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Weeks Four and Five of TFAS – Living, Learning and Interning in Washington, D.C.


TFAS students in Washington, D.C., are at the halfway mark of their once-in-a-lifetime summer of living, learning and interning in the nation’s capital. The last two weeks have been full of exciting opportunities for the undergraduate class. Keep reading for a recap of TFAS students’ experience in the D.C. Academic Internship Programs from June 28 to July 9.

Week Four: Campus Free Speech, Civil Dialogue + Professional Communication

During week four of our summer programming, students heard from Jason Riley, columnist at The Wall Street Journal, at the annual Neal B. Freeman guest lecture.

Week four began with internships and economics and government classes on Monday, June 28. On Tuesday, June 29, students had the opportunity to get to know some of the Trustees and Regents who make TFAS programming possible while they were in Washington for quarterly meetings.

The Regents and Trustees joined 125 students in person for the 2021 Neal B. Freeman Guest Lecture featuring Jason Riley from The Wall Street Journal for a discussion on “Why Thomas Sowell Matters.”

During his lecture, Riley pointed out a stark reality about free speech on college campuses, and how students can use Thomas Sowell as an example to seek out the truth regardless of popularity.

“On a lot of campuses, students are being told what to think instead of how to think,” Riley said. “Sowell is a rare species because he has consistently sought out the truth, wherever it leads, even if the truth is unpopular.”

On a lot of campuses, students are being told what to think instead of how to think.” – Jason Riley, Columnist at The Wall Street Journal

Johnathan Lozier ’08, PPF ’13, joined Business + Government Relations students for a guest lecture at George Mason University.

Students participating in the International Affairs program track learned about the Peace Corps during a small group discussion on Tuesday afternoon with Soua Pha and Greg Flores, both former Peace Corps Volunteers. Public Policy + Economics students visited the Claremont Institute on Tuesday to explore its Center for the American Way of Life from Dr. Arthur Milikh.

On Wednesday, a small group of Public Policy + Economics students learned about the U.S. Department of Commerce from Ann Ngo ’90, a 1990 TFAS alumna and participant of the same program track who now works as a senior international trade specialist. That evening, the Business + Government Relations students heard from alumnus Johnathan Lozier ’08, PPF ’13, of Stateside Associates in a guest lecture on “The Power of the States: Why the Federal Government is No Longer the Only One Making Decisions.”

Jolisse Gray ’21 delivers the opening argument during the first Braver Angels debate of the summer.

Also on Wednesday evening, students in the Leadership + the American Presidency track debated border policy during this summer’s first Braver Angels debate. TFAS partnered with Braver Angels and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) earlier this year and will continue the partnership to foster civic dialogue among TFAS students. This debate structure follows a parliamentary format and is facilitated by a moderator. It encourages all participants to speak or ask questions, ensures civility in disagreement, and strives for learning and better understanding for all, with the end goal of gaining a better understanding of diverse points of view.

Kelly King ’21, a student from Fordham University participating in the Leadership + the American Presidency track, has thoroughly enjoyed her summer with TFAS. She has gained new skills and insight as well as new friends.

TFAS students gain new insight from guest lectures covering a variety of topics each week.

“My experience with TFAS has been amazing,” King said. “I’ve gotten to learn and stretch myself, especially in politics. I’ve made unforgettable memories with my friends and roommates. I’ve also gained practical work experience and analytical abilities that will benefit me in the future.”

On Thursday, July 1, around 40 students participated in an interactive Professional Development Seminar on navigating communication styles in the workplace with TFAS staff. Students closed out the week on Friday, July 2 with a lecture from a panel of professionals from the Department of Homeland Security: Morgan Plumer, Amy Strauss and John Crutcher.

Week Five: Celebrating Freedom, Understanding the Past

Students were encouraged to take advantage of the excitement of celebrating the Fourth of July in the nation’s capital, so the three-day holiday weekend provided a host of fun and entertainment for all. Following the holiday, students began the second half of the summer program refreshed and ready to continue living, learning and interning.

Students had the opportunity to ask Dr. Loconte questions one-on-one following the lecture.

Tuesday, July 6, offered several exciting activities for students. International Affairs students learned about executive leadership careers in defense and development policy from Maria Longi during a virtual small group discussion. That evening, Dr. Joseph Loconte spoke to Public Policy + Economics students about “Why Future Leaders Need to Understand the Past,” while TFAS Professor Richard Benedetto and Clemente Lisi discussed their eyewitness accounts of 9/11 with Journalism + Communications students nearly 20 years after the attacks on the United States.

Lisi emphasized the important role of journalists during that time, as they remained in a potentially dangerous situation in order to report the breaking news.

“While everyone fled for safety, my task and the task of all journalists that day was to tell the story,” Lisi shared.

During week five of the summer, a small group of students met with TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Donald Devine for a Constitutional Leadership Seminar.

TFAS Grewcock Senior Scholar Dr. Donald Devine joined a small group of students on Wednesday, July 7, to share about capitalism as it was intended. That evening, Business + Government Relations students attended a guest lecture with alumnus Tim Carney, Novak ’03, who discussed crony capitalism and the intersection between business and government. At the same time, International Affairs students heard from Barbara Slavin and Patrick Clawson, who spoke about U.S.-Iran relations in the context of the U.S. presidential administration transition.

On Thursday, July 8, students learned about continuing education opportunities through two Professional Development Seminars. One session included a panel that featured three TFAS Summer Law Fellowship alumni, who discussed law school admissions. The other panel featured admissions counselors from various foreign policy graduate schools. That evening, the 30 students participating virtually in D.C. summer programs debated the use of vaccine passports during their Braver Angels debate.

2021 International Affairs students Sarah McClure, Virag Turcsan, Nia Kamau and Samantha Wutz interact at a Career + Industry Exploration small group discussion.

Leadership + the American Presidency students engaged in an economics workshop with TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley on Friday, July 9, while students in the other program tracks participated in small groups at TFAS headquarters in the afternoon. International Affairs students learned about intelligence careers and the FBI from analyst Dan Acheson, careers at the Institute of Peace from alumna Emily Stoehr ’19, and the Department of Homeland Security from alumnus Sean Heravi ’10, PPF ’15.

Also on Friday, Public Policy + Economics students learned about the Mercatus Center and other think tanks and public policy centers with Zach Barnes ’14, PPF ’17. Journalism + Communications students learned how TV works with Spectrum News reporter Sami Jo Roth ’13 and how journalists covered the Watergate story with TFAS Director of Journalism + Communications Joe Starrs. Business + Government Relations students heard from Brittany Madni about legislative processes and different careers on Capitol Hill.

To learn more and see up-to-the-moment program updates, please follow @TFASorg on social media.


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