newsId: 31403C4F-5056-AF26-BECB4C93343D7A46
Title: Reformation Anniversary Provides Opportunity for Cross-Campus Collaboration
Author: Rev. Mark A. Schaefer
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Abstract: To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, AU held a series of events hosted by schools and programs across the campus.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 01/22/2018
Content:

"What are we doing to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation?" asked Ambassador Anthony Quainton, as he sat in then-university chaplain Rev. Joe Eldridge's office.

It was the spring semester of 2016, and I had happened upon this conversation when I stopped by Joe's office. I will admit that my first thought was: The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is next year? But as our conversation continued, I wondered if this might be the opportunity to do something special. What if we could use the occasion to do something truly worthy of a university and learn from the occasion?

I became university chaplain that September, and my first order of business was to hold a series of meetings with university officials and key community members. My purpose was not only to introduce myself, but to talk about my hopes for greater collaboration between Kay and the academic units.

As the conversation with a given dean wound up, I would float the idea. "Next year is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation," I'd say. "Do you think [insert college here] would be interested in participating in a campus-wide reflection?" Everyone agreed.

The following semester, I asked if they could find faculty who'd be interested in contributing. By the end of the process, I'd gotten interested faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, the School of International Service, the School of Professional and Extended Studies, the School of Public Affairs, the Washington College of Law, Wesley Theological Seminary, and the University Library.

We wound up with 15 events in total: four dialogues or panels, two table talks, a film screening, a lecture, a poetry workshop, a networking fair, an art exhibit, a moot court, two chapel services, and a concert. A truly interdisciplinary and varied approach to reflecting on a single subject.

So, what did we learn from all of this?

The Reformation Has Shaped Our Political Culture

What does a religious movement in 16th-century Germany have to do with the political culture in the United States? Quite a lot, argued School of Public Affairs professor Daniel Dreisbach in his table talk lecture, "The Reformation's Impact on American Political Culture." The Protestant Reformation was built on a number of key theological propositions, among which were the "Priesthood of all believers," meaning that every Christian was able to be their own priest, communing with God directly, and Sola scriptura, the doctrine that theological truth was derived from "scripture alone." No longer did one have to rely on clergymen to explain what the Bible said.

This led to the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, which spurred Christians to learn to read. Biblical literacy yielded a general literacy and a growth in education. That, said Professor Dreisbach, led to an educated populace, capable of republican self-government.

Indeed, in the early American republic, education and virtue were the twin pillars of republican self-government. John Adams remarked that the Bible was "the most republican book ever written," a declaration not of a Biblical warrant for republicanism, but a claim that the Bible nurtures the virtues that a self-governing people requires. This idea was so embedded in Protestant thinking that King George III is said to have referred to the American revolution as a "Presbyterian" revolt.

Of course, Protestant theology hasn't always been aligned with liberty. In a lunchtime roundtable conversation entitled "Protestantism, Racism, and Colonialism," professor of historical theology Beverly Mitchell and professor of systematic theology Josiah Young of Wesley Theological Seminary reflected on the ways that Protestant religious culture colluded with that most despicable of institutions: slavery. Mitchell and Young reflected that there was nothing intrinsic about Protestantism that led to slavery, but that Protestant Christians, deriving authority from the Bible alone, would look for Biblical warrants to defend the institution that was in their economic interest.

To be sure, most of the active abolitionists were Protestant, but American Protestantism has known its share of sin in our social and political life.

The Reformation Has Shaped Our World

SIS assistant dean Michael Schroeder and professor Jeff Bachman argued in their presentation, "From Westphalia to the Responsibility to Protect," that the entire international political order is a legacy of the Reformation. The Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years War-a decades-long religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics-helped create the modern nation-state as we know it.

SIS professor Daniel Bernhofen put together a panel presentation entitled "The Reformation: Institutional Change and State Capacity" and invited Professor Noel Johnson from George Mason University and Dr. Ralf Meisenzahl from the Federal Reserve to speak.

The shift away from the imperial confederation of the Holy Roman Empire to the emerging nation-state had tremendous implications for what states could do, Professor Johnson said. Systematic taxation developed, and with it arose state capacity. The state was now capable of doing more and required a greater bureaucracy to maintain. In short, it began to look much like the nation-states we know today.

Dr. Meisenzahl spoke to the question of how legal systems were affected by the Reformation. Whereas Canon Law had operated throughout Medieval Europe, the Reformers were tasked with developing their own legal codes. They sought to chart a new way forward that reflected their Protestant values and provided independence from the traditions of the past.

Nowhere were the changes in law more apparent than in the Washington College of Law's "Moot Court: Luther's Conviction on Appeal." The program, put together by Americans United for Separation of Church and State legal director and WCL adjunct professor Richard Katskee, featured two second-year law students, Brenna Culliton and Krista Ellis, arguing for the appellant Martin Luther and the appellee the Holy Roman Empire, respectively. They argued the case before a panel of three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit: Judge Tatel, Judge Pillard, and Judge Wilkins.

Both law students held their own in what the court acknowledged were two losing arguments. Arguing for separation of Church and State is a given in the modern world, but as the court so ably demonstrated, in the legal world of the emerging Reformation, such ideas were still well outside the mainstream.

The Reformation Has Shaped Our Work Life

The Reformation had an impact on the social fabric of the Western world as well. Key among the tenets of the Protestants was the idea of the "priesthood of all believers." In Luther's thinking, this meant that everyone was their own priest, their own intermediary between the human and the divine. Pastors were no longer required intermediaries between God and humanity. This also led to the increase in lay involvement in the life of the church.

It was with this in mind that the School of Professional and Extended Studies' Anna Beatty put together a "Priesthood of All Believers" lay networking fair. Organizations representing non-clergy religious vocations tabled in Mary Graydon, discussing with students-many of whom brought their resumes-opportunities for lay careers in religious work.

The Reformation Has Shaped Our Art

Traces of the Reformation can be seen in the English poetry of the period. College of Arts and Sciences professor Anita Sherman led a workshop, "Writing from the English Reformation," exploring the ways that themes of religious conflict, choice, and identity entered into the poetry of John Donne and George Herbert. Wrestling with religious identity was central in Donne's poetry, in which he uses satire and irony to personify different religious expressions as different kinds of women seeking his affections. What was a question of choice and identity for Donne is a settled affair for Herbert, whose attitudes toward the Roman church come through clearly in his writing.

In Germany, the Reformation played out in another art form: music. Perhaps the greatest composer of the Reformation period, Johann Sebastian Bach encoded Reformation theology into his very music. To explore this point, the American University Chamber Singers, directed by Daniel Abraham, put on a program entitled, "Bach, Luther, and the Reformation in Theology and Sound." The concert featured three different Bach pieces representing three different liturgical forms: the cantata, the motet, and the mass. Each piece reflects something of the Lutheran religious climate in which it was composed.


Professor Dan Abraham leads the AU Chamber Singers in singing Bach's Professor Dan Abraham leads the AU Chamber Singers in singing Bach's "Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild" during the Interfaith Chapel Service.

It was not poetry and music alone that were the fields in which Reformation ideas flourished and on which religious conflict was waged; the literature and the art of the day were also greatly affected. CAS professor April Shelford shared her observations in a lecture entitled, "The Power of Print: Religious Conflict during the Reformation." In her talk, Professor Shelford described the ways that the ability to mass produce literature not only stoked the fires of religious conflict as one side used the powerful new medium against the other, but also shaped new modes of expression. The broadside and pamphlet became far more prominent than the book and were easily disseminated, both allowing Reformation ideas to spread, but also making the conflict more immediate.

The Reformation Has Shaped Our Thinking

The impact that the printing press had on the Western world was at the heart of the School of Communications' program, put on by dean Jeff Rutenbeck and professor W. Joseph Campbell. Their talk, "Spurring the Reformation: Enduring Lessons of Media, Technology, and Disruption," focused on the disruptive nature of the Reformation, especially in its use of new media technology. Professor Campbell asked "Why Luther?" and "Why then?" He noted that earlier would-be reformers like Jan Hus had had ideas similar to Luther's but lacked the access to the print medium and its "accompanying social networks." This, coupled with protection from the Elector of Saxony Frederick the Wise, gave to Luther an opportunity to make lasting change that was denied to his forebears. Further, his use of the pamphlet and his writing his works in German, as opposed to the Latin used by the educated, meant that his writing would be available to a much larger audience.

But the lasting change would not be limited to the arenas discussed above. Dean Rutenbeck explored the idea that the Reformation and the print revolution it accompanied changed the way we think. Printing allowed for private-that is, silent-reading. What had once been a communal enterprise, where an educated person would read a text to a crowd of listeners, now became a private endeavor. Even in the abodes of the educated, such as monasteries and universities, reading was done out loud. But now, printing and the fact that Luther made use of pamphlets encouraged individual reading, and this opened the door to a new way of experiencing the world.

What We Learned and the Virtues of Our Enterprise

In the end, we learned a great deal. In reflecting, one truly comes to understand the richness of our university life. Our project all began with a simple question: "What are we doing to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation?" The answer to that question was the creation of a rich tapestry of reflection and interpretation, of art and music, of law and religion, of career discernment and cinematic presentation, all seeking to answer how an event begun 500 years ago continues to affect our world.

It is a reminder that there are rarely simple answers to complex questions, nor can history be reduced to cause and effect. The world we live in is more complicated, the issues we deal with are more nuanced. For that reason, institutions of higher education exist to prepare us to think critically, to probe deeply, and to resist the temptation toward facile simplicity. In exploring the question How has the Reformation affected our world? AU demonstrated the powerful way a university community can expand our thinking, challenge our understanding, and ultimately reveal the gift that is a higher education.

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Title: Caleen Jennings’ New Play Launches 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival
Author:
Subtitle: Critically acclaimed “Queens Girl in Africa” at Atlas Performing Arts Center
Abstract: Queens Girl in Africa, the latest play by AU Professor of Theatre, is premiering at the 2018 Women’s Voices festival.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 01/22/2018
Content:

In 2015, the New York Times described Queens Girl in the World as the breakout hit of DC's Women's Voices Theater Festival. The play, written by playwright and AU Professor of Theatre Caleen Sinette Jennings, was a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about a young black girl in New York in the 1960s.

Now, Jennings's follow-up play, Queens Girl in Africa, is premiering at the 2018 Women's Voices festival, this time at the Atlas Performing Arts Center through February 4. The play picks back up with teenager Jacqueline Marie Butler as she and her family spend three years in Nigeria following the assassination of her father's close friend, Malcolm X.

Jacqueline must navigate both personal challenges (fitting in at a new school, applying to college, falling in love) and societal challenges (a civil war in Nigeria and growing racial tension back in the United States). Dozens of characters (and dialects) are performed by Helen Hayes Award-winning actress Erika Rose in this coming-of-age comedy. 

Critical Acclaim

The reviews of Queens Girl in Africa are impressive. "Erika Rose...transitions with ease between numerous characters...Queens Girl is a joyful and engrossing window into a very personal story," writes Missy Frederick in DC Theatre Scene.

"Playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings serves up an ace with the world premiere of Queens Girl in Africa—a riveting, semi-autobiographical account of her experience living in Ibadan, Nigeria, in the 1960s. This production is a one-woman show starring Helen Hayes Award-winner Erika Rose, whose performance displays electrifying energy and range," writes Sherrita Wilkins in DC Metro Theater Arts.

Caleen Sinnette Jennings

Jennings is an actor, director, playwright, and a founding member of The Welders, a DC Playwrights' Collective. 

She received the Heideman Award from Actor's Theatre of Louisville for her play Classyass, which was produced at the 2002 Humana Festival and has been published in five anthologies. She is a two-time Helen Hayes Award nominee for Outstanding New Play. In 2003 she won the award for Outstanding Teaching of Playwriting from the Play Writing Forum of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education. In 1999 she received a grant from the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays for her play Inns & Outs. Her play Playing Juliet/Casting Othello was produced at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre. In 2012, Ms. Jennings' play Hair, Nails & Dress, was produced by Uprooted Theatre Company of Milwaukee and by the DC Black Theatre Festival. In 2014 she was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to write a stage adaptation of Walter Dean Myers' novel, Darius & Twig, which was produced at the Kennedy Center Family Theatre and will tour in 2018.

Jennings has been a professor of theatre in AU's Department of Performing Arts since 1989. In 2003, she received Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award. She has also been a faculty member of the Folger Shakespeare Library's Teaching Shakespeare Institute since 1994, and she was project manager on a 2016 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to the Folger titled Crosstalk: DC Reflects on Identity and Difference.

Women's Voices Theater Festival

The Women's Voices Theater Festival highlights both the scope of plays being written by women, and the range of professional theater being produced in and around the nation's capital. Led by the area's premiere theaters, including Arena Stage, Ford's Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the 2018 Festival will advance this mission with unprecedented collaboration across the DC artistic community, with 30 professional theaters producing plays by some of the nation's most talented and innovative female and female-identifying playwrights. 

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Title: Alum Lonnie Bunch Receives Ambassador of Arts Award
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: Bunch joins prestigious group honored by Washington Performing Arts
Abstract: College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Lonnie Bunch (BA history ’74 and MA history ’76) has been honored with the 2018 Ambassador of the Arts Award from Washington Performing Arts.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
Content:

College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Lonnie Bunch (BA history '74 and MA history '76) has been honored with the 2018 Ambassador of the Arts Award from Washington Performing Arts.

Bunch is the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which opened its doors to the public in September 2016. He is also a nationally known educator, curator, and author who has written extensively about the African American experience in the United States.

The Ambassador of Arts Award recognizes extraordinary achievement, service, and advocacy in the performing arts. Bunch was chosen for "his success in showcasing the transformative power of the performing arts and the role that African Americans played in shaping culture in America and around the world." Past recipients include American Grammy Award–winning soprano and recitalist Jessye Norman; legendary pianist, conductor, and educator Leon Fleisher; Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves.

The Making of a Museum

In 2005, Bunch was hired as the founding director of the NMAAHC, and tasked with doing everything necessary to open the museum. He developed the museum's vision and mission, raised more than $500 million, oversaw building design and construction, managed staffing and publicity, and built key partnerships across the nation—all while collecting thousands of artifacts documenting several centuries of African-American life, art, history, and culture.

Bunch is the former president of the Chicago Historical Society. During his 30-plus year career, he has held several positions at the Smithsonian Institution, including associate director for curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH), where he led the team that developed the major exhibition The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden. Prior to that, Bunch served as the assistant director for curatorial affairs at NMAH, where he developed the Smithsonian's America exhibition, which explored the history, culture, and diversity of the United States. He also served as the curator of history and program manager for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles.

Bunch will receive the award in a private ceremony at the National Building Museum at 6 pm on March 10.

Washington Performing Arts

As one of the most established and honored performing arts institutions in America, Washington Performing Arts celebrated its 50th Anniversary in the 2016-17 season, building upon a distinguished history of serving artists, audiences, students, and civic life. The city is truly its stage: in venues ranging from concert halls and clubs to public parks, it presents a tremendous range of artists and art forms, from the most distinguished symphony orchestras to both renowned and emerging artists in classical music, jazz, international genres, and dance.

Washington Performing Arts nourishes communities throughout the region by partnering with local organizations and other arts institutions, staging concerts and arts activities in the neighborhoods, involving internationally known main-stage performers in community programs, and presenting locally based artists to a wider audience. It also places a premium on establishing artists as a continuing presence in the lives of both young people and adults through sustained residencies and educational programs.

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Title: Men's Basketball Hosts Sustainability Game Night
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Abstract: Join fans on Monday night to celebrate basketball and sustainability
Topic: Environment
Publication Date: 01/19/2018
Content:

Fans in attendance at Bender Arena this Monday night will be part of American University's team for a sustainability win. Fans will learn how to bin-it-to-win-it for recycling and win big in energy reduction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The investigation was a collaboration between the Investigative Reporting Workshop, based at AU School of Communication, and The Washington Post. IRW senior editor and reporter John Sullivan we began leading this effort two years ago, after the paper won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as well as the 2015 George Polk Award for National Reporting for the database and a series of stories on fatal police force. The staff who won the Pulitzer included an AU graduate student who was in the practicum, Derek Hawkins, who now works at the Washington. Anthony is an IRW fellow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

Whether it be through its accredited certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for undergraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world-class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. To learn more about how alumni of the School of Professional & Extended Studies are empowering changemakers throughout Washington DC and beyond, visit http://www.american.edu/spexs/news/index.cfm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's also part of a larger problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How would you describe the field of environmental economics?

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

Why is environmental economics a critical area of study?

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

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

How do environmental economics encourage sustainable economic growth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Title: Bill Gentile Releases New Short Documentary: "Fire and Ice on the Mountain"
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Abstract: American University professor Bill Gentile has released "Fire and Ice on the Mountain," a short documentary film exploring the intersection of climate change and religion in Peru.
Topic: Journalism
Publication Date: 01/16/2018
Content:

The original story was published on the Pulitzer Center website.

American University professor Bill Gentile has released "Fire and Ice on the Mountain," a short documentary film exploring the intersection of climate change and religion in Peru. Gentile teams up with Swedish anthropologist Karsten Paerregaard to find out how the melting glacier of the Huaytapallana mountain impacts Peruvians' cosmovision, their spiritual relationship with nature and their understanding of their place in it. People also rely on the glacier as a water source during the melting season, but the glacier has lost half of its total size, causing the government to double down on conservation efforts.

Gentile, in the documentary, describes how the melting glaciers of the mountain is a complex problem and that it impacts not only spiritual leaders, but the Roman Catholic Church as well as government officials. The short documentary was produced on assignment for American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS).

At AU, Gentile teaches video backpack journalism in English and in Spanish in the journalism program. He also fostered the relationship between the School of Communication and the Pulitzer Center, establishing the AU Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium International Reporting Student Fellowship.

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

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

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

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

A Wake-Up Call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual Platforms and Empowerment

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

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

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

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

Connections and Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AU: How did you choose American University?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going to the awards ceremony was an added bonus.

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Investigative Reporting Workshop,Journalism,School of Communication
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Title: Welcoming the Newest Alumni Board Members
Author: Carlita Pitts
Subtitle:
Abstract: Meet the university's next alumni leaders.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/11/2018
Content:

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

New members include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These members join the following current board members:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Career centers, at universities and elsewhere, could put together some job search mentoring or peer group programs to help job seekers navigate the ups and downs that come with the territory of searching for a job."  
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Title: Student Covers the Human Impact of Ending TPS for Salvadorans
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Journalism student Ambar Pardilla talked to families in the DC area who have built a life on TPS.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
Content:

The impact on Salvadoran families from President Donald Trump's decision to end Temporary Protective Status for Salvadorans can be glimpsed through reporting by American University School of Communication (SOC) student Ambar Pardilla for NBC4. Read the article: 'This Is Our Home': DC-Area Immigrants Worry Ahead of Temporary Protected Status Decision

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

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

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

In summer 2017, Pardilla was selected for the highly competitive POLITICO Journalism Institute program, which aims to increase and support diversity in Washington newsrooms. She says she grew professionally from the experience, and that it also afforded her the opportunity to learn what it was like to be a minority in a newsroom. "I definitely got a sense of how our experiences as minorities can shape and even better our reporting," she said.

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Title: Meet AU SOC’s New Comedian in Residence
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Bethany Hall, a talented comedy writer and performer, will work on the Center for Media & Social Impact’s “The Laughter Effect” initiative
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
Content:

Bethany Hall has worked in philanthropy, and she can tell a joke. She was inclined to merge the two-comedy with a social conscience-but the idea remained dormant for a while. Then, while working at the Atlantic Philanthropies, Hall saw American University professor Caty Borum Chattoo speak at the Frank conference for public interest communications in Florida. Suddenly, Hall's hunches were confirmed.

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

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

Rethinking Your Role

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

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

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

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

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

Shower Jokes, Stages, and Studios

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

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


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

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

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

A Fish Called Fey

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

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

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

Finding Her Voice

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

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


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

Nothing Unusual

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

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

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

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