PA Testimonial – Collin

Written by Collin Miller – Program Advisor, Leadership and the American Presidency

Ever since my middle school class trip to DC I have always wanted to live and work in Washington. Even at a young age,  I was struck by the degree to which American and world history comes alive every day on the streets of our nation’s capital. The monuments commemorating the people, movements, eras, and events of our history create a palpable, yet indescribable, feeling that is not replicated in other large American cities like New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, or Los Angeles. Whether it is your first time in Washington or you are native, you will definitely feel the energy of the city even more noticeably with the knowledge that you will be spending a phenomenal summer living, learning, and interning in the world capital of policymaking.

When I found out about The Fund for American Studies, I knew it was the perfect program for me. I was particularly struck by the ethos of TFAS and its steadfast commitment to giving students a behind-the-scenes view of Washington. In fact, this was my favorite aspect of my TFAS summer, the diversity, and breadth of events meant to provide extremely impactful experiences to participants. Whether it was hearing from Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee on Capitol Hill, visiting an active DC Circuit Court of Appeals judge, attending a briefing at the State Department, or touring the British Embassy, TFAS events had a profound impact on me and solidified my resolve to return to Washington. I am so excited to be returning as a Program Advisor for the Leadership and the American Presidency program this summer!

I also was blessed with an internship with eBay’s Government Relation’s Office, where I was able to advocate for internet-enabled small businesses and engage in international trade and customs law. Even though this was not what I originally anticipated doing in Washington, the professional staff at eBay served as absolutely phenomenal mentors and encouraged me to pursue my own passions and curiosity. As a result of my internship, I can now gladly talk for hours about the effects of the internet on small businesses and trade between the U.S. and Canada, something I never knew I have a passion for.

The course I enrolled in as a part of my DC summer was another added layer of excellence to my TFAS summer experience. Our course heavily emphasized experiential learning and most days we left the classroom for the lessons of the city, visiting the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the White House Visitor’s Center, the U.S. Department of Education, the Reagan International Trade Center, Ford’s Theatre, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This made my TFAS academic experiences more impactful than nearly anything I had done at my home university because I felt that I was actually living the material in a way that simply was not possible anywhere else!

Socially, TFAS allowed me to meet people from around the nation and the world who were extremely intelligent and passionate about their careers. Every TFAS participant I met was dedicated to the idea of service to others, whether it was through dedication to non-profit and charity work or to ethical business leadership. TFAS participants are dedicated to changing the world for the better. I will never forget spending a sweltering DC Saturday afternoon kayaking on the Potomac, waiting in line at Georgetown Cupcakes, or seeing the Star-Spangled Banner on Independence Day with friends from all over the nation that I know will last a lifetime. Remember to take advantage of the connections you make with your peers because they will be the best support system during your time in Washington and throughout your career!

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

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 – 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

Alumni Profile – Avery Jamison

Written by Rachel Sullivan – Program Advisor, Institute on Business and Government Affairs
Other than driving through or stopping to get a bite to eat, Avery Jamison had never been in Washington, D.C. for an extended period of time. He knew that he wanted an exceptional internship the summer before his junior year at Elon University in North Carolina. That’s why he joined TFAS for a summer in the Institute on Business and Government Affairs:

I was fascinated by their commitment to providing students with exceptional internships, networking events, and events that proved to be beneficial for me as a growing professional individual and as a millennial American. I wanted my first internship to be somewhere I can grow and learn as much as I can, and I was confident TFAS would provide that kind of experience for me, especially in Washington, D.C.”

avery internshipAvery interned for the Toy Industry Association, where he was challenged on a day-to-day basis with interpreting toy regulations and standards. Over the course of the summer he wrote about 250 interpretations in a document about 150 pages long. He also attended Congressional hearings and lobbied with representatives from other toy and manufacturing companies.

Outside of work, Avery studied hard for his economics class and explored DC with friends. However, his favorite aspect of the summer was the multiple professional and networking opportunities provided by TFAS:

I particularly enjoyed the Embassy of Australia briefing where I learned about our positive U.S.-Australia relations, what it’s like to visit and live in Australia, and, most importantly for me, what it takes to work at an Embassy and some of the day-to-day operations of that responsibility.”aj-australia 

Avery plans to receive a bachelor’s in International Studies (European concentration), with minors in French & Business Administration. He then plans to attend graduate school and eventually receive a Master’s in International Relations. But he doesn’t plan to stop there—he is even considering volunteering with the Peace Corps or Teach for America to explore the world and do volunteer work at the same time. His ambitious and ultimate life goal is to work and live in France, preferably at the U.S. Embassy, and receive a dual-citizenship there.

For more information on our program, please visit