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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

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Program Coordinator

Noam Krainin Headshot.Noam Krainin is a senior studying Political Science in the School of Public Affairs with minors in Law, Economics, and International Studies. He is a member of the AU Honors Program and the Supplemental Instruction Program. Noam was part of the inaugural cohort of peer facilitators in 2018. Going forward, Noam is excited to help create spaces at AU where students with different political opinions can respectfully discuss the pressing issues of our time, engage with unfamiliar beliefs, and strengthen their own principles.

Peer Facilitators

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  1. Priyanka Gulati is a junior studying Political Science in the School of Public Affairs with minors in Communication and Marketing. She works in social media for a South Asian Diaspora-based startup and is the co-president of Speak Fresh, AU’s only spoken word team. Priyanka looks forward to not only creating more environments on campus for civic engagement but enriching the spaces that already exist by providing avenues for meaningful dialogue.

  2. Felicia Hernandez is a Junior studying Political Science in the School of Public Affairs. She is an active member of the SPA Leadership program, where her research focus is on environmental sustainability. Last semester she interned for the United Nations Foundation, Girl Up, where she gained valued skills to tackle the inequalities that girls face from an early age. Felicia is a member of Alpha Xi Delta, where she served as the Director of Alumnae Relations and is currently the VP of Member Development for the Panhellenic Executive Council. Felicia is passionate about facilitating engaging and thought provoking discussions on a variety of issues that often create divides in our community at AU.

  3. Josh Iseler is a senior studying international relations and is minoring in political science. He currently serves on leadership for the Model United Nations Team and is heavily involved in the school's international relation society. Josh has also worked for the Bridge Alliance, a group that does cross-partisan and democracy building work across the country. He is looking forward to bringing people together through dialogue and strengthening our democracy.

  4. Maddie McCarthy is a sophomore studying Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) in the School of Public Affairs. She is a member of Alpha Xi Delta, College Republicans, and Model United Nations. Maddie is excited to bridge the gap between political ideologies on campus by facilitating conversations where students can see past the politics in others.

  5. Abbe Murphy is a senior in the School of Public Affairs, pursuing a B.A in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government. Over the past year, Abbe worked as a field organizer for former Obama staffer Will Jawando’s campaign for Montgomery County Council and as an intern at a plaintiff litigation firm in Chicago. She is extremely passionate about the speech rights of journalists and played a crucial role in passing legislation in Illinois that guaranteed protected speech rights for student journalists. In 2017, she was named the Illinois Journalist of the Year. Abbe is excited to help improve the way that AU approaches tough conversations through the Project on Civil Discourse.

  6. Michaila Peters is a third year student double majoring in Political Science and Economics and minoring in philosophy. She is a member of the SPA Honors Program, the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership and Ethical Development Program, and the Community Based Research Scholars Program. She works as a leader and volunteer teacher for Civics in the Capitol, teaches in AU’s Complex Problems program, is active in research, and is working on her own non-profit startup focused on political communication reform. Michaila first worked with the Project on Civil Discourse during its pilot program in the 2017-18 school year. She is now very excited to continue building the project through her new position as a Peer Facilitator.

  7. Kira Pyne is a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) and minoring in Psychology. She is currently the Communications Intern at Coalition for Juvenile Justice. She is also the SPA Honors Program Assistant, Managing Director for the Rude Mechanicals, and a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Kira is excited to help to make AU a more inclusive campus and she is looking forward to meeting the students she will be working with.

  8. Jason Steuerwald is a senior Justice and Law student at American University. On campus, he is a member and former executive board officer of the AU Pride club and an active brother of Zeta Psi. He recently received his Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies as a student in the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program. Outside of school, he works at Tryst in Adams Morgan and teaches for a marching band in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As a second year facilitator, he is looking forward to continuing to some of the exciting conversations that are happening on campus.

  9. Mitchel Traer is a senior majoring in Political Science. He is interested in the role of religion in politics and spent his junior year studying Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. Mitchel is also a member of the SPA Leadership Program where he created (and was TA for) the first Religion and Politics Issue Group and is currently serving as a TA for the second year students.

  10. Robert Wines is a senior at American University studying Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG), with an intended minor in Entrepreneurship. He was the former president of the American University College Republicans, is a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and is a winger for the men’s ice hockey team.