PA Testimonial – Chase

Written by Chase Forrester – Program Advisor, Leadership and the American Presidency

This time last year, I was finalizing the details of my internship placement and preparing to spend my summer in the nation’s capital as a part of the inaugural class of the Leadership and The American Presidency Program – I can still remember just how difficult it was to put my excitement into words. As much as I hate to admit, I had never been to Washington, DC prior to this experience. So, at the time, the idea of completely emerging myself into the busiest political arena in the United States for two whole months was almost unimaginable. On top of all of the excitement, I was nervous about using the metro, slightly confused as to whether or not the majority of my wardrobe would be considered ”too professional”, and even a little uneasy about living in a city where I did not know a single person. Nevertheless, I arrived to DC on move-in day and was indescribably eager to begin what I knew would be the summer of a lifetime.

My internship placement was with Americans United For Life (AUL), a Nonprofit Organization known for playing a fundamental role in every aspect of defending human life. Throughout my time working for AUL, my supervisor challenged my fellow interns and me with several new tasks and ideas on a daily basis, all while giving us numerous opportunities to network and participate. Having the opportunity to work for this professional organization was not only educational, but also incredibly inspiring.

However, the chance to learn and grow as a young professional did not stop once I left the doors of AUL each day. The staff of the Fund for American Studies planned countless activities and learning opportunities for all of its students, and they always made sure that each of us benefited from the experience in the best way possible. For me, the most memorable academic opportunity of the entire summer was attending a Criminal Law Symposium held at George Mason University. Lawyers from all over the country attended this symposium and, after an extremely informative question-and-answer session between them and the students, I was able to meet several of them to discuss my plans in obtaining a law degree in the future. Needless to say, this was one of the several opportunities that I otherwise would have not had if it had not been for TFAS and the Leadership and the American Presidency Program.

As a matter of fact, I knew only after the first few days that participating in this program would impact my life in ways that I never would have expected it to. It was through this program that I realized not only was I capable of navigating the metro system like a pro and successfully dressing in either business-casual or business professional attire on a daily basis, but I could also become the best, most confident version of myself all while professionally living, learning and interning in Washington, DC.

From the first official day of the program until the last, I woke up every morning ready to work my hardest and benefit from every possible opportunity, and the Fund for American Studies gave me the chance to do that and more. Without a doubt, participating in this exceptional program was the best experience of my life- and I knew as soon as I left DC that I would do anything to return and be a part of the TFAS family again.

PA Testimonial – Brooke

Written by Brooke Cary – Program Advisor, Institute on Political Journalism 
Like many of the alumnus who look back on their summer with The Fund for American Studies, my mind is filled with memories of the heartbeat of D.C. Where should I begin?

My summer with the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) was filled with fun, friends, so much learning and so much absorbing of the rich history of America and the diversity which makes our nation great.

During my 8 short weeks in D.C., I took an economics class and attended weekly guest lectures from highly qualified professionals in my field. I attended the pre-law symposium, where I heard about some of the real issues that our government was facing with criminal law. As often as I could, I attended the weekly lectures hosted on Capitol Hill, where I was privileged to hear Senator Rand Paul give a lecture on some of the principles which were guiding his decisions. I, along with 200+ other students was able to ask him questions directly about some of the current national issues.

During the weekly guest lecture times, I met the White House correspondent for Fox News, and even met for coffee with some of the other guest lecturers, who had been working in politics or journalism for 30+ years. There was an incredible opportunity to network and learn from other experienced professionals.

My internship was probably my favorite part of the summer. I was assigned to work for an investigative reporter at The New York Times. I’m immensely grateful for the mentor-ship that this internship provided me and have applied so many of the things I learned to my professional work as a freelance reporter, post-graduation from IPJ. My supervisor took me under his wing, and challenged me at the same time. His high expectations and the rapid-fire pace with which we worked drove me to learn everything I could from him. I was learning, growing and taking it all in. Constantly!

Finally, I made connections with friends who live all over the U.S. and the world, from California, to Alabama, New York to Brussels, Czech Republic and Korea. These friends filled my summer with fun and sharpened me as I learned about each of our different backgrounds, ambitions and perspectives.

I was able to experience July 4th in our Nation’s Capital, to attend events on the lawn of the Washington Monument, to peruse the National Gallery of Art or take a peek inside the Library of Congress. The doors were open (and free!) for me to do so. There are also plenty of spots to grab dinner or ice cream with friends, relax by the Potomac River or hang out in Georgetown after a long day of walking the city.

Every weekend, TFAS planned at least one fun social event that we could participate in if we so chose. One of my favorite things was the monument tour, just a day or so after I first arrived. It was incredible to not only get an orientation of the city, but to finish the tour by watching the sun cast its rich pink and blues color on the water by the Jefferson Memorial. I was so hyped about the city I would spend my summer in! The TFAS BBQ and volleyball tournaments were also highlights for me, who certainly capitalized on the opportunity to lose a game of corn-hole and up my defective frisbee game.

I am so perpetually grateful for the experience I had while I was in D.C. and I so look forward to what is in store for the future alumni of TFAS. If you’re considering spending the summer with one of the TFAS programs, you’re in for a crazy, wonderful and tremendously useful experience.

PA Testimonial – Sarah

Written by Sarah Markley – Program Advisor, Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service

Since my freshman year of college, I knew that I wanted to work in international relations and travel around the world.  Growing up and attending college in a small, rural Pennsylvania town, this sometimes seemed like an impossible dream. While studying abroad in Northern Ireland and experiencing other cultures all over Europe, I realized that in order to pursue a career in this field I needed an internship upon my return to the United States. I had always wanted to work in DC, since it’s the headquarters of most international organizations in the US and also happens to be my favorite American city. Trying to ward off the panic as I searched through countless online job postings in my student housing overseas, I came across an opportunity that seemed too good to be true. The more I learned about The Fund for American Studies and the Institute on Economics and International Affairs, the more I knew it was exactly the experience I needed to jumpstart my career.

My favorite aspect of the TFAS summer programs was the diversity of experiences they offered – not only did I have an internship, but I earned college credits and heard speakers from many important DC organizations. None of my friends from home could believe how much was offered in just one program, and I still feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to attend IEIA last summer. Living and working in DC gave me the confidence to go after my goals and to know that it’s possible to start a career here, and it was so encouraging to have TFAS supporting me every step of the way.

I had a really rewarding internship experience working at World Hope International, a nonprofit that does amazing work in struggling nations like Sierra Leone. The office environment was so welcoming and my supervisors tried to build projects around my skills to help me have a great experience. Eight weeks absolutely flew – I couldn’t believe I gained so much from such a short amount of time! Returning to school, I definitely noticed a difference in my confidence level while networking and connecting with professionals, and I also had a much more focused idea of what I wanted to do after graduation.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my introductory economics class at George Mason University, since I was honestly pretty nervous about it when the summer started. I’d never taken economics before, but Dr. Boudreaux made the topics easy to understand and relevant to everyday experiences. I also bonded quickly with my roommates who were my best friends throughout the summer – we had some great times exploring the city! Georgetown was our favorite spot, and it’s such a beautiful walk from GW’s campus. You can also reward yourself with cupcakes when you get there, so it’s a win-win.

Spending a summer with TFAS is one of the best things you can do with your time, so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity! Get to know the other students and reach out to people at your internship site – you never know what kind of helpful connection you could make just from getting coffee with someone. And don’t forget to make the city your own! Find your favorite spots off the beaten track and take time to enjoy the little things. You couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the summer, so enjoy it!

Three TFAS Semester Students Return for D.C. Life, Round Two

Each closing ceremony leaves TFAS students with happy memories of one last gathering of new friends and one final look at life in Washington, D.C. For some students however, the D.C. adventure is only just beginning. Three students from our 2016 Fall Semester Programs found ways to stay in D.C. and squeeze more out of the unique opportunities only Washington can offer.

Audrey Anderson (LTAP-F 16) had already finished her studies at the University of Missouri and was ready to report for duty with the Air Force after the Fall Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP) program ended. However, a delayed commission opened up the opportunity to stay on in D.C. and continue her internship at the Rumsfeld Foundation. This allowed her to gain even more real-world, practical work experience before her commission in May of this year.

“I was excited about the program before I came,” Anderson said. “I had only been in D.C. for two days previously and I didn’t know what to expect. That was better, in a way. I enjoyed it more.” She knew before coming that her experience in D.C. and in the TFAS program would hinge on who was joining the program with her. In the end, her classmates were her favorite part of the program.

Anderson particularly enjoyed the Friday LTAP classes, when she and her classmates went on site visits, heard guest speakers, talked about leaders of the past like Jefferson and Lincoln and discussed what they had learned that week – in and out of the classroom, at their internship sites and around town. It was a chance to hear each other’s ideas, let the lessons soak in and make the important connections.

“We talked about our thoughts on how everything related to being a leader,” she said. “And we talked about how we could apply those lessons.” Anderson felt she learned as much from her classmates as from the classes themselves, regarding how to be a leader in every sphere of life.

One TFAS memory she particularly treasures revolved around her classmates and the new bonds they forged in a few short months. Before Thanksgiving, the students gathered together in their dormitory for a Friendsgiving celebration. The gathering provided food and fun, as well as some food for thought.

“At one point,” she said, “everyone was eating and there were 20 different conversations going on. I looked around and thought about how, three months ago, we didn’t even know each other, but now we were thankful to be together.”

Now, the majority of the Fall 2016 students have returned to their universities or homes, so Anderson is working on keeping in touch, as well as learning new lessons and continuing to expand her professional skills through her internship.

“I’m learning about work culture and what it’s like to stay and be consistent,” she said. “I’m enjoying building relationships with my coworkers and learning new ways to help.”

Marisa DiGiuseppe (CSF 16) had nearly finished her political science degree as the University of Miami in Florida before joining the Capital Semester Fall 2016 class and was on track to graduate in December, so her path from an academic opportunity at TFAS to a work opportunity in D.C. was also clear. She applied to the TFAS Capital Semester program on a friend’s recommendation; it seemed to DiGiuseppe like a good opportunity to try the D.C. life.

“It was an adjustment, coming from Miami to D.C.,” she said. “But the energy in D.C. was motivating.” DiGiuseppe also found, to her surprise, her economics classes were motivating her to take an interest in that field of study as never before.

“I was surprised by how much I liked my classes. I never thought I would like economics classes, because I hated them in school.” However, through her TFAS economics course, DiGiuseppe said she realized how necessary it is to understand economic forces – and how common it is for people to form their opinions on economic issues without sufficient knowledge of underlying causes.

DiGiuseppe also felt she gained a lot from the site briefings, particularly the visits to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Embassy of Estonia. The briefing at the UNHCR allowed DiGiuseppe to further her knowledge of refugee issues by putting her face to face with professionals at one of the principal humanitarian organizations working in the field.

“I enjoyed it because I had studied issues facing refugee and migrant populations,” she said. “I’ve also had two previous nonprofit internships working with refugee populations. I liked hearing the perspective of someone working for an agency that addresses the refugee crisis on a larger scale.”

She enjoyed the Embassy of Estonia for the rare, behind-the-scenes opportunities it afforded. She and her classmates were able to meet the ambassador in person, as well as hear from a cybersecurity expert who spoke about current events in Europe and intelligence.

During her TFAS internship with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office, DiGiuseppe observed and participated in the busy life of the Senate, listening to politicians, business leaders and other stakeholders discuss energy policy and environmental issues. She found she has a particular interest in regulations. She brought her newly developing appreciation for viewing issues through an economic lens to her internship.

“I liked hearing business leaders talk about how bills might impact them and others outside the Hill. I enjoyed seeing how businesses navigate regulations in general.” She credits her time at TFAS and in Washington as instrumental in helping her make the first move down her career path, which is beginning right now at ML Strategies, the government consulting arm of the law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

“I couldn’t have gotten this job without my TFAS internship,” she said. Previous internships during college exposed her to private law firms, but her TFAS internship added an extra dimension to her resume. “TFAS gave me the opportunity to gain valuable internship experience on the Hill, working on a number of hot-topic policy issues that helped elevate my job prospects in D.C.”

Yinon Reiss (CSF 16) graduated from Hebrew University in his hometown of Jerusalem before joining TFAS, so he also came to Washington with no obligation to return and finish a program. Although he did not plan to stay in D.C. beyond the semester, when his networking efforts during his time at TFAS yielded a work opportunity, he was willing and able to take the leap.

“I wanted to experience all that D.C. has to offer,” Reiss said. “The museums, the politics, the sports, the night life – but above all, I wanted to meet awesome people. Fortunately, thanks to my experience at TFAS, D.C. exceeded all my expectations!” Some of his favorite memories of his semester were from times he and his classmates were simply spending time together, even if that just involved sitting on the front steps of their dorm and chatting.

During his TFAS semester, Reiss interned at the Hudson Institute, serving as a research assistant to a senior fellow. After the semester finished, he transitioned immediately into working for the Embassy of Israel in Washington, which has him working in a faster-paced environment and shifting his focus to different topics.

He hopes his new position will help him to continue developing his networking skills – he found his current job through networking at social events in the Washington community – as well as his management and strategic thinking abilities. He is excited to see what doors his new position will open in the future, and also to continue his explorations of the city.

“During the semester,” Reiss said, “I realized that D.C. has so much to offer, and that finding a job and extending my stay here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”​

For more information on our summer and semester programs, please visit www.DCinternships.org.

From DC Intern to Lead Anchor – Alumni Spotlight: David Muir

Before becoming a rising star at ABC and lead anchor of World News Tonight, David Muir was a stand out student in the TFAS Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) program during the summer of 1993. During his time with IPJ, he interned with Department of Health and Human Services.

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Muir (right) introduced keynote speaker Brit Hume (left) who was the White House correspondent for ABC News at the time.

The then Ithaca College student was selected among his peers to deliver a student testimonial during their commencement ceremony. Muir introduced keynote speaker Brit Hume who was the White House correspondent for ABC News at the time. During the introduction, he said he aspired to one day be included among Hume’s ranks.

Muir joined ABC News in August 2003 as anchor of the overnight news program “World News Now” and quickly moved on to become one of the network’s lead correspondents on several major domestic and international stories.

He recently shared advice on how to break into broadcast news, and mentioned his summer in DC with IPJ. In a 2007 interview, Muir credited his TFAS experience with preparing him for the fast paced environment of reporting.

“The intensity in the few short weeks at IPJ helped me prepare for a career that has taken me to the Middle East for the war in Iraq, to Capitol Hill for President Clinton’s impeachment trial and to Florida for the disputed 2000 Presidential race,” Muir said. “There are few programs that can inspire and engage aspiring journalists quite like the Institute on Political Journalism.”

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Muir accepts the 2008 TFAS Alumni Achievement Award

In addition to receiving multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards for his reporting, Muir can count the TFAS Alumni Achievement Award among his accolades. TFAS presented Muir with the award during the IPJ Awards Ceremony at the National Press Club in 2008. During his acceptance remarks, Muir offered inspirational remarks to the budding journalists in the audience about his career and work with renowned reporters.

“We are proud to call David one of our own,” said Joe Starrs, director of the Institute on Political Journalism. “His success is a testament to the quality of our programs and the importance of our mission to prepare outstanding college students, like David was, for honorable leadership.”

Muir is one of 14,500 TFAS alumni who are forging careers in journalism, politics, government, public policy, business and philanthropy. IPJ seeks to develop journalists with economic literacy and high ethical standards. Through its internships program, IPJ gives aspiring journalists a leg up in their careers and helps them land positions in high profile mainstream media organizations.

For more information on our summer and semester programs, visit www.DCinternships.org.

Alumna Turns TFAS Experience Into National Collegiate Honor

Growing up in the ever-changing political environment of Wisconsin sparked Jordyn Noennig’s (IPJ 15) interest in politics at an early age. Upon heading off to college and deciding on a career path, her interest in current events led her to pursue a career in journalism to do unbiased reporting on what happens in the exhilarating world of politics.

With two years of student leadership and internship experience attained at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Noennig applied to the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) program for the summer of 2015 to take her love for reporting and politics to the next level.

As a TFAS student intern, Noennig was able to cover votes in Congress and Supreme Court decisions on issues such as the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage legalization.

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Noennig listens to a TFAS lecture during her summer in Washington, D.C.

“With journalism it’s really important to get out-of-class experience,” Noennig said. “That’s where you’re really going to learn. It was amazing just to be in D.C., learn more about reporting and have those big-topic clips in my name.”

Last fall, Noennig applied what she learned at TFAS to her student broadcast, PantherVision, when they had the unique opportunity to cover a democratic presidential debate held at her university.

Along with a team of students, Noenning was honored for her production work on the project with a NATAS Student Achievement Award from the Television Academy, the producers of the Chicago/Midwest Emmy® Awards.

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Noennig attributes her strengths in journalism to the ideas and practices she learned in Professor Richard Benedetto’s Journalism Internship Seminar course at IPJ. She says learning directly from a seasoned journalist like Benedetto taught her to ask better questions to gain a deeper understanding of each story.

Noennig also notes her TFAS experience as a stepping

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Noennig (left) joins her TFAS classmates to hear advice from IPJ alumna, Elizabeth Jia (IPJ 05) (right), during the 2015 IPJ alumni roundtable.

stone to success, not just in journalism, but in all aspects of her future. Like many TFAS students, Noennig took advantage of the countless workshops, networking meetings and seminars focused on making sure students have the keys to succeed in any professional environment.

No matter where my career goes, IPJ has helped me advance in my professional development,” Noennig said.

Noennig thanks TFAS supporters for helping her get where she is today and says that the ideas she learned through the program are an integral alternative to what most students receive at public university.

“The people who give to TFAS helped me get to D.C. and opened the doorways for my future,” Noennig said. “I would encourage them to keep giving because I want other students to have that experience in opening up their views, no matter what career they want to go into,” Noennig said.

For more information on the Institute on Political Journalism please visit www.DCinternships.org.

Alumni Spotlight – Brianna Cicero

briana-ciceroBrianna Cicero is a recent alumna of the Institute on Political Journalism. During her 8 weeks in DC, she interned for The Stream, attended site briefings at The Washington Post and Capitol Hill, interviewed U.S. Senators, earned 6 credits from George Mason University and made plenty of memories with ‘her family’.

Brianna began her sophomore year at Temple University the past fall. During her freshman year at Eastern University, she was a writer for her college’s newspaper, the Editor-In-Chief of her college’s literary magazine, and the Co-Editor for her college’s Odyssey Online team. Brianna, a competitive horseback rider, also served as a social media intern for Judge My Ride, allowing her to gain experience while working with a topic she loves.briana-cicero-2

Read the article she wrote on her summer with TFAS here. For more information on our summer program, please visit www.DCinternships.org.