculty are here to help you and make sure you have the best semester possible.”

Capital Semester Monument Tour D.C.
Students honor the sacrifices of Korean War veterans with tour guide Lisa Deason.

TFAS Chairman Randal Teague closed the formal ceremony, advising students to embrace all of the experiences that D.C. has to offer.

“There is enormous history here, and I just hope that aside from your substantial time in class and your internships, that you take the chance to soak up this town.”

Students quickly heeded this advice and spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the nation’s capital, beginning with a private tour of the U.S. Capitol Building led by TFAS alumni and congressional staff members Kevin Sun ’16 and Sarah Markley ’16. During the tour, students learned about the Capitol’s storied history and were treated to a seat on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Capital Semester Spring students at Lincoln Memorial
Students end the day with a sunset over the Lincoln Memorial.

Following the Capitol tour, a member of the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, Lisa Deason, led students in a private tour around the National Mall to explore a number of monuments and memorials, including those dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and the Korean War.

To keep up with the students living, learning and interning in Washington this semester, follow @TFASorg on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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