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American Magazine: August 2014

Alyssa Frederick

Alyssa Frederick Braciszewski, CAS/BS ’12, received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to study the nutritional physiology of marine organisms at the University of California, Irvine. While other rising seniors were basking on the beach, environmental studies major Daniel Pasquale spent his summer splashing around a different body of water. The recipient of the prestigious Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship, which offers $50,000 for tuition and travel, Pasquale monitored bacteria levels in the Potomac River to determine the impact of combined sewer overflow events on the river’s health. It was a banner year for students and alumni of AU’s science programs. Pasquale and 15 others received prestigious research awards, including Fulbright and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and fellowships from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the EPA. Physics major Ben Derby traveled to Boulder, Colorado, on a National Institute of Standards and Technology fellowship to build a Raman spectrometer to measure grapheme, a newly discovered “wonder material,” while Ben Gamache, CAS/BS ’13, went to the Spanish National Cancer Research Center on a Fulbright to study how the enzyme telomerase relates to aging and cancer. “What makes this year so special is the range of recipients we had for prestigious science awards,” says Paula Warrick, director of the office of merit awards. From the CIA to the FBI, a new master’s degree will groom students in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology for careers fighting threats to homeland security. The School of Public Affairs (SPA) launches the master’s in terrorism and homeland security policy (american.edu/spa/protect) this fall. The program, which prepares students for careers in federal agencies and private firms, focuses on the sources of security threats and the development of domestic terrorists. The degree isn’t SPA’s only new offering. Busy practitioners can now pursue a master’s in public administration and policy online (programs. online.american.edu/mpaponline). The 36-credit program gives students a foundation in budgeting and public program evaluation. Across the quad, the School of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences are bolstering their persuasive play initiative with a new master’s in game design (american.edu/gamelab). The program, which welcomes its first cohort this fall, trains students in design and development, play theory, and engagement strategies. During their second year, students will intern at the AU Game Lab Studio, working on real-world projects for external clients. PHOTO COURTESY OF KIHO KIM MOVIN’ ON UP AU ranks No. 2 for Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalists with 34—a new high. The program, which drew 7,000 applicants this year for 608 slots, grooms grad students for careers within the federal government. Last year AU was No. 3 with 19 finalists. AMERICAN DREAM SPA executive in residence Anita McBride received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition on May 10. The former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush—honored alongside boxer Evander Holyfield, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), and Wall Street reporter Maria Bartiromo—was recognized for her contributions to the Italian American community. 6 AMERICAN MAGAZINE AUGUST 2014

news AU has gotten one step closer to its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2020, signing an agreement with George Washington University and George Washington University Hospital to source 53 percent of its electricity from renewable power. The three institutions will buy 52 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power—enough electricity to light up 8,200 homes a year—from Charlotte-based Duke Energy Renewables at a fixed rate over the next 20 years. The project will supply the partners with 123 million kilowatt hours of emissions-free electricity per year, drawn from 243,000 solar panels at three sites in North Carolina. “AU is firmly on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020,” says President Neil Kerwin. “We are home to the largest combined solar array in D.C., are resolved to growing green power through our purchase of renewable energy certificates, and are now a partner to the largest non-utility solar energy purchase in the U.S.” The project will eliminate 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—the equivalent of plucking 12,500 cars off the road. Rising senior Caroline Brazill always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. “There was a career fair in middle school where you had to dress up and make a poster,” recalls the Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, native. “The girl next to me was a professional ballerina in a tutu; the girl next to her was in scrubs. And I’m over there with a pantsuit and an American flag, saying I want to be a foreign service officer.” Brazill, an international studies major, and Eric Rodriguez, CAS/BA ’14, who worked for the Yakama Nation police department in Washington State before coming to AU to study anthropology, are among 59 Truman Scholars selected from a nationwide pool of 655 candidates. The prestigious award, established as a memorial to 33rd President Harry S. Truman, provides recipients with leadership training, internships, and up to $30,000 for graduate study leading to careers in government or the nonprofit sector. AU is one of only five institutions to have four finalists and one of only five to have two scholars. The university has produced 13 Truman Scholars since 2000—including 11 over the last decade. Baseball is as American as apple pie, hot dogs, and wonks. Celebrate AU with Clawed, Screech, and your fellow Eagles during the third annual AU Night at Nationals Park, 7:05 p.m. on Friday, August 22, when the hometown sluggers take on the San Francisco Giants. AU’s female a cappella group, Treble in Paradise, will perform the national anthem. In 2012, AU entered into a strategic partnership with the Nats that includes AU advertising in the park as part of the wonk brand campaign. During AU Night, fans will go fact to fact against the university’s people in the know, including School of Public Affairs professors Anita McBride, Jennifer Lawless, and Connie Morella and the College of Arts and Sciences’s U. J. Sofia, who’ll be featured in wonk challenges on the Jumbotron. The Washington-centric quizzes will focus on White House history, D.C. geography, baseball trivia, and more. Events also include a pre-game picnic overlooking right field and T-shirt giveaways. The AU community can enjoy discounted Nats tickets all season long. Visit nationals. com/wonk and use the coupon code “wonk.” SUPREME IN COURT The AU mock trial team enjoyed its best season yet, placing fourth in its division and eighth in the country at the national championships in April. More than 650 teams from 330 colleges competed at the Orlando tourney. Rising senior Iain Phillips also earned outstanding witness honors. STRENGTH OF (140) CHARACTERS #AmericanU is the seventh most influential college on Twitter, according to CollegeAtlas.com. AU scored points for using social media to highlight academic achievements and for being an early adopter. (AU joined the Twittersphere in 2009 and now has more than 21,000 followers.) FOLLOW US @AU_AMERICANMAG 7