newsId: BAB740A9-5056-AF26-BEB1FB8AE117B464
Title: "Running From Office" Goes to the Capitol
Author: Lee Ivory
Subtitle:
Abstract: On Thursday, June 18, SPA professor Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox went to the Capitol to present their new book in a discussion with CNN anchor John King.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 06/25/2015
Content:

An engaged crowd of students, policy practitioners, and more turned out recently for a book signing and discussion. Jennifer Lawless, director of SPA’s Women & Politics Institute, and Richard L. Fox, political science professor at Loyola Marymount University, spoke about their new book, Running From Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics.

The discussion was held on Thursday, June 18 at the Capitol Visitors Center in downtown Washington, D.C., and was moderated by CNN anchor John King. SPA covered the event live on social media. Also attending were two former members of Congress: Connie Morella and Barbara Kennelly.

The book is unique in that it uses a national survey to mine the opinions of more than 4,000 high school and college students, as well as more than 100 in-depth interviews, to show that the overwhelming majority view the political system as ineffective and unappealing.

The data showing young people’s apathy about politics as a career is startling, considering there are more than 500,000 elective offices in the United States, many of which serve as stepping stones to higher office.

“Young people are interested in saving the world. They care about making their communities a better place. But they don’t consider electoral politics a way to achieve those goals,” said Lawless, whose book was published by Oxford University Press.

In one set of questions, Lawless and Fox gave students four career options—business owner, teacher, mayor of a city or town and salesperson—and asked them which they would most like to be, assuming that each paid the same. Nine of 10 chose a career other than mayor as their first choice. Nearly 40 percent reported that it would be their least desired job.

In their book, Lawless and Fox suggest five ways to get young people excited about running for office.

  • YouLead Initiative is a national service program with the message that young people are needed to foster new leadership.
  • Playstation for Politics is a way to engage young people on a platform where they already spend a lot of time: video games.
  • Political Ambition—Put That in Your Bong and Smoke It proposes making political engagement – following current events and policy debates - a fundamental part of the college application experience.
  • Girls Uninterrupted—Increase College Women’s Political Ambition would mentor and encourage young women to consider running for elected office. College men in the survey indicated they are twice as likely as college women to run for office.
  • The Go Run App would identify all elected offices throughout the country. Users would enter their zip code and learn what elected positions are available in that community, the responsibilities associated with each and the nuts and bolts involved in running for them.

For Lawless and Fox, these tools represent the first set of positive actions that can raise interest in their greater goal: Helping young people run for office, instead of running from it. “If young people saw politics as a vibrant, effective way to engage with and improve their communities and society,” Lawless and Fox said, “then more of them would not be turned off by the thought of entering the fray.”

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Title: Professor Anna Amirkhanyan to Receive Robert Cleary Award for Excellence
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Abstract: SPA Professor Anna Amirkhanyan was selected to receive the Robert Cleary Award for Excellence in Public Affairs Research.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 06/17/2015
Content:

School of Public Affairs Professor Anna A. Amirkhanyan has been selected to receive the Robert Cleary Award for Excellence in Public Affairs Research.

The annual $5,000 fellowship is named in honor of Robert Cleary, professor emeritus, who also was once interim president of American University. The award is given to a School of Public Affairs (SPA) faculty member for an exemplary research publication related to the non-profit sector.

"I am delighted to see Professor Amirkhanyan receive this recognition and support," said SPA Dean Barbara Romzek. "The fact that her research has appeared in the top journals in the field is testament to the high quality of her scholarship. The expanding role of nonprofits in the delivery of social services makes her high-quality research especially valuable for its ability to impact the world of practice as well as theory."

Amirkhanyan received the award for co-authoring, The Performance Puzzle: Understanding the Factors Influencing Alternative Dimensions and Views of Performance, which was published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (January 2014).

"It is an honor for me to receive an award that recognizes Professor Robert Cleary and his 36 years of dedicated service to the American University," Amirkhanyan said. "While I haven't had a chance to work with Professor Cleary, who retired in 2001, many of my colleagues remember Bob as a fantastic scholar and exceptional colleague."

"The fact that this is an anonymous gift from an SPA graduate makes this award particularly meaningful to me. It reflects SPA's continuous commitment not only to high-quality research but also to excellent teaching," she added.

Amirkhanyan's research and teaching focuses on public and nonprofit management, public sector reform, organizational performance, social policy, research methodology and intellectual history of public administration. Her articles have been published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory; Public Administration Review; the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management; the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy; and the International Journal of Public Administration.

Amirkhanyan received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from Syracuse University; M.S. in Nonprofit Management from New School University; and B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yerevan State University.

The Cleary Award was established through the support of an anonymous graduate of the School of Public Affairs. The gift honors Cleary's contributions to American University and its School of Public Affairs.

In his many years at AU, Cleary was a faculty member, interim president, provost and dean of SPA.

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Title: Entrepreneur Andrew Levine Returns to Kogod Seeking Millennial Perspective
Author: Kali Linette
Subtitle:
Abstract: Entrepreneur and Kogod alumnus, Andrew Levine, returned to his alma mater to gain millennial perspective on his company’s latest product, Sunburn Alert, while giving business advice along the way.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/15/2015
Content:

Andrew Levine, SPA/BA '86 and CEO of JADS International, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Both his father and grandfather manufactured and sold shoes. At American University, Levine found his passion for business and continued his family’s entrepreneurial legacy.

Originally, Levine wanted to tie law and business together, but an internship changed his path.

"For a short period of time, when I was at American University, I interned at a law firm and right away I knew it was not for me. Business was the way I wanted to go…it was the best decision I ever made," Levine said.

After graduating, Levine wanted to jump straight into business. For a short time, he worked for a small family company before pursuing his own endeavors.

He flourished in the business world, first at Stone Care International (SCI) in 1990. Levine developed surfacing products and sealants for granite and stone before selling SCI in 2004.

Levine's latest development, Sunburn Alert, a JADS International product, focuses on skin care instead of stone care. Wanting to gain millennial perspective on marketing the UV-detecting wristband, Levine returned to his alma mater to partner with first-year MBA students.

"I know that the school has very high standards for their education and students… it has always been very reliable," said Levine

During the course of the spring semester, Levine tasked student groups with devising a strategic marketing plan for Sunburn Alert. They used guidelines and resources from Levine to tackle to project.

"We were given a fictional budget of $250,000 to increase brand awareness and market share," said Steve Beam, MBA '16.

Groups conducted primary and secondary research to evaluate the marketplace. Surveys and interviews helped them understand the target market's attitudes towards skin care and their awareness of Sunburn Alert.

"After getting a better understanding of…recent trends, we sent out a survey of questions to about 100 people…[and] conducted four in-depth interviews with acquaintances to learn about the potential market and hear customers' opinions," said Kendra Clark, MBA '16.

In late April, the groups presented their findings for Levine and his wife, Julie, SOC/BA '87. Expectations were high, as Levine was eager to see what his company could improve upon.

"Having the students do their own research gives us new avenues and new ways to look at the market and understand who we're selling to," said Levine. "Other people’s hindsight is important for our foresight," he said.

Beam and Clark's group focused on building brand awareness through corporate partnerships.

"We suggested working with dermatologist offices in [Washington, D.C.] to hand out [Sunburn Alert bracelets] at each visit and partnering with amusement park resort properties to provide samples," said Beam.

Levine was impressed with the students' presentations and plans to use some of their suggestions.

"I critiqued each presentation. All of the students did a great job," said Levine. "I was able to teach students the actualities and the reality of what takes place in running a business," he said.

"We've already updated our website and are working from a new social media plan based on students' suggestions. Buying season starts in July for 2016, and some of the concepts they had, we’re actually going to introduce," said Levine.

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Title: Ruth Wagner Appointed Director of the MSOD Program
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Abstract: SPA is pleased to announce the appointment of Ruth Wagner as director of AU School of Public Affairs’ Master of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) Program.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 06/10/2015
Content:

The School of Public Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Ruth Wagner as director of AU School of Public Affairs’ Master of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) Program.

Professor Wagner, the sixth director in MSOD history, has taught at AU for the past 10 years. She is a ’98 graduate of the MSOD program and holds a doctorate from the Fielding Graduate University’s School of Human and Organization Development, the field’s leading doctoral program for Organization Development scholar-practitioners.

“I really enjoy doing this,” she said of her work with the MSOD program. “AU has one of the top programs in the country. People come in from the West Coast, the Midwest, Florida and New York. We even have someone who comes in every month from Dubai. It’s an executive-format program that meets one weekend a month for 21 months.”

Wagner spent twenty years as an independent organizational consultant to executives of large firms, providing guidance on strategy development, communication and outreach. In this role, she chaired the Organization Development and Change Management Knowledge Center for four years where she designed and led sessions in conflict management, feedback, and large group interviews.

From 1988 to 2004, she was vice president of American Management Systems, advising the Department of Defense on organizational change and assessment and strategic planning.

The field of organization development is rapidly maturing, and Wagner’s role with MSOD is to ensure the program keeps up with that constant change. She is especially proud that MSOD is so highly regarded.

“We had an external review last summer and we had two highly distinguished and well-regarded academics in the field of OD come in. They talked to almost 70 people in our system – students, alum, faculty, staff, everything. And their finding is that it is a distinctive and elite program among its peers,” she said. “One of the observations they made is that the alumni are so committed to future program graduates. They’re just willing to do whatever they can do to support the program and the current the students.”

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Title: SPA Brings Strong Presence to PMRA Conference
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Abstract: SPA is preparing to have great presence at this week’s PMRA Conference, which is hosted by the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, June 11-13.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 06/09/2015
Content:

The School of Public Affairs is preparing for a strong presence at this week’s Public Management Research Association (PMRA) Conference, which is hosted by the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, June 11-13.

The conference will feature the works of researchers in the United States and around the world in the arena of public policy management. Scholars recognize the PMRA Conference to be one of the leading gatherings in the field of public policy.

Of special note, SPA will support the conference with live social media coverage, curation and daily wrap-up emails. You can sign up for daily wrap-up emails here.

SPA faculty members and PhD students presenting at PMRA Conference include:

  • SPA Senior Associate Dean Vicky Wilkins – Policy Implementation; The Significance of Gender
  • Professor Jocelyn Johnston - Contracting
  • Professor Anna Amirkhanyan - Human Services Networks; Implementation
  • Professor Lewis Faulk - Performance Management
  • Professor Steven Putansu - Performance through Collaboration
  • Ph.D. candidate Nadeen Makhlouf - Governance in International Context
  • Ph.D. candidate Amanda Stewart - Human Resource Management: Recruitment, Hiring, Training and Appraisal
  • Ph.D. candidate Matthew Vanderschuere - Leadership and Performance
  • SPA Dean Barbara Romzek – Plenary: The State and Public Management

During the conference, Jocelyn Johnston, professor of public administration and policy, will join the PMRA board as a newly elected member. At the same time, Anna Amirkhanyan, associate professor of public administration and policy, will complete her three-year term on the PMRA board.

“My thanks and congratulations go to Anna and to Jocelyn for dedicating their time and talents to the PMRA Board,” said Barbara Romzek, dean of AU’s School of Public Affairs. “And I am thrilled to see our faculty and PhD student presence at the conference. I look forward to an exciting meeting.”

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Title: AU's School of Public Affairs' Key Executive Conference 2015
Author: Lee Ivory
Subtitle: Addressing Leadership in a Complex World
Abstract: The 6th Annual Key Executive Conference was a resounding success this year, with more than 200 people turning out for the sold-out event.
Topic: In the Community
Publication Date: 05/28/2015
Content:

More than 200 people turned out for the Sixth-Annual Key Executive Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The conference, held on May 13th, was designed to help busy career federal executives seeking to cultivate their leadership skills and learn solutions to public policy implementation challenges.

This year’s conference focused on leadership in a complex world and featured leadership expert and acclaimed author Jennifer Garvey Berger as the keynote speaker. Garvey Berger talked about new ways leaders need to act, think, and be while facing challenges in today’s VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world.

Garvey Berger described the habits of mind that today’s public leaders need to meet adaptive challenges, set direction, build organizational cultures and make decisions fit for a complex world.

“This is the third year that we've sold out,” said School of Public Affairs’ Patrick Malone, director of the Key Executive Leadership Programs. “We've moved the event to a bigger venue to accommodate the growing interest in the event. I’m thrilled with the attendance and positive response.”

Participants received a copy of Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston's new book, Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders.

In feedback from the event, attendees said the conference was informative and insightful. “I learned a lot, and even more from hearing how my peers approach similar challenges at their respective agencies," one attendee wrote.

For 40 years, the Key Executive Programs at AU’s School of Public Affairs have offered training and mentoring that’s designed to enhance the leadership skills of public sector executives. More information on Key can be found here.

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Title: American University Ranks No. 1 Nationally for PMF Finalists
Author: Devin Symons
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU maintains top position with nine more finalists this year.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/28/2015
Content:

Over the past five years AU has emerged as a national leader in producing Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalists and semi-finalists. This year, AU ranked first among all universities, with 43 finalists in the Presidential Management Fellow class of 2015. Despite a more competitive recruitment process, the university produced nine more finalists this year than in 2014. 

Alumni participation in the PMF coaching process and in-depth coaching by AU staff are integral components of AU's ability to lead national PMF rankings while remaining a medium-sized university.

"Our very large and loyal corps of PMF alumni are instrumental every year in mentoring our PMF semi-finalists;and when they become finalists the alums again step up to advise them on landing positions as Fellows," says Career Center and PMF advisor Robert SanGeorge.

Loren Miller, CAS/PhD '12, credits AU students' continued success to the hard work of the Career Center and its cadre of PMF advisors and supporters.  

"[AU] provided every piece of support that I could possibly need: informational meetings, alumni chats, individual coaching sessions, group interview practice, and general emotional support."

Mario Weber, SPA/MA '13, agrees, elaborating on Miller's point.

"I found that becoming a finalist required a very nuanced understanding of what the PMF program is looking for in candidates," said Weber. "I am very thankful for the insight [the advisors] provided, particularly when it came to preparing for the in-person assessment. It provided a definite advantage for myself and other AU candidates."

This year's finalists reflect strong personal motivations and a desire to serve at a national level, values that are at the core of the AU experience. Since entering graduate school, Miller dreamed of working at large government museums like the Smithsonian. She is excited about the possibilities they present for public education. 

"Institutions like the Smithsonian bring history out of academia and provide an accessible and engaging way for everyone to understand the past," said Miller. "They are vital cultural and educational resources that help people think more critically about the past and make them better citizens of the world. I decided to apply for the PMF because I thought it was a unique opportunity that would give me the chance to fulfill my desire to better the country as a public servant."

Weber, who left a career in law to work as a paramedic, is looking for an opportunity to give back on a larger scale. 

"My public service career thus far has focused on emergency medical services, which exist at the intersection of public safety, public health, and emergency preparedness," he said. "My goal is to obtain a challenging PMF placement that allows me to make a meaningful contribution to one or more of these areas at the federal level."

In her time at AU, Grace Fennell, WCL/SIS/JD/MA '14—another finalist—balanced a full course load with internships at the International Labor Organization, United Nations Development Program, and Human Rights Watch. She heard from several professors that PMF was the best way to jumpstart a career at the State Department.

"I hope to become a PMF fellow for the State Department and learn more about how to be a better public servant—specifically in the field of U.S. foreign policy," said Fennell. 

The members of AU's 2015 record-breaking cohort now have one year to land a position within the federal government, competing with a total of 600 finalists nationwide for about 400 Fellow positions. The odds are in their favor. In 2014, the average conversion rate for PMF finalists across the country was near 60%, while AU's conversion rate was over 95%. 

"The reason I went to law school was to make a difference and serve the American public," said Fennell. "I believe being a PMF gives me the best platform to start a career path towards achieving those goals."

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Title: SPA Has Strong Presence at the Risky Behaviors Conference in Turkey
Author: Lee Ivory
Subtitle:
Abstract: Faculty members and a Ph.D. student from the School of Public Affairs recently made an impactful showing at this year's AMERB conference in Izmir, Turkey.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 05/27/2015
Content:

A delegation of faculty members and a Ph.D. student from the School of Public Affairs made an impactful showing at the 7th Annual Meeting on the Economics of Risky Behaviors (AMERB) in Izmir, Turkey.

The conference, which was organized jointly by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany and the School of Public Affairs this year, has become one of the top platforms for scholars to present state-of-the-art research on preventable health behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, unprotected sex, poor diets and sedentary lifestyles as well as criminal behavior.

The goal is to advance scientific knowledge on the causes and consequences of these behaviors and ultimately help policymakers come up with evidence-based solutions to deter these kinds of behaviors. The conference was established in 2009 by SPA's Erdal Tekin and Amelie Constant, the Director of Migration Program at IZA. It was first held in Washington, D.C. and followed by events in Atlanta, Bonn, Istanbul, Zurich, and Medellin.

This year's event has been chronicled on social media, using the hashtag, #AMERB. More information on this year's participants and the program are available here.

SPA Dean Barbara Romzek gave opening remarks at the conference, which also included three SPA discussants: professors Seth Gershenson and Taryn Morrissey, and Ph.D. student Katie Vinopal.

"Over the years, this conference has gained such a high reputation, not only because of the quality and strength of its program and participants, but also the quality of the venue," Tekin said. "This is because a strong program is only possible with a strong set of submitted papers and this is directly related to the location of the conference."

"Every year, we receive more than 100 submissions from researchers all over the world for only 14 spots available at the conference," Tekin added. "Accordingly, such high demand enables us to have a high quality program."

A curated social media feed provided a live forum for the SPA community to witness the research and policy presented by SPA faculty and scholars. Notably, future students and scholars of risky behaviors can go directly to the curated #AMERB social media page without having to dig through an avalanche of social media posts.

What's particularly useful about such an approach is that it saves the social media presence surrounding the conference for posterity.

Tekin pointed out that SPA was a full partner with IZA in this year's conference. "SPA's presence and partnership has contributed to the growing reputation of the conference significantly," Tekin said. "At the same time, the conference has also allowed SPA to have a valuable voice in an important and policy-relevant debate, advance its visibility, impact and reputation internationally...(and) facilitated interactions between its faculty and students with some of the world's leading researchers in the field."

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Title: Honoring the Legacy of Dotty Lynch
Author: Elizabeth Neville
Subtitle:
Abstract: Students, faculty, and friends gathered to celebrate the impact of Dotty Lynch on the field of political communication.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/26/2015
Content:

On May 20, 2015, colleagues, students, and family of Dotty Lynch gathered in the McKinley Building to celebrate and honor the professor’s remarkable legacy at American University. 

Professor Lynch, a journalist and pollster who infused students with a love of politics and the political process, passed away in 2014. She left a great legacy of work in political communications and inspired many of her students. Lynch was a pioneer in her field as the first woman chief polltaker for a presidential campaign. She served two decades as the CBS News senior political editor and was a member of CBS News and New York Times polling consortium. 

In addition to her remarkable career accomplishments, one of Dotty’s greatest joys was working with her students and exposing them to the political industry in Washington, DC. At American University, as executive in residence, she shepherded the development of the joint master of arts in political communication in the School of Communication and School of Public Affairs. 

At the May 20 gathering, a video honoring the life and accomplishments of Lynch was presented.

Molly O’Rourke, the current co-director of the Political Communication program, followed the video by saying,

“The power of that video is the students’ tributes to Dotty and the role she played in shaping their career goals and really their lives. And that’s what this event and this scholarship is all about—paying tribute to Dotty in a way that puts the focus very much on the students.”

One of Lynch’s former students, Rachel Coyle, SOC-SPA/MA '15, experienced first-hand Lynch’s commitment to her students. During her remarks, she shared that Lynch not only helped to influence her decision to join the Political Communication program, but she also made it her personal mission to ensure that Rachel had the funding that she needed to pursue her degree at AU and professional ambitions. During her remarks, Rachel said,

“I think a scholarship is the perfect way to honor Dotty’s memory. She worked so hard to secure funding for students who wouldn't have been able to attend AU otherwise. Now it's like she gets to continue doing that for years to come. I think that would have meant so much to her.”

Lynch’s husband, Morgan Downey, along with the gifts from family, friends, and colleagues established the Dotty Lynch Endowed Scholarship Fund to honor her memory and support AU students. At this week’s reception celebrating Lynch, Morgan remarked,

"We have over $75,000 in the bank and over 85 individuals donated. I only had to ask people and this was such a natural expression.”

This fall, the first scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding graduate student with financial need who exemplifies Lynch’s passion for politics, journalism, and ethics, while embracing her commitment to excellence in the field. 

Thanks to the generous support from those who knew Lynch, her great impact on the field of political communications will continue to be felt far into the future as her students pursue their own careers, inspired by her passion and teaching. 

If you would like to make a gift to honor Professor Lynch’s memory and support a deserving student, please visit: http://alumniassociation.american.edu/dottylynch.

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Title: Leadership Students Bring Talents to the White House
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Abstract: Since 2011, ten Leadership Program students have brought their talents to internships in the White House.
Topic: In the Community
Publication Date: 05/20/2015
Content:

Eesha Bhave remembers seeing the White House for the first tie during her 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C. Six short years later, Bhave spends forty hours per week interning with the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Bhave is joined by senior Lori Interlicchio, who currently interns in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Together Bhave and Interlicchio join a growing legion of Leadership students to intern for White House.

Since 2011, ten Leadership students have brought their talents to the White House Visitors Office, Office of Legislative Affairs, Council of Economic Advisors, Domestic Policy Council, Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Management and Administration, Office of Public Engagement and Office of the Vice President.

In her internship, Bhave is afforded the opportunity to have an impact on policies affecting Asian American and Pacific Islanders, “I am working on issues such as civil rights, language access, and youth engagement.”

The sophomore year of the Leadership program allowed Bhave and Interlicchio to be competitive applicants for this semester’s White House internship. Bhave explained, “The work I completed in the sophomore class for leadership opened my eyes to this particular office and the work that it does, and gave me the confidence and experience to apply.”

Senior Cj Murphy returned to classes this fall after taking a semester off to intern in the president’s humble abode. Spending a semester in the Office of Management and Administration deepened Murphy’s understanding of being committed to one’s work: “Each person there, from the cleaning staff to the Chief of Staff, is so passionate about what they do and inspired me to work hard and take pride in everything I did there, no matter how big or small.”

In addition to interning in the White House, Leadership students frequent the White House for the debut of initiatives, legislative signings, and even to introduce the President himself. Sophomore Wes Young’s involvement with sexual assault prevention on college campuses led to an invitation to discuss the “It’s On Us” campaign with other student leaders in the West Wing.

Alumnus Deon Jones (’14) joined President Obama and General Colin Powell for the signing of the Declaration to Fulfill America’s Promise in the Oval Office. Alumnus Andy MacCracken (’12) was recognized for leading the college affordability charge in the nation’s capital with an invitation to introduce President Obama before delivering remarks on student loan debt.

Leadership students are afforded the unique opportunity to use their “strengths and skills to help in the administration’s efforts to serve the country,” Murphy observed.

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Title: Dedicated to Diversity: Alumna is United Way’s Chief Diversity Officer
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Darlene Slaughter’s love of people and teaching, plus her AU degree, fuels her passion for inclusion.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/15/2015
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“Having more diversity in the workforce will give a company or organization better results, have people collaborating better together, and ultimately impact the bottom line,” says Darlene Slaughter, SPA/MSHR ’93, who was recently named chief diversity officer at United Way Worldwide after spending many years at Fannie Mae, where she was also chief diversity officer.

The United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit organization. Its mission is to create community solutions in support of education, income, and health. United Way is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide.

At United Way Worldwide, the leadership and support organization for the global network, Darlene is responsible for ensuring diversity and inclusion are valued both at United Way Worldwide as well as all local United Ways. She represents the United Way at conferences, highlighting its efforts to reach across cultural boundaries. She also helps recruit and develop talent for the organization and travels to local United Way offices as a guest speaker or to create a strategy if they are struggling to reach a particular community of people.

“It’s a dream job because it encompasses everything from being the classroom teacher, to helping organizations think about how they are designed, to mentoring, and being a spokesperson for the United Way. … It’s an honor,” Darlene says.

Darlene’s dedication to diversity stemmed from her lifelong desire to be a teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Howard University, and although she never taught in a classroom, Darlene always found herself in jobs that required her to educate others. She loved working with and teaching people, so it only seemed natural to pursue her master’s degree in human resources and organizational development.

“You learn about organizations and systems and human behavior but ultimately, the program itself is all about you, the individual, and what role you play in the world and how you create change in the world. It was enlightening to learn about yourself and what makes you the way you are, and then how you can use yourself as a tool to help others. It’s very powerful,” she says. “You are the change agent that organizations need; that’s what the degree is all about.”

Darlene has returned to campus and spoken to current students in the program through her friendship with Professor Mark Clark. She has also mentored students she met in Professor Clark’s classroom, always happy to answer questions or offer advice. She likes to give back, she says, because, “To this day, I look back and see that the work I am doing today absolutely is informed by everything I learned at AU.”

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Title: Key Alumna Helps Lead U.S. Response to Ebola and Other World Crises
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Mia Beers recently returned from West Africa where she helped support the U.S. government's response to Ebola.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/09/2015
Content:

When a catastrophic disaster hits a region of the world and the United States is sending assistance, chances are American University alumna Mia Beers, SPA/MPA '10, is a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

This past year, she says, has seen an unusually high amount of disasters, which means that instead of staying in D.C. to coordinate the government response, Mia and many other USAID staff have been deployed in the field.

In November and December of 2014, Mia was asked to lead the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) tasked with helping coordinate and support the U.S. government's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Mia was based in Liberia but oversaw teams on the ground in that country as well as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Mali.

As team leader, she worked in partnership with the CDC, U.S. Public Health Service, and Department of Defense to provide treatment units, medical supplies such as personal protective equipment, and direct funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies. Her team also provided critical information to teams on the ground and the media, monitoring the outbreak and reporting on the evolving situation.

"There is a really incredible group of people from the U.S. government -– USAID and other agencies –- responding to Ebola in West Africa," Mia says. "I was just one of many people working on the response. The United States should be proud of its efforts in West Africa."

In any given year, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance will send humanitarian aid to people on behalf of U.S. citizens in response to between 60 and 80 disasters. Four major efforts at the moment include: helping West Africa respond to Ebola, aiding those affected by the South Sudan conflict, working with victims of the Syrian conflict, and assisting displaced populations in Iraq.

When she isn't part of the on-the-ground response, Mia heads USAID's Humanitarian Policy and Global Engagement team, which supports U.S. disaster assistance. Her team helps with strategic communication and information dissemination, facilitates inter-agency relationships, coordinates funding, and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. government and United Nations.

Mia's interest in international affairs was sparked during her undergraduate education. After graduating from George Washington University, she got a job in Africa. "I thought I would be overseas for a short time; so did my family, but [while working for CARE in Somalia] I 'got the bug,' and didn't officially come home until 14 years later," she says. During those years, Mia worked for NGOs and USAID.

"I loved working in the field with an NGO having direct contact with communities, and when I moved to the U.S. government, I was really drawn to public service. ... My colleagues and I are proud of what we do. To say you are part of the U.S. disaster response and represent the American people is pretty amazing," she says.

When she returned to the U.S., Mia wanted to "to become an extraordinary leader -- one who inspires people to do their best and willing to take more risks." A recipient of the Donald G. Zauderer Scholarship, she enjoyed learning from her fellow students in the Key Executive Leadership Program at AU. 

"You learn from the faculty but also from each other. I learned as much from other federal managers as I learned from professors because we had so many shared experiences," she recalls.

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Title: SPA Alumna Makes Career Move to University of California, Berkeley
Author: Kristena Wright
Subtitle:
Abstract: Rosemarie Rae, SPA/MPA ‘09, joins the higher education field after more than 30 years in the non-profit sector.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/11/2015
Content:

Rosemarie Rae, SPA/MPA '09, was recently named associate vice chancellor of finance and chief financial officer at the University of California, Berkeley. As a graduate of AU's public administration and Key Executive Leadership programs in 2009, Rosemarie actually started her graduate work late in her career. "I was in my mid-forties when I joined cohort 36. It was career- and life-changing. But I do contribute the experience I had at American University as a direct link to where I am now," she says.

Coming up on her one-year anniversary at UC Berkeley, Rosemarie actually spent the last 15 to 20 years in the nonprofit sector. "I used a lot of my research experience from my cohort," she says. "So many of the things I learned have really proven to be cornerstones of what guides my work today. I spend most of my time at Berkley in strategic conversation, and I really learned the art of strategic thinking from professor Robert Tobias, director of business development for the key executive leadership program, and other AU professors," Rosemarie adds.

Rosemarie shares that most of her current work is related to finance. Her undergraduate degree is in accounting;she sat for CPA exam and passed, and this has helped her tremendously over the years. However, the brunt of her work focuses on the alignment with other C-level executives at Berkeley and how they think about resource allocations. Additionally, they spend a vast amount of time figuring out the best use of their limited resources and how it supports the institution's strategic vision. 

Prior to beginning at Berkeley, Rosemarie served as the chief financial and administrative officer of The National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as executive vice president, chief strategy officer, and CFO at Volunteers of America. Berkeley is her first job in higher education. She says, "My nonprofit experience was similar in nature to higher education, so I felt well prepared."

Before her career change, Rosemarie went back to graduate school at AU for herself. She says, "I'm originally from the east coast, and I was eager to be in an academic setting and have an opportunity to learn and explore new ideas. It was far more rewarding than I ever thought it would be."

Her advice to students is the same advice she gives now as an administrator: "You have to realize that people really do want to help you. Whether it be your professors or your peers, tap into the resources that are offered to you. Mentorship is a great thing, professors are great, but think beyond the professor to someone who is in your field. Build your career by taking an interest in a range of things that will be helpful for career advancement," she says.

Her final thought for students, "Take a leadership role every chance you get, you'll need to strengthen that muscle if you want to be in a place of power in your future."

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Title: SPA Alumnus Takes Student Leadership to the National Level
Author: Karli Kloss, SIS/MA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: The National Campus Leadership Council connects student policymakers across the country.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/13/2015
Content:

From AU Student Government president to executive director and cofounder of the National Campus Leadership Council, Andy MacCracken, SPA/BA ’11, SPA/MA ’14, has shown a deep commitment to addressing the most pressing concerns facing this generation’s college students. 

At NCLC, Andy and his staff empower student body presidents and their teams to collaborate and tackle major issues like sexual assault, student load debt, student veterans’ affairs, and access to mental health services. NCLC connects these groups to other campuses, policymakers, and the media while providing technical assistance and professional skills trainings to ensure they are effectively lobbying for change. 

Right now, NCLC is running campus outreach for the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign to stop campus sexual assaults. Working with approximately 300 campuses, NCLC’s role is to support the work students are already doing around education and prevention. 

Speaking of the White House, last year Andy had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to introduce President Obama ahead of the president’s remarks about executive actions that would support federal student loan borrowers. He also visited the White House as a panelist for the “It’s On Us” campaign. 

Andy served as AU’s Student Government president during his junior year. Following, he was involved with different efforts to facilitate greater collaboration among student leaders regionally and nationally. As some of those efforts began to merge into each other, Andy decided it was time to turn this side project into a full-time career.  

“A lot of what I learned in the SPA Leadership Program, Campaign Management Institute, and Public Affairs Advocacy Institute shaped my approach to starting my organization. Each of those programs are top notch in developing critical thinking and mission-focused strategy on top of hands-on experience,” Andy says. 

NCLC’s role in the higher education community continues to grow, as it hosts national student leader summits in collaboration with the White House. Students today face many issues, from employment gaps to soaring student debt, and Andy says NCLC is committed to opening dialogue and access between student leaders and policymakers. 

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Title: The Next Generation of Leaders: Sarah McBride’s Pride for AU
Author: Megan Patterson, SIS/BA ’11
Subtitle:
Abstract: Sarah McBride, SPA/BA ’13, says that her time at AU allowed her to live authentically.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/10/2014
Content:

Alumna Sarah McBride, SPA/BA '13, is proud that American University is preparing the next generation of leaders. At 23 years old, the former Student Government president is a remarkable example of what AU's young alumni can achieve. From being the first openly transgender woman to work for the White House, to being instrumental in the passage of Delaware's Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, Sarah is committed to working toward equality for all. 

Sarah has loved politics since she was a teenager, and she became actively involved in campaigns in her home state of Delaware in 2006. Coming to AU was the right choice for her politically-minded career, she says, because her time at AU "made my love of politics less about 'politics' and more about what politics can do." 

As president of AU's Student Government for the 2011-12 academic year, Sarah championed student interests, including gender neutral housing and encouraging changes in AU's insurance coverage for transgender students. After completing her term as president, Sarah wrote a Facebook note, later edited into an op-ed in The Eagle, titled "The Real Me," in which she came out as being a transgender woman. 

After publishing her story, Sarah received a tremendous amount of support from the AU community. "Only at AU would I have had an experience where every single response to my coming out was positive," she says. "I wouldn't be the person I am today without AU and without my experience there. My time at AU, the relationships I developed, and the lessons I learned allowed me to live authentically." 

Sarah says she felt overwhelmed, but also inspired by the reactions she received by the AU community. "It shows us where our school can be, where our community can be, where our country can be, and that we have the capacity to get there." 

Sarah credits fellow AU students and alumni for instilling in her "a deep passion for social justice." Now an alumna, Sarah has continued to work with the university in promoting equality among students. Along with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Sarah helped champion a new sexuality and queer studies minor at AU, which debuted in fall 2013. 

She says that she feels a "deep responsibility" to give back to the school that has given her so much. "I want to make sure that the students who go to American for generations to come have as positive an experience as I had. I and my fellow alumni have a responsibility to do that." 

Sarah knows that the university has well prepared the next generation of leaders, saying, "If America was a little more like American, things would be a lot better for people who are currently struggling."

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Title: Business & Public Affairs: A Perfect Marriage
Author: Phil Recchio
Subtitle:
Abstract: Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, entrepreneurially apply their skills in South Florida, while giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/15/2014
Content:

Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, came to AU together, shortly after getting married in their native state of Florida, to pursue their individual academic and professional interests. Christina’s passion for nonprofit work and supporting her community led her to pursue a Master of Public Administration and,a graduate certificate in nonprofit management, whereas Ben built off his undergrad business degree by focusing his MBA studies on real estate and finance. Since graduation, they have returned to their home state to not only put their degrees to work, but also spread word of AU’s excellence while galvanizing the Florida alumni community. 

This past February, Christina and Ben hosted more than 60 AU alumni, parents, and friends in their Palm Beach home, and had the chance to catch up with their old neighbor, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development, Dr. Thomas J. Minar. Before Dr. Minar delivered updates regarding campus plans and alumni initiatives within the South Florida community, Christina reminisced about her time working in the AU development department for corporate and foundation giving, and Ben remembered hunkering down in their condo during the infamous Snow-maggedon storm of 2010. 

These types of close relationships serve as a beautiful model for how the Office of Alumni Relations and Development seeks to engage AU alumni, and Christina and Ben are no strangers to the world of philanthropy and volunteering. Christina is a board member for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, where fellow master’s alumna Jillian Vukusich, CAS/MA ’04, serves as vice president for community investment.  

Christina continues her educational pursuits, and is a recent graduate of "Leadership Palm Beach County," which kept her up to date on the latest trends in philanthropic and non profit leadership. This is especially important for those as involved in their communities as she is. She volunteers and has served on numerous committees for The Flagler Museum, March of Dimes, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Presently, Christina performs research and writing for Women Corporate Directors, the only global membership organization of women corporate directors which serves as a catalyst for thought leadership and networking.

In addition to serving on his high school’s alumni board and helping to recruit great students to AU, Ben founded a local publication, Palm Beach Philanthropy, to showcase and educate the public to the diverse causes being supported right in their backyard. While philanthropy has always been a passion and a practice for the Macfarlands, Ben also puts his MBA to work running a boutique asset management firm that focuses on investing family office and institutional capital into self storage, student housing, and other special situations in real estate. The firm, where Ben serves as a partner and chief investment officer, has successfully acquired over two million square feet of real estate in the last two years.

The Macfarlands' collective energy and productivity is even more impressive in light of the fact they’ve accomplished so much all while raising their blossoming family. While their two young girls are a handful at home, Ben and Christina have a long standing history of supporting each other through thick and thin. While on campus, they could be seen attending a kick-off event to help rally support for Christina’s successful run for Editor-in-Chief of the SPA journal The Public Purpose, and nowadays they work to balance their busy schedules of business and board meetings with family meals and outings. 

Thankfully, the Macfarlands have continued their tradition of support as alumni by hosting the recent event for the South Florida AU Eagle community. As for the beautiful marriage of Ben’s business degree and Christina’s nonprofit policy focus, its power can be encapsulated by an Arthur Fried quote: “Private philanthropy is the last frontier of unconstrained freedom for private action in the public good.” AU is lucky to count this entrepreneurial and philanthropically minded young couple among its alumni family.

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Title: Board Member Amy Jones Realized Her Dream of Working on the Hill
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: After getting two AU degrees, Amy has her dream job overseeing the House’s education policies.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/15/2014
Content:

“I am slightly unusual among many of my friends in that I am doing exactly what I’ve wanted to do since sixth grade,” says Alumni Board member Amy Jones, SPA/BA ’99, WCL/JD ’03. Her sixth grade social studies teacher and a family trip to Washington, D.C. convinced a young Amy that she wanted to work on Capitol Hill one day. “I came to AU for college and law school because I felt it was the best place to study that would expose me to politics and Capitol Hill,” she says.

After earning both her bachelor’s and law degrees from AU, Amy’s dreams came true, and she landed a job on the Hill. She now serves as director for education and human services policy for the majority staff on the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the U.S. House of Representatives. In this role, she oversees the House’s education policies.

Amy says the most rewarding part of her job is knowing that “the policies we are pursuing will help others, particularly the underserved, be able to access and achieve their postsecondary [education] goals,” adding, “I love the energy and the quick pace on Capitol Hill. There is always something interesting happening.”

A visit to campus on Accepted Students Day convinced Amy that AU was the right choice for her. “AU was close enough to the city that I knew there would be a lot of different things to do and see, but it also had the benefit of having a more enclosed campus, which I really liked,” she says. “And I liked my undergraduate experience so much, that I went to WCL for law school.”

As an AU student, Amy was involved in numerous activities. “I participated in the Freshmen Service Experience, played lacrosse during my freshman and sophomore years, worked at the front desk of McDowell Hall, studied abroad in London for one semester, interned on Capitol Hill, and worked at a few different law firms because I was trying to decide if I wanted to go to law school,” Amy recalls.

Of her time on the American University Alumni Board, Amy says, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my service on the AU Alumni Board and becoming a more engaged alumna over the past several years. I am continually amazed by the students attending AU now and love being able to serve as a mentor or resource to them.”

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Title: Alumni Board Member Joe Vidulich is Always an Eagle
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Few alumni embody the phrase “Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle” as well as Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA ’08.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2014
Content:

Few alumni embody the phrase "Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle" as well as Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08. A member of the American University Alumni Board and men's basketball season ticket holder, Joe continues to support AU as enthusiastically as when he was a student.

"I joined the alumni board because I want to make sure the AU alumni experience is just as good as – if not better than – the student experience, and show alumni that their time at AU doesn't end after four years," Joe says, and it's true: his Eagle pride is inescapable and infectious.

An AU men's basketball jersey bearing the signatures of the 2008 team (the first in AU history to qualify for the NCAA tournament) hangs on the wall of his home, and he is frequently at basketball games and alumni events. Joe even traveled to Boston and Milwaukee this year to watch the men's basketball team win the Patriot League Championship and play in the NCAA tournament, respectively.

"During the Patriot League Championship game, [Boston University's Agganis Arena] arena became Bender Arena North," Joe recalls. "You could hear the cheers of the AU students and alumni throughout the building and on television. It just shows that AU alumni are everywhere, and AU pride far exceeds the boundaries of Washington, D.C. … The fact that this small team of stellar student-athletes achieved an objective no one thought they could speaks to the caliber of the team, Coach Mike Brennan, and Athletics Director Billy Walker. I'm so proud of them, and I look forward to next season."

As a high school student in Long Island, Joe knew he wanted to study politics and policy. He looked at a number of D.C. schools, but decided to apply early decision to AU because, he says, "I fell in love with the campus and the spirit of the community. I saw that AU really believed that given the tools and the knowledge, you can change the world."

As soon as he arrived on campus, Joe began to change the world – or at least AU. As a freshman, he ran for student government and later became student body president. He also joined College Republicans, the Residence Hall Association, ATV, was a resident assistant, and even participated in a production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Joe also interned for Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and the McCain presidential campaign. "I wanted the whole AU experience," Joe says, "And I definitely achieved that."

Perhaps Joe's most lasting legacy to date is as a founder of Blue Crew, the student cheering section at athletics events. After noticing lackluster attendance at AU games, Joe wanted to bolster student support for AU athletes. "It touched me that these young men and women were out there – on a court or turf or field – every day with an AU emblem on their chests that represented me and everything that I stood for. … We [as AU students] might have disagreements on policy or philosophy, but there shouldn't be a disagreement about cheering on fellow students as they represent your university in competition," he says.

Joe regularly interacts with AU President Neil Kerwin, SPA/BA '71, in his duties as an alumni board member, and he recalls Dr. Kerwin's inauguration fondly. As student body president, he participated in the inauguration ceremony, presenting Dr. Kerwin with an AU jersey on behalf of the student body. "It was a really special time. His presidency brought about a rebirth in the AU alumni community, since he is the first AU president who is also an alumnus and he has implemented a strategic plan that incorporates alumni."

When he isn't cheering for the Eagles or networking with fellow alumni, Joe represents the interests of over 650 businesses and half a million employees as vice president of government relations for the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, one of largest chambers in Virginia.

"One of the passions I got out of AU is that a strong economy is central to a strong region. … Every day, I use the skills taught to me by some of the best professors and experts in their fields to advocate and shape policy to make a better Virginia for my companies and the people who work for those companies," Joe says.

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Title: John Tranfaglia, SPA/BA ’13, Providing Solutions to Preserve the Maine Lobster Industry
Author: Pat Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: As part of AU’s Roosevelt Institute, Tranfaglia began proposing ideas to strengthen the industry.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Content:

"I think the biggest mistake that the lobster industry has made is not being proactive towards marketing the product out of state."

So says alumnus John Tranfaglia, SPA/BA ’13, about his efforts to promote initiatives to save Maine’s most identifiable industry - lobsters. Without changes, many believe that the business of catching lobsters in the state of Maine will die.

John first became involved in the lobster issue as a member of the Roosevelt Institute at American University. As a member of this organization, he was challenged to look at public policy problems and highlight possible solutions that might alleviate them. "I had read in the newspaper a few times about some of the troubles that the lobster industry was having with marketing the product and thought it would be interesting to look into the issue further," says John.

The Roosevelt Institute is the first student-run policy organization or "think tank" in the United States. Its mission is to empower students to create and advocate their ideas for change. Including the AU chapter, there are 8,500 active members and over 80 established chapters in the U.S. and abroad.

John describes how, until recently, there were very few processing plants in Maine to break down and freeze the product so that items such as lobster meat or tails could be sold.  Much of the lobster caught off the coast of Maine is sent to Canada to be processed. Once it crosses the border, it is marketed as Canadian lobster. This leads to price markups that increase dealers’ profits while shrinking the profits of the lobstermen.

Once caught, a lobster can change hands five or six times before reaching the consumer’s plate. However, lobstermen are getting paid as little as $2 a pound for their catch – while the price can escalate to $18 a pound by the time it reaches a restaurant menu. 

John believes that the best way to raise profits for the Maine lobstermen would be to increase processing capabilities in Maine. "Last year, over 133 million pounds of lobster was caught off the Maine coast but much of that was sent to Canada for processing," he adds. John thinks that if either the processing costs could be reduced or if lobstermen could co-op with processors, then their wages would increase considerably.

When reflecting on his passion for the Maine lobster industry, John admits that he actually was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. However, his family moved to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, when he was two years old. "I have lived there ever since and it is what I have come to know as home," he says.

In describing why he chose to attend AU, John states that he wanted to go to a school in the city, he wanted to be able to study and work in politics, and he wanted the opportunity to study abroad. "Going to AU allowed me to achieve all three of these," he remarks.

Now that John has graduated from AU with a major in political science and a minor in public administration and policy, he plans to leave Maine and move overseas. "In March, I will be moving to Seoul, South Korea, to teach English for a year," he says.

While in Korea, John will be planning his next step. He has an interest in health policy and has deferred his admission to the University of Melbourne for a master’s degree in public health. "Studying abroad was something that has definitely impacted me throughout my time at AU. I loved Perth and plan on going back to Australia for graduate studies," says John.

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Title: Cameron McCosh, SPA/BA ’07, SPA/MPP ’08, is a Washington Power Broker
Author: Dash Radosti
Subtitle:
Abstract: McCosh recently was named to list of 25 Most Influential Washington Women Under 35.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 11/12/2013
Content:

Cameron McCosh, SPA/BA ’07, SPA/MPP ’08, was recently named to the National Journal’s list of 25 Most Influential Washington Women under 35.

Although only 28, Cameron is chief operating officer of American Action Forum, a conservative think-tank focused on domestic and economic policy.

After finishing her studies at American University with both an undergraduate degree in justice and a master’s in public policy, Cameron interned with Lehman Brothers, working in government relations. Afterwards, John McCain's Chief Economic Policy Adviser approached Cameron about starting a new type of conservative think-tank that would be more reactive to the 24-hour news cycle. The rest, as they say, is history.

In a few short years, Cameron helped grow the organization from a fledgling startup to one of Washington’s most influential center-right policy institutes. As COO, she is involved in nearly all aspects of the organization--from formulating policy to meeting decision makers on the Hill and advancing the forum’s message. Cameron credits her time at AU as being instrumental to her development.

“When I came to AU, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew I loved to learn. Then I took a class from Dr. Jeffery Schaler that really questioned what I believed in, changed my outlook and sparked my interest in public policy,” says Cameron. Later, as a graduate student, another professor, Dr. Sonja Walti, really showed her how public policy influences lives all around us. “Her class really opened my eyes,” Cameron recalls.

While she is unsure about the future (she jokes that she barely has tomorrow planned), Cameron is confident that she’ll be able to seize whatever opportunity presents itself—another skill she credits from her time at AU. Until then, she is working in an area about which she is passionate, including domestic and economic policy, and enjoying life as a newlywed, having just gotten married last summer.

Cameron continues to take advantage of AU’s community. She gleefully boasts about her love of hiring AU students for internships. She also attends an occasional alumni happy hour and sometimes indulges in nostalgic jogs to her alma mater from her house in Logan Circle. Above all, she is impressed by how much the university has grown in the last few years.

“When I was at AU, which wasn’t too long ago, they didn’t even have the [new] SIS building, but more than that, the school’s reputation has grown so much in the last few years. I love the WONK campaign. I think its so fitting.” says Cameron.

Above all, Cameron advises current students to take advantage of their professors and to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself. “I took the opportunity to go back for my master’s in public policy, and I can’t stress how amazing that experience was,” she remarks.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,School of Public Affairs
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