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Nurture Our Connections to Washington, DC

One of the world’s great art collections finds a new home at AU, professors open the doors to local schoolchildren, and law students share precious knowledge at area schools.

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Vast Trove of Corcoran Art Gifted to Katzen Museum

The American University Museum at Katzen Arts Center is the recipient of one of the largest free art distributions in US history, a trove of nearly 9,000 works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

The acquisition includes paintings, photographs, sculpture, textiles, and the bulk of the Corcoran’s famous collection of works on paper, as well as pieces by such masters as Picasso and Rembrandt.

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Icarus by Jimmy Ernst

Icarus by Jimmy Ernst

Students Turn Their Ideas Into Products in Makerspace

Students work at computer terminals with assistance from AU faculty

An inaugural group of H.D. Woodson High School students visited campus six times to explore the role that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—subjects collectively known as STEM—play in today’s marketplace.

Guided by AU faculty, the students got hands-on practice with the tools of innovation and design at cutting-edge facilities like the Design and Build Lab.

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Law Students Teach Constitution at Area Schools

2017–2018 Marshall-Brennan Students at Washington College of Law

Never does understanding the Constitution of the United States seem more important than when it stands in greatest peril. Improving that understanding is a top goal of Washington College of Law’s (WCL) Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a nationally recognized legal education initiative with chapters in 19 law schools.

Established in 1999 by WCL faculty members Jamin Raskin and Stephen Wermiel, WCL/JD ’82, the project sends exceptional upper-level students to teach courses in constitutional law and oral advocacy at DC-area high schools, including Dunbar, Eastern, Wilson, Capital City Public Charter School, Paul Public Charter School, and School Without Walls.

The project culminates in the annual William H. Karchmer Moot Court Competition, which sends finalists to national competition.

The hope, says professor and project associate director Lisa M. Curtis, WCL ’11, is to reinforce high school students’ interest in pursuing legal education—and, more importantly, bolster in them “the belief that they can make a difference in promoting a fairer and more equitable society.”

Malala Named Wonk of the Year

Malala Yousafzai, champion of human rights and gender equity, received a standing ovation when presented with the 2017 Wonk of the Year Award. She gained global attention as an advocate for girls’ education after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 15.

“Imagine a life where your mind is just completely limited, where your world is very small. Knowledge and learning makes your world bigger, it makes your mind bigger—so be thankful for it,” she says.
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A Launch Pad for College and Life

Students from the Gap Program pose at the Russian Embassy

Through the School of Professional and Extended Studies’ Gap Program, high school students who want to take time off before going to college can try out the nation’s capital as they grow professionally and personally. Students intern in DC for real-world experience while they take intensive seminar classes in American politics, international affairs, or global business. The spring 2018 semester cohort had the opportunity to meet with Russian and Turkish diplomats and Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity experts and to tour the United States Institute of Peace.
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Food for Action

Jane Palmer makes a presentation

In Jane Palmer’s community-based research course, students work with DC organizations to confront endemic social problems. The course is part of Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS), a living-learning community program for first-year students that Palmer directs.

Palmer’s class focused on food insecurity and partnered with the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), which offers health-conscious cooking classes for young DC residents. AU students conducted survey and focus groups with local kids, and they found recurring challenges they presented to LAYC staff: DC families have limited time to prepare healthy meals; they live too far from grocery stores to gather all the necessary ingredients; and fast food is more easily accessible in urban neighborhoods.

AU student Kefai Debebe says the CBRS program perfectly comports with her career goals. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to learn about research and to apply the things that we’re learning in class directly into the community,” she says. “That’s the whole reason why I chose to come to AU.”

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DC Court Comes to the People

Merrick Garland speaks to Washington College of Law

The US Court of Appeals-DC Circuit heard oral arguments in USA v. Jamal and Electronic Privacy Information v. FAA at the Washington College of Law. A three-judge panel that included chief judge and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland presided over the cases.

“The chance to bring the court to . . . law students and others is a great way to let more people see their work and to understand what they do,” says WCL professor Stephen Wermiel.

Wilson Students See Reflections of Modern Life in new Othello

Student performance of Othello

Creatively staged with contemporary references, AU’s production of Shakespeare’s Othello brought to life familiar themes of jealousy, racism, and isolation to an audience of students from DC’s Wilson High School.

“The focus of this play is the black male. I know Wilson has a strong population of students of color, so I wanted the students to see the play in this context,” says Caleen Sinnette Jennings, professor of theater in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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