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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Title: The Trump Effect: Despite Increase in Political Activism, Few Women Seek Office
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Abstract: A new study by AU School of Public Affairs Professor Jennifer Lawless, and Loyola Marymount University Professor Richard Fox, found that despite an increase in political activism, women continue to lag behind men in political ambition.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 07/17/2017
Content:

A new study by AU School of Public Affairs Professor Jennifer Lawless, and Loyola Marymount University Professor Richard Fox, found an increase in political activism among women after the 2016 presidential election. However, the researchers also found that women continue to lag behind men in political ambition.

Lawless, who is the director of SPA's Women & Politics Institute, said they surveyed more than 2,000 employed, college-educated women and men of both political parties.

The survey findings were released by Politico and at a recent event held at the at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The survey assessed feelings about Trump's election, his policy goals, and his character. Overall, negative perceptions dominated, which have prompted an increase in political activism, particularly among female Democrats. In fact, the number of Democratic women who said they signed a petition or political letter more than tripled after the election - from 11 percent to 39 percent. Those who donated money to a Democratic candidate or cause also increased - from 6 to 24 percent. Prior to the election of Trump, only 4 percent of Democratic women had participated in a march or rally. Compare this to post election, when 19 percent reported attending the recent Women's March or a similar event.

When surveyed, 23 percent of women said they have "considered" seeking office, while 38 percent of men said the same. That 15-point gap is nearly identical to the 16-point difference Fox and Lawless found in similar surveys from 2001 and 2011.

"Is Donald Trump's presidency really pushing women everywhere to throw their hats into the political ring?" asked Lawless. "No. That would be quite a feat, as the gender gap in political ambition has gone on for decades. Women are significantly less likely than men to be interested in running for office."

The survey did reveal a small difference between political parties. Among Democratic women, 24 percent said they'd considered running for office, while 20 percent of GOP women said the same. Additionally, among respondents who have considered it, more than a quarter of Democratic women said the idea first occurred to them in 2017-potentially a result of the Trump presidency.

"The Trump effect has the potential to boost women's candidate emergence, at least on the Democratic side of the aisle, over the long run," the report states. "If more women become politically active because of Donald Trump, then there's a larger pool of potential candidates from which gatekeepers can recruit."

The survey was administered in 2017 by GfK. The full report, which was funded by AU School of Public Affairs, Loyola Marymount University, and Politico, can be found online here.


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Title: Authors of Best-Selling Book “Shattered” Visit SPA to Talk About Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign
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Abstract: Journalists Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen give some compelling explanations in their recent best-selling book, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 07/14/2017
Content:

It is not easy to understand what exactly led to the defeat of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, but journalists Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen give some compelling explanations in their recent best-selling book, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign.

The authors visited AU's School of Public Affairs on June 23, hosted by SPA's Executive-in-Residence Betsy Fischer Martin, to talk about their findings on Clinton's campaign and the current state of American politics.

Parnes and Allen, who also published HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, argue that there was a divide within the campaign between a more experienced and persuasion-focused faction and a less experienced set that was more reliant on statistics.

"From state offices, there were demands to the headquarters asking for volunteers, for yard-signs, for literature, but the analytics side of the campaign thought it was unnecessary to spend that money," said Allen. "They argued it was difficult, in the last months of the campaign, to win over voters who didn't like Clinton."

The authors, who covered the Clinton campaign through 2016, also reported on indications throughout the campaign of a potential defeat, including the rise of populism movements like Brexit, which former President Bill Clinton recognized as a potential threat to the campaign.

There was the primary election as well, in which U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) at times launched criticisms similar to those that Trump would later make.

"It's one thing for two people in a party to disagree on a policy issue, but when you start talking about how corrupt someone is, that just plays into the other side's hands," said Allen.

Still, there was a general expectation of a Clinton win come November. Both Parnes and Allen admit that on Election Day they were "pretty sure" Clinton would be elected president.

"We went into that night thinking she would win," Parnes said. "During our reporting, there were moments that we knew that there were severe problems in the campaign, but did not think they would ultimately result in her losing."

Asked by incoming SPA graduate students about the biggest mistake the Clinton campaign made, the authors described missteps, difficulties within the campaign leadership, and too many decision-makers. Parnes and Allen also said Clinton's desire to prevent press coverage about campaign shakeups, prevented any deep changes in the Brooklyn-based headquarters team.

Even so, the authors also highlighted the fact that Clinton had numerous successes, including her victory in three televised debates, as well as the way she was able to secure the Primary win.

When asked by moderator Betsy Fisher Martin about the future of the Democratic Party, both Parnes and Allen agreed that the key to winning elections will not be about ideology as much as it will be about the candidates.

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Title: How Nonprofits Forge Ahead When Faced with Potential Cuts to Foreign Aid
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Abstract: Nonprofits forge ahead when faced with potential cuts to foreign aid.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/13/2017
Content:

The Trump Administration's 2018 budget proposal suggests big changes to foreign aid, and cuts to support of many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the United States. How would these changes affect the goals of these institutions?

Khaldoun AbouAssi, assistant professor at American University's School of Public Affairs is an expert in public and nonprofit management. Recently, he published an article in the journal Public Administrative Review, which focuses on how nonprofit organizations make decisions in a changing resources environment, especially when they have to respond to donor demands.

Q: What are the Trump Administration's proposed budget implications for nonprofits?
"In general, we are noticing more government scrutiny and less funding; that does not necessarily apply across the board since some entities in the nonprofit sectors, such as religious or faith-based organizations, might be less impacted or even positively impacted. But, if you are an organization like Planned Parenthood or even a nonprofit in the arts, then the impact could be substantial. Again, it is not just the budget cuts but also how the Administration deals and works with the nonprofit sector, through policies and legislation, contracts and grants."

Q: What sort of reactions from nonprofits can we expect should proposed cuts occur?
"We are actually witnessing different reactions. After the 2016 election, some nonprofits witnessed a peak in individual donations; the donations were directly tied to the results of the election and came as signals of support to the work of some organizations that focus on women's health or LGBTQ issues or civil rights, due to the fear that the new administration would scale back rights and cut funding. I believe this trend has stabilized now. But, we also should expect more advocacy work and collaboration among the nonprofits to face the rising tides, including budget cuts.

"Earlier this year, I predicted that foundations would start to redefine their space and roles. I also thought that we would witness an increase in private funding to offset the drop in government contracts and grants to the nonprofit sector. And that's what we are seeing now. The Packard Foundation, for instance, increased its 2017 grantmaking budget by $22 million, with concerns about scientific research being defunded and scientific knowledge discounted. At a much larger scale, The Ford Foundation announced a $1 billion increase in mission-related investments earlier this year. This is important because foundations usually use around 5 percent of their assets to support the causes or work of nonprofits, but advocates have been pushing for more. While Ford is not the first to go down this road, it sets a positive example for others to follow."

Q: So, these are positive signs for nonprofit work?
"In principle, yes. I am concerned about are the international development and NGOs worldwide taking a financial hit. There are discussions about merging the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is the foreign support arm of the U.S. government, with the State Department. This would tie aid to national security priorities, leaving many other issues - famine, health, clean water, human rights - without the much-needed support. In addition, the State Department budget proposal mentions eliminating 30 to 35 of USAID's 100 field missions in developing countries. Third, many health programs abroad will be hit by approximately 25 percent and the Bureau for Food Security will lose 68 percent of its funding. Overall, we are expecting that the State Department and USAID will lose around $10.2 billion compared to last year's budget.

"There will be a shortage in funding to a certain degree and a gap between demand and supply for services. Countries such as China and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will likely step in to fill this gap. China has already been investing heavily in Africa over the past few years and UAE foreign aid continues to increase - by 43 percent from 2014 to 2015, for example. Still, assistance in many developing countries is carried out by international organizations and nonprofits. For many of these organizations, USAID is the major source of funding for programs and activities. This is the main concern amidst shifting interests of donors and my skepticism of the ability of private donors or foundations to fill the big shoes of USAID."

Q: What can these nonprofit organizations do?
"This is not a new phenomenon or trend. Nonprofit organizations often rely on external funders, and regularly face instability in the flow of funding. They're used to dealing with volatile demands. Finding ways to diversify their funding streams and be strategic in working together should help if they should face funding cuts. This will, however, require a strong conviction in the 'agency' these organizations enjoy to make broader choices and strategic decisions. There is an assumption that nonprofits, especially in developing countries where philanthropy and giving are weak, cannot function without donor funding. If your organization is dependent on a donor, then you are more likely to follow the demands or interests of the donor.

"This is an oversimplification of the situation, and in my most recent article, we argue that nonprofits behave not only based on how dependent they are on other organizations, but also on what kind of relations they have and where do they position themselves and can leverage these positions within and outside a donor network. That is why nonprofits should consider the likely outcomes of the combination of their resource or funding strategies with their network or relations strategies."

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Title: New Madison Prize to Honor Compromise in Congress
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Abstract: Former Congressman David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and his wife Laura have established a new award to reward bipartisanship in Congress.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 06/30/2017
Content:

At a time when gridlock on Capitol Hill has replaced negotiation, and public approval of Congress has reached historic lows, former Congressman David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and his wife Laura have established a new award. The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence will honor legislators who recognize the necessity for compromise in politics and show that the public interest can transcend partisanship or, in the words of James Madison, “faction.”

The Madison Prize, endowed by Rep. and Mrs. Skaggs in partnership with American University’s School of Public Affairs, will be awarded after each biennial Congress to recognize one Member (a U.S. Representative or Senator) from each major political party (or an Independent who caucuses with one of the parties) whose service reflects an understanding that American government depends on working out differences, not insisting on ideological purity.

“I have a Boy Scout’s dedication to the ideals of our government,” said Skaggs. “I am a creature of the legislative branch, and was privileged to have been in Congress and before that in the Colorado legislature. That experience made me appreciate the wisdom that comes from the collective efforts of legislators to compromise and work things out. Maybe it will help if we hold up for some recognition and honor a model of compromise in the spirit James Madison had in mind.”

The Madison Prize will be awarded after the end of each two-year congressional session to recognize one member of Congress from each major political party who best exemplifies respect for the institutional values of Congress and the need for compromise in a democratic society, traits outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10.

“We are fortunate David and Laura Skaggs have come to AU with this idea,” said James Thurber, Distinguished Professor of Government and founder and former director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at AU’s School of Public Affairs. “American University is the ideal place for the prize—we embrace and celebrate institution-builders. AU has love for Congress and a worry for Congress because today there is too much incivility, too much entrenchment. We want to honor those in Congress who work to make it more effective.”

Skaggs served 12 years in the U.S. Congress (1987-1999) as representative from the Second Congressional District of Colorado and three terms in the Colorado House (1981-1987). During his time on the Hill, he was a leader in efforts to improve the House of Representatives. He was the founding co-chairman with Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) of the House Bipartisan Retreats.

“A lot of people care deeply about our democracy and about making it work better,” said Skaggs. “But too many no longer understand that the Constitution requires compromise as essential to a working democracy.”

“Must partisan differences necessarily dissolve into ‘partisan warfare’ or into breaches of decorum?” asked Thurber. “Can we count on our political leaders to negotiate agreement? Can politicians disagree without being disagreeable? Surely the answer must be yes. The Madison Prize are an important next step to encouraging cooperation and civility and will celebrate people who don’t think compromise is a dirty word.”

American University’s School of Public Affairs will launch the initial Madison Prize selection process in fall 2018, with the inaugural prize awarded in early 2019 to two deserving members from the current 115th Congress.

For information on how you can help endow the Madison Prize please visit the website or contact Victoria Black, associate director of development, School of Public Affairs, at vblack@american.edu or (202) 885-2661.

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Title: 10 Reasons You Need to Go to Preview Day
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Abstract: Why American University’s “open house” event is a must for prospective students.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/30/2017
Content:

1. Preview Day provides prospective AU students and their families with a sample of the AU experience. You can't get that from the website or promotional materials.

2. Explore AU's beautiful, thriving campus. Take a campus tour led by current AU student ambassadors-many of whom decided to come to AU when they came to Preview Day. By the way, did you know AU's campus is an arboretum? One of the landscape projects has even been recognized for its eco-friendly design.

Preview Day is a chance to see AU's campus on a typical day during the academic year.









3. It tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested, which could be beneficial when you apply. AU's admission evaluation process factors in the extent to which a student has demonstrated interest. A campus visit is the best indication.

Coming to Preview Day tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested.










4. Learn more about AU's academic programs. During the Academic Overview sessions, students get the low-down on one of five AU schools of their choice: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kogod School of Business, the School of Communication, the School of International Service, and the School of Public Affairs.

5. Hear directly from current AU students about what it's really like to be an AU student-without your parents. Ask any question during the "Life as an Eagle" for-students-only session.

Ask current students about their experiences at AU.










6. Get a taste of campus cuisine. At lunchtime, enjoy a boxed lunch provided by AU's Dining Services.

7. Find out if one of AU's signature first year programs would be right for you. Learn about AU's most rigorous academic programs and living-learning communities: the F rederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars, AU Honors, AU Scholars, and the Community-Based Research Scholars.

8. During the Student Life Fair, get more information about the residence halls, dining plans, student activities, and even how you can become a member of the Blue Crew. Also learn about study abroad, opportunities to engage in service projects, the University Library, and numerous other campus offices that provide social, spiritual, health, or academic resources for students.

Students join the Blue Crew to cheer the AU Eagles to victory.










9. Meet Admissions Experts. Also, investigate options to help finance your education.

10. It's free! There is no charge to participate. Even breakfast and lunch are free.

Register for Preview Day


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Title: Summit Highlights the Ways Research Can Shape the Federal Workforce
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Abstract: As part of the effort to foster a culture of inquiry and collaboration that drives effective Federal workforce policy, for the second year in a row, SPA co-hosted the OPM Research Summit.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/20/2017
Content:

At two million strong, the federal workforce is bigger than nearly all Fortune 500 companies. It is responsible for managing many aspects of the ways Americans live day to day. With this many employees, how can government ensure the best available research is driving human resource and operation policies for this important sector?

As part of the effort to foster a culture of inquiry and collaboration that drives effective Federal workforce policy, on June 7, for the second year in a row, AU's School of Public Affairs partnered with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to host the OPM Research Summit, "Transforming Human Capital Management Policy through Research, Innovation, and Analytics."

The 2017 Research Summit brought together 300 academic researchers, federal practitioners, and industry partners to share research, exchange ideas, and to participate in critical conversations about ways to transform Human Capital Management Policy through research, innovation, and analytics.

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, paralympic medalist and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, gives a keynote presentation at the OPM Research Summit.

This year, the summit focused on four specific tracks: performance management, diversity and inclusion, workforce reshaping, and analytics and technology; with the goal of developing a research agenda that will help shape the federal workforce for years to come.

The Research Summit offered strategies, research, and lessons for attendees to apply at their respective agencies. For instance, in a few short decades, our country will no longer have the diversity gaps of today. Attention to diversity and inclusion can ensure the federal government's workforce is as diverse as the people it represents.

"Research can help us understand the strategies on how to include employees no matter a person's race, ethnicity, background or beliefs," SPA Dean Barbara Romzek said in the closing remarks. "I know that at American University, we have made great strides ensuring diversity in our academics, students, and faculty. But this is a process, and we still have work to do. The norms of our culture need to reinforce inclusion. We need to make inclusion the expected behavior, not exceptional behavior."

In practice, many diversity programs focus mainly on achieving demographically diverse groups. Intellectual diversity, or the wide variety of perspectives and values people bring, also matters. Diversity of problem solving styles is also important. As several OPM Research Summit speakers pointed out, diversity in all its forms needs more attention.

"The power of human capital cannot be underestimated, and we ignore it at our peril," said SPA Senior Associate Dean Vicky Wilkins. "This year's summit sparked new conversations that highlight core human capital challenges facing the federal government, and inspire the development of a research agenda that informs the evolution of workforce policy into the future."

The Summit also covered how there are growing opportunities to collect and leverage digital information. The increase in digital data has led many government managers to change how they make decisions. Managers today rely less on intuition and more on data.

"Data analysis is a high priority for OPM and for American University, which is constantly exploring new ways to use data to inform policymakers," said Wilkins. "In fact, our school is getting ready to launch a new research center this fall that will be focused on data science and we are developing an Master's degree in data analysis."

Research shows that high-performing organizations succeed when employees are highly-engaged. Agencies should continue building on the recognition that employees work best when they are motivated to succeed. That motivation relates to the work itself and the environment within which people work. Leaders who recognize that employees are affected by how they are treated at work will increase employee engagement and enable higher performance.

"When we draw on the knowledge of a diverse workforce, we are better able to distinguish the best possible way to serve our customers, the American citizenry," said Kathleen McGettigan, Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. "We must create the right opportunities for the needed, but sometimes challenging policy discourse."

Learn more about the Office of Personnel Management and use the resources from last year's Research Summit. And read OPM's blog about the Summit.

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Title: Memorial Award Honors SPA Alumnus, Kevin Sutherland
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Abstract: Devontae Torriente SPA/BA ’18, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Kevin Joseph Sutherland Memorial Scholarship.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/20/2017
Content:

Devontae Torriente SPA/BA ’18, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Kevin Joseph Sutherland Memorial Scholarship.

“I'm honored and grateful to receive this scholarship and I hope that the work I have done and will go on to do will make the Sutherland family and the AU community proud,” said Torriente, a New York City native. Torriente is studying justice & law with an interest in criminal justice reform and politics at AU’s School of Public Affairs.

The memorial scholarship was established to honor the memory of Kevin Sutherland, SPA/BA’13 who was killed in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2015. The annual scholarship will be awarded to undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Public Affairs, with an emphasis on honoring those involved in public service and student government.

“Kevin left a such a positive legacy for the School of Public Affairs,” said Vicky Wilkins, SPA senior associate dean. “We are so honored that his family chose to help other students succeed while at SPA.”

In addition, The Kevin Sutherland Internship Fund will support students taking unpaid public service internships on Capitol Hill.

“It is our intention to create an endowed scholarship to support students seeking a career in public affairs,” said Sutherland’s father. “In particular, we hope to encourage students who will follow in Kevin's footsteps and enter public service for the right reasons. Kevin was not seeking fame or personal recognition or a high title. Kevin was passionate about making the world a better place.”

For more information about giving to the fund, the internship scholarship, or if you’re a student interested in applying, visit the Kevin Joseph Sutherland Memorial Scholarship Fund website.

You can learn more about Sutherland’s life and photography at http://kjslegacyproject.org.

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Title: Serving in the Trump Administration: Exit, Voice and Loyalty
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Abstract: Experienced scholars and practitioners at the Public Management Research Conference discussed how federal employees were adjusting and reacting to serving in the Trump Administration.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/13/2017
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U.S. presidential transitions are a time of uncertainty for government employees as priorities and policies shift. Yet, the election of Donald Trump, who pledged to "drain the swamp" in Washington, spurred a new level of anxiety in some.

Experienced scholars and practitioners at the Public Management Research Conference, held June 8-10 at American University School of Public Affairs, discussed how federal employees were adjusting and reacting to serving in the Trump Administration. Despite headlines predicting major upheaval, the experts reassured the audience the bureaucracy was slow to change and the protections are in place to keep needed services going.

"Every career civil servant takes an oath of office pledging loyalty to constitution - not to the president - and they take that oath seriously," said one of the long-time public administration panelists. "What they do is for the betterment of the country. When they are given orders that are unethical or in opposition to the best interest of the U.S., they will sit back and engage in guerilla government."

One scholar spoke about guerilla government - public servants who act against the wishes of their superiors. Some in the new administration are expressing dissent and demonstrating a resistance from within. They might obey administration orders in public, but disobey in private. This might mean leaking information to the media, working with interest groups to leverage influence, stalling the enforcement of policies, holding clandestine meetings to plot strategies for working with administration appointees or filing complaints with investigative offices.

"Guerilla government happens all the time - but I think it is happening a lot more in Trump administration," said a panelist and public management scholar. "It is a manifestation of inevitable tension in a democracy and bureaucracy that will never go away. It will ebb and flow - and it's really at a top level now."

Another scholar said that the Trump Administration wants to disrupt the regulatory state and it can influence policy in the way it chooses to implement regulations. The new approach to dismantling the administrative state is affecting policies and norms regarding homeland security, immigration and other areas. President Trump has also appointed leaders to agencies that have been outspoken against agency missions. "This has consequences on employee morale and budgetary battles."

One of the scholars during the roundtable called for more research on political appointments and a closer look at the impact of federal spending. They also encouraged researchers to make themselves available to media to speak about the practical implications of their research.

"This is best of times and worst of time for public management and public administration," said one panelist scholar. "We've never had a better opportunity to demonstrate our relevance to the world."

Those speakers who had been through several transitions, emphasized the need for public servants to look at the big picture. This transition doesn't feel much different to previous administrations, said one panelist who urged federal employees to put their ego as a practitioner on the back burner when making decisions. "Our job is to steer, guide and mentor public servants who get wrapped up in the excitement of an event and say: 'Stand back. Take the long view.'"

"Every presidential election usually ends up with one political party replacing another," said another panelist. "Yet, with 2.6 million federal employees and a $4.1 trillion budget, it's hard to move an organization like that. It survives shocks all the time - about every four years, in fact."

The election of President Trump, who is largely unfamiliar with government processes, put the transition behind from the beginning. The administration has been slow with appointments, further limiting its influence. Trump's unfamiliarity with running government is also hampering his team's ability to exert the change pledged in the campaign.

"You cannot change the culture and direction of an agency by yourself, you need wiliness of bureaucracy to come with you," said a scholar panelist. "It will be hard to make substantive changes in the short and long term."

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Title: Granddaughter of a slave, Justice Audrey Collins to receive Beacon of Justice Award
Author: Nicholle Granger
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Abstract: Only two generations removed from slavery, she has dedicated her career to supporting underrepresented people and communities.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 02/09/2017
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As a youth, Associate Justice of the California Board of Appeals Audrey B. Collins, SPA/MA '69, would have never guessed that she would forge a history-making career. An American University School of Public Affairs graduate, Collins became the first African-American woman to serve as Head Deputy, Assistant Bureau Director, and Assistant District Attorney after joining the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office in 1978.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Collins to the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and she served as Chief Judge of the Central District from 2009 to 2012. During that time, Collins became the first judge to declare a portion of the 9/11-inspired Patriot Act unconstitutional based on language that she found to be in conflict with the First Amendment. In 2014, she was appointed to the California Court of Appeal, where she remains today.

Over the years, Collins has been acknowledged for her many contributions to public service and social equality. On April 5, the Friends of Los Angeles County Law Library will present her with the 2017 Beacon of Justice Award, recognizing her exceptional commitment to expanding access to quality legal services for low-income people and communities.

Collins's story is unique in that not only did she come of age during the Civil Rights Movement, but she was also the granddaughter of a slave. To be only two generations removed from slavery is "very unusual for someone my age, now 71," says Collins. She was born in Chester, Pa. in 1945. But both her grandfather and father married later in life, which explains her proximity to slavery. After being freed sometime in the 1860s, her grandfather, Furman Lawrence Brodie, worked his way through school, eventually becoming a minister and teacher. "He didn't learn to read until he was 16," says Collins.

Collins was first inspired to pursue a career in law by her family's strong tradition of public service. Her father was a dentist who built a community-based practice in Chester, and her mother was a teacher. Collins describes her mother as a "brilliant woman who graduated from Howard University at the age of 20." Collins is convinced that had there been an opportunity, her mother would have become a lawyer. But growing up in Norfolk, Va., her mother experienced segregation and overt racism, something Collins encountered only when she visited. By choosing to raise Collins in Yeadon, Pa., her parents were able to shield her from that and ensure that she had the best educational opportunities possible.

Collins's interest in law became more apparent during her undergraduate studies in political science at Howard University. While she was not involved in the Civil Rights Movement directly, it was then that she recognized the need for equitable legal representation for African-Americans, especially protesters who were being detained by police. "It occurred to me at that time that the most fascinating and meaningful thing for me to do was to go to law school," says Collins. "I think, especially being at Howard, it was clear that lawyers were there on the front lines of what was happening in the Civil Rights Movement."

After completing her MA in government and public administration at American University, Collins went on to obtain a JD from UCLA in 1977, throwing her legal career into full swing. Collins would have never predicted that she would be where she is today. "I'm not a fan of the five-year plan," she says. "You don't have to have your whole life worked out. I think if you find something you love to do, something you're enthusiastic about doing, and do well, it will reveal itself."

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Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
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Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
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American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

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Title: An Eviction Notice Sparks an Award-Winning Career
Author: Heidi Hokanson, SOC/BA ‘15
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Abstract: Michael Worley is the recipient of two awards this year, for the political communications agency he started as a junior at AU.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/10/2016
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Michael Worley, SPA/BA ’12, is the President and founder of MDW Communications, a political consulting firm based in Fort Lauderdale. He has worked on campaigns from the municipal to congressional level, from South Florida, to Georgia, to New England. The firm has won two awards this year, the 2016 Campaigns & Elections Magazine Reed Award for Best Overall Direct Mail Piece, and a Pollie Award. At 25, Michael is one of the youngest people ever to receive a Reed Award. Today it seems everything is going right for Michael and his business, and it all started from a moment of financial desperation in Michael’s junior year at AU.

Michael was an over-worked, underpaid college student with a passion for politics. A national board member for the College Democrats of America for two years, Michael transferred to AU from Miami “to be closer to the action.” To get by financially, he had three different part time jobs and an internship. But all of a sudden in late 2010, Michael learned that his roommate hadn’t been paying rent for months, and they were about to be evicted. To make matters worse, his roommate abandoned the apartment and left town, leaving Michael to take responsibility for the debt.

At a loss for what to do, Michael sought advice from his boss at a Tenlytown cigar shop. His boss suggested he monetize his communications skills and start his own business. Inspired by the idea, Michael got to work right away. He ran a search through AUCareerWeb for companies hiring paid interns, and sent each of them a business pitch, offering his services as a professional social media marketing consultant who could provide better results than an intern could, for a lower rate than an agency would charge. Among his first clients were FroZenYo, American Tap Room, and the cigar shop in Tenleytown. “Things added up so quickly,” Michael says, “I was able to get out of debt and support myself for the next two years in college.”

Now Michael has worked on almost 100 campaigns. He has three full time employees, and produces everything from advanced digital marketing, to direct mail, and now television advertising as well. “Today we produced two direct mail pieces, produced a radio spot, and placed a digital ad, all before 11 a.m.” Michael says. His team is in the thick of municipal campaigns for elections this month. “We are involved in campaigns at all levels, but the local level is where you get to really make a difference. What people don’t realize is that if you don’t vote in municipal and state elections you have no seat at the table. Real policy making and impact on the community happens in the local level.”

Michael credits his AU experience for giving him the resources he needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. “AU was a catalyst for all the things that happened,” says Michael, “AU brought together people who had [started a business] successfully, who were living proof that you can do this if you work hard enough.” When Michael graduated, his decision to continue with his business was influenced by some advice from Chip Griffin, SPA/BA '94, who was president of the AU Alumni Board at the time, and is an experienced entrepreneur. He continues to get new opportunities from fellow AU alums in the political community. Michael is an active member of his local young alumni chapter, and he regularly gives back by volunteering for new and prospective student events.

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Title: Lori Interlicchio, SBA/BA ’15: Tinder leads to a Living Gift
Author: Patricia Rabb
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Abstract: After meeting on Tinder, Lori Interlicchio surprised her girlfriend with the gift of a kidney.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/09/2016
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“I hope that someone out there sees our story and makes the decision to donate their organs or become a live kidney donor,” says Lori Interlicchio, SPA/BA ‘15, while describing her gift of a kidney to girlfriend, Alana Duran, whom she met last August on Tinder.

Three months after their initial meeting, Lori videotaped Alana opening a box of small presents (including an AU t-shirt) with an “it’s a match” sign hidden at the bottom. The video, viewed over 260,000 times on Facebook, captured the news that Lori was going to provide Alana the kidney she so vitally needed. “I was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support that Alana and I received after we posted our video. I expected our family and friends to love the video, but I didn’t think we would go viral and certainly not that quickly,” she says.

Diagnosed at age 12 with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, Alana has required a hip placement, a pacemaker for congestive heart failure, dialysis for kidney failure and has been awaiting a kidney donor since 2011. Alana had no idea Lori was secretly being tested to see if she would be a match to donate a kidney.

On February 2, this long-awaited kidney transplant was successfully completed at Stony Brook Hospital in Stony Brook, NY, and both women are recovering well. “Alana’s kidney function was higher than mine,” noted Lori shortly after the procedure. During their recovery, Lori will take 6 weeks leave from work and needs to avoid lifting heavy objects. For the next 6 months, Alana has to avoid people who are ill since she’s now taking immunosuppressant drugs every day to avoid rejection of her new kidney.

Born and raised in West Islip, NY, Lori decided to attend the School of Public Affairs at American University because she wanted to study political science and felt that Washington, DC, was the best place to do it. “I liked that it had a campus feel while being in the city. It was the best of both worlds,” she adds.

While at AU, Lori was very active as a cheerleader and enjoyed competing with her team at the National Cheerleaders Association championships in Daytona each year. “The team was like my family, and Nationals was the culmination of all of our hard work each year,” she adds. When the weather was nice, Lori recalls meeting her teammates on the quad for impromptu practices where they would “throw each other around”.

One of her most memorable experiences as a student was camping outside of the Supreme Court with a few other AU students to observe the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made marriage equality legal in the United States. Lori also led an advocacy group at AU called “Red is in the Rainbow”. This group held blood drives on campus to spread awareness and speak out about the ban on blood and tissue donation from gay men. “It bothers me that if Alana and I were a couple of gay or bisexual men, rather than women, I couldn’t donate blood to her. My kidney would be considered high risk,” she exclaims.

After graduating last May, Lori has spent the past year in her hometown coaching cheerleading at her old middle school and working in a special needs high school while applying to law school. In her spare time, Lori describes herself as “a homebody.” Lori and Alana spend most weekends with their families - reading, playing board games, and working on puzzles together.

Her plans for the future include graduating from law school and passing the bar exam. “After that, I would love to do public service work litigating on behalf of LGBTQ people and families,” she says.

 

 

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Title: Hyong Yi, Passionate Public Servant and Love Advocate
Author: Melissa Bevins ’02
Subtitle:
Abstract: Assistant City Manager Hyong Yi made headlines giving love notes to strangers to honor his late wife’s legacy.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 01/12/2016
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Like so many of his fellow AU alumni, Hyong Yi, SPA/BA ’94, SPA/MPA ’95, truly loves public service. When you ask him about his role as assistant city manager for the city of Charlotte, N.C., Hyong will tell you, “I love this job. This is what I am meant to do.” In his role, he is able to help run the city on a day-to-day basis, particularly with regards to all things environmental.

In high school, a class trip brought Hyong to Washington, DC from his childhood home in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. That trip combined with his love of politics sealed in his mind the fact that he wanted to attend college in the nation’s capital. In the end, American University was the only school he applied to. 

As a student, Hyong was driven and hardworking. He completed his undergraduate degree in just three years, then went on to complete his MPA in only one more. He was also a member of the University Honors Program, lived in a Living Learning Center in Anderson Hall, and still managed to study abroad in London for a semester. 

When asked to reflect on his time at AU, Hyong extols the virtues of studying abroad and says he thinks it should be mandatory for all college students. Although he was born in Korea, Hyong spent the majority of his life before college living in Pennsylvania, and he loved the opportunity to live overseas for a semester, studying, traveling, and immersing himself in everyday life in London. 

Upon completing his studies at AU, Hyong went on to work in DC government for several years. While living and working in DC, Hyong met the love of his life, Catherine Zanga. He and Catherine eventually settled in Charlotte and had two children, Anna and Alex.

In November of 2014, Catherine passed away after a 16-month battle with cancer. To mark the one-year anniversary of her passing, Hyong wrote 100 love notes and he, Anna, and Alex stood on the street and passed them out to strangers as they walked by. The notes chronicle the love story of Hyong and Catherine and, when read in order, tell the story of their courtship and marriage followed by their struggle with Catherine’s illness and ending with what Hyong wishes he could say to her now. 

The story received international attention in news and media outlets, and Hyong is thrilled. In addition to the physical notes that were distributed, Hyong gathered all the notes along with photos in a digital monument to Catherine’s life that can be found at 100lovenotes.com and plans to turn the project into a book to be released this year. His hope is that part of Catherine’s legacy will be to encourage people all over the world to write their own love notes and share their feelings with their loved ones before tragedy hits and it is too late.

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Title: Steven Leifman Receives Prestigious Rehnquist Judicial Honors for protecting vulnerable populations
Author: Kayla Kennedy, SIS/BA ’19
Subtitle:
Abstract: Judge Steven Leifman, SPA/BS ’81, is at the forefront of a mental illness public policy movement in the criminal justice system.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 12/04/2015
Content:

Upon the 20th anniversary of the William H. Rehnquist Award, Judge Steven Leifman, SPA/BS '81, is the first Florida Judge to receive this prestigious honor, which is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Judge Leifman not only exemplifies all of those qualities, but his work goes above and beyond to protect the most vulnerable populations in the nation. 

Since 2000, Judge Leifman's work has focused on transforming the way people with mental illnesses are treated in the criminal justice system. Judge Leifman says he realized that "many of the same people who came before [his] court were appearing repeatedly and frequently." These defendants were charged with minor offenses and many exhibited signs of being distraught. Judge Leifman became determined to find a more suitable way to handle cases that affected those most vulnerable in the system. 

Through unwavering dedication and compassion, Judge Leifman has brought astounding results to both local and national courts. He described how "the stigma surrounding mental illness makes it more difficult for people to seek treatment, as a result many end up in the criminal justice system." People with mental illnesses are no more likely to commit violent crimes than people without mental illnesses. In fact, they are much more likely to be victims. In addition, recovery rates for people with mental illnesses have better recovery rates than people with diabetes. Unfortunately, many of our current laws do not reflect modern medical science and research. As a result, the public system often does not pay for all of the services that people need to recover from their illnesses. The challenges that people with mental illnesses face day in and day out are often overwhelming. The system has marginalized this population often making the opportunity for recovery extremely difficult. Judge Leifman notes that "they are just people who happen to have a mental illness and they have the same needs, desires, and ambitions as everyone else. In order to be more successful, we need to develop a system of care that is warmer and more welcoming." 

In 2000, Judge Leifman set out to fix this broken system. He created the groundbreaking Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project, which diverts individuals with serious mental illnesses away from criminal justice system and into community-based treatment and support services. According to Judge Leifman "this has resulted in fewer arrests and jail days for people with mental illnesses, improved public safety and saved critical tax dollars." As part of this project, Judge Leifman also developed the nation's largest crisis intervention team training program. He notes that "this program teaches law enforcement offices how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and how to respond more effectively to individuals in psychiatric crisis." 

Judge Leifman has also served as a Special Advisor to the Florida Supreme Court, where he developed specialized training programs for judges to help them better handle cases involving people with mental illnesses and has been working with the Florida Legislature to reform Florida's mental health system. In addition, he is working with the Stepping Up Campaign, to help communities develop action plans that can be used to reduce the over- representation of people with mental illnesses in their local criminal justice systems. Judge Leifman notes that "so far about 150 counties in the U.S. have signed up and to "Step Up" against injustices in the criminal justice system." 

It is clear that Judge Leifman has exemplified judicial excellence. However, in the midst of all of his achievements, Judge Leifman believes his greatest success story is "watching people come back from their illnesses, into recovery, and to live meaningful lives."

Before joining the bench in 1996, Judge Leifman came to American University to pursue his undergraduate degree in political science. He had always been interested in public policy. Judge Leifman proclaims that "American University was the ideal university." Not only did AU offer many opportunities, it also helped shape his values by understanding that good public policy can help improve people's lives." Taking advantage of those opportunities, he spent a considerable amount of time refining his passion for public policy by interning on Capitol Hill and organizing events on campus with the Kennedy Political Union. Judge Leifman remarks that he was exposed to an array of issues and says living in Washington, DC was "like living in a laboratory." Indeed, Judge Leifman thrived in this environment, and he was able to apply what he learned in AU classrooms to the real world.

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Title: Alumni Board Member Found Call to Public Service at AU
Author: Kristena Stotts
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Abstract: Making local government a better place one program at a time.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 10/06/2015
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"American University's School of Public Affairs was top 10 in the nation for their public affairs program, and I knew that's where I wanted to be," says Chris Quintyne, SPA/BA '07, of his decision to attend AU. "I was born and raised in this area, but I wanted a unique experience," he adds. Chris didn't have to wait long to find just that.

While a student as AU, Chris was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Beta Beta Chapter. "I met amazing, lifelong friends. It was a really supportive community and I am still very active with the fraternity today," he says. 

When asked about his academic experience, he remembers the exact moment things clicked for him on AU's campus.

"Dr. Andrea Lang in SPA is the reason I became a justice major. She was very nurturing, and I could bring anything to her and receive great feedback," Chris recalls. "Any class she taught, I was taking it." 

Dr. Lang's mentorship propelled Chris to further his education past earning his bachelor's degree from AU. Chris holds a law degree and master's degree in public administration from Southern University Law Center. During his academic journey, Chris always looked for ways to either intern or work where law and policy intersect. He served as a law clerk in the Louisiana House of Representatives for the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, held internships with the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and worked as a deputy clerk at DC Superior Court.

Chris is currently the management assistant for the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland. Previously, he served as assistant town administrator for Capitol Heights, Maryland. During that time, he served a period as acting town administrator. He ran the day-to-day operations of the town's municipal government, supervised the department heads and all staff, drafted legislation that went before the Town Council, and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding for the town's infrastructure projects. "I think it was that experience in public service that really gave me the opportunity to utilize all of the tools that I acquired from AU and my professional degrees," says Chris. 

"AU ingrained in me a desire to pursue a career in public service by providing me the opportunity to pursue substantive work experience in government while I was a student. That experience was pivotal in shaping my career interests and the work that I am currently doing in local government," Chris shares. Now he is an Alumni Admissions Volunteer, a member of the Black Alumni Alliance, and a member of the American University Alumni Board.

When asked how he manages to balance everything on his plate, Chris reflects on what he tells both himself and students he meets: "To whom much is given, much is required. If you work hard, give back to your community, and try to be a resource to support and be helpful to other people, I believe you will find yourself in a great position."

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Title: Dedicated to Diversity: Alumna is United Way’s Chief Diversity Officer
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
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Abstract: Darlene Slaughter’s love of people and teaching, plus her AU degree, fuels her passion for inclusion.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/15/2015
Content:

“Having more diversity in the workforce will give a company or organization better results, have people collaborating better together, and ultimately impact the bottom line,” says Darlene Slaughter, SPA/MSHR ’93, who was recently named chief diversity officer at United Way Worldwide after spending many years at Fannie Mae, where she was also chief diversity officer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Title: Key Alumna Helps Lead U.S. Response to Ebola and Other World Crises
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
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Abstract: Mia Beers recently returned from West Africa where she helped support the U.S. government's response to Ebola.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/09/2015
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When a catastrophic disaster hits a region of the world and the United States is sending assistance, chances are American University alumna Mia Beers, SPA/MPA '10, is a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,Key Executive Leadership Program,School of Public Affairs
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newsId: 5D2A405D-5056-AF26-BE0F44BC32DC6F9E
Title: SPA Alumna Makes Career Move to University of California, Berkeley
Author: Kristena Wright
Subtitle:
Abstract: Rosemarie Rae, SPA/MPA ‘09, joins the higher education field after more than 30 years in the non-profit sector.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/11/2015
Content:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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