4 years ago

American Magazine April 2014

American University is located in Washington, D.C., at the top of Embassy Row. Chartered by Congress in 1893 to serve the public interest and build the nation, the university educates active citizens who apply knowledge to the most pressing concerns facing the nation and world. Students engage with leading faculty experts and world leaders, learning how to create change and address issues including the global economic crisis, health care, human rights and justice, diversity, the environment and sustainability, immigration, journalism’s transformation, corporate governance, and governmental reform.


The YOUNGEST SECRET SERVICE AGENT of his time, Cliff Taylor raced to the White House when terrorists struck the Pentagon on 9/11. As two F-16 jets from nearby Andrews Air Force Base ripped overhead to PROTECT THE SKIES OVER D.C., he knew: “that’s what I was meant to do.” The New Jersey native, who did his first stint in the Air Force out of high school to pay for college, left the Secret Service in 2004 and was commissioned that year. Captain Taylor (CALL SIGN “DIESEL”) has served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as a member of the D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Wing—also known as the “CAPITAL GUARDIANS.” “PULLING 9GS AND DOING FLIPS IS A THRILL,” says Taylor, now COO of Crucible, a security operations and training firm based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “But what I love most about being a fighter pilot is supporting the guys on the ground. It’s an AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY.” Cliff Taylor SPA/BA ’98 PREVIOUS PAGE: PHOTO BY SURESH ATAPATTU/ FLORIDASKIES.NET 16 22 26 30 More than language is lost when small tongues die SPA researcher patches together the nation Creativity blossoms in a Brooklyn brownstone SOC duo documents colorful D-Day restaging

32 1 POV AMERICAN American University magazine Vol. 64, No.3 SENIOR EDITOR Adrienne Frank, SPA/MS ’08 ASSOCIATE EDITORS Suzanne Bechamps Mariel Davis Ali Kahn WRITERS Mariel Davis Adrienne Frank Ali Kahn Kerry O’Leary Mike Unger ART DIRECTOR Maria Jackson PHOTOGRAPHER Jeffrey Watts CLASS NOTES Traci Crockett WORK STUDY Tiffany Wong, SOC/BA ’14 VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS Teresa Flannery ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT, CREATIVE SERVICES Kevin Grasty ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CONTENT STRATEGY Laura Garner 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©2014. An equal opportunity, affirmative action university. UP14-003 For information regarding the accreditation and state licensing of American University, please visit Baby, It’s Cold Outside I’m wearing a pirate hat as I pen this letter, making animated truck sounds (zoom, beep, vroom!) between clicks of the keys, and reminding my 20-month old—for no less than the 20th time—to be gentle with the kitty. It’s a Monday morning and I should be at work, but the aptly named Winter Storm Titan has shut down the entire Mid-Atlantic. Outside, the snow continues to pile up: four inches, six, then eight. For his part, Owen, clad in monkey pajamas and a straw fedora (I’m not the only one hankering for sunshine), is pulling all his books off the shelf. We both bop our accessorized heads to the Muppets’ rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit, a nod to my own childhood. Turns out, snow days with a toddler are anything but nirvana. It’s been a long, hard winter in Washington—one of the coldest on record. We enjoyed (ahem, some of us more than others) more snow days this season than the last few years combined, and I’m still shivering—nay, shuddering—at the memory of a string of single-digit days in January. The weather made everything, including producing the magazine, more challenging. Photo shoots, such as one with pilot Cliff Taylor (left), had to be juggled to accommodate finicky Mother Nature. (Read about the making of this issue at In spite of the gloomy weather, or perhaps because of it, you’ll find this issue of American to be one of the most colorful yet. From the coffee mugs we used to illustrate CAS professor Laura Juliano’s new caffeine research, to the rainbow of colors in kindergarten teacher Brieanna Samples-Wright’s bag, to our cover story on the biggest paintball game in the world, these pages are awash in bright, bold hues. By the time you read this magazine, winter will be gone, though perhaps not yet forgotten. Spring will have sprung in Washington, with cherry blossoms and tulips (talk about beautiful colors) as far as the eye can see. We’ll have peeled off our layers, and—like Owen—we’ll have traded our wool beanies for straw fedoras. Zoom, zoom, here comes the sun. How Don Myers, AU’s financial architect, transformed campus 4 4400 Mass Ave Ideas, people, perspectives 14 Metrocentered 34 Your American Connect, engage, reminisce Adrienne Frank Senior editor Send story ideas to