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

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.


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.”


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

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.


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.

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


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

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

Alumni Spotlight – Meredith Wohl

After spending the summer of 2015 in DC giving tours of the national monuments and working as a photographer, Meredith Wohl returned to The District this past summer to participate in the Institute on Political Jmeredith-1ournalism.

Meredith, a senior at the College of Charleston, spent her summer as the Digital Media Intern for the American Trucking Association’s publication, Transport Topics News.

meredith-2On campus, Meredith serves as General Manager of her university’s radio station where she manages a team of 150 fellow students and hosts to weekly programs. She is also the Vice President of the Debate Team, Contributing Editor of The Odyssey and writer for SceneSC.

Meredith is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). Read their blog on her summer with TFAS, valuable advice she learned during the program and her future goals in the journalism world.

For more information on our programs, please visit

Holiday Season in The District

While Washington, DC is filled with fun, free things to do year round, the holiday season is an extra special time to experience the city. We’ve rounded up top activities and events for you to see and do in The District over the next few weeks.

Take a trip to the front of the White House and you will find the National Christmas Tree. Nightly performances will begin the week of December 8th. Walk down the National Mall to see the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree that traveled 4,000 miles to DC all the way from Idaho. The Lighting Ceremony will take place on December 6th at the Capitol’s West Lawn. While you’re on The Mall, escape the cold to the U.S. Botanic Garden’s ‘Season’s Greenings: National Parks and Historic Places’. The exhibit features one of the largest indoor Christmas tress adorned with ornaments from national parks. Live music will be offered on certain days of the week.

national-christmas-treeThere are plenty of holiday shows and concerts to choose from at various theaters around the city. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is playing at the National Theatre from December 13th-31st. The Washington Ballet will be preforming the holiday classic The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre until December 24th. The National Cathedral has a full schedule of holiday concerts this month.grinch

Do you still need to do some last minute shopping? Head to the Downtown Holiday Market held daily from noon-8pm at 8th and F streets until December 23rd. Georgetown is one of the best shopping neighborhoods in the city. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Georgetown Glow – a light art display throughout the area – in addition to the other stores.
If you want to see more lights, the National Zoo’s ZooLights is open until January 1st.


waaIf you are looking to explore outside the city, you can volunteer for Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery on December 17th. ‘ICE! Christmas Around the World’ at the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor is an interactive winter wonderland fun for all ages.

Have a wonderful holiday season in DC!

Alumni Spotlight – U.S. Army Vet to TFAS Alum

Written by Mallie Woodfin – Manager, Recruitment and Admissions

Jordan Lopez is currently in the midst of his senior year at DePaul University. This summer, he was a participant in the Institute on Economics and International Affairs (IEIA) and interned with the Rumsfeld Foundation.

Jordan is a veteran of the United States Army and works at his university as a Veteran Liaison assisting in the use of education benefits. He has traveled to 15 different countries which, along with his experience in the military, helped develop his interest in international studies.lopez-2

Jordan was chosen to represent IEIA and speak about the ‘learn’ element of the program at the Closing Ceremony.

“Each of these classes has been among the most exciting, challenging, and engaging courses I have taken in my academic career.”

While his speech focused on what he learned academically during the summer, he touched on how much he learned outside the classroom from briefings with officials from the White House and the House Committee on Homeland Security, guest lectures and events with TFAS alumni to name a few.

lopez1Jordan first heard about our program from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). You can read their blog post on his summer here.

For more information on our summer programs please visit