newsId: 937CB99C-5056-AF26-BE7A384781266073
Title: #SPA80for80: Muriel Bowser, SPA/MPP ’00
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Abstract: On November 4, 2014, SPA graduate Muriel Bowser was elected as the seventh, and only second female, mayor of the District of Columbia.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/02/2015
Content:

On November 4, 2014, SPA graduate Muriel Bowser was elected as the seventh, and only second female, mayor of the District of Columbia.

Bowser graduated from SPA in 2000 with a Master of Public Policy. A few years later, she began her career in local politics, serving in a seat on DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Council. In 2007, Bowser was elected War 4 Council member in a special election. She was re-elected in 2008, and again in 2012.

Throughout her career, Bowser says she has focused her attention on enhancing the lives of residents District-wide. She was selected by her colleagues on the Council as Chairwoman of the Committee on Economic Development and created more than 5,000 units of affordable housing, passed legislation to build a new soccer stadium and secured the best portion of the Walter Reed campus for DC. Previously, as Chairwoman of the Committee on Government Operations, Bowser worked with her colleagues to pass comprehensive ethics reform in the District, improved the safety and efficiency of the Metro system, and increased transparency in government contracting. As Chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation and the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, Muriel championed the causes of increasing the revenue generating potential of public spaces, curbed bullying in schools and recreation centers, and created consumer protections for homeowners facing foreclosure. As Chair of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) Board's Planning, Program, and Real Estate Committee, Muriel led the adoption of comprehensive revisions to joint development policies that promote more transparency, competition, higher quality transit oriented development, and include Metro’s first ever affordable housing policy. She also previously served as Chair of the regional Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board.

She has been awarded the Democratic State Committee’s Legislator of the Year Award (2012), the Phyllis Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award (2012), the NoMa Business Improvement District Public Sector Award (2012) and the Alice Paul Award (2014) from the School of Public Affairs’ Women & Politics Institute.

Bowser, a native Washingtonian, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chatham College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University.

#MySPAHistory

“I learned great deal about using quantitative analysis to get better results in government.”

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Title: Prof. Hardy Recognized by National Economic Association
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Abstract: The assistant professor of public administration and policy was awarded the NEA President's Award in recognition of his exemplary service towards the organization.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 02/27/2015
Content:

Bradley Hardy, assistant professor of public administration and policy, received the National Economic Association (NEA) President’s Award in recognition of his exemplary service towards the organization. The award was presented to Hardy during the annual 2015 Allied Social Sciences Association meeting, held in Boston, MA.

NEA’s outgoing president, Trevon D. Logan, wrote to Hardy expressing his gratitude and admiration for the professor’s dedication and hard work for NEA. “It was a pleasure to award you a 2015 President’s Award,” he wrote.

Hardy’s work with NEA dovetails with his research at the School of Public Affairs, where he examines trends and sources of income volatility and intergenerational mobility within the United States, with a focus on socio-economically disadvantaged families. During NEA’s 2014 meeting, Hardy organized and chaired a paper session entitled, “Public Policies Impacting Low-Income & Minority Communities,” which presented four pieces of scholarship studying several issues, including the changing safety net for low-income families, and factors involved in the transition in and out of poverty.

Founded in 1969, NEA began its mission as the Caucus of Black Economists, promoting the professional lives of minorities within the economic profession. The organization has continued to grow in both mission and scope, producing and distributing knowledge of economic issues that are of exceptional interest to promoting economic growth among native and immigrant African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color.

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Title: William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award Winners Announced
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Abstract: CEP is pleased to announce that Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of Environment, and Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), will receive the 2015 William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 02/25/2015
Content:

The Center for Environmental Policy is pleased to announce that Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of Environment, and Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), will receive the 2015 William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards. The William K. Reilly Awards recognize individuals in environmental careers in the public and non-profit/private sectors who demonstrate qualities of leadership, innovation, engagement of diverse interests, effective problem solving and contributions to future generations of environmental leaders. These awards, named in honor of one of the most respected leaders in U.S. environmental policy, will be given at a ceremony to be held at American University on March 26, 2015.

Ben Grumbles has had a long and distinguished career in water and environmental policy, serving the public and teaching law students and environmental professionals for more than 25 years. Prior to being appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as Secretary of Environment in December 2014, Grumbles served as President of the US Water Alliance, a not-for-profit educational organization committed to uniting people and policies for water sustainability throughout the country. Previously, Grumbles led Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality working on air quality and climate change, energy policy and waste management, water efficiency, and wastewater recycling. Grumbles served as Assistant Administrator for Water at US EPA from 2004 through 2008 during which launched EPA’s water efficiency labeling program, WaterSense, and initiatives on green infrastructure, water and climate change, and pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Grumbles serves on various boards and committees, including the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academy of Sciences; Solutions from the Land, an educational nonprofit forging integrated and sustainable policies for agriculture, forestry, and conservation in the U.S. and globally; and the Water Resources Adaption to Climate Change Workgroup of the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information. He is also a former board member and current supporter of River of Words, a national nonprofit committed to connecting kids to their watersheds and imaginations through poetry and art.

Fred Krupp has led EDF for three decades and is a widely recognized leader of the international environmental community as well as an influential voice on climate change, energy, and sustainability issues. He is a champion of harnessing the power of the marketplace to protect our environment. Krupp is co-author with Miriam Horn of the New York Times bestseller Earth: The Sequel – The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming.

Under Krupp's leadership, EDF has become one of the world's largest and most influential environmental organizations. Among the group's many achievements, EDF is the architect of the federal market-based acid rain policy that has reduced average U.S. air concentrations of sulfur dioxide by 76% since 1990. In 2011, serving on U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu's advisory panel for shale gas production, Krupp was a powerful voice for strong regulation and enforcement to protect local communities from air and water pollution caused by natural gas development. He has focused national attention on the problem of methane emissions – methane is a potent greenhouse gas – from the oil-and-gas system. Krupp has also led EDF's innovative corporate partnerships with FedEx, KKR, McDonald's, Walmart and others.

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Title: A Night of Firsts
Author: Gregg Sangillo
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Abstract: Laura Bush will receive the Wonk of the Year award at Bender Arena.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/23/2015
Content:

American University has made it official: The next Wonk of the Year award will be presented to former First Lady Laura Bush. She'll be the third person to receive this honor, joining former President Bill Clinton and CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. She will accept the award and deliver remarks at AU on Wednesday, April 8 in Bender Arena. The event is hosted by Kennedy Political Union, the student-run lecture series on campus.

A Record of Creating Change

Since its founding in 1968, KPU has brought a number of leaders and dignitaries to AU. But it has never before hosted a current or former First Lady.

KPU Director Tyler Bowders says Mrs. Bush was selected as Wonk of the Year because of her work to create meaningful change in the world. She's smart, passionate, focused, and engaged, and her record should resonate with the AU community, he says.

"Mrs. Bush's global outreach in addressing issues such as literacy, women's education, and combating HIV/AIDS in Africa, and her domestic commitments to women's health, span before, during, and after her role as First Lady of the United States," Bowders says.

"Like Clinton and Cooper, Mrs. Bush has been an eyewitness to major historical events in recent American history and has used her influence to enact both domestic and global change," he adds.

Passionate and Committed

Bush has championed education and literacy, co-founding the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She has a passion for international human rights issues, a mission she's continued to champion through the work of the George W. Bush Institute.

Bush is currently Chair of the Women's Initiative at the Bush Institute in Dallas. In that role, Mrs. Bush oversees three signature programs: the Afghan Women's Project, which highlights the struggles and successes of Afghan women; the First Ladies Initiative, which supports First Ladies in Africa—and beyond—in their efforts to foster change; and the Women's Initiative Fellowship Program for rising female leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.

Just recently, Rula Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan, visited Dallas and praised Mrs. Bush. "Once committed to a cause, she's relentless, she's resourceful, and she does it so gracefully, and so unobtrusively, that you don't realize her power until faced with her achievements," said Ghani, according to press reports.

Anita McBride, an executive-in-residence at American University's School of Public Affairs, was Mrs. Bush's chief of staff in the White House from 2005-2009. McBride explains how AU, as an institution, devotes resources to examine the legacies of the nation's First Ladies. "It is fitting that we're recognizing one of the most active First Ladies in our history," she says. "And she has remained deeply invested, passionate, and committed to issues she was engaged in during public life."

Above the Fray

Laura Bush was born in Midland, Texas. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree in library science from the University of Texas at Austin. She's worked in public schools as both a teacher and a librarian. She married George W. Bush in 1977, and gave birth to twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, in 1981. In April 2013, they welcomed granddaughter Mila Hager, daughter of Henry and Jenna Hager.

McBride offers reasons why Bush was admired as First Lady. "Laura Bush is a very solid human being—very grounded," she says. "She never turned up the heated political rhetoric of the time. If anything, she helped to diffuse it by her calm demeanor."

Her love of literature and books, McBride says, made her an effective communicator. "She has a beautiful way of using language. When she speaks, it means something," McBride states.

McBride places her position in historical context, explaining the multi-faceted role of First Ladies in American democracy. "I think one way where First Ladies are unique in this is that they have an ability to rise above the political fray, and bring a human side to our politics. And really help remind Americans that our political leaders, no matter who they are, generally get into this because they want to do something good."

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Title: JLC Professor Lynn Addington Hosts Conference on Complex Crime Datasets
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Abstract: On February 5-6, Associate Professor Lynn Addington hosted a conference of scholars and practitioners to discuss the challenges of working with complex crime datasets.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 02/20/2015
Content:

Big data is a unique challenge for 21st century law practitioners. The incredible amount of information collected may be a boon for enforcement agencies, but it also presents a great task unraveling the research and logistical difficulties involved in analyzing so much information.

On February 5-6, 2015, Lynn Addington, associate professor of justice, law, and criminology, hosted a conference with funding from SPA Dean Barbara Romzek. The conference brought together a group of scholars and practitioners to discuss the challenges of working with complex crime datasets. Entitled “Best Practices for Working with NIBRS Data,” the conference focused on analyzing the police-generated crime data collected within the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). NIBRS is collected as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports. Here local and state police departments submit detailed information regarding crime incidents as well as the victims, offenders, and arrestees. The most recent years of NIBRS data include over 5 million cases. Given the amount of information available, researcher and practitioner interest in using NIBRS data is growing. This interest as well as a related need to help support efforts to effectively use NIBRS data motivated the conference and the papers.

Participants from across the country joined Addington as they presented working papers that discussed innovative ways to capitalize on the NIBRS data, but also identified potential pitfalls for researchers as they delve into the massive dataset. Conference participants included a diverse mix of professionals from academia, the FBI, state police, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Their discussion also included ways to connect the research community with practitioners and policymakers.

The papers presented at the conference are scheduled for publication in a special issue of Justice Research and Policy concerning “Innovative Uses of NIBRS to Inform Policy” as well as an online user’s guide as part of a partnership with the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

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Title: Founders Day Ball Marks AU History & Pride, Friendship
Author: Patrick Bradley
Subtitle:
Abstract: Senior Chandler Thornton co-plans a gala that traces back more than a century.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 02/20/2015
Content:

Century-Plus of Pride

Four years ago, then-freshman Chandler Thornton stood among the crowd of students gathered beneath the marble arched ceilings and stained glass windows of the Library of Congress. Dressed in formal wear, he and the hundreds of others listened to AU President Dr. Neil Kerwin speak on the history of American University.

It was Thornton’s first Founders Day Ball.

“That was my first time really hearing the president of our university talk about the history of the founding,” he recalled. “I look back on it fondly. That year was very special for me, developing an appreciation for the history of our institution, feeling very proud to be an AU student.”

Now a senior in the School of Public Affairs, Thornton has carried that pride into his current position as co-director of Founders Day planning alongside his best friend and former Student Government president Pat Kelly. Together, the two have organized the university’s largest ball yet to honor the university’s founding by an Act of Congress more than a century ago.

The Saturday, February 21, event takes place—for the first time—at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, where it will host a sold-out crowd of 2,000 students.

For the former Kennedy Political Union director Thornton, the occasion offers a lot to celebrate.

“Just being founded by an Act of Congress is something that AU students should take pride in,” he said. “AU does have a very special history, and we do train students to become future leaders, whether they’re serving in Congress or as public servants back in their hometowns.”

From Pageants to DJs

The AU community has celebrated the university’s founding in a number of ways since February 21, 1931, when it first recognized the 40th anniversary of AU’s incorporation by the District of Columbia in 1891. Still, the date actually notes February 24, 1893, when U.S. President Benjamin Harrison signed into law the university’s existence.

That first event included a banquet, and students from the Women’s Guild held a pageant reenacting the events that led to the founding, with oratories by student actors playing presidents who visited campus. They also reenacted the university turning campus over to the military for the training of more than 100,000 soldiers during World War I.

Since then, Founders Day festivities have alternated between similar pageants and more formal events under the name of Charter Day, featuring processions, speeches, and even the 1946 dedication of carillon bells that would chime from the attic of Hurst Hall.

The modern, student-driven Founders Day Ball appeared in the 1990s, as the then-named Student Confederation held a gala at the Old Post Office Pavilion in 1995. In more recent years, students have staged the ball at locations including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and American History Museum.

Thornton sees the venues as particularly important both to the spirit of the event and to the university’s connection to its home in the District.

“This university really has a woven history with public service, and the Founders Day Ball is a tribute to that public service,” he said. “It’s a tribute to our place here in Washington, D.C., and to the history that we have.”

Personal History

For Thornton, the event may certainly be steeped in tradition and history, but he’s also enjoying the planning and organization of it for another reason—friendship. Since meeting in Student Government freshman year, he and Kelly have gone on to become fraternity brothers, roommates, and now seniors graduating toward diverging paths.

He hopes that—gathered together among the artifacts of U.S. space and aviation history—students will hear Dr. Kerwin speak, dance, and share in moments that will shape their own piece of AU’s history, just as he did his freshman year and just as he’s done now in leading the event with his best friend.

“The goal is to have a very memorable night, where people will be able to look back on their college experience and say, ‘What are some memories I have of college?’ One of them should be Founders Day Ball,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that will happen.”

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Title: Mock Trial Teams Advance to Opening Round of National Championships
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Abstract: Teams A and B are on their way to the opening round of the Mock Trial National Championships following a successful set of performances at the regional tournaments.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 02/18/2015
Content:

Two of AU’s Mock Trial teams are on their way to the opening round of the Mock Trial National Championships following a successful set of performances at the regional tournaments.

Team A placed first at the Richmond Regional tournament, while Team B finished in 8th place at the Pittsburgh Regional tournament. Each team earned a spot in the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS), which will be held throughout March in eight different host cities around the country, including Washington, DC. In addition to the Team A and Team B victories, three members of American University’s Mock Trial teams earned distinct recognition throughout the regional tournaments. Team A’s Jenna Forster took home an outstanding attorney award, while Team C’s Jake Kern and Sam Murphy won an outstanding attorney and outstanding witness award, respectively.

Team A’s members are Forster, Melisa Azak, Iain Phillips, Virginia Lyon, and Bobby McCabe, who are led by captains Kristen Pulkstenis and Jordyn Giannone, Team B’s members are Jenny Newman, Eliana Peck, Ashwini Velchamy, Areta Jez, Nick Haley, and Jon Kaufmann, and are led by captains Ashley Dimuzio and Jes Cianci.

AU Mock Trial Team B

AU Mock Trial Team B

The top six teams in each ORCS tournament will move on to the AMTA’s National Championship Tournament, to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, from April 17-19, 2015.

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Title: Emmy Award-winning producer Betsy Fischer Martin joins SPA
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Abstract: Betsy Fischer Martin, BA/SPA ’92, Emmy Award-winning political producer, has joined American University’s School of Public Affairs as Executive in Residence.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 02/10/2015
Content:

Betsy Fischer Martin, BA/SPA ’92 and MA/SOC ’96, Emmy Award-winning political television producer, has joined American University’s School of Public Affairs as Executive in Residence.

Fischer Martin spent 23 years at NBC News serving most recently as managing editor of NBC Political Programming and for 11 years as the Executive Producer of Meet the Press. There, she produced in-depth interviews with presidents, first ladies, cabinet officials, heads of state, and presidential candidates.

In her role as Executive in Residence, Fischer Martin will contribute to the Political Communications curriculum and work with the school on external-facing events. 

Last week, Fischer Martin announced that she has signed on as MORE magazine’s Washington, DC Contributing Editor.

“I am delighted to have Betsy share her expertise with students and faculty in the School,” said Barbara Romzek, Dean, AU School of Public Affairs. “I know SPA will benefit from her talent, expertise and energy.”

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Title: #SPA80for80: Rep. Tim Huelskamp, SPA/PhD ’95
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Abstract: Congressman Tim Huelskamp came to AU’s School of Public Affairs with a scholarship, and four years later, left with a Ph.D. in Political Science.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/28/2015
Content:

Congressman Tim Huelskamp came to AU’s School of Public Affairs with a scholarship, and four years later, left with a Ph.D. in Political Science. He and his wife Angela have four children by adoption, including two daughters from Haiti.

Tim has been the U.S. Representative for Kansas' 1st congressional district since 2011. Known as the “Big First,” the massive district covers almost two-thirds of the state and borders Colorado, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Prior to entering Congress, he represented the 38th District of the Kansas Senate from 1997 until 2011.

Huelskamp attended elementary and high school in Fowler, Kansas where he was a Farm Bureau Youth Leader, a member of St. Anthony's Parish, and active in both 4-H and Future Farmers of America. He received his B.A. in Social Science Education in 1991 from College of Santa Fe.

Tim has developed a reputation as one of the leading conservatives in the U.S. House. He has spent his time in Congress working to balance our nation's budget, roll back government over-regulations particularly on small businesses, increase the ability of our farmers and ranchers to earn a living, protect children and families, and reform the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Huelskamp is an active member of the Small Business and the House Veterans Committees and helped lead recent much-needed reform efforts at the Veterans Administration. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Tea Party Caucus, Whip for the Bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, a member of the Rural Health Care Caucus, and a member the Liberty Caucus.

Congressman Huelskamp had received significant national media attention, often appearing on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and other prominent media outlets.

#MySPAHistory

"The four years I spent at AU were among the most rewarding of my life. I met this beautiful woman named Angela and left four years later with my Ph.D. and her as my wife. I also was struck with the necessity of engaging in public policy to save the American Dream, especially for the people of Kansas.”

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Title: SPA Faculty Earn University Research Grants
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Abstract: Four SPA faculty members received Faculty Research Support Grants from the Office of the Provost at American University.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 01/22/2015
Content:

Four faculty members from the School of Public Affairs recently received Faculty Research Support Grants from the Office of the Provost at American University.

Richard Bennett, chair of the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology, earned support for his study on “Retiring from Active Duty: A Pilot Study on How Police Officers Cope with the Transition.” Ryan Moore, assistant professor of government, will investigate “Geolocated Surveys for Contextual Effects.” Jane Palmer, director of the Community-Based Research Scholars program, will research “Civil Legal Needs of Victims of Sexual Assault.” Lastly, Lynn Addington, associate professor of justice, law & criminology, received funding for her group project titled “D.C. Area Survey Pilot Study.” Addington will work with Michael Bader, CAS, Maria De Jesus, SIS, Sonya Grier, KSB, Robin Lumsdaine, KSB, and Nina Yamanis, SIS.

The Office of the Provost provides competitive intramural research grants to support faculty research, scholarship, professional, and creative activities. This support mechanism provides support for time and direct costs to increase research productivity. Research is defined as creative works, experimental investigations, professional projects, archival studies, and other scholarly endeavors that advance knowledge in the applicant’s discipline, field, or profession.

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Title: SPA Alumnus Takes Student Leadership to the National Level
Author: Karli Kloss, SIS/MA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: The National Campus Leadership Council connects student policymakers across the country.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/13/2015
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From AU Student Government president to executive director and cofounder of the National Campus Leadership Council, Andy MacCracken, SPA/BA ’11, SPA/MA ’14, has shown a deep commitment to addressing the most pressing concerns facing this generation’s college students. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Title: Stephanie Tinsley Regagnon’s Path to and from Washington included AU
Author: Phil Recchio
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alumna uses conversations to forge new partnerships.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 11/08/2013
Content:

Growing up in Kirksville, Mo., Stephanie Tinsley Regagnon, SPA/MA ’02, was never a stranger to the wide open farmlands of America’s agricultural landscape. After exploring academic options in law, she found her niche in politics and completed her undergraduate work at the University of Missouri. During a visit to D.C., she heard an AU radio advertisement during a cab ride and the following evening attended an open house for the School of Public Affairs. This spurred her matriculation to AU, and despite her family’s desire to keep her close to home, Stephanie traded her car in Missouri for a D.C. Metro card.

Working full-time while she got her master’s degree, Stephanie embodied the AU archetype of putting academic theory into practice. “Once I got to AU, I felt like I was doing what I wanted to do. School didn’t even feel like school; at that point it’s not about college, it’s about the rest of your life,” Regagnon remembers. In the evenings, she learned about advanced political theory and how it has played out in Washington, and the next morning she applied the teaching directly in her work for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

One of Stephanie’s influential professors was Pat Griffin, whose experience as legislative affairs assistant to President Clinton shown through in the classroom. Griffin’s down-to-earth style and gregarious demeanor drove home the fact that Stephanie, a Beltway outsider, could do this work too. Griffin’s successes in bridging gaps between public and private partnerships paved the way for Stephanie to assert her skills in connecting people, ideas, and policies from seemingly disparate communities. 

In her current role as director of sustainable agriculture portfolio strategy at Monsanto, she continues to bridge gaps between local farmers, global tech innovations, and an inquisitive public. Balancing all of the needs and futures of these differing communities is no small feat, and Stephanie continues to rely on one of Pat Griffin’s teachings; “Be up front, be honest and be yourself.”

Having frank and informed conversations regarding controversial topics is part of Stephanie’s critical skillset. Years of having tough conversations around protecting agricultural resources around the globe has prepared her for promoting innovative and collaborative partnerships necessary to moving our collective environmental footprint forward.

Stephanie proudly states the critical role her AU education has played in her successes. Her dedication to education is evident and it continues to be her passion. After a personal family experience with the justice system, Stephanie founded Ava’s Grace Scholarship Foundation. Ava’s Grace has a mission of providing scholarships for higher education to children with incarcerated parents in the state of Missouri. The foundation currently funds two new students per year, giving $5,000 each of their four years in college or university. “In higher education there are scholarships for twins, diabetics and everything in between. There were no scholarships for children with incarcerated parents. As an at-risk population this was a need that wasn’t being addressed. At Ava’s Grace we are seeking to change that one child at a time in Missouri.” 

Academically, professionally and philanthropically, Stephanie is embodying AU’s pragmatic ethos by collaboratively engaging new connections and partnerships, while not shying away from tough conversations.

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Title: Turning Leadership and Mentorship Into Success
Author: Alexis Pazmiño, SPA/BA ’11
Subtitle:
Abstract: Marc Bender, SPA/BA ’97, is the chief investment officer at Cantor Fitzgerald Asset Management. During his time at American University, he was not only a student athlete but also a member of the SPA Leadership Program.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 08/12/2013
Content:

Marc Bender, SPA/BA ’97, attributes his success to his experiences as a student athlete and the SPA Leadership program. He is currently the Chief Investment Officer at Cantor Fitzgerald Asset Management, a global financial services firm in New York City.

Looking back at his tenure at AU, Bender considers himself fortunate to have participated in the SPA Leadership Program. “Richard Levick was our director and taught us a great deal about a wide range of areas, including everything from how to speak and articulate yourself in public to how to act around political dignitaries,” Bender says.

Recently, Bender met Margaret Marr, the current SPA leadership director, when he spoke to a group of current students and recent alumni. Bender regards Marr as a terrific leader who provides invaluable opportunities to her students. The SPA Leadership Program allows students to learn real-life leadership skills to pave the way for future success. “The wide reach of skills and walks of life touched by this program in a practical way is second to none in the life lessons you can learn at a young age,” Bender says proudly.

Bender was also a noted student athlete for all four years of his time at AU. During his time on the golf team, he competed against some of today’s best PGA Tour players, including John Rollins. Wade Heinzelman, Bender’s coach, proved inspirational to the young player. Bender recalls, “[Heinzelman] taught us a ton about everything from golf course management to custom golf equipment to having the right disposition on the course and how to focus on specific targets (both on and off the golf course).”

Bender balanced his responsibilities as a student-athlete while enjoying the classroom environment and social aspects of AU. He interned at the Public Defender’s Office where he had an eye-opening experience as he visited clients in all areas of D.C., including local jails.

Bender earned his J.D. from New York Law School immediately after earning his B.A. in Law and Society from AU. From there, he partnered with Donald Erenberg and Michael Friedman at First New York Securities, undertaking a management role in a prospering company.

Currently, Marc Bender is chief investment officer at Cantor Fitzgerald Asset Management. A large part of his role at Cantor Fitzgerald is finding undiscovered investment talent. He says of his work, “I get to constantly learn and enjoy the challenge of not looking at opportunities through rose colored glasses but actually understanding the risk/reward profile of each opportunity.” The position allows him to define truly valuable people and investments that are not only competent but also differentiated. Enjoying his challenging position, Bender notes that “[w]ithstanding the test of time requires hitting singles and doubles, with an occasional triple or home run - but the manager seeking grand slams often suffers big losses or goes out of business.”

Continuing with the sports metaphors (ever the AU athlete), Marc Bender has hit a home run as a leader in his own right.

A native of Great Neck, New York, Bender lives with his wife Rachel and their children in the New York metro area.

 

 

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Title: Alumna and Trustee Margery Kraus honored by Association of Former Members of Congress
Author: Traci Crockett
Subtitle:
Abstract: Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide, received the FMC's “Corporate Statesmanship Award.”
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/06/2013
Content:

Alumna and trustee, Margery Kraus, SPA/BA ’67, SPA/MA ’71, was recently honored with the “Corporate Statesmanship Award” from the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) in recognition of her leadership in the philanthropic community. Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide, was recognized at FMC’s 16th Annual Statesmanship Award Dinner.

Kraus says that fellow AU alumna and former Congresswoman Connie Morella, CAS/MA ’67, gave her the news that she would receive the award, “and that was as exciting to me as getting the award.” She says the event was a great reunion for her with many members of Congress whom she had known since they were freshmen on the Hill. “This was especially meaningful because it wasn’t just a group giving me an award. These were people I knew,” she says. “Having people rooting for you and on your side is a very special feeling.”

APCO Worldwide is an independent, global communication, stakeholder engagement, and business strategy firm with more than 600 experts in 30 offices around the globe. Calling her one of AU’s most successful alumni, Distinguished Professor Jim Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, says, “She is a wonderful example to all of our students, but especially women.” 

Kraus, who is keenly focused on empowering young women as she runs one of the largest independently-owned communication consultancies, says that her family is her support system. As a wife, mother, and grandmother, she says that her personal brand of work-life balance would not work for everyone. “I try to be there for the most important things and make up for with experience what I lack in time,” she says. To that end, she has built a family tradition of taking each grandchild on an international trip with her when they turn 10 years old. 

Not surprisingly, Kraus says no day is ever the same for her. “I am up at 5:30. I check everything at home,” she says. “Since we’re a global company, I spend the morning catching up on what’s happening in Asia and Europe, then have meetings all day, and usually attend evening receptions.”  

Despite her intensely busy schedule, which sometimes includes weeks on end away from home, Kraus finds time to give back to AU. “Margery Kraus has been a strong and long-term supporter of American University, the School of Public Affairs, and especially the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies through her generous contribution to our benefactor’s awards, her guidance, and by sharing her wisdom and knowledge with our students and faculty,” says Professor Thurber. He adds that she speaks to students, opens her offices to them as interns and employees, and “has changed the lives of many students in countless ways.”

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Update,Board of Trustees,Capitol Hill,Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies,International Business,Political Science,School of Public Affairs,Washington DC,Washington Semester,Congress
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