Director

Lara Schwartz Professorial Lecturer SPA - Government

Lara Schwartz specializes in civil discourse and campus speech, constitutional law, civil rights, politics, communications, and policy. Drawing on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and

  lschwart@american.edu

  (202) 885-6682

Program Coordinator

Harsha Mudaliar.Harsha Mudaliar is a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Information Systems and Technology. She previously served as an intern for the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, and currently, she is interning with the Department of Commerce. She is also a member of the SPA Honors Program, the Chief Operations Officer for American University's Washington International
Relations Conference, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Undergraduate Law Journal. Harsha is passionate about increasing civic engagement on campus and facilitating open communication about controversial issues.

Communications Coordinator

Alice Khakajian.Alice Kahkajian is a junior in American University’s School of Public Affairs pursuing an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG). She is a student in the AU Honors Program, serves as a fellow for the No Lost Generation Student Initiative, and is involved in AU’s International Relations Society. Alice also serves as an ambassador on behalf of Free the Facts; a non-profit organization that creates educational programs to aid young Americans in understanding complex economic, social, and political issues pertinent to their lives. She is looking forward to working alongside all the peer facilitators to foster meaningful discussions among AU students!

Special Projects Coordinator

Benjamin McNutt.Benjamin McNutt is a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government (CLEG) as a member of the three-year Politics Policy & Law Scholars Program (PPL). He is passionate about service and volunteer work, volunteering hundreds of hours throughout high school and college primarily focused on issues related to veterans, civic engagement, and youth development. Benjamin is looking forward to helping students at AU engage with beliefs and political opinions that may differ from their own, and helping students to better understand one another's perspectives and beliefs in the process.

Woman speaking to students in classroom

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Peer Facilitators

John Baum.Jack Baum is a third-year student double majoring in political science and economics. He’s a member of College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, and Students for a Just Society. In the past, Jack was a senior intern for the Senate Campaign of Daniel Gade in Virginia. He looks forward to bridging the divides on campus and having real conversations about real issues.

 

Yazan Nusiebeh.Yazan Nusiebeh is a junior intending to double major in Political Science and Justice/Law. A writer in his spare time, he wishes to assist with creating an environment in which students can comfortably explore their voices and opinions without fear of being shot down, and he hopes that his background can offer perspectives and insights which encourage both proper discourse and self-reflection.

Coura Fall.Coura Fall is a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Studies. She previously served as a Policy Intern at the Rhode Island General Assembly, working on a team to explore the reconstruction of the state's police force. She is also the former Education Chair for AU NAACP and AUx Peer Facilitator and is a staff writer for The Blackprint. Coura is excited to have robust discussions with the AU community on pressing issues while fostering an environment of positivity and respect.

Emma Semaan.Emma Semaan is a senior pursuing a BA in Economics and in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) at American University. She is currently a Program Coordinator for the Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars’ Program in the School of Public Affairs, and in the past, she took on a summer collaboration series between PPL and the Project on Civil Discourse. She is also the Junior Editor at HerCampus Magazine’s AU Chapter, where she started the “Modern Affairs” Column in Spring 2020. Her current focus includes research on the effects of partisanship in America, and she is excited to begin exploring this conversation and others as a Peer Facilitator.

Gargi Mansingh.Gargi Mansingh is a junior studying Physics and minoring in Mathematics. She is currently a member of CASE. She previously served as an intern for Congressman Dean Phillps (MN-03). Gargi looks forward to facilitating valuable discourse with the students she will be working with.

 

Marquita Young.Marquita Young is a junior studying political science on a pre-law track in the School of Public Affairs. She has performed in Choreolab with the dance department. Over the years Marquita has spent most of her time advocating for tobacco reform in her community and now civil rights-based affairs. She looks forward to continuing doing work as a peer facilitator but for the first time with SPA where she hopes to strengthen and build relationships across the many different communities at AU.