American magazine, August 2013

Page 1

spring breakers choose learning over lounging p. 16

business wonks find their niche p. 22

lessons learned from the boston bombings p. 28

university magazine AUGust 2013

Alumni newlyweds Mike and Tara Shubbuck embark on an extended honeymoon. p. 26

An AU insider’s perspective on next page

Many people liken their offices to a zoo, but Kenton Kerns’s office mates really are a bunch of animals. A zookeeper in the small mammal house at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Kerns cares for 100 animals across 30 species, including an ornery owl; a baby black howler monkey; 6-year-old twin golden lion tamarins, Mo and Mara; and a prickly but personable porcupine named Clark. “Growing up, I thought I wanted to train Shamu,” says Kerns, who volunteered and interned at the zoo before landing a full-time position in 2007. But meerkats and mole rats “are the perfect fit for me.”

Cover by Hannah Lloyd


22 Alternative break provides candid look at Caribbean isle

26 Young entrepreneurs stake their claim in the marketplace

28 Newlyweds fulfill their wildest wanderlust fantasies

SPA program homes in on domestic threats

AmericaN American University magazine Vol. 64, No. 1 Vice President, Communications Teresa Flannery Assistant Vice President, creative services Kevin Grasty Senior Editor Adrienne Frank, SPA/MS ’08

Theme work

Associate Editors Suzanne Bechamps Mariel Davis

When we redesigned American magazine last fall, we decided to steer clear of theme issues. “Too restrictive,” we reasoned. So it was ironic that, as we began working on the summer issue, not one but two themes emerged: travel and entrepreneurship. After we discovered Hannah Lloyd’s globe illustration on—a hub for handmade arts and crafts—we decided to embrace both themes with gusto. It was serendipitous. On the travel front, we have a story about alumni Mike and Tara Shubbuck, who spent 420 days chasing an endless summer across Europe, Africa, and Asia. They traveled to 21 countries—15 of which are depicted in Hannah’s cover illustration—and blogged about their adventures. Writer Mike Unger hit the road himself this spring, traveling to Cuba with 15 students to chronicle the alternative breaks experience. We also unpack Fulbright Scholar Taylor Saia’s bag as he readies for 11 months in Indonesia, and we spotlight a program—the first of its kind—that helps AU’s international students transition back to their home countries. Lee Fleming’s story about six alumni startups hits on the issue’s other theme: creative commerce. We photographed AU’s business wonks in their element and were energized by their ingenuity and tenacity— not to mention their totally cool work spaces. (The guys at Friendly Design Co. even have a pair of pups roaming the office.) We also introduce you to four recent MFA grads so passionate about art that they started a gallery in the living room of their Columbia Heights row house. Whether you’re traveling this summer or staying close to home, I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. (See the cute porcupine pictured on this page? We got to feed him.) Turn to page 27 to find out how you can win Hannah’s cover illustration, or visit to purchase a print. And log on to to check in with us between issues (and discover, among other things, what porcupines like to eat).

Writers Lee Fleming Adrienne Frank Kerry O’Leary David Reich Mike Unger Art Director Maria Jackson Designer Jel Montoya-Reed Photographer Jeffrey Watts Class Notes Traci Crockett

Kenton Kerns CAS/BS ’07

American is published three times a year by American University. With a circulation of 118,000, American is sent to alumni and other members of the university community. Copyright©2013. An equal opportunity, affirmative action university. UP 14-001 For information regarding the accreditation and state licensing of American University, please visit


14 Metrocentered

4 4400 Mass Ave

33 Your American Connect, engage, reminisce

Ideas, people, perspectives

Adrienne Frank Senior editor Send story ideas to

on the job

The iconic image of 8-month-old Caroline gumming her mother’s pearls as Jacqueline and President John F. Kennedy beam at the camera garnered 246 thumbs-up on Facebook—which Dinah Douglas liked very much. “They’re this polished family, but there’s a humanity and humor to the image,” Douglas, SOC/MA ’13, says of Jacques Lowe’s photograph, one of 70 newly restored images on display as part of the Newseum’s JFK exhibit. As a social media and web intern, Douglas selects images like Lowe’s from the exhibits to entice visitors to Washington’s museum of news. JFK, which marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, is the Newseum’s latest big draw. “There’s so much under one roof,” says Douglas. Whittling it down “to something that’s shareable on social media can be challenging but fun.”

This is NPR Douglas was one of 16 SOC Dean’s Interns for the spring semester. The program helps students earn bylines and production credits with the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press. A National Public Radio internship was a childhood dream come true for Barbara Sprunt, SOC/ BA ’14. “I was able to experience the excitement of being on the other side of the radio waves.”

4 American Magazine  August 2013


3 minutes on . . . Marriage Nancy Polikoff

Professor, family law, sexuality and the law, and children of LGBT parents, Washington College of Law

The idea that marriage is about

unhappy that

love is relatively modern. For

creditors of

much of history, it was about forging an

economic unit. Going

to overstate the social and legal

profligate husbands

stigma. This also changed

Federal law governs taxes, Social Security, federal benefits and

in the 1970s when the Supreme

obligations, and immigration. This

Court said it was unconstitutional

June, the Supreme Court ruled that this latter part of DOMA is

could make off with

to discriminate

that property. In the 1970s, the

against children based


back to English

U.S. Supreme Court began ruling

on their parents’

If a state allows same-sex couple

common law, marriage was a

all the remaining gender-based

marital status.

to marry, the federal government

completely gendered institution

marriage laws as unconstitutional

in which women lost their

sex discrimination.

legal identity. There

For most of our history, marriage

ended if one

So you have three revolutionary changes:

the stigma of being unmarried and having a child lessened; it

must recognize those marriages.

12 states and D.C. allow same-sex

Right now,

was a saying, “the husband and

could only be

wife are one, and the one is the

party committed “fault.” The


husband.” For example,

primary marital faults were

married; and the mandated gender

a wife could not

adultery, extreme physical

roles of centuries were gone.

own property or sign

cruelty, and desertion. Only the

legal documents.

“innocent” spouse could request

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

a divorce.

was passed in 1996 because

unions or domestic partnerships.

These rules

Congress feared that Hawaii

Because of the change in the

brought it to the

changed in the

would legalize same-sex

institution of marriage over time

colonies, and it was

1970s with the

marriage and that

and the revolutionary changes

part of American

beginning of

couples would flock

in the 1970s, it makes sense to

This state of being was called

“coverture.” Settlers

optional to stay



Another seven states have civil

to Hawaii then go

seriously question

of the biggest transformations

back home, forcing everyone

why marriage should ever be

nineteenth century. Things

ever in marriage. No one can be



started to change as a result of

forced to stay married any more.

marriages. DOMA also says that

the law between


There also used to be a “bright

for the federal government’s

relationships that

women’s movement and because

line” distinguishing between

purposes, marriage can only be

count and those

fathers whose daughters had

children born to married versus

between a man

property or might inherit were

unmarried women. It’s impossible

and a woman.

law until the

no-fault divorce, one

middle of the

first wave of the

recognize those

dividing line in

that don’t.

Let’s talk #americanmag  5

Aspiring recording engineers, sound technicians, and studio managers have one more reason to get amped up about AU’s audio technology program. The program—named tops in the country by Education Portal— has partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) to develop an internship just for AU students. “It is difficult to get in at NPR,” says Paul Oehlers, director of AU’s audio tech program. “There is a very established hierarchy and process for getting hired there. It’s not conducive to just walking in the door and asking for an internship. You have to lay the groundwork.

“We are the only school in the country that has a permanent internship with NPR.” Interns work with NPR’s audio engineers, running the console for the morning shows, working the mix levels, and recording programs. Grad student Brian Chew interned at NPR in the spring, working on popular broadcasts like Tell Me More. “I got to see them run the show and do preproduction on some audio bits. It was really dynamic and interesting,” he says. AU’s program—unique in its focus on the art and science of audio—boasts 100 students. In 2011, the audio tech program moved into a state-of-theart facility in the Kreeger building, which features three recording rooms, mixing and postproduction suites, and a digital audio room.

This fall, AU will welcome four Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellows—more than any other university in the country. Three fellows will attend the School of International Service; one will attend the School of Public Affairs. They will receive funding from the U.S. Department of State to pursue master’s degrees in international affairs and public policy in preparation for a minimum of three years in the foreign service.

Jack Bisase, a 2011 graduate of the University of North Florida, is one of the fellows bound for SIS. “Working in diplomacy is a family calling,” he says. “My grandfather was a foreign minister in Uganda for a time. It is work I have long been drawn to.” This year’s crop of undergraduate and graduate fellows—40 in all—have been admitted to such universities as Harvard, UC–Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon.

Great American Smokeout

Legal Eagle

AU kicked the habit. On August 1, AU went smoke- and tobacco-free, joining more than 750 colleges and universities across the country that have adopted similar policies. Previously, AU allowed smoking at least 25 feet from building entrances, but the effects of secondhand smoke indicate “there is no safe level of exposure,” says president Neil Kerwin.

WCL dean Claudio Grossman has been elected chair of the 10 United Nations human rights treaty bodies. Earlier this year, the National Jurist named Grossman to its list of the 2012 “most influential people in legal education.” Dean since 1995, Grossman is No. 11 on the list.

6 American Magazine  August 2013


Eighty-nine percent of graduating seniors were employed or pursuing an advanced degree within six months of receiving their diploma, according to AU’s 2012 graduation census. Almost half of those working landed jobs before graduation, and 90 percent found employment related to their degree or career objective. The numbers were equally impressive for 2012 master’s graduates: 87 percent were working within six months of graduation, and 96 percent held a position related to their degree or career objective. The figures, compiled by AU’s Office of Institutional Research, suggest that, while the job market

is still recovering, AU grads are receiving offers. “There are opportunities for students in a wide range of fields,” says Gihan Fernando, executive director of the Career Center. “You still have to work hard for the jobs, but it’s not like it was at the height of the recession.” Eighty-one percent of 2012 graduates participated in the survey. While the Career Center doesn’t yet have employment figures for the Class of 2013, the job market continues to improve, says Fernando. The number of employers participating in the spring job and internship fair increased by 32 percent from the previous year. Many of those employers were recruiting for multiple positions. “It’s a reflection of a better market,” he says. “The employers have needs. They wouldn’t come if they didn’t have positions to fill.”

For AU’s robust international student population—1,421 students from 130 countries were enrolled at the university last fall—the transition to American culture and customs can be tricky. But often, the move back home is even more challenging. “They’re concerned about career reentry and social reentry. They’re worried if they’ve changed too much and if they’ll be perceived as outsiders,” says Senem Bakar of AU’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). “They have to adapt to a new hybrid identity.” That’s why Bakar, ISSS associate director for exchange visitors and student services, runs a workshop to help students prepare to return home. AU’s is the first program of its kind in the country. The three-hour class culls resources from the Career Center, the Counseling Center, and the School of International Service to offer tips for finding jobs and reintegrating into family and social circles. “A lot of students come from more conservative cultures—especially when it comes to the role of women,” says Bakar. “The question becomes: What will I be when I return? Will I be the nice, quiet woman whose opinion is only given when asked, or am I going to be more assertive?” Bakar, who wrestled with a similar identity crisis when she returned to her native Turkey after studying abroad, says she’s proud that AU is helping international students navigate complicated cultural waters. “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than preparing our students to go back out into the world.”

Food scraps once bound for landfills are now being composted to make nutrient-rich soil, thanks to a program that moves AU a step closer to carbon neutrality by 2020. “Globally, topsoil is being lost at a rapid rate and arable land is being diminished,” says Chris

O’Brien, sustainability director. “By capturing and composting organic material, we’re creating more ground to help fight erosion and control sediment runoff.” With organic waste bins installed around campus, the university presently diverts about 80 percent of its waste through recycling, reuse, and composting. O’Brien expects that figure to leap to 95 percent. For its sustainability efforts, including a shift to 20 percent biodiesel fuel for the shuttle bus

fleet, AU was named to the Princeton Review’s green honor roll for the third year in a row.

“We want the default to be the green choice, not the brown choice.” —Chris O’Brien, sustainability director

Trending Now: #AmericanU

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

#AmericanU is the 13th hottest hashtag in higher ed, according to In a 24-hour period, 58 tweets reached 29,336 followers, according to the site, which credits AU’s notable Twitter presence, in part, to its “active and influential social media club.”

Celebrate AU with Clawed, Screech, and fellow alumni on August 30 at Nationals Park. Activities include a pregame barbecue and postgame fireworks, and the first 25,000 fans to enter the stadium will receive “Nationals Wonk” T-shirts. Register for your discounted tickets at Let’s talk #americanmag  7

on campus

A competitive figure skater, an Emmy-winning voice-over actor, a small business owner. Students go to college to discover their niche. But at the tender age of 18, some outstanding members of AU’s Class of 2017 already boast a wealth of experience. Chandler Vu of Ventura, California, helped build an orphanage in Peru, and Hackensack, New Jersey’s Jordan Coleman was the voice of Tyrone on Nickelodeon’s Backyardigans. John Wilkinson started his own company, repairing real estate signs in Friendswood, Texas. Mohammadulla Hassan didn’t receive a formal education until he was 11—seven years after his family fled Taliban ruled Afghanistan. He comes to AU from the prestigious Atlanta International School. Riley Oshiro of Boulder, Colorado, took home the gold at the Southwest regional figure skating championships, while Jessica Cianci of Batavia, Illinois, made it to the national championships in swimming.

A First for AU AU’s first botanist and the former curator of African archaeology and ethnography at Chicago’s iconic Field Museum of Natural History are among 22 new faculty members. The new crop of professors come to D.C. with a variety of research interests, such as gaming, econometrics, neuroscience, and citizen journalism. “We’ve recruited at all levels— those doing cutting-edge work and those with strong connections who will put us on the map,” says Phyllis Peres, senior vice provost and dean of academic affairs. 8 American Magazine  August 2013


2009 Elected high school class president. Was his high school mascot, the Creekside “Seminole.”


Won a seat on the D.C. Neighborhood Advisory Commission at age 19, becoming the youngest elected official in Washington history. “The first person I voted for was myself.”

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success offers a formula for success—being born at the right place and time and investing at least 10,000 hours in pursuit of your goal. It’s about being focused and impassioned and pursuing a dream. Meet one of AU’s outliers: Harry S. Truman Scholar Deon Jones, SPA/BA ’14.

2009 Won the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cup, the highest award given to a graduating high school senior.


Interned for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).


Controversial presidential election piqued his interest. “I started paying attention to politics.”

1991 Born in Biloxi, Mississippi. 2002 Moved to Atlanta because his mother was running from an abusive husband. Grew up poor. “I knew there was something greater in store for my life.”

2002 Started watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah “helped me reject the notion that I couldn’t become something.”

2009 Served as director of student affairs for Atlanta City Councilman Scott Vaughan. Helped increase number of registered young voters by 30 percent.


Traversed Georgia, speaking as part of the Future Business Leaders of America. “In church people praised my singing and speaking. I enjoyed that attention. I came from a home where I didn’t always get pats on the back.”

2011 Interned for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 2012 Interned for the Campaign for Youth Justice, which advocates against incarcerating youth in adult prisons. Traveled the country as a national spokesman. 2012 Became a White House intern. Worked in the vice president’s correspondence office for 40 hours a week; attended classes at night. Met President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

2012 Began application process for the Truman Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study leading to careers in government or nonprofits. Spent “countless hours” on the application with Paula Warrick, AU’s Office of Merit Awards director.


Enrolled in AU sight unseen after a chance encounter with a university recruiter in an Atlanta hotel lobby. “I’d never even been above the Mason-Dixon Line.”


Studied abroad at King’s College in London, where he ran into Biden at an embassy event. “He recognized me and said, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’”

2012 Started MANifest Leadership Institute, a mentorship program for young men released from the D.C. juvenile detention center.


Named one of 62 Truman Scholars, becoming the first African American winner in AU history.


Will become the first man in his family to graduate from college. Has sights set on law school. Let’s talk #americanmag  9


“We’re going to play as a unit, compete, and defend.”

Timing is essential in the

Princeton offense, a system of basketball that stresses constant motion, passing, and backdoor cuts. As a scrappy 6-foot guard, Mike Brennan ran it to perfection at the Ivy League school, leading the Tigers to two NCAA Tournaments. Later, as an

assistant coach under its inventor, Pete Carril, and for the past four seasons at Georgetown, Brennan was an integral part of teams that employed it to great success. Sandwiched between those stints, Brennan, 41, worked as an assistant at AU during the Eagles’ best two seasons ever, the Patriot

League championship years of 2007–2009. “We had the best players in the league—I timed it right,” he says of his AU experience. “When I was here as an assistant, I knew in the back of my mind that this would be a great place to be a head coach. Academics are important here. Having kids who want to get a degree and compete at a high level is important.” When Jeff Jones left AU after 13 seasons, Brennan was ready. He was named head coach in April. “Mike embodies all the qualities we were looking for

in a coach: integrity, character, experience recruiting at a high-end academic institution, ability to connect with players, toughness, and unmatched skills in player development and teaching,” says Billy Walker, AU’s director of athletics and recreation. “Above all, Mike is the ideal role model and mentor for our young men to emulate. Mike understands the primacy of academics but knows we can compete for championships as well. He’s the perfect fit.” A native of New Jersey, Brennan graduated from Princeton in 1994 with a degree in English. He coached the freshman team at his high school before playing professionally in Europe. When he returned, he joined Carril’s staff at Princeton. Now, in charge of a collegiate program for the first time, Brennan is drawing on the lessons he’s learned throughout a career spent working with some of the top coaches in the game. “We’re going to play as a unit, compete, and defend,” he says. No doubt the team’s timing, like its coach’s, should be exquisite.

Fast and Smart

Eagles Down Jays

New Lax Coach

Seniors John Pope and Julia Sullivan of the outdoor track and field team were named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team. Pope carries a 3.85 GPA as an international studies major. Sullivan has a 3.81 GPA as an international studies and environmental studies double major.

In a stunning upset, the women’s lacrosse team beat blue blood Johns Hopkins 10-9 in overtime on March 27 at Jacobs Field. Jordan Harrington scored the game-winner with eight seconds remaining in extra time to seal the win over the then-12th-ranked Blue Jays.

Emma Wallace, who led the women’s lacrosse team to one of its best seasons ever as interim head coach in 2013, has signed a contract to remain in the position permanently.

10 American Magazine  August 2013


How can an international court establish its authority when several of the world’s powers refuse to join it? More than 10 years after the birth of the International Criminal Court, School of International Service professor David Bosco is examining that and other questions in his forthcoming book, Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics. Bosco, an international lawyer who writes the Multilateralist blog for Foreign Policy magazine, interviewed

more than 100 diplomats, court officials, and government officers for the book. “I was interested in looking at how powerful states have interacted with the court,” Bosco says. “Have they tried to marginalize it? Have they tried to control it? What has been their strategy?” The U.S. and other nonmembers, such as China, India, and Russia, have asserted that the court, which has more than 120 member nations, is a flawed institution. Yet they’ve quietly looked for opportunities to work with it.

“They’ve sort of figured out how to coexist,” Bosco says. “In specific situations the U.S. has agreed to refer cases to the court through the U.N. Security Council. In Sudan and in Libya, the U.S., China, and Russia all agreed to refer those situations to the court. That’s an example of these countries saying, we may not love the court, and we have problems with it still, but we think it can play a useful role in certain situations.” Bosco makes the court a focal point in his courses on world politics and global governance.

AP Images/ Ben Curtis

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established a decade ago in The Hague, Netherlands, in the wake of war crimes in Africa and the Balkans. The ICC has grown from a few staff to a bustling institution with more than 1,000 lawyers and investigators and the backing of more than 120 countries. The ICC has indicted 30 people, proceedings against 23 of whom are ongoing. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) is the second sitting African president to face ICC charges, over allegations he orchestrated tribe-on-tribe violence that marred Kenya’s 2007 presidential election.

Four schools will roll out five online grad programs beginning in January 2014 in partnership with online learning leader Deltak: an MA in strategic communication, MA in teaching English as a foreign language, and MA in nutrition education; an MPA; and a graduate certificate in nonprofit monitoring. Modeled after face-to-face interaction, the distance learning framework focuses on engagement and application. “Course design is highly personalized between Deltak and AU faculty. This means using multiple social media strategies to connect with students and create a virtual community where they gain the knowledge and experience needed to advance their careers,” says Anastasia Snelling, associate dean, School of Education, Teaching, and Health. The classroom without walls has a structure all its own. Discussion threads feel more like social media exchanges and less like lectures. Students have personal profiles and public blogs. Faculty lead open, broadcaststyle forums that provide a dynamic place for feedback and queries. Video, voice, and text are shared—anytime, from anywhere. It’s an evolution from the textbased discussions and quizzes of early online learning platforms to an active setting where digital identity comes to life.




Math professor John Nolan won a three-year, $306,000 grant from the Department of Defense to create new ways of analyzing data and securing networks. The probability theory wonk will work with 11 researchers from seven universities on the project.

SOC’s Pat Aufderheide and WCL’s Peter Jaszi are easing copyright confusion. Their Set of Principles in Fair Use for Journalism, which includes guidelines for web, social media, and podcasts, was released in June.

There’s no link between watching violence and committing it, according to SPA criminologist Joanne Savage, who conducted a meta-analysis of 26 studies involving 13,661 participants. Despite an “explosive growth in exposure to media violence,” violent crime in the U.S. has plummeted since the mid-’90s. Let’s talk #americanmag  11


COMMUNICATION 570 Classroom in the Wild: HD Alaska Shooting video or still photos while hanging off a glacier or wading in a river is just as hard as it sounds. It’s also as dangerous. That’s why Larry Engel offers this three-week summer course. The work is as intense as the subject matter; students spend two weeks on campus and 8 to 10 days in Alaska, where they learn survival techniques and film microdocumentaries on environmental and wildlife issues. “Students expand their boundaries and push their limits in ways that they don’t anticipate,” says Engel, who’s filmed in extreme conditions all over the world, from the Galapagos to Bangladesh.

Next Destination ANTHROPOLOGY 560 The Great Dismal Swamp Landscape Study Students hone their excavation skills and learn about the indigenous American and maroon resistance communities that occupied Virginia and North Carolina before the Civil War. GOVERNMENT 523 European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

12 American Magazine  August 2013

photo by Larry Engel

Aspiring lobbyists meet in Brussels with European Union officials, academics, and journalists and craft a lobbying plan for an issue facing the EU.


Q. A.

How does nutrient pollution affect the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico? Many people think of nutrients as good things. Our bodies need nutrients to be healthy, but in excess amounts they can be harmful. Nutrients in the environment can come from fertilizers used on farms or lawns, and when it rains they can run off into waterways and eventually into the Mississippi and the Gulf. When I say “nutrients,” I’m specifically talking about nitrogen and phosphorus. They can cause excess algal growth, which can lead to hypoxia when the algae decompose. Hypoxia is low levels of oxygen in the water. It especially harms less mobile creatures. If you’re mobile like a fish, you can swim to areas where oxygen is higher, but if you’re a mussel or crab, you might not have that ability. The gulf has a very productive fishing industry, and nitrates from nutrient pollution can also enter local water sources and contaminate the drinking water. Clean water is key to human health and economic and environmental sustainability, so if nutrient pollution is affecting the water, we must address it. These words are Pinkerton’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the EPA.

Kate Pinkerton

CAS/BA ’10, CAS/MS ’12 Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

If water hits a regular roof, it can run directly off and enter the roadways, where it can then carry more pollutants to the waterways. If you have a green roof, that contaminated water is more likely to be retained. Let’s talk #americanmag  13

An urban playground. A laboratory for learning. A professional hub. A vibrant collection of neighborhoods—and neighbors. Washington’s got it all. And for our alumni, students, and faculty, Metro is their ticket to ride, connect, and explore AU’s backyard. Which Metro stop is the center of your world? Share your story:

Work- Liza Strelka, CAS/MA ’08

Curatorial coordinator, The Phillips Collection, 21st between Q and R Streets

work- Eric Oliver, SIS/BA ’12

Assistant to the director, Washington Office on Latin America, Connecticut Avenue and R Street

work- Sam Peters, SPA/BA ’13

Marketing coordinator, National Geographic Creative, 17th and M Streets

14 American Magazine  August 2013

live- Joe Flood, SIS/BA ’88 LEarn- Emily Good, SOC/BA, CAS/BA ’14

Communications intern, American Legacy Foundation, Massachusetts Avenue and 17th Street

Resident, 15th Street and Rhode Island Avenue; writer and photographer

The rickety old pier jutted out about the length of a football field from the rough brown sand into the Caribbean Sea. While most cautiously eyed the shaky structure, which looked as if it might collapse in the brisk breeze, Sophia Miyoshi, CAS/BA ’15, hopped on and began creeping toward the end. One by one her friends followed, stepping lightly on rotten, splintering beams, jumping over missing ones. As they made progress, they turned back to encourage others to come. Soon nearly the whole group reached the end, where a lone fisherman sat on a bucket. This was a rare moment of pure unwind for the group of American University students studying access to higher education in Cuba as part of the alternative breaks program. They had spent their week immersing themselves in the country’s culture, history, politics, and people. Days included conversations, both planned and impromptu, with Cuban students, lectures from professors, trips to a rural elementary school, and museum tours. Now, in this

b y M ik e U n g e r

small fishing village about 190 kilometers northwest of Havana, it was time to exhale. Youthful exuberance took over. Cullen Moran, SIS/BA ’16, was the first to leap into the lukewarm water, his friends following close behind. As they splashed and laughed on a windy Wednesday late afternoon, their spirit proved too intoxicating for the fisherman, who stripped down to his striped-and-starred green boxers and plunged in as well. It was one of a hundred genuine moments the students shared with their hosts, the kind of flash friendship that makes travel addictive. To some in the group, the trip was an exhilarating medley of memories and photos that will settle into the timelines of their lives alongside past journeys and those not yet taken. To others, it was nothing short of transformational. “It will make me more understanding of different perspectives in my classroom,” says Trey Owens, CAS/BA ’13, who’s heading to New Orleans in the fall as part of Teach for

America. “It broke down my U.S.-centric world view and allowed me to see how people interact in different environments and cultures. That’s not something I will ever forget.” Even during downtime, serious conversation always bubbled to the surface. That serene afternoon in the province of Pinar del Rio was no exception. While their friends toweled off and delicately made their way back across the pier, Tom O’Connor, SOC/BA ’15, and Miyoshi sat on the grass and tried to process everything they’d seen so far. Thinking critically about Cuba can be overwhelming. It’s a country whose education system is admired throughout the Americas (its literacy rate is a whopping 97 percent), yet its government struggles to provide citizens with basic necessities like toothpaste. It’s a nation that produces top-rate doctors, but where for many the primary mode of transportation is a bike, the bus, or their own two feet. In processing these complexities, O’Connor and Miyoshi

ph o t o s b y A v e r y L uck , S o phi a M i y o shi , L a u r e n S il b e r , a n d M ik e U n g e r Let’s talk #americanmag  17


indy Zavala, SOC/BA ’14 (left) and Maria Schneider, CAS/ BA ’13, met more than a year ago at an exploratory meeting for potential alternative breaks student leaders. Both had been on a trip before—Maria to Haiti, Cindy to Cuba in 2012—but now they wanted to be leaders, a significant step up in terms of responsibility and work. “We tell them it’s going to be a 10- to 20-hour-a-week commitment, but I don’t think it really registers until they start doing it,” says Shoshanna Sumka, assistant director of global learning and leadership.


U offers about five trips each during winter, spring, and summer breaks. All have two student leaders, at least one staff advisor, and about 13 others. A committee of staff, faculty, and students reads and reviews proposals before selecting the locations and leaders. When a trip is solidified, the leaders interview potential participants; only about half of applicants are accepted. “We’re looking for leadership qualities that include dedication, passion for social justice, knowledge, and interest in the issue,” Sumka says. “Ideally they’ll have experience in the

community or working with community organizations, organizing and planning skills, facilitation skills, and some budgeting and financial skills.”


chneider and Zavala fit the mold. An education major who studied for a semester in Costa Rica, Schneider is a natural leader. The tall, easygoing Minnesotan effortlessly took the reins during meetings and reflections the group held before, during, and after Cuba. Her inclusive spirit created an atmosphere that struck the right balance between fun and productivity. Zavala is the daughter of Salvadorian parents, and her enthusiasm for Latin culture—particularly music— was infectious. As alt break leaders, Schneider and Zavala did not have to pay for their trip, which cost the others $2,444. They earned their way by organizing the group’s pre-trip meetings, post-trip activism, and service. Because of the unique circumstances involved with traveling to Cuba, the students finished their service component before they left. The theme of their trip was access to higher education, so as a point of

18 American Magazine  August 2013

comparison, the group worked with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a national college readiness program. They visited AVID classrooms in Virginia, spoke with teachers and tutors, and hosted a group of AVID students at AU on Presidents’ Day. “It had a tremendous impact,” says Derek Steele, AVID district director for Fairfax County, Virginia. “It’s one thing to talk in terms of going to college, and it’s another thing for our students to actually experience going into college classrooms. It opened the doors of possibility for them.”


er experience as a leader did the same for Schneider. She’s heading to New Orleans in the fall to teach, but a classroom might not be the final stop of her career. “The trip really made me think about getting a master’s in international education,” she says. “Going on alt breaks, studying abroad, and being in different cultures led up to that, but Cuba was the peak.”

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of AU’s alternative breaks, Sept. 27-28. Visit facebook. com/AUAltBreak/events.

returned to advice offered by Professor Phil Brenner before they departed. “The hard thing I’ve learned about studying Cuba is you should go with a blank mind, and it’s almost impossible to do that,” he said on the first day of his class on Cuba. He created the one-credit course specifically for students on the trip. “Write down everything you see. You can think about it later. Talk to the people. Look at their faces. Are they smiling? Go with no preconceived notions.” That was easy for O’Connor, a journalism major who constantly was scribbling in his notebook. He’d only been abroad once before, to Ireland, but was so taken with the idea of traveling to Cuba for spring break that he planned to work as a carpenter all summer to pay his mom back for the trip. “When you don’t know what to expect, everything is a surprise,” he says. “I think we continue to imagine the Cuban people as either hard-line, hateful communists or victims of a malicious, totalitarian state. We can’t imagine that, in reality, Cubans are, in a lot of ways, like us. They have individual hopes, dreams, fears, beliefs.” Many of which undoubtedly are the same as the 15 AU students on this trip and the roughly 200 who each year go to places ranging from South Africa to San Francisco as part of AU’s alt breaks, as they’ve come to be known. Perspectives are altered, relationships are formed, values are challenged. Rickety piers are crossed.

The gift of attention In the fall of 1998, Hurricane Mitch made landfall in Honduras, pounding the country with 80-mile-per-hour winds and rain that caused catastrophic flooding, mudslides, and the deaths of thousands of people. AU chaplain Joe Eldridge lived in Honduras in the 1980s and was anguished by the pain and suffering he saw in his former home. “It seemed to me that American University would be fertile ground for students interested in doing something for spring break other than going to Cancun,” he says. “So we organized a group and went to a place called Corralitos, which was a little village that had been devastated and had no running water or electricity.” Alternative breaks at AU were born.

“We helped put up a bodega, but manual labor is not in short supply in Central America,” Eldridge says. “The most important thing we did there was give the gift of our attention.” The alternative breaks concept began popping up on college campuses in the late 1980s. In 1991 two Vanderbilt University students founded Break Away, now a nonprofit that offers alt break training and best practices to more than 100 universities, including AU. Rather than emphasize only community service, AU’s program stresses social justice as well.

“The first thing I saw was the poverty, but as the trip continued we started to understand why. There was a woman who said to me, ‘People always come here and stare at me, but no one ever comes back.’” Mayer did. She led two subsequent alt breaks to the reservation and another to the Navajo Nation. Along the way she joined AU’s Student Advocates for Native Communities, and scrapped her plans for a career in international development. In May she graduated from law school with a focus on Native American law. “It changed my career path,” she says. “We talked to people, wrestled with what we saw and what we could do about it. It gives people a chance to become leaders and see that, if you care about something, you can do something about that cause. I didn’t realize I could have done all that when I started out that first year.”

La Isla Grande

“While we do some disaster relief, it’s more focused on building solidarity and activism,” says Shoshanna Sumka, assistant director of global learning and leadership. “It’s about staying in contact with the community that you worked with, or doing some kind of activism around that issue. It’s about having a society of active citizens, and not about just one trip.” Yet for many, one trip can be life changing. Maggie Holden, SIS/BA ’04, SIS/MA ’06, led a group to the Thai-Burma border, and wound up writing a book on Burmese refugees. As a freshman, Katie Mayer, SIS/BA, Kogod/BS ’10, applied for the trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota because it was the least expensive. “The biggest moment for me was realizing that this level of poverty existed in our country and I had no idea about it,” she says.

Forty-five minutes after the World Atlantic charter flight took off from Miami, it landed at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. Passports were stamped, currency exchanged, a bag misplaced, and the adventure was on. Outside in the bright sunshine, 1950s-era American cars zipped through the streets, their high-pitched horns beeping like cartoon sound effects. This was Cuba’s first surprise: spotting an antique Chevy or Dodge is not a rarity—it’s the norm. Havana, the cliché goes, looks like a city frozen in time. It’s almost true. In many ways its architecture and infrastructure have not changed much since the revolution triumphed in 1959, but downtown, the group’s first stop, time most certainly has marched on. Paint is peeling on seemingly every building, many of which are crumbling or vacant. Broken-down cars dot the streets, their hoods propped up as bikes, mopeds, sedans, packed buses, and even the occasional horse and buggy maneuver around them. Every Cuban who owns a car is a mechanic, the saying goes. The lack of commercialism was startling to Americans first visiting one of the world’s least market-based economies. The country’s landscape is barren of strip malls, most billboards, really advertising of any kind. In a place where the average monthly income is roughly the equivalent of $30, where buying

a car has only recently become possible, there’s not much to sell. Yet as the week unfolded, the students came to realize that having little is not the same as having nothing at all. “You don’t see the dire poverty,” said Miguel Salazar, Kogod/BS ’16. “Everyone has the necessities and not much more, so you have to ask yourself, is that because of socialism or the embargo?” The question was a particularly poignant one for Salazar and Allison Boyle, Kogod/BS ’15, both of whom have Cuban heritage. The island was more than a destination for them. In one sense, it was a homecoming. “Coming here I was very comfortable with the people and how they act, because that’s how my family acts back home in New Jersey,” said Boyle, whose mother, Pilar, was born in Cuba, left for Spain at the age of 11, and moved to the U.S. in 1974. This was Boyle’s first trip to the island, and among the relatives she hugged for the first time during an unlikely family reunion was her mother’s half-sister, Mirian. “It was a weird feeling because I was meeting people that I don’t know, but when they saw me, they started crying, and when they left I started crying,” she says. “It was much more emotional than I was expecting. It shows that family is really important for Cubans—and for me.” Salazar grew up in Miami, where opinions on Cuba are as strong as the coffee. His grandfather fled Cuba after the revolution and doesn’t shy from making his anti-Castro feelings known. But Salazar’s American-born father has a much more nuanced view. He supports opening relations between the two countries and has visited Cuba several times. “I’ve never spoken as much Spanish as I have here. I’ve never felt as comfortable interacting with Cuban people as I have here. I’ve always wanted to be an individual, but my identity starts from day one, my birth. I am Cuban and there is a country that does inform a lot about my life and family, and the way I grew up. This trip has changed how I’m going to view myself for the rest of my life.” Boyle’s familial awakening was organized thousands of miles away by her mother. She met her relatives one sunny afternoon on the front porch of the Martin Luther King Center, the church-run educational facility in the Marianao district (about seven miles southwest of Old Havana), where the AU students stayed. Let’s talk #americanmag  19

After some initial awkwardness subsided, they proudly showed Boyle a photo album of her distant cousin’s quinceanera, the traditional coming-of-age party for a 15-year-old Latina. As Boyle turned each page, complimenting (in Spanish) picture after picture of girls in pretty dresses and plenty of makeup, the women gushed and the men beamed. Less than an hour later, the seven relatives piled back into the rented, shineless, blue 1950s Ford pickup truck for the long drive home. “It made me appreciate how close I am with my family in the U.S., and it also brought to mind that I may never see [my Cuban relatives] again,” Boyle said, her eyes welling with tears. “They don’t have a lot of money, and they took the time to come out from the country and visit me, and that means a lot. “I don’t even know why I’m crying. Happiness, I guess.”

“I met a lot of interesting characters, and each of them treated me with respect, despite the political relationship between our countries. Many went out of their way to explain how such petty politics should not affect the way we view each other.” In a society ruled by one man and his brother for more than a half century, no one appeared particularly concerned with censorship or ramifications for speaking their mind. But what goes unsaid can’t be known.

Travel, not vacation Under the terms of the U.S.’s longstanding embargo against Cuba, travel to the island strictly for tourism is illegal. The U.S. Treasury Department, however, does issue licenses for Americans to visit for educational purposes. This meant the AU group had to book its trip through the Minneapolis-based Center for Global Education, which planned much of the room, board, transportation, and itinerary of educational activities for the alt break. This was travel, not vacation. The two are not interchangeable. Days began around 8 a.m. and were packed. The group visited the U.S. embassy equivalent (officially, the U.S. Interests Section); went to a food-rationing market; and watched a dazzling Afro-Cuban musical group perform. They grabbed catnaps and wrote in their journals during the little free time they had, until the pulsating beats of downtown salsa and hip-hop clubs beckoned. Sometimes they veered from the script. Marcy Campos, director of AU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service and one of two staff advisors on the trip, took the group to the home of a couple that had hosted an American exchange student at the University of Havana. In the tight confines of the tiny apartment—by far the nicest in a once-regal home now run-down and divided into multiple dwellings—the students and their hosts danced and laughed the night away. “Cubans were some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever come across,” O’Connor says. 20  American Magazine  August 2013

“We have social justice—our schools, health care, and access to culture are excellent— but we do not have civil rights,” said Ariel, the group’s 38-year-old guide, whose deep knowledge of Cuban history and culture and determination to present an unfiltered view of his beloved country endeared him to the AU students. “We have one party, we have no freedom of speech. The government controls the newspapers and television stations. I can say what I want, but no one is there to hear me. That is not freedom of speech.”

Re-evaluating priorities One hundred sixty-eight hours flew by. When the students disembarked in Miami and walked through the maze of airport hallways toward customs, one of the first images they saw was an advertisement featuring a bejeweled woman holding multiple shopping bags in each hand. It was a jarring sight for people who had spent the past week of their

lives in a consumerism-free country just 90 miles—yet a world—away. Back on American soil, the first thing most did was dig for their cell phones, dormant for no doubt the longest period of their existence. After a week of rice and beans, they scattered in search of a greasy slice of pizza or McAnything, and began the adjustment to capitalism. This is their reality, but the impact of their travels won’t soon fade from their consciousness. “The Cuban way of life made me reevaluate my priorities,” says Thomas Cheng, SPA/BA, SOC/BA ’13, who will teach English in China this summer. “It’s not about how much money you have, it’s more about the personto-person connections and your passions. As someone who’s going to be teaching, it really made an impression on me.” Brenner noticed growth in his students’ thinking after they returned. “They all had something meaningful to say,” he says. “They could be little things, the way in which people put up with difficulties in daily life, the fact that they make a real distinction between people from the United States and U.S. government policy. It was wonderful to feel the sense of excitement they had.” In late April the students organized an on-campus panel about Cuba’s inclusion on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Afterwards, they chatted about finals and reminisced about their time in Cuba. It was hard to believe that just six weeks earlier a small group had ventured downtown to explore the Hotel Nacional in Havana. Once a world-famous destination that hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill, it remains one of the city’s ritziest hotels. In the early morning mist, conversation on the marble patio overlooking the Malecon, a wide, winding boulevard that hugs the Caribbean, ranged from politics to education to the very nature of humanity. The alt breakers had come to Cuba “blissfully ignorant,” in the words of one student, and now were contemplating questions for which scholars who have studied this mysterious and proud country for decades have no definitive answers. “Cuba is full of contradictions,” Miguel Salazar said, “and I love it.” He leaned back in his chair, puffed on his hand-rolled cigar, and blew a plume of smoke into the cool Havana night.

Let’s talk #americanmag  21

By Lee Fleming


The word conjures Silicon Valley startups and overnight dot-com millionaires. But today’s entrepreneurs—whether brick and mortar or click and order—are just as likely to go for high touch over high tech when creating their businesses. “At Kogod, we hope to attract students interested in both profit and nonprofit revenue-generating businesses,” says management professor Barbara Bird, whose research focuses on entrepreneurial cognition and behavior. According to Bird, entrepreneurs have a high need for autonomy and achievement. They’re also willing to take moderate risks—“they’re not gamblers,” she emphasizes—and responsibility for the outcome of their efforts. “With millennial entrepreneurs, you see a lot of social responsibility and a high need for feedback,” she adds. People start businesses for many reasons—they’re either driven by opportunity, seeing a niche product or service that’s not being offered as well as it could be, or by the need to offer a solution that fills a void. Of course, sometimes they start a business simply because they can’t find a job. According to a 2012 Kauffman Foundation study, there were 514,000 new business owners in the United States per month—an umbrella figure that covers handymen and high-end management consultants as well as businesses that employ others. The failure rate is equally high: in this country, 40 to 50 percent of new businesses will collapse within five years. Clearly a strong sense of optimism and self-confidence are also key elements of the entrepreneurial character—as embodied in the nine AU graduates profiled in these pages.

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Geoff Silverstein, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Ross Nover, CAS/BA ’05, Cofounders

Danielle Vogel, WCL/JD ’07, Owner “You will never find a banana—ever,” says fourth-generation grocer Danielle Vogel of her Dupont Circle startup. Named as a tribute to her father, Glen’s Garden Market offers produce, meats, poultry, dairy, prepared foods, craft beer, and wine that are grown, raised, or created by farmers and artisans within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, encompassing Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. What’s on the shelves is dictated by locale and season. The materials used to build the store also are environmentally conscious and sustainable—you won’t find paper or plastic either. The business even separates out compostable material from trash and returns it to local farmers for their compost heaps. Vogel spent a decade on Capitol Hill working on environmental policy before starting Glen’s. “It was clear to me over time that making significant change on a global scale was impossible,” she says. “I wanted to start a business that would function as a change agent, and given my background, it was natural to go into the grocery business and use local produce to advance environmental change.” The startup was almost entirely personally financed, with a bank offering a secured line of credit towards the end. “Always have more cash than you think you’ll need,” says Vogel, who was profiled by the Washington Post earlier this year. Today, Glen’s boasts 70 employees and a growing customer base that appreciates Vogel’s grocery philosophy. “Some customers don’t understand why we will never carry strawberries in winter,” she says, “but most get the concept and will tell us that it’s really important that we carry only things in season and grown around here. And of course,” she adds, “others just value a grocery store near where they live.”

“Always have more cash than you think you’ll need.”

Anyone who’s worked as a graphic designer has toyed with the idea of venturing out on his or her own. “We were crazy enough to do it,” says Geoff Silverstein, who reconnected with high school buddy Ross Nover, an AU undergraduate in graphic design and adjunct professor, to form Friendly Design Co. The pair was adamant about their startup’s direction. “We did not want to be glorified freelancers. We wanted a business,” Nover says. Because their equipment and software was current, the only real initial investment was $1,000 to join Canvas, an open, shared working space in D.C. for creative types that the pair finds to be a congenial and inspiring situation. “We’re growing organically,” Silverstein explains. “We didn’t want to open a big office with nothing to do or sink money where we didn’t have to.” With a background in entrepreneurship and management, thanks to his Kogod training, Silverstein also focused on the marketing aspect, which relies on social media and word of mouth. The majority of their clients are small businesses that seek them out for help on branding and positioning. “The work with startups is fascinating and rewarding,” Nover says, “doing this on the ground floor when everyone is still shaping ideas.” The pair tries to keep to a “normal” schedule, to balance home and work life. “But we quickly learned that 5 p.m. is not the end of the day,” Nover says. Feeling their way through this first year, Nover and Silverstein have refined their philosophy through experience. “We want to solve client problems,” Silverstein says. “We put style out of the way—there is not one right way to do something. As a result, we come to solutions that others might not.”

Let’s talk #americanmag  23

Dan Doll, Kogod/BSBA ’08, and Dave Simnick, SPA/BA ’09, Cofounders Where’s the soap? That’s the question Dave Simnick found himself asking during a postgrad internship for a USAID subcontractor working on international hygiene and water filtration projects. “We were giving them clean water but nothing to wash with,” he says. Thus was born Soapbox Soaps, a soap business dedicated to promoting hygiene around the world and down the street. Working with childhood friend Eric Vong, who eventually left for other challenges, Simnick launched the company in 2009. Auditing AU entrepreneurship classes to fill in the blanks in his business background, he met up with Dan Doll, who among other things took on the website, making it a vehicle that would proclaim their philosophy—and promote sales. For every soap sold, Soapbox donates a bar to homeless and women’s shelters and nursing homes in the U.S., and to the needy in seven countries abroad. The cofounders scraped together $25,000 for the startup. Simnick googled how to make soap and created the first batch in the kitchen of a house shared with other AU alums. His goal: a product that was ethical, environmentally friendly, and good for skin. “Our big break was getting Whole Foods store to take us on after a year of pestering them,” Simnick recalls. The soap had record sales, leading to its spot on the shelf in eight stores, then regionally. Buoyed by this success, the pair sought additional funding—and recently raised $340,000 from investors that will allow them to expand. “The biggest struggle for a new business is figuring out what you don’t know before you get hurt by it,” Doll says. The partners rely on customer feedback and a board of advisors, who help them address capitalization, distribution, public relations, and fundraising.

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“I do a test meal every night.”

Ryan Hansan, Kogod/BSBA ’08, Founder As a young professional in D.C. who liked to have friends over for meals but didn’t plan in advance, Ryan Hansan constantly experienced the bane of most cooks: the forgotten ingredient requiring another trip to the store, the recipe calling for just a teaspoon of fresh parsley from an enormous bunch. “I thought, how great if someone delivered it all,” he says. “There was a need, and a chance to solve a problem in daily life.” He began testing recipes—many taken from his mother— deconstructing the results into two-dinner bundles with every ingredient measured, marinated, chopped, or otherwise ready to be assembled “from scratch” by customers at the other end. “I love to cook now,” Hansan says. “I used to think it was such a chore, but now I do a test meal every single night of the week.” He launched scratchDC in August 2012, with $20,000 in personal funding to cover equipment, food, marketing, and delivery. Word spread quickly through blogs, appearances at events like Adams Morgan Day, Washington Post and City Paper articles, and reviews on Yelp. Demand now is great enough for Hansan to open a space near McPherson Square, envisioned as a hub for prep and delivery. Hansan dismisses his only competition as “two companies based in New York that make you buy ahead. You don’t get things prepared—just a clove of garlic that you have to chop—and meals are mailed so they sit around on the doorstep.” In contrast, scratchDC offers same-day ordering and scheduled delivery, fresh organic ingredients grown locally, and foolproof recipes that not only take 35 minutes or less to cook but use only the usual kitchen pots and pans. This makes Hansan’s concept extremely portable. “We can see this being big in other cities,” he adds. As for the best business advice he’s gotten to date: “However hard you expect it to be, you are going to work twice as hard.”

Sarah Meyer Walsh, SPA/BA ’05, and Erin Miller, CAS/BA ’02, Cofounders

Photo of Justin bridges by Niraj Mehdiratta

“There’s a lot of letter writing going on,” says Sarah Meyer Walsh. With clients clamoring for their invitations and stationery, and an ever-expanding wholesale business that got them named Best in Show at the 2013 National Stationery Show, Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller of Haute Papier are proof that paper is powerful. “In an age when people think email is OK for a thank-you, the impact of a handwritten note is far more significant,” Meyer Walsh says. Haute Papier started in 2006, when Meyer Walsh was planning her wedding. Discouraged by the lack of custom designs, she decided to create her own. Miller soon joined the business. The two women took to heart the advice to “stay small as long as you can.” They focused on developing tried-and-true, fairly priced offerings. “We grew at a sustainable rate, and smart choices took us in the right direction,” says Meyer Walsh. Haute Papier employs eight full-time staff and four summer employees, when the business puts together display albums of their collections for retailers. From the start, Haute Papier funding has been internal. “It’s always been important for us to reinvest in the business,” Miller says. Although they still do couture work, the firm’s focus is now on the wholesale side. Personal stationery continues to be one of the largest aspects of the business, doubling in revenue every year. Haute Papier is in 400 stores nationwide. One ongoing challenge is logistics. The multi-ton letterpresses— one is named Gertrude, a cast-iron workhorse from the early 1900s—require special rigging and must be coaxed in and out of buildings, often with only centimeters to spare. “We control the quality and have unbeatable pricing, because there is no middle man,” says Meyer Walsh.

“It’s not a complete day unless I have worked 15 hours.”

“We print in-house, which is unusual.”

Justin Bridges, Kogod/BSBA ’08, Founder and photographer Armed with a finance degree from Kogod, Justin Bridges went to work at fabled Goldman Sachs in 2008. To survive what he calls “a miserable year,” he turned to longtime interests, photography and fashion. The result is Tucked, a startup that is a portfolio, blog, and more. Bridges describes it as his life “packaged into a photographic documentary,” celebrating style but also selling his ability to create distinctive images for brands, clients, and publications. “The blog helps to leverage bookings and pitch myself. You can tell them not just about your style but how you can deliver unique visitors to the blog because of other connections,” he explains. Ironically, although Bridges pursued photography at AU, he refused to take pictures when he moved to New York: “I didn’t want to look like a tourist.” Finally leaving Goldman behind, he took day jobs in fashion while making contacts in photography. Initial costs were low: aside from an expensive camera, he was able to rent other equipment and invest his savings in himself as he built a portfolio and clientele. Now he’s a full-time photographer and blogger. “It’s not a complete day unless I have worked 15 hours,” he says. Penetrating the high-fashion photography market is a challenge. “The traditional route is to understudy the big guys,” he says. “Then you start getting small jobs, then larger, until you’re on your own. I didn’t do that.” Bridges attributes his ability to make headway to social media. “You have so many more points of accessibility.” Lessons learned in the financial world guide Bridges’s actions today: “Your follow-up should always be good. Reach out to people and thank them.” This steady, thoughtful—but cool—approach is paying off. Bridges’s images now appear on edgy fashion sites, and every Friday his photos go live on GQ’s Street Style. Let’s talk #americanmag  25

26 American Magazine  August 2013

My first question to Mike and Tara Shubbuck is one they’re often asked in the hostels, hotels, campsites, and strangers’ houses that for the last year they’ve called home: “How are you feeling?” “Great,” Mike replies from Bangkok, Thailand. His voice, whisked instantaneously through the ether by the miracle that is Skype, is crystal clear. “We haven’t had food poisoning in at least two weeks.” He laughs—they both do—and you can hear the joy in his voice even as he recalls the pain in his stomach. They had unwittingly fought a battle with Indian water—more on that later—and lost, but even in the 11th month of an around-the-world trip, they had already classified the malady as nothing more than a hiccup during a once-in-a-lifetime travel feast. Mike, SOC/BA ’03, SOC/MA ’09, and Tara, SOC/BA ’07, aren’t simply fulfilling their wildest wanderlust fantasies, they’re fulfilling them together. They met at AU—she took a photography class, he was the lab assistant— and married on March 3, 2012. For their honeymoon they chose to go . . . everywhere. “We were looking at the next steps of our lives—do we want to stay in D.C., do we want to stay at our jobs?—and it became, why can’t we just travel around the world?” Tara, 27, says. “We said, ‘Well, why don’t we?’” Tara quit her job as a production coordinator at the Washington Post, and Mike put in his notice with the AU library. Did it make them nervous? “Absolutely,” Mike, 32, answers quickly.

They began selling their books on Amazon, their furniture on Craigslist, and shed most everything else through a sale in their apartment building. What’s left of their worldly possessions fits into a few suitcases and boxes now stowed in Tara’s uncle’s attic, and the packs they carry on their backs. Planning began more than a year out. “It was intense,” Tara says. “It entailed everything from health and travel insurance, the best credit cards, the best bank accounts, power of attorney. We had to create a will.” Serious stuff. Settling on a route was easier. They would chase an endless summer, zigzagging through Europe, Africa, and Asia in pursuit of the sun. Money, of course, is always a factor. They budgeted $50 per person per day, a figure they found to be meager for Europe but princely in Asia. Flights from New York to their first stop, Reykjavik, Iceland, cost $300 each. n 1895 Mark Twain sailed around the world on a steamship, recording his thoughts with a pen on paper for a book that became Following the Equator. The Shubbucks’ blog,, is the twenty-first-century version of the same exercise. They’re remaining in touch with their friends, families, and fellow travelers through the blog, Facebook, and a Twitter feed that has more than 2,400 followers. The connectivity of the world has been a pleasant surprise; even some remote African locales and isolated countries like Myanmar are hooked into the web. They’re traveling with a MacBook Pro and an iPhone, and they have gone through several cameras, which apparently don’t like sand, dirt, or moisture. Preserving the experience, through words, video, and photos, is a priority. The blog is populated with several helpful advice pieces, like his-and-her tips for packing for long-term travel (Mike suggests silk sheets; Tara a BaByliss PRO travel hair straightener), but also poignant reflections on places and situations most readers will never experience. The journey has included euphoric highs and frustrating lows. In Zambia, they jumped into Devil’s Pool, on the edge of Victoria Falls. Mike held Tara’s legs as she peered over the abyss, simultaneously thrilled and terrified. In Zanzibar they were shaken down by a cop who pulled over their rented scooter and grinned while he asked, “Do you know what bond is?” Eventually, he let them go.

They camped for 37 straight days in Africa, couch-surfed in Johannesburg, and were feasted upon by bed bugs in Milan. They bathed an elephant, cage dived with great white sharks, and learned to say “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” in Finnish, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Croatian, Italian, Spanish, French, Thai, and Burmese. hen there was India, where their resolve was challenged during their more than two-month stay. At a $5-per-night hostel in Alleppey, they discovered the water was coming directly from the channel, where people wash their clothes and themselves, and cows do whatever they please. That explained the mysterious green goo seeping out of the showerhead. Even though they had boiled the water for tea, the episode was unnerving. “The water always tasted off,” Tara says. Cheesy pizza and real Q-tips occasionally pop into Tara’s mind. Mike misses soft toilet paper. Yet their yearning to see, to meet, to do, to live life their way, together, trumps the longing for home. Their travel insurance was set to run out on July 4, so they extended it. The new plan was to spend more time in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and return home on July 31. “Traveling long-term makes you re-evaluate your life, because it becomes your full-time job,” Mike says. “If you want to improve yourself, if there are parts of your personality that you don’t like, you can focus in on doing that. If you had a temper, suddenly, because you don’t speak the language, you can’t go off and start screaming at people. You’re no longer encumbered with a full-time job, so you can take away from the experience whatever you want.” Along the way, people from all walks of life have seemed curious about the same things. Aside from inquiries about their general wellbeing, they’re often asked if they’re sick of each other yet (they’re not); if they’re tired of living out of backpacks (Mike is at times, Tara surprisingly isn’t); and what their You’ve read plans are when about the Shubbucks’ they get home thrilling trip and their hiccups. (who knows?). Send your most memorable travel What’s the tale to rush? Their The reader with the best story will receive a print of Hannah honeymoon’s Lloyd’s cover illustration. still not over. Entries must be received by August 31.

New SPA concentration trains grads to fight terrorism around 28  American Magazine  August 2013

the world-and down the street

by david reich

On April 15,professor in the Joseph Young, a

School of Public Affairs, was playing outdoors with his kids when a reporter called, seeking comment on the day’s biggest news event. That’s how Young first learned about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. “I knew right away,” he says. “Given the stage, given the way it was perpetrated with multiple bombs, it was clearly a terrorist attack.” Young’s colleague Brian Forst had a more personal reaction. “My first thought,” he says, “was that I ran the Boston Marathon in 1972. What would I do if a bomb went off as I crossed the finish line?” Terrorism “overwhelms the senses,” he says. “That was my gut reaction: What the hell is going on?” Forst spent the day transfixed, “glued to the TV, like everyone else. It was a little déjà vu of 9/11. Then I thought, I’ve got class on Wednesday. It was a great opportunity to ask my students questions we should be thinking about.” orst and Young, along with Stephen Tankel, make up the core faculty of the graduate concentration in terrorism in the Department of Justice, Law and Society (JLS). Though quite new—it launched in 2011—the terrorism program already has awarded 19 master’s degrees and has three doctoral candidates. Forst, a longtime professor at JLS, was the driving force behind the program’s creation. After the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it was clear JLS needed a course on terrorism—“but we didn’t know anything about it.” Finally, in 2004, he began studying the topic himself. At first, he says, terrorism mystified him; he couldn’t conceive of what might drive someone to kill innocent people by the dozens or thousands. Four years later, he published Terrorism, Crime, and Public Policy, now used as a textbook at AU and other schools. He also created a course that bears the same title as his book. During the years of intensive self-study, Forst reviewed texts in the field and found they were missing an important perspective: that of the criminologist. Criminological insights into gangs contribute to our understanding of jihadist networks, he explains. Studies of poverty, alienation, and crime can add greatly to our understanding of what drives people to terrorism. “What took

previous page illustration by brad yeo


30 American Magazine  August 2013

“ A lot of people never get beyond the fear and the desire to kick the crap out of those who did it and anyone who might be associated with their religion or nationality. -brian forst

me by surprise,” he says, “is how much the existing textbooks had nothing to say about the causes of aggression.” In particular, many texts ignored strain theory, which traces aggression to social stressors and to the so-called “bunch of guys” theory, which postulates that young men tend to grow more polarized in their beliefs when they group together with other young men. The main goal in terrorism education “is to demystify this thing,” Forst says. “A lot of people never get beyond the fear and the desire to kick the crap out of those who did it and anyone who might be associated with their religion or nationality. We need to think more comprehensively about the nature of terrorism, about its causes, and about which interventions are productive and which are counterproductive and create blowback.” To that end, JLS began offering the terrorism concentration and hired Young, a political scientist, and Tankel, an expert on foreign jihadist organizations, to flesh out course offerings on the topic. Job one for the program, Tankel says, has been to train personnel to staff the government’s antiterrorism efforts. Current students and alumni are working in the State and Defense Departments, the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Before 9/11, according to Tankel, few intelligence analysts had experience with terrorism. “The intelligence community ramped up quickly,” he says, “but the demand

for new analysts who have been exposed to these issues remains. The same goes for practitioners and policy makers.” The concentration, Tankel says, gives students “both empirical knowledge and various prisms through which to look at these problems.” n addition to exposing students to an unusual range of perspectives—including insights from law, criminology, international relations, political science, and security studies—the program has another feature that sets it apart from competing programs at other universities, a feature that’s especially useful after the events in Boston: from its inception, the JLS terrorism concentration has included course work on domestic terrorism, not just the foreign variety. Caben Chester got his master’s degree from JLS in 2007, attending classes by night and working for DHS by day. Although he earned the degree before the concentration was formalized, he followed a similar program of study. In his current job as field intelligence director for the San Francisco office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he supports investigations of transnational crime and does trend analysis on methods being used by the criminals. “I got some great experience from AU social science courses in terms of . . . collect[ing] data from a variety of sources, coding that data into a usable format, and then analyzing it”—skills he uses routinely in his work, he says. Beyond helping him perfect his methodology, courses at AU that offered perspectives on Islam and the West have helped him think more deeply about both transnational crime and terrorism, as well as the groups that engage in them. “Arrests are fine,” says Chester, “but our true focus [at ICE] is to identify root causes and then figure out how to disrupt these organizations.”


raining antiterrorism personnel is the highest priority for the program, but expanding knowledge in the field is a close second. Personnel on the frontlines of antiterrorism efforts face a barrage of issues to triage, says Tankel, whose recent book, Storming the World Stage, profiles Lashkare-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks. By contrast, he says, university faculty “can step back and undertake the type of in-depth research necessary to illuminate broader lessons.” In addition to having more time for study, university-based researchers


can also avoid the political pressures faced by some in government. As Young puts it, academics can insist that “responses to terrorism be rooted in the causes of terrorism. There was lots of discussion post-9/11 of using foreign aid [to counter terrorist recruitment], but unless terrorism is caused by poverty, alleviating poverty, while good in its own right, won’t help reduce terrorism.” Young’s own research takes the pragmatic approach he himself recommends. Indeed, one of his 20-plus peer-reviewed journal articles uses hard data to demonstrate that foreign aid reduces terrorism only if it goes to nongovernmental organizations or is earmarked for education, health, civil society, or conflict prevention. Aid that goes to a government’s general funds only fuels corruption. During the first Obama administration, Young consulted for the Defense Department’s Countering Violent Extremism Initiative, a sweeping study that sought quantitative evidence of what works and doesn’t work in counterterrorism. Very soon, he says, the initiative found that by itself “massive force is not likely to end these threats. You need a multifaceted approach, including a military response, sending foreign aid, promoting democracy, reducing economic and political discrimination.” ther AU professors and one alumnus have produced an impressive range of research into the problem of terrorism. In his new book, The Thistle and the Drone, for example, Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies in the School of International Studies, presents the results of years of field research in the United States, the Islamic world, and what he calls “the interstices”—tribal regions of Yemen, Chechnya, Pakistan, and other countries that exist “on the border of the state.” The so-called war on terror, Ahmed argues, has been transformed since 9/11 into a fight, often involving drone attacks, against tribal people who feel ignored or slighted by the forces of modernity and globalization. If tribal values of honor and revenge prompt them to lash out against these forces, he says, tribal traditions of peacemaking offer a way out, if only Western governments will take it. “It’s important,” he says, “that we have teachers, diplomats, and anthropologists reaching out to tribes, reaching out to the chiefs, and creating networks of alliances so that the men of violence are checked.”


Jordan Tama, a professor of international studies who offers a course on national security strategy in the terrorism concentration, has researched several decades’ worth of blueribbon commissions set up in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Tama’s book Terrorism and National Security Reform points out that the best known of these bipartisan commissions, formed to sort through the causes of 9/11, led to significant structural changes, including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence post, which in turn led to improvements in information sharing by agencies. Recommendations for such structural changes, Tama finds, have a greater chance of being taken up in practice than recommendations for policy changes, which tend to face ideological roadblocks. Finally, Adam Lankford, who earned a doctorate from JLS in 2008 and now teaches in the criminal justice department at the University of Alabama, has already published his second book-length study of terrorism, which examines the motives behind suicide bombings. The Myth of Martyrdom argues— based on a review of martyrdom videos, diary entries, case studies, news accounts, and other sources—that many suicide bombers show

massive force is not likely to end these threats. You need a multifaceted approach including a military response , sending foreign aid , promoting democracy , reducing economic and political discrimination.





-joseph young

multiple risk factors for suicide. To escape severe Islamic strictures against the practice, and a possible one-way trip to hell, Muslims intent on suicide can use what Lankford calls the martyrdom loophole—essentially bombing their way to salvation. Among other measures, Lankford recommends that antiterrorism efforts enlist the friends and families of potential bombers to report troubling behaviors and seek professional help. He also suggests that a quick screening test for suicidal impulses be administered at airport security checkpoints, with those who fail subject to heightened scrutiny. n the days that followed April 15, the Boston Marathon bombings fueled lengthy conversations in classes taught by Lankford, Forst, and Young. Because police took days to identify suspects, the discussions began with the question of who might have set off the bombs. Young’s students concluded that the source of the bombings was likely domestic and not the work of core Al Qaeda. In an Al Qaeda operation, the execution would have been more professional, resulting in more casualties, and the bombers would not have escaped with their lives. (“Al Qaeda doesn’t want survivors who can talk to authorities,” Young explains.) Neither were the bombers likely to be followers of a leftleaning cause, such as animal rights or radical environmentalism; attacks by such groups typically cause more property damage than bodily harm. That left two good possibilities, says Young: antitax or antigovernment operators using tax filing day or the nearanniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing as the occasion for an attack; or U.S.-based terrorists, probably acting on their own, who sympathize with Al Qaeda’s goals. After two ethnic Chechen immigrant brothers, Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were identified as suspects and information emerged about their background, class discussions—and the experts’ deliberations— shifted to the question of what had driven them to violence. Young describes the pair’s motives as “a weird mash-up between the Columbine kids, who just wanted to create destruction; Faisal Shahzad, the guy who tried to blow up Times Square; and Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood shooter. All were clinging to something to try to make sense of the world— people who had some religious feelings.”


Let’s talk #americanmag  31

Akbar Ahmed denies, with some vehemence, that religion played any role in the bombings. “If the motivation was Islam, then it was a false motivation,” he says, “because no form of Islam justifies violence in the name of Islam. But if you put it in a tribal framework, you will see revenge and anger.” Anger at American society, which Tamerlan, the older Tsarnaev brother, felt rejected by, and anger at a Cambridge, Massachusetts, mosque where, because of his Chechen ethnicity, members had questioned his status as a Muslim and where Tamerlan had started loud arguments over the purity of the Islam being preached there. When it comes to the alleged participation of the younger brother, Dzokhar, by all appearances well integrated into his adopted country, Ahmed again sees tribal habits at work. “If the elder brother does something stupid, and he knows it,” Ahmed says, “the younger brother will do it, too. The sense of tribalism is very strong among brothers.” ike Ahmed, Adam Lankford sees anger and a wish to defend one’s honor as underlying causes of the Boston events, though he argues that these motives don’t belong exclusively to tribal cultures. “Honor and the loss of honor are very important when it comes to tribalism,” he says, “but they’re also important when it comes to religion and when it comes to young men.” In Lankford’s view, the Tsarnaev brothers latched onto “a distorted Islamic fundamentalism that gave them the rhetoric to fit their anger.” The pair, Lankford says, were seeking a kind of easy glory and an answer to those who had failed to respect them. “They could have killed more people if they’d chosen another venue,” he says. “[The Newtown shooter] Adam Lanza killed many more people. What these guys wanted was a stage. I imagine they took pleasure in the idea that everyone was talking about the bombings. . . . This would show [the brothers’ perceived tormentors] that you’re not someone to be trifled with, that you are far stronger than you felt as a victim.” Unconscious suicidal motives may have also played a role, Lankford says. Certainly, the elder Tsarnaev brother presented many risk factors for suicide, including social isolation, troubles at work, a history of displacement, the tendency to blame other people or “society” for his failures, and a dysfunctional family dynamic. As significant, the brothers, while they survived the bombings, had no plans to


32 American Magazine  August 2013

They could have killed more people if they d chosen another venue . . . What these guys wanted was a stage.

-Adam Lankford

flee the area or otherwise elude authorities— unlike such well-known bombers as Shahzad, Eric Rudolph, who attacked the Atlanta Olympics, and Ted Kaczynski, the so-called Unabomber. “It points to the idea that [the brothers’] self-preservation instincts weren’t strong,” says Lankford. ould something have been done to prevent the Boston Marathon attacks? And should the leadership of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s mosque be faulted for not reporting his outbursts to authorities? All but one of the experts consulted for this article say no, or probably not, to both questions. “It’s hard for the authorities to be right 100 percent of the time,” says Young. Tamerlan, he points out, was already known to the FBI, but the FBI’s list of potential terrorists contains as many as 750,000 names. “We can’t put 750,000 people under surveillance,” he says. “The fact that we’ve been going so long between events shows how good a job [law enforcement has] been doing. Crime and violence are simply one of the costs of living in an open society.” The one expert who disagrees, Ahmed, insists that the leaders of the Cambridge mosque should have done more and may even have been able to stop the bombings. In particular, the imam, having picked up signs of trouble in Tamerlan’s background and behavior, should have convened a meeting of the young man’s family and friends, along with leading members of the Muslim community, at which an ultimatum would be delivered: that either Tamerlan stop acting out or be banned from the mosque and possibly reported


to authorities. At the meeting, it would be explained that rhetoric such as Tamerlan’s risked not only his own reputation but those of other American Muslims. Ahmed also suggests that better religious education, including interfaith encounters, can help Muslim youth effectively integrate into America’s religiously tolerant society. hat other measures might help prevent terrorist incidents or mitigate their impact? Drawing a lesson from the Boston events, Forst would like to see more accurate and sober-minded media coverage of any future attacks. Terrorists, he says, “are looking for attention. They want an implosion, they want people to go crazy, and they got that in Boston, thanks in part to media.” By covering terrorist attacks more calmly and more objectively, media would take away one of terrorism’s main attractions, he says. In a similar vein, Young says that “when we’re dealing with terrorism, one of the things we have to manage is fear. . . . The rhetoric is that terrorism is an existential threat and failure to deal with it will be the downfall of our democracy, and academic literature has shown that’s just not true.” Lankford, for his part, points out that Internet sting operations have successfully ensnared many child molesters. He’d like to see the technique expanded to target wouldbe terrorists. He also argues that the Boston events should convince police agencies once and for all of the value of video surveillance as a law enforcement tool. Boston law enforcement “really lucked out because a department store had video surveillance” of one of the bombing sites, he says. Would heavy video surveillance of urban streets raise objections from civil libertarians? Maybe not, says Lankford: “Privacy concerns [over video cameras] are less sensitive in 2013 because of cell phones. Everything you do can now be captured, so shouldn’t law enforcement be allowed to do that also?” Young has one final recommendation, though it’s more an aspiration than an immediate fix. “We’ve got to think more carefully about how we do our threat assessment,” he says. “The 750,000 names on the list of potential terrorists is too many. We need to figure out how to triage those names, to sort out the people who say crazy things from the ones who are likely to act on what they say. “I don’t think we do that very well yet.”


Jill Fitzgerald and Thomas Montesano steal a quiet moment during the School of Public Affairs commencement, May 11.  33

class notes

1950s Martin Ries, CAS/BA ’50, had paintings on view at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.

1960s Charles A. Huebner, SPA/PhD ’67, received the annual Dr. Iván Völgyes Award from the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary in recognition of his outstanding efforts to promote HungarianAmerican business relations. Ann Stevens, CAS/BA ’67, SOC/ MA ’70, coauthored with Giles Kelly, a retired diplomat, the new coffeetable book Diplomatic Gardens of Washington. The book provides an exclusive look at private gardens behind embassy walls.

Previous page: Photo by bill petros

Ken Ayers, SIS/BA ’68, is an artist and the creator of Life(line) & Still(life), an installation of 50 bronze sculptures that inhabit space with a distinctly biological presence. His work has been featured in several national exhibitions.

1970s Dennis Lucey, Kogod/MBA ’72, cochaired the American Ireland Gala held on March 18, 2013, in

34 American Magazine  August 2013

Washington, D.C. The dinner honored Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny. The gala raises funds for programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, and education and community development in Ireland.


TIME CAPSULES Top Tune “Sugar Shack,” Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs Top Grossing Flick From Russia with Love In the News President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas; Martin Luther King Jr. delivers “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom From the AU Archives In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, Eagle staffers deliver a special edition of the paper and a condolence letter wrapped in a black ribbon to a White House guard. The package is given to press secretary Pierre Salinger.

Dennis Gelbaum, SOC/BA ’74, is chief operating officer of Input Group North America, the 17th largest events company in the world. He is also author of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Something About Going Home and the inventor of the Buddy Light Illuminated Safety Leash.

George Ladner, SPA/BA ’76, has worked at the CIA for 36 years and resides with his wife Ann and three children in Vienna, Virginia. Henry C. Campen Jr., SPA/ MPA ’78, a partner in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, was selected as the 2013 Person of the Year by the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. Elliot Mark Olen, WCL/JD ’78, based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a business/ commercial real estate and trusts/estates attorney. He presented course materials at a Law Review CLE-sponsored seminar titled “Business Contracts A-Z” on November 13, 2012, in Philadelphia.


TIME CAPSULES Top Tune “Shadow Dancing,” Andy Gibb Top Grossing Flick Grease In the News Jim Jones’s followers commit mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana; Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, is born in London From the AU Archives Students stage a fashion show for International Week. The Eagle pans the Peter Frampton soundtrack, which “wasn’t a good fit with the historical fashions of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.”


LuAnne Feik, Kogod/MBA ’79, Cheryl Somers Aubin, SOC/ writes globalizationforkids. BA ’81, is author of The Survivor, to show young Tree: Inspired by a True Story, a people how their interests book of hope and healing in sports, maps, that imaginatively animals, the describes the environment, experiences, careers, fashion, memories, and languages, feelings of the with old friends money, and 9/11 Survivor at All-American other subjects Tree. All profits Weekend 2013, can give them from the book October 18–20. a worldwide go to charity. perspective. In addition to an audience Mike O’Brien, SOC/BA in the United States and ’84, published his first book in Europe, her blog is read in March 2013 (University Press of India, Israel, South Korea, Mississippi). AU professor and and Malaysia. civil rights activist Julian Bond wrote the foreword for it.



Living (Room) With Art Camden Place, CAS ’12 + Sam Scharf, CAS ’12 + Victoria Greising, CAS ’11 + Dan Perkins, CAS ’13 (not pictured) They are artists, curators, collaborators, and housemates. Four MFA alums (and a fifth woman) have transformed the living room of their Columbia Heights row house into an art gallery. Each month, Delicious Spectacle, as they’ve named their endeavor, hosts a new exhibit (Trusion is pictured above). Reviews: Washington’s art world has taken notice. Hundreds have attended the openings, and the space has been featured in the Washington Post. “The long-term vision of being a creative isn’t always what you think it’s going to be,” says Scharf, an installation artist and sculptor. “You need to explore different avenues via critique or exhibition.” Exhibits: Debuts are roughly every fourth Friday, with the roommates and guests serving as curators. “To be on the other side of the coin, where you’re the one developing the show or putting together the press release or getting the artist’s statement and coordinating install, those are all things we can learn if we do it ourselves,” Scharf says. The housemates don’t show their own art or make a dime off the exhibits. “We really wanted an artist-run space that catered to letting artists explore,” says Place, a digital artist and adjunct professor at AU. The shows take place primarily on the main level of the house. Place still can’t believe how lucky his living situation is. “I walk downstairs, and there’s art in my house.”  35

class notes

David Bialik, CAS/BS ’85, was named a fellow of the Audio Engineering Society in October 2012 for contributions in radio broadcasting.


TIME CAPSULES Top Tune “Every Breath You Take,” The Police In the News Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space; more than 125 million viewers tune in to the series finale of M*A*S*H From the AU Archives Brothers of Alpha Tau Omega lash out at new leash laws, aimed at keeping their adopted mascot, Bluto, from frolicking across campus. At the Helm Paul Schroeder served as 1983–1984 Student Confederation president after Terry Reed resigned. Schroeder is vice president of programs and policy at the American Foundation for the Blind in Washington, D.C.

Robert Jensen, SOC/MA ’85, is the author of Arguing for Our Lives: A User’s Guide to Constructive Dialog, a book of strategies for challenging conventional wisdom to confront the crises of our times and a framework for channeling fears and frustrations into constructive action. Seth Ingall, SPA/BA ’88, WCL/ JD ’92, has been named senior vice president of GEICO. Susan Shelby, SIS/BA ’88, received the Women on the Rise Award from Professional Women in Construction, Connecticut Chapter.

36 American Magazine  August 2013

Benjamin W. Newman, SPA/BA ’89, and Christopher L. Carmody, shareholders in the Orlando office of GrayRobinson, were selected to represent the firm among a group of accomplished regional leaders in the Central Florida Partnership’s trip to Washington, D.C. The Hon. Michael Newman, WCL/JD ’89, is a U.S. magistrate judge serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Judge Newman is a member of the Federal Bar Association’s national board of directors and recently completed a three-year term as statewide chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Federal Courts and Practice Committee. He and his wife, Rachel, recently celebrated the sixth birthday of their triplet daughters, Anna, Brigid, and Clare.

The best way to nurture a child’s international interest is to hang a world map in his or her room. Then, whether they see different national flags or look at the labels showing where their clothes are made, they can go to the map to find the countries related to their interests.” —LuAnne Feik, Kogod/MBA ’79, on the best way to teach children a global perspective including trademark advisory services, litigation and licensing, Internet and computer law, domain name disputes, copyright disputes, and trade secret matters.

Julie Koehler, SIS/MS ’90, received an Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Envision Certification as a Dewberry about benefits employee. and services. Dewberry is a Visit privately held alumni/benefits. professional services firm.

Peter Quinter, WCL/JD ’89, a shareholder in the South Florida offices of GrayRobinson, chaired and moderated a panel discussion on North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Verification Visits for the American Bar Association.


1990s Christina Frangiosa, SIS/BA ’90, moved her practice to the law firm of Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, where she concentrates on intellectual property and technology law,

Ann Fulton, CAS/ BA ’92, founded The Fountain Avenue Kitchen, which features food- and reciperelated columns published in print as well as online at The website has monthly traffic exceeding 100,000 visitors. Emilie Cortes, Kogod/BSBA ’96, left her role in investments and acquired an all-women’s adventure travel company called Call of the Wild Adventures. Women from all over the country

join hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing trips in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. She is responsible for daily operations and guiding international trips, and has relocated from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon, to run the business.


TIME CAPSULES Top Tune “Too Close,” Next Top Grossing Flick Armageddon In the News Gay college student Matthew Shepard is fatally beaten in Wyoming; President Bill Clinton is accused of having an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky; Serbs battle ethnic Albanians in Kosovo At the Helm Neal Sharma was 1997–1998 Student Confederation president; he’s CEO and cofounder of Digital Evolution Group in Kansas City and sat on the AU Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2012.

thank you

illustration by Joseph Adolphe

When longtime art collector Donald Rothfeld donated 161 pieces to the American University Museum to establish the Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art, he knew the works would garner international attention and spark conversations about political issues in Israel. “I felt the work should be gifted to a non-Jewish-Israeli affiliated institution,” says Rothfeld, a retired cardiologist at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, who lives in New York City. “I wanted the artists’ work ‘out there’ to be seen, discussed, and compared with that of their peers across the globe.” Rothfeld and his wife, Susan Merker, donated the collection—which will be exhibited at the Katzen Arts Center’s AU Museum, September 7 to October 20— in honor of Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States. The Rothfeld Fund, a $50,000 endowed gift, will support maintenance and exhibition costs.

The collection includes contemporary, mixed-media pieces by some of Israel’s most prominent artists, including the late Moshe Kupferman, a painter, Holocaust survivor, and founder of Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot. Others include Sigalit Landau, Yael Bartana, and Elad Lassry. The AU Museum has a rich tradition of showcasing contemporary art from the Middle East, says director and curator Jack Rasmussen. “The Rothfeld gift helps us build a collection that will encourage this free, continuing discussion of ideas, beliefs, and values in the region—which is exactly what is needed today.” American University is grateful for Donald Rothfeld’s keen eye and passion for Israeli art. Thanks to his generosity, the treasures from the Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art adorning the walls of the AU Museum will spark conversations for generations to come.

For information on giving visit  37

Academic years fly by. While the workload doesn’t lighten in the summer, the pace does change. It’s the perfect time to take a deep breath and reflect on what was a remarkable year for the university. Last fall, we welcomed the largest freshman class in the history of the university. In February, we learned that AU’s Class of 2012 set a new institutional record with 88 percent of responding graduates completing one or more internships. In April, the Kogod School of Business was ranked No. 1 on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s “best undergraduate B-schools” list in the “best in sustainability” category. What’s especially remarkable is that we’re achieving all of this at a time of tremendous pressure on the cost of higher education. That’s why we’re renewing our focus on scholarship fundraising and working with alumni and friends of AU to help them understand the significance of support for students. Scholarships have a long tradition in American higher education and, now more than ever, we need to increase our capacity to offer them. Donor-based scholarships are increasingly important, and we’ve succeeded in offering more of them in recent years. Since May 1, 2010, AU has raised more than $6.4 million in endowed and current-use scholarship funds. This year, about 500 students benefitted from donor-funded scholarships, fellowships, and awards. Our student body is more diverse than ever before, and scholarship support will enable us to continue to help economically disadvantaged students who deserve to be here.

Make a gift

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Ultimately, the more diverse the student body and the more qualified the student body, the more enriching the AU experience becomes. As our university’s reputation continues to grow, so does the value of each AU degree held by our alumni. That’s important to all of us. Enjoy your summer—the new academic year will be here before we know it. Sincerely,

Thomas J. Minar, PhD Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations

38 American Magazine  August 2013

AU’s reputation—in Washington, across the country, and around the globe— continues to ascend. Summer is the perfect time to reflect on the achievements of the previous academic year. Our students, among the most politically active in the nation, continue to intern and study abroad in record numbers. They’ve garnered merit awards by the dozens, while faculty have amassed research grants and authored articles and books across disciplines. And many of our academic programs are among the best in the country. Allow us a moment to brag—it’s been a good year.  39

illustration by Joseph Adolphe


class notes

Male participants experience satisfaction at increasing their technical skills, but, generally speaking, women come in with selfconsciousness. When it’s all women led by women, the playing field feels more equal and women have the space to challenge themselves with less fear. The amount of personal growth that women experience is exponential compared to that of men.” —Emilie Cortes, Kogod/BSBA ’96, on why she leads adventure outings for women

attorney with the law firm Hankin Sandman & Palladino with offices in Atlantic City and Cape May Court House, where he specializes Fiona Deans in commercial Halloran, CAS/ litigation. BA ’98, will your friends in Carl publish her new the loop. Send Hildebrand, book, Thomas your updates to SIS/MA ’02, Nast: The Father classnotes@ was hired as of Modern public programs Political Cartoons, manager at the this fall. Wolfsonian-FIU Michael Dovilla, SPA/ (Miami Beach). He is MPA ’99, was reelected to the charged with developing a Ohio House of Representatives, dynamic program calendar got promoted to lieutenant engaging both the local and commander in the Reserve international community Component of the U.S. Navy, and around special exhibits and the began teaching as an adjunct museum’s collection of iconic professor of political science at art and design pieces from 1850 Baldwin Wallace University, his undergraduate alma mater. Julianne Weiner, CAS/BA ’97, and Mallory Scott, SIS/BA ’09, were featured in a short film for Sonic Promos.



2000s Elizabeth Bangert Pennington, SOC/BA ’00, and husband Michael welcomed Joshua Henry Pennington on December 3, 2012. Joshua joins big brother James, who loves his new role as mommy’s helper. The family lives in Kingsville, Maryland. Chloe Bedenbaugh, SPA/MA ’01, was named vice president of human resources at the Florida-based law offices of Elizabeth R. Welborn. Colin Bell, SPA/BA ’02, WCL/ JD ’05, was elected freeholder at large in 2012 and took office on January 2, 2013. He is an

connect alumniassociation.

40 American Magazine  August 2013


Top Tune “Low,” Flo Rida Top Grossing Flick The Dark Knight In the News Barack Obama becomes the first African American to be elected president of the United States; the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act authorizes the U.S. Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to bail out the nation’s biggest banks From the AU Archives The men’s basketball team makes its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, falling to the Tennessee Volunteers, 72–57, in the first round of the big dance.

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to 1945 that tell the story of how design shaped the perceptions of the modern world. Sade Oyinade, SOC/BA ’02, is a producer on the awardwinning music documentary series Unsung, which airs on the TV One network. The show is currently in its sixth season and just won its third NAACP Image Award. Sade recently completed a short film on HIV/AIDS, Who Do You Know? The film was featured at the 21st Annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. Sam Frenkel, CAS/BA ’03, married his partner of four years, Marcalino Senteio, in Horsham, Pennsylvania, on October 7, 2012. In attendance were Lynda Lyons Needleman, Kogod/BSBA ’04, Beth Necowitz Hoffman, CAS/ BA ’03, Benjamin Hoffman, SPA/BA ’01, Marci Kudosh, SPA/ BA ’03, Julie Cohen Miller, SPA/ BA ’03, Ivia Cruz, SIS/BA ’03, Marni Holper Berkowitz, CAS/ BA ’01, and Adam Natale, CAS/ BA ’03. Sam and Marcalino celebrated their union in Disney World in February 2013. They live in North Wales, Pennsylvania. Matthew Gebert, SIS/BA ’03, joined the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources as a Presidential Management Fellow. He previously worked for the U.S. Energy Association and the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute. Christy Maes, SIS/BA ’05, was hired as business publications coordinator for the National Safety Council in January 2013. View AmericanUAlum


Law of attraction Christine Gerben, SPA/CAS ’05 + Josh Gerben, WCL ’06 Business: Gerben Law Firm, Washington and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Collaborators since 2007, they met at the venerable Washington watering hole Rumors. “We saw each other from across the crowded room and started talking and realized we had all of these things in common,” Christine says. “We both went to American, we came from an hour away from each other in Pennsylvania. My friends thought we had so much in common that he just made it all up.” The couple married in September 2011. Three AU grads were in her bridal party, one in his. Why she picked AU: “I loved it from the moment I stepped on campus. I wanted an urban environment and I wanted to do internships. I thought it was the perfect place to do something different.” Why he did: “I found the faculty and the students at WCL just tremendous. I spent my first year somewhere else, and when I got there, it was a totally different environment.” How to work with your spouse: “It can be difficult separating the personal from the professional,” Christine says. “At a certain time of the night, we try to shut down the work talk and talk about other things. Two years and we’re still married and we’re still practicing together.”  41

class notes

As women grow older, we tend to focus on our family and career, and sometimes friendships take a backseat in our lives; it’s not good or bad, it simply is.” —Nicole Zangara, CAS/BA ’06, on the evolving nature of female friendships Adam Montgomery, SPA/BA ’05, is a managing supervisor in public affairs for the St. Louis office of Fleishman-Hillard, one of the world’s leading strategic communications firms. He previously served as government affairs director for the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. Adam and his wife, Delores (Thomas) Montgomery, SPA/ BA ’05, celebrated the birth of their son, Grant Joseph, on October 15, 2011. Delores is an attorney-advisor for the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Marlon Brown, SPA/BA ’06, was elected in November 2012 to serve as a councilmember for the City of Mason, Michigan. He was recently profiled in a Lansing City Pulse cover story about a new generation of local elected officials. Jana Kopelentova Rehak, CAS/ PhD ’06, published a book, Czech Political Prisoners: Recovering Face.

Kyle Taylor, SIS/BA ’06, started in November as the chief of staff and campaigns director for Simon Hughes, a member of British Parliament and the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, one of the parties in the coalition government. Nicole Zangara, CAS/BA ’06, recently published a book, Surviving Female Friendships:

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, which discusses how to nurture friendships in the digital age. She is a licensed clinical social worker in Arizona. Sarah Bishop, Kogod/BSBA ’07, recently published a book, The Connection Agency, on an alternative to networking, which she considers a how-to guide to building meaningful connections. Clayton Massa, SIS/BA ’09, SIS/MA ’10, completed the Presidential Management Fellows Program and has been assigned as a Middle East country director for Air Force International Affairs. Sarah Sobecki, SPA/BA ’09, and John McDonald, Kogod/BSBA ’09, were married October 26, 2012, in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and reside in Alexandria, Virginia. Sarah works as manager of government relations for Home Depot, and John works as a contracting officer for the Department of Justice.

To update your address Email Visit Write Office of Alumni Relations American University 4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20016-8002

2010s Carlos Munoz, SIS/BA ’10, was named Employee of the Year at Creative Associates International in Bethesda, Maryland, a USAID development contractor with offices in 15 countries.

Elizabeth Gillespie Nisos, CAS/BA ’47, January 14, 2013, Potomac, Maryland

Bob Sondheim, Kogod/BS ’72, April 8, 2013, Sharon, Massachusetts

John S. McCary, SOC/BA ’76, January 18, 2013, Poughquag, New York

Grace Kilbourne DePalma, CAS/MA ’56, November 17, 2012, Baltimore, Maryland

Ronnie M. Elwell, CAS/MA ’75, CAS/ PhD ’85, December 8, 2012, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Howard Lassoff, SPA/BS ’78, February 7, 2013, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Barbara Julich, CAS/BA ’65, February 22, 2013, Manhattan, New York 42 American Magazine  August 2013

Abby Wihl, SOC/BA ’10, married Mark Winek, SIS/BA ’09, on July 21, 2012, at St. Thomas Apostle Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.

The handsome undergrad in the letterman jacket is Jim Williams ’56, who wrote us with the identities of his friends, gathered in the café in the basement of Mary Graydon Hall. They are, clockwise from upper left, Wally Ryland, Joe Pellegrino, Dottie Brodt, and Barbara Bemelmans. “The name of the young lady sitting at the left escapes me,” writes Williams of Bloomington, Indiana. Can you identify the lovely lady in the polka-dot dress? Email magazine@

Helen Christine Richmond Halldane, CAS/MFA ’80, December 2, 2012, Upland, California Scott Johnson, WCL/JD ’84, October 20, 2012, Seattle, Washington



this dapper deejay? Reveal his identity at magazine@ Excerpts from the Eagle archives at the


After a decade as a student station (with a signal that didn’t make it past Ward Circle), WAMU made the leap to the FM dial. On October 23, WAMU 88.5 FM debuted with “a salute to the New York Philharmonic.” White House advisor Jerome Weisner read a telegram from President John F. Kennedy in honor of the new 4,000-watt station. “With the success of educational radio, we can look forward to a deeply rewarding source of knowledge and fact.”


Sue Raezer won WAMU’s first-ever “mommy” contest in October, correctly identifying her mother’s voice on the radio. Station manager Tom Wills, clad in 10-gallon hat and bolo tie, presented Raezer with a $10 gift certificate to Count’s Western Wear. “The next voice you hear on WAMU may be that of your mommy,” Wills told the crowd gathered at the now defunct clothier.


Morning announcer Bill Redlin’s April 19 broadcast was interrupted by a fire in the transmission room, which destroyed $10,000 worth of gear. Nine fire trucks responded to the blaze in the AU Broadcast Center, which melted wires in the station’s transmitter tubes and destroyed the dummy load, a transformer testing device. After six hours of dead air, the station was back up and running.


This summer, WAMU began moving to a building befitting D.C.’s most popular radio station: a 96,000-square-foot facility on bustling Connecticut Avenue. The 50,000-watt WAMU, which reaches 805,000 listeners a week as D.C.’s only NPR affiliate, doubled its space. Nestled near the Van Ness Metro, the building—home to other AU administrative offices—will feature a ground-level studio, where passersby can watch Diane Rehm chat up her guests.

Do you remember when WAMU debuted on the FM dial? Did you work at the station? Are you a longtime listener? Share your stories: email, or post your memories at  43

AU’s REACH stretches down the east coast

More than 2,500 alumni call South Florida—a scenic swath of the Sunshine State that includes Miami, the Florida Keys, and Biscayne Bay—home. They are media wonks, real estate pros, entrepreneurs, and educators who work at some of the area’s iconic institutions, such as the Miami Herald and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. What besides sun-kissed tans, a penchant for palm trees, and picturesque coastal views do these Eagles share? The insider’s knowledge of Washington, D.C., gained while studying at American University. AU will be in South Florida this fall, when President Neil Kerwin hosts a reception for area alumni. Will you be there? For more information, or to learn about the South Florida alumni chapter, visit

Dennis Fruitt, SPA/BA ’75, Deputy Director for Advancement, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was one of America’s grandest Gilded-Age estates. The winter residence of American industrialist James Deering, from Christmas 1916 until his death in 1925, the 50-acre estate and its stunning gardens on Biscayne Bay in Miami now are open to the public. Dennis Fruitt works as Vizcaya’s deputy director for advancement. He oversees the museum’s development program, marketing, and public relations.

Coral Gables Stuart Bornstein, WCL/JD ’73, owns Hotel St. Michel, a charming European-style boutique hotel, nestled a few blocks from Miracle Mile. St. Michel boasts 28 rooms decorated with antique furnishings and art. 44 American Magazine  August 2013

“It’s friend-making and fund-raising combined with awareness-building,” says Fruitt, who’s worked for the museum, now owned and operated by Miami-Dade County, for nine years. Each year more than 150,000 people visit the national historic landmark. They marvel at the 34 rooms adorned with fifteenth- through nineteenth-century furnishings and art, and stroll through the expansive gardens that blend elements of

Italian and French Renaissance designs. Fruitt marvels as well. “The gardens are a veritable urban oasis,” he says. “Whether it’s grottoes or an elevated mound on which 100-year-plus oak trees gracefully provide the shade, it’s just beautiful. It’s a magnificent place to work.”

Boca Raton Justin Sander, SOC/BA ’05, is a commodities trader at C-Fuels America, which has reach far beyond South Florida. The company serves cruise ships, yachts, cargo vessels, dredges, and fishing boats around the globe.

James Miller, CAS/PhD ’75, worked as an academic advisor at AU while pursuing his doctorate in higher education management. Today, he teaches accounting and business management at Lynn University.

Johanna Felberbaum, Kogod/BSBA ’09, owns StitchCraft quilt store, a one-stop-shop for craft wonks. The charming store carries patterns, notions, machines, fabric, and more.

where we are

Natalie Poletto Kogod/BA ’09

Mergers and acquisitions Sotheby’s International Realty Natalie Poletto moved back to her native Palm Beach County two years ago to chase a red hot real estate market. She soon discovered that opportunities to buy and sell luxury properties were as plentiful as the South Florida sunshine. As one of Sotheby International’s top performers, Poletto has a portfolio of more than 40 listings in some of the area’s swankiest zip codes, from Miami to Palm Beach. The average asking price: $4 million. Poletto says the South Florida market has rebounded nicely from the 2008 financial crisis, with prices increasing 5 percent. “The market’s in a great place right now. People are moving to the area, and the volume of business is incredible. It’s an exciting time to be in this business.” A number-cruncher at heart, Poletto—a partner in a private equity company—says brokerage and development is a seven-daya-week job. But the Kogod alumna does know how to mix work and play. “Lots of business in real estate happens through word of mouth, so nurturing relationships is important. “Where else but South Florida can you play golf or tennis and call it work?”

Miami Glen Albin, BA/SIS ’80, worked at Interview and Ocean Drive magazines before taking the helm as editorial director at Vault, read by Miami’s most beautiful people.

West Palm Beach Craig Stevens, SOC/BA ’91, got his start in the NBC News mail room in D.C. A reporter for nearly 20 years, he earned “best local TV news anchor” accolades from Florida Monthly for his work at Fox 7.

Susan Cocking, SOC/BA ’76, owns the outdoor beat at the Miami Herald, writing about fishing, boating, environmental issues, and aquatic life for South Florida’s largest newspaper.

Jillian Vukusich, CAS/MFA ’04, is vice president of community investment for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The arts management alumna manages an annual grantmaking budget of $5 million.  45

Photos by Aaron Ansarov

Boca Raton, Florida

vision + planning = legacy

Mitchell Berliner and Debra Moser Mitchell Berliner, Kogod/BS ’70, and his wife, Debra Moser, share a passion for American craft—artwork created from wood, glass, metal, and textiles. Over the last 40 years, the couple has amassed a noteworthy collection, including works by Dale Chihuly and John Cederquist (pictured above). They recently made provisions in their charitable estate plans to leave the collection and an endowment for its care, to the Katzen Arts Center’s American University Museum. “The Katzen is a beautiful arts center and, given our ties to AU and the community, the perfect home for our collection,” says Moser. Their gift will establish the Mitchell Berliner and Debra Moser Collection of American Crafts as part of the AU Museum’s permanent collection. Founders of the Central Farm Markets and MeatCrafters in Montgomery County, Maryland, Berliner, a successful food distributor, and Moser, founding executive of the Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts in Rockville and former adjunct professor at the Kogod School of Business, have always been active in the Washington community. The couple hopes their gift will inspire others to think about how their passions, coupled with careful philanthropic planning, can create a legacy at AU.

For information on how your vision and charitable estate planning can create a legacy at American University, contact Seth Speyer, director of planned giving, at 202-885-5914 or, or visit

46 American Magazine  August 2013

top picks

Steve’s 10 favorite inspirational ball players:











1. and 2. Cal and Bill Ripken The foundation is named for their dad, whose legacy they continue. One of our initiatives is building multipurpose parks with synthetic turf in areas where kids can’t safely play outside. We’re transforming neighborhoods. 3. Willie Mays He was involved with the Boys and Girls Club in Atlantic City—an extremely tough neighborhood. Willie made kids feel special.

Like the star of John Fogerty’s classic rock baseball anthem, “Centerfield,” Steve Salem, CAS/BA ’84, CAS/MS ’86, is always ready to play. Once upon a time, AU fielded a baseball team, and Salem

Jackie Robinson: Photo File/MLB Photos via Getty Images Buck o’neil: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.

patrolled the outfield

for the Eagles. His love of the game never subsided, even as his dreams of a big league career faded away. Instead of the majors, Salem slid into the world of public service. He worked at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America before being named president of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in 2006.

The name Ripken resonates far beyond baseball diamonds. The foundation, started by the legendary Orioles shortstop Cal Jr. and his brother, Bill, uses

baseball and softball as catalysts to help disadvantaged

kids build character and develop life skills.

4. Yogi Berra Through the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Yogi teaches thousands of students each year the importance of respect, personal responsibility, and integrity. 5. Brooks Robinson Brooks defines the word “gentleman.” He is always there to help a child in need. 6. B. J. Surhoff B. J. and his wife, Polly, started Pathfinders for Autism, Maryland’s largest organization dedicated to helping people with autism. 7. Jamie Moyer Jamie won more than 260 games in the big leagues, but I’m most impressed with what he and his wife, Karen, do at the Moyer Foundation. Camp Erin is a bereavement camp for children grieving a loss. 8. Jackie Robinson I was born five years after Jackie retired, but his impact wasn’t lost on me. Jackie changed our nation, even if that was never his intention. 9. Buck O’Neil The first African American coach in the Major League, Buck helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 10. Mark Teixeira Mark is involved with Harlem RBI, which serves at-risk kids in the neighborhood for which it’s named.  47

must haves

12 4


9 1

11 3

10 5





*Kogod/BSBA ’13, Fulbright Fellow traveling to Indonesia in August to teach high school English 1. Some of the world’s largest active volcanoes are on Sumatra. I plan to do lots of hiking and exploring—even during the rainy season. 2. My Moleskine journal is my faithful travel companion. I enjoy creating extensive “travelogues” with ticket stubs, maps, and photos. 3. My pocketknife will come in handy for cutting local fruits like mango (sweet) and durian (smelly and buttery) for breakfast. 48 American Magazine  August 2013

4. I’ll be living on the equator; bug spray, sunscreen, and Chapstick are essential.

7. Lonely Planet’s Indonesia has practical information, from exchange rates to visiting hours of mosques.

5. Sumatra is just a ferry ride away from Singapore and Malaysia. I can’t wait to take trips around Southeast Asia.

8. My Indonesian is still very basic, but I’m learning a lot with the Pimsleur language CDs.

6. I have two Lomography cameras, the Fisheye and the Sprocket Rocket, that I’ve taken around the world. I love film cameras; there’s something special about not being able to edit your photos.

9. A map of America and postcards from D.C. are cool, visual ways to teach my students about the U.S. 10. I developed an interest in drawing at AU. I hope to hone my skills in my free time.

11. I’ve heard that Indonesians enjoy American chocolates wrapped in tinfoil. I’m bringing some for my hosts, headmaster, and fellow teachers. 12. When I studied abroad in France, I’d go to cafés and read books on my Kindle Fire. It helped me feel connected to home. My iPhone with an Indonesian SIM card will help me do the same. 13. My ukulele is a travel must. I hope to start a community music program for Indonesian youth.

Photographed at Gravelly Point, Arlington, Virginia

Enjoy a weekend of fun with friends, old and new. #AUAAW13

NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID BURLINGTON, VT 05401 PERMIT NO. 604 Washington, DC 20016-8002 Address Service Requested For information regarding the accreditation and state licensing of American University, please visit

Final EXAM


For AU’s budding broadcasters and future filmmakers, Understanding Media is their first introduction to the world of communication. Christine Lawrence’s 100-level course explores the history and impact of such American media institutions as radio, television, and digital media. Most of Lawrence’s students nailed these exam questions. How do you stack up against AU’s communication wonks?


1. How did American advertising contribute to major social changes in the twentieth century? a. It influenced the transition from a producer-directed to a consumer-driven culture. b. It promoted the sale of designer goods. c. It encouraged people to leave their homes to work in factories. d. It spurred the growth in magazine publishing. 2. Why is American filmmaker Edwin S. Porter, who made The Great Train Robbery, considered the first narrative filmmaker? a. He also shot a feature-length film about the Civil War. b. He shot scenes out of order and then used editing techniques to create a story arc. c. He made the first “talkie” film. d. He made certain his stars were under contract to his studio. 3. Newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer in the 1880s were criticized for their practice of: a. socialized journalism b. penny journalism c. scandal journalism d. yellow journalism

Go fact to fact

with AU’s people in the know at

The details Submit the correct answers to by August 31 to be entered to win a six-month subscription to Politics and Prose Bookstore’s Book-a-Month Gift Program. Congratulations to Gabrielle LaVorgna, SIS/BA ’12, who aced last issue’s final exam.