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American Magazine, Nov. 2013

The flagship publication of American University. This magazine offers a lively look at what AU was and is, and where it's going. It's a forum where alumni and friends can connect and engage with the university.

Six months into her job

Six months into her job as White House press assistant—the third post she’s held at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—Hannah Hankins still has to pinch herself. “This is why I came to AU: a school with a tradition of public service, just miles from the seats of power,” says the native Minnesotan, one of five AU alumni in the communications office. Though the hours are long (14-hour shifts aren’t unusual) and the work is demanding (army-crawling on the ground to wrangle photojournalists while President Barack Obama delivers a speech is also surprisingly common), she thrives on the 0-to-60 pace. Hankins, who interned at the White House her senior year, taking 8:40 p.m. classes to finish her public communications degree, also relishes being a witness to history. “There are moments every week when I think, I can’t believe I’m here to see this.” Previous page: Official White House Photo 18 Meet CAS alumna Alice Denney, doyenne of D.C. art 22 Professors share objects that arouse their intellectual curiosity 26 Six who decided permanent residency wasn’t enough 32 Ryan Kuehl, Kogod ’07, goes from locker room to boardroom

1 POV Hannah Hankins, SOC/BA ’11 16 Metrocentered AmericaN American University magazine Vol. 64, No. 2 Vice President, Communications Teresa Flannery Assistant Vice President, creative services Kevin Grasty Senior Editor Adrienne Frank, SPA/MS ’08 Associate Editors Suzanne Bechamps Mariel Davis Ali Kahn Writers Mariel Davis Lee Fleming Adrienne Frank Ali Kahn Mike Unger Art Director Maria Jackson work study Tiffany Wong, SOC/BA ’14 Photographer Jeffrey Watts Class Notes Traci Crockett 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 14-002 For information regarding the accreditation and state licensing of American University, please visit american.edu/academics. Frankly Speaking I always knew I wanted to work in magazines. At the tender age of eight, I “published” my first magazine, Frankly Speaking. The kelly green cover featured a hand-drawn T.rex with the headline, “All about dinosaurs.” I was a one-girl shop, serving as writer, editor, illustrator, and marketing exec, hawking subscriptions to my grandma, parents, and friends. I spent hours at the kitchen table tapping away on my mom’s old typewriter, penning missives about family trips to Disneyland, my new baby brother, and Beverly Cleary’s latest book. I relished the smell of pages hot off the Xerox machine, collating and stapling each issue with great care and pride. My Little Ponies and Care Bears were fine. But this? This was fun. Years later, it’s still fun. Working on American magazine is the greatest and most enjoyable creative challenge I’ve ever known. One of the best parts of the job (besides the fact that I now leave illustrations to the professionals) is meeting engaging alumni who invite us, as writers, editors, designers, and photographers, and you, the reader, into their world. It’s a thrill and a privilege to share their stories. This issue, you’ll meet Dullah Hassan, one of six new Americans writer Mike Unger profiles in our cover story. The freshman, who’s currently pursuing U.S. citizenship, didn’t receive a formal education until he was 11—seven years after his family fled Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Dullah’s story is heart wrenching and inspiring; he truly represents the best of AU. We take you inside the White House briefing room, where alumna Hannah Hankins’s job is the envy of political wonks across D.C., and to Under Armour’s sprawling Baltimore campus, where alumnus and former NFL player Ryan Kuehl shares a sneak peek at the athletic apparel you’ll be sporting next year. We also introduce you to nine fascinating professors, who detail the objects that inspire and guide their research, from social impact gaming to agricultural biodiversity. While there are no stories about dinosaurs, I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it. 4 4400 Mass Ave Ideas, people, perspectives 34 Your American Connect, engage, reminisce Adrienne Frank Senior editor Send story ideas to afrank@american.edu.