newsId: 6D8E0839-5056-AF26-BE7CBF8993F2EFB8
Title: From an MSRE Alumnus, Five Tips for Grad School (and Real Estate) Success
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Abstract: Peter Conte, MSRE ‘16, shares his secrets for how to get the most out of your Kogod experience.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/18/2017
Content:

Peter Conte, MSRE ‘16, never fully graduated. He’s still very much part of the program—as an active alumni, and an advocate.

Conte, now an asset management associate at Freddie Mac, credits Kogod with preparing him for the professional world. The program’s wide variety of courses furthered his knowledge, he says, giving him the information he needed to excel. “There’s no possible way to quantify how much Kogod has helped me,” he says.

For Conte, what really sets Kogod’s MSRE apart are its professors. He describes Kogod’s faculty as “intellectually and professionally challenging” and “always supportive.”

“[My professors] were willing to answer any questions I had, and went above and beyond to help me grow,” he says.

Conte wants to pay it forward. Below, he lists five tips for success garnered from his time at Kogod. It’s knowledge that’s applicable for any graduate student—especially those seeking to get the most out of their business school experience.

“I hope that my five lessons will help future MSRE students and Kogod graduate students better navigate their experience. Kogod is an amazing place and I hope I can help students have as much fun as I did,” he says.

_____________________________________________________________________

#1 Use your classmates as resources

Everyone in the MS Real Estate program has their own background in the field. Use them as a resource whenever you are struggling or need to study! All your classmates are more than willing to help if you ask. Working closely with my classmates also helped prepare me to work in a team setting.

#2 Take advantage of networking opportunities, site visits and case competitions

One of my biggest regrets about my time in the MSRE was not taking advantage of every opportunity my professors offered. When the chance to expand your education through extracurricular activities is there, take full advantage of it; it will help build your personal brand and knowledge base.

#3 Know Microsoft Excel, backwards and forwards

Microsoft excel is heavily used throughout the program, and the more you know about it, the better. Excel is used so heavily in the real estate and finance world that developing your skills early will only help you in the long run.

#4 Develop a global vision

Kogod is such an international school. Always be open minded to what people from other countries have to say about their experience in real estate. It elevates the program to a new level. Learning from such a diverse group of students helps you develop a global perspective that is unique and invaluable.

#5 Build sustainable relationships

Whether you get close to professors, fellow students, or guest speakers, the relationships you build and the impressions you make are long-lasting. Kogod’s small class sizes allow you to get close to everyone.

The most important relationship you can make while you are at Kogod, though, is the one with the school itself. Kogod is growing and strives to make its alumni proud. Staying connected with alumni networks and faculty has been one of the most beneficial thing I have done since leaving American University.

Learn more about the MS Real Estate program and how to apply.

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Title: Spotlight on: Janicia Moore, MSMKTG ‘15
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: Janicia Moore, MSMKTG ‘15, shares why Kogod was an ideal academic and professional fit.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/16/2017
Content:

Meet Janicia Moore, MSMKTG '15. Moore is now a corporate marketing specialist at Beaconfire RED, a local digital marketing firm that helps social enterprises. She credits Kogod with giving her the skills she needed to succeed on the job. "Kogod taught me how to network, persuade people and map out my career trajectory," she says.

For Moore, Kogod's MS Marketing program was the perfect fit. She says the program gave her a global perspective that connected her coursework to the world outside of academia. Its foundation in experiential learning-especially through the Applied Client Project--gave her the real-life skills she needed to excel.

Moore emerged from the program knowledgeable, passionate and motivated to affect change. "I feel so connected to the campus, faculty and it's spirit," she says. "Kogod is a special place"

Read more about Moore and her experience below.

Kogod School of Business: Can you tell us a little bit about what you're doing now?

Janicia Moore: As of mid-July, I am now the Corporate Marketing Specialist at a digital agency that helps nonprofits and associations transform and grow their brands to have greater impact. In this role, I work with senior leadership to increase awareness of the agency's brand so that we can help more organizations accomplish their goals.

KSB: In what ways has what you've learned at Kogod contributed to your current success?

JM: Kogod taught me skills that I could use both inside and outside of the workplace. Not just marketing skills to use on the job but skills that make me a better professional: how to negotiate a salary, how to present my ideas in a compelling way, and how to carve out the career path that would make me happiest.

KSB: What was your favorite part of attending Kogod?

JM: My favorite part of Kogod was building relationships with my classmates. I've been blessed to build life-long friendships with some of the members of my cohort. Those connections, both personal and professional, give my time at and degree from American University an immeasurable value.

KSB: For you, what set it apart from schools like it?

JM: American University gave me a truly global perspective of marketing. The members of my cohort were from all over the world--Colombia, Macedonia, China, Israel--which only further expanded my knowledge and learning. American University also has a unique spirit, which is alive in it's faculty. I loved learning from my professors and reaching the high standards they set for us.

KSB: Was there one aspect of the program that was particularly impactful for you? Why?

JM: My favorite course in the MS Marketing program was the Marketing for Social Change course. Taking that course with Dr. Sonya Grier flipped on the light switch for me - I knew that social impact marketing was my calling. Having the privilege of speaking at the same conference as Dr. Grier brought the experience full circle and confirmed that I had found my place in marketing.

KSB: Anything you'd like to add about your experience?

JM: Graduate programs sometimes feel disconnected from the life of the universities or colleges of which they are a part. The MS Marketing program was the complete opposite - I felt so connected to the campus, faculty, and its spirit. The relationships I built at AU are invaluable. I think that's what made AU special for me and for so many other graduates.

Considering a Master's in Marketing? Learn more about our MS in Marketing program today.

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Title: Greetings from Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08
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Abstract: A message from the Alumni Association President
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/16/2017
Content:

It's a busy and exciting time, AU Eagles! This month marks the 90th anniversary of our alumni association. Don't we look good for 90?! Sara Nieves-Grafals, CAS/BA '75, CAS/MA '79, CAS/PhD '80, your vice president of external relations, and the Alumni Board have been working on a project to document the history of alumni involvement at AU, and there will be much more to come this fall so stay tuned.

Also this month, registration opens for All-American Weekend so please be on the lookout for the official word about RSVPing for your favorite events. All-American Weekend is a great time to reconnect with classmates, meet current students, or hear an engaging speaker. Our annual celebration of all things AU occurs October 20 to 22, and there will be plenty of fun to be had by all.

Later this month, we will welcome the class of 2021 to AU. I'm excited to represent all alumni in welcoming them at this year's opening convocation. Our connection to AU may begin when we accept that admissions offer, but it certainly doesn't end when we turn those tassels at commencement. On behalf of all of us, I will welcome the newest AU Eagles into the family and inspire them to continue the legacy of those who have come before them. To that end, if you're interested in getting back to campus and becoming more involved at our AU, I hope you'll visit american.edu/alumni/volunteer to learn about ways you can serve. There are lots of opportunities, especially for those of you who don't live in the DC area.

This month's Alumni Update also features what I know was your best summer read, American magazine. The summer issue focused on our new president and her family. If you don't receive the magazine, I hope you'll update your contact information so we can get you on the list! It is a must read!

Enjoy the waning days of summer. I hope to see you on back campus soon!

- Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Board,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update
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Title: Two Steps Forward: Grad Student’s Film to Screen at DC Black Film Festival
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: R. Kayeen Thomas is earning his MFA in film and electronic media.
Topic: Television & Film
Publication Date: 08/15/2017
Content:

R. Kayeen Thomas’s film may be called Two Steps Back, but he’s definitely moving forward. The short film will be screened at the DC Black Film Festival on Thursday, August 17, and it’s a project that originated in an American University class.

Thomas shot Two Steps Back for a course, Producing the Historical Documentary, co-taught by Alan Kraut, University Professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Maggie Stogner, an associate professor in the School of Communication. The class partnered with the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (Kraut had formerly taught AU alum and NMAAHC founding director Lonnie Bunch).

Thomas—a published fiction writer—was more inclined towards movies, but access to the Smithsonian piqued his interest in the course. “I loved the class. It really gave me a broader perspective on documentary film,” said Thomas.

Now, with his filmmaking skills expanded, he’s considering other ways to promote his work. “The DC Black Film Festival is the only festival I’ve submitted the film to,” he said. “So now that it’s made it into this, I’ll spend a little more money and submit it to a few other festivals.”

Two Steps Back: Rethinking Brown v. Board of Education

If documentary films aspire to confront hard truths, then Two Steps Back accomplishes its goal. Many Americans believe the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court decision was a civil rights triumph, a key crack in the wall of legalized segregation. Yet Thomas’s film questions Brown v. Board of Education’s legacy through the views of the late Derrick Bell, a Harvard law professor who worked on school desegregation cases for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Despite its intention to integrate schools, Bell posited, Brown v. Board of Education failed to ameliorate deep racial disparities in American life. “Derrick Bell says we focused too much on the separate and not enough on the equal,” the film summarized.

The short film is anchored by interviews with four experts, including AU associate professor of history Theresa Runstedtler and Howard University law professor Okianer Dark. The film captures moments where interviewees disagree, highlighting the complexity of the subject matter.

“After 246 years of chattel enslavement, we have figuratively discovered a weakened immune system,” said Temple University professor Aaron Smith. “For you to go outside and play with everybody that’s well, when you have a weakened immune system, can operate to your detriment.”

Thomas found that metaphor compelling, and he asked other interviewees for their thoughts. Jefferi Lee, general manager of Howard’s WHUT-TV, argued that it was the surrounding environment—and not the African American population—that was damaged. The crux of Brown v. Board of Education, AU’s Runstedtler explained, said that segregation caused harm to the psyche of black children. “Then it becomes a situation where you constantly have to prove this individual psychic harm, when, in fact, the system itself is creating this inequality, and there’s actually nothing wrong with black people,” she said.

Along with Thomas as director and narrator, several other AU students worked on the film: Matt Cipollone was the cinematographer; Jean-Michel Fischre was the editor; and Jimmy Alsberg was the archivist. Two Steps Back utilizes stock footage and public domain images. For digital use, Cipollone took high-definition photos of images from Howard University museum archives.

In the Midwest

Thomas grew up in Washington, DC before heading to Carleton College in Minnesota. In one formative experience, he remembers that many black students disliked an older white girl at Carleton. “It turns out this girl was an African American studies major. People said, ‘She thinks she’s black!’ And when I finally took a couple of classes with her, the reality of it is, she knew black history better than most of the black kids,” he recalled. “I knew that I never wanted to be in a situation where I could not speak intelligently about my own culture.”

Thomas majored in African American studies and earned his bachelor’s degree in 2006. It was while attending Carleton that he first heard Derrick Bell speak. Thomas found him fascinating and, years later, decided to explore Bell’s ideas through film.

“When the opportunity presented itself to make a documentary about the African American experience, this is the first thing that popped into my head,” he said.

Becoming an Artist

Thomas now works in public affairs for the federal judiciary in DC, and he was recently a communications intern with Vox Media.

While still in college he self-published his first book, Light: Stories of Urban Resurrection. He would later publish two books with Simon and Schuster, and the publisher turned his first work into an e-book. He garnered a nomination for a 2013 NAACP Image Award for debut author, and he won the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for first fiction. Yet with changes in media consumption, he started looking for other approaches to storytelling. He’s now getting his MFA in film and electronic media from AU’s School of Communication.

“If the end goal is to affect the community and to really tell a story that’s going to touch the hearts and minds of people, then in 2017, you better figure out a way to make it accessible on a cell phone,” he argued.

In adopting the label of artist, Thomas sees numerous avenues for self-expression. “Whether it’s through film, whether it’s through fiction writing, whether it’s through lyricism and hip hop, it’s creating. Bringing things to life with a message.”

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Title: For Capitol Hill Interns, Here’s Someone to Know
Author: Kelly Kimball
Subtitle:
Abstract: A seasoned veteran of the House, Senate, and numerous political campaigns, adjunct Professor Adam Sharon offers students essential know-how in political communications
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/14/2017
Content:

Adjunct Professor Adam Sharon is no stranger to what makes up the heartbeat of the nation's capital. That is, with nearly a decade's worth of experience on Capitol Hill working as the senior-most communicator for foreign affairs, Professor Sharon is a known thought-leader on the complex relationship between politics and the media. Throughout the fall semester, Sharon's Washington Semester Program students will leave the classroom to go behind the scenes, meeting DC's movers and shakers of politics, media, and strategic communications.

"No matter what field you want to pursue - law, business, politics, non-profit work - the ability to communicate your priorities, your interests, your message...cuts across every field," explains Sharon.

Although his hands-on class emphasizes skills that pertain to writing press releases, talking points, op-eds, and other editorial priorities, Sharon assures that one of the most essential skills used in any professional field is the ability to "be on-point and on-message…So,[our class] works on exercises pertaining to that, and then we spend a lot of time actually seeing how this all comes together," explains Sharon.

Admittedly, Sharon says that the special access students are given to professionals from all over DC could "be an overwhelming experience sometimes...but above all it's exciting. I think that's what really gets students. They realize that this is actually what it looks like to work on Capitol Hill, to work for a news channel, to be a reporter -- it helps open eyes up."

In the past, students have visited the State Department briefing room to hear from communications professionals; attended a taping of Meet the Press and shook hands with Chuck Todd; visited the studio of Face the Nation on CBS; chatted with Chris Wallace on the set of Fox News Sunday; and networked with communications directors from prominent DC-based think tanks.

"At the end of the day, it's important to realize that everybody who has worked in DC probably started where that nervous student started once upon a time. It's important to recognize that there's a network of people who want to help you and guide you," says Sharon.

Several Washington Semester Program students gather around broadcast journalist Chuck Todd on the set of Meet the Press

No matter where students may come from, Sharon assures that everyone has an indirect connection to someone living and thriving in Washington DC, and through those connections Sharon encourages student interns to begin building their professional network little by little:

"Be it because they went to your school, they're from your city, or they're [connected to a] cultural or religious network...whatever your tie is, you know somebody here. It's important to start putting yourself out there...and the rest takes care of itself."

In fact, a recent study by The Bloomberg Journal argues that some of the most highly sought-after skills that are the hardest to find are communication skills, leadership skills, and creative problem solving -- and more than half of the study's sample size of job recruiters agreed that such skills are crucial across every field -- from consulting, to healthcare, to politics. Networking early and often is just one way to enhance these crucial skills over time.

Aside from meeting face-to-face with professionals in the field, one of the cornerstones of the Political Communications elective is to bring the news of real world into the classroom -- especially since so much of political communications involves an open ear to whatever is going on in the world at the moment when big news happens.

"[Last year's Presidential election] was a great laboratory to study how Hillary Clinton communicates, how Donald Trump communicates and what traditional and non-traditional communications look like today. That was a very exciting time, because it made everything we were studying real. Students could see how things were unfolding [while having] an academic classroom setting to process what was going on as it was happening."

Professor Sharon's class is one among countless courses that expose students to real-world skillsets through experiential learning. As a 70-year-old program with intensive seminar concentrations coupled with competitive internship experience, The Washington Semester Program empowers a thriving global community of alumni who are passionate about paying their expertise forward to young professionals in the formative years of their career development. Whatever students may be up to this semester at the School of Professional & Extended Studies, they can be assured that they are among thought leaders who are eager to champion their interests in hopes that they lead to a fulfilling career.

--

Whether it be through its accredited certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for undergraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. To learn more about how the programs at SPExS can help students enhance practical skillsets at critical junctures in their careers, visit our website at http://www.american.edu/spexs/.

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Title: Filming Bears, Opossums and a Pygmy Hippo for HSUS
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Abstract: An American University film student spent part of her summer taking on new challenges, including filming wild animals up close for the Humane Society of the US Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, CA.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 08/14/2017
Content:

Crystal Solberg, an American University (AU) film student, wants to make films of both artistic and social importance at the intersection of natural history and social issues. The second-year student in the MFA Film and Electronic Media program at AU School of Communication (SOC) is off to a good start; she spent part of her summer taking on new challenges, including filming wild animals up close for the Humane Society of the US Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, CA.

It was Solberg's first opportunity to film wild animals, something she had been wanting to do for some time. While in CA, she was able to work with bears, coyotes, bobcats, even a pygmy hippopotamus.

Solberg, a 2017-18 AU Center for Environmental Filmmaking (CEF) Palmer scholar, learned about the opportunity through a campus visit from a HSUS staffer that was organized by CEF Director and SOC film professor Chris Palmer.

The Center takes in orphaned and injured wildlife for medical treatment with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. The Center also cares for nearly 40 full-time residents rescued from the exotic pet trade and other bad situations. Both rehabilitation and sanctuary roles were highlighted in this piece.

Solberg's charge from HSUS was to create two short videos about stories she discovered on site. This was different working and planning format than Solberg was used to, and two stories in two weeks was a lot of work. However, living on site at the sanctuary let her learn quickly how the Center worked and how, and gave her immediate access to all incoming animals, and a chance to watch each stage of the animals' journeys.

Solberg did initial editing while still in CA, and shared her rough cuts with staff on site to get feedback on portrayal and framing, but the fine tuning took place once she was back in DC, working with the HSUS to finalize the project.

While she captured film of several animals, her search for a story she could tell in full led her to center one video on an opossum who arrived, was treated and released while she was on site. Unfortunately, on the day Solberg thought she would be capturing the inspiring return to the wild, she learned that you can't script animals: the opossum put one paw out and then wanted to crawl back in the carrier and head back to the sanctuary.

“Baby

Her second video focused on the tribe of San Nicolas Island cats who live together as sanctuary animals at HSUS. Because they were non-native to the island, all of the cats were slated by government officials for euthanasia. The videos will ultimately make their way to the Center website, and bolster Solberg's already impressive portfolio. Meanwhile, Solberg has already been hired by National Geographic as an associate producer of on-line videos.

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Title: 4 Titles for the Total Eclipse
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Abstract: The total eclipse is coming! Prepare for this rare event with these lunar titles from our collection!
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 08/11/2017
Content:

The total eclipse is coming! On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will take place across the U.S., with the moon being in direct alignment between the Earth and the Sun. The path of the moon’s shadow, or umbra, will be directly under the moon as it moves across the Earth in the path of totality. This will be the first total eclipse visible in the United States in 38 years. Prepare for this rare event with these lunar titles from our collection!

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by David Baron.

Astronomy: A Beginner’s Guide to The Universe by Eric Chaisson

Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses by Tyler Nordgren

Eclipses: Sound Recording Narrated by Kojo Nnamdi

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Title: The DC Math Circle Opening This Fall at AU
Author:
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Abstract: Math circles, a tradition imported from Russia, are places where kids get together to discuss challenging problems of the sort that they are unlikely to encounter in school.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 08/11/2017
Content:

Math circles, a tradition imported from Russia, are places where kids get together to discuss challenging problems of the sort that they are unlikely to encounter in school. The purpose of the math circle is *not* remediation, test preparation, or to participate in contests. Rather, the purpose is to think about problems together in a social context, i.e., fun.

  • Target participants: 5th through 8th graders, though students at other levels are also welcome.
  • Type of student: Those interested in math, irrespective of their grades.
  • Time: Tuesdays from 6:30-8:00 p.m., starting September 12 and ending November 14.
  • Place: Somewhere on campus, probably in the brand-new Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building. Registered participants will receive more information.
  • Cost: We ask for a donation of $100 per student for the semester. However, this is completely voluntary. Under no circumstances will we turn away a student for financial reasons. For more information about financial matters, contact dcmathcircle@american.edu, or Professor Jeff Adler at 202-885-3361.
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Title: POLITICO Fellow Shares Her Experience
Author:
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Abstract: Ambar Pardilla has advice to anyone looking for a fellowship or internship.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 08/11/2017
Content:

American University journalism student Ambar Pardilla just recently completed the POLITICO Journalism Institute program, which aims to increase and support diversity in Washington newsrooms. The fellowship is an intensive program for students interested in covering stories on government and politics. SOC reached out to Ambar to see how was her experience as a POLITICO fellow and what advice she would give to other students who are interested in applying for the POLITICO Fellowship.


What was your initial reaction when you found out you were given the POLITICO Fellowship?

I have to admit that I was completely shocked to have been accepted into the fellowing because I knew that a lot of really accomplished people with much more experience that me had applied. I had to read the congratulatory email a couple of times to believe it.

What expectations did you have for the fellowship? Were they met?

I came into the fellowship with an open mind-expecting to enhance my ability to tell stories and adapt and adopt to POLITICO's style of political reporting. I did learn those two things but I was most surprised about how well the group of us got along. I made some great friends whom I respect and admire. There wasn't a competitive spirit amongst us. Every one of us offered up our talents or tips to help each other out.

How did the fellowship challenge you as a journalist?

There was a period of three days-Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday-that was so stressful because we were all reporting and researching our stories before the noon deadline on Thursday. I couldn't have survived the sleepless nights without caffeine. I was definitely pushed to become a sort of semi-specialist on the topic I chose to do by studying all that I could and talking to experts. Coming up with and crafting a story is always challenging but I, and everyone, felt the pressure to produce something that was really worthy of POLITICO.

Which part of the fellowship do you think was most valuable to your learning?

Being in a room with eleven eager and exceptional student reporters really opened my eyes, especially as we had conversations about our personal and professional experiences. The program is designed and dedicated to diversifying newsrooms and, as a woman of color, it was important to see such diversity within the group. I had interesting talks with other participants and people who worked at POLITICO about what it was like to be a minority in a newsroom. I definitely got a sense of how our experiences as minorities can shape and even better our reporting.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in the POLITICO Fellowship?

For anyone that is considering applying to the fellowship, there's three things to do: try to get some great clips to send in to show off your skills, take time on the application's writing assessment and spell-check everything. These details really make a difference when someone's going through dozens and dozens of applications. If you're serious about political reporting, just apply and see what happens!

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Title: Professor Bird Retires After 29 Years
Author:
Subtitle: "I think my next chapter is not that different than adolescence. The future is wide-open."
Abstract: Barbara Bird, Professor of Management, is retiring after 29 years, leaving a legacy of teaching, research and friendship behind.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/10/2017
Content:

For the first time since Barbara Bird, Professor of Management, started at Kogod 29 years ago, she doesn't have a plan—and she loves it. She’ll retire at the end of August, and, save for some loose travel plans, is keeping things open-ended.

She's excited to explore her newfound freedom, but quick to admit she'll miss Kogod terribly. Her colleagues, her research projects, the university's diverse environment--all of it will stay close to her heart.

What she’ll miss the most? Her students. Over the past three decades, Bird's developed deep and meaningful relationships with pupils--connections that define her professional life.

"I adore my students," she says. "I think the best legacy I can leave is with those I've taught."

Her commitment is apparent when she talks about the work she's done to develop her teaching. Bird, a self-described “contrarian” who’s a bit “out-of-the-box,” delved into improv comedy as a way to build her teaching skills. She wanted to think quicker on her feet, and thought the fast-paced art of improv could help her do so.

She loved it so much she eventually formed her own troupe: the Home Improv-ments. The wittily-named group rehearses and performs regularly, giving Bird the experience she needs to stay on her toes in the classroom.

The Home Improv-ments also gave her the chance to flex her organizational behavior skills. Bird, who has a PhD in the field, built the troupe from the ground-up. “I’ve been able to develop my leadership and my teaching skills,” she says.

Her true passion, though, is entrepreneurship. She’s an avid researcher of entrepreneurs’ cognition and behavior. The topic is a bridge between business and social psychology--Bird’s other field of expertise—and offers the chance to investigate one of today’s hottest business areas.

She’s currently an emeritus scholar for AU’s Center for Innovation, and is an editor for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, where she’s worked since 1987. Bird notes that these extracurricular projects give her a “very broad understanding of what’s going on in entrepreneurship,” which better informs her teaching. “It’s been an interesting combination with the improv troupe,” she laughs.

She’ll continue a couple of entrepreneur-focused research projects after leaving AU. She’s in the midst of studying DC Latino entrepreneurs for AU’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. She’s also working with an organization in Switzerland who is researching repeat entrepreneurs.

Whatever her retirement brings, however, it’s certain she’ll stay tied to Kogod in spirit. It’s been an honor to teach and work with such talented people, she says, and she hopes they’ll stay connected in her absence.

Perhaps her biggest point of pride is simply having been a part of the community itself. She’s watched Kogod, and the university as a whole, grow immensely since she started. She feels privileged she got to contribute, and is excited to see what’s ahead for the school.

“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t leaving because I know Kogod will seize many great opportunities in the next several years,” she says. “But I know it’s also time to start my next chapter.”

Want to learn more? Listen and watch Professor Bird's last lecture at Kogod.

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Title: Christine BN Chin leads the way as SIS interim dean
Author: Kaitie Catania
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Abstract: On August 9, Professor Christine BN Chin stepped into her new role as interim dean of the School of International Service.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/09/2017
Content:

Effective August 9, Christine BN Chin begins an appointment as Interim Dean of the School of International Service (SIS). As interim dean, Chin will manage the school at all levels and will assist with the search for a new permanent dean. She succeeds Dean James Goldgeier, who has transitioned into the SIS faculty as a professor of International Relations. Dean Chin is the first woman to lead the school.

“There’s a lot to be proud of at SIS,” says Dean Chin of the school she has called home for more than 20 years. “I firmly believe the continued success of the school rests on four pillars: Faculty, staff, students, and alumni. When all four are well and strong, nothing is impossible.”

Dean Chin first came to SIS as a student (SIS/PhD ’95) and joined the faculty in 1996. She has served on numerous boards and committees at SIS and across the university, including strategic planning and budget committees, SIS’s Faculty Action Committee, and director of the SIS International Communications program. She is on a one-year leave from her current position as executive director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL) to serve as Interim Dean of SIS.

“In many ways, Dr. Chin is the ideal candidate at this moment in time. As a longstanding member of the community who is intimately familiar with SIS’s programs and the school’s operations, she is well-prepared to step into the role of interim dean,” said Provost Scott Bass in a letter announcing Chin’s appointment to the university community.

“Dean Chin is an excellent choice for interim dean. She is the epitome of the SIS scholar-teacher model,” said Professor Carolyn Gallaher. “She does groundbreaking research and her students love her classes and respect her willingness to push them intellectually. She’s also always been exceptionally supportive of her colleagues. I look forward to working with her as SIS searches for a new dean.”

In her field, Dean Chin is an expert in migration, political economy, and intercultural relations. She first became interested in the field when she was confronted with the abuse of an Indonesian woman domestic worker in Malaysia. Dean Chin began to ask basic questions about how and why this woman found herself in her current situation. The questions led Dean Chin to examine contemporary structures and processes of cross-border migration.

“Some say I am a global migration scholar, but because my work builds on also feminist research, some would call me a third wave feminist. Others would call me a critical political economist. But that just shows you how interdisciplinary research draws on and feeds into different areas,” said Chin.

Multi- and interdisciplinary research is one of Dean Chin’s points of pride when it comes to SIS. She notes that with the school’s wide ranging expertise and student research interests, SIS is poised to tackle most any pressing issue the world faces today: “We’ve got in-house geographers, demographers, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, political scientists, economists, jurists, etc. engaged in the kinds of research that translate into policy and practice. Where are you going to find an APSIA school that has what we have in terms of faculty expertise and the students?”

Through her work with CTRL, Dean Chin is committed to identifying innovations in teaching that help faculty learn new, effective ways of instruction. As a teacher herself, Dean Chin has been honored with the 2010 American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and with the 2014 SIS Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award.

“Professor Chin’s sincerity and level of engagement in the classroom reinforces that choosing SIS was the right decision for her students. As her former student, I consistently looked forward to lively class discussions and introspection she facilitated and left inspired to pursue my own questions about the class’s topics,” said Essence Lee, SIS/MA ’18.

Dean Chin assumes the role as SIS celebrates its 60th anniversary and looks forward to a year celebrating the past and looking toward the future. At the conclusion of her time as interim dean, she hopes that the four pillars of faculty, staff, students, and alumni have a renewed sense of pride in the work that happens at SIS.

“My job is to remind people of our foundation and how far we’ve come. Our school is rooted in a multidisciplinary community engaged in the major issues of the day. We are about research, teaching, policy, and practice in the service of improving the human condition at intersecting local, national, and global levels. Thus our name: the School of International Service.”

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Title: Top-Notch Communication Faculty Head to Chicago
Author: Amanda Nyang'oro
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Abstract: Awards, panels and presentations await SOC faculty at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 08/08/2017
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Leading communication researchers from American University School of Communication (AU SOC) will share their expertise at the annual convening of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in Chicago this week.

Executive in Residence and Director of the Center of Media and Social Impact Caty Borum Chattoo, professors John Watson, W. Joseph Campbell and professor Kathy Fitzpatrick are among the SOC faculty who will participate in the event as panelists and moderators.

Borum Chattoo won the Top Paper prize in the Newspaper and Online News Division for her paper, An Investigative Journalist and a Stand-Up Comic Walk Into a Bar: The Role of Comedy in Public Engagement with Environmental Journalism, with co-author Lindsay Green-Barber. Chattoo will also be presenting on a panel, which will be moderated by SOC PhD graduate Jan Lauren Boyles, to discuss her paper on Wednesday.

Watson will be moderating a panel on Friday that includes his SOC colleague Professor W. Joseph Campbell. The panel is titled, "Order in the Court vs. Transparency of the Court: The Clash of Judicial Values and the Journalist's Mission".

Earlier in the week, Kathy Fitzpatrick and a colleague from Florida International University will be releasing a remarkable new report from the JMC Innovation Project, for which she serves as co-director. The focus of the report, which is based on interviews with 70 JMC deans and directors, is creating cultures and innovation in US schools and colleges of journalism, media and communication (JMC).

Fitzpatrick will also be moderating a panel discussion for the Public Relations and Media Ethics Division titled, "The Ethics of Advocacy" on Saturday.

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Title: Eyes Set on Law School, one Washington Semester Student Helps Protect Veterans’ Rights
Author: Kelly Kimball
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Abstract: Rising senior Maya Peebles shares her experience interning with Student Veterans for America and visiting DC’s most powerful institutions.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 08/08/2017
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Students who participate in the Washington Semester Program take the city on my storm in a multitude of ways. For WSP alumna Maya Peebles, the opportunities, networks, and skills she picked up throughout the summer are what she credits as the perfect boost for her future career in law.

"Before I came here, I was set on staying in the West Coast for my life after graduation. But since coming here, I have totally fallen in love with the East coast," says Peebles, who is a rising senior studying Law and Public Policy at University of Arizona. "[This program] definitely expanded my options for what I want to do once I graduate. And I definitely feel strongly about coming back here."

Peebles notes that her favorite site visit that she and her classmates took was to the World Bank to speak with WSP alumnus Dr. Achim Schmillen, now a Social Protection & Labor economist. With his colleagues, Dr. Izabela Leao from the department of Rural Development & Labor and Dr. Federica Secci who specializes in Health, Schmillen talked about the inspiring work they do across the globe, as well as the unique opportunities available for young professionals aspiring to work in international development. "It was so inspiring and so amazing!" she added.

Above all, the most empowering part of Peebles' summer in DC has been the impact she has had on veterans seeking support to succeed in higher education. Most notably, she and her team at Student Veterans for America pushed a piece of legislation that provides greater institutional protections for veterans across all branches of the military. Known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, or the "Forever GI Bill," her organization provided 35 protective provisions to update the original GI Bill.

"[My boss] testified in front of both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees as well as others and met with dozens of offices," explains Peebles.

According to Peebles, the team's legislation gained unanimous support from national veteran support organizations, as well as the White House, the US Department of Veteran's Affairs, the Department of Labor, and diverse consumer groups -- thus passing in the House. This bill now awaits a vote in the Senate, and Peebles' team is hopeful and enthusiastic about its progress.

"I've always wanted to give back to people who have done so much for the country," explains Peebles. "My boss, [Mark McKenna]...was a student veteran himself. Just listening to the passion in his voice really made me want to get on board and help people as well."

In supporting The Forever GI Bill, Peebles sat in on the both the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee hearing as well as the House Veteran Affairs Committee and watched one of her mentors outline the 35 sections/provisions to improve the GI Bill.

"I've always wanted to work with nonprofit, and I think the work that we do at Student Veterans of America is very rewarding. You never actually see the veterans that you work with, but you can just tell that they are so grateful for the work that I do for them."

--

Whether it be through its accredited certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for undergraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. To learn more about how the programs at SPExS can help students enhance practical skillsets at critical junctures in their careers, visit our website at http://www.american.edu/spexs/.

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Title: How Greece could escape debtors’ prison – if Europe opens the door
Author: Professor Randall Henning
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Abstract: While Greece and its economy seem to be reviving, Professor Randall Henning explains that debt looms over the country's future.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 08/07/2017
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Greece has acted out a European tragedy for more than seven years. But some signs suggest Greece may finally, in the words of its economy minister, be on the way to becoming a "normal country" again.

Greece's creditors have disbursed another chunk of funds as part of Greece's current, €86 billion (US$100 billion) bailout, and the country recently tested the bond markets for the first time in three years, planning to borrow more from private investors soon. Some now believe Greece may soon follow fellow bailed-out countries Ireland and Portugal in their revivals.

But despite the wave of optimism, Greece's staggering amount of debt looms menacingly over the country's economy and future. And the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while endorsing Athens' reform program, is urging its fellow creditors to offer Greece much greater debt relief.

In my recent book, " Tangled Governance," I examined the financial rescue programs for euro area countries, including three for Greece, and the conflicts over them. My own research supports the view that Greece needs to finally be released from debtors' prison but for political reasons more than the financial arithmetic at the core of the institutions' debt analyses.

And there's a way to do that which makes the pain bearable for everyone and opens a path back to normalcy.

A great depression

Over the last seven years, we have witnessed many 11th-hour crisis meetings and last-minute rescues that, after much brinkmanship and grinding of teeth, each time seemed to narrowly avert the Greece's ejection from the euro area.

You'd be forgiven for becoming numb to the continual travails of a modestly sized country in the southeastern corner of Europe. That would be a mistake: Greece's tenuous position in the euro area weakens long-term confidence in European integration. Moreover, as a key NATO ally, located in a strategic corner of a volatile region, its economic and political stability are essential to European security.

To stabilize its finances and avoid expulsion from the euro area, Greece has undertaken a wrenching series of government layoffs, budget and pension cuts, and tax reforms, among other measures, at the insistence of the IMF, European Commission (EC) and European Central Bank, which together make up the so-called troika of public lenders to the beleaguered country.

So far, the troika has lent Greece about €265 billion in three separate bailouts, with the latest one set to expire next summer. Separately, Greece managed to restructure its private sector debt in 2012, reducing the amount it owed investors by about 53 percent.

Despite all this, Greece still owes a total of about €320 billion in debt, and its economy has suffered the equivalent of the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s, having shrunk by a fourth. Unemployment is running at nearly 25 percent, and youth poverty, which soared during the crisis, remains near 36 percent.

But now that the latest disbursement of funds has been agreed to, does that mean the worst is behind Greece?

Moment of truth

Sadly, no one should be confident that Greece's recovery will become self-sustaining. It is particularly vulnerable to another European recession, whenever that might come. And with the end of the current bailout on the horizon, its creditors are sharply divided about what to do next.

For the moment, they're waiting for Germany's national elections in September to come and go so that domestic politics don't get in the way. Debt relief before then could have been costly at the polls for the governing coalition. But once talks resume this fall, they are certain to be contentious.

The euro members, which have put up the lion's share of the loans so far, remain deeply reluctant to offer Greece more than minimal debt relief. The IMF, on the other hand, has argued forcefully that Greece's debt won't become sustainable without substantial relief. It suggests doing that by keeping interest rates at today's lows, extending grace periods and allowing Greece to defer paying back its loans until decades past the current due date of 2060.

Part of the problem is that the European creditors are holding onto a rather rosy scenario of how much Greece's economy can be expected to grow beyond the near-term recovery and thus generate enough tax revenue to pay off its debt in the long term. The European Commission expects Greece to grow 1.5 percent every year, on average, until 2030 and 1.25 percent thereafter.

The IMF, on the other hand, projects growth of just 1 percent a year beginning in 2022.

While the difference may seem small, the cumulative effect on Greece's ability to pay back its debt is decisive. The larger the economy, the smaller the relative size of the debt and interest payments, and the easier it will be to run budget surpluses to repay debt. If the EC is wrong, Greece will have a very hard time meeting its debt payments in two or three decades without major relief.

Ultimately, however, the ability and willingness of Greece to service its debt rests on political considerations, not economic ones, just as does the question of debt relief.

It looks like European creditors want to use the debt burden to keep Greece on a very short leash to prevent backsliding on economic reforms, albeit ones that are essential for the country to get back on its feet.

A way out of the impasse

As a long-term strategy, however, using debt as leverage over reform is doomed and will prevent Greece from a full recovery. There are two principal reasons for this:

  1. Private investors will tend to avoid committing to projects in Greece as long as its debt remains so high that periodic renegotiation is likely.

  2. More importantly, European decision-making throughout the euro crisis amply demonstrates that Greece's creditors are hamstrung by their own domestic politics. That prevents them from pursuing the optimal course of action, even when the admittedly formidable political barriers in Greece have been overcome, and has contributed to many delays.

A way out of this impasse, however, is to make the size of Greece's debt payments contingent on growth outcomes. If Greece rebounds quickly and maintains high growth, debt relief can remain relatively modest. If Greece grows more slowly, as the IMF and others predict, then payments on the debt can be reduced and deferred automatically - without requiring creditors to come together and overcome domestic political hurdles every time.

Eurozone finance ministers recently floated this as a possibility for Greece. Given the political constraints of the key players, as my analysis of the crisis suggests, it's the best way forward, and proponents should fight for its robust adoption so that Greece's debt payments are significantly reduced if growth proves to be weak.

If Greece's European creditors truly believe that their neighbor's prospects are as rosy as they say - rather than a ploy to avoid granting relief now - then they should have little problem signing on to the new mechanism.

This will also give investors confidence that Greece in fact is returning to "normal" and they can commit to projects in the country. Finally, this will align the interests of everyone with those of the long-suffering Greek people.

 

This article was originally published on The Conversation by Professor Randall Henning. Read the original article.

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Title: Whole Foods and Amazon: What Lies Ahead
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Abstract: What major challenges does the acquisition pose? Nelson Amaral, Professor of Marketing and consumer psychologist, addresses this question and more in the following article.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/04/2017
Content:

On June 16, Amazon surprised many experts when it announced its intention to purchase Whole Foods at $42 per share ($13.7B) - a move that was hinted at by their recent experiments like "Amazon Fresh" and "Amazon Go." We knew this major acquisition meant a big change in the business world-a fusion that would effect each companies' products and customers alike.

Nelson Amaral, Assistant Professor of Marketing, is a consumer psychologist who investigates the way consumers process information, and the relationships they form with brands. He's got broad marketing experience in four industries, both B2B and B2C, and has been published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

We asked this marketing expert for his two cents on the purchase. How will the companies' relationships with their consumers change? What opportunities has the acquisition created? And, alternatively, what major challenges exist? ________________________________________________________________________

Initially, it should come as no surprise that most experts are very supportive of this deal (share prices of both companies, Amazon and Whole Foods, rose following the announcement, while the market value of every major grocery competitor fell). For example, by purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon has acquired a retail business with higher margins than its own (5% vs. 3%). Also, Whole Foods has a loyal customer base that should provide Amazon lots of data in this traditional retail setting that can be used to inform future innovations.

While the acquisition of Whole Foods may appear to be ideal, research by consumer psychologists points to a number of challenges that may need to be addressed: (1) consequences of perceived differences in corporate culture, (2) perceived changes to the Whole Foods brand, and (3) potential changes in expectations about the personal connection between Whole Foods and its customers.

1. The Importance of Corporate Culture and Brand Perceptions

Corporate cultures develop organically and, as a result, are stable and hard to change. They are also often tied directly to brand perceptions (i.e. what consumers think of the brand(s) associated with a company). For example, Amazon's brand is associated with success, low-cost operations and ruthless innovation - no surprise given that they've fundamentally changed the way people shop and, earlier this year, became the fastest company to ever reach $100 billion in sales.

Likewise, its corporate culture is associated with a survival of the fittest philosophy, resulting in high employee turnover due to relentlessly high standards and pervasive burnout. Amazon succeeds with this cut-throat culture because it has fostered an innovative and collaborative set of systems and a recruiting strategy that provides it with a never-ending supply of young, bright graduates.

In contrast, Whole Foods is perceived as an organization that not only provides healthier natural foods, but conducts its business with both consumers and suppliers on the basis of "enlightened" values. By pursuing this differentiation-based marketing strategy, Whole Foods has chosen to focus on customer service, high-quality products, and exceptional in-store experiences.

This incongruity between the two cultures may cause some internal difficulties at the corporate level but, more importantly, even if the transition at the organizational level is seamless, consumers' perceptions about this incongruity may pose some serious challenges.

In particular, it's important that the Whole Foods brand continue to be seen as authentically- based on its presently associated values. Research has demonstrated that when an incongruity between two items is present, consumers actively increase the amount of effort they expend toward understanding the relationship between the pair. As a result, Whole Foods should expect its customers to be searching for evidence that the acquisition hasn't influenced their corporate values. Especially in the early weeks and months following the acquisition, consumers are likely to be hypercritical of any changes in product assortment, corporate communications, and marketing strategies.

2. Consumer Psychology and the "Big Business" Problem

A second issue that Whole Foods will need to navigate is the association that this acquisition conveys about Whole Foods moving away from the "niche" (i.e. little guy) business it started out as, and towards the big corporate America that Amazon exemplifies. Generally speaking, we know that people like to root for the underdog, and research has shown that this is in large part because we believe the underdog works harder. In the United States, where work ethic is intrinsically tied to our overall evaluations of individuals, the purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon can negatively affect how consumers view Whole Foods in two ways.

First, once Whole Foods is no longer seen as the underdog, there is less motivation to feel a personal affinity towards the brand (i.e. to root for its success); secondly, because work ethic plays such an important role in our evaluation of others, if Whole Foods' future success appears to be driven more by Amazonesque efficiency, as opposed to high levels of personal effort in selecting products and serving customers, a key element of the Whole Foods brand identity can be significantly diluted over time.

3. Losing the Personal Connection

Investors are probably most excited about the potential technological changes that Amazon can implement to improve the customer experience, while also significantly cutting labor costs through automation at several points of the grocery shopping experience. Amazon has obtained much of its success by recording every transaction, knowing more about every consumer, and every element of the businesses inventory, than any other retailer.

While this level of service is well-suited to online retail, it may be inconsistent with the expectations of Whole Foods' customers. At Whole Foods, customers expect sales agents to go above and beyond, walking through an aisle to help find a product, helping carry groceries to the car, etc. In stark contrast, four years ago, Amazon introduced "Amazon Go," an application that shoppers could use to buy all of their groceries without ever interacting with a store employee by roaming the aisles and scanning their products with their phone and simply walking out when they finished shopping.

This is not to suggest that any attempt to use technology at Whole Foods will be viewed negatively by its customers. But it does highlight the importance of Amazon's choice in technologies to implement so that they're consistent with the Whole Foods brand. For example, a story in The Economist recently highlighted how the use of facial recognition by French retailers increased sales by 10% by dispatching clerks to consumers when the software detected any dissatisfaction, confusion or hesitation.

Despite the challenges that have been highlighted in this article, the last example makes it clear that the potential to improve the bottom line while simultaneously maintaining or improving the customer experience at Whole Foods is definitely possible. Also Amazon's track record of success suggests that they're absolutely capable of making this acquisition a success all of the stakeholders, including Whole Foods customers. Like any acquisition though, several serious challenges will need to be addressed if such broad-based success is to be realized.
_____________________________________________________________________

Nelson Amaral is an Assistant Professor of Marketing. His research investigates the way consumers process information, and the relationships they form with brands. His work has been published in premiere journals and presented throughout North America; his research on luxury brands has been presented in Singapore, Monaco, France and Portugal.

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Title: As Tax Policy Discussions Ramp Up on Capitol Hill, a Call for Thoughtful Research
Author: Seth Shapiro
Subtitle: New Report Shows How Current Tax Policy Overlooks Impact on Women Business Owners
Abstract: Caroline Bruckner doesn’t work on Capitol Hill anymore, but she regularly finds herself back there. Find out how her most recent report, Billion Dollar Blindspot, is making an impact in the policy world.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/01/2017
Content:

Caroline Bruckner doesn't work on Capitol Hill anymore, but she regularly finds herself back there.

Before her current role as the managing director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, Bruckner served as the chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), where she advised on tax, finance, budget and labor issues. Her government experience informs her job at Kogod quite a bit, particularly with research reports like Billion Dollar Blind Spot: How the U.S. Tax Code's Small Business Expenditures Impact Women Business Owners , which was released June 12.

Since publishing the report, Bruckner has leveraged her connections and knowledge of government to promote her findings. She prepared questions for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen based on the report's findings during a SBC hearing; entered written testimony into the public record for other hearings; and met with influential stakeholders to win support for the report's recommendations to develop additional research. "Our report is groundbreaking," Bruckner says, "but there's a lot more work to do."

Blindspot used survey data conducted by Women Impacting Public Policy, a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, to determine how the tax code affected their businesses. "We found that women are effectively disadvantaged because of the industries that they're in and the way that they organized their businesses."

Influencing New Ways of Thinking About the Tax Code

With the Trump administration's focus on revising the tax code, tax policy discussions have been heating up-and Bruckner is working to ensure that Kogod's research is a part of the agenda on Capitol Hill.

According to the report, most women-owned businesses operate in the service industry. While women have been starting businesses at greater rates than their male counterparts over the past decade, those businesses haven't been growing to the same extent since they don't have the ability to borrow similar levels of capital. Service businesses are considered less scalable and the tax code does not grant them equal access to government-issued funding.

"Changing policies that affect this specific group of small-business tax payers could be a key to unlocking growth for parts of the economy that we've never considered," Bruckner says. Since the American economy has shifted away from businesses like manufacturing, it could be wise to grant businesses that align better with current economic trends greater access to capital.

Brent Sabot, the research assistant who worked on the report, stressed the economy is changing. "Women are owning more firms, and they're operating in different industries than the industries of small businesses in decades past," he says. "If Congress doesn't identify these changes and the challenges that come with operating a business in the modern economy, the legislation that comes out of Congress will not fully be evidence-based, and everyone can agree that that's bad tax policy."

Examining the Historical Context to Guide Modern-Day Policy Discussions

At Bruckner's request, Sabot spent hours combing through the records from Senate committee hearings dating back to the 1980s to try and find evidence of Congressional discussion on the tax code's impact on women business owners.

They never found any-and they weren't expecting to.

"We don't look at the tax code in terms of gender or race," Bruckner says.

While Congress has examined the challenges faced by women business owners, these issues have never been scrutinized through the lens of the tax code.

"We want to constructively encourage [lawmakers] to hold hearings to incorporate the needs of [women business owners], the fastest growing cohort of small business owners, into future tax legislation," Sabot says.

To understand why we don't have the information necessary to make informed changes to the tax code, it's important to understand the history of women business ownership and evolutions in tax policy.

"That's why we started the report with a timeline," Bruckner says. The first page of the report has a detailed chronology, starting with the passage of the 16th amendment, which ratified the individual income tax and made women subject to federal taxes before they even had the right to vote.

Bruckner cautions that she's not advocating for specific changes to the tax code…at least not yet. Since there's been so little historical research on women business owners and their relationship with tax policies, there's a large data deficit that needs to be overcome before thoughtful changes to the tax code can be made.

"Before we revise the tax code, we should just start with collecting data. You don't want to start developing policy before you have good stats," Bruckner says.

The Tax Policy Center and Bruckner can't do the research alone. They're trying to raise awareness and provide government with the right questions they need to ask in order to pursue policy with the greatest benefit-both for women and the American economy.

While she believes that Billion Dollar Blind Spot is an important step forward, it's just the beginning.

Read more about the report and view the full pdf online.

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Title: From Cradle to College: SOC Professor Pens Book on Parenting
Author: Gregg Sangillo
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Abstract: Chris Palmer’s new book offers practical advice on raising your kids to succeed.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 08/01/2017
Content:

For a job that billions of people do every day, raising a child still feels uniquely terrifying to each parent. In the beginning, there is the constant crying, diaper changing, and sleepless nights. You take toddlers to a restaurant, and you’re praying they don’t melt down before the food arrives. Parenting can get even more complicated as kids get older. Emotional problems and puberty? Peer and societal pressures? Homework and college prep? The teen years have it all.

If transforming your infant into a well-adjusted adult seems akin to Sisyphus pushing that boulder up a hill for eternity, Chris Palmer is here to help. Palmer, a professor at American University’s School of Communication, is set to publish a new book, Raise Your Kids to Succeed: What Every Parent Should Know.

A father of three grown daughters, Palmer always wanted a book like this during his early parenting years. “This is what I couldn’t find and wanted. And it’s a book of all the mistakes I made, and all the things I learned,” Palmer explains.

Falling Short

Palmer is an affable man with infectious positivity and energy. Unfortunately, he’s got some bad news to report: In many ways, this generation’s parents are falling short. After observing insecure students in the classroom, he’s concerned that their parents aren’t giving them the tools they need to be confident and resilient.

“We have lots of wonderful students who are doing great. But among those students are ones who are suffering, and they suffer from anxiety,” he says.

Young people resent being called “snowflakes,” and that label is—at best—an unfortunate stereotype about an entire generation. But Palmer does worry that many students internalize personal weaknesses, and they’re too quick to doubt themselves. Students who have struggled in chemistry, for instance, might believe they’ll always struggle in chemistry.

“They haven’t fully grasped that hard work and effort can make them more intelligent and more capable,” he says. “I’ve asked myself, ‘Why is that?’ And the answer is because parents are not always doing the best job they could do.”

He’s hoping this book can help parents raise happy, adaptable kids, which will ultimately make them better prepared for college and beyond.

Generational Changes

Of course, there was never a Golden Age of Parenting, and Palmer notes that previous generations’ parenting practices could be quite destructive. “When I was growing up, kids used to get hit and beaten routinely. It was very authoritarian. The dad said, ‘What I say goes. If you don’t agree, you’re going to get whacked.’ That is not healthy,” he says.

Yet he thinks the pendulum swung too far in the other direction, with parents now being too permissive. “My book is designed to help parents find their middle ground. Where they can be loving, and they can exert firm boundaries and discipline in a loving way,” he says.

He suggests parents be authoritative, as opposed to authoritarian. “It’s where parents are full of love, affection, and warmth, but at the same time, they’re not afraid to say you can’t watch that X or R rated movie, because it’s not good for you,” he explains. “When the kid starts squealing, ‘Oh, my friends are watching,’ you say, ‘I’m sorry, that’s the rule.’”

The Signals You Send

Palmer emphasizes the importance of consistency. At a fairly young age, children pick up their parents’ tendencies, and power struggles ensue. In a supermarket, for instance, a kid might ask for a candy bar amid a busy shopping day. “They’ll say, ‘Can I have that?’ And their mom says, ‘No, no.’ And then the kid says, ‘I want that! I want that!’ And then mom finally says, ‘Oh, OK.’ That drives me crazy. That is so bad,” Palmer opines.

And if parents possess integrity, kids will have better role models to emulate. Palmer has an entire chapter in the book on leading by example. “Say you’re talking to a neighbor, and the neighbor asks, ‘Can you help me?’ If you make up a little fib right in front of your kid, this is not good. Setting an example is absolutely pivotal,” he explains.

Children will notice how parents interact with them, and Palmer stresses the need to engage. If a child is relaying a story from school that day, it’s vital for the parent to set aside the iPhone and listen.

Screen Time and Technology

The iPhone itself brings up a whole new set of challenges, and Palmer includes a chapter on limiting screen time. YouTube and the internet have made it easy for children to access disturbing images online, from pornography to terrorism and other violent acts. Research shows that many kids are seeing these kinds of images as early as six or seven, Palmer says.

“This is a new problem. Parents have never faced this before,” he says. “We as a nation have not given enough thought to the public health hazard of so many screens. In many ways, it’s destroying childhood, and it’s bringing in this incredible stress.”

Great Parents Are Made

Palmer offers a lot of practical advice in Raise Your Kids to Succeed, and he divulges some of his own family practices. Palmer and his wife, Gail, held weekly family meetings with a written agenda, and they created a family mission statement. In the book, he describes some of his own shortcomings and how he overcame them. While building his wildlife filmmaking career, work travel pulled him away from parenting. To compensate and express his feelings, he wrote nightly letters to his daughters.

“One of my first insights was that fathering was a skill I could learn,” he writes in the preface. “It wasn’t a fixed, inborn talent, but rather something that could be taught, acquired, implemented and constantly improved upon. Great parents are made, not born.”

Yet how do you know when you’ve finally succeeded as a parent? Palmer says one metric is seeing your offspring be a good parent to your grandchildren. His children are establishing their own caring families: Two of his daughters are now married with kids, and his youngest daughter is getting married in December. Gail and Chris successfully raised a doctor, a lawyer, and a published author.

There are many other indicators of parental accomplishment, such as watching your kids build solid friendships, earn good grades, and get accepted into college. For AU parents dropping their children off on campus this semester, Palmer offers some advice: You can be supportive without being overbearing.

“Keep in regular touch, and show them that you still love them. Even a 20-year-old college student needs to know that their mom and dad still care,” he says. “You’re giving them space, but making sure they’re OK.”

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Title: SPA Joins D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to Launch New Research Partnership
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Abstract: Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser SPA/MPP’00 recently announced the creation of a new social science research effort to inform and improve policy. AU School of Public Affairs is the founding academic partner in the effort.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 08/01/2017
Content:

On July 20, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser SPA/MPP'00 announced the creation of a new data research effort that will call on the expertise of social scientists to inform and improve policy. AU School of Public Affairs is a leading academic partner in the effort.

"By standing up a network of scientists inside D.C. Government, we are infusing pragmatic, scientific thinking into our day-to-day operations," said Mayor Bowser. "The Lab at DC allows us to know how well our policies and programs are working, and provides us the opportunity to learn while we act."

The Lab, which will use data and evidence to inform decision making across DC Government, is funded by a $3.2 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a national non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of individuals by strengthening social, governmental, and economic systems. The Lab now has 15 dedicated scientists from a wide array of backgrounds with graduate-level training in psychology, economics, sociology, anthropology and more.

SPA Interim Dean Vicky Wilkins, who spoke at the event, said, "We appreciate the unique opportunity The Lab @ DC gives our researchers to conduct studies and analyses on the very things that have the greatest impacts on their lives as residents of the District. The Lab allows us to use data, and not anecdotes, to define problems and create solutions."

City Administrator Rashad Young said the data driving projects like these has great potential to redesign and improve government in Washington and all across the country.

"You can't manage what you can't measure, and by using the scientific method we are getting the best possible measurements to inform how we manage the city," said Young. "That means we are learning from the evidence that exists in the world, while taking the next step of generating our own evidence so that we can know what works in the D.C. context."

One of the first efforts organized by the Lab @ DC was "Form-a-Palooza", which was hosted at American University on July 22. Form-a-Palooza was a public workshop providing D.C. residents with an opportunity to review and address challenges with government forms. Attendees worked on five different forms - from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Disability Services, and the Department of Energy and Environment - each selected for their rate of errors, omissions, and questions.

"Over the past several weeks, my Administration has been highlighting how the government and the community can work hand-in-hand to make our city even better, and this event was a great example of how we are doing that," said Mayor Bowser. "At today's event, residents shared their ideas for making forms more efficient and easier to use. Now, my team will take those ideas and put them into action."

More information on future events and activities of the Lab @ DC is available on their website.

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Title: On Getting the Dream Job: One WSP Alumnus Says Cultivate Your Passions Early and Often
Author: Kelly Kimball
Subtitle:
Abstract: A World Bank economist and Washington Semester Program alumnus weighs in on the pedestals of career success.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 07/31/2017
Content:

It’s not everyday that students in the formative years of their career development have a chance to speak with professionals working at their dream careers. For Washington Semester Program students, however, such opportunities are ample.

In fact, this month our students got up close and personal with three World Bank professionals -- among them a Washington Semester Program alumnus -- in what was a rich and intimate discussion on making waves in the international development sector. Together, WSP alumnus Dr. Achim Schmillen, Rural Development & Labor Specialist Dr. Izabela Leao, and Health Specialist Dr. Federica Secci talked about the impactful work they do around the world, as well as the unique opportunities that are available for young professionals who aspire to work in their field.

“At the World Bank, it’s important to have an area of expertise - to have a deep dive into a specific topic,” said Schmillen, who works under the sector of Social Protection & Labor. During his Washington Semester in 2006, Schmillen had a Foreign Policy concentration. “It’s also about not being too narrow [and] having a broader set of experiences, especially real-life experience.”

Schmillen, Leao, and Secci strongly advocated for gaining hands-on experience to achieve a fine balance between general know-how and finite expertise. In the case of international development work, all three emphasized a need to understand the nuances of human interaction:

“I think it is really important that [young professionals] have the soft skills - the human skills,” explains Secci. “Experiencing the world first-hand rather than in a book or in a library... adds a lot, especially if you apply for one of the programs [offered at the World Bank].”

Before Dr. Achim Schmillen came to the World Bank as an economist, however, he was an economics major from the University of Regensburg in Germany who knew that a semester in Washington D.C. would grant him unique political education that were applicable to his passions. In fact, Schmillen notes that one of the main takeaways of his experience was how it offered him a different perspective on global economics, noting that “One of the things from just the content and substance of the Washington Semester program was really [learning how to] think about the political dimension of all things.”

He goes on to say, “When I’m here in DC, I would be writing papers or writing policy notes for governments on different topics. When I’m traveling in country, which I do four or five times per year, it’s more about giving presentations, taking in discussions, and really trying to provide advice on how to structure their social protection and labor systems in the best way.”

Schmillen notes that much of why he enjoyed his time with WSP is due to the close relationship his professor - Dr. Christian Maisch - maintained with all his students. Committed to the growth and success of all his students, Maisch is still a professor with WSP teaching foreign policy to students.

In the complicated game of career exploration and academic achievement, it’s easy for students and young professionals alike to lose track of the most important habits to maintain for success. One takeaway among many given during this special visit involved the need for young people to latch onto their interests early on and build up their faculties of expertise as much as possible:

“A good education is a plus, but none of us [at the World Bank] were hired because of the PhD. It’s really about what you do [with your time],” encourages Schmillen.

He builds from this, saying “[It’s also about] the topics you know, the practical experience, and your ability to tell the story of what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. Then, you’ll be on the right track.”

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Title: CAS Students Sail the Pacific for Science
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: SEA Semester 2017: Protecting our Oceans
Abstract: CAS students are sailing for science this summer, taking part in an eight-week SEA Semester program named Protecting the Phoenix Islands.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 07/31/2017
Content:

What a way to spend your summer vacation—sailing halfway around the world to study the spectacular Phoenix Islands in the Pacific Ocean, one of the last remaining coral wildernesses on Earth.

And the best part—it's all for the advancement of science.

Two CAS undergrads, Devin Kuhn (BS neuroscience '20) and Jacob Atkins (BS mathematics and economics '20), are taking part in an eight-week SEA Semester program named Protecting the Phoenix Islands. Along with 24 undergraduate students from universities across the United States, Kuhn and Atkins are sailing on a tall ship and conducting scientific research to contribute to a growing data set of this largely under-studied region.

Protecting the Phoenix Islands, Protecting the Ocean

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is an expanse of pristine ocean, around the size of California. It's located in the Republic of Kiribati, a nation in the central Pacific, approximately halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

PIPA is also the largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage site—officially recognized by the United Nations for its scientific significance.  Because of PIPA's relative isolation, its marine life is abundant. The area features eight fauna-rich coral atolls. Scientists have identified more than 500 fish species in its waters, along with nearly 50 bird species, 200 coral species, and 18 marine animals. It's also a critical stepping stone habitat for migratory marine life.  

The area is considered one of the last intact ecosystems on Earth. This makes it a unique place to study its response to climate change—it can serve as a benchmark for climate change across the world.

The Voyage and the Mission

Kuhn and Atkins's journey began on June 12 at SEA Semester's campus in Woods Hole, Mass., where the students spent five weeks preparing research projects in ocean science or conservation policy. They were joined by a fellow undergraduate from Kiribati, who is acting as the official scientific observer on behalf of the Kiribati government.

On June 12, the students began their five-week journey aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, a 134-foot brigantine. The ship is the most sophisticated oceanographic research/sailing school vessel ever built in the United States. It set sail from American Samoa and travelled 800 nautical miles across open ocean to the Phoenix Island Protected Area.

When the students arrived at PIPA, they began three weeks of research, collecting samples from the marine environment to study the impact of El Niño, and assessing the effects of climate change. In particular, the students will try to determine if coral bleaching is affecting the area and its marine ecosystem.

About SEA Semester

To apply for a semester at sea, Kuhn and Atkins submitted applications and transcripts, academic writing samples, and two-part essays explaining what they expected to gain from the experience and how the program will complement their AU educations. They also submitted academic references and interviewed with SEA Semester counselors.

The Sea Education Association offers programs each spring, summer, and fall. It is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education with the mission of equipping students with the tools to become environmentally literate leaders prepared to address the defining issue of the twenty-first century: the human impact on the environment. While the academic focus of each SEA Semester varies, each program offers an interconnected suite of courses designed to explore a specific ocean-related theme using a cross-disciplinary approach.

To track the students' expedition through daily posts, visit their blog.

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Title: Bob Briggs Honored for Staff Member Lifetime Achievement Award
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Abstract: In recognition of 30 years of service advising and mentoring students at AU School of Public Affairs, Academic Counselor Bob Briggs was recently honored with American University’s 2017 Maria Bueno Lifetime Achievement Award.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/25/2017
Content:

In recognition of 30 years of service advising and mentoring students at AU School of Public Affairs, Academic Counselor Bob Briggs was recently honored with American University's 2017 Maria Bueno Lifetime Achievement Award.

Briggs is currently the academic counselor to government graduate students and Ph.D. students in SPA. He began his career as an advisor in 1987, supporting undergraduate students majoring in Political Science and communications, law, economics, and government (CLEG).

"Bob works hard to ensure that graduate students understand the graduate regulations and can navigate the system to successfully complete their programs," said SPA Interim Dean Vicky Wilkins. "Bob is a valuable resource for our students while they are in the program and beyond. I am grateful for his commitment to the school and the university."

"I knew the graduate program was right for me after meeting and speaking with Bob," said Jose De Bastos SPA/MA'17. "Throughout my time at SPA he was always available and he gave me great advice about classes, professors, and work opportunities, even after I graduated."

Briggs helped Terence Szuplat (SPA/BA '95) as an undergraduate at SPA. Szuplat, who went on to become a speechwriter for President Barack Obama for eight years, says that Briggs helped him choose the right classes, encouraged him study abroad, where he interned for a member of the British Parliament, and connected him to the White House speechwriting office where he worked as an intern.

"I can say without hesitation that those opportunities simply would not have been possible without the encouragement and mentorship of Bob Briggs over many years," said Szuplat. "Bob helped me set my sights higher, spark my career, and shape my life."

Briggs also worked with Scott Goodstein SPA/BA '95 in the early 1990s. Goodstein said that Briggs recommended internships and night classes that allow him craft his own career path.

"Bob never took a cookie-cutter approach to my education needs and truly understood that I wanted to pursue a unique career in campaign management that was not your standard nine to five job," said Goodstein, CEO and founder of Revolution Messaging in Washington.

"For me, the greatest enjoyment has come from getting to know the students over the years and see their careers develop," said Briggs. "Many have gone on to achieve some rather remarkable things."

Briggs says more than his influence, the training and education that AU provides are what's most important to graduates' careers.

"Many of our students have been successful because they have taken the lessons they learned here and applied them in the working world," said Briggs. "They don't need a lot of advice from me. They do need the good educational foundation and experience that they get here. "

At AU, Briggs has also worked on a variety of projects, including the Campaign Management Institute, the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, the Bryce Harlow Foundation Fellowship Program, the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors society, and the MA program in Political Communication (a joint SPA/SOC program).

Briggs has previously been recognized with several awards from SPA and the university at large, including Outstanding Staff Performance (1990, 1992), Outstanding Service to the University Community (1999), Outstanding Service to the SPA community (2006), and the Award for Outstanding Customer Focus (2010).

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