TFAS Professor Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

Students attending one of our six summer programs are required to take at least one three credit course while living in DC. All courses are accredited by George Mason University and held in their state-of-the-art-facilities, conveniently located in nearby Arlington, Virginia. The courses are designed to complement the students’ DC internship experience.Koopman

Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) Professor Chris Koopman was recently named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. Koopman, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, co-teaches “The Economics of Regulation” with Professor Matthew Mitchell, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.

“Chris’ teaching style is very engaging and his personality allows him to skillfully connect with his students on multiple levels. His knowledge and passion for his field is very evident and he does a great job of implementing real life applications into the materials being covered,” says Joel Troutman, IBGA Program Associate. “His recent nomination to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list is well deserved and couldn’t go to a better recipient. We are honored to have such an excellent and well qualified professor on our team.”

IBGA alum Nick Jones commented on Professor Koopman’s class last summer. “I learned a lot in this class and I loved it. I learned all about regulations and it was great because I didn’t know much about the intricacies of them and how they can be really helpful to businesses. Koopman did a really good job of putting a bunch of real life applications to everything we were reading about and it was really insightful. For example, we talked about Uber and the impact it had on the taxi industry.”

To read the full article in the TFAS newsletter, please click here. For more information on our programs, please visit

Alum Testimonial

Suzanne Youngblood, a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and 2015 participant of the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) program, is a true example of a DCinternships success story. She recently moved back to DC for a full time position with Gavel Resources, where she interned last summer. Suzanne was chosen to represent IBGA as the student speaker at graduation. We asked Suzanne a few questions about how her experience with TFAS impacted her senior year and deciding to come back to DC.SY 2

What was the best part of your internship?

The best part of my internship was developing one-on-one relationships with the partners and council advisors. Each individual encouraged and gave me advice beyond the realm of the office. They believed, supported and strengthened my desires to lead and make a difference.

What was the most important thing you took away from your internship?

The most important take away from my internship was the support and mentorship provided by Gavel Resources. Gavel Resources is the reason I came back to DC.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you learned while in DC?

If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working on it!

SY 4What was your favorite class? Most valuable thing you learned in class?

Economics of Regulation at George Mason University provided me with a true understanding into the nexus between the public and private sector. The class and my internship worked together to help me conceptualize the class lectures and apply it to real world experiences in my internship. I learned how to research efficiently, effectively and how to navigate the complicated legislative system on the Hill.

What was your favorite part of your summer with TFAS?

My favorite part of The Fund for American Studies was being able to connect and meet fellow TFAS students, alumni, staff, donors and board members. It is amazing to see all the individuals and components that helps make TFAS such an amazing program. I love staying involved with the organization and keeping up with all the friends I made over the summer.SY 3

How did TFAS help prepare you for your senior year and after college?

TFAS opened my eyes to the possibilities of my next steps in life. Rather than going straight into law school after graduation, I decided to move to DC to further build up the foundation of professional development that started in the program. TFAS and my mentors have been the moving force that reaffirmed my purpose in life to lead and have a life of service.

For more information on the Institute on Business and Government Affairs and the other programs offered, please visit our website

12 Days of Christmas… Activities in DC!

Washington, DC is a great place to be year round, but we’ve come up with 12 fun activities the city has to offer for the holiday season!

  1. Arlington Cemetery Wreath Laying Ceremony – The annual Wreaths across America event is on Saturday, December 12th. If you’ve never been to the cemetery, this is a great first trip. Insiders Tip: This is a very popular event and metro stops will be very crowded, arrive early!arlington wreath
  2. Stroll around the vendors at the Downtown Holiday Market! This unique village has all you could want: shopping, entertainment and food. The market will be open daily from noon-8pm through December 23rd.
  3. The fan-favorite Trans-Siberian Orchestra is performing at the Verizon Center tomorrow, December 10th. Tickets are still available for this fun holiday concert.
  4. Georgetown GLOW – Head to the popular neighborhood to get a glimpse of the light-art exhibits taking over the festive streets in Georgetown. The exhibits start December 11th and will be up until the 20th.
  5. white houseCheck out DC’s TWO famous Christmas trees: the National Christmas Tree, located at The Ellipse near the White House, and the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, located on the West Front Lawn. There are nightly musical performances at the National Christmas Tree.
  6. Every Tuesday and Thursday in December, the U.S. Botanic Garden hosts Season’s Greenings! You can escape the chilly weather while exploring various DC landmarks made from plants, oversized flowers and one of the largest indoor Christmas trees in the city.
  7. Although outside the DC city limits, the National Harbor has plenty of festive activities throughout the holiday season. “ICE!” an indoor winter wonderland with ice sculptures, slides and other attractions are popular with people of all ages. You also can’t beat the view from Capital Wheel!
  8. Enjoy entertainment, shopping, treats and lots of lights at ZooLights. A light show set to music has been added this year. Visit the National Zoo anytime through January 2nd from 5-9pm; admission is free!
  9. Washington National Cathedral has a number of upcoming concerts and performances to celebrate the season of Christmas.
  10. Venture to the home of George Washington for Christmas at Mount Vernon. The opportunities are endless at the estate – you can watch a historic chocolate-making demonstration, meet the resident camel or take a candlelight tour of the v
  11. Is Christmas complete without seeing The Nutcracker? Lucky for you, The Washington Ballet is performing this holiday classic until December 27th.
  12. There are a number of ice skating rinks in the DC area, but the two most popular are the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink and the Washington Harbour Ice Rink. Both outdoor rinks offer special rates on certain days, skating lessons and fun weekly events!

Alumni Spotlight

We caught up with two Certified Nonprofit Professionals (CNPs) who completed the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (IPVS) this past summer to find out how a summer in DC complemented their nonprofit studies. 

Cayla Rabinowitz is a sophomore at Arizona State University studying nonprofit leadership. This summer she interned with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, an organization that inspires young people to work for justice rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.

Micah Schultz is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in global and international studies. He spent his summer as an intern in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital office. 

Tell us about your summer.

Cayla: “Out of all the work opportunities that I completed so far, I feel that this job successfully prepared me for life in the nonprofit world. I got to participate in board meetings, talk to donors of the organization, complete prospect research, handle personnel and financial files, work in Excel and Salesforce, and even help contribute to programming for the organization. I truly got to be a part of the behind the scenes work of a nonprofit.”

Micah: My summer in DC has greatly impacted my future life and career in many ways. I gained so much confidence [and] have created such incredible connections that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In just 8 weeks I met some of the most inspirational people, some of whom I now consider extremely close friends! I now feel confident that I can push to achieve anything I put my heart to in the nonprofit sector, and I have incredible people backing me and willing to recommend me or just support me whenever I call upon them to do so.”

How did your CNP studies prepare you for this summer? 

Cayla:Being a member of NLA gave me networking skills, and a vast knowledge of the different kinds of nonprofits that exist. These skills prepared me for the class I took this summer, the Political Economy of Nonprofits & Humanitarian Aid, and enabled me to connect with our guest speakers on a different level.”

Micah, you took a leadership role in the IPVS Class Philanthropy Project. How did your Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) experience prepare you for this activity in particular?

Micah: “I was nominated for the Grant Committee, which gave me the opportunity to lead our class’ grant review and selection process. Having gone through a grant writing and approval course, I had a leg up and was able to teach others how to analyze and critique a grant. I found that my minor has given me a running start into the nonprofit sector. I’ve learned skills that some nonprofit professionals never have the opportunity to learn before they enter the field, and have gotten to see all different aspects of a nonprofit, from applying for a 501c3 tax exemption to the implementation of programs to the aspect of development. Most people only get to learn and experience one or two of those in their entirety of working in the nonprofit sector.”

What advice do you have for students considering the IPVS program?

Cayla: Take advantage of all the opportunities that IPVS has to offer. There may be days where you are too tired to go to optional activities. But, the opportunities that are provided are incredible and could easily change your life. IPVS offers so many opportunities to meet people [and] do things that you normally don’t get to see or do. Mange your time so you can do all these wonderful opportunities, no matter how tired you may be!

Micah: “The program has a price tag attached to it. Do not be frightened by this. There are incredible staff at IPVS that are willing to talk every day on the phone for two weeks to ensure you have figured your financials out to attend the program. Also, plan for incredibly fun things around DC. Go to the zoo, listen to Jazz in the Garden on Fridays, attend concerts or sporting events, but most of all, have fun. Be prepared to have your personal views challenged. This will happen many times in the city of politics. Be sure to be open-minded. Ensure you are willing to discuss, not debate, your differences. This is a once in a lifetime experience that millions of people would kill to have. Apply. Be determined. Show IPVS that you want to live, learn, and intern.”

Micah & Cayla

Cayla & Micah were recently featured in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance newsletter. Click here to read the article.

For more information on IPVS please visit

If You Haven’t Already, Make Sure To…

The summer has flown by and your time in Washington is sadly wrapping up. You most likely moved to DC with an overflowing Bucket List of items to accomplish: playing kickball on the National Mall, kayaking on the Potomac, watching the 4th of July fireworks, and much more. What makes DC so unique is that there is almost too many places to go and things to do, and 8 weeks is a short amount of time to fit it all in. Luckily you still have one more weekend to squeeze in last minute items.

To help you out, the PAs have come up with their list of final ‘must-do’ activities before you leave the city:

Ben: Take a trip to “The BEACH” before you leave the District. This one-of-a-kind ‘Beach’ covers 10,000 square feet with nearly one million recyclable plastic balls. Grab a group of friends, buy your $5 student tickets and get lost in the ocean.BEACH

Lucero: Catch a free show at the Kennedy Center! Make a reservation to have dinner with your friends at the Roof Terrace Restaurant which comes with a panoramic view of the city. It’s on the pricey side, but the experience is remarkable.

Savannah: Eat a homemade pop tart at Ted’s Bulletin. There are several different flavors and each one is absolutely delicious! In additional to the traditional flavors, the current seasonal flavor is Key Lime Pie, yum. Ted’s has two convenient locations: 14th Street and on Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Teds

Kendrick: Check out a second hand book store. There’s one in DuPont Circle and another really great one in Eastern Market. They’re a great way to unwind after work or to spend your mornings on the weekends :) And obviously, they’re cheap!

monuments at nightJohn: Take a tour of the monuments at night. Most of the memorials are open late and their illumination makes after dark a perfectly picturesque time to visit. You can do a self-guided walking tour with a group of friends, or sit back, relax and let the experts take you on a bus tour.

A Guide to the 4th of July in DC

Written by Mallie Woodfin – Coordinator, Recruitment & Admissions

Washington, DC is unquestionably one of the top places to be for the 4th of July. The endless activities, exhilarating energy and history of the city make DC a great place to celebrate. We’ve come up with a quick guide to help you enjoy the holiday as a Washingtonian!


  • Independence Day Parade – Put on your red, white and blue and head to
    Constitution Avenue to kick off the holiday. There will be bands, drill teams, balloons and floats. The parade starts at 11:45am.  4th street
  • National’s Game – DC’s baseball team will take on the San Francisco Giants at Nat’s Park at 11:05am. Enjoy a 4th of July hot dog or half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl.
  • Museums – A classic DC activity enhanced during the holiday. Escape the heat and see The Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, or the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History.
  • A Capitol Fourth – If you want to have a true 4th of July in DC, this event can’t be missed! The free concert will be held on the Capitol’s West Lawn at 8pm (gates open at 3pm). For all the West Wing fans out there, actor Bradley Whitford – also known as White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, is the host. He will introduce performers including headliner Barry Manilow, Nicole Scherzinger, KC and The Sunshine Band plus many more. The National Mall will be extremely crowded so plan to arrive early! (Insider Tip: If you want to avoid the crowd, there will be a full dress rehearsal on Friday night.)

The DC fireworks show is one to be remembered! What could be a better backdrop than The Capitol and iconic monuments? And the best part is there really isn’t a bad place to sit and take in the outstanding performance:

  • The National Mall – This is an obvious yet perfect place to watch the show. You are sure to have a great view no matter where you sit. While The Mall is pretty big, it will fill up quicker than you’d imagine so get there early!4th
  • Gravelly Point Park – Many people flock to this park on the Potomac to catch the views from Virginia.
  • Georgetown Waterfront – Grab a quick bite to eat from one of the many restaurants in the area and enjoy the show water-side. (Insider Tip: The Key Bridge is a less common viewpoint to try.)
  • On the Potomac – If being on dry land isn’t what you have in mind, take your celebration to the river! There are a number of cruises offering food, drinks and an unbeatable view. While this option is a little pricey, a cheaper alternative is renting a kayak from one of the boathouses around the city.

If food is on the top of your to-do list, two ‘presidential’ restaurants are a good place to be!

  • Lincoln – The trendy restaurant is a hotspot throughout the year. They are hosting an Independence Day Party on Saturday with bottomless BBQ and a DJ.
  • Teddy and the Bully Bar – The sister restaurant to Lincoln is hosting a ‘Cue and Crabs’ party from 2-11pm.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Transportation – The metro will be extra crowded this weekend. If you are going to The Mall, get on/off at a stop a few stops away to avoid congestion. Metro will run on a Saturday schedule on Friday and Saturday until 2pm, with increased service before and after the fireworks. (Insider Tip: Taxis and ubers may be hard to come by with the extra influx of people in the city. If you can, try to stay within walking distance of your housing.)
  • Security – There will be a number of checkpoints along the National Mall and other surrounding areas. People, bags and coolers are subject to inspection, and no alcoholic beverages will be permitted.
  • Stay in groups and be aware – This applies to anytime you explore a city, but especially during busy holidays. Always have a buddy with you, make sure your group knows where you are going and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be prepared – It is likely to be a long and hot day. Pack plenty of water, food and sunscreen to last you throughout the day.


The Art of Networking

Written by Savannah Hostetter – Program Advisor, the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems

Networking is an important skill for every young professional to master. I prefer to think of networking as relationship building. There’s an art to it, here’s how it works:

Step 1) The First Impression: You will attend events filled with professionals eligible to help you in your career. From the moment you walk in the door, you want to make a good impression.

A firm handshake, proper eye contact, and a clean, appropriate appearance are the necessary keys to starting a good conversation.

networking guyOnce the conversation begins, listen, participate and ask a couple of questions. If the person’s interests start to align with your passions, keep the conversation going. Talking too much or only about yourself (especially your resume) can be off-putting. As a popular quote goes, “It is better for people to think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Be Smart. Be Real. Be Likeable.

Step 2) The Connection: At the end of an engaging conversation, ask for his or her business card. It is better to get the contact information of one person you are genuinely interested in than to meet as many people as possible. It’s the old quality over quantity principle.

Remember, networking isn’t a competition. Too many interns make the mistake of handing out business cards like Halloween candy.

Be memorable (in a good way) and make an authentic connection.Network card

Step 3) The Follow Up: As the intern, it is your responsibility to initiate the second conversation. You must continue the professional relationship. Send a quick follow up email containing “Hello John, It was a pleasure meeting you at the Press Club luncheon on Friday. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about the impact of higher education on a person’s financial decisions…..”  Request to meet again. Offering to buy the person a cup of coffee is typically a safe bet.

Step 4) Making It Real: Last but not least, when it comes to networking, it is important to never view people as simply a means to an end. Instead, view people as people.  Yes, some individuals might be able to help you land your dream job. However, network with people who can help you in the greater scheme of life.  Connect with professionals who genuinely care about what you are passionate about.

Make friends rather than contacts.

Jane Austin states, “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”  In the end, if the new relationship you’ve built leads to a job, that’s awesome. If not, you’ve gained a friend and more than likely learned something new all while mastering the art of networking along the way.