newsId: 3473E2DD-5056-AF26-BEAA52885D1FFCAF
Title: Career Interests Heightened Due to the WSP Experience
Author: Ryan Jordan
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Abstract: Hannah Vecseri was home schooled from kindergarten through her high school graduation. During her sophomore year at Baylor University, she discovered that the Washington Semester Program offered a Justice and Law concentration, which peaked her interest.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/28/2017
Content: Hannah Vecseri was home schooled from kindergarten through her high school graduation. During her sophomore year at Baylor University, she discovered that the Washington Semester Program offered a Justice and Law concentration, which peaked her interest. 

"The program gave me the opportunity to connect with people who do what I want to do," said Vecseri. "I really loved the program because I am interested in going to law school. The program helped shape the rest of my studies at Baylor."

Vecseri appreciated the WSP learning environment, which reflected the home school design with which she was familiar. She was also happy to be back in a big city. 

During her time in DC, Vecseri interned as an assistant researcher with the Federalist Society where she had the opportunity to further explore constitutional law, which is exactly what she wants to do in her career. Vecseri read an entire 600-page book on constitutional law theory. She also helped in the organization of Justice Antonin Scalia's funeral, which was hosted by the Federalist Society. In addition, Vecseri had the opportunity to attend a Supreme Court hearing. 

During the Washington Semester Program, Vecseri gained a more in-depth understanding of how government and the law work. She learned from both professors and working professionals in the classroom. 

"We got to see a day in the life," said Vecseri. "We also had the opportunity to network and ask questions."

Since leaving the program, Vecseri has stayed in touch with all of her professors. She said that they have been an asset in her professional growth and development. Her experience in the Washington Semester Program confirmed her interest in pursuing a law career. 

"Be intentional about your growth, and be engaged everywhere you can" is the advice Hannah Vecseri gaveto students interested in the program. "Take charge of your experience."   
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Title: AU Museum in Spring: Participatory Sculpture, Contemporary Cuban, A Teacher’s Legacy, Myths and Time
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Abstract: Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center open April 1.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 03/28/2017
Content: Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center open April 1.

ESCAPE: Foon Sham, April 1 – August 13
Gallery Talk: 2 to 3 p.m., APRIL 23

Escape showcases Foon Sham's mastery of wood sculpture. To be within one of his vessel sculptures is to experience the palpable space of a woodland creature's habitat, or the place of concealment. At the American University Museum, Sham has built one horizontal tunnel measuring 62 feet long and one vertical tunnel towering 36 feet high. Escape is one of a series of participatory sculptures, begun in the 1990s, meant to be experienced with all the body's senses and to resonate socially. Dualism, as in the Taoist yin/yang dichotomy, is a consistent theme in Sham's work. Escape may be possible spiritually, if not physically.

The title 'Escape' signals that a political interpretation is valid. The outdoor sculpture's craggy ridgeline echoes the mountain ranges of the American West and traces the line of the U.S.-Mexican border. Without being politically prescriptive, the title and tunnel imagery evoke the hotly contested issues of immigration and the plight of the refugee that figured so heavily in both American and European recent elections. The journey for the viewer may be short and sensory, or may be evocative of bigger issues like the death-defying travails undertaken by Central American and Syrian refugees. Curated by Laura Roulet.

Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna, April 1 – May 28

Cuban artist Carlos Luna's exhibit at AU Museum features more than 65 works, with some created in new media the artist has been experimenting with during the past four years, including Jacquard tapestries, works on metal sheets with patina and aluminum leaf, and layers of natural materials rubbed into strong, thick, dense, smooth and un-sized French paper. Painting, sculpture and installation become one to portray Cuban stories and fables by one of Cuba's leading contemporary artists.

Summerford Legacy, Alper Initiative for Washington Art, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: Salon-style "Free Parking" series, 5:30 to 7 p.m., APRIL 27, RSVP: www.tinyurl.com/AlperTickets

Ben L. Summerford (1924-2015) taught at American University's Department of Art from 1951-1987. All 14 of the artists in Summerford Legacy studied under Professor Summerford and took different aspects of his teaching to heart. Some stayed close to their artistic roots in AU's Department of Art, and some used those roots to support far-flung but personal explorations. All of the artists exhibit the artistic integrity embodied by their teacher, and approach their art as an act of discovery.

Sharon Wolpoff and Tammra Sigler: Geometry and Other Myths, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: 5 to 6 p.m., APRIL 1

At first glance, the art of Sharon Wolpoff has little in common with the art of Tammra Sigler. Wolpoff is a figurative painter of carefully composed scenes from life, suffused with light and heightened color. Sigler is an expressionist artist who is known for improvisation and bravura brushwork. However, similarities and contrasts emerge in their work as they engage with three different paths to knowledge of the world: geometry, psychology, and spirituality. Sigler's work starts with geometry as a foundation and moves away from it towards the emotional, while Wolpoff's work begins with an emotional response and moves towards the underlying geometry or structure. Both artists have beautifully structured artwork, and their uses of structure have psychological and spiritual functions, as well.

Time Stands Still: Elzbieta Sikorska, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: 2 to 3 p.m., APRIL 8

No matter how we reflect on time, it is a contemplative and complicated subject. Time affects everything: people, animals, woodlands, earth, stone, and artifacts. These are the elements that Elzbieta Sikorska uses in her large scale, multimedia drawings, conceived as loose pictorial narratives whose common thread is the continuity of being. Rather than offering definitive conclusions, these works are intended to lead us into a deeper and more intimate consideration of our own relationship to time – our constant companion. Curated by Aneta Georgievska-Shine.

Master's of Fine Arts Student Exhibitions, April 1 – April 19 AND April 29 – May 28 Gallery Talk/Opening Reception: 5 to 8 p.m., APRIL 29

AU's Department of Art presents the work of current first- and second-year MFA candidates in a two-part exhibition. The multidisciplinary Studio Art program showcases an exciting range of emerging artist's work in painting, sculpture, collage and material studies, photography, and new media.

In the Kreeger Lobby: Frida Larios: Maya Alphabet of Modern Times, April 1 – May 28

Frida Larios's logo-graphic designs are intended to re-invent the ancient Maya alphabet for modern use. The designs borrow directly from the logo-graphic language of the ancestral Maya scribes, but speak to and for the Indigenous Maya of today.

The American University Museum participates in STATIONS OF THE CROSS through APRIL 16, with a painting by Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero from his Abu Ghraib series. This unique exhibition—held in 14 religious and secular locations across Washington, D.C.—will use works of art to tell the story of the Passion of Christ in a new way for people of varying faiths. More information available at artstations.org.

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Title: Summer Sisters Exchange Alumna Dania Hassan
Author: USPWC
Subtitle: Dania Hassan--Breaking the Barriers
Abstract: As part of the U.S. Summer Sisters Exchange Program, she studied at John Hopkins
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 03/28/2017
Content:

At the age of 16, Dania Hassan is Pakistan U.S. Alumni's youngest high achiever in the #30Under30 series. As part of the U.S. Summer Sisters Exchange Program, she studied at John Hopkins, secured the 9th position in Pakistan Science Contest, was a finalist at the All Pakistan Declamation Contest, and was the House Opener and President of DCW, APDC. And that's not all! She is the Program Originator and the Head Volunteer of "Fun to Learn", a series for the underprivileged students. 

Dania Hassan, a 2016 Summer Sisters Program alumna, attended Summer Sisters Program’s STEM courses at Johns Hopkins University. Her idol is Muhtarma Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the founder of Pakistan. Dania admires Fatima Jinnah for breaking all societal norms and completing her medical studies along with helping her brother to strive for Pakistan. On the way she influenced hundreds and thousands of women to come forward and raise their voice. Following her idol’s footsteps, Dania is not only pursuing her dreams in education but is also setting examples to bring social change. 
Through the Summer Sisters Program at Johns Hopkins, Dania about learned different fields in STEM, which helped her choose a career in Bioinformatics. It allowed her to work in a real laboratory setting. Dania said, “I always had a dream to work in a real-life laboratory and let the inner scientists hidden in me show its passion, and thanks to this program, I worked in a real professional lab for two weeks straight at Johns Hopkins.” 

The Summer Sisters Program had an impact on her personal development as well; she said, “I gained a lot of courage and confidence…I am a better orator and public speaker now. Also, I learned and experienced how conferences and seminars are conducted.” Armed with that knowledge, today she is able to serve in her community by helping underprivileged kids. She began planning her own seminars and workshops for underprivileged kids, naming the series, “Fun to Learn.” Dania explained, “I felt independent enough to and started planning seminars and workshops for underprivileged kids.” Dania remembers her experience in the United States as “absolutely amazing,” sharing, “I will not forget Johns Hopkins and will be ever grateful to the Summer Sisters Exchange Program for giving this wonderful opportunity to me.”

Watch her talk about her experience about Summer Sisters Exchange Program. 

Find out more about Summer Sisters Program.

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Title: 5 Ways to Ace Your Kogod Application
Author: Adekunle Ladipo, MBA ‘17
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Abstract: Kogod graduate student gives insight on ways to polish and perfect your Kogod application.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 03/27/2017
Content:

“How can I possibly stand out?” While trying to create the perfect application for business school, you might start doubting all your accomplishments—maybe even believing your application lacks that “umph.” I myself had mixed feelings about my MBA application to Kogod. However, you will discover that just like any job or school project, the process is quite stress free if you plan adequately.

Here are my five tips on how to ace your application:

1) Avoid common mistakes. It’s the small things that really count. Saying “you’re” instead “your” really makes admission consultants question, “If you can’t pay attention to one little detail, will you be able to handle business school?” Typos may be common, but remember admissions hasn’t met you yet; you want to make sure your grammar is error free. Take time to proofread your work and make a good impression.

2) Sell your achievements. It isn’t just about what you have accomplished. It’s about how those accomplishments make you unique. While this is the case, a lot of applicants have a difficult time communicating that to admissions. Everyone has special experiences. The key is emphasizing how what you’ve achieved makes you ideal.

3) Know your post-graduation goals. I’m a believer that life has a certain way of taking you down paths you never thought you’d go on. You need to have a good idea of what you want to do, though. You want your application to appear logical to admissions; you want to show them that you’ve thought long and hard about your career.

4) Address any concerns in your application. Sometimes applicants think a certain grade, unfit achievements, or gap in their career makes them a less stellar applicant. As long as you address any concerns in your interview or admissions essay with good reason, there should not be a problem. Communication is one of the most important skills in business school. You need to tell them why, despite any short fallings in the past, you are fully prepared for admission into your program of choice today.

5) Double check your work. Proofread. Edit. Proofread. It might be easier said than done, but I have made mistakes in the past by not double checking things. It’s too late after you click “submit,” so take your time to cross your I’s and dot your T’s – oops, I mean dot your I’s and cross your T’s! Once you are finished, you’ll be less doubtful that you’ve made a careless mistake that could set you back!

May 1 is the final deadline for Kogod’s Full-time MBA program, and all Master of Science program. Learn more and apply online today.

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Title: Want to end TB? Diagnose and treat all forms of the disease
Author: Professor Lauren Carruth
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Abstract: On World Tuberculosis Day, Professor Lauren Carruth writes that zoonotic TB, which is passed from animals to humans, is a global problem.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/24/2017
Content:

Tuberculosis should be a specter of the past, something only our great-grandparents feared and died of. Alas, although almost all cases of TB today are both preventable and treatable, several different strains and manifestations of the disease still sicken and kill millions of people every year. The Conversation

Global tuberculosis interventions are usually tied to larger HIV/AIDS programs. As such, billions of dollars are spent every year improving medical care for people living with HIV and fighting the opportunistic infections—foremost, tuberculosis—that continue to kill so many AIDS patients.

And yet, a growing proportion of new TB cases occur in people without HIV. According to the World Health Organization, every year, over nine million people around the world who do not also have HIV are sickened and die from several different forms of tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is much more than simply a complication of HIV/AIDS, and it is definitely not a disease of the past. As we observe World Tuberculosis Day, it’s worth looking at some of the most threatening and yet neglected forms of TB, as well as the struggles many people still face getting the right diagnosis and medical care.

TB from animals a growing concern worldwide

A majority of TB patients around the world suffer from strains of the contagious pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis in their lungs. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (or M. tuberculosis, for short) usually causes painful and long-lasting coughs, weakness, weight loss, and fevers.

But as I detail in a recent article in The Lancet, there are several additional pathogens that cause TB disease. These additional mycobacteria species are a rising threat as the number of new M. tuberculosis cases around the world declines.

The most concerning of these mycobacteria are “zoonotic”—or transmitted to humans from animals. Human Mycobacterium bovis infection, for example, was once very common around the world but has been almost completely eliminated in North America and Europe, thanks to regulation of the dairy industry and introduction of pasteurized milk. But M. bovis is still a major public health problem in rural communities that lack adequate health services and agricultural regulations.

In addition to M. bovis, several other species of zoonotic mycobacteria can cause TB in livestock and wildlife, but we do not know much about the risk these pathogens pose to humans. Because people are often infected by consuming unpasteurized milk, M. bovis and other zoonotic mycobacteria are thought to cause more “extrapulmonary” tuberculosis in humans—or TB infections outside the lungs. These patients experience different symptoms, and their disease is more likely to be misdiagnosed or missed altogether.

The neglect and invisibility of these lesser-known mycobacteria, zoonotic forms of tuberculosis, and extrapulmonary TB cases result, paradoxically, from the incredible success of global TB control efforts focused on the elimination and treatment of pulmonary cases of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and on TB in populations with a high HIV/AIDS burden.

Difficult to diagnose

One of the biggest challenges to broader TB control is, in many places, the lack of adequate diagnostic tests.

After a person is diagnosed with TB, molecular typing of the pathogen can determine exactly what kind of mycobacteria the patient has, determine if there is resistance to any medications, and optimize their treatment regimen. But this level of testing is unavailable in many low-income countries and in most of Africa. In other words, most people with zoonotic tuberculosis live in communities that lack the kinds of diagnostic tests required to determine that’s what they have.

There is also little disease surveillance or research on zoonotic TB, even in the pastoralist African populations thought to be at highest risk. The lack of knowledge about the existence and spread of zoonotic mycobacteria is largely due to the fact that they remain some of the most difficult pathogens to detect. Testing technologies are prohibitively expensive and unreliable without state-of-the-art laboratories, and there is still no way to easily detect mycobacteria in milk. Also, only expensive blood tests can tell if someone has an active tuberculosis infection, or if they have merely been exposed to a tuberculosis-causing agent, such as the bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine.

Zoonotic TB also requires different treatment regimens: M. bovis is intrinsically resistant to pyrazinamide, a key, first-line anti-tuberculosis drug, so patients need some alternative medications and a longer treatment duration. Plus, many extrapulmonary infections are now resistant to one or more first-line TB drugs, which may contribute to its higher mortality rates.

Zoonotic TB threatens global TB control

Drug-resistant TB is itself a growing problem, and may be a result of substandard diagnostic tests and treatments for people, as well as the overuse of antibiotics in livestock husbandry. Rising rates of drug-resistant TB strains portend serious future challenges in TB treatment and control.

Zoonotic TB is a global problem. A few people infected with zoonotic TB in Africa have presented with active tuberculosis in the United States and Europe, and as refugee and migrant flows continue, these cases will undoubtedly increase. But it remains to be seen if the global health community will act now on zoonotic tuberculosis, or if investments will be made only once the disease more seriously threatens populations outside the African continent.

As a first step, rapid and affordable diagnostic tests and disease surveillance are desperately needed in communities at highest risk of the disease.

Beyond this, we need new investments in research on a range of pathogenic mycobacteria—not just M. tuberculosis—as well as new investments toward the development of field-ready and inexpensive diagnostic and drug-resistance tests. In addition, we need creative ideas about how to design and implement health care and food safety interventions that are responsive to the lives, economies, and diets of pastoralists and other rural livestock holders.

The donor community’s focus on M. tuberculosis and on TB among AIDS-affected populations has unintentionally resulted in the invisibility and neglect of other forms of TB disease. The number of people contracting and suffering from zoonotic tuberculosis is probably much higher than we think.

Broadening our global health attention to include investments in developing better diagnostics and offering better clinical recognition and treatment for zoonotic TB not only would help those who suffer, but is necessary to end the scourge of tuberculosis once and for all.

 

This article was written by Professor Lauren Carruth and originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: First Woman to Launch Women's Film Festival in Pakistan
Author: U.S. Pakistan Women's Council
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Abstract: First Woman to Launch Women's Film Festival in Pakistan
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 03/23/2017
Content:

"The fear of failure may follow you like a shadow, and you may have to make small uncertain bets along the way, but this trial-and-error strategy will serve you well in the long run, when you’ve learnt enough to seize a larger opportunity. Just don’t lose your focus, and keep going.” From an average background as an average student, all throughout primary and secondary school, Madeeha Raza lived an average life. She was always the third or fourth best at everything, but she had the privilege to attend good schools and colleges. It was not until college that Madeeha graduated with a distinction and gold medal and discovered her passion for filmmaking -- a field heavily dominated by men. At the same time, she recognized how powerful the film medium is to bring social change particularly about women’s issues, something she became increasingly drawn to, while growing up. With the goal to empower young women and help them utilize films as a tool to raise awareness, she founded “Women Through Film.” Although Madeeha was well equipped to create this project, she lacked the resources to begin – that is when she joined WECREATE. WECREATE provided Madeeha a comfortable, accessible, and friendly environment where she held filmmaking workshops exclusively for young girls and women. She says, “Through the established outreach and networks of WECREATE, I was able to promote my workshop effectively and attracted 15 young women to attend this workshop.” She then decided to hold Pakistan’s first Women International Film Festival. As Madeeha struggled to find an affordable venue for the event, WECREATE stepped in not only with a budget friendly venue option but offered to assist with guest invitations. Similar to her film workshop, the festival met huge success. WECREATE went on to find a sponsor to fund working space for Madeeha’s associate helping her to self-sustain the venture and move forward with her next goal of turning it into a “travelling film festival.” Madeeha cites a spectrum of challenges faced by Pakistani women entrepreneurs, ranging from lack of financing or seed money, hiring people with the right skills, limited business, management and marketing skills to social barriers and balancing personal and business responsibilities. She suggests programs to sensitizing low-income families to the concept of a woman’s role in economic uplifting of a family. Facilitating childcare is also critical to women’s participation in the workforce. To the young aspiring entrepreneurs, she warns them of a “bumpy road,” saying, “..many a times you’ll indulge in self-doubt, self-loathing, and perhaps despising yourself for giving up on that job opportunity to start your own venture. But soon you’ll realize that was the best decision of your life, because at least that led you to doing something you love." To help WECREATE Center-trained or assisted women entrepreneurs gain access to new markets, the US-Pakistan Women’s Council links them with corporate procurement information, officials and opportunities through its supply chain diversity initiative.

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Title: AU Sophomore Empowers Turkish Women
Author: Jessica Joy De Jesus
Subtitle: What giving hope means to Esra Ozturk, MBA ’19, founder of Arzo
Abstract: Esra Ozturk, MBA ’19, started her own company in 2016 with the assistance of the Kogod incubator. She strives to empower Turkish women and women around the world through Arzo.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 03/23/2017
Content:

“If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” – Toni Morrison

Esra Ozturk lives by these words as she navigates being a full-time student and founder of her own company, Arzo. Ozturk is a sophomore born in Istanbul, Turkey, and raised in Northern California. Growing up, she spent her summers back in Turkey with her family. She witnessed the injustice of gender inequality and poverty in Turkey which juxtaposed her life in the United States.

Ozturk recognized the struggles women in her own family have faced for generations. They’ve faced challenges that inspired Ozturk to take action to empower Turkish women. This is how Arzo was born.

Arzo is an Islamic name which means “hope.” Hope is what Ozturk and her team of Arzo Ambassadors strive to give to Turkish women in impoverished communities.

Ozturk developed a buyout system for employing these women. First, an Arzo Ambassador, who is a Turkish native, hand picks women’s products, ranging from jewelry to clothes. They “buyout” their products on the spot, providing the women with more compensation in one day than what they see in months. Their products are then sold online, typically doubling the income they would have earned in Turkey.

This process isn’t easy. Ozturk’s greatest challenge is balancing her studies and her company. “I think finding that balance has been a big struggle,” Ozturk says, “but it’s the work ethic and perseverance that separates the good from the great.” Ozturk draws this positivity from her ambassadors, the women she works with and her mentors from the Kogod Incubator.

The Kogod incubator is an entrepreneurial resource available to students and recent alumni that helps them start their own non- or for-profit businesses. The incubator provides the entrepreneur with office space, a mentor, and other resources one may need in starting a company. “The directors of the incubator have been mentors both professionally and personally, always pushing me to think outside the box and to challenge myself to be a better leader every day,” Ozturk says. “I couldn’t imagine for a second doing everything alone.”

Although Ozturk faces many daily challenges, Arzo has seen a lot of success. Ozturk has sold a wide range of products from shirts to jewelry and scarves. For Ozturk, the company itself is a success because she knows that Arzo has already provided Turkish women with income they need. This past year, Ozturk was chosen as a NextGen Designerfinalist. She was able to showcase her clients’ designs at a runway show during DC Fashion Week.

Ozturk hopes her work will empower others to pay it forward. “Everything I’m able to accomplish feels incredible because I know I’m giving back and giving forward. I’m helping those in Turkey with the opportunities I’ve been given here, giving forward to people who work with me, and setting the precedence for others who aspire to do the same.”

Read more about the Kogod incubator and apply for a venture here. Support Arzo and check out the website here.

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Title: Playing the Field: Sports is a Business
Author: Jessica Joy De Jesus
Subtitle: Dawn Ridley discusses her career and her Kogod class, Intro to Sports Management
Abstract: Dawn Ridley, a veteran in the sports industry, talks about her Intro to Sports Management course and why it’s important to think of sports as a business.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 03/22/2017
Content:

The faculty at Kogod are not just passionate professors. They are also career professionals who are dedicated to working in their prospective fields. Dawn Ridley is such a professor. Ridley has dedicated her career to the sports industry, and she has used her business background to strengthen sports teams and agencies for years. From a college intern, to a manager and now a professor, Ridley’s multi-faceted experience in the industry makes her an invaluable professor at Kogod.

Read more of our conversation with Ridley below:

Kogod School of Business: Can you talk about your background, and what has molded you and your career?

Dawn Ridley: I started my career as an intern with the Atlanta Braves. After graduation, I worked in a management job but my old boss at the Braves found me and offered me a full time position. I then got a job offer in Washington, D.C., as the V.P. of trading cards and collectibles for the NFL Players Association. I moved here August of 1995, to run trade for the NFL PA, the labor organization for all NFL players. I was there for a total of 12 years. Now, I am the strategy and planning director for AARP.

KSB: Why is Sports Management important as a field?

DR: People pursue sports management because they love sports, but it’s also a business, so it’s really important that they understand strategy; planning; finance; budgeting; and marketing. We need to train professionals to be effective business people, identify strategic business goals and effectively measure success.

KSB: You designed an Intro to Sports Management class for Kogod. Could you talk about this process and the structure of the course?

DR: In this course, I provide real world examples for the students. There are a lot of hands-on activities that take us beyond traditional textbook learning. I get speakers from the NFL Players Association, major leagues and agents with 20+ years of experience.

KSB: Could you talk about some of the experiential learning happening in class?

DR: We had someone from NFL Players Association who was very focused on new product development. So, we had the students focus on developing new products using intellectual properties that aligned with the guest speaker and the topics in class. The students are able to connect the dots and get instant feedback from professionals in the field. It’s always fantastic to meet someone whose day-to-day job is focused on a particular business, and get the students’ ideas developed.

KSB: Is there something about the school that sets it apart from other institutions that you have worked with?

DR: I think Kogod understands how to connect with the local business community. It’s a specific, intentional commitment. My approach is always applied knowledge, in addition to learning. I think it’s easy to connect those dots here at AU.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have on your students?

DR: I hope they understand that sports is a complex and interesting business. I hope they also feel like it’s accessible, and know that they can really pursue their interests.

I encourage students to take advantage of everything this university and this area has to offer. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my students working in their desired career paths. It makes me really proud.

Check out AU’s Undergraduate Business Programs and Graduate Programs.

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Title: SPA Professor Receives Prestigious Judicial Award
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Abstract: SPA Professor Jon Gould was recently awarded the Administration of Justice Award from the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Association for his contributions to the Obama Administration.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 03/22/2017
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AU School of Public Affairs’ Professor Jon Gould was recently awarded with the Administration of Justice Award from the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Association for his contributions to the Obama Administration. Gould was presented the award during a dinner in February with three Supreme Court Justices present.

“To have the policy practitioner world recognize the work that I have done is not only an honor but gives me even greater enthusiasm and motivation as I come back to my academic work and research,” said Gould.

Gould returned to SPA in January 2017 after two years of serving as a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice. The award acknowledged his work on criminal justice reform in that post, his service on the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act Program, as well as his research on erroneous convictions and indigent defense as it pertains to the federal death penalty.

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Title: Student Media Launches "ATV Motion Pictures"
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: ATV to help fund student films and video projects.
Abstract: ATV aims to assist aspiring AU filmmakers create their video projects by granting money.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 03/22/2017
Content:

Are you a student with an exciting film or video project that needs just a few dollars to finish? Do you think you are creating the next Matrix, but a lack of capital is hurting your vision? 

Or do you just need a bit of funding to help finish a video for a class project? American University Television (ATV) wants to help you and other aspiring student filmmakers by offering up to $1,000 to help produce a video or film project through its new program, ATV Motion Pictures.

Inspiration

ATV Motion Pictures was conceived by ATV’s Co-General Manager Ben Fall, who saw an opportunity to support his fellow students. “I was on Facebook one day over winter break, and I saw a friend at Brown University post something about a student movies showcase at their school. So I wondered, what we could do at AU that was similar, and my idea was to help produce movies,” Fall said.

“We wanted to help the AU community to reach their dream and get whatever film production, music video production, video production out there because there are not many funding opportunities for aspiring filmmakers,” he continued.

With that in mind, ATV Motion Pictures was born. The next step was for Ben to get buy-in from ATV and the Student Media Board to allocate a significant portion of their semester’s budget to students who may not be ATV members. Abi Weaver, ATV’s Co-General Manager, was one of those who bought-in. “When Ben brought this idea to me, I thought it was a great,” Weaver said. “ATV is completely student-funded through the student activity fee. Everyone is welcome to join ATV, but only members of ATV can enjoy the benefits of the budget.

“It made sense for us to give back to other student filmmakers who may not have the time to commit to being part of ATV, but still want to make video and need money.”

Fall and Weaver proposed the idea to the ATV executive board and the Student Media Board, as well as their staff adviser Chris Young and University Center & Student Activities Senior Director Mike Elmore. “Everyone loved the idea,” Weaver said.

The Program

Currently, ATV Motion Pictures is taking applications on a rolling basis through Google forms. The deadline to apply is March 31. A six-member film commission – which Fall and Weaver co-chair – will review each application and bring applicants in for interviews to get more information about the project. The commission will decide who gets the funding later this semester.

“We are currently in the process of reviewing the applications, but we cannot tell you what the applications are about just yet,” Weaver said while laughing. “The applications range from someone needing to cover translation costs for their thesis. Another applicant is working on a web series and needs better audio equipment. I have been excited about the applications that have come in so far.”

Legacy

Fall and Weaver, both film majors who graduate in May, want ATV Motion Pictures to be a lasting staple for the AU community and have dreams of something bigger. “A lot of the learning in the film department takes place outside of the classroom, so we want ATV Motion Pictures to help students pursue that—especially undergrads,” Weaver said.

“Whether it’s SOC or private donors, we want more money to come into the school for student film and video projects,” Fall added. “I hope it expands beyond ATV and partners with the School of Communications where all the films we fund, once they are completed, can screen in the Foreman Theater so that the whole AU community can view and see the work of a fellow community member.” The deadline to apply for the ATV Motion Pictures grant is March 31. Submit your application today!

Follow ATV:
Web: www.atv.com
Twitter: @AUATV
Facebook: @AUATV
Instagram: @AUATV
YouTube: www.youtube/AUATV

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Title: Game Design MA 16th in World Says Princeton Review
Author:
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Abstract: American University’s game design master’s program soared six spots to rank #16 in the world according to the just-released 2017 International Rankings by Princeton Review.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 03/21/2017
Content:

American University’s game design master’s program soared six spots to rank #16 in the world according to the just-released 2017 International Rankings by Princeton Review. The program, which is just three years old and rose from #22 in the previous ranking, has racked up major accomplishments over the course of the year.

  • AU Game Lab collaborated with the Smithsonian American Art Museum on a pop-up arcade event attracting more than 11,000 visitors, making it the fourth largest event in its history.
  • Three Game Lab students and Director Lindsay Grace presented findings from the JoLT initiative in game design and disruptive media leadership on a panel at SXSW earlier this month, in 2016 they were at GDC presenting initial findings. 
  • Seven AU Game Lab students attended the White House Competitive Gaming held by Twitch, the world's largest platform for streaming video games, and HealthCare.gov in December.
  • More than 120 professionals from federal agencies, non-profits, healthcare, technology joined educators and students for Game Lab’s Games+ Summit in January. Attendees explored how games intersect in sectors of museums, health, cities, education, journalism and storytelling.
  • Faculty published more than 20 articles, including two best paper nominations.
  • Faculty participated in more than 40 presentations, including talks, keynotes and panels around the world.
  • The Game Lab Studio has signed over $600,000 in contracts with National Institute for Mental Health, Educational Testing Service and other partners since 2014.

AU’s program offers a unique blend of industry-standard skills underpinned by a focus on persuasive play.

Among those skills are Unity 3D programming and level design, Construct 2 game making, 3D Studio Max and Blender 3D Modeling and Animation. Students also develop independent game making skills, game design ideation, rapid prototyping, and project management.

During the second year of the degree program, students can intern at the AU Game Lab Studio and build a professional portfolio by working on real-world projects for external clients.

Game Lab drives students to stretch their capacities as designers, developers, consumers, and game administrators and apply that to their unique field of interest, such as politics, science, art, health, to develop games that transform players’ interests, activities, or opinions into meaningful action. 

A few examples:

  • Game Lab collaborated with WAMU 88.5, NPR’s Washington DC affiliate, to create Commuter Challenge, a narrative-driven game about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s multi-year SafeTrack initiative. The player helps guide a character  through their commute with constraints like time and money that must be budgeted throughout the week. The player becomes not only the audience for WAMU’s reporting but an empathetic and engaged participant in the story.
  • Game Lab students, in partnership with the Vox Storytelling Studio, created Square Off, a game to engage the Vox audience with Polygon’s Final Fantasy 7 oral history 
  • Two Game Lab students have created games that help treat health issues; one encourages people with Parkinson’s to exercise at a recommended level on a stationary bike by displaying obstacles you must clear with a helicopter by increasing pedaling speed, another teaches deep breathing skills through manipulating a space ship to catch flowers based on breathing rate.  

Game Lab has also established itself as an innovative and inclusive community. When Al Jazeera was doing a story on the rise in female professional gamers, they came to Game Lab professors Ben Stokes and Chris Totten and student Kelli Dunlap. Compared to an industry that is 89 percent male, the AU cohort has one of the best gender ratios in the country – it’s 58 percent female. Students come from across the United States, and Africa and South America and have an array of educational backgrounds including PsyD, PhD, MA, BA, BS. Game Lab has hosted two diversity summits focused on joining the industry to impel a change so that the demographics of game designers and developers better reflect the diversity of the players.

AU’s location in the nation’s capital allows for unique partnerships and collaborations with cultural institutions and governmental agencies that have national impact.

The program is offered through a partnership between AU's School of Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Click here to read the Princeton Review.

 

 

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Title: Keeping Tradition Alive: One Family makes the Washington Semester Program a Family Tradition
Author: Ryan Jordan
Subtitle:
Abstract: Wolf Weimer knew that he wanted to study abroad during his time at Zeppelin University in Germany. His father suggested he check and see whether the “terrific program” he had attended in the 80s still existed.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/21/2017
Content:

Wolf Weimer knew that he wanted to study abroad during his time at Zeppelin University in Germany, where he majored in sociology, politics and economics. He knew that DC would be an ideal place to gain experience. In 2015, he began researching possible programs to attend. His father suggested he check and see whether the "terrific program" he had attended in the 80s still existed.

"It was 30 years ago, but surprise, surprise, the same Washington Semester Program still existed," said Weimer. "Promptly, I started the application process, after my dad had already talked about his awesome experiences in Washington for years."

Weimer shared that his actually attended the program twice, staying in DC for two semesters.

"Although I really expected the slogan 'semester of a lifetime' to be pure exaggeration, I have to say that I totally agree with it," Weimer said as he discussed his father's description of the program. "It was a very unique experience in many ways. I not only grew academically and professionally, but I also became good friends with fellows around the globe."

Weimer attended the program in the fall of 2015 with a concentration in Global Economic and Business. He credits Professor Sosland for explaining the interconnectedness between economics and politics. During the program, Weimer visited important institutes, such as the Federal Reserve, Congress, the World Bank, the NYSE, the IMF, and multiple DC think tanks. He also served as the Marketing and Media Intern at 1776, a global startup incubator.

Weimer is now back at his home school in Germany, finishing his bachelor's thesis and interning at Deloitte Germany in Munich. With the help of Heather Broberg and other Washington Semester Program associates, a partnership between Zeppelin University and American University has been created to help more students like Weimer gain experience in DC. Now, Weimer and his father are working on persuading his brother to attend the program in the future.

"It's a unique experience that teaches you lessons for life. I'm sure he won't miss the chance…"

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newsId: CF7E75E5-5056-AF26-BEEBB738A2B9F8D2
Title: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But
Author: Mike Unger and Adrienne Frank
Subtitle: This story on the long and colorful history of the polygraph - and our nerve-racking, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing experiences with it - is worth your time. We swear.
Abstract: This story on the long and colorful history of the polygraph-and our nerve-wracking, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing experiences with it-is worth your time. We swear.
Topic: First Person
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content: Polygraph result

Before we even set foot in Forensic Polygraph Services Inc., Neil Myres promised to treat us like any other client. So when he retrieved us from the waiting room of his office, tucked into the first floor of a squat, brown brick building about 20 miles west of Detroit, there were no pleasantries.

Myres, who looks the part of a former cop because he is one, was all business. "Mr. Unger, please follow me." And two hours later: "Ms. Frank, come on back."

We were there to test Myres's assertion that, on the whole, we would have the same experience with polygraph. Not possible, we thought. One of us is relaxed, not easily rattled. The other is more skeptical—curious, but cautious. And one of us—not saying who—claimed to be a smidge more honest when Myres, a School of International Service alumnus, asked us to rank ourselves on a scale from 1 to 10.

Despite our differences, any apprehension each of us had about the test, and the answers we gave, Myres was right. Our experiences were nearly identical.

Because we told the truth.

In October 2014, attorney Michael Aleo's client walked into William Wesche's office in Suffield, Connecticut. Aleo, WCL/JD '06, did not send him there without trepidation. Wesche is a polygrapher, and as Aleo knew, lie detectors—as they're often called in pop culture—can be risky business. He had advised his client, a swim coach in Massachusetts accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old athlete, against taking the test, but the man was insistent.

A number of factors helped assuage Aleo's misgivings. First, since he had hired the polygrapher, the results were protected by attorney-client privilege. If they weren't favorable to the defense, presumably the report would never see the light of day. Also, no charges had yet been filed against the suspect. Aleo was preparing not for a trial in a court of law, but for a nongovernmental administrative hearing conducted by a national licensure organization that was seeking to strip the coach of his credentials.

Still, the risks were substantial.

"Polygraphs are dangerous," Aleo said. "They can come back as false negative—or true negative—and then that information exists. The client might disclose it to a friend, or at a deposition. I had never actually had a client do one before."

As the coach was hooked up to equipment that measures an array of physiological reactions, he undoubtedly was nervous. Polygraph is an intrinsically intrusive process that elicits anxiety, apprehension, and unease even if you have nothing to hide.

And it's worse if you do.

Since its invention roughly a century ago, polygraph has been a lightning rod of controversy, alternately hailed as a critical law enforcement and even national security tool while simultaneously derided as junk science. As famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, who credits his first big break to his knowledge of "The Box," put it in the forward to the book The Lie Detector Man, "In some ways the polygraph technique exercises a pervasive influence over legal matters, and in other respects it is branded a bastard child."

So where does the truth lie? The search for it is one of life's most elusive pursuits. But in his case, Aleo thinks he found it. His client steadfastly maintained his innocence, and the results of his polygraph showed that, according to the examiner, he was 99 percent likely to be telling the truth. When Aleo submitted the test to the national licensure organization, which had revealed little about the evidence it had amassed, its reaction was swift.

"They produced a whole lot of stuff, including investigatory notes, that I had never seen before," he said. "Based on those notes, we were able to identify witnesses who contradicted things [the alleged victim] said. Had we not done the polygraph I don't think we would have gotten that."

The board ruled in Aleo's client's favor.

"Am I going to tell you that polygraph's all things to all people at all times about all issues?" said Myres, president of the Michigan Association of Polygraph Examiners. "No. It's not a magic eight ball, it's not an Ouija board, it's not black magic voodoo science, it's straight-up forensic psycho-physiological detection of deception, which is a whole lot of long words, but in a nutshell it's personal knowledge."

We don't know exactly when humans uttered their first words. The origin of speech is hotly debated among scientists, with estimates ranging wildly from 2 million to 50,000 years ago.

No matter the exact date, one thing's for certain: lying wasn't far behind. Call it bluffing, bullshitting, exaggerating, fabricating, fibbing, hyperbolizing—or citing an alternative fact. The one truth about lies is that, whether a whopper or a white lie, we all tell them. "Deception is one of the last bastions of sovereignty," Myres said.

But for as long as we've been lying, we've also been trying to tease out the truth.

In 1000 BC, the Chinese ordered accused liars to fill their mouths with a handful of dry rice. If it was still dry when they spit it out, they were guilty of fraud (the logic being that fear and anxiety are accompanied by decreased salivation). During the Middle Ages, the accused placed their hands in a cauldron of boiling water; if their skin was unscathed, they were deemed truthful.

It wasn't until the late nineteenth century that a string of Italian criminologists began looking to physiology—not fortuity—to detect deception. Chief among them was Cesare Lombroso, who developed a "glove" that measured changes in the subject's blood pressure, which were recorded on a chart. Although Lombroso was onto something, he gave up his research to focus on his theory of anthropological criminality, which contends that "born criminals" possess ape-like physical defects such as oversized ears and long arms.

A man named William Moulton Marston, whose own story took many twists and turns, including a stint at AU, picked up where Lombroso left off. A Harvard-trained psychologist and lawyer, Marston was commissioned by the US government to develop a method for questioning German prisoners during World War I. Although his systolic blood pressure test was only a slight improvement on Lombroso's glove, it would become the predecessor to the modern polygraph.

Marston landed a professorship at AU in 1922, teaching psycho-physiology and legal psychology. Fascinated by the theory that women are the more honest sex, he and his wife, Elizabeth, conducted a series of experiments in Hurst Hall that indicated men were less reliable jurors. "They were more careful, more conscientious, and gave much more impartial consideration to all the testimony than did the male jurors," he wrote.

His tenure at AU was brief. In 1923, Marston was fired after being arrested for fraud, although charges were later dropped. Like his time at AU, his appointments at Tufts, NYU, and Columbia never seemed to last more than a year. It's thought that his scandalous family life tarnished his reputation in academic circles. (Marston lived with both his wife and his mistress, Olive Byrne, Margaret Sanger's niece and a Family Circle columnist.)

Although the universities stopped calling, Marston was in demand as an expert witness. Ironically, the biggest case of his career was the one in which he was barred from testifying.

On November 25, 1920, James Frye shot and killed wealthy physician Robert Brown in the doctor's Washington, DC, home where he'd gathered with friends to celebrate Howard University's football victory. Seven months after the murder, when Frye was arrested on an unrelated robbery charge, he confessed to the killing. Shortly thereafter he withdrew his confession on the advice of his attorney, Richard Mattingly, a salesman by day and AU grad student by night. Marston was brought in to administer a polygraph; as he writes in his 1938 book, The Lie Detector Test: "No one could have been more surprised than myself to find that Frye's final story of innocence was entirely truthful!"

But weeks later, during Frye's trial, the judge prohibited Marston from testifying on the grounds that scientific lie detection was not reliable. Without Mattingly's star witness, Frye took the stand in his own defense—a major miscalculation. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and served 18 years at the Lorton Reformatory in Virginia.

Ultimately Frye v. United States (1923) was a huge setback for the lie detector's scientific legitimacy—a problem that continues to plague the polygraph nearly a century later.

Marston might've declared himself the "father of the polygraph," but it was only after August Vollmer adopted it as his pet project that it morphed into the technology used in police stations and government offices across the country today.

Despite dropping out of school in the sixth grade, Vollmer became one of the most influential figures in American policing. As chief of California's Berkeley Police Department he professionalized the force, recruiting college grads and requiring IQ tests. He was the first to put cops on bikes, in squad cars, and to equip those vehicles with a brand new technology: two-way radios. Vollmer also ushered in the era of forensic science.

As the roaring '20s exploded with organized crime, bootlegging, and police corruption, Vollmer believed science—not brute force—was the most effective tool in an officer's arsenal. Although it was bulky and prone to breakdowns, he saw potential in Marston's machine and enlisted one of his top cops, John Larson, to tweak it.

Larson, the first police officer in the country with a doctorate, debuted the second iteration of the polygraph—the cardio-pneumo psychogram—in 1921. That same year, he used the improved instrument, which monitored the subject's respiration, pulse, and skin conductivity, to help prove a man named William Hightower guilty of murdering a priest. The story made front-page news in the San Francisco Call and Post; under the headline "Psychological Test in Jail at Midnight Bares Hidden Mind," reporters regaled the contraption they dubbed "the lie detector." (Larson loathed the splashy moniker, as do professional polygraphers today.)

In 1923, Vollmer's protégé took on a pupil of his own. Leonarde Keeler was a psychology student, amateur magician, entrepreneur (he ran a snake "milking" farm, selling the venom for anti-bite serums), and Larson's foil. In his book The Lie Detectors, Northwestern University history professor Ken Alder calls Keeler and Larson "Vollmer's delinquent sons," each competing to control the future of the polygraph. It was a battle Keeler would ultimately win.

When Vollmer set eyes on Keeler's third-generation instrument, now called an emotograph, he said it looked like "a crazy conglomerate of wires, tubes, and old tomato cans." The machine was destroyed in a fire at Keeler's house in 1924; when it rose from the ashes, he renamed it the polygraph.

Keeler would patent the hardware, thereby controlling who could buy the polygraph (the FBI, which used it for criminal investigations and job screenings, was among his first customers) and casting himself as the primary expert witness in some of the country's most notorious cases. People often called Keeler—who showcased the machine at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair— the inventor of the polygraph, a mistake he never corrected. Incidentally, his adversary, Larson, opted for med school and slipped into a quiet life in Illinois, while Marston moved from criminal justice to the Justice League. Under the pseudonym Charles Moulton, he created Wonder Woman, who debuted in All Star Comics No. 8 in December 1941.

Her weapon of choice? The golden lasso of truth.

In February 1935, Keeler and his polygraph finally got their day in court in the attempted murder trial of Tony Grignano and Cecil Loniello in Portage, Wisconsin. After administering a polygraph to both men, Keeler determined they were guilty. Pressed on the polygraph's accuracy, he pegged it at 75 percent.

After Grignano and Loniello were convicted, Keeler's confidence swelled. "[This] means that the findings of the lie detector are as acceptable in court as fingerprint testimony."

Not quite.

Eighty-two years after Keeler took the stand in the Badger State, polygraph evidence is banned in approximately 30 states according to Elizabeth Lippy, assistant director of the Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program at AU's Washington College of Law. Other states potentially allow polygraph evidence by stipulation if both the prosecution and the defense agree, and a few states allow it outright. New Mexico is the most liberal.

Why the skepticism? Fingerprint evidence is indisputable. It's hard science. The polygraph, of which there are two kinds—specific-issue, used in criminal investigations, and screening, typically multi-issue examinations used to vet law enforcement personnel and the intelligence community—is both an art and a science. The instrument doesn't measure lies; it measures changes in blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity. Before Myres hooked each of us up he guaranteed us four things: respect, honesty, professionalism, and an accurate assessment. If an examiner doesn't deliver on those promises, or if he doesn't ask effective questions and properly interpret the physiological responses to the answers, that impacts the bottom line—reliability.

Manipulating polygraph results has been the subject of barroom banter—and now is a cottage online industry—for years. Google "how to beat a lie detector" and you'll get more than 1.5 million hits. Among the results is a nugget about Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency whistleblower who exposed the government's warrantless wiretapping of US citizens after 9/11. "Think of a warm summer night . . . or drinking a beer, whatever calms you. You're throwing them off," said Tice, who took more than a dozen polygraphs, according to US News and World Report. "The needle might nip a little [because you're lying], but not off the charts."

Even polygraph's strongest advocates concede it's not foolproof. Convicted KGB mole Aldrich Ames famously beat two polygraphs, as did Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer.

"There are anomalies. The only thing that is 100 percent is death, everything else is gray," Myres said. "[But] if I crack your knee with a rubber mallet you're going to get a reflex. I could tell you to keep it still and I'll give you a million bucks, but you're not keeping it still. That's physiological. Our central nervous system is split in half. We control the side that includes our words, so if we choose, we can be deceptive. But we can't control the autonomic side. Polygraphs are a blending of what you know and what you can't control."

In a 2015 interview with NPR, Raymond Nelson, then president of the American Polygraph Association, said the test is more than 80 percent accurate. However, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's most recent study on polygraph opined that the federal government should stop relying on it for screening prospective or current employees to identify spies or other national security risks because the test results are unreliable. (That's advice the feds have not heeded: according to a 2013 McClatchy report, the government polygraphs about 70,000 people a year.)

The US Supreme Court grappled with the issue of polygraph admissibility in United States v. Scheffer (1998). A military court declared the exclusion of polygraph evidence a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to mount a defense. But the high court disagreed, stating, "A fundamental premise of our criminal justice system is that 'the jury is the lie detector.'" The use of a polygraph, they said, "is no more accurate than a coin flip."

Eighty-percent accurate or a 50-50 chance—which is it? We wanted to find
out for ourselves.

The windowless room in which Myres conducts polygraphs is about the size of a suburban McMansion's master suite walk-in closet. The top half of the walls are painted burgundy, the bottom beige. Five recessed lights emit a harsh glow. Save for a large wooden desk and the chairs in which Myres and his subject sit, there is no other furniture.

Despite what you might've seen on Homeland or The Americans, polygraphers don't just dive into the actual exam. Pre-test queries about weight, criminal history, and drug use help examiners determine the subject's physical and mental fitness and enable them to gather details to persuade them to be forthcoming when the questions really get tough.

In order to replicate as authentic an experience as possible, Myres gave us each a specific-issue polygraph test separately. He had previously sent us scenarios: one of us was accused of rape and murder; the other, assault and battery of a police officer and possession of cocaine.

When he asked "As you sit in this chair right here, right now, who's the most important person in your life?" he wanted a name—a child, a partner, a parent, a friend—that he could evoke if he sensed hesitancy at any point throughout the exam. "Surely you taught your son to tell the truth," he might've said if we balked at a question. Or, "What if your mother was sitting here right now?"

His tone was neither sympathetic nor accusatory; rather, it was overridingly businesslike. He started his private polygraph firm in 2006, though he administered tests before that during his time with the Dearborn Police Department. Today he conducts exams primarily for defense attorneys seeking a confidential vetting of their client.

The environment itself, although far from warm, isn't intimidating; there's no sign of the bulky mechanical paper and ink machines most of us picture when we think of a polygraph machine. The Lafayette Instrument LX5000 is a computerized system that resembles a common router. His work station looks as unremarkable as
an accountant's.

What came next might be surprising: as is standard practice, he gave us the questions before the test.

"Lying is deliberate," he explained. "It's not the same as just being wrong. The reason we're going to review everything is because I want you to know what you've got to lie about, or what you don't have to lie about."

While each of us knows the worst crime we've committed is speeding (okay, that might be a little white lie), the thought of an instrument entering the most safeguarded part of a human being—our minds—is unnerving, to say the least. What if jitters trigger a false positive? What if the equipment malfunctions? What if the examiner interprets the results wrong, or worse, just has it out for us?

Such feelings are normal, Myres assured us, and irrelevant to the test. Be that as it may, heart rates quickened as he fit two metal chains snugly around the upper chest and the stomach, which monitor both abdominal and thoracic respiration. Next, a blood pressure cuff was Velcroed to the biceps. Though Myres only applied about a quarter of the pressure a doctor does, by the end of the test it felt far more uncomfortable because it was on for much longer. Black plastic monitors, which measure the heartrate and electrodermal activity (sweat), were attached to the ring, middle, and pointer fingers of the left hand.

As Myres hooked us up, he asked how we were feeling. Even though it was just a magazine story and not our freedom that hung in the balance, we both admitted that we were nervous. Anything but may have raised a red flag, he said.

Feet flat on the floor, eyes straight ahead, breathe normally, Myres instructed.

"We're going to do this several times" he said. "Each time will be three or four minutes long. The first time I just want you getting used to hearing how I'm going to ask you the questions, and to hearing yourself answer the questions."

And with that, each of our first—and hopefully last—polygraphs began.

"Is this the month of December?"

"Regarding your actions on the night of your arrest, do you intend to answer each question truthfully?"

"Not connected with this case, have you ever committed a crime and gotten away with it?"

Between each of the questions, Myres paused for about 25 seconds—which seemed like an eternity—to assess the physiological responses to them. Although in the back of each of our minds we knew this wasn't real, we both felt compelled by him, and by our Most Important People, to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Answering the questions honestly was a nerve-racking exercise. The room wasn't hot, but one of us sweated so incessantly the finger monitors had to be removed and wiped clean. The other fidgeted so much the movements were recorded by sensors in the padded examination chair.

After running through the slate of 10 questions the first time, Myres conducted a little exercise. He asked each of us to choose a number between one and seven (coincidentally, we both picked four), then instructed us to lie when he asked about it.

"Is one your number?"

"Is two your number?"

"Is three your number?"

In the seconds before he arrived at the question that would elicit a lie, each of us could feel subtle changes in our bodies. Despite the fact that we knew this fib was insignificant, stomachs fluttered and mouths dried. Neither of our minds could stop racing.

Later, when Myres reviewed the results of our tests with us in his conference room while sipping a glass of wine and listening to jazz (a decidedly more relaxed atmosphere), we were struck by the results. Polygraph charts look like rolling hills of squiggly red and blue, but in the middle of each of ours, the lines suddenly shot up like jagged mountains. This was the moment just before we each lied about our number; the mere anticipation of lying had given us away.

Even though Myres's questions and our answers were of no consequence, the experience was isolating and draining. After 90 minutes in his office, each of us was quite ready to leave the room. We couldn't help but wonder: What if we were facing prison time or the prospect of never holding our Most Important People again? What if those 10 questions determined the course of the rest of our lives?

For Floyd Dent they did.

On January 28, 2015, Dent was pulled over in the Detroit suburb of Inkster. Officers claimed that the retired autoworker, then 57, jumped out of his car and threatened to kill them. Police put Dent in a chokehold, delivered 16 punches to his head, and Tasered him three times; they also claimed to have found crack cocaine in his vehicle. Dashcam footage confirmed that police tussled with Dent, but the officers' mics were turned off so there was no recording of the alleged threat. The details of Dent's arrest, for which he faced up to 10 years behind bars, mirrored one of the scenarios Myres assigned to us.

Dent admitted to running a traffic signal—the violation that initiated the stop—but denied the other charges against him: assault and battery of a police officer and possession of cocaine. His lawyer enlisted Myres's services to prove it.

On two occasions Dent sat in the same chair each of us did, stared at the same burgundy and beige walls, and answered many of the same questions about the crimes of which he was accused. His answer to each one was the same: no.

Dent aced the polygraph.

"Black man beaten by Mich. Police . . . Passes Lie Detector Test," NBC.com proclaimed in March 2015. Dent prevailed in the court of public opinion; based on the video footage, a judge dropped all charges and he was awarded $1.4 million in damages from the city of Inkster. "I want people to remember me as an honest person—a person who told the truth," he said.

Sometimes, it seems, the truth can set you free.

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newsId: DA35C0F0-5056-AF26-BEE31DCCF68BA099
Title: Fresh Fruit, En Route
Author: Brad Scriber
Subtitle:
Abstract: Molly Amelia My Street Grocery Portland Oregon
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content: Illustration of fruit stall

Behind the wheel of a trolley named Molly, Amelia Pape is bringing the grocery store to Portlanders in need.

One in six Oregonians lacks access to affordable, nutritious food, a predicament Pape, SPA/BA '05, is trying to change. She's the founder of My Street Grocery, a mobile market that offers meat, dairy products, pantry staples like peanut butter and pasta, and a rainbow of seasonal produce—corn, cantaloupe, plums, peppers, avocados, asparagus—to low-income residents of underserved neighborhoods in the state's largest city. Four days a week, Pape or one of her colleagues steers Molly, painted the same shade of green as the pines that line the city, to Portland health clinics with whom she's partnered to provide patients with prescriptions for an apple a day. (Or kale, or hummus, or 100 other, mostly organic, offerings.)

The food Rx program is the first of its kind in the Rose City—and it's getting results. More than 90 percent of food prescriptions are redeemed (drug prescriptions average 60 percent, nationally) and recipients, many of whom have diet-related chronic illnesses, report shrinking waistlines and fewer cases of depression.

"I work part-time and don't have a whole lot of extra money, so I have to be very careful with what I do have," says a regular named Tim. "I sometimes get to the end of the month and don't have fresh vegetables. So this is nice. Last time I was here I bought mainly vegetables. It makes my food stamps go much further."

Pape set out to tackle food insecurity, a cause near and dear to her heart: like 51 percent of Oregon youngsters, she was on the reduced lunch program as a kid. But soon enough, she discovered her project wasn't even about hunger alleviation anymore. "It was more than me, more than My Street Grocery, more than the food we brought," she said during a PDXTalks event last fall sponsored by Portland State University. "It was bonds being formed. It was community being created.

"Food is the hook, but community is the glue."

Pape, who describes herself as an "accidental entrepreneur," came up with the idea for a mobile grocery service in business school at Portland State in 2009. Tasked with finding and fixing a market failure, she turned to her personal passion: food. After reading up on food deserts—communities with a corner store but no full-service grocery store with fresh offerings—she was convinced this was a health issue that the right kind of business could fix.

"Not all market failures are social problems," she says, "but many social problems are market failures."

Pape focused her MBA work on social enterprise, businesses that make money but also make the world a better place. Along the way, she researched the mobile grocery concept and entered it in a business plan competition. She walked away with some prize money, and a revelation: "this is what I wanted to do."

A market on wheels was an unorthodox approach for the grocery business, so there weren't a lot of examples of how it might work. Nevertheless, Pape kept driving forward, encouraged by what she considers the most helpful advice she ever received: "the best thing I could do for my business was to start it."

Along with her competition prize money, the concept also netted about $13,000 from a Kickstarter pitch that surpassed its target goal. "This business that I had dreamed would be for the community was built and invested in by the community," she says, "and that felt really right."

Pape put the seed money toward an old bread truck, and in 2012 she hit the road. "It was my goal to start this business, learn about it, bootstrap it, and never have the mission be jeopardized," she says. But after a year, Pape wanted to do more and decided it was time to look for an investor. She knew it would be difficult to find someone willing to put money behind a for-profit enterprise that wasn't solely focused on the bottom line. She turned to a member of her advisory board who was in the leadership of Whole Foods Market to get some advice about how to find a partner who would respect the mission.

The answer was basically: you're looking at him. Whole Foods had been eager to help the business grow, but it was important to them that Pape initiate the partnership.

She drew up a formal proposal. Then, knowing that panel interviews are an important part of the Whole Foods culture, she asked for one and wrote her own job description, spelling out exactly what she wanted. They agreed. With that, Pape became Whole Foods' inaugural food access coordinator—and My Street Grocery became its first-ever mobile market.

At the top of Pape's to-do list: buy a trolley. After a year of driving a bread truck she learned that she needed a vehicle that would allow people to step inside while they shopped. Portland is a rainy city, and a grocery store that's only open on sunny days wouldn't make a big enough difference in the lives of her food-insecure customers.

The trolley also allowed her to offer more than produce. She recognized that people leave home not necessarily when the fruit bowl is empty, but when they run out of milk, bread, and eggs. To carry a more diverse array of foods, Molly is equipped with refrigerators and freezers, offerings for pantry building, and "a whole bunch of beautiful fresh produce," all in a warm, dry, mobile shop.

The natural gas-powered trolley that once shuttled tourists around Fort Worth, Texas, now parks near Portland schools and clinics. Although Pape has partnerships with social service agencies, healthcare providers, and faith-based organizations that have deep relationships with the community, everyone's welcome at the market. Kids grow wide-eyed when they see Molly cruising through Nob Hill or Slabtown, and people of all ages wave. Pape has even driven the trolley in a neighborhood parade.

That familiarity helps everyone feel welcome at My Street Grocery, which Pape now sees as vital to improving access in a state that's historically had one of the highest rates of food insecurity. (Oregon was the ranked the hungriest state in the union when the US Department of Agriculture began releasing reports on the topic in the late 1990s.) "We have a mantra: food is community," she says. There's even a sign with that slogan on the trolley, tailor made for selfies.

As she deepens relationships in the same neighborhoods where she launched the business, Pape increasingly sees her success as part of a larger social enterprise movement.

She's given classroom talks and keynote addresses on social enterprise, and serves on the advisory board for a Portland incubator program that helped her early on. When other aspiring mobile groceries around the country have reached out, Pape's been happy to offer advice—along with a Kickstarter pledge—and her formal consulting has boosted clients from Canada to India to Vietnam. "If we can find ways to use business to solve the world's intractable social problems, that's the biggest win-win [of all]," she says.

As Pape has discovered, bringing food into a community with limited access isn't the end—it's just the beginning.

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Title: Product of the System
Author: Mike Unger
Subtitle: Jelani Freeman entered foster care at eight years old. While in one sense he never got out, it never got him.
Abstract: Jelani Freeman entered foster care at eight years old. While in one sense he never got out, it never got him.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

During a trip to Haiti sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute last summer, Jelani Freeman, CAS/MA '07, had an epiphany. Among the politicians, staffers, practitioners, and advocates in the delegation was a scientist who specialized in early childhood brain development. At one point during the tour, which included stops at several orphanages sanitized for the dignitaries' visit but still heartbreaking in their squalor, he mentioned to Freeman how imperative a child's first three years are to a lifetime of cognitive advancement.

"I realized for the first time that with all the shortcomings that my mom had, she did a lot for me, because if she didn't read to me or talk to me, I wouldn't be where I am now," Freeman, 36, says. "It made me think, wow, maybe there was something good during my childhood."

Twenty-eight years ago Freeman came home from elementary school to find the small, single-family house his mother rented in a rough section of Rochester, New York, empty. No one was there to ask, "What did you learn today?" or, "Do you want meatloaf or mac and cheese for dinner?"

The only sound was silence.

This was not particularly strange—often his mother disappeared for days at a time, leaving young Jelani to fend for himself. He learned to mop the floors and scrub toilets, and even became a halfway decent cook. Chicken and rice was a specialty. His older brother and sister had moved out long ago, and his father, whom he has never met, was in prison, serving a sentence for attempted murder.

Vanessa Freeman battled mental health issues for much of her life, which sometimes left her bedridden or barricaded in her room. She struggled to hold down a job or create a semblance of normalcy at home for Jelani, who somehow never got angry or disillusioned with her. She was his mother; he loved her. 

When he returned home from school the next day, again to a deserted house, Freeman still didn't worry. It was only when, later that night, an adult walked through the front door that he knew his life would never be the same. That grown-up wasn't his mom; it was a social worker.

At eight years old, Freeman entered the foster care system, and while in one sense he never got out, it never got him. Somehow, while he trudged from one foster home to another using "a trash bag as my suitcase," as he told the world in July during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, he managed to forge his own path forward.

Despite the hardships and heartaches he faced, pain that often proves too deeply rooted for thousands of kids in the foster care system to ever shed, something good did indeed emerge from Jelani Freeman's childhood—Jelani Freeman himself.

"I was really ashamed of being in foster care, and I was protective of my mom," says Freeman, who recounts details of his childhood with an outward detachment. "I remember in college I didn't speak to people much about it. I [thought] I was going to become a history teacher, get married, have kids and have a house, and everything that happened with me would be behind me and I'd never talk about it. I quickly learned that's just not how it's going to be. When I came to DC, I started to see that doing that would be selfish, because through my experiences I now had a voice and I could possibly help the next group of foster kids."

Freeman's a big man—six foot one, north of 200 pounds—but there's a gentleness to him. When he speaks his words are measured, not emotional.

"Rehashing painful things, it's like having a wound heal but constantly picking at it," he says. "But I think I've gotten to a place where years later I am able to tell my story. It's not me or my story that is really the focus but rather helping the thousands of kids who are struggling in foster care now."

Like so many pundits, pollsters, and millions of blue voters who thought they had the presidential race handicapped, Freeman woke up November 9 in a state of disbelief. He was unprepared for a reality where Hillary Clinton, the woman who gave him the internship he credits with altering the trajectory of his life, wasn't going to occupy the Oval Office. On inauguration day he was out of town—way out of town. When Donald Trump placed his hand on Lincoln's Bible and took the oath, Freeman was in Ghana.

A globetrotter who counts South Africa and Portugal as two of his favorite destinations, Freeman recently passed the Foreign Service exam. In a matter of months he'll be living and working overseas, a possibility that must have seemed otherworldly to the shy boy who rarely left his corner of Rochester. His first foster placement was so close to his house that he would skip school and sneak back into his old place, a routine he repeated until the pantry was bare.

"It was weird being in someone else's home," he recalls. "The foster mother there was very removed. She didn't really talk to me. I never remember her saying my name, and I don't remember hers. I do remember feeling sad and worrying about my mom because for a while, I'd been the only one taking care of her."

Freeman and his mother were allowed to see each other, first in the social service building's prison-like visiting room, littered with used toys and worn books, and later during unsupervised home visits when she was out of the hospital. But they'd never live under the same roof again.

Over the next decade, Freeman bounced between four other foster homes and two group homes. Some were warmer and more welcoming than others, but none were home. He didn't decorate his various bedrooms; no posters or pennants adorned the walls. At one group facility, if he needed to use the bathroom, he was required to ask for permission. When he was nine, the family he was staying with took their biological kids to the circus. Freeman was left behind.

"It was very clear that I was an outsider," he says. "But it became [normal] for me."

That's the sad reality for too many of the nearly 428,000 children who languish in America's foster care system on any given day. Their outlook is bleak. According to Children's Rights, a nonprofit advocacy organization, in 2015 more than 62,000 kids were waiting to be adopted after their mothers' and fathers' parental rights had been legally terminated.

For those who, like Freeman, are never chosen, their 18th (or in some states, 21st) birthday marks their legal separation from the government. At an age when many kids are worrying about who they're going to take to the prom, Freeman was given a bus pass, wished good luck, and sent out into the world.

Although he was essentially an orphan, he was not alone. In high school he met Jacquie Booker as part of a mentoring program organized by her employer, Xerox. Their partnership, rocky at first, turned out to be a godsend for Freeman, who originally hoped to be paired with a man. A subpar, disinterested student and slightly rebellious, he tested his new role model to gauge her commitment.

"I said to him, 'Well, you get me or you get nobody,'" Booker recalls. "You could see he was a good kid, he just needed to know someone was there for him. He said things like, 'nobody loves me,' and, 'nobody cares about me, I should just go sell drugs.' I was like well, you can do that if you want to but you're either going to be dead or you're going to be in jail. Take your pick."

Booker's tough love was just what Freeman needed. His grades improved, and for the first time he began thinking about his future. For kids in the system, that rarely includes continuing education. By age 26, just 4 percent of youth who have aged out of foster care have earned a four-year college degree, as opposed to 36 percent of the general population.

The numbers get worse.

"There's a 25 percent rate of homelessness [among] kids who age out of care, and the statistics on single parenting and early pregnancy and drug abuse are disproportionately high with this population as well," says Beverly Clarke, director of Project Wait No Longer, a program Freeman works with that aims to increase the number of older children who are adopted.

Stop, for a moment, and consider all of life's little lessons—aside from basic morals and behaviors norms—those of us lucky enough to have grown up with loving parents learned from them. How to tie a Windsor knot or to parallel park. Manners; critical thinking; humility. Our parents were there with words of encouragement when we were cut from the soccer team, and they were sitting at the kitchen table—seething—when we tried, as teens, to stealthily slip in after midnight. Perhaps most importantly, our parents provided us with a subconscious safety net. Somewhere in the back of our hormone-ravaged minds, we knew that if we stumbled, they'd be there to help us up.

Freeman had none of that. While he played football and basketball in high school, no one signed him up for piano or karate or dance or swimming lessons. Few pictures of him as a child exist. But he did have Booker. She helped him open a savings account, took him on college visits, and when he left for the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1998, she gave him a suitcase for his clothes. He tossed his trash bag in the garbage.

"Young people need at least one champion in their lives saying, 'You're not going to fail,'" Freeman says. "For a lot of us that's our parents. If we don't have parents, we need someone to go to for advice, if we're struggling with this or that. She was just what I needed, especially in terms of going into adulthood. I think she made me get a lot more serious about my future."

By the time Freeman had settled into his new life as an undergraduate, his mother was living primarily in mental health facilities. So when most of his classmates were finalizing party plans for spring and fall breaks, Freeman was problem solving; he had no home to go home to. Occasionally he'd tag along with a friend, and in the summer he headed to the Catskill Mountains where he was a counselor at sleepaway camps, which provided extra money and shelter.

Born from necessity, Freeman was resourceful. He worked in the university library, helped set up for campus events, and was a tutor. Three jobs coupled with loans covered his tuition and living expenses, but there wasn't much left for pizza. Miraculously, he managed to stay above water, and in May 2002, he graduated with a degree in history and political science.

But what should have been a joyous day felt bittersweet to Freeman. As he entered Buffalo's Alumni Arena for the ceremony, he was struck by a chilling thought: What if his name was announced, and no one cheered? Booker was 150 miles away at Syracuse University, where her daughter was graduating that same day.

As was the case so often in his young life, the Jelani Freeman contingent consisted of only Jelani Freeman.

"I really had to steel myself and my emotions because I was like, oh shoot, I'm going to walk across the stage and it's going to be silent," he says. "It wasn't quite like that. A couple of my friends clapped, but it definitely left an imprint on me, and it was unfortunate because I was doing something that most of the people in my family had never done. Not having anyone there turned that great moment into a sad one. After that I started to realize that I can't just put this foster care experience away and hide it. It's with me forever."

Freeman's lot in life created many obstacles, but in 2003, it finally provided him with a break. Hillary Clinton, then the junior senator from New York, reserved an internship in her office for a former foster care youth. Freeman landed it.

The job was transformative for Freeman, who fell in love with Washington, public service, and the idea of working on behalf of foster children. Yet it's hard to tell who benefitted more from the unlikely bond that formed between the famous politician and her protégé. In the 10th anniversary edition of her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, Clinton lists Freeman as one of her heroes, and last year her presidential campaign asked him to speak at the Democratic convention.

When the internship ended, Clinton invited Freeman to stay on, so he got a second job at Marvelous Market in Georgetown, rented a crummy apartment on H Street, and continued working for her.

"She does have a huge heart, specifically for children and children's issues," says Freeman, who also later interned at the State Department when Clinton was secretary of state.

Energized and now sure that his future lay in Washington, Freeman began investigating graduate programs. One day he caught a Red Line train to Tenleytown and wandered into the office of the late AU professor Valerie French, then chair of the history department. He didn't have an appointment, let alone enough money to attend graduate school.

"I told her my story and she said, 'Don't you worry, we're going to make it happen,'" he says. "She was the reason I went to American and made it through. Any time I needed help, I could always go to her. I just loved her. I think that's what my story's all about. There's always been one person in my life that has seen something in me and reached out and helped me. I hope I've taken advantage of that and made them proud."

Proof that he has was obvious when Freeman graduated from Howard University School of Law in 2010. On a warm Saturday in May, his friends filled all 16 seats he was allotted, plus six more, and they beamed when he received his diploma.

Among them was Marilyn Regier, executive director and CEO of the Barker Adoption Foundation, on whose board Freeman serves.

"Terrible things happen to kids when they age out of the system, and somehow Jelani landed on his feet, and he never forgot that," she says. "That is why he is so on fire to help other kids. He's humble, and yet there's a certain confidence about him. I don't think people help him so much because they feel sorry for him. Frankly, I think they admire him greatly."

Absent from the Freeman delegation that jubilant day was his mother, Vanessa, who passed away from breast cancer in 2007. In the years prior to her death, Freeman was able to establish a solid, if untraditional, relationship with her. As he came to understand more fully in Haiti, "she tried her best."

Now Freeman is as well. One day he hopes to have kids of his own—and serve as a foster parent—but he's not waiting until then to make an impact. In addition to his position with Barker, he serves on the board of the Center for Adoption Support and Education, advises the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, works as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and sits on DC's Child Fatality Review Committee.

"That's hard, because you read stories of young lives taken way too quickly, and you always wonder if there was just one more thing that one more person could have done that could have saved their life."

Perhaps for some seemingly unlucky kid floundering in the system today, Jelani Freeman will be that man.

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Title: A Prideful and Painful Past
Author: Mike Unger and Adrienne Frank
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Abstract: Lonnie Bunch Museum of African American History and Culture
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

Perhaps it's not surprising that Washington's cherry blossoms had not yet bloomed before the one millionth visitor walked through the doors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Free tickets to the Smithsonian's 19th museum have been hotter than Hamilton since it opened on September 24, but the true measure of the museum's impact can be found in how long those lucky enough to have gone have spent in the 400,000-square-foot facility, which features 11 inaugural exhibitions showcasing 3,000 objects. Dwell time—the length of time a visitor stays—is unparalleled at the NMAAHC, averaging 6 hours or more on weekends, compared to 75 to 120 minutes for most museums.

More than any other single person, founding director Lonnie Bunch, CAS/BA '74, CAS/MA '76, is responsible for that success. For a decade he traveled the globe in search of artifacts, raised money, and readied the museum for its debut. On the penultimate day of Black History Month we sat down with him to discuss his journey in a conference room on the top floor of the museum that offers breathtaking views of the Washington Monument. The bright room is lined with accolades he's accumulated throughout his nearly 35-year career as a museum curator and director. Two weeks earlier he'd added another to the collection: the NAACP President's Award.

"I knew early on that I needed to be the face of the museum, but I have to be honest, I've been overwhelmed by the visibility," he says. "After I got back somebody sent me a YouTube [video of the awards ceremony] and I could see that the audience stood up. Here is Hollywood, a place that's really focused on itself, giving a standing ovation to a museum. That reminded me of the power of what we've been doing."

Have things slowed down at all for you since September?

The excitement about the museum, the number of people that are visiting, the interest, globally, means that I'm on the road just as much now as I was before. There are new exhibit projects that we're doing with the Netherlands and the UK. I was in Davos at the World Economic Forum, so I got to talk about the museum there. It's a combination of goodwill, repaying donors, building new partnerships, and a little hint of a victory lap.

At what point did this project in your mind transform from the abstract and start to feel like a museum?

That was part of my strategy from day one. When I left [the Chicago Historical Society] Mayor Daley said something that stayed with me: "Why would you want to go back and run a project?" I realized projects may not happen, but if the museum existed from day [one], that would really help us move this along. So that's what we did. We hired scholars and educators, we did exhibitions here at the Smithsonian, we did traveling exhibitions, we did educational programs. That was part of an overarching strategy of saying that people support real things—not "projects."

What's surprised you about the way in which the museum has been received?

I'm surprised that it exceeded my expectations. You hope that the museum is important, that the museum is visited, and that the museum matters to people. All of that has been proven true.

The other thing that surprised me was . . . that people would say, "Well, this musician isn't in, does that means he's not important?" People began to push their favorites. I'm an old jock so it reminded me of the Baseball Hall of Fame: who got in and who didn't, and who almost made it. It surprised me that there would be that level of conversation.

What's struck you about how visitors are interacting with the museum?

The amount of intergenerational learning that's going on. We see grandparents sharing not just their take on the history, but how they were involved or how it shaped their lives. To see that sense of being able to educate in an informal yet meaningful way is gratifying.

I'm also struck by the respectful way people are using the museum. We've got huge lines—people sometimes have to wait an hour, an hour and a half. We've never had anybody complaining. There's really been this sense of almost a pilgrimage, that you want to take whatever time you need to be able to engage the pilgrimage and if you have to wait a little longer for it to begin, then so be it. As somebody said to me: "We've waited for 100 years, I can wait another hour and a half."

Do you have a favorite corner of the museum where you like to go and reflect?

Because of the work it took to get, I'm really taken by the remnants of the slave ship São José. I like to watch people look at that and reflect. I always stop in the contemplative court where the water is flowing; I've overheard amazing conversations there.

Have you had the chance to watch a person who donated an item see it on display for the first time?

What you see often is people who have donated something standing near it. They don't say anything, they just want to hear what other people say. The [instance] I remember the most was a woman who was taking her son through the museum. They were at the civil rights piece and she was talking about Medgar Evers. There was a woman standing there and at the end of the conversation she goes over and thanks the woman and says, "You know, you did a really good job explaining that story to your son because Medgar Evers was my father." You see the kind of personal exchange and ownership happening. You hope for it to happen but you couldn't plan for it.

Was there a particularly emotional moment for you during the opening festivities or in the months since?

Sitting on the stage when we opened in September, to have President and Mrs. Obama, President and Mrs. Bush, to have the chief justice sitting across from me and John Lewis sitting next to me, that was very moving.

But then what really did it was when I made myself look out and see the crowd. I was so focused on giving the speech and not screwing up, but when I looked out and saw the people by the Washington Monument, I suddenly realized this was much bigger than any of us ever could've imagined.

I found myself getting very emotional thinking about not only who was there, but about all the people who began this journey with us who weren't there anymore—my dad and others. I really felt that all those people who went before, whose stories didn't get told, suddenly they were alive in this museum. And I felt a kind of continuity and a connection between the past and the present that was hidden and embedded in the walls and the glass and the artifacts.

You gave a personal tour to President Trump last month. What was that experience like?

It's always humbling when you get to talk to the president of the United States. To be able to engage him on issues of race and optimism and spirituality . . . I think the word he used was "amazing." I've walked a lot of presidents through exhibitions, but [Trump] really gave it the respect and attention it deserved.

Are you continuing to amass artifacts?

We will continue to collect as long as there is a museum. We have the opportunity to look back and collect things we don't have. But maybe the most important thing is every quarter saying, "What would a curator 50 years from now want to have about today?" So, it's really both looking back and looking ahead. Right now we have 35,000 to 40,000 artifacts stored out in Landover, Maryland, in a storage facility we share with other Smithsonian museums.

How often will the exhibits change?

We have rotating spaces for photography and fine art so you'll see a lot of that. We also framed the exhibitions so that a lot of things can be changed via the technology. But I think that, like any major Smithsonian museum, you want to make sure that the core of what you have stays because it becomes a touchstone for families. They'll say, "I saw the railroad car when I was in eighth grade and now I'm taking my kids."

Have you had a chance to stop and exhale yet?

No, it's not my nature. And there's been so much going on, whether it's trying to figure out: How does the building work? How do you handle the array of acclaim, how do you handle the criticism? When I go away and spend several months writing a book about how you open a national museum, that's probably when I'll relax.

There's no doubt that this took a toll on all of us, because, while it took 11, 12 years, that still was warp speed for the federal government. As I've always said, this was like going on the cruise at the same time you're building the ship. So part of the challenge and the stress was, you've got to raise a lot of money, but you don't even have your whole staff. You've got to think about the kind of exhibitions, but you don't know what your collections are. I'm unbelievably proud of the staff's ability to collect amazing artifacts, and to put them together in exhibitions that are interesting and technologically sound.

We take great sustenance from having been able to craft an institution that in some ways changes the feel of the National Mall and in some ways alters the national discourse. [The museum] has helped to move history back to the top of conversations and at a time of change, it's also a place that can help people grapple with the things that divided us. We always felt that building a good museum wasn't enough. We needed to build an institution that made a country better, that helped a country live up to its ideals, and that ultimately helped everybody recognize that this is a story of us all.

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Title: AU 2017 Global Health Competition Winners Announced
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Subtitle: Winning team develops innovative approaches to preventing drug abuse
Abstract: What would you do if you ran a public health nonprofit organization and just received a $400,000 grant to address critical drug abuse issues in our nation, including the opiate addiction crisis, alcohol abuse, and synthetic drug abuse throughout the US?
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

What would you do if you ran a public health nonprofit organization and just received a $400,000 grant to address critical drug abuse issues in our nation, including the opiate addiction crisis, alcohol abuse, and synthetic drug abuse throughout the US?

This was the question confronting seven competing teams of AU students on March 1 in AU’s 2017 Intramural Public Health Case Competition, sponsored by the Department of Health Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences. Each team was given the “case” details two weeks before the competition. They had to research the issues, develop strategies, and prepare an action plan.

The teams then presented their plans to four judges: Eric Chapman, prevention services manager for the District of Columbia’s Department of Behavioral Health and National Prevention Network representative for the District of Columbia; Bruce Points, community engagement manager for Substance Use Disorders in the DC Department of Behavioral Health; Beth Kane Davidson, director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine/Suburban Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, and; J. R. Denson, a health policy advisor for the American Council for an Energy Efficacy Economy and a graduate of AU’s Health Promotion Management Master of Science Program.

“The event was a great success,” said Jolynn Gardner, director of AU’s Public Health Program. “All seven interdisciplinary teams presented very innovative, well-researched strategies to address the case. The judges commented on how impressed they were with all of the presentations.”

The Winning Team
The winners, the Taking Strides Initiative team, won a $1,000 prize. Members included: Katie Lu Clougherty (BA sociology ’17)
Rain Freeman (BA justice & law ’17)
Shyheim Snead (BA political science ’18)
Kara Suvada (BS public health ’17)
Morgan Taylor (BS public health ’17)
Liliana Zigo (BS psychology ’18)

The team created the Taking Strides Initiative, with the following mission: “To reduce the burden of disease related to substance use in sex worker populations in Atlanta, GA, through a five-pronged approach.”

The five-pronged approach would utilize community mobilization, peer support and mentorship, a resource map for participants, and the evidence-based practice of brief intervention to treat substance use in order to promote a healthy and empowered community. The team based its strategies in social cognitive theory and recommended partnering with existing organizations already working with the target population in Atlanta.

“The winning team's solution stood out: they presented a sustainability plan and evaluated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They prepared a logic model, and thoroughly researched a feasible and practical strategy to address the issues of the case,” said Gardner. “Additionally, they based their approach on solid theory. They created a very thorough evaluation plan, which directly reflected the desired outcomes. The winning strategy also reflected the reality of the need to engage the local community in assessment of needs and development and delivery of interventions.”

The Runner-Ups

Gardner praised the work done by all the teams. “The second- and third-place teams also based their strategies on sound theory and feasible goals,” she said. “They presented very creative ideas and expertly utilized logic models to support their approaches. All of the presentations were impressive: the judges actually had a hard time making their final decisions!”

Second Place Team: Opiate Addiction in Vermont ($500 Prize)
Corina Chao (BA public health ’18)
Monica Emma (BA international studies ’17)
Katherine Hurley (BA Asian studies ’17)
Lucia Jimenez (BA foreign language and communication media ’18)

Third Place Team: Devoted Doulas ($300 prize)
Sumire Maki (BS public health ’19)
Julia Snegg (BA public health ’19)
Bayadir Mohamed-Osman (BS public health ’18)
Asia Cutforth (BA public health ’19)
Stephanie Black (BA WGSS & communications studies ’19)

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Title: Capitol Hill Always the Goal
Author: Ryan Jordan
Subtitle:
Abstract: Frederic Sottnick chose to participate in the Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) program because he wanted to be at the epicenter of politics.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

Frederic Sottnick chose to participate in the Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) program because he wanted to be at the epicenter of politics. Since high school, Sottnick had dreamed about coming to DC and working in politics. After gaining a bachelor's in political science from Wesley College, he decided it was time to venture to the nation's capital and experience Washington as a young professional. 

"If someone is interested in moving to DC, joining government, or diving into politics I suggest they participate in this program," said Sottnick. "If I did not participate in this program, I would not be where I am today!"
While in GPS, Sottnick interned for the House of Representatives for his home district congressman. He was elated to have the opportunity to give back to the people of southern New Jersey. The program also helped prepare him for his subsequent internships and jobs at the Department of Homeland Security, Deloitte, and now on Capitol Hill.

"I am currently working for a Congressman," Scottnick said. "Why? Because it was what I came here to do! I told myself I was going to get a job on Capitol Hill and did it!"

In addition to working on Capitol Hill, Scottnick is also in the Masters of Public Administration program at American University's School of Public Affairs. He wants to continue to develop his managerial skills and enhance his academic experience.

Sottnick still keeps in contact with his professor from GPS, Professor Mike Russell, whose guidance and support helped Sottnick understand Washington. Sottnick still communicates with him on a monthly basis for advisement. The Graduate Professional Studies program helped Sottnick reach his dream of working on Capitol Hill, and is still helping him as he continues to move forward in his career. 

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Title: Farming through the farm bill
Author: Kaitie Catania
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Abstract: Ahead of the Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics, and Potential symposium at SIS on March 28, we asked Global Environmental Politics Professor Garrett Graddy-Lovelace about the current and future farm bill
Topic: International
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

Food stamps, land conservation, and agriculture subsidies are all regulated by the farm bill, which Congress reexamines and passes nearly every five years. The last farm bill passed, the Agriculture Act of 2014, authorized more than $950 billion in US spending over a 10-year period.

Despite its hefty price tag and far-reaching implications for the food that we eat, jobs, nutrition, and more, the farm bill remains under-engaged by academics and the general public. To counter this, demystify the bill’s complexities, and deepen knowledge of its many impacts, the Global Environmental Politics (GEP) program at the School of International Service and the Berkeley Food Institute will present the Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics, and Potential symposium on March 28. The symposium features presentations from a range of scholars, policy-makers, elected officials, and food producers, including former USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), US Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and Food Fight author Daniel Imhoff.

In anticipation of the symposium, we spoke with Professor Garrett Graddy-Lovelace about what’s working with the current farm bill and what might lie ahead for the 2018 farm bill.

The farm bill is revisited every five years or so. Since the 2014 farm bill was passed, what have been some advancements, developments, or shortcomings in the agriculture industry that will impact or should be included in the 2018 farm bill?

Many major things are happening in and around the agricultural sector. To some degree, this is expected with such a vast topic as agri-food systems. But, on another level, the changes afoot are unprecedented. Chiefly, climate change is advancing and reaching irrevocable ecological (and thus agricultural) tipping points. Meanwhile, the US government is now run by those denying the very existence of anthropogenic climate change. Frankly, this willful ignorance of ecological science portends grave consequences for policy, people, and planet. Accordingly, it is all the more important and challenging to advocate for farm bill policies and programs that take climate change seriously; and to acknowledge the role of industrial agricultural production in greenhouse gas emissions.

Also: massive mergers. Bayer is buying Monsanto, Dow merges with DuPont, China National Chemical buys Syngenta—all for billions of dollars. This problematic political economy means less options for farmers and consumers, more lobbying power for transnational corporations, more conflict of interest with industry-funded agricultural research, and a further weakening of anti-trust laws.

Finally, farm gate prices are down in the US. Farmers are struggling to make ends meet, even more so than in recent years. “Low commodity prices will batter farm income,” announced the USDA itself. Loan defaults, bankruptcies and farm foreclosures are on the rise. This pressures farmers to sell their farms and leave agriculture all together. Only the largest, massive landholders can survive these economic stresses. Overall, this trend will exacerbate consolidation of land in the US and the decline of overall numbers of farmers—including beginner farmers and ranchers, and particularly minority and female growers who face additional obstacles in lending and services.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been a topic of debate for years because of their disruption to the natural agriculture system and proper food labeling for consumers, yet it is estimated that more than 90% of corn, soybeans, and cotton are genetically modified. Why are GMOs so widely used? What could the farm bill do to reduce reliance on GMOs?

Genetically modified organisms saturate the seed market and it is hard to find organic seed, for many reasons. However, the organic industry is booming in the US and causing buyers to look internationally for imports, since domestic production does not meet their needs. Yet, agro-industrial seed industry dominates the seed market, research agendas, and agricultural extension. In order to grow commodity grains (corn, soy) without chemical inputs such as those purchased alongside GMO seeds, investments must be made and farmers must be supported in their transition to non-GMO, organic, and or biodiverse farming systems.

We are a few years into the current farm bill. In terms of policy included in that bill, what is working and what needs improvement?

The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (2501) has been crucial in supporting growers who have borne the brunt of racism, sexism, and classism in agricultural policies and programs for generations. For being such a tiny slice of the farm bill pie, it has been successful in encouraging and facilitating an entry or return to farming, ranching, and community agriculture for African-American, Latino/a, indigenous, immigrant, Asian-American, and women growers and agrarian communities. However, it was halved in 2014 at the same time it was made available to veterans. Adding a large and growing pool of applicants to a shrinking pot of money is unfair and unwise. In general, the competitive grant model of USDA farm bill programs pits communities against each other, thereby undermining collaborations, solidarity, and alliances.

On a more general level, more attention needs to be paid to exploring and enacting policies that help secure a farm gate price that is above the cost of production and that provides a livelihood for growers, and precludes the need for subsidies. This also applies internationally: food aid programs and agricultural trade are oriented toward expanding US market share, which undermines local prices and thus production systems around the world. Ideally, the farm bill needs to emphasize fair trade and food aid reform.

Farm bill 2014 established two new realms of crop insurance supplements: Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage. On one hand, farmers have never needed insurance more amidst marked ecological and economic volatility. On the other hand, these new programs have operational flaws, as will be discussed in farm bill negotiations. Moreover, they are expensive and they do not actually address long-term agro-ecological resilience to climate change events or economic resilience to world-market price swings and dips. What are viable alternatives to this conventional model? I hope Congress is able to explore this question.

The farm bill was originally introduced in 1933 to stabilize the farming and agriculture market during a time of over production and drought, but has grown extensively and now includes 12 titles and covers everything from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to forestry. In the past, there have been calls to split the farm bill into a farm program bill and a nutrition bill. In terms of the process and structure of the farm bill, what needs improvement? What impact would splitting the bill up have on what and how those bills gets passed?

So much needs improvement. So many instrumental aspects of agriculture are not included in the farm bill, such as labor or antitrust or marine fisheries. The omnibus legislation has functional dysfunctions. That said, attempts to split off Title Four, for instance, would undermine the hard-fought-for alliances that have kept necessary provisions in place all these years, such as rural development programs and farm supports to keep farmers farming and stave off dire rural poverty, as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to stave off dire food insecurity, particularly among children. Everyone who has worked on a farm bill knows that it wouldn’t pass through the House or Senate if nutrition were separated.

How will a new administration and new Congress impact what’s included, cut, or how the farm bill gets passed? Do you think that SNAP may particularly be targeted by a small-government Congress?

Trump recently proposed a $4.7 billion cut to USDA discressionary spending, which hits foreign food aid at a time when 21 million people in the world are suffering outright from famine. It cuts a program that offers food aid for children by providing meals at schools. Domestically, the cuts also hit the US’s Women, Infants, and Children program. Also imminent are proposals to block-grant SNAP support, which would leave states to decide support levels and modes. This is a dangerous move across the board, but particularly in Republican and/or broke states. Trump’s proposal reduces funding for the Forest Service, for public lands upkeep, and opens the way for selling and privatizing public lands.

Scholars, practitioners, and community leaders need to strategize how to convey the importance and successes of: SNAP benefits; Conservation Title programming; price support policies for agrarian viability; antitrust regulations; research for regenerative, sustainable, biodiverse agriculture; support for local and regional food systems; support for nutritious food production; outreach and support for diverse and historically underserved growers; and rural development programs for cooperatives; among many other programs. These need to be expanded, not left in limbo or slashed in the next farm bill.

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Title: Q&A: A Dean's Intern's Path Into Journalism and Lessons Learned
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Abstract: Sara Wise talks about her experiences as a Dean's Intern and her journalism path.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

SOC: What sparked your interest in journalism?

SW: I was interested in photography at first. I studied at West Virginia University for undergrad and they didn’t really have a photography program. They did have visual journalism so I started studying that. Once I was there I had a professor, April, and she told me that I was really good at writing and so I followed that. I really like storytelling, even though my professor said I was good at writing, I’m not super passionate about the writing piece of it. But I like how Journalism allows me to use a lot of different mediums to tell stories. Photography, which is what I was really interested in, video, the writing of course, all of those things are interesting to me.

SOC: Which recent stories that you covered have left the biggest impact on you?

SW: Since I got to AU, covering the election was a big deal. I was able to work with NBC Washington on election day. I went to some of the polls and talked to people about why they voted. That night, I stayed up until finally the professors told us to go to bed. For the website that we made, I was going to help make our final post for the election to say who had won. But obviously the election was going on and on. So at 7 in the morning, the professor and I were on the phone together, finishing up that post and getting it online. That next day, my assignment was to cover women’s reactions and because of the results, it became something different, especially in this area. I think people consider this a liberal bubble and so the women who I talked to had a lot to say. Some were angry, some were crying, some were just somber. I had some women of color say that she was afraid for her life. It was definitely an intense experience.

SOC: What new skills have you learned through your internship that translated to changes in the way you work?

SW: Through my internship with USA today, which I’m still doing right now, I am part of their graphics team. They are introducing me to programming for interactives and that’s not something I have ever really done before.


SOC: How has your internship shaped the path of your career?

SW: We will see! This isn’t just specifically about the internship, but what I can say is that coming to grad school at AU has allowed me to have these opportunities. I graduated from undergrad in 2012 and I have only had one job in journalism, at a small newspaper, and now I feel like I can leave AU and have better footing to be more successful in larger markets and just be better equipped to do the things that I’d like to do. My internships were part of that but also my classes.


SOC: How has your internship changed your perspective of your field?

SW: It’s not just the internship, but my entire experience at AU and in DC. Before I came here I studied in West Virginia and then I worked in Tennessee so I have mostly been in small markets and I do want to do community reporting. But there are communities everywhere. Even in large markets like DC or NYC, a block may be a community as opposed to the town where I’m from that has about 4,300 people. So it’s just a community in a different way. My experiences here have given me the tools to tell those people’s stories whether it’s a small town in West Virginia or a big city.


SOC: Anything else you would like to add?

SW: I feel like I am paying a lot of money to go to AU but I don’t regret it. I think I’m getting my money’s worth.

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Title: Book Smart
Author: Mike Unger
Subtitle: The purveyor of Capitol Hill Books likes what he likes - just don't say that word in his store.
Abstract: The purveyor of Capitol Hill Books likes what he likes - just don't say that word in his store.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content: Jim Toole surrounded by books

Jim Toole harbors a reverence for words.

"The language people use today," he says incredulously. "Awesome; like; perfect. You tell someone to go to the back room and look to your right and you'll find that book. 'Perfect!' You hear that 30, 40 times a day and it drives you crazy."

Toole's discerning vocabulary was shaped not only from a lifetime of reading, buying, collecting, and selling used books, but from years serving aboard destroyers and cruisers in the navy. He's still a sailor at heart, as reflected in both his colorful vernacular and the managerial style in which he runs Capitol Hill Books.

It's a gray, gloomy January day, but even if the sun were shining Arizona-bright you wouldn't be able to tell in here. Bookshelves reach from the worn blue-carpeted floors to the white, water-damaged ceilings, obscuring the windows, creating a sort of literary eclipse. Toole, SIS/MA '66, is sitting in a wooden chair in the middle of the fiction section upstairs where, like everywhere else in his store, he's completely enveloped by books. Not only is all the shelf space occupied, but piles of novels are shoved into the crevices and alcoves of the nineteenth century row house. As a group of young women ascend the creaky stairs, their eyes widen at the sight of the legions of tattered paperbacks and worn hardcovers. They almost look like museumgoers gazing at ancient artifacts. For twentysomethings like them, many of whom prefer to read on a REDACTED*, seeing this many bound books in one place is a rare occurrence.

*The names of the popular digital device used for reading e-books and the company that makes it grace Toole's list of 15 words and phrases forbidden from being spoken in the store.

"I love the smell," one of the customers remarks.

"You like old book dust?" responds Toole, implying that not only does he not, he's perplexed how anyone could.

"Yes, it's oddly comforting," the woman says.

Toole, 80, simply shrugs his shoulders. A Capitol Hill Books baseball cap covers his white hair, and his weathered face wears an expression that teeters between scowl and wry smile. Even now, he still exudes a military bearing. He's been fighting a pesky cold for weeks, which is one reason why he's not in a particularly cheery mood. Then again, Toole's seldom in a particularly cheery mood.

"Curmudgeon is the word that everyone uses and it's totally apt," says Matt Wixon, a former employee and current "friend of the store." "Jim can be grumpy, irascible, difficult, and he certainly takes distinct joy in being contrarian sometimes. He can get genuinely pissed off at people quickly, and can be capricious and draconian . . . but those are only the first two strata. Once you get to know him a little bit, or if you're lucky sometimes almost immediately, you'll realize there's much more to the man."

Lording over what almost certainly is Washington's densest—if not its most highfalutin—bookstore was never Toole's intention. The military was his destiny. He grew up in California the son of a career army officer, then graduated from UCLA with a degree in American history before securing a waiver from the navy that allowed him to be commissioned at age 20. After six years at sea he moved to the nation's capital to work on guided missile systems.

"I figured if I was going to be in the navy I should know something about what we're doing internationally," says Toole, who enrolled at AU and took night classes to earn his master's degree.

His next assignment was aboard patrol boats on the Mekong River in the Vietnam War. He finished his thesis in a Saigon library.

When he retired in 1987 he had reached the rank of rear admiral. He hoped to do some writing on military history, but the same month he left the service he remarried ("like a fool") and began raising stepchildren. In the early 1990s he started frequenting a small, cramped bookstore in an 1870s row house across the street from Eastern Market. Bill Kerr lived upstairs and maintained Capitol Hill Books on the lower level. When Kerr died of a heart attack in 1994 (in his bedroom, which is now the store's mystery section), his sister sold the place to Toole.

"There was no other bookstore on the Hill," he says. "There were new books, but there's a big difference between new bookstores and used bookstores. Everybody doesn't understand that."

For the uninitiated, Toole is more than happy to explain. The shelves of Barnes and Noble and other big box booksellers are stocked by publishers, which return to remove titles from the premises if they don't sell.

"I have to go find my books because people bring crap in here and want me to give them good money," he says. "If I've bought something I'm stuck with it. To have a good bookstore you have to go look around and find good books, mainly from dead people. They don't take their books with them."

Much of Toole's time is spent in pursuit of inventory, primarily attending auctions and perusing the libraries of the recently departed. Yet, there is not a free morsel of space in his 2,300-square-foot store for one more . . . anything. The business section is in a coat closet. Sports and science fiction are among the offerings in the dark, dingy basement, the ceilings of which are barely six feet tall. ("Caution: lights hang low, are head-smackable," reads one handwritten sign.) Foreign language books are housed in the bathroom and (hopefully) inaccessible when someone needs to use the john. Toole selected the location in part for symbolic reasons. "Foreign language in this country's in the toilet," he says. He stocks about 26,000 books and keeps another 15,000 in a storage unit, but don't look for romance novels. They're garbage, he says, and he won't deal with them.

Toole's fond of describing his organizational system as "controlled chaos." Upstairs, fiction and mystery are filed alphabetically by author, "or fairly close." Nonfiction is arranged chronologically. "If I'm doing European history, it starts at 0000 and goes forward," he says. When a customer buys a book, no computer or cash register records the transaction. "We do things by stubby pencil," he says. Which begs the question: why? "Why not?" he replies. "Is there some reason I have to buy a machine? I look at the receipts at the end of the day, and I delete what we sold from my memory."

It can all be a bit overwhelming, and people have been known to walk in the front door, assess the madness, then turn around and walk right back out.

"I always think of it as a suspended tsunami of books at any given moment about to engulf you," Wixon says.

Sometimes, that's quite literally (another bastardized word possibly destined for Toole's list) the case. During a recent visit, a stack of mostly hardbacks parked peacefully atop a bookcase spontaneously plummeted to the ground. Luckily, no one was browsing below.

What caused the avalanche of automobile books (oddly, How We Live Our Yoga and David Halberstam's The Reckoning were mixed in)? Perhaps a customer had violated one of Toole's rules, and the universe was seeking reckoning.

In addition to his personal list of dirty words, Toole detests backpacks and loud cell phone talkers. "This is a bookstore, not a phone booth," reads a sign on the front door for anyone who might not discern the difference.

"The rules are real," says Aaron Beckwith, who's worked at the store since 2004. "If you say some of the words on the 'not spoken here' list he won't kick you out, but he will yell that he's suffering brain damage."

Toole's curmudgeonliness isn't a façade or an act; it's just one of his many layers. If an employee gets married or moves away, he often will pen them a poem. Wixon's currently undergoing chemotherapy; Toole, he says, always manages to find the right words at the right time. Employees are quick to praise his loyalty, intellect, and wit, even as they chuckle about his gruffness. On the same day the collection of car books came crashing down, a cute little boy tagging along with his mom wondered aloud, "Where's Mr. Jim?"

"I'll be at the front desk on a day that he's usually there, and [customers are] so disappointed when they see me," Beckwith says. "If someone brings in a book of Yeats poems he might recite one of them on the spot."

Toole remains a voracious reader, although he's ditched fiction because there's too much nonfiction he wants to devour "before I kick the bucket." His favorite book is The Influence of Sea Power Upon History by Alfred Thayer Mahan; most of the titles in his personal 2,000-volume collection are about naval history and international relations. He's currently reading Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror. Presumably, he feels author Michael Hayden is a better writer than he is in other mediums. "He's on TV a lot, running off at the mouth," Toole says of the former CIA director.

Simmering below the surface is Toole's cunning sense of humor, evident in the signs he writes and posts throughout the store and in individual books.

"Recommended from rehab by Lindsay Lohan," reads one taped to Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Apparently she has good taste.

"Because they are stupid!" states another sticking out of Why Men Love Bitches. (It's unclear to which sex the sign is referring.)

And then there's the Wacko Stacko, an entire section featuring books by and about people Toole does not hold in particularly high esteem. Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and the 45th president of the United States are among the authors afforded real estate in this section. (Trump's books, incidentally, have been selling very well, Toole says.)

For his choices, he is unapologetic.

"I don't care if I irritate people," the registered Republican says. "It's my store, isn't it? Am I supposed to be bending over all the time for everybody who comes in and gets a hemorrhoid over what I write?"

If joy is not the right word to describe what he takes from running the place, perhaps satisfaction is. The operation is profitable, he says, and he's providing six people with jobs.

"I wouldn't be in it if I didn't like it," he says. "I spend 90 hours a week here either chasing after books or sitting in front of that desk. Pricing books, cleaning people's boogers off of books, shelving books. It's a major effort, but I've always felt in an area like the Hill, to not have a used bookstore is wrong."

Even when Toole sails off into the sunset, his bookstore will soldier on. When he's ready to sell, Wixon and Beckwith are prepared to buy, using money they've made from their full-time gigs at Bookstore Movers. Wixon started the company, where Beckwith is director of human resources, specifically with an eye toward purchasing Capitol Hill Books.

"I'm getting old. You'll find out about that later," Toole tells me—a 41-year-old balding man. "Matthew Arnold [wrote], 'What is it to grow old? Is it to lose the glory of the form, The luster of the eye?'"

Wixon and Beckwith don't plan to change much, which is comforting, because the place, with apologies to Jim Toole for the use of the word, is perfect.

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