newsId: 9CD3F809-5056-AF26-BEC3867F959265BF
Title: Men's Basketball Hosts Sustainability Game Night
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Abstract: Join fans on Monday night to celebrate basketball and sustainability
Topic: Environment
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
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Fans in attendance at Bender Arena this Monday night will be part of American University's team for a sustainability win. Fans will learn how to bin-it-to-win-it for recycling and win big in energy reduction.

American University's basketball game against Holy Cross on Monday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. will be a night of excitement for Eagle fans and sustainability stars. The campus community will join together to learn about sustainable lifestyles as we work toward American University's goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. A zero waste race, raffle, and sustainable giveaways are just some of the opportunities for fans to live green and cheer red, white, and blue.

In partnership with AU's Office of Facilities Management and Office of Sustainability, along with the support of corporate partners Aramark, Big Stuff Inc, & RSI, Coca-Cola, DC Sustainable Energy Utility, Duke Energy Renewables, and Lucid Design Group, "The game will be both an educational and fun night, as we do our part to join the campus community in pursuit of carbon neutrality," said Robert Sherman, Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing.

"The Office of Sustainability is thrilled to continue to partner with the Department of Athletics and with Facilities Management for the sustainability Basketball Game," said Megan Litke, Director of Sustainability Programs. "Every member of the AU community has a role in carbon neutrality, and it's a great opportunity to highlight leadership in sustainability across campus."

AU's Assistant Director of Facilities Operations, Mark Feist, added, "The Facilities Management Team joins the Office of Sustainability in celebrating our day-to-day commitment in sustaining a green campus through a recent introduction of mixed recycling on campus along with a renewed focus on organic collection and a continued commitment to energy efficiency."

All fans are invited to stop by the sustainability fair next to Section 112 on the main floor of Bender Arena. The fair will feature environmental student groups including the Community Garden and the AU Student Zero Waste Club, alongside the Office of Sustainability and AU Energy Management.

All students in attendance can enter a free raffle to win a Coca-Cola-themed bicycle. The winner will be announced in the second half and must be present to win. AU Energy Management, in conjunction with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, also will raffle off three energy efficiency kits with LED lightbulbs, a smart power strip, and a faucet aerator valued at $35.

Admission to the game is free for AU undergraduate, graduate, and WCL students with valid AU ID. Tickets for faculty, staff, alumni, and fans are available here, or by calling (202) 885-TIXX.

Learn more about sustainability, energy efficiency, and zero waste at www.american.edu/sustainability

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Title: Student Earns Byline for Post Investigation on Police Shootings
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Abstract: The Investigative Reporting Workshop's (IRW) senior editor and reporter John Sullivan and IRW graduate fellow Zane Anthony collaborated with The Washington Post on a third-year round-up of police shootings in the United States.
Topic: Journalism
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
Content:

American University graduate journalism student Zane Anthony was on the front lines of a national investigation that documented more than twice the number of deadly shootings by police than were recorded on average annually by the FBI and found, for the third year in a row, that police nationwide shot and killed nearly 1,000 people. The project database and research break down the statistics of these shootings of unarmed people, from race to age to mental wellness of the victim.

The investigation was a collaboration between the Investigative Reporting Workshop, based at AU School of Communication, and The Washington Post. IRW senior editor and reporter John Sullivan has led a team on this annual Washington Post round-up of police shootings in the United States since it was launched three years ago. Anthony is an IRW fellow.

IRW regularly partners with The Washington Post and the PBS program FRONTLINE, among other outlets. It offers fellowships and internships to undergraduates, recent graduates and graduate students interested in investigative reporting.

Anthony and students in SOC's Washington Post practicum, in which students are embedded in the Washington Post investigative unit, contributed to the research and writing of the 2018 piece.

SOC students also contributed to research and reporting on major stories about police shootings in 2017, and in 2016, Derek Hawkins, a practicum student, was part of a Washington Post team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as well as the 2015 George Polk Award for National Reporting.

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Title: Alum Restaurateur Fulfilled His Dream in the Neighborhood
Author: Traci Crockett
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Abstract: You may have heard about Chris Nardelli’s restaurant in the news a few years back.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
Content:

You may have heard about Chris Nardelli’s restaurant in the news a few years back. Blue 44, a family restaurant with what Chris describes as “high end comfort food,” made national headlines when a regular customer left a $2,000 tip after sharing a meal of fried chicken and gumbo with a friend. “We got a lot of calls about our gumbo after that,” Chris says with a laugh. “It used to be just a soup of the day, but it’s on the menu now.” 

The chef at Blue 44 found his home there after stints in kitchens at places like the Ritz Carlton. Chris says they both take great pride in the solid food offerings and the fact that neighbors who are regulars come back night after night. “The best part of my day is interacting with guests and staff,” he says. “It really is like a small family here.”

Owning a business is hard work, says Chris, but the 2002 School of Communication graduate already knew that. As a student at AU, Chris worked at Café Ole on Wisconsin Avenue, where he tackled everything from bartending to management. As a child, he dreamed of being an anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter, which led him to major in broadcast journalism at AU. And, even though he decided not to pursue journalism, he says he’s fulfilled his dream. “I wanted to open a restaurant…My first job ever was washing dishes so this is what I know,” says Chris. 

Chris, a native of the Pittsburgh area, loves being nearby campus still. And he has at least one recent connection back to AU. Blue 44 catered the Pride Alumni Alliance’s Thanksgiving dinner on campus this year, and Chris personally delivered turkey and all the fixings for a group of more than 60 students on Thanksgiving Day. The meal was a huge hit with the students who were on campus for the holiday – and Chris helped bring some of that community he loves creating through his restaurant right back to AU.

Tags: Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,School of Communication
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Title: From Washington Semester to Washington Insider
Author: Ryan Hiles
Subtitle: After interning at the Democratic National Committee, Ariana Hooks scored a full-time job with that same office. Here's how she did it.
Abstract: After interning at the Democratic National Committee, Ariana Hooks scored a full-time job with that same office. Here's how she did it.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
Content:

Ariana Hooks has some ideas for standing out among a pool of job applicants, and she's willing to share them with you.

When asked what it takes to make the most out of interning and learning in Washington, D.C., she says: "Just being willing and able to work really hard and being ready to take on new challenges is definitely key to showing people that you're both competent and a hard worker. I think that does a lot."

She would know. Whilst participating in the Washington Semester Program, Hooks began interning with the Voting Rights Office of the Democratic National Committee and is now slated to start full-time work for the very same department and supervisor this month. Except this time, she'll be managing the research projects she formally did the grunt work on.

"I'll be looking into upcoming litigation and legislation around issues like redistricting, gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and election security… I'll also be taking the step up from intern to junior staff [while working] with the new batch of interns coming in."

Having studied Political Science at Santa Clara University, she clearly has a predilection toward politics and analyzing the myriad ways they impact all of us. Naturally, when she first learned about and applied for the Washington Semester Program, she figured she would try her luck on Capitol Hill working for a member of congress. But, as it happens, her internship at the DNC would put her at the table with those same politicians she had hoped to work for.

"I kind of figured I'd come here and work for a member of congress, so it was really cool to actually get to work with one," Hooks says of her meetings with various political representatives throughout the fall. "We're delegated a lot of tasks that are more than the standard intern tasks that you expect. [Our supervisor] sent us to a meeting in her place yesterday and trusted us to report back to her. She trusts us to take on bigger roles."

Aside from working hard and finding something you can be passionate about, Hooks advises that maybe the most important thing a Washington Semester Program student can do to benefit from their experience is to take advantage of the city itself, and everything it may have to offer.

"I feel like a lot of students want to come here and only stay on campus and only make friends with the people in their classes. But I think part of the reason I've had such a great time here is that I'm hardly on campus. People in my classes are very nice, but I'm also trying to set myself up here and make permanent friends and really expand my network past just students."

In fact, when asked about a favorite memory during her Washington Semester, she describes the unique opportunities that living in Washington provide.

"There's a good work/class/life balance that the program allows, so it's not like I've felt that I've been drowning in homework. I've actually been able to go out to eat, to go see museums, and that's a really great part of the program for sure."

To future Washington Semester Program students who share Hook's passion for voting rights, she gives the following advice:

"Students can get involved in expanding voting rights by holding voter registration drives on their campuses and making sure that other students are aware of their rights to register and vote. A lot of the problems with our generation is its apathy with regards to elections, so making sure students understand how much power we hold at the local and state levels is far more important than who is in the Oval Office."

After finishing her semester in the program, Hooks plans to continue pursuing opportunities in politics, both on Capitol Hill and off.

"I'm definitely thinking of working for a few years, and then maybe trying to move over to the Hill in a staff position. Law school is definitely in my sights. But staying in Washington for the foreseeable future is definitely what I'm interested in."

--

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 alumni of the School of Professional & Extended Studies are empowering changemakers throughout Washington DC and beyond, visit http://www.american.edu/spexs/news/index.cfm

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Title: A Culture of Resilience, Not Security
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: Cybersecurity expert Rebekah Lewis comments on Uber’s latest data breach scandal.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 01/18/2018
Content:

By now, you're probably pretty familiar with the scandal surrounding Uber's latest data breach disclosure. This past November, the company announced that, over a year ago, a hacker stole a plethora of personal information from drivers and passengers. The breach was no small potatoes-57 million passengers' names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers were stolen, along with driver's license details for 600,000 U.S. Uber drivers.

What's more, Uber admitted to paying the hacker $100,000 to delete the stolen data, and to keep quiet about it. There's speculation that he was paid through a bug bounty program, an outsourced service used to identify potential cyber vulnerabilities, making the pay-off even more atrocious.

While these are undoubtedly major missteps by both business and legal standards, they can actually be channeled into positive outcomes for the company, according to Rebekah Lewis, Director of the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC). They could be an opportunity for new leadership to signal a shift and re-shape the company's culture, demonstrating they are honest, forthright and able to appropriately manage future breaches.

"Uber doesn't necessarily need to change their security measures-they need to change how they handle incidents and communicate about their security," Lewis says. "Instead of a culture of security, they need to foster a culture of resilience."

Lewis' recommendations are reflective of a larger misconception about cybersecurity and business. When a breach happens, the general assumption is that a company's security measures were not strong enough. While this is true in some cases, in many cases, incidents may not be the result of unreasonable security practices.

Uber itself is a great example. After the company's 2014 breach, they invested in stricter cybersecurity policies and procedures to protect against future mishaps. To regain the public's trust, they even published a 40 page report on their website where experts on data privacy and security positively assessed their practices.

The reality is that data breaches will happen, no matter how secure a company is deemed. Businesses should be working to foster resilience-which Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is working to do-so that they can successfully bounce back from security breaches.

This fact certainly doesn't negate Uber's poor decisions, or excuse the company's dishonesty; it does, however, offer them a rare opportunity to redeem themselves as an open, communicative business.

What about when a company's cybersecurity program does have major holes in it, though? Where can businesses turn to strengthen their security measures?

That's also part of a larger problem.

"It's difficult to pinpoint which measures organizations should focus on to improve their security programs because there's no standard of care right now," Lewis says. "There's no homogenized system business leaders can turn to."

This creates unclear security expectations for companies, and a lack of accountability. And, because there's not a consistent set of "rules" to weigh breaches against, there also are not clear legal implications when one happens. This is one of the issues with the latest Uber breach-it's not immediately clear where to assign blame, or how to address the problem legally.

There is one framework already created that holds potential-NIST's 2014 Cybersecurity Framework. The document provides a systematic methodology for improving one's cybersecurity infrastructure, as well as recommendations for risk management. Its meaningful implementation amongst companies is spotty and inconsistent, though, limiting its impact on the field.

As we move into 2018, Lewis predicts that, more and more, we will see companies seeking out ways to holistically improve their security programs, including their incident response plan, in order to avoid reputational harm and legal liability. Adoption and robust implementation of the NIST Framework, which is flexible enough to permit company-specific tailoring, would be the most prudent approach, advises Lewis. This will also require more involvement from high-level executives, as implementing a framework demands careful, intentional integration across a company's departments.

It's also reasonable to anticipate that we'll see more active disclosures of data breaches. Companies will begin to cultivate "cultures of resilience," as Lewis describes, rather than only focusing on security as the avoidance of incidents. Uber's a prime example of what can happen when a breach is not disclosed-loss of public trust and damaged reputation among the more difficult consequences to measure.

So, what lies ahead for Uber in the wake of their 2017 data scandal? They'll undoubtedly need to repair their reputation, and show their customers that they're honorable. And they'll certainly need to address the growing number of law suits filed against them.

Their biggest charge, though, is re-defining their culture. According to Lewis: "It is surprising that they chose to cover something up, rather than be forth-coming. Yes, there's things they can do to improve from a security perspective, but what's most important is how they handle future incidents. This is how they can become a trustworthy and resilient company."

Read more about Rebekah Lewis and her work with the KCGC.

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Title: Professor Stefanie Onder joins SIS faculty
Author: Sarah Quain
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Abstract: Professor Stefanie Onder, a development economist who studies the trade-offs between economic development and sustainability, joined SIS this past fall.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 01/17/2018
Content:

Professor Stefanie Onder joined SIS this past fall from the World Bank, where she was a senior environmental economist focusing on natural resources management. In addition to her training as an economist, Onder brings years of hands-on international development experience with the World Bank into the classroom.

How would you describe the field of environmental economics?

This field studies the effects of the economy on the environment, from the extraction of natural resources to air pollution and climate change, as well as the effects of the environment on the economy. Individual incentives and growth can end up hurting the environment, so environmental economists look at how we can best create sustainable policies and environmental solutions that take these interactions into account.

Why is environmental economics a critical area of study?

The environment is often overlooked, especially from a development perspective. When trying to lift people out of poverty, we focus on generating an income. But the problem is, by pursuing a pure growth agenda without considering how sustainable that growth is, we might pollute or destroy resources beyond repair. We all know that resources, and especially natural resources, are limited, but we typically take them for granted without really thinking about the economic value or how much they contribute to our daily lives. Bringing that sustainability aspect to development is critical.

Acknowledging that the poor strongly depend on natural resources is also an important part of the development discourse more broadly. Many of the world’s poor live in rural areas and survive by extracting the resources around them. If you want to help the poor, you have to understand how they depend on these resources.

How do environmental economics encourage sustainable economic growth?

People in the environmental community often don’t talk in economic terms. They talk about the biodiversity and about protecting animals and trees, but this doesn’t resonate with a finance minister or someone in a ministry of planning who has to make a financial decision. I think translating the value of the environment and ecosystem services into economic language that everybody can understand is very important. We need to take growth and sustainability, for not only this generation, but future generations, into account.

Do you bring any experience from outside the classroom to your position at SIS?

Working at the World Bank has shown me a lot of the world that people coming from a European or American context normally would not see. It’s hard to understand fully how poor people can be unless you’ve been in a shed with a Chinese farmer who owns one pig and feels rich. It’s quite incredible to understand what absolute poverty really means. Seeing absolute poverty in person was an eye-opening experience for me, and I’m hoping it will be helpful experience to share with students going forward.

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Title: A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth
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Abstract: In his new book, Daniel Fiorino, distinguished executive in residence at the American University School of Public Affairs, argues that policymakers need to protect the environment if they want the economy to grow in the long-term.
Topic: Environment
Publication Date: 01/17/2018
Content:

When it comes to the economy and the environment, it’s not always an either-or proposition.

Daniel Fiorino, distinguished executive in residence at the American University School of Public Affairs, argues that policymakers need to protect the environment if they want the economy to grow in the long-term.

In his new book, A Good Life on a Finite Earth: The Political Economy of Green Growth, which was published in December by Oxford University Press, Fiorino links academic research with policy analysis. He suggests green growth — the right mix of policies, investments, and technologies leading to beneficial growth within ecological limits must be incorporated into the structure of economic and political systems. There are limits to the environmental pressure the world’s natural resources and climate can withstand.

“We are using up the capacity of the earth,” said Fiorino, who is also director of AU’s Center for Environmental Policy. “We have to figure out ways of addressing that, not only because we need to protect the environment, but also because the economy depends on the environment. You can’t have an economy without water, or a successful and equitable an economy with political instability or sea level rise. Everything has to work together.”

The book pragmatically suggests a long-term perspective where businesses integrate environmental goals and clean energy into their economic decision-making. Fiorino discusses the challenge of rapidly growing economies in countries, such as India, where the heavy use of fossil fuels is stressing the environment. He explores the benefits of energy efficiency and potential jobs in solar and wind power.

Rather than viewing environmental policies as job killers, Fiorino says the debate can be reframed to promote collaboration.

“Economies are going to grow, they just need to grow in different and better ways,” said Fiorino. “It is clear from the evidence that the most equitable and meaningful way of growing is to account for the effects of economic decisions on the environment and to link the two issues in positive ways.”

In one chapter, Fiorino examines governance (authoritarian versus democracy) and showcases best practices of environmental policy in Scandinavian countries. In another, he demonstrates how inequality affects environmental policy, typically causing more harm to low-income groups.

The book grew out of a chapter on the green economy he wrote for Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy (MIT Press, 2017). He realized there was need for a full book exploring the concept of green growth and spent the next three years on the project. It is designed for a broad audience that follows environmental policy, yet the book could be used in a variety of academic applications including economic and political science courses. Fiorino will have students read the book in his graduate level environmental sustainability class in the spring.

“You can’t separate the economy and the environment. You have to look at them together,” said Fiorino. “It’s a matter of overcoming short-term thinking and vested interests; the big picture says you should aim for green growth.”

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Title: New Research Examines the Broken Alliance of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State
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Abstract: A new paper written by SPA Assistant Professor Tricia Bacon and coauthor Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault, an assistant professor at Georgetown University look at the way leadership styles have driven a wedge between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 01/16/2018
Content:

Tricia Bacon has studied terrorist organizations and their behavior for a long time. In recent years, Bacon, an assistant professor at the American University School of Public Affairs, began considering how terrorist alliances work.

After the alliance between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) was broken, the conventional wisdom of was that the split was the culmination of strategic differences between the two organizations. In particular, it was said that ISIS was violent, especially against Muslims, and had declared itself a “state,” while Al Qaeda had opposed that tactic long ago. But Bacon says the problems between the two groups had existed for years.

In a new paper, “Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s Break: Strategic Strife or Lackluster Leadership?”, recently published in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Bacon and coauthor Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault, an assistant professor at Georgetown University found the trigger for the split: different leadership styles.

“Osama bin Laden had been more tolerant of some of these issues with the Islamic State because he saw the alliance as too important for Al Qaeda to break and it needed an ally in the strategic area of Iraq and Syria,” said Bacon. “He was also much better at managing conflict. He was not a leader we saw escalating conflicts and getting into ego matches with other terrorist leaders.” 

The researchers, who both have extensive backgrounds as analysts working in the intelligence community, learned about bin Laden’s leadership style by studying a series of documents that were recently declassified. While he pushed ISIS to change its behavior and tactics, bin Laden handled internal disputes deftly and never threatened to end the relationship between the two terrorist groups.

After bin Laden was killed in 2011, the new Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was more prone to engage in conflict. He had a history of acrimonious relationships with other terrorist leaders and had never been able to unify terrorist groups, even those with similar ideologies.

“Al Qaeda has a less effective leader and a less respected leader now,” said Bacon. “It would have been harder for the Islamic State to discredit bin Laden because he had so much cachet in the Sunni-Jihadist world. Al-Zawahiri had some too, but it paled in comparison.”

Bacon and Arsenault concluded that although it was a troubled alliance, strategic differences between Al Qaeda and ISIS were not sufficient to cause a split.

Al-Zawahari was not capable of managing the difference between the two groups and thus could not prevent ruptures in the alliance.

Bacon said the breakup of this alliance was one of the most important developments in terrorism since 9/11. For years, Al Qaeda was at the vanguard of the movement, but now there are two power centers that divide the Jihadist movement.

“It’s created an escalation in the level of competition as a consequence, which can produce more violence in some places,” said Bacon.

Though Bacon says her article has not yet overturned the conventional wisdom about what caused the split between al Qaeda and ISIS, it is sparking debate about how much leadership among terrorist organizations matters.

“We expend a lot of resources to eliminate leaders—bin Laden’s death was the culmination of a 10-year manhunt,” says Bacon. “This raises the importance of understanding successors. How important is the leader and how capable is the successor? That needs to be considered.”

While Bacon and Arsenault's research examined why a long-standing alliance ended, Bacon has a new book, Why Terrorist Groups Form International Alliances, publishing in Spring 2018 that looks at why terrorist organizations form alliances.

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Title: Our Bodies, Ourselves: Two Alums Promote Sex Education for LGBTQ Youth
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Emmett Patterson and Lex Loro continued their innovative work post-graduation.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/16/2018
Content:

As American University students, Emmett Patterson and Lex Loro were heavily engaged in LGBTQ advocacy. Now, two years after graduation, they remain fully committed to the cause. Even while based in different parts of the country-Patterson in DC, Loro in Richmond, Virginia-they continue to work together.

Patterson and Loro run a capacity building organization called Not Your Average Sex Talk. It's a peer-to-peer program dedicated to sex education for LGBTQ youth and individuals with disabilities.

"We have a really good working relationship. We both come from really different backgrounds. And we both hold different types of queer identities, but I think that fuels our connection," says Patterson. "I'm able to talk specifically about trans issues because that's something I've experienced. And Lex is really able to bring in her identity and talk about issues that affect femme queer people."

A Wake-Up Call

Loro and Patterson were already passionate about LGBTQ rights, but an unexpected mishap altered their focus. As sophomores in AU Queers and Allies, they hosted a campus event with a guest speaker from a queer health organization. The speaker never showed up.

Yet Loro and Patterson held the event anyway, as a peer roundtable discussion. When they probed the audience's knowledge of sexual health, they were shocked by what they heard.

"It was just a massive wake-up call. I was sitting in a room with a bunch of people I already knew and cared about who were asking me the most basic questions about understanding their own bodies," Loro recalls. "All of these people who are already 18, 19, 20, 21-even older-had never been taught anything that's relevant to them about their bodies or their sexual health needs. So much sex education programming is never, ever focused on queer people."

This is an ongoing problem, Loro and Patterson say, because public schools and faith communities rarely address the sex ed concerns of LGBTQ young people.

"Young queer people are growing up watching people like Laverne Cox on TV, and people like Janet Mock put out books about their life experiences. We're seeing some amazing progress," says Loro. "It's easy for people who are not directly touched by these issues to think, 'We've made it.' But a lot of things are slipping through the cracks. A lot of people are still struggling, and a lot of people are under-supported and underrepresented. And sex ed is one of the areas where we see this the most."

In fact, many states have laws prohibiting discussions of queerness in the classroom, Loro adds.

So, what are LGBTQ people supposed to do? Teach sex ed to themselves? Frequently, Patterson says, that's exactly what happens.

"I think that every queer and trans person deserves an honorary medical degree for all of the research that we have to do on our own bodies. There's no research, especially in sexual and reproductive health, for queer and trans people," Patterson says. "I want to see queer representation in medicine, and in politics, because those are the things that are really impacting our physical, mental, and emotional well-being."

Virtual Platforms and Empowerment

To address these shortcomings, Patterson and Loro began building curriculums, attending conferences and partaking in workshops. Through their group, Not Your Average Sex Talk, they use virtual platforms and e-chats to extend their reach all over the country. Since there is no one-size-fits-all sex education program, their work is tailored to each person's needs.

"I supported a transgender person who said, 'I'm a trans man, and I have a disability. And I want to have a sex talk that's just other trans people with disabilities,'" Patterson remembers. "So we had articles, research, and fact sheets about, 'What are some of those key issues around that intersection?'"

Patterson and Loro do answer specific sex questions. Yet their work also seeks to empower other people to start important conversations about sexual health. "This is not really about what we do. It's about how we can make everybody else-people who are like us-feel like they can do good for their own communities," says Loro.

And now they're increasing their visibility. They just presented, for the first time, at the National Sex Ed Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They're also set to appear for the fourth time at Creating Change, the national conference on LGBTQ equality. They'd eventually like to turn Not Your Average Sex Talk into a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.

Connections and Communities

Loro and Patterson both graduated from AU in December 2015. Patterson earned his bachelor's degree in public health and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Loro got her degree in women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and journalism.

Patterson grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania, a conservative community near Pittsburgh. An interest in health care stems from his parents-his mom is a longtime ER nurse and his dad works as a paramedic. Through their church, they were part of an organization that helped people living with HIV.

Coming out as transgender was extraordinarily difficult and isolating, he says. "I was the first out queer person, and the first out trans person, really, in my community. And that was just a lot of exposure and visibility that I don't think any young person should have to go through unless they want that, and I didn't really want that at the time," he explains.

He was helped by a mentor, sex educator Mary Jo Podgurski, who put him in charge of a queer teen center in the area. They've stayed in touch, and Podgurski watched him present at the National Sex Ed Conference last month.

Loro was a military brat, spending most of her formative years in the Deep South. In Texas, she helped found her high school's gay-straight alliance, but she hadn't quite come to terms with her own identity.

"I didn't realize that queerness was a possibility for me. I had come from a conservative background. My family was Catholic, and I grew up on military bases during 'don't ask don't tell,'" she notes. "When I went to college, I found it very comfortable and easy to come out in the community that AU has-because there were just so many awesome, wonderful, kind, queer people there."

With Not Your Average Sex Talk, they're now expanding these kinds of communities outward. And, as Loro emphasizes, these issues have life and death implications.

"All of our sex ed work is rooted in the fact that we want to keep these young people alive. We do not want them to get HIV. We don't want them to never get tested," she says. "We do this work because we care, and we want everyone else to as well."

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Title: Ryan Hansan, Kogod/BSBA ’08, has an Appetite for Success
Author: Leigh Wyttenbach, SOC/BA ’18
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alum helps start-ups launch food businesses in D.C. at TasteLab Marketplace in Union Market.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/15/2018
Content:

When Ryan Hansan graduated from Kogod in 2008, he never thought his livelihood would be based on helping start-ups launch, run, and grow – but that’s exactly what he does now. Ryan is the founder of TasteLab, a successful culinary incubator and commercial kitchen in Northeast D.C. His business has assisted more than 65 small food businesses in starting or scaling up since its own opening in March 2015. 

Before TasteLab, Ryan kept busy with his own food businesses: a dinner kit delivery start-up, scratchDC, and the healthy vending start-up, TinyGrocery. During his early years in the food business, Ryan worked hard and learned plenty of tough lessons along the way. With TasteLab, he wanted the chance to help other people avoid the challenges and pitfalls he experienced in his ventures. He coaches clients in business-launching basics, regulatory standards, licensing and other legal logistics, packaging, bringing products to the marketplace, and using certain metrics to guide success. 

Most recently, Ryan launched the TasteLab Marketplace at Union Market. This exciting new retail space features creations from District-based small businesses that operate out of TasteLab. It is the only retail outlet at Union Market that exclusively sells food and beverages made in D.C. Foodies venturing through can try out an eclectic mix of salsa, jerky, spice blends, syrups, chocolate, fresh-pressed juices, hummus, and more. “Not only will this Marketplace allow us to introduce all of these incredible products and entrepreneurs to the thousands of people who visit Union Market on a daily basis, but we will be creating a new revenue stream for our members and in some cases, putting them on their first shelves,” Ryan said.

Ryan credits Kogod for providing him with a strong educational base for his career. Kogod taught him the importance of being flexible and knowing how to pivot when necessary. 

Looking to break into the D.C. food industry? Here are some of Ryan’s keys to success:

  • Remember that you are the company, so you are going to have to do almost everything yourself.
  • Surround yourself with extraordinary people.
  • Accept that you will make mistakes.
  • Learn something every day.
  • Work harder than you ever imagined. This takes guts!
  • Analyze the data that you have to become more efficient. 

Most importantly? Ryan says, “come to TasteLab!” 

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Title: 2017 Black Alumni Alliance Book Award Winner
Author: Alexi McIntosh, SPA/BA ’19
Subtitle: Autumn Grant, SPA/BA ’19
Abstract: Every year, as summer draws to a close, the AU Black Alumni Alliance chooses its Book Award recipient.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/12/2018
Content:

Every year, as summer draws to a close, the AU Black Alumni Alliance chooses its Book Award recipient. This year's pool of nominees included students so talented, so engaged in their communities, and with such high academic achievement that the selection committee could not help but name two winners.

While exceptional in countless ways, 2017 AU BAA Book Award recipients Autumn Grant, SPA/BA '19, and Justin Simms, Kogod/BSBA '18, are similar in that they both have a strong track record of service and have proven their commitment to Black, African-heritage, and Caribbean communities by promoting student engagement at AU and beyond. Today we would like to introduce you to one of our recipients, Autumn Grant.

AU: Congratulations! You've already proven yourself to be an exceptional young professional, but I'd like to know a bit more about the young woman who has made it to this point. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Autumn: I grew up in Baltimore with my mother, two younger brothers, and extended family. My mother is my biggest motivation because she worked hard on her own to raise me and my brothers into exceptional young people. Family was a huge part of childhood because we were so close. My family is also very religious, so the church was also a huge influence on my upbringing. The church is where I met most of closest friends and people I can call family.
I am a silly, fun person who loves to laugh. Often, I describe myself as an optimist. I am a helper. I love to help people in every possible way I can. One of my dreams is to travel to all the continents. I value diversity, and I believe there is something to learn from every part of the world.

AU: How did you choose American University?

Autumn: Growing up I was always politically oriented and so my dream was to be in DC. I wanted to study political science and attended a school that focused heavily on politics. While doing my research, I learned that AU had a good political science program, which also offered a lot of opportunities. At my visit, I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. The people here were so welcoming and nice, especially those that coordinated my visit. I visited two more times following my first visit and participated in a few events, which I really enjoyed. That's when I decided AU was the place for me.

AU: In what organizations are you involved on and off campus, and what positions do you hold? Do let us know about your internship, as it sounds really interesting.

Autumn: Since I've been at AU, I was always involved. I have held many rewarding positions on campus. I was the Senator of class of 2019 in the Student Government, and now I am the [student] director of accessibility for the AUSG President's Cabinet. I was appointed vice president of recognition for Anderson Hall, vice president of finance for East Campus, and vice president for Sister Sister. Now I am a Resident Assistant. I am also an Ambassador for the School of Public Affairs, and my job is to represent students in SPA and speak with prospective students. Off campus, I am a Collegiate Ambassador for Black Girls Vote, Inc. This is a grassroots non-profit organization that engages, educates, and empowers women of color to use their political rights and be involved in their communities.

AU: What is your endgame plan? Where would you eventually like to end up, personally or professionally?

Autumn: Immediately after undergrad, my plan is to attend law school or go to grad school for a degree in Public Administration. I aspire to be a federal legislator. I want to be on Capitol Hill representing my community. I believe the only way we can help minorities and poor is to have minorities and people that share similar backgrounds. I want to be a legislator because I know they have the power to help and make changes, and that is my dream. I want to help, make a change, and influence my people. I will use the office for a good cause while sticking to my morals.

AU: Is there anyone whom you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are today?

Autumn: First, I would like to thank my mother and grandmother for being my biggest supporters. I would also like to thank my mentors because they taught me a lot and most of my experiences and internships came from them. I would also like to say a big Thank You to my alumni mentors, LaTanya Sothern and Jolene McNeil, for being mothers away from home.

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Title: Lewis Accepts $1 Million for Investigative Journalists
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Abstract: American University Professor Charles Lewis accepted a major grant for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a group he founded in 1997.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 01/11/2018
Content:

In an era when the news industry is under intense political and economic pressure, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has donated $1 million to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which American University School of Communication (AU SOC) Professor Charles Lewis accepted on behalf of the ICIJ during the 75th Golden Globe Award Ceremony on January 7.

The HFPA also provided a $1 million grant to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) during the ceremony, which took place in Beverly Hills, California.

Lewis, executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, based in SOC, founded the ICIJ in 1997 as a project of the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, which he also created.

"I am deeply grateful to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its president, Meher Tatna, and her incredible staff," Lewis said.

The ICIJ - comprised of more than 200 journalists from 100 media organizations in 70 countries around the world - has carried out 27 investigative projects. The ICIJ made global headlines in 2016 with its year-long Pulitzer-Prize winning Panama Papers project, which analyzed more than 11.5 million leaked documents and exposed a shadowy network of offshore tax havens that allowed hundreds of politicians, celebrities and organized criminals, among others, to conduct questionable activity under a veil of secrecy. Last November, the ICIJ followed-up the Panama Papers project with the Paradise Papers, which emanated from more than 13 million leaked documents and detailed the "offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II, and 13 advisers, major donors and members of U.S. President Donald J. Trump's administration."

"It has been a joy to watch the evolution and success of the ICIJ these past two decades," Lewis said. "Congratulations to the outstanding staff and the hundreds of investigative journalists collaborating across countries and oceans."

SOC, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, traces its roots in journalism back to 1926 when the university launched its first news writing course. Today, the school's journalism division offers extensive courses in investigative reporting, such as the Investigative Journalism Practicum in which students work on long-form projects with publications like The Washington Post and Data-Driven Journalism, which teaches students how to strategically use spreadsheets, databases, programming, and data visualization in a journalistic context.

Additionally, professors such as Bill Gentile, typify the kind of work for which the CPJ received its million dollar grant from the HFPA. Gentile's latest project "Freelancers," highlights the great personal risks reporters face to shed light on critical social, political, and economic stories from around the globe.

Lewis said he first learned about the possibility of a donation when he received an unexpected call from Sandra Cuneo of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association while he was driving to Delaware to visit Dorothy, his 92-year-old mother.

"It's one of those things where you need to pull off the road," Lewis said.

Going to the awards ceremony was an added bonus.

"I have been to many fancy awards dinners of all kinds over the years, but Sunday night was a wild and crazy affair like no other I've ever attended," Lewis said. "And it was great fun to see a few old friends and colleagues, including Joel Simon, the executive director of the vitally important Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which is also receiving a $1 million contribution from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association."

The CPJ will use the donation to "strengthen their international network of correspondents."

"Journalists are under tremendous pressure these days, and around the world a record number are in prison for doing their job. The best journalism exposes wrongdoing and demands accountability," Simon said in a statement. "We must stand together as professionals and as part of a global community to defend the rights of journalists who confront the powerful, wherever they may be."

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has donated nearly $30 million to nonprofit organizations and film schools over the past several years.

This original version of this post by Josh Benson was originally published on the Investigative Reporting Workshop's blog.

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Title: Welcoming the Newest Alumni Board Members
Author: Carlita Pitts
Subtitle:
Abstract: Meet the university's next alumni leaders.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/11/2018
Content:

This year brings 10 dynamic new members to American University's Alumni Board. Their diverse perspectives and insights will strengthen our already-dynamic alumni leadership. Dating back to the 1950s, the alumni board leads AU's alumni association, providing perspective and insight to professional staff in their outreach to alumni. Board members advise the university regarding how to improve the student experience. On the board, all five schools and colleges are represented, as well as varied professional industries, racial and ethnic backgrounds, identities, genders, and generations.

New members include:

Paul Bamonte, SPA/MA '17, is the Deputy Commander for the U.S. Army Office and Chief of Public Affairs. Paul has remained involved with AU since his recent graduation serving as a member of the Key Executive Program's conference board and an ambassador to the AU Veterans Community. He also has been heavily involved with the National Endowment for the Arts initiative Creative Forces, which provides support to military veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Eugene Costa, Kogod/BSBA '77, is Senior Vice President and Group Lead for Europe and Asia, ICF. Eugene is actively involved with AU, having served as a member of the Kogod Advisory Council for the past four years and as a judge for the Kogod case competitions for the last five years.

Adam Katz, WCL/JD '86, is a Tax Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Adam has been an energetic supporter and advocate of AU since graduation. He serves as an alumni mentor with WCL students, offering career planning and advice. Notably, Adam has been an influencer within PwC through his work as the firm's relationship partner with AU, which has prioritized AU for career events, hiring, and donor matching, and has enabled him to collaborate with Dean Delaney and Dean Nelson while leading more than 225 AU alumni at PwC. He is proud of his newest title, AU parent, as his son joined the community this past fall. Adam also is a member of the Parent Leadership Council.

Daniel Leon-Davis, SIS/BA '13, is Co-Founder and Senior Creative Director for the Soze Agency. Daniel has served as social media chair for the Latino Alumni Alliance, spoken on campus regarding career advice, attended many events in New York City, and served as a Social Media Ambassador. Currently, Daniel is acting as a mentor to both a fellow alumnus and a current AU student.

Irene Magafan, SOC/BA '02, SOC/MFA '12, is a Video Archive Production Specialist and Editor for the World Wildlife Fund. She maintains her commitment to AU through advocacy, guest lectures, and panel participation. She also taught a course to high school students as part of AU's Discover the World of Communication summer program in 2010.

Sherry Soanes, WCL/JD '97, is a Trial Attorney at the US Department of Justice. Sherry teaches as an adjunct professor, serves as a volunteer judge for Moot court competitions, and participates in networking and recruiting events. Recently, she was the intern coordinator within the Department of Justice, working in conjunction with WCL.

LaTanya Sothern, SOC/BA '92, is an Assistant Principal for Prince George's County Public Schools and the Owner and CEO of Sothern Education Solutions, LLC. Since graduating, LaTanya has been engaged with the AU community in a wide variety of ways. She served as co-chair for the Congressional Black Congress Alumni Reception, co-chair for All-American Weekend, chair of a Gospel Choir alumni event, planning assistant for the Black Greek alumni rally, and facilitator for university leadership conversations. Currently she is co-chair of membership for the Black Alumni Alliance.

Danielle Vogel, WCL/JD '07, is Founder of Glen's Garden Market in Washington DC. Danielle supports the AU community through gifts in kind from her business to AU conferences and fundraisers. She also has written fundraising communications for WCL, served as a guest speaker in classes, guided students on a tour of her store, and hosted several WCL events.

Returning to the board with renewed two-year terms are:

London McCloud, Kogod/BSBA '02, Trade Specialist for the U.S. Department of Transportation

Jolene McNeil, SPA/BA '97, Director of Event Operations for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

These members join the following current board members:

Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08, Manager, State & Local Government Relations, Capital One (AUAB President)

Rob Johnson, SPA/BS '81, Assistant General Counsel – Legal Services, Exxon Mobil Corporation (AUAB Vice President, Operations)

Sara Nieves-Grafals, CAS/BS '75, CAS/MA '79, CAS/PhD '80, Retired Clinical Psychologist (AUAB Vice President, External Relations)

Amy Lampert, SOC/BA '94, Vice President, Time Square Inc. (AUAB Secretary)

Andrea Agathoklis Murino, SPA/BA '98, Partner, Co-Chair, Antitrust and Competition Practice, Goodwin Procter LLP (AUAB Immediate Past President)

Piya Charanjiva, Kogod/BSBA '91, Partner, Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy

Rachel Weiner Cohen, SPA/BA '04, WCL/JD '08, Counsel, Wilmerhale 

Kristen Eastlick, CAS/BA '95, SPA/MA '96, Chief Administrative Officer, Berman and Company; Vice President of Programs, Capital Research Center

Kerry-Ann Hamilton, SIS/MA '05, Senior Vice President – Global Health and Education, GMMB 

Jonathan Mathis, Kogod/BSBA '04, Executive Director, The Next Step Public Charter School

Chris Quintyne, SPA/BA '07, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs, Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, DC

George "Cookie" Reed-Dellinger, Kogod/BSBA '69, Kogod/MBA '71, Senior Vice President, TeleMedia/Internet Analyst, Washington Analysis

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Title: New Book Explores Citizen Involvement with Privatized Programs
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Abstract: The U.S. government contracts out an array of services to the private sector, spending nearly $500 billion a year. Just how and why citizens get involved in these programs is the focus of SPA Associate Professor Anna Amirkhanyan’s new book.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 01/11/2018
Content:

The U.S. government contracts out an array of services to the private sector, spending nearly $500 billion a year at the local, state, and federal levels on a variety of programs. Just how and why citizens get involved in these programs is the focus of American University School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Anna Amirkhanyan’s new book.

“Citizen Participation in the Age of Contracting” was published in December by Routledge, and coauthored by Amirkhanyan and Kristina Lambright of Binghamton University. To assess citizen involvement with privatized programs, the researchers conducted nearly 100 interviews with public and private managers working in the field of health and human services.

Do most public agencies and their private contractors go beyond delivering services and give citizens the power to shape the policies and programs intended to benefit them?

While the authors uncovered numerous examples of citizen involvement in privatized programs, the answer to their central research question is disheartening. 

“Widespread, but narrow in their forms and impact, the participation practices we uncovered did not live up to the ideals of democracy and self-governance,” argue the authors in their research volume, which is geared toward scholars and practitioners.

In talking with managers across four states – Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia – Amirkhanyan and Lambright found that managers were using outdated strategies that had been in place since the 1970s. Not many managers engaged citizens in ways that allowed them to actually take leadership roles and make key decisions.

“Most of these strategies placed citizens, at best, in an advisory role, and as a result, the intensity of citizen participation we found was low to moderate,” said Amirkhanyan. “While we hope that managers can find ways to give citizens greater voice, we acknowledge there are challenges, many of which stem from the vulnerable nature of groups being served.”

Health and human services clients sometimes lack the resources and knowledge necessary to take an active role in the development and implementation of programs intended to benefit them. The authors suggest ways to be creative and encourage citizens to take greater ownership. Their book cites both conventional and cutting-edge approaches that public and private organizations have used to provide incentives to encourage public involvement.

Through the book, the authors hope to change the mind-set of managers who deliver public programs so they are open to involving the public as a way to empower citizens and communities, strengthen our democracy, and gain insights about what services are most needed. Listening to clients and other citizens early in the policy formation stage can help programs gain legitimacy and succeed.

“For programs to be successful, it is vital that clients and other community members understand and be engaged and committed to them,” said Amirkhanyan. “Actively involving citizens in public programs, whether they are privatized or not, is a necessity.This is a long-standing democratic value and helps keep the government accountable to citizens.”

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Title: Searching for a New Job? New Study Says Talking to Friends and Family Boosts Chances of Success
Author: AJ Springer
Subtitle:
Abstract: New research co-authored by a Kogod School of Business professor finds job seekers who discuss their search with friends and family are more active job seekers than those who don't.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 01/10/2018
Content: If you're a job seeker driving your friends and family crazy with job search conversations, a new study finds you're doing something right.

New research co-authored by Serge da Motta Veiga, an assistant professor of management in the American University Kogod School of Business, found that people who talk about their job search with family and friends were more likely to stick to it.

"Should we talk? Co-rumination and conversation avoidance in job search," co-authored with Missouri State professors Dana L. Haggard and Melody W. LaPreze, and published in Career Development International, surveyed 196 graduating students preparing to enter the labor market. The researchers found that job seekers who engaged in repeated and excessive talk about job search issues with friends and family were more likely to engage in job search activities including revising resumes, applying for jobs and seeking job leads from their network.

Survey participants who avoided talking about their job searches were more likely to procrastinate.

"Our findings suggest that some positive behaviors might result from an increased amount of sharing and talking about one's job search," the researchers write. "It might be that any sense of urgency created by the repetitive discussions is overridden by the focus on understanding all about the job search and, as a result, potentially generating new ideas about the types of job search activities to be executed."

For da Motta Veiga, the findings illustrate that talking about a job search with close friends and family has a way of keeping the job seeker accountable.

"It is important to understand that searching for a job, albeit an individual process, can benefit from some level of experience sharing with one another," he said. "Indeed, simply talking about one's job search experiences seems to help maintain a level of intensity in job search activities."

He also recommends career counselors take notice of the study to help job seekers reach career goals.

"Career centers, at universities and elsewhere, could put together some job search mentoring or peer group programs to help job seekers navigate the ups and downs that come with the territory of searching for a job."  
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Title: SIS’s living peace legend: Abdul Aziz Said
Author: Kaitie Catania
Subtitle:
Abstract: Professor Emeritus Abdul Aziz Said shares how he championed an active approach to peace and came to serve as an SIS faculty member for nearly 60 years.
Topic: Faculty
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
Content:

From the day the School of International Service (SIS) first opened its doors to aspiring service leaders in 1958, one member of the SIS community has called the school home: triple American University (AU) alumnus and Professor Emeritus Abdul Aziz Said, ’54, ’55, ’57. In fact, Said attended the SIS groundbreaking ceremony as both an AU faculty member and a graduating PhD student in 1957.

A fixture at SIS, Professor Said taught at the university from 1956 until his retirement in 2015. During his nearly 60 years on SIS faculty, he became the senior ranking professor at AU; became the first occupant of the Mohamed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, which was endowed for him; founded and directed the popular International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) degree program; wrote more than 16 books; and inspired thousands of students and alumni.

However, Said’s greatest achievement has been developing and advancing peace studies at SIS and around the world.

“Traditionally, when we spoke about peace in the past, it primarily meant the absence of war or absence of violence. But increasingly, we have become more precise and understand that peace is not only an absence of violence, but a presence of justice, a presence of equality, and a presence of cooperation,” he says.

His introduction to conflict and peace

Said’s understanding of active peace stems from his familiarity with conflict. Growing up in French-occupied Syria, he experienced a period of time in the 1940s when his father—a Syrian nationalist leader—was exiled, his family was displaced, and bombings during World War II were common. One of the most harrowing, yet formative, experiences he faced growing up was when his three-year-old brother was struck by a French military truck and passed away in Said's arms. "That experience had a tremendous impact on me in terms of the evils of conflict and need for pacific resolution," he says.

When he came to Washington, DC, for his undergraduate studies at AU in the 1950s, Said experienced a new kind of conflict: racial discrimination. In comparison to the international friends he made in DC, many of whom were Lebanese, Said was considered “colored” as an Arab Syrian: “My upbringing and experience deepened my sensitivity about discrimination and prejudice because I was a victim of that as a foreigner.”

The injustice of discrimination and prejudice was a lesson that stuck with him. Shortly after joining the SIS faculty, Said recalls a time when a group of Jewish students approached him and asked for his help establishing a new fraternity. With various pre-existing fraternities on campus from which to choose, the students explained that no chapter would admit them because they were Jewish. Said took a bold stance among faculty and helped the students establish an AU chapter of Phi Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity.

“I did it because I saw students were deprived of full participation in education because of the color of their skin or their religious faith. I did it, probably because I was a minority as a Christian Arab in the Middle East, probably because I had experienced that myself,” explains Said. Of the vast awards and honors that decorate Said’s office walls, he pinpoints a Living Legend Award from the Phi Epsilon Pi National Jewish Fraternity as one of his most prized awards.

Becoming a fixture

Since those early days at SIS, he grew to become a favorite among students and colleagues alike for his values and lessons on peace. He famously retrieved members of the AU community from arrests at peaceful protests and was an active participant in demonstrations against violence, discrimination, and injustices around the world, from the Vietnam War to South African apartheid. In particular, Said recalls the 1963 March on Washington as a powerful moment in his and his students’ careers in peace studies.

“That was unbelievable. For me, that was my opportunity to practice what I’d learned,” he says of the march. “I have been thinking about that recently, talking with one of my former students who was with me in the march. It was exhilarating and inspiring. It felt like I had been learning how to drive and now I’m driving; I’d been learning how to walk, now I’m walking; I’d been learning how to talk, now I’m talking. I felt like a child discovering what I can do. It was great in that sense.”

On and off campus, Said mentored peace leaders like German activist Petra Kelly, SIS/BA ’70; paved the way for understanding Islamic and world peace in academic institutions, government sectors, and nonprofits; and advised the UN, the US Department of State, the US Department of State, and the White House Committee on the Islamic World. Above all, he incorporated education and his students into his long career in international peace, conflict, and cultural understanding.

“No other faculty member at the university has given as many years of service as Professor Said,” says SIS Interim Dean Christine BN Chin. “His dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and building a more peaceful world is second to none, and—I believe thousands of alumni and faculty will echo this—he has made a deep and lasting impression on not only those who sat in his classroom, but in the field he helped build.”

Training future peace leaders

In 1995, SIS established the IPCR program with Said at the helm as founding director. In the years it took to get IPCR off the ground, Said says the creation of this popular program would not have been possible without the increase in scholarly work on global peace and conflict resolution or the decades-worth of demand by the SIS community for more curricula on the subject: “Although my name is associated with founding the program, it is really the result of collaborative efforts of faculty and students.”

Since the program’s founding, it has graduated thousands of students and grown to offer four degree options and four concentrations designed to address the world’s most complicated conflicts. Today, IPCR students can focus on culture, identity, negotiation, justice, and more through the program. Many incorporate practical experience abroad into their curriculum and attain successful careers that a young Said could not have imagined would exist today.

“Above all, the IPCR program connects theory with practice and provides experience overseas. It also provides an opportunity to learn more about other people around the planet,” he says of the program’s unique strengths.

Lessons from a living legend

Said maintains a deep connection to the subject he helped shape as an expert. He’s seen many global conflicts come and go around the world, but says poverty continues to be one of the heaviest threats to peace: “The lack of resources by many people on the planet has always hit me very hard. Poverty leads to the rise of dictatorships and to the rise of systems that are not democratic, and those are threats to peace.”

Though his marching days may be behind him, Said looks to education, literacy, and knowledge as powerful tools for change and peace. Fortunately for SIS, Said’s gift for teaching and ability to supply those tools for change are what sustained him through nearly 60 years on faculty at the school, where so many have come to call him teacher, colleague, and friend.

“I never felt the need or the pull or the push to do something else because I liked teaching and I liked the content. I liked to see what happened to the eyes of a student during an ah-ha moment and I really felt a commitment to be involved in the pursuit of knowledge,” he says.

 

Learn more about the 60th anniversary of the School of International Service.

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Title: American University Offers ICF-Accredited Executive Coaching Program
Author: Kelly Kimball
Subtitle:
Abstract: On February 12th, 2018, American University’s School of Professional & Extended Studies will begin the fourth cohort of Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance (LCOP), an International Coach Federation (ICF) Accredited Coach Training Program.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
Content:

On February 12th, 2018, American University's School of Professional & Extended Studies will begin the fourth cohort of Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance (LCOP), an International Coach Federation (ICF) Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP).

This program trains individuals who want to develop critical coaching skills and apply them to realistic organizational settings as an external executive coach or an internal coach. It is ideal for those who want to set themselves apart in the job market by learning how to cultivate executive leadership skills, and for those who have a passion for bringing out the best in employees and clients. LCOP is a highly-participatory and interactive program in which participants progress through five, in-person learning modules over four months.

According to a 2016 report by the Institute of Organization Development, "Coaching is a growing industry. Worldwide, companies spend about $1 billion each year on executive coaches, [who]...can immensely increase the productivity of entire organizations." Recognizing that leadership provides a crucial competitive advantage in an increasingly volatile and complex world, research shows that companies are looking for ways to develop strong and agile leaders. Leadership coaching has emerged as an effective way for organizations to nurture executives to achieve their performance goals.

"Coaching skills cut across multiple fields and multiple industries. That's its power," explains Chris Brookfield, Principal and Co-Program Director for the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance program. He asserts that organizations are looking for more leadership from deeper within their organizations. Leadership coaching and the skills it cultivates help build and solidify organizational cultures that rely on leaders who can nurture their most valuable assets, their talent.

American University's LCOP certificate is a partnered offering with management consulting firm Philosophy IB, and has been training professionals in the Washington, D.C. area to develop coaching skills for seven years. Philosophy IB was recently acquired by Heidrick & Struggles, a global leadership advisory firm that has served clients for over 60 years in executive search services, leadership consulting and culture shaping. This new ownership brings with it high merit and expert-driven advisory, as Heidrick & Struggles is ranked as a top executive search firm in the country.

Craig Stanton, an alumni, is now a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), which is a certification level that the ICF accredits as having completed a minimum of 500 coaching hours with at least 25 clients following the start of the coach-specific training. He is also a Department of Education executive, noting that the program was the perfect catalyst for a successful coaching career.

"The things I learned really became the starting point for what, many years later, amounts to a new way of being in the world. [It] played an absolutely critical role in giving me the tools, insights, and courage to move, one step at a time, one commitment a time,'" he explains. "This has affected every aspect of my professional life - I have become a successful PCC-level coach, I am now a 'Senior Executive' in the federal service, and (most importantly) I'd like to think that I am a better father, spouse, and friend."

Stanton is among a dynamic community of alumni who hail from a wide range of institutions, including the Department of Defense, The Ritz-Carlton, Capital One Financial Corp, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, and others. Moreover, one upstanding aspect of this certificate is its ICF accreditation. For over 25 years, ICF has raised the bar for what is considered the level of exercise one must demonstrate to be a professional coach. American University's module-based certificate program covers all of the ICF core competencies and meets the academic requirements for Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and PCC levels, thus empowering its alumni to set the leading standards within a rapidly-growing industry.

"We are delighted to partner with American University to offer continuity of this extremely successful Washington metropolitan area program," Brookfield says. "American University has a national academic reputation and their partnership and interest is a testament to the program's quality and value, and it expands the reach of the program."

For more information on the online Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance Program, visit: http://www.american.edu/spexs/executive-coaching/

Apply here to be part of the next Executive Coaching cohort at American University, beginning February 12th.

Attend our Informational Webinar on January 25 at 12:00pm https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5559458832367083265

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Title: Student Covers the Human Impact of Ending TPS for Salvadorans
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Abstract: Journalism student Ambar Pardilla talked to families in the DC area who have built a life on TPS.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
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The impact on Salvadoran families from President Donald Trump's decision to end Temporary Protective Status for Salvadorans can be glimpsed through reporting by American University School of Communication (SOC) student Ambar Pardilla for NBC4. Read the article: 'This Is Our Home': DC-Area Immigrants Worry Ahead of Temporary Protected Status Decision

Pardilla, who will receive her BA in Journalism in May, developed a piece focusing on families in the DC metropolitan area, which has 32,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, for professor Jane Hall's Advanced Reporting class as part of a final project, which included graphics, photos and an audio recording.

"[Hall] encouraged us to try to publish our pieces outside of class and while I was reporting the story, I told my internship supervisor at NBC4 about it and she told me that she would be happy to publish it," she explained. Pardilla had been working at NBC4 on an SOC Dean's Internship for the fall semester, but because she had concluded the internship before the final project was due she was paid a freelancer's fee for the piece, with the intention to publish it to coincide with the announcement.

Pardilla had previously published another school assignment as an intern at NBC4, a story from her feature article writing class about witches and Wiccans, " Out of the Broom Closet," which was the top story on the NBC4 site for a few days.

In summer 2017, Pardilla was selected for the highly competitive POLITICO Journalism Institute program, which aims to increase and support diversity in Washington newsrooms. She says she grew professionally from the experience, and that it also afforded her the opportunity to learn 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," she said.

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Title: Meet AU SOC’s New Comedian in Residence
Author: Gregg Sangillo
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Abstract: Bethany Hall, a talented comedy writer and performer, will work on the Center for Media & Social Impact’s “The Laughter Effect” initiative
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
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Bethany Hall has worked in philanthropy, and she can tell a joke. She was inclined to merge the two-comedy with a social conscience-but the idea remained dormant for a while. Then, while working at the Atlantic Philanthropies, Hall saw American University professor Caty Borum Chattoo speak at the Frank conference for public interest communications in Florida. Suddenly, Hall's hunches were confirmed.

"I would find myself in communications meetings always pressing to do comedy, trying to make something funny, but I didn't have any of the research," Hall says. "Little did I know that someone was actually working on this."

As director of AU's Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), Borum Chattoo launched "The Laughter Effect," a creative and research initiative that focuses on how comedy can play a role in social change. This semester, Hall will contribute work with CMSI as a comedian in residence for the School of Communication, a position funded by an external fellowship from the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Rethinking Your Role

Hall says many comedians are rethinking the impact of their work. But, she says, it's generally not a comedian's nature to translate these thoughts into action. In such politically-charged times, Hall says the itch to make a difference isn't limited to humorists. "I think because of the world we're living in today, no matter who you are, you're really analyzing yourself and your role in society."

Though CMSI is also conducting and collating research as part of its focus on the role of comedy in social change, Hall's role will be creating content. Whether it be sketches, music videos, or mockumentaries, the goal is to produce comedy with a social justice component-hopefully with contributions from talent outside AU.

"We're going to use our resources to get some of the best comedians we can, to make the best content we can, because we need really great content to prove that it works," Hall says.

CMSI's Borum Chattoo says Hall's perspective is invaluable.

"We've spent a few years studying the role of comedy in social justice, and the creative process of comedians absolutely needs to be a centerpiece of this effort. Bethany Hall is a really special professional in this intersection," says Borum Chattoo, who leads the efforts.

Shower Jokes, Stages, and Studios

Hall was raised in Libertyville, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. She always had a knack for making people laugh, and with five brothers, she was accustomed to good-natured family banter. Sexist assumptions about comedy-where the class clown role is reserved for boys-never fazed her. Still, she wanted to see more women doing stand-up.

"I was obsessed with Chris Rock. And I used to spend so much time in my shower, practicing my stand- up set. But it was always as a man," she recalls. "All of my jokes were about my wife and her lasagna or whatever."


She lived near The Second City, the Chicago improv organization that proved a talent tributary for Saturday Night Live and other comedic television. She took classes there in high school, and during her college years she was accepted into Second City's Conservatory. She started college at University of Nebraska, but a study abroad trip to England led her to finish her bachelor's degree at Middlesex University London.

Hall eventually interned at Late Night with Conan O'Brien in New York City. She had small tasks there but did no heavy lifting, giving her the opportunity to soak up the environment.

"I could see how ideas are pitched and how flexible people are with their ideas. It just made me very comfortable in the television world," she notes.

A Fish Called Fey

While building acting credits, she scored a spot on 30 Rock. It wasn't just any episode, but the series finale of the critically-acclaimed NBC show. Hall was a longtime admirer of series creator Tina Fey, even naming her fish "Fey" as a little tribute. So, when it came time to meet her, she was a bit tongue-tied.

"She was like, 'Oh, you must be Bethany, I'm Tina.' And I can't remember what else she said, but I just responded to her, 'Thank you!' And I could not form a sentence. I was just, like, paralyzed," she explains. Hall remembers her friend Anthony Atamanuik (now star of Comedy Central's The President Show) giving a facetious thumbs up, as a "You blew that one!" jest.

Hall describes the 30 Rock atmosphere as warm and welcoming. "That was just an amazing time in my life."

Finding Her Voice

Hall had an idea for a show based on her upbringing. While working a 9-5 job at Atlantic Philanthropies, she committed herself to writing every night. The concept became Thanksgiving, a limited series picked up by go90. It's set in Libertyville and riffs on her own family's divergent views and experiences.

The cast included talented comedians Amy Sedaris and Chris Elliott. "It was crazy to have a line that I knew that I wrote at, like, 2:00 in the morning on my couch, and then hear it come out of the lips of some comedian I admire," says Hall. "The whole experience was great."


Hall is currently a regular on The Chris Gethard Show, which is broadcast live on truTV. As the internet liaison, she's on stage interacting with people at home and frequently incorporating their input into the program. On the show, she met her husband, executive producer Keith Haskel (who also plays "Bananaman" on the show), and they now have an infant son.

Nothing Unusual

Among socio-political issues, Hall describes an underlying belief in inclusivity. In comedy, she's been taught to look for what's unusual and highlight that. Yet in other aspects of life, difference can be isolating. "I'm passionate about individuals not feeling like they are the unusual thing, or that they don't belong. And that goes for everything from immigration to gay rights to people of special needs to older people," she notes.

There's no specific reason she loves comedy, but she mentions the adrenaline rush of connecting with audiences. If it's breezy humor, social justice-or both-it's finding something that resonates.

"I prefer to be the bartender, rather than a person at the bar. So maybe that's a way of saying I like being the center of attention. But I think it's almost liberating to be up there and to be heard."

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Title: Charley Fogel, CAS/BA ’13, Helps Fellow Alums Navigate Career Development
Author: Leigh Wyttenbach, SOC/BA ’18
Subtitle:
Abstract: We sat down with Charley to discuss their position as AU’s Alumni Career Programs Coordinator.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
Content:

We sat down with Charley to discuss their* position as AU's Alumni Career Programs Coordinator. Check out the informative Q&A!

Can you tell us about your position as Alumni Career Programs Coordinator?
Essentially, I liaise between the Office of Development & Alumni Relations and the Career Center to connect AU alumni with career services. For example, some alumni want to post jobs if they're hiring or want to come to campus and recruit students. I help them navigate the process to hire AU students and alumni. Additionally, I point alumni who are seeking jobs in the right direction by telling them about the resources that are available to them.

Another component of my job involves planning events that will advance the careers of students and alumni. I organize networking receptions as well as panels on helpful topics like being LGBTQ+ in the workplace, women in leadership, and career planning and job searching from a multicultural perspective.

How can alumni stay in the loop and get involved with these events?
Definitely check out the Career Center's social media! We have a Facebook page (AUCareerCenter), Twitter account (@AUCareerCenter), and an Instagram account (@aucareercenter). There are also several useful groups on LinkedIn, such as the American University Alumni and American University International Alumni groups.  

What are some career programs about which alumni may not know?
Alumni are always welcome to come to any of the programming the Career Center does, including the Job and Internship Fair. All they need to do is register for the events on the Career Center's website.

Alumni can also meet with my colleague Anne Kirchgessner. She is the Alumni Career Advisor and schedules one-on-one appointments for alumni in person, by phone, or by Skype. If you're an alum within one year of graduation, you still have full access to your school-based career advisor too! You can call the Career Center front desk at (202)885-1804 or go to the visit the Career Center online to schedule an appointment.

What is it like to work at AU as an alum?
I love it because I loved my time as an AU student. The environment is just awesome. Additionally, it feels incredible to have a connection with all of the alumni here.

Can you give us some career advice?

Go see your career advisor! A one-to-one connection is the best career resource. When it comes to your meeting, be prepared, have a goal, and know what you want to get out of the session. If you're not ready to hear the advice, it won't be helpful.

What's your favorite networking tip?
Be strategic before you go to an event. It's not about how many business cards you can get; it's about making meaningful, strategic connections. And think about how you can help the person you're speaking to as well. They will be more interested in helping you if you are able to give something back.

Lastly, what is the best way to get in touch in with you?
Either by email (charleyf@american.edu) or through LinkedIn (/charleyfogel).

*Charley uses pronouns they/them/their.

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Title: American University Names Vicky Wilkins as New Dean for School of Public Affairs
Author: Kelly Alexander
Subtitle:
Abstract: American University announced today the selection of Vicky Wilkins, Ph.D., as the next dean of the AU School of Public Affairs.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 01/08/2018
Content:

American University announced today the selection of Vicky Wilkins, Ph.D., as the next dean of the School of Public Affairs (SPA). Dr. Wilkins brings significant experience to the job. A nationally recognized scholar, highly regarded teacher, and experienced administrator, Dr. Wilkins came to American University in 2014 after holding faculty and administrative positions for over eleven years in the department of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia (UGA). She received several teaching awards while at UGA and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in representative bureaucracy and street-level bureaucrats. Her appointment is effective immediately. 

“I am thrilled that Vicky Wilkins has been appointed dean of the School of Public Affairs,” said AU President Sylvia Burwell. “She is a strong and collaborative leader, thrives at developing creative and entrepreneurial high-quality approaches to education, research, and outreach, and is the right person to work with the school’s students, faculty, and staff to take the school to the next level,” Burwell added.

“Her accomplishments in recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty, growing graduate enrollments, and formalizing valuable partnerships made Dr. Wilkins an ideal fit to serve as the interim dean of SPA this fall and now as its dean,” said AU Provost Scott Bass.

Under her tenure as graduate coordinator and director of the MPA program at UGA, enrollments increased 20 percent each year, merit awards for incoming and returning students doubled, and the program benefited from greater understanding of students’ experiences through several successful student engagement initiatives and a variety of unique curricular revisions.  

Most recently, Dr. Wilkins' administrative successes continued as SPA’s senior associate dean for academic affairs. In this capacity, she oversaw the activities and administrative needs of the school's faculty; supervised its graduate degree, executive, and certificate programs; and worked on fiscal administration, development, graduate admissions, communications and marketing, and facilities matters.  

“I am delighted and honored to be selected to lead the School of Public Affairs at American University, a School with a celebrated history and a bright future," said Dr. Wilkins. “I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding University leadership team, SPA’s extraordinary faculty, talented staff, exceptional students, and distinguished alumni and supporters. American University and SPA are uniquely positioned to address the most challenging questions in public affairs through innovation, high-impact research, partnerships, and inclusion. I would also like to thank my family for their tremendous support during the selection process.”  

Dr. Wilkins earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She holds the faculty rank of professor of public administration and policy at AU. Nationally, she has served on the executive council of the Public Management Research Association, as chair for the public administration section of the American Political Science Association, and on several editorial boards. Her research in the field of representation—specifically, minorities, women, and policy outcomes—has made a substantial impact in the field of public administration and political science.

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