newsId: 351FD869-E62F-7170-ADD702B77DA26DDF
Title: In Honduras, Anti-Corruption Effort Makes Headway, but Its Future in Doubt, Report Reveals
Author: Natasha Abel
Subtitle:
Abstract: Independent report reveals that an anti-corruption effort in Honduras makes headway, but its future in doubt.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 07/20/2018
Content:

American University’s Center for Latin American & Latino Studies has released the results of a new report that assesses the gains and challenges of the Mission in Support of the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras. MACCIH was launched in 2016 under the auspices of the Organization of American States, in response to civil society mobilizations to demand an end to rampant corruption, including the illegal appropriation of public funds for political campaigns and the personal enrichment of elites. It aims to assist Honduran prosecutors in the investigation of corruption and to bring perpetrators to justice. 

The report reviews the first two years of the mission’s four-year mandate, and found that MACCIH has suffered serious setbacks due to the actions of Honduras’s political elite, even while it has enabled prosecutors to bring forth corruption charges against several prominent figures who previously enjoyed impunity. “The mission remains as important as ever,” said Charles Call, professor at AU’s School of International Service and the author of the report. “However, its future is uncertain and depends on continued funding from the U.S. government and the international community.”

Based on dozens of interviews conducted by Call and CLALS researchers with stakeholders and analysts in Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States, the report surveys the difficult landscape that MACCIH has encountered, and details the significant obstacles presented by Honduran political elites and by the OAS itself. The report also compares MACCIH to its counterpart International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, and analyzes the politics of international anti-corruption missions themselves. 

MACCIH was founded through an agreement between the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, and the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, in response to a series of street protests that denounced the government’s involvement in embezzlement from the country’s largest health institution, the Honduran Social Security Institute. Tens of thousands of Hondurans marched to demand the establishment of an independent, international mission similar to the United Nations-sponsored CICIG, which successfully prosecuted and jailed the Guatemalan president and high-level public officials involved in corruption scandals. Many Hondurans hoped that the international monitoring mission would help to fight that nation’s endemic government corruption and that it would lead to the ouster of President Hernández.

“Given the importance of the mission to the people of Honduras and to the struggle against impunity and corruption across Central America, CLALS and its team of researchers will continue to offer rigorous academic and analytical information on the work of MACCIH,” said Eric Hershberg, Director of CLALS. 

The current report was made possible by a grant from the Open Society Foundations. More information about this project can be found on the project website

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newsId: 32E0235A-E0F4-6520-93E17EF23AF888E4
Title: AU Professor Appointed New Program Director at National Science Foundation
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: Saldanha will help oversee next generation of science research
Abstract: Professor of Biology Colin Saldanha has been appointed a program director for the NSF. He will be on a team that oversees neuroscience grants.
Topic: Science
Publication Date: 07/20/2018
Content:

Every day, American lives are improved through scientific breakthroughs and innovations: new medications, advanced cancer treatments, cleaner air and water, improved cybersecurity, more sustainable agriculture, and faster and safer transportation.

But how does all this research get funded?

One way is through the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides one-fourth of all federal support to academic institutions for scientific and engineering research. NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year. It funds around 11,000. It’s a rigorous and competitive process, and each proposal is evaluated by teams of leading experts in their fields.

This summer, AU Biology Professor Colin Saldanha will join one of these teams. He has been appointed a program director in the Neural Systems Cluster of the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems; Biological Sciences Directorate. In this role, he will work with three other directors to solicit, advise, and organize the review of all NSF grant neuroscience proposals.

“This is very exciting news. Dr. Saldanha is a premier behavioral endocrinologist, and his studies of the protective effects of estrogen on traumatic brain injury and other sources of neurodegeneration are known world-wide,” says Terry Davidson, director of American University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. “His status as a scientist and his years of experience with grant evaluation for high-impact journals and agencies such as the National Institutes of Health make him a perfect choice for his new role.”

In Support of Good Science

At the National Science Foundation, Saldanha's team decides what research to support,” he says. “Our job is to look for good science and support it, because we are taking care of taxpayer money. Ultimately, we are working for the American taxpayers.”

At the National Science Foundation, Saldanha’s team will solicit proposals for neural system research—specifically, research on the nervous system’s organization, activation, and modulation. This type of research can have wide-ranging effects on our understanding of the nervous system and related diseases. 

Saldanha’s team will put together scientific review panels of experts from across the country to evaluate each proposal. He and his team will oversee the work of the panels, evaluate their conclusions, and make recommendations about which projects should receive funding.

“This is how the NSF decides what research to support,” he says. “Our job is to look for good science and support it, because we are taking care of taxpayer money. Ultimately, we are working for the American taxpayers.”

Songbirds, Estrogen, and the Brain

At American University, Saldanha is a professor of biology and was recently the director of the undergraduate neuroscience major. His research focuses on neuroendocrinology, neuroscience, and neuroplasticity and how hormones interact. He has long studied songbirds in his lab, focusing on how the hormone estrogen can prevent brain inflammation in the birds’ brains. His work is paving the way for mammal studies, which could lead to groundbreaking human therapies to slow brain degeneration and inflammation.

Saldanha’s published research shows that estrogen can protect the brain of zebra finches from dangerous inflammation after traumatic injury. His findings may have future implications for recovery in humans after strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological injuries. His most recent research, published last year in Scientific Reports, goes even further, suggesting that estrogen might also prevent neuroinflammation after viral and bacterial disease.

Saldanha will continue his research in his AU lab during his term at the National Science Foundation, and he will remain on the faculty at American University. “The appointment allows me two months per year to work on my own research,” he says. “And I’ll be here on campus every Friday to oversee research—and to check on the birds.”

Davidson says Saldanha’s appointment will highlight the work of AU professors and research. “In selecting Dr. Saldanha, the National Science Foundation brings recognition to American University as a place that has outstanding scientists as members of its faculty."

For Saldanha, the appointment is a great opportunity for himself, and also for the university. “It’s a way of stepping back from my little corner of science and looking at things from 20,000 feet,” he says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get a larger view of how things work and to bring back that knowledge to American University.”

Tags: Biology,Biology Dept,Center for Behavioral Neuroscience,College of Arts and Sciences,Faculty,Neuroscience,Neuroscience Program
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newsId: FBB7CDDE-9851-4D95-2A976CBEA9E4C234
Title: Students and Faculty Attend NAHJ Convention
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: Four students and faculty advisor Bill Gentile will be attending the NAHJ Convention in Miami.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/19/2018
Content:

Four students from American University School of Communication’s (AU SOC) newly formed National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) chapter are attending this year’s NAHJ convention July 18-21 in Miami where they will be joined by SOC professor and chapter advisor Bill Gentile.

The convention features training sessions and workshops led by journalists of color. The students, Krystal Campos, Elizabeth Lizama, Kristian Hernandez, and Laura Romero, will have the opportunity to attend training sessions covering topics ranging from freelance work to the future of innovation. There is also a career expo where participants get to network with recruiters.

Students will also have the opportunity to connect with SOC alumni, including NAHJ National President Brandon Benavides, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, who graduated from SOC’s MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program. Executive producer of Good Morning San Antonio at KSAT12 (ABC), Benavides was the president of the NAHJ Washington D.C. chapter for four years where he created members monthly activities, an annual fundraiser called “Noche de Periodistas,” and a joint job fair with the D.C. chapter presidents of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJH), the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), the Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ), and more.

Gentile says that the AU NAHJ chapter is excited to welcome new members this fall and help Hispanic and Latino journalists sharpen their skills and create media that matters.

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newsId: C88D7C1B-F54C-0892-2138E7C16BB819FE
Title: From Student Leader to AU Community Leader
Author: Alicia Kubert, SOC/MA '10
Subtitle:
Abstract: Whether it’s supporting his fellow students or engaging the DC Young Alumni Community, Ritanch Hans, SIS/BA '13, Kogod/MA '15, has always made his AU family a focus.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 07/18/2018
Content:

By day, Ritanch Hans, SIS/BA '13, Kogod/MA '15, is a consultant with Grant Thornton. He also, however, lives and breathes American University. At Grant Thornton, Ritanch’s newest project has him working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, assisting individuals impacted by Hurricane Irma in facilitating reimbursements.

As an AU student, Ritanch was captain of the bhangra team, worked the overnight desk at the library, was a financial administrator for the office of student activities, and was an involved student leader. As an alumnus, he remains an engaged member of the AU community, and in fact, he was recently elected president of the DC Young Alumni Community (DCYAC)

We caught up with him this summer to find out more about his work with the DCYAC. Here’s what he had to say:

How did you get involved in the DCYAC?
After I graduated with my master’s, I still wanted to stay involved with AU. I had a friend who was always posting about DCYAC events, but it took a while before I got involved at first, as I was under the impression you had to pay to join. FYI, it’s free to join. I’ve been involved for nearly two years now because I really feel like I owe so much to AU for all it’s given to me. I just want to make sure I’m able to present the alumni community the best way I can. 

What are you most excited about for the DCYAC this year? 
We do a bunch of different events throughout the year, including happy hours, going to Nationals games…We’ve even done Bollywood workouts together. We just had our welcome to the neighborhood event, which had 100+ people in attendance and are thinking of planning a trip to a biergarten, as well as a happy hour during All-American Weekend with the New York Young Alumni Chapter. It’s amazing. You get to meet new people and reconnect with others—you know, there are always those people you had in class that you never had a chance to speak to and now you do. 

I don’t want to just do the typical events. I want to also do events that stand out and reflect AU’s diversity. We need to start doing events tailored to our diverse crowd. I love being at AU events, because I have a lot in common with AU people.

Any recommendations for those interested in getting involved? 
I always describe the DCYAC as a group of AU alums who loved our time at AU and are looking to give back to the community. Besides the DCYAC, though, there are so many ways to get involved through the alumni association—from volunteer opportunities to networking and even mentoring of students. I’ve been mentoring through Kogod this past year, and it’s been an amazing experience. Just get involved. The alumni network is a great resource. 

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newsId: 9E530357-DF9A-F270-F016669EF15FBABB
Title: Eagle Summit 2018: What's New?
Author: Shea Connelly
Subtitle:
Abstract: As a successful Eagle Summit season comes to an end, learn about new features of this year's events, such as the kickoff of the first-year advising program.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/17/2018
Content:

Over six sessions in June and July, hundreds of incoming first-year students flooded the American University campus to participate in Eagle Summit. The two-day orientation gives new Eagles the opportunity to get to know the AU campus and culture, spend the night in a residence hall, and connect with their classmates before the fall semester begins. 

From the hearty welcome participants received in the amphitheater, where they first met their orientation leaders, to programming centered around social issues, diversity and inclusion, academics, and more, attendees - along with parents and guests - were immersed in all things AU. 

"Our goal with orientation is for students to feel comfortable being on campus," said Jennifer Johnson, director of orientation, transition, and retention. "The budding friendships are a huge piece, spending facetime with academic advisors, and making sure they feel ready for what their course schedule holds."

Participation in an Eagle Summit is not required, but Johnson said last year just over 94 percent of the incoming class attended. And though orientation occurs in a similar format every summer, Johnson and her colleagues consistently use feedback from students and guests to ensure sessions are closely geared toward incoming students' wants and needs.

"This year, we really made it a point to focus the first day of Eagle Summit to really be about the student as a person and as a member of our AU community," Johnson said. This was reflected in the day one programming centered on life in the residence halls, dining, community standards, campus safety, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Day two focused on the attendees' academic lives.

"A lot of times students come in, and they're thinking about classes and the rigor rather than, 'I'm going to be sharing a bathroom with people,'" Johnson said. "So day one was focusing on them as a whole student and day two was about academics."

   

One of the most significant changes in recent years goes into effect this year: the first-year advising program. As a development brought about by the RiSE Initiative, incoming students will all have first-year academic advisors who are also their AUx1 instructors. This means first-year students will have consistent, weekly contact with their advisors. This frequent contact will foster close, meaningful relationships, enabling advisors to recognize and respond to individual student needs.

This year's incoming first-year students met their advisors for the first time at Eagle Summit, where they learned more about the new advising experience and reviewed their course schedules.

Also new this year: an online orientation, intended to be complementary to the Eagle Summit experience. The 30-40-minute web-based application drives home many of the topics students discussed during their two days on campus. The in-person experience, while informative, can be overwhelming, Johnson explained. The online orientation provides the opportunity to fully absorb the information.

After the June and July Eagle Summits wrapped up last week, Fanta Aw, PhD, vice president of campus life and inclusive excellence, celebrated the success of six sessions of comprehensive programming.

"Eagle Summit is a time for incoming students to learn about AU's values, our expectations, and our commitment as an institution," said Aw, who is also Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer at SIS. "Students and families had an opportunity to establish authentic and meaningful relationships and to begin to connect with their new home. The program was very well received, and it truly took a village." 

Eagle Summit, Take Two

For current AU students who look back fondly on their Eagle Summit experience, the orientation leader program offers the opportunity to relive it.

"Our orientation leaders are the hallmark of our program. Research has shown that learning from a peer experience is much more effective than having staff speaking to students," Johnson said. "Especially about social issues." 

Orientation leader applications will open in late November or early December and are generally due when students return to campus after winter break. The full process includes an application, GPA verification, a group interview process, and an individual interview process.

"It's a highly competitive position and a pretty substantial time commitment," Johnson said. "We tend to see people apply for the position because they had such wonderful Eagle Summit experiences themselves."
 

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Title: Simulated Worlds: The Model G20 Initiative Gets Students Thinking Like Real Diplomats
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: The SIS program will hold the special conference this October.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 07/17/2018
Content:

The Model G20 Initiative is a program launched by American University’s School of International Service, and AU students are already ramping up for the October 2018 event.

Organizers of the conference simulate a real-life G20 summit, and Cecilia Nahón, Model G20 Initiative executive director, vouches for its authenticity. She’s well-positioned to know: Nahón was formerly Argentina’s ambassador to the US, and she spent four years as her country’s Sherpa (i.e., a delegation head) at the actual G20.

“Last year we were all very impressed with how realistic the simulation was. It really felt like we were on the G20 for a while,” she recalls.

The goal, Nahón says, is to get students thinking—and participating—like skilled diplomats confronting a variety of global challenges.

“We really aim to prepare future leaders to pursue international negotiations in a more effective way—understanding the other countries’ positions and interests,” she says. “Defending their national interests, but also striving for the common good. So we believe that these experiential learning experiences provide our students different types of skills that compliment their theoretical, economic, and research knowledge.”

In addition to Nahón’s leadership, SIS faculty member Andrew Spath is the Model G20 Initiative’s associate director.

Collaboration and Consensus

Last year, a group of mostly SIS students comprised the country team of Germany, which held the G20 presidency. This year, a similar group will represent Argentina, the current G20 chair. Model G20 teams include students from across AU and other universities, and young professionals at DC institutions such as the World Bank also participated.

Replicating the actual G20 structure, conferences proceed along two tracks: Finance and Sherpa. The topics for Sherpa are climate change and energy, gender equality, and migration and refugees. For Finance, they cover the future of work, international trade and tariffs, and global tax cooperation.

Whatever the topic, collaboration is the name of the game. “We most pride ourselves on the ability to provide a place for delegates to learn negotiation skills, and learn how to cooperate with people,” says Mya Zemlock, an SIS student who helped write the final communiqué.

“Students are really pushed to keep on negotiating for common solutions, even though they may come from very different starting points. Unless all the countries approve—for example, a position on international trade or global tax cooperation—the issues are not solved,” says Nahón.

The final communiqué is crucial, as the G20 leaders draft a statement addressing their views on issues and shared commitments. The communiqué ensures that all countries and stakeholders must forge consensus.

Extreme Pressures and Language

Hammering out that communiqué is tougher than outsiders assume. It underlines—and gives students newfound appreciation for—the extreme pressures real diplomats face.

“You have to carry yourself in a specific way. You have to watch every word that you say, because as you can see in the communiqué, people are fighting over words. Just specific words that they don’t want,” explains Zemlock. “And countries may go back and forth for 20 minutes about one word.”

Before the Model G20, students extensively research the country that they’ll represent. This can include working with government officials, as the German and Chinese embassies in Washington helped out last year.

With each team protecting its own interests, disagreements are inevitable once proceedings get underway. The German team, for instance, started with substantial ideological differences from the US on immigration and climate change.

“The University of Houston delegation representing the United States was convinced that the Paris climate agreement was bad for all the countries, and they wanted to withdraw,” recalls Kris Trivedi, a senior SIS student who served as Germany’s Sherpa. “As Germany, we worked with several of the European allies, as well as China and India, to try to get the room to agree that action on climate change needs to happen.”

The 2017 Model G20 occurred after the real G20 proceedings, and Trivedi calls this both a curse and a blessing. On one hand, you can get boxed into a position. But with the benefit of hindsight, you can purposely avoid perceived missteps that countries made.

“In working on climate change, we didn’t want to single out the United States. That’s what actually happened in Hamburg, where a special line in the communiqué said the United States was not involved in any of this. So we were trying to prevent that from happening in the simulation,” he says.

Students are sometimes forced to argue positions they don’t personally agree with, but that can be a valuable part of the experience. “I have friends who are rather conservative who participated last year and represented a country that was very progressive or liberal leaning. And it becomes difficult,” Zemlock says. “But if you’re able to do it, and you’re able to do it well, it means that you’ve done your research. It means that you’re developing your public speaking skills. It means that you’re working toward collaboration over anything else.”

Becoming Diplomats

Both Zemlock and Trivedi believe Model G20 provides quality career preparation. Trivedi is set to graduate in December, and he’s considering work in diplomacy or the think tank world. Zemlock, a rising junior, has a regional focus on Russia, and she’s open to policy work in this area.

In advance of the October Model G20, AU students are already researching issues pertinent to Argentina. Beyond direct homework, they’ve gained a better grasp—as news consumers and global citizens—of high-stakes international negotiations.

“I’ll sit with my dad now and there will be something on the news about, ‘The US won’t endorse the final G7 communiqué.’ And I would go, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a big deal!’ And he’ll say, ‘Explain this to me,’” says Trivedi. “Having done Model G20, it’s become less of an abstract concept.”

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Title: American University Journalism Professor to Receive NABJ’s Ida B. Wells Award
Author: AJ Springer
Subtitle:
Abstract: Efforts to improve newsroom diversity earn AU SOC professor John Watson national honor.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 07/17/2018
Content:

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will honor American University School of Communication Professor Dr. John Watson with the Ida B. Wells Award, the organization announced today. 

The annual award is given to individuals who make exceptional efforts to make the journalism profession more diverse.

For Watson, diversity in journalism is something that cannot be separated from the industry’s ability to tell more vibrant and truthful stories that reflect the community’s served by local, state and national media. 

“Newsroom diversity, to me is not primarily a social, political or moral value,” Watson said. “It is a professional value that is indispensable to our duty to identify important issues and report on them truthfully. A diverse newsroom has an enhanced ability to see the issues of importance for more of society’s segments and moves closer to achieving the 360 degrees of perspective that are essential to truth telling.”

Despite no longer being in the newsroom, Watson continues to open doors for the next generation of journalists. In addition to his teaching duties in the School of Communication, Watson is the faculty advisor for American University’s student newspaper, The Eagle, The BlackPrint and the campus chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists . 

“The School of Communication Journalism Division is thrilled the world gets to see what we have known about Dr. Watson all along," said Journalism Division Director Amy Eisman. "Dr. Watson is a journalist, professor and scholar who has devoted his professional life to ensuring journalists of color not only have a seat at the table, but a voice and support. John has made this effort his focus, regardless of whether he was a reporter, editor or teacher."

Watson will receive the Ida B. Wells Award Friday, Aug. 3 at the 2018 NABJ Convention and Career Fair during the Hall of Fame Luncheon in Detroit. The Award’s namesake Ida B. Wells, was a distinguished journalist, fearless reporter and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University co-curates the award with NABJ. 

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Title: Alumni Take Awards at Cannes Festivals
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: Five SOC alumni had their projects screened at two Cannes events in 2018, ranging from a virtual reality film to an international campaign featuring Kesha.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/16/2018
Content:

This year, five American University School of Communication (AU SOC) alumni had their projects screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, ranging from an immersive virtual reality (VR) film set in a war zone to a major motion picture produced by Spike Lee to an international campaign featuring pop star Kesha.

Lagan Sebert, who received his MA in Journalism and Public Affairs, and Brandon Bloch, who received his MA in Film and Video Production, won a Gold Lion, three Silver Lions and one Bronze Lion at Cannes at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity for a music video featuring Kesha for MGM Resorts International’s Universal Love campaign. It focuses on broadening inclusion and celebrating love within the LGBTQ+ community.

The team took home a Gold Lion for Brand Experience and Activation, three Silver Lions in Brand Experience and Activation, Entertainment, and Entertainment Lions for Music. They also won a Bronze Entertainment Lion for Music. Sebert and Bloch founded a production company, Magic Seed, and have worked together on several projects, including the MTV series Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life.

The movie "BlacKKKlansman," cowritten by Charlie Wachtel, who earned his BA in Film and Media Arts at SOC, and his writing partner, David Rabinowitz, won two awards: Grand Prize of the Jury and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. Based on the true story of an African-American police officer successfully who manages to infiltrate and become the head of a Ku Klux Klan chapter, it is produced by Academy Award nominee Jordan Peele and Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Spike Lee as well as Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, and Shaun Redick. It stars John David Washington, Adam Driver, Corey Hawkins, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. It will be released in theaters in the US on August 10.

Another pair of SOC alumni, Emiliano Ruprah and Jean-Paul Polo, screened their VR film “War Tourist,” which Ruprah directed and Polo produced. War Tourist is an immersive 360 film shot in and around Mosul during the offensive to retake the city from ISIS. The war documentary and personal critique on the motives behind filming war grew out of Ruprah’s graduate capstone at SOC.

The 29-minute film follows a rookie war journalist as he goes deeper and deeper into the “heart of darkness” to understand the conflict at the frontlines. Coming face to face with a violent act forces him to question his understanding of the conflict and propel him to reassess his own role in the conflict.

Learn more about film and journalism at AU SOC.

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Title: The Pace of Nonprofit Media Growth is Picking Up
Author: Charles Lewis
Subtitle:
Abstract: Charles Lewis explains how and why nonprofits and foundations are giving money to media outlets.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/13/2018
Content:

This article was originally published on The Conversation

The man best known for founding the digital classified listing service Craigslist recently gave a New York City journalism school US$20 million. His gift was big enough to prompt rebranding at what will now be called the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

Newmark’s big gift made a big splash, but charitable gifts that support the media are pretty common. Some 6,568 foundations gave nonprofit media outlets a total of $1.8 billion distributed between 2010 and 2015, according to a recent study.

All that largesse is responding to the loss of hundreds of newspapers and 35,000 newsroom employees since 2006, according to Pew Research Center analysis of federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data. I believe this workforce erosion endangers all Americans because accurate and timely information is the lifeblood of any democracy. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Nonprofit media proliferation

Back when I founded the Center for Public Integrity, one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations, at my home in 1989, it was just the third of its kind in the whole country. Two decades later, when I co-founded what later morphed into the Institute for Nonprofit News, there were at least 27 of these operations.

According to Sue Cross, the institute’s executive director and CEO, there are approximately 270 U.S. nonprofit news sites today, 165 of which are annual dues-paying members of her organization. Some are small with a handful of staffers. A few are much bigger.

After the cable TV entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest bought Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers – The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and their joint website, philly.com – in 2016, he donated them to the Philadelphia Foundation. The nonprofit Lenfest Institute for Journalism, to which he has donated $129.5 million, oversees the papers.

I expect nonprofit daily news sites of that kind to become more common due to the collapse of commercial newspaper and television newsroom staff levels, which have weakened news coverage capacities.

Where the money goes

Public media operations like National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service and individual broadcast stations get nearly half of the media funding foundations parcel out: $800 million, or 44.3 percent of that $1.8 billion distributed between 2010 and 2015, according to a study from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern University’s School of Journalism.

National nonprofit media organizations such as ProPublica and the Center for Investigative Reporting took in $220 million. Local nonprofit news outfits pulled in $80 million, and university-based journalism initiatives drew $36 million in grants over this same period.

In general, national nonprofit media outlets attract more funding than local news operations. This lack of support for local news is coinciding with an increase in the number of “news deserts,” regions without viable commercial or nonprofit news organizations.

This serious problem isn’t a surprise, given the disparities in terms of everything from the quality of trained medical personnel and facilities, to online internet access and per capita income between America’s rural and urban communities.

For visual data representations see a study on non-profit funding of journalism by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern University’s School of Journalism.

Driving growth

Why are foundations, individual philanthropists and now states pouring more money into the media? The answer is very simple. Without credible news and information, and thus a public that’s at least somewhat informed about the uses and abuses of power, a healthy democracy is not possible.

Maybe because his website took a big bite out of newspapers’ classified advertising revenue by digitally connecting buyers and sellers, which makes him at least indirectly responsible for some of the media’s decline, Newmark is clearly worried about that problem.

“In this time, when trustworthy news is under attack, somebody has to stand up,” he told The New York Times. “And the way you stand up these days is by putting your money where your mouth is.”

Cross, a former Associated Press executive, says donations to her organization’s member organizations began to surge at the end of 2016.

“Initially we thought that might be prompted by reaction to (President Donald) Trump’s attacks on the press,” she told me. “We now believe it is a broader and more sustained growth in nonprofit news fueled in good part by community concern over continuing losses of reporting by the traditional press.”

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Title: Diving in Deep at Interface Media Group
Author: Ari Beser
Subtitle:
Abstract: Dean's Intern Ari Beser shares his experience working at Interface Media Group
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/13/2018
Content:

Below is a first person account from Dean's Intern Ari Beser on his internship with the Interface Media Group. This was originally published on the SOC Dean's Internship blog

How are you supposed to write about an internship you’ve had to sign multiple non-disclosure agreements to accept? The answer is, carefully. Interface Media Group, or IMG for short, is a commercial production company. We produce everything from advertisements for TV, radio, and the web, as well as interactive displays and exhibits for live experiences and museums.

IMG doesn’t pick sides, and works on political spots on both sides of the aisle with their in-house studio. They also edit and review content for air with clients like National Geographic, the Smithsonian Channel, and PBS. A team here recently completed all of the promotion material for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary series "The Vietnam War," including a documentary within the documentary, revealing the behind the scenes of the iconic director’s team’s process.

I was hired for the summer to shadow Jordana Well, Creative Director of Experience Design. Jordana has a finger in pretty much every department here at IMG, and now, so do I. Jordana’s primary role is to create media experiences, which can sometimes include videos– like the one at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, for example.

In my short time here at IMG, Jordana has thrown me “in the deep end,” as she likes to say. My first day I was informed I would produce an entire video for a client, and I saw it through to the very end, sitting in with the editors and audio technicians to make sure the look and the feel of the video stayed consistent with Jordana’s and my vision. At the same time, I began research and started to conceptualize a game that will be used in a new museum exhibit. Because Jordana’s projects often overlap, I was also asked to associate-produce (AP) a shoot for a national commercial for a medical association, and sat through the entire process of editing, audio design and mixing, and color correcting.

IMG promised me an atypical internship experience and they have delivered. I do not retrieve coffee or print papers for executives, though I did once order the catering for the entire cast and crew of our commercial shoot. My first day, Jordana remarked that she wanted me on real projects to do real work, “you are so much more than an intern,” she assured me, “you can handle this.” Her faith in my ability to accept challenges and take on real projects has been the most rewarding part of the job.

My NDA is binding about works in progress. However, once we the video is published, we are free to talk about it. To see what I’ve been working on watch the video I helped create for the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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Title: New AU Master’s Degree Program Prepares Students for Number One Job in the U.S.
Author:
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Abstract: The demand for data scientists is “astronomical and growing,” according to Jeff Gill, distinguished professor at the AU School of Public Affairs (SPA) and the director of the school's new Center for Data Science.
Topic: Education
Publication Date: 07/13/2018
Content:

The demand for data scientists is “astronomical and growing,” according to Jeff Gill, distinguished professor at the AU School of Public Affairs (SPA) and the director of the school's new Center for Data Science. Data scientist has been ranked the number one job in America for the last three consecutive years, with a median base salary of $120,931. A 28 percent increase in data science jobs has been predicted by 2020.

This week, SPA and the AU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) together will launch a new Master of Science in Data Science degree program to prepare students for this expanding field. Gill and Jane Wall, assistant professor in the CAS Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will serve as the program’s co-directors. Classes start in the fall.

Although the 20th century was intellectually marked by advances in engineering, physics, and chemistry, Gill said data experts can help social sciences push research forward.

“The 21st century is the data century — there is no dispute about that,” said Gill, who has a partial appointment in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and helped design the curriculum. “The rapid change in computing resources will lead to gigantic leaps in intellectual progress and discoveries in business, economics, sociology, psychology, political science, and related fields.”

At its core, the new program will cover statistical methods and programming, regression, statistical machine learning, and political analysis. Also part of the curriculum is R, a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. Each student will take a base curriculum of statistics and computational courses then choose an applied specialty track from fields such as economics, business, political science, and environmental science. As the program matures, other tracks will be added to take advantage of expertise from across the university.

"I can't think of a single discipline that doesn't benefit from data science," said Wall. "No matter what your passion might be, you can always add data science skills and be that much more valuable to your employer."

The program is expected to appeal to working professionals looking to add to their skill sets as well as recent college graduates and current students in the AU Graduate Certificate Program for Data Science. The certificate program, which Wall started in 2017, received an overwhelmingly positive response. As a result, it has become the technical core for the new MS in Data Science degree program.

Upon completion, graduates will have high-tech skills, but Gill said the data science master’s degree is designed to have a “gentle on-ramp” to attract those with humanities degrees as well as more tech-oriented students. It is uniquely positioned between AU’s data business analytics program and master’s program in statistics. It will include a capstone experience working in a consulting lab for hands-on experience on a variety of projects.

Gill and Wall credit the support of SPA Dean Vicky Wilkins and CAS Dean Peter Starr, along with many faculty members across the university, with working together to introduce the new program.

Discussion of an MS in Data Science program goes back about three years, but plans coalesced following Gill’s arrival last year. He came to SPA from Washington University in St. Louis in the fall of 2017 and was on leave in the spring working at Harvard University. He studies people through biomedical and social science research. Gill’s current applied research ranges from the development of synthetic blood to pediatric trauma brain injuries to terrorism.

Wall’s background is in computational neuroscience, and her research interests include machine learning and data ethics. She is interested in how data science has a broad range of applications, from music to medicine—and everything in between.

Learn more about the program or apply today.

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Title: American University Faculty at UFVA 2018 Conference
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: SOC faculty will be attending the UFVA Conference from July 23-26, 2018.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/12/2018
Content:

American University (AU) School of Communication (SOC) faculty will be attending the 72nd annual University Film & Video Association (UFVA) conference from July 23-26, 2018. This conference focuses on encouraging film and video production at universities, furthering the development of motion picture or television media, and sharing new ideas in various aspects of film and video. 

Leena Jayaswal

University Professor

Bio

Panelist: Navigating the Academic Hiring Process (UFVA Mentorship Program Workshop) (1:45 pm on July 23, 2018. Milton 84).

Caty Borum-Chattoo @CatyBC

Executive in Residence and Director of the Center for Social Media

Bio

Panelist: A Policy Audience Response to the Homestretch PBS Documentary Using a Synchronous Audience Viewing Platform (10:45 am on July 23, 2018. Location TBD).

Presenter: American Realities on Public Television: Analysis of the Independent Television Service's Documentaries, 2007-2016 (11:15 am on July 23, 2018. Location TBD).

Presenter: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Investigate Diversity Challenges in the Documentary Field: Focus on the Center for Documentary Studies Documentary Diversity Fellowship (9:00 am on July 26, 2018. Location TBD).

Patricia Aufderheide @paufder

University Professor

Bio

Panelist: Is That Fair Use? You Be the Judge! (9:30 am on July 25, 2018. Location TBD).

Panelist: Is Public TV Still Important for Documentary Filmmakers? (1:45 pm on July 25, 2018. Location TBD).

Emily Crawford

MFA Student 

Bio

Respondent: Screening of “Take it Outside” (1:45 pm on July 23, 2018. Milton 171).

Presenter: Crash Symbols (11:15 am on July 25, 2018. CCSU 302).

Panelist: Cut-Scenes & POV Shots: The Evolving Relationship Between Digital Games and Film (10:45 am on July 25, 2018. Location TBD).

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Title: How Are U.S. Latinos Integrated into American Democracy?
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: Arthur Soto-Vásquez is researching how U.S. Latinos are being integrated into American Democracy through efforts to mobilize voting.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/11/2018
Content:

Arthur D. Soto-Vásquez is a doctoral candidate at American University (AU) School of Communication (SOC) where he is researching the social and racial integration of U.S. Latinos into American Democracy.

As a Mexican-American growing up on the U.S./ Mexican border he became interested in studying Latinos in America. He saw two realities – his own culture and what he saw in the media representing his culture to the larger country. After working on a political campaign, he started to question the institutions and practices aimed at increasing Latino voter turnout, and his interest in the topic was stoked.

His dissertation research is focused on the implications of identity formation by using digital platforms to mobilize Latino voters in the U.S. He conducted qualitative research by interviewing communication leadership at non-profit organizations that work directly with Latinos. He also used thematic analysis to study the organizations’ social media and digital communications to look for trends or patterns. His goal was to see whether the methods and tactics that they are using have been working to increase Latino voter turnout.

From his research, he realized the importance of understanding the backgrounds of people who work to mobilize Latino voters in official organizations. He found that they mostly come from elite higher education institutions and have worked on major presidential campaigns. Their background can influence the strategies and tactics they use to mobilize Latinos, which mostly have been drawn from the Obama and Clinton campaigns.

He has found that they have some trouble articulating a clear mobilizing message that appeals to the mass audience of Latinos. His analysis of their digital communications shows that they tend to reproduce much of the racial ideology of the “Latino Project”. The “Latino Project” refers to the creation of a single racial identity for Latinos in the U.S. for marketing and advocacy purposes. Instead of targeted marketing based on ethnic background, geographic origin, or shared cultural traditions of the different types of Hispanics or Latinos, they are grouped together into a “Latino” race or identity. In essence, it conforms the racial politics in Latin America into a more traditional American model.

“I believe there is a serious lack of research on Latinx people’s in the United States. We need a whole generation of new scholars who can critically analyze our historical moment where old prejudices are being reformulated though new political and technological practices”, said Soto Vásquez.

His next research projects will focus on Latino social influencers online and on social media, like Twitter and Instagram. He is also interested in researching Latinas in the tech industry.

Soto-Vásquez will be working as a professor at Texas A&M International University in the fall. He will be teaching a range of courses including a course on Pop Culture, advertising and he is working on developing a course on U.S. Latinos and Media.

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Title: Behind the Curtain: New AU Course Will Give Students an Insider’s Perspective on White House History
Author:
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Abstract: The nation’s most famous home will be the focus of a new undergraduate course at American University this fall
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 07/11/2018
Content:

The nation’s most famous home will be the focus of a new undergraduate course at American University this fall. In partnership with the White House Historical Association, American University’s Department of History, in the College of Arts and Sciences, will offer A History of the White House. It is believed to be the first-of-its-kind undergraduate course on White House history. The course will give college students an insider’s perspective on the White House and its role in political history.

Students will hear from historians and professionals with significant White House experience and delve into the history and allure of the Executive Mansion, including its two centuries of architectural transformations and rehabilitation, the offices of the President and the First Lady, and the building’s evolution as an emblem of popular sovereignty and peaceful transition, political democracy and diplomacy.

“It is a great privilege for American University to partner with the White House Historical Association in this initiative,” said AU President Sylvia M. Burwell. “We value the opportunity to bring this new course, and the rich history of the people’s house, to our students.” 

Students will learn about lesser-known stories from the quizzical, such as when during World War II, a recommendation was made to paint the White House in military-style camouflage as a means of protection, to the poignant: Sixteenth U.S. President Abraham Lincoln gave his last speech from a window above the White House North Door to a gathering of citizens below. In 1975, crews excavating the White House Grounds to build an outdoor pool during Gerald Ford’s administration unearthed a rubbish pit. During the War of 1812, White House staff members dug the pit to dispose of items destroyed by British troops when they burned the White House.

As part of the new course, AU students will visit sites in Washington, D.C. related to White House history including the White House Visitor Center and Decatur House, one of D.C.’s oldest surviving homes and which features one of the few remaining examples of slave quarters in an urban area. Some of the course’s guest speakers include Anita McBride, director of the First Ladies Initiative at AU and a WHHA board member who served as assistant to President George W. Bush and chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush; WHHA President Stewart McLaurin; Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton; Betty Monkman, former White House curator; Jonathan Pliska, a landscape historian; Adrian Miller, former special assistant to President Clinton; and John McConnell, senior speechwriter for then-president Bush.

The students also will be invited to the Presidential Sites and Libraries Summit, which brings together leaders from presidential sites across the country and from many historical professions to share ideas and discuss insight into the management of presidential libraries, historic homes and museums. Convened by the WHHA, the event will take place at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., August 27-30, 2018.

WHHA and AU have partnered for nearly a decade to enliven the history of the White House for AU students and extend that knowledge more broadly to the public through internships and research opportunities for AU students, and the “Legacies of America's First Ladies” initiative and conferences.

"We are excited to enhance our already rich relationship with American University, a top national and global institution," said Stewart McLaurin, president of the WHHA. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration and educational mission with A History of the White House." 

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Title: Russia is top on NATO’s agenda, and Trump is the wild card
Author: Professors Garret Martin and Balazs Martonffy
Subtitle:
Abstract: NATO summits are generally sedate events that celebrate the trans-Atlantic alliance, but this year’s summit is likely to include a heavy dose of drama.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 07/10/2018
Content:

In ordinary times, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summits are generally staid and well-prepared events that celebrate the achievements of this nearly 70-year-old political and military alliance of North American and European countries.

The 2018 NATO summit in Brussels will likely include more drama.

The alliance, founded after World War II, collectively provides military security for all its members, from the United States and Canada in the West to the Baltic states in the East. Leaders from the alliance’s 29 member states will meet for two days in their new NATO headquarters on July 11.

A key part of the agenda: Russia – specifically, President Vladimir Putin’s growing belligerence in Europe and worldwide.

Proposed measures include overhauling of the NATO Command Structure to streamline the planning and execution of NATO military operations.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is pushing for a plan that would enable NATO to deploy 30 land battalions, 30 air fighter squadrons, and 30 navy ships within 30 days of any threat in NATO territory. This would be an upgrade on NATO’s current capabilities and provide a more credible deterrence.

Also on the agenda are NATO’s plans to improve its cooperation with the European Union to combat disinformation campaigns, election interference and other non-military threats.

But US President Donald Trump has been critical of NATO, calling members “free-riders” who do not spend enough on defense. And he has bickered with many of the United States’ closest allies, including Germany, Canada and France.

As scholars who closely study NATO, we believe that personality clashes between world leaders could undermine NATO’s achievements so far in presenting a united front against Russia’s global aggressions. And they could prevent attempts to continue that joint effort.

A resurgent alliance

In early 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member state.

At the time, NATO was struggling to define a new core mission as its military operations in Afghanistan wound down. NATO members were also arguing over how much each country should contribute financially to the alliance’s collective defense, a debate as old as NATO itself.

The September 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, which took place while Russia waged war in Ukraine, gave the alliance a renewed determination to bolster its core task of collective defense.

Unusually quiet when the invasion first took place, NATO came out strong against Russia. They agreed to increase defense spending and military readiness to prevent Putin from invading other neighbors, particularly NATO’s three Baltic member states.

To do that, NATO established four new battalions along its “Eastern Flank,” reassuring Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland that NATO troops will defend their borders. It also developed a high-readiness task force that can rapidly respond to military aggression against NATO members.

That meant tackling the bureaucratic and legal restrictions that make it all but impossible to move troops and equipment quickly across Europe.

The troubled transatlantic context

The United States has so far strongly supported NATO’s assertive plan for deterring Russia, despite President Trump’s apparent affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NATO must also address other serious global security problems at the Brussels meeting, including terrorism. Members plan to establish a formal counterterrorism training mission in Iraq, which in theory Trump should support.

But Trump has had major disputes with NATO members over other international issues. Since the last NATO gathering, in May 2017, Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris climate accord, ended the Iran nuclear deal, to which many NATO members were signatories, and ordered trade tariffs against many NATO countries.

He also caused consternation by refusing to endorse a joint statement at the June G-7 summit in Canada, the annual meeting of the world’s seven most industrialized nations.

If these tensions spill over into the NATO summit, it could be paralyzing. Its 1949 charter states that NATO decisions be consensus-based. That means any one member-state can block its entire agenda.

An accusatory American president

The US president is a wild card who brings uncertainty to most any meeting he attends.

Sometimes Trump charms his partners, as he did when French President Emmanuel Macron visited Washington, DC, in April. But at other world gatherings Trump has given tongue lashings to longtime American allies.

His tactic as the NATO summit approaches has veered toward confrontational. Recently, the White House reportedly sent letters to a number of European partners – all NATO members – warning them of serious consequences if they failed to step up defense spending.

Last year, he scolded fellow leaders for the same thing at a NATO gathering in Brussels. More member states are now on course to meet some of the internal defense spending goals set by NATO, but it may not placate Trump.

All US presidents since NATO’s founding have expressed concerns about cost-sharing. But none have done so as bluntly or disdainfully as Trump does.

The shadow of Putin

NATO summits are usually an easy opportunity for its member states to tell an uplifting story about the enduring vitality of the post-World War II global order.

Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic use these annual gatherings to show their unity against the global threats of the day. By extension, they effectively reaffirm the 70-year-old Western-led international economic and security system, in which NATO plays a key role.

A NATO summit marked by distrust and public divisions would be consequential at any time. This year it would be particularly detrimental because the NATO summit comes days before Trump’s first bilateral meeting with Putin, scheduled for July 16 in Helsinki.

For NATO’s European members, Russia is among the world’s most pressing security threats. Members are already concerned that Trump might do what he recently did with North Korea and make undue concessions to Russia – such as recognizing the annexation of Crimea or withdrawing US troops from Germany. Those concerns would be heightened if the summit fails.

The ConversationAs Ian Lesser, director of the transatlantic-focused think tank the German Marshall Fund, has said of Trump’s Europe travel agenda, “Meeting Putin in the wake of a symbolic and successful NATO summit is one thing, but a meeting against the backdrop of a summit that goes badly is quite another.”

This article was written by Professors Garret Martin and Balazs Martonffy and originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: All That She Can Be: Melissa Mangold is a 2018 Tillman Scholar
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: The SIS grad student and Army veteran is currently a diplomatic security special agent.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 07/10/2018
Content:

Pat Tillman was an extraordinary individual, passing up millions of NFL dollars to serve his country after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He died tragically in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, but his spirit lives on through the Pat Tillman Foundation. Every year, the Pat Tillman Foundation offers scholarships to outstanding active-duty service members, veterans, and their spouses. Melissa Mangold, an American University School of International Service graduate student, is among the 2018 Tillman scholars.

Mangold will use $6,000 in scholarship money toward her online master’s degree of international service. She didn’t know much about Tillman’s personal story—other than what she read in news reports—but she’s been inspired by him while applying for the scholarship.

“His life really does set a standard for all of us to try to meet. So I enjoyed applying for this, and I’m so honored to be a recipient. It’s going to help me continue to be the best that I can every day—by following his example,” Mangold says in an interview.

 

Found in Translation

 

A New Hampshire native, both of Mangold’s parents served in the military: her mother was a cook in the Army, and her father was a fireman and boiler mechanic in the Navy. During her high school years, Mangold was an exchange student in Japan, and she’d hoped to study the East Asian nation in college. Unfortunately, Mangold’s higher ed plans were derailed.

“My mom got really sick my senior year, and the treatments that we had to give her weren’t covered by insurance. So it ended up pretty much bankrupting our family,” Mangold recalls.

But she still had unfulfilled dreams, and serendipity intervened not long after 9/11. “I was waitressing in Florida, and I just saw my life going nowhere way too fast,” she remembers. “And one night, at one of my tables, I happened to say ‘you’re welcome’ in Japanese. And the customer said, ‘Oh, you speak another language?’”

He turned out to be an Army recruiter, and after some discussions, Mangold was in the Army recruiting office two days later. Soon after she was headed to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California with hopes to learn Japanese fluently. To her surprise, the language choice wasn’t really up to her, and she was assigned Korean instead. But in a post-9/11 environment, there was great demand for Arabic speakers, and she learned that language in a year and a half of intense study.

Some of her professors in California were first-generation Middle Eastern immigrants, and it was a critical period for their home region. “I was there when we captured Saddam Hussein. And there was just that tension in the air—people didn’t know how to feel about it. They were happy, but cautiously optimistic,” she says.

Mangold was subsequently stationed in Georgia to do intelligence work, mostly plowing through reports in a windowless room for the remainder of her enlistment. She’d eventually land a position at the State Department, going to school at night to earn her bachelor’s degree at George Mason University.

 

State Department and Security

 

Mangold was a civil servant at Foggy Bottom before working at the US embassy in Tunis. She came to appreciate the food, music, and culture of Middle Eastern societies. She remembers how aftershocks from a terrorist attack in southern Tunisia permeated the entire country, affecting people quickly.

“What I really love about the culture is how close-knit everyone truly is,” she says. “After serving there, it makes sense to me why the Arab Spring started in Tunisia.”

Mangold later took interest in diplomatic security. It’s an occupation populated with many ex-military officials, so it seemed like a natural fit for her skill set. She’s now a special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service, the law enforcement arm of the State Department. She’s currently involved in high-threat training, which prepares agents for posts like Kabul or Baghdad.

“This training is wild. We just run around with our vest on with our weapons and get shot at by paintballs,” she says. “It’s really intense. It’s been a lot of fun.”

But she doesn’t just view this work as a series of physical challenges. She wants to understand policy—to get a more complete picture of the countries where she might be stationed—and that’s a major reason why she enrolled at AU.

“I chose American because it has a very good reputation within the State Department,” she says. “Between Foreign Service officers and diplomatic security, sometimes there’s a bit of misunderstanding with roles and responsibilities. So what I viewed my degree from AU being is a bridge over that gap.”

There’s even a familiar State Department face at AU. Her former boss at the agency, Raymond Maxwell, is now a part-time reference librarian at AU. “Almost every opportunity I had was from him. He’s just incredible.”

 

What’s Next

 

She’s slated to finish her SIS master’s degree in May 2019, and she says the program exceeded her expectations: “I just felt so supported. I love the course curriculum. I love the content, and the online forum is perfect for me.”

Long term, Mangold would love to go back overseas to work with embassies, but she’s not fixated on a particular position. In one form or another, she’s thinking about the greater good.

“I think the service life was really instilled in me by my parents. My mom was always having us out doing community service, and getting involved with our church,” she says. “So it just never really was a question. I really take a lot of personal pride in this lifestyle.”

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Title: Top 20 Things to Do This Summer in DC
Author: Libby Parker
Subtitle: Make the most of summer in the city
Abstract: Summertime in DC means unique art exhibitions, delicious food options, and outdoor celebrations. From year-round favorites to seasonal events, here are 20 ways to spend this summer like a District native.
Topic: In the Community
Publication Date: 07/09/2018
Content:

To capture the essence of Washington, DC, look beyond the obvious attractions and get to know the vibrant neighborhoods the city has to offer. Summertime in DC means unique art exhibitions, delicious food options, and outdoor celebrations. From year-round favorites to seasonal events, here are 20 ways to spend this summer like a District native.  

1. Experience Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery 

The Smithsonian Renwick Gallery’s current exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man features large-scale artworks from the desert gathering. Visit the Renwick to see the immersive room-sized installations, costumes, photographs, and archival materials that bring the creative spirit of this cultural movement to life.

2. Indulge in new flavors at Truckeroo

Before summer is over, head to the Bullpen for Truckeroo, a monthly festival showcasing the hottest food trucks in the DC area. Enjoy everything from empanadas to Korean BBQ tacos with live music and outdoor games. Remaining dates for this season of Truckeroo are August 10 and September 28.

3. Find comic relief at the DC Improv

Looking for a break from politics? Visit the DC Improv to see national and local comics working on their material. The comedy club also hosts improv, stand-up, and comedy writing classes for all skill levels. This is where comics like Ellen DeGeneres and Dave Chappelle got their start!

4. Enjoy an outdoor movie 

Check out the full lineup of free outdoor movie screenings across DC and the metro area. Screenings include a showing of Black Panther at the Capital Riverfront and Close Encounters of the Third Kind at Congressional Cemetery. Check local listings for an updated list.

5. Pick out fresh food at the Dupont Sunday Farmers Market

Every Sunday, DC locals can visit the FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market. During the summer, there are more than 50 farmers offering conventional and certified organic products. Spend your Sunday morning wandering the aisles filled with fruits and vegetables, artisan cheeses, baked goods, jam, sandwiches, fresh-cut flowers, and much more. 

6. Watch the sun rise on the National Mall

You have probably visited the National Mall during the day, but have you ever seen the sun come up over the Washington Monument? Wake up early and head down to the Lincoln Memorial or the Tidal Basin about 25 minutes before sunrise to watch the sky fill with color.

7. Get a quick fix of nature at the National Arboretum

The US National Arboretum is a great getaway within the city. Stroll around the colorful azalea gardens, or the holly and magnolia garden. The Bonsai & Penjing Museum has one of North America’s largest collections of bonsai trees, and the official trees of all 50 states are represented in the National Grove of State Trees. 

8. Visit the food stalls at Union Market

This gourmet food hall in Northeast DC has grown to include more than 40 vendors, from pop-up dumpling stands to a diner style bagel spot. Here you can experience some of the best and trendy flavors the city has to offer.

9. Explore the historic U Street Corridor  

Once known as “Black Broadway,” the U Street corridor was the center of DC’s African American community. The historic U Street walking tour covers the African American Civil War Memorial and explores the childhood neighborhood of musical legends like Duke Ellington and Marvin Gaye. 

10. Picnic on Meridian Hill Park

Tucked in between the Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan neighborhoods, Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park) is the perfect spot for a picnic.  Enjoy the basin cascade fountain or wander through statues and memorials.

11. Kayak on the Potomac

Ever wanted to paddle on the Potomac? Dozens of small rivers and teams flow through what is known as the Nation’s River. Paddling organizations lead day trips and overnight excursions to a variety of destinations in DC. Visit the National Park Service to find a boathouse.

12. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Unveiled in 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. While the museum is free, visitors must obtain a timed entry pass through the museum website. In addition, the museum offers a limited number of walk-up passes starting at 1 p.m. on weekdays. 

13. Spend Wednesday at the Wharf 

The newly renovated Wharf offers free summer concerts that bring live music to Transit Pier every Wednesday. Rock, folk, reggae, and pop—enjoy live music, views, and food. Visit the website for the 2018 summer schedule. 

14. Attend an event at the National Press Club 

The National Press Club is a professional organization for journalists. It hosts talks and events on international relations and politics, while remaining dedicated to supporting the ongoing improvement and protection of the profession of journalism. The National Press Club offers significant discounts to students for most of its public events.

15. Listen to jazz in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden

During the summer on Friday evenings, the Sculpture Garden hosts Jazz in the Garden, a free concert series featuring jazz artists performing a variety of styles. From New Orleans jazz to blues and funk, enjoy local music and creative cuisine from the Pavilion Café.

16. View vibrant street art

The city’s neighborhood walls are covered with hundreds of outdoor artworks and street murals. Each piece tells a unique story of DC’s diverse neighborhoods and ever-expanding culture. Find a local walking mural tour or visit the Mural DC Project website for a map of the organization’s art projects. 

17. Get healthy and mindful with a yoga class

Summer is a perfect time to get healthy. Why not work on your flexibility and your balance with yoga? Yoga District offers affordable classes for students across the DC area, with studios across the city.

18. Discover unique finds at Eastern Market

Discover the community hub of Eastern Market, located in the heart of historic Capital Hill. Find fresh food, community events, flea markets, and artists’ crafts six days a week. After exploring the market, visit Capital Hill Books, a stuffed-to-the-brim second-hand bookstore located across the street. 

19. Take the Newseum First Amendment highlights tour 

Want to explore the Newseum? Take a 60-minute guided tour of the Newseum and see the very best of the current exhibitions and collections. Tours are offered throughout the day. 

20. Enjoy free performances at the Kennedy Center

As part of the Kennedy Center’s Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Kennedy Center offers Millennium Stage shows, free performances every day at 6 pm. Most Millennium Stage performances take place indoors in at the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer. Visitors can enjoy local, national and international artists. 

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newsId: 03CCBC9F-0F74-6412-22A84EE9F149E5C8
Title: Kogod Alumna Advances Non-profit and Women Leadership
Author: Alex Behle and Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: Laura Lott, BSA ‘98, exemplifies how to be true to yourself in the workplace. A successful non-profit executive, she’s not only set the course for organizations, but demonstrates how to lead as a woman in business.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/09/2018
Content:

Since 2015, Laura Lott, BSA ‘98, has served as President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), a non-profit dedicated to advocating for and nurturing excellence in museums across the country.

Lott is the first woman to lead the organization in its over one-hundred year history. She heads the day-to-day operations of a 40-person staff, a $10 million annual budget, and cultivates AAM’s 35,000 person membership base.

A self-described non-profit turnaround expert, Lott is all about leading transformation in organizations. “AAM was struggling financially when I joined, which was part of the attraction,” she said. “I had the ability to help them get back on a strong financial footing.”

In shaping the Alliance’s mission, Lott led the process of developing their new strategic plan, which emphasizes topics including diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. Lott wants to infuse these values into museums’ programs and structure, gradually re-shaping the industry’s culture.

“Museums are inclusive places people can come together. They can be a platform for activism, too,” she says. “I think the AAM moving in this direction can help museums affect change in their respective communities.”

Inclusion is a priority for the Alliance, for both moral and financial reasons. As cultural spaces that represent the public, museums must embrace different ethnicities and cultures, says Lott. They have a special responsibility to share people’s stories. “We can’t say we’re vital unless we’re including everyone,” she says.

Some of this change starts with herself. At first, Lott didn’t fully recognize the impact of being the first woman leader of the organization. After speaking with members, she realized that representation matters, and being yourself can make you a role model to others.

This is in part due to balancing motherhood and leadership, she says. Traditionally these two roles were very separate, which can be confusing and burdensome for working women. Lott strives to integrate both, bringing her daughter to work when needed, and encouraging her staff to do the same.

“I hope that in some small way I’m ‘moving the needle forward’ and helping other women feel they can bring their whole selves to work,” says Lott.

Looking ahead, Lott hopes to transition AAM into more of an advocacy organization, helping members gain wider recognition in their communities. Museums are vibrant organizations that support research, conservation and education, says Lott, which many people don’t realize. “[I do think] museums are often taken for granted. They’re not just places to go on a rainy day - they’re a solace for learning, and places that enrich our lives.”

And, as the Alliance’s first female CEO, they’re also places women leaders can flourish. Lott is strengthening the museum world while setting the stage for future women executives. She wants to empower her female peers to own themselves in the workplace, wholly embracing their identities as executives, mothers and wives.  

“At the end of the day I’m just trying to make the world a more empathetic, just and better place,” says Lott.

Laura is married to her husband, Steve Lott, who met while studying at the Kogod School of Business. Read more about how they met here.

Learn more about Kogod’s bachelor of science in accounting program.

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newsId: EE6BB374-5056-AF26-BEAFFBDECD08E259
Title: Global Internet Expert DeNardis Named Scholar/Teacher of the Year
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: School of Communication professor Laura DeNardis has been named American University's Scholar/Teacher of the Year.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/09/2018
Content:

School of Communication (SOC) Professor Laura DeNardis has been named the 2018 American University (AU) Scholar/Teacher of the Year. This is one of AU’s highest honors and recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to research, service or teaching. 

DeNardis is a globally recognized and renowned scholar on Internet governance and an author of a list of books, including The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press 2014), Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability (MIT Press 2011), Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (MIT Press 2009), among others. 

“I congratulate Professor DeNardis on this honor; she has contributed enormously to SOC and to the University. The epitome of a Scholar/Teacher, she is recognized by colleagues, peers and students as a thought leader in her discipline and a dedicated member of the SOC community,” said SOC Dean Jeff Rutenbeck. 

Her research focuses on Internet governance and politics, freedom of expression, cyber security, net neutrality and Internet architecture. She addresses the social and political implications of Internet policy and design and her work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and periodicals such as The Economist, National Public Radio (NPR), Time Magazine, The New York Times, Science Magazine, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic

The Internet Governance Lab at AU, which DeNardis co-founded and co-directs, aids to the study of the implications of Internet governance on society and the global economy, to inform the public and policymakers, and to advance original research. It focuses on evidence-based research teachings on Internet architecture and governance, and policy formation. The lab helps to promote areas of public policy, including civil liberties, global economic development, human rights and access and inclusion. 

DeNardis joined SOC after previously teaching at New York University, Yale Law School, and Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. Before teaching, she received her AB in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, a Master of Engineering Degree (MEng) from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech. She currently teaches in the SOC doctoral program, in particular, seminars in Advanced Research and Project Development, Media Law and Policy, and Media, Technology & Democracy

“Prof. DeNardis is an extraordinary, multi-talented professor. She is a leader in scholarship governance, and her students give her top ratings every semester. She is a welcoming colleague and a model of scholarly collaboration. She is the very model of the scholar-teacher. We are very lucky to have Prof. DeNardis in our midst,” said Patricia Aufderheide, Director of Communication Studies at SOC. 

DeNardis is also an adjunct Senior Research Scholar in the faculty of international and public affairs at Colombia University and is an affiliated fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project. She is also an appointed member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communication and Information Policy (ACICIP) and currently serves on eight doctoral committees and chairs five. 

As the 2018 Scholar/Teacher of the Year, DeNardis will deliver the keynote address at the Convocation this fall, Friday, August 24, 2018.

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Title: SOC Student Awarded Public Diplomacy Council Fellowship
Author: Melissa Bendell
Subtitle:
Abstract: Hunter Martin, a Global Media MA student, has been awarded the Public Diplomacy Council Fellowship.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 07/06/2018
Content:

Hunter Martin, an American University (AU) School of Communication (SOC) Global Media MA student, has been awarded the Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) Fellowship. The Public Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization that encourages the academic study, advocacy, and professional practice of public diplomacy. It also strives to increase understanding of public diplomacy and study and share public findings and recommendations on its importance to American foreign policy.

The PDC partnered with AU to create a fellowship that allows students to engage further with public diplomacy and encourage future practitioners. Students receive direct experience with public diplomacy policies and are able to work closely with public diplomacy professionals and advocacy organizations in DC.

Martin applied to the fellowship because of her interest in public diplomacy and of the Council. She has always been interested in propaganda and in graduate school she took a class that introduced her to public diplomacy. She became very interested in the implications of public diplomacy and the government strategies and policies rather than just the result of propaganda. She is interested in being a journalist that covers international topics, and learning about cultural public diplomacy will help her progress her career.

She believes in the PDC’s mission to educate their audiences and use mass communication in intercultural dialogues in an increasingly globalized world. They use education to promote public diplomacy goals and to help understand global trends.

As the PDC fellow, she will aid the Council in events dedicated to fostering conversations about the value of public diplomacy in American foreign policies and the academic study of global trends. She will be able to work on her own journalism project and research and write about a topic that is important to her. Her goal is to get her research published on the PDC website once her research is finished.

As a Global Media student, she has learned the importance of public diplomacy and the soft power in communication between nations and cultures. She wants to learn more about how nations and cultures can influence each other to do what they want without military action or threats. The soft power between cultures can help create better relationships, respect and understandings because each nation can learn more about each other’s traditions and norms.

Learn more about AU SOC’s MA Global Media program.

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Title: Two SPA Women Serve as Assistant Secretary of State, 45 Years Apart
Author:
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Abstract: Nicole Nason, SPA/BA ‘92, currently serves as the second SPA alumna and the first woman in more than 40 years to hold the position of Assistant Secretary of State.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 07/05/2018
Content:

Someone with a black belt in martial arts and three teen and tween-aged children may be just the right person to work in a senior government position in fractious times. At least, that’s what Nicole Nason, SPA/BA ’92, is proving as she serves as the second AU School of Public Affairs alumna — and the first woman in more than 40 years — to hold the position of Assistant Secretary of State.

Appointed by President Trump in 2017, Nason is the Assistant Secretary for Administration and the acting director of Overseas Buildings Operations, placing her at the helm of thousands of employees in Washington and around the globe.

“It’s like the backbone of the State Department,” said Nason. “It’s logistics management, it’s everything from a leak in the roof of the headquarters building to problems with the cafeteria to all the overseas schools — it’s everything that has to happen for State Department officials and diplomats to be able to do their jobs.”

“I love the business of government,” said Nason. “Some people find it really frustrating and irritating, but I think it is a challenge. Every time you see a big pile of red tape in front of you, that’s a challenge. How do we cut that so that the taxpayers get their money’s worth?”

Nason previously served as the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where, in 2006, at age 36, she became the youngest person to be appointed to that position. And she has been well served by her study of karate, aikido, and other Japanese martial arts.

“The discipline of martial arts, and the experience of teaching martial arts, is so helpful in any aspect of anyone’s life, particularly working in the government, because the number one thing you have to do is not quit — you have to keep pushing through to solve the problem,” said Nason.

Today, Nason faces vastly different challenges as Assistant Secretary than those in previous decades. In 1973, SPA alumna Carol Laise Bunker, SPA/BA ’38, became the first woman Assistant Secretary of State. Nason says that, historically, women’s voices were seldom heard at the highest level at State.

“It was not easy for women in the 1970s,” said Nason. “The State Department at the time, of all places, was really behind the curve in respecting and promoting women in the workplace. For a long time, it was the rule in the Foreign Service that if you got married, you had to quit.”

But there were exceptions — notably, when Laise Bunker was appointed. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Nepal from 1966 to 1973 before becoming Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

“I took, when I was in graduate school, one of the early professional examinations for admission to government service and passed it,” said Laise Bunker in a 1985 interview with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. “In those days, you didn’t get into government except by being on competitive registers and by competitive examination. It was an examination very much like the Foreign Service examination today.”

It took a year for Laise Bunker to be added to the registers for government service because, she said, “The registers did not move as far as women were concerned. That’s one of the areas where I was conscious of the resistance to the appointment of women.”

In that same interview, Laise Bunker also discussed what it was like to attend the senior-most trainings at the State Department and how infrequently women were included in the early 1970s.

“I think the total number [of those trained] at the time I was there was about 21,” said Bunker. “At that time, there was only one woman every year. I didn’t have the sense it was a token woman. I had a sense that, given the paucity of the numbers of women in the higher ranks, it just was not likely.”

Five decades later, the ratio of men and women in leadership roles at the Department of State is now 50/50. Perhaps this is thanks to the outstanding work of women leaders such as Carol Laise Bunker and Nicole Nason, blazing trails for future women leaders to follow.

You can learn more about Nason’s work in martial arts by watching her 2016 TEDxAmericanUniversity talk here. Read the full 1985 interview with Laise Bunker here.

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