newsId: 3E0EAFC2-5056-AF26-BEDD872C82223003
Title: Current WSP Student is Enjoying Her Internship on the Hill
Author: Ryan Jordan
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Abstract: Current Washington Semester Program student is taking full advantage of her time here in DC
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 11/15/2016
Content:

Since beginning the Washington Semester Program this fall, Lauren Hince has gotten valuable insight into her academic and professional career. At her home institution she is a double major in Communication and Politics and Government, and here at AU she has a concentration in Journalism and New Media. She credits WSP for giving her clarity in combining the two courses of study.

“I was worried that I chose the wrong concentration because I don't want to be journalist,” said Hince. “I still don't want to, but this program has helped me to understand the journalist's perspectives and how that intersects with the field of communication.”

This semester she is also interning on the Hill with Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. While on the Hill, Hince has had the opportunity to speak with many communications professionals. Many of them have suggested that working right after college is the best choice for young professionals. Hince now believes she can wait a while before attending a graduate school program. 

Hince is happy she chose to attend this program, especially since she knows she wants to live in D.C. once she graduates. By attending WSP, she gets a head start on gaining professional connections in the city where she wants to start her career. 

“If you are serious about living in D.C. or getting a jump start on your career than you should definitely try this program,” said Hince. “This program is a very different kind of study abroad. It's a professional study abroad.”

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Title: Former WSP Student from Germany Recounts How the Program Launched Her Career
Author: Ryan Jordan
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Abstract: Charlotte Potts ventured to the U.S. from Germany to attend the Washington Semester Program here at AU. She used the skills she developed in the program to launch her journalism career.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/09/2016
Content:

Charlotte Potts, a journalism alum from the fall 2007 Washington Semester Program (WSP), stayed an additional spring semester in Washington to continue studying foreign policy. She says that coming to American University (AU) was the deciding factor in launching her career.

“I remember while growing up in Germany, I looked at Washington as the city where only the best in their fields worked,” Potts recently wrote. “I arrived with two suitcases and stayed—first for a year, then for another year, then another.”

“I found friends for life from all over the world,” she continued. “My friends from Norway, Denmark, Germany and the US recently attended my wedding in Spain—truly international.”

Potts said journalism professor Iris Krasnow was a great feature writer.

But even more importantly, this professor “told us not to be shy and to go for your dreams. From that point on, this defined my professional motto.”

When Potts began studying foreign policy in her second semester at AU, she found Professor John Calabrese to be very influential. Potts said that through him she had direct exposure to an array of think tanks, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a variety of diplomatic missions; all while interning at Al Jazeera English.

“WSP offered me the opportunity to experience the US capital in a way not many students can,” Potts wrote. “I got insights and perspectives from some of the very best in their fields. It made me grow, and made me appreciate and adapt to the ‘can-do’ spirit that comes with the city.

After graduating from WSP, Potts used the skills she developed from previous experiences and what she had learned from Professor Krasnow, to start writing for several German news outlets Potts missed Washington so much that she returned in 2008 to cover the presidential elections as a producer and later as a travel producer for ZDF and ARD German TV.

“I spent six years in Washington. I owe the fact that I stayed this long to the WSP, which gave me my career direction, practical training and academic grounding,” she noted.

During her six years in the nation’s capital, she wrote a Ph.D. thesis about the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements.

“Now I am back in Berlin, where I work as a political correspondent for Deutsche Welle TV,” Potts explained. “I cover German politics in English and German. Reporting in a language different from your own is another thing I wouldn’t have been able to do without my time at WSP.”

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Title: WSP Alum Gains Honors for Research
Author: Ryan Jordan
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Abstract: Washington Semester Program alumna gains honors for research she conducted during the program. She has had the opportunity to present her research on property rights in Myanmar at several conferences.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 10/25/2016
Content:

Studying finance and political science increased Samantha Leenas’s interest in politics and property rights law. She became especially interested in the laws that effect the economic development of a country. During the Washington Semester Program, Leenas’s professors motivated her to conduct research that sought to clarify property rights issues in Myanmar. She wanted to fill the gap in the academic literature on this topic and to inform others about the deeply rooted problems within the Myanmar’s property rights structure.

“Completing this research project with the help of Professor Mehta has absolutely helped me move forward in my career,” confessed Samantha. “Although the research required a lot of work, I learned valuable skills in the process.”

The research project she started during the Washington Semester Program opened many academic and professional doors. For example, Leenas’s research during the program provided her countless networking opportunities, and after returning to Marist College, she was even invited to share her research. Last spring, Leenas presented her research to her peers and the Marist faculty at the Honors Program Research Forum, the Marist Celebration of Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creative Activity (CURSCA) event, and the New York State Political Science Association’s Annual Conference at SUNY New Paltz. She recognizes that her oral and written communications skills have improved since presenting her research at these events and conferences.

“My experience in the Washington Semester Program has really shaped my college experience. Participating in the program was one of the best decisions I've made,” stated Leenas.

Through the continued support of American University professors, Leenas is determined to move forward with her research on the topic of property rights law. She credits the Washington Semester Program for sparking her interests. This October, Leenas will present her research at the National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington.

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Title: International Communication Professor Priya Doshi Credits the Washington Semester Program for Launching Her Career
Author: Ryan Jordan
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Abstract: With more than 15 years of experience as an international public relations practitioner, Doshi credits the Washington Semester Program for launching her career.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 10/17/2016
Content:

Our nation’s capital always interested Professor Priya Doshi, a professor of strategic communications at American University. When she arrived to start teaching in 2007, it was not her first time on American University’s campus. With more than 15 years of experience as an international public relations practitioner, Doshi credits the Washington Semester Program for launching her career.

Having attained her bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, Doshi knew that she wanted to obtain professional experience in DC. The Washington Semester Program gave her the opportunity to gain experience in a place centered around politics.

“I learned about the Washington Semester Program at the end of my sophomore year at Vassar,” recalled Professor Doshi on her decision to join the program. “The fact that I was on campus but also in a city was so exciting. I had the chance to get to know a whole new place. Through this program, I got my first internship with an American think tank focused on Middle East policy.”

The Washington Semester Program provided Doshi a guaranteed internship and the opportunity to learn from foreign-policy practitioners. She credits her boss from that internship for the three subsequent summers of employment and helping her find her first job after college that launched her international communications career.

Throughout her life Doshi felt as if she were living between two cultures. Born in India and raised by immigrant parents, she struggled to acclimate herself within American culture. Although she was educated in America and spoke with no accent, she still felt like an outsider. Her experiences while growing up gave her insight as to why differences between cultures are so strong.
It was no surprise when she developed an interest in cross-cultural communications.

While studying in the Washington Semester Program, Doshi had the epiphany that culture simply means coming from a different starting point. It also means that what each culture places value and importance on are completely different. She incorporates these ideals in the international strategic communication course and other courses she now teaches at AU.

“I cover how to approach talking about issues in which the general public may not have a real interest. That is something that I bring from both my personal and professional career into the classroom,” Doshi says.

Doshi has had significant experience in the realm of international communications. During her first position after college with the Kuwait-America Foundation she was assigned to a campaign focused on building a relationship between Kuwait and the U.S. through community outreach in DC. She has also had experience with both the Swiss and British embassies because of her unique perspectives on cross-cultural communication and policy. Doshi has spent most of her professional career in DC and is now back where it all started, at American University.

“From getting agency experience to working with a global non-profit, there are many roads that lead to this field,” said Doshi. “I will say that DC is my home, and I absolutely fell in love with it during that first summer with the Washington Semester Program.”

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Title: From the Washington Semester Program to the White House in Two Years
Author: Gil Klein
Subtitle:
Abstract: As part of the Journalism and New Media concentration, Kelsey Donohue wanted to find out how the news media operated to help her shape a career in public affairs and politics.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/02/2016
Content:

When Kelsey Donohue arrived at the Washington Semester Program for the spring 2013 term, she was in her last term at Marist College, and she knew she had to have a paying job by the time the semester ended.

As part of the Journalism and New Media concentration, Donohue wanted to find out how the news media operated to help her shape a career in public affairs and politics.

Her seminar course introduced her to many of Washington’s journalism and communication innovators, who were willing to offer advice on how to get ahead – always network; the people you meet now you will see over and over again as you rise in Washington.

Donohue took that advice to heart. At her internship at the Department of Education communications office she got experience in digital media, learned more about education police, and saw how government works.

“Navigating DC and understanding how federal agencies work is an education in itself,” she said. “I got connected through networking.”

Sure enough, at the end of the term, she had impressed her supervisor so much that she was offered a full-time job right out of the Program – one of three offers.

But that was not the end of the story. Within six months, the Education job ended and she landed with EMILY’s List, an advocacy group to promote the political careers of Democratic women. Within a few more months, people she had networked with at the Education Department helped her land a position doing digital media at the State Department.

Done yet? Not a bit. Within a few more months, she heard through her network that she was being recommended for a position in First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications office.

Two years out of the Washington Semester Program, and she had reached the White House. Now her days are filled with the controlled mayhem of working to promote the First Lady and the Obama administration agenda, writing press releases, working on social media content and “wrangling reporters,” she told the current Washington Semester Journalism and New Media class.

“The Washington Semester Program taught me all about DC and how to navigate it,” she said. “It was an education that can’t be found in a classroom.”

She said she will work with the First Lady until the end of the administration. Then she will pick up those networking skills to go on to the next challenge.

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Title: WSP Student Tyler Lattimore Lobbies Congress to Support Sentencing Reform Legislation
Author: Libby Parker
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tyler Lattimore, currently in his senior year at Emory University, met with a legislative assistant for Congressman Ted Yoho (R-3), who represents Lattimore’s home district.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/13/2016
Content:

Washington Semester Program students voiced their support for issues facing our country during the Capital Hill Constituent Legislative Lobbying Day Project. Engaging in the lobbying process, American Politics students researched legislation currently moving through Congress, and then met with Congressional representatives and staff to express their support for a specific bill. First-hand experience influencing top decision makers is part of how Washington Semester students learn about active citizenship in our nation’s capital.

Tyler Lattimore, currently in his senior year at Emory University, met with a legislative assistant for Congressman Ted Yoho (R-3), who represents Lattimore’s home district. Prior to this class, Lattimore was under the impression that lobbying was reserved for big business and large interest groups. Through the Lobbying Day Project, he accessed Congress as an invested citizen and student, learning that everyone has a right to meet and lobby with his or her elected officials.

In preparation for the meeting, Lattimore used his understanding of the legislative process and extensive research to develop an effective argument for support. He considered the history as well as the likelihood of the bill passing through Congress, based on bipartisan support. “Once I found the piece of legislation that I was both passionate about and that had a chance at becoming law, I read through it several times, as well as reviewed other related bills or current laws. From there it became about building my case of support, which included being able to refute opposition to the legislation.”

Lattimore decided to support H.R. 3713: Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, which permits a court to reduce the mandatory minimum prison term imposed on certain non-violent defendants convicted of a high-level first time or low-level repeat drug offense. Lattimore feels that the reality of mass incarceration in the United States is almost inconceivable, having the highest incarceration rate in the world. “As a nation, we imprison individuals at a rate higher than the ‘most dangerous’ countries in the world. Couple this with the fact that our sentencing laws force first-time and nonviolent offenders into excessively harsh, long sentence,” said Lattimore.

He continues, “These laws tear apart families, communities and lives. Moreover, this legislation was also important to me because our current sentencing structure disproportionately imprisons blacks. I think this is important and it is time for us to address these problems.”

Lattimore saw first-hand how willing elected officials are to hear from constituents. Although his Congressman was back in his district when he visited his office, he was able to meet with his legislative assistant. Approaching the conversation with an emphasis on community and families, Lattimore was able to make his case. Through the meeting he was able to confirm the support from the Congressman and gained a lot of perspective into the work Yoho was doing to get that bill and related legislation through Congress.

“I believe it is our duty to meet with our Congressmen and Senators every chance we get. These public servants represent us most directly in the federal government and they serve us best when we voice our concerns, desires, and expectations. Whether it’s in Washington, DC or back in any given district across the country, each of us has a right to meet and connect with our elected official. More often than not, the office will at least be opening to listening to a constituent.”

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Title: A Family Affair
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Participation in the Washington Semester Program transcends generations.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 11/19/2014
Content:

Grandparents frequently hand down family heirlooms, but they also impart wisdom. So when Evie Osterman spoke glowingly about American University's Washington Semester® Program, her granddaughter Alexa Calaguas took note. Osterman attended the Washington Semester Program in the fall of 1960. "It was the catalyst for the rest of my life," she says now. In 2014, WSP student Calaguas is following in her grandmother's footsteps.

A Life-Changing Experience

In 1960, Osterman was a politically-engaged, Boston-based college student looking to explore Washington, D.C. Then, at a propitious moment, she discovered the Washington Semester Program. "That fall was the election of John F. Kennedy. And so, if you're a political animal, it was a great time to be in Washington," says Osterman, who would work on the Kennedy campaign. She later attended Kennedy's historic inauguration in early 1961.

"The [WSP] program changed my life because I decided that I wanted to move to Washington after graduation," she says. Like so many other Americans, Kennedy's famous words—"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"—resonated with her. She then took a job at the D.C. headquarters of the Peace Corps, which was headed by Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver. Osterman would spend the next 35 years of her life in the D.C. area.

American University's Washington Semester Program inspired Evie Osterman to take a job at the D.C. headquarters of the Peace Corps, which was headed by Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver.

This semester, Calaguas has made the most of her time here. She's focused on international law, and she took part in trips to the World Bank headquarters in D.C. and the United Nations in New York City. She is also interning at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. "I find the program really interesting because it's not the typical structure of 'Oh, I'm going to take classes for the semester.' We get to hear from people in the actual fields that we're learning about," says Calaguas.

She also praises the school's diversity, as WSP attracts students from a vast array of geographic locations. Her roommate is from Norway, and her class also includes students from Eritrea, Ghana, Japan, and Kazakhstan. "We're from all over, and it's great because we bring different perspectives from different countries and different universities," she says.

The Classroom is D.C.

This multi-generational participation illustrates the value of the Washington Semester Program. A plethora of opportunities await students when they come to AU for a semester. Students choose a program of study, such as global economics and business, journalism and new media, or public health. And students then take part in seminars, which are different from traditional classes.

"What I think really distinguishes this program is that it combines rigorous academic study, practical learning, and on the job learning, as well as the networking skill building that you need to really have a productive career," says Carola Weil, dean of the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS)—which oversees the Washington Semester Program. "It really is much more of a leadership development program than simply a summer or a semester or a period of time in Washington, D.C."

The professors have extensive experience in their chosen fields, and they maintain numerous professional connections in Washington. Professors use those contacts to invite senior-level speakers to WSP seminars, and students visit government agencies, nonprofits, media outlets, and other Washington institutions. "It is a much more intensive and immersive experience. We make D.C. our classroom," says Weil.

Gilbert Klein is the interim director of WSP. He says guest speakers will give brief introductory remarks on a particular theme or topic, and this is followed by lengthier group involvement. "These classes are small enough that they quickly become discussions. And that's where the real value is. Students have a chance to sit there and ask questions to people they never dreamed they would be talking with," Klein says.

A former national correspondent for the Media General News Service, Klein has taken budding journalists all over town. For instance, he recently had students meet with The Washington Post's managing editor for digital news, who talked about where the company is headed under owner and Amazon.com mogul Jeff Bezos.

There is also a research project or elective course option. And through their courses, students get involved in other activities in the city. In professor Diane Lowenthal's course on American political behavior, WSP students developed an exit poll for the midterm election. Students fanned out to polling stations in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia on Election Day, and they plan to use the survey data as part of a final project.

Internships and Careers

Students earn at least four credits through internships. Six to eight weeks before the semester starts, students get access to WSP's database of internship possibilities. WSP will help students with résumé and cover letter writing. "You will learn how to look for an internship, i.e. how to look for a job. You will learn how to have an informational interview," Weil explains. "You will learn how to present yourself properly, how to communicate effectively, and what to do if you don't get what you wanted."

Klein highlights the breadth of internship destinations for journalism students this semester. For instance, several students are getting video shooting and editing experience at the National Press Club's Broadcast Operations Center, and another student is reporting on Capitol Hill for the Washington bureau of Ohio newspaper The Columbus Dispatch. Other intern spots include Al Jazeera, WTTG FOX 5, PolitiFact, Street Sense, and Voice of America.

And plenty of students go on to have successful Washington careers. Notable WSP alumni include 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala; and former Gov. Michael Dukakis, D-Mass., the 1988 Democratic nominee for president.

Exploring the World

Osterman now lives with her husband in Sarasota, Florida. Calaguas is a junior at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.—only a two-hour drive from her grandmother. Calaguas is already well-traveled: She visited a number of European countries through a semester-at-sea program, and next fall she's planning to study abroad in China.

Osterman is obviously proud of her granddaughter. “She’s a brilliant kid, with so much on the ball,” she says. “One of the things that my husband and I did for our kids—and our kids in turn did for their kids—was to show them that there’s a big wide world out there.”

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Title: A Way to Win
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: The Washington Internships for Native Students program shapes minds for the future.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/02/2014
Content:

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the Indian Citizenship Act, signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge on June 2, 1924. With this historic measure, all Native Americans born in the United States were finally granted full citizenship.

Education now plays a pivotal role in assisting this historically oppressed group, and American University offers a program that broadens opportunities for Native American students. The Washington Internships for Native Students, or WINS, is part of the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS). And later this month, WINS will celebrate its own 20th anniversary.

“American University has such a longstanding commitment to serving a population that historically has been marginalized and underrepresented,” says SPExS Dean Carola Weil.  

Student Empowerment

WINS provides academic training, leadership development, and internships for students of Native American, Hawaiian, and Alaskan heritage. Students can enroll in WINS in fall, spring, or summer sessions on full scholarships. Applicants are allowed to attend up to three semesters, and many students are repeat participants. SPExS works with federal agencies to sponsor students. The agencies not only help cover tuition, but promote student growth and provide 40-hour week internships.  

“For some students, it’s their first time coming to D.C. And they get to learn about the federal government and how it works,” says Director of Extended Studies Donelle Broskow, who helps oversee the program.  

In addition to the internships, students take classes and get professional development training. During the popular summer program, students can take Native American-specific courses.

Weil says WINS stresses individual and community empowerment. “So you get the best of both worlds from students. You get someone who is smart, and someone who is able to advocate on behalf of his or her community,” she says.

In the Classroom

Stephen Davis, a SPExS adjunct professor, weaves government, business, and current events into WINS classes, and he’s brought in Native American guest speakers from around Washington. “I’ve had a wide selection of people to choose from, as the Native American community here is very active and very supportive,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed these classes so much because it’s so rewarding to see the students grow, mature, and gain confidence.”

Despite huge strides made to remedy historic injustices, Indian reservations are still dealing with high rates of poverty, youth suicide, and alcoholism. Davis tries to address some of these pervasive problems in class. And when lecturing about global conflicts, he’ll incorporate Native American issues into the discussion. “For example, what’s the connection between Ukraine and an Indian tribe and its sovereignty?” he explains. “Sovereignty is very sensitive, a very key issue for tribes in the United States. When Russia took on Ukraine, sovereignty has been attacked. So I try to show the connections.”

Expanding Opportunities

WINS students have worked at agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Agriculture Department, and the Interior Department and its Bureau of Indian Affairs.  

Dylan Rain Tree participated in WINS in 2009. An internship at the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, led to his current job there. Now he provides health information to underserved populations.

“WINS really altered my life course. It offered not only friendships and lifelong connections and business connections, but it put me on a career path,” he says. These days, Rain Tree is also earning his master’s degree in public administration from AU.

Culture and Diversity

SPExS casts a wide net when admitting students, Weil says. WINS includes undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students from many different tribes all over the country. “We take pride in that we are not limiting to a very narrow definition of Native American student,” Weil says. “We do not feel that we are in a position to determine someone’s identity.”

“I think it’s had a positive impact on the program because students are now encountering members of other tribes, in some cases for the first time,” she adds.

WINS also offers students the chance to celebrate their own cultural traditions, and the summer Pow Wow on the main quad has become a well-attended event. The next one is scheduled on July 12. “They’re very proud about their heritage. And I think that coming out of this experience, it makes them all the more invigorated to want to go back to their communities to make a difference,” says Broskow.

History of WINS

The WINS program was formed in 1994 and it has evolved over time. “What started as more of a cultural exchange became more of an experiential learning program for Native American students,” says Vice Provost for Academic Administration Violeta Ettle. “The mission of WINS has not changed, from 1994 to the present. What has changed is the strengthening of the academic content of the program.”

Ettle says WINS students initially didn’t earn credits for classes. Now students’ credits are transferrable to their home college institutions—a great selling point for WINS. New internship sponsors and support from the Native American community in D.C. helped grow the program substantially.

SPExS was established in 2012 to oversee the Washington Semester Program, WINS, and other academic units. Weil joined SPExS as its inaugural dean in September 2012, and she viewed WINS as a strong model for other potential programs. “I actually took this position in part because of WINS. It was very much one of the programs that caught my attention as an outsider,” she says. “I thought it really epitomized the kind of innovative, experiential—but also academically solid—program that we wanted to multiply at the School of Professional & Extended Studies.”

Looking Ahead

The future is bright for WINS. In the near term, Bill Mendoza, executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, will speak on June 19 for the WINS 20th anniversary. And SPExS is currently exploring new programs that could enhance the WINS experience. This might include a graduate certificate, and the utilization of online learning and local mentors to extend students’ education to their home regions.  

SPExS is also hoping to strengthen relationships with other potential stakeholders, such as tribal leaders and private Native American businesses. Weil says, “If we can build that kind of program, it will really allow individuals who have gone through WINS to make a difference, regardless of what paths they choose.”

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Title: Watching History Unfold
Author: Gregg Sangillo
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Abstract: AU professor moderates panel of journalists who covered the President John F. Kennedy assassination.
Topic: Journalism
Publication Date: 11/07/2013
Content:

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy left such an indelible imprint on the American psyche, the question of “where were you when Kennedy was shot?” has become its own cultural phenomenon. There was even a critically-acclaimed “Mad Men” episode about it.

Gilbert Klein, assistant professor at American University’s School of Professional & Extended Studies, experienced the tragic event like millions of other schoolchildren. “I was in the eighth grade, in study hall, when the math teacher came in and announced it,” said Klein, co-director of the journalism program at the AU Washington Semester Program, in an interview.

As the 50th anniversary of the assassination nears, Klein moderated a panel at the National Press Club with people who were much closer to the tragic events. Four seasoned journalists—Bob Schieffer, Jim Lehrer, Sid Davis, and Marianne Means—were all eyewitnesses to history in Dallas that day. And in front of a packed audience on November 4th, they had some remarkable stories to tell.

That Day in Dallas

Though Kennedy’s visit was a huge story in Texas, Lehrer said there were no indications of imminent danger. Lehrer, later the host of PBS “NewsHour,” was then a federal reporter for the Dallas Times Herald. He wrote about the security buildup before Kennedy’s visit. “I had access to the Secret Service and to the FBI,” he said, “but there was no special threat towards the Kennedys.”

Means, a longtime columnist for Hearst Newspapers, was the only woman reporter in the motorcade. And Means described an eerie feeling in the air. “It seemed that there was something different about this day. The convertible—everybody in it was very cranky,” she said.

Davis, formerly of NBC News and Westinghouse Broadcasting, was also in the motorcade. “We were about right under the sixth floor window of the school book depository when the shots were fired. And there was no doubt in my mind that we heard three explosions,” he said.

After the shooting, the city was swirling with terror and uncertainty. “We were absolutely stunned. We didn’t know what this meant. They closed off the borders with Mexico. We didn’t know if this was the beginning of World War III,” said Schieffer, then a night police reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and now host of Sunday CBS show “Face the Nation.”

The Aftermath

Amid the chaos, Schieffer got a random phone call while working at the Star-Telegram city desk. “A woman called in and said ‘is there anybody there who can give me a ride to Dallas?’” Schieffer almost hung up the phone. “I said ‘lady, we don’t run a taxi service here.’”

But it turned out that the call was worth taking. It was Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother.

Schieffer brought her to the police station. “I interviewed her on the way. And it was a very strange interview,” Schieffer recalled. He tried to interview her assassin-son but was unsuccessful. “It was, to this day, one of the greatest adventures that I think any young reporter could ever have,” he said.

At one point, Lehrer was at the police station while Oswald was being moved to another office. “I asked him, ‘did you kill the president?’ And he said ‘I didn’t kill anybody!’…And trust me, I wrote that down,” he remembered.

Aboard Air Force One, Davis was one of only three reporters who witnessed Lyndon Johnson being sworn-in as president. Through his secretary, Johnson invited Jacqueline Kennedy to stand next to him while he took the oath of office.

At that time, Davis said he could still see blood on her stockings, skirt, and hand. “I think that she knew that she had to be in that room for the swearing-in. And I found that to be very patriotic and courageous at the same time. That she would leave the casket and come into the room in that condition,” Davis explained.

The Legacy

“What started as covering a routine presidential trip became the defining story of their careers,” Klein said at the event. And the panelists discussed the Kennedy assassination’s impact on both their careers and their lives.

“I learned at that early stage—and it’s part of my DNA as a reporter—just how fragile everything is,” Lehrer said. This led to his belief that if the phone rings in a newsroom, it’s got to get answered. “In a moment, everything’s changed again. There could be another event.”

“To see this young and vigorous man cut down in a matter of seconds by the bullets fired by a madman, I think it just helped me to understand the preciousness of life,” Schieffer said. “It caused me, from that day forward, to try to cram as much as I could into every single day of my life.”

Towards the end of the evening, Klein asked why the JFK assassination remains such a powerful story. “I think it was John Kennedy,” Davis answered.

Indeed, his vision and legacy are still celebrated 50 years after his death. Kennedy gave a seminal commencement speech at AU in June 1963. Titled “A Strategy of Peace,” Kennedy called for a nuclear test ban treaty, and he encouraged respect and understanding of the Soviet Union.

Aspiring journalists from AU’s Washington Semester Program turned out for the National Press Club event. Two AU students from Germany, Sophia Lindsey and Lilly Maier, had Schieffer autograph copies of his book for them afterwards.

“There’s a thrill, I think, of getting a story, and being there when it happens as it unfolds—even if it’s a terrible story like that,” Lindsey said.

Tags: Journalism,Journalism Pgm (WSP),Media Relations,School of Prof & Extd Studies,Washington Semester,Washington Semester Students
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newsId: 1993ED56-FD21-9FC7-3DC4FFAA3F342176
Title: New Dean for Professional & Extended Studies School
Author: Maralee Csellar
Subtitle:
Abstract: Carola Weil is the inaugural leader for AU’s first new school since 1984.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/23/2012
Content:

American University has named Carola Weil, a veteran administrator in higher education, not-for-profit, and international settings, to be the inaugural dean of its School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS), formerly the Washington Professional Development program.  

Weil is currently director for international and strategic partnerships for the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism’s East Coast office in Washington, D.C. where she leads the development of collaborative, applied research, and public service projects with partners in the academic, non-profit, government, international, military, and private sectors.

She will serve as dean designate beginning August 15 and will assume the position of dean on September 17, 2012.

“Dr. Weil’s view of life-long learning as a key means to educational access and as an essential link between academic, business, government, and non-governmental sectors in both driving innovation and providing greater equality of access to opportunities in society will be instrumental in the continued enhancement and development of the programs within the school,” said Provost Scott Bass in announcing the appointment.

“To remain relevant and a core pillar of human progress and society, higher education must reach out to new audiences and embrace innovative learning and teaching methods that are relevant to practitioners but also uphold tried and true principles of intellectual rigor,” said Weil. “I am excited to be part of an organization as deeply committed to cutting edge, state-of-the art liberal arts education for the 21st century and beyond as the American University.”

During her career at USC’s Annenberg School, Weil has held multiple positions and developed new programs. She helped launch the school’s first online MA in Communication Management, assisted in the development of a new innovation and design laboratory, and helped establish several interdisciplinary programs in fields such as economic literacy, sports media, and entrepreneurship. In addition, Weil served as assistant dean and later associate dean for Planning and Strategic Initiatives.

The Washington Professional Development program combined Washington Semester, the oldest experiential learning program in the country, Washington Internships for Native Students, Washington Graduate Gateway, Washington Mentorship and International Gateway programs. In March, these combined programs became the newly named School of Professional and Extended Studies—AU’s first new school since 1984 when the Department of Communication in the College of Arts & Sciences became the School of Communication.  

Before joining University of Southern California, Weil held appointments at the United States Institute of Peace, George Washington University, the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center, the University of Maryland College Park Center for International Development and Conflict Management, Women in International Security, and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation. She holds an AB in History from Bryn Mawr College, and a MPM, MA and PhD in Political Science from University of Maryland College Park.

Tags: Awards,Education,Faculty,Internship,Media Relations,Mentor,Office of the Provost,Provost,Staff,Students,Washington Professional Development & Training,Washington Semester
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newsId: CFA9ABD4-9154-99B2-281079F6D44E07C1
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,Congress,International Business,Political Science,School of Public Affairs,Washington DC,Washington Semester
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