American Magazine March 2015

This issue, meet DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, learn about the influx of post-9/11 veterans on college campuses across the country, hop on the Metro to Farragut North, and get to know some of AU's 600 Phoenix transplants. Also in the March issue: the psychology behind selfies, attorney Tom Goldstein's path to the Supreme Court, and cartoonist Tony Rubino's tools of the trade.

This issue, meet DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, learn about the influx of post-9/11 veterans on college campuses across the country, hop on the Metro to Farragut North, and get to know some of AU's 600 Phoenix transplants. Also in the March issue: the psychology behind selfies, attorney Tom Goldstein's path to the Supreme Court, and cartoonist Tony Rubino's tools of the trade.


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.



p. 18<br />



p. 22<br />



p. 28<br />

UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong><br />

25 questions with<br />

Madam Mayor, SPA/MPP ’00<br />

p. 32

An AU insider’s<br />

perspective on next page

Though Michelle Pendoley can carry a tune, the arts<br />

management grad never envisioned a career on the stage.<br />

Instead, as director of public relations at the WOLF TRAP<br />


she supports the scores of musicians and artists who pass<br />

through the Vienna, Virginia, venue each year—including 70<br />

just last summer.<br />

“Public relations touches every part of an organization,<br />

from the artists and managers to the ushers and box office<br />

people,” says the Massachusetts native. “The nature of my<br />

job is incredibly fast-paced. I RARELY SPEND A FULL<br />

DAY AT MY DESK, which is just how I like it.”<br />

The only national park dedicated to the performing arts,<br />

Wolf Trap sits on 100 acres of lush greenery gifted to the US<br />

government in 1966 by the late Catherine Filene Shouse. On<br />

any given evening from May to September, you can hear POP,<br />

COUNTRY, FOLK, BLUES, OR OPERA wafting from<br />

the complex, which includes the 7,028-seat Filene Center and<br />

the 382-seat Barns at Wolf Trap, an intimate indoor venue<br />

housed in two eighteenth-century barns.<br />

Ten months into her job, Pendoley, whose duties include<br />

accompanying photographers to shows (it’s a tough job, but<br />

someone’s gotta do it), IS STILL PINCHING HERSELF.<br />

“Wolf Trap is as good as it gets.”<br />

Michelle Pendoley<br />

CAS/MA ’06<br />

18<br />

22<br />

28<br />

32<br />

Cleo Coyle keeps<br />

readers buzzing<br />

Post-9/11 vets<br />

trade rucksacks<br />

for backpacks<br />

Charity born from<br />

one boy’s battle<br />

for life<br />

Homegrown<br />

Muriel Bowser helms<br />

nation’s capital

1 POV<br />

4 4400 Mass Ave<br />

Ideas, people, perspectives<br />

16 Metrocentered<br />

36 Your <strong>American</strong><br />

Connect, engage, reminisce<br />


<strong>American</strong> University magazine<br />

Vol. 65, No.3<br />


Adrienne Frank, SPA/MS ’08<br />


Suzanne Béchamps<br />

Amy Burroughs<br />


Mike Unger<br />


Amy Burroughs<br />

Katlin Chadwick<br />

Adrienne Frank<br />


Maria Jackson<br />


Jel Montoya-Reed<br />

Rena Münster<br />


Jeffrey Watts<br />


Traci Crockett<br />



Teresa Flannery<br />



Kevin Grasty<br />



Laura Garner<br />

<strong>American</strong> is published three<br />

times a year by <strong>American</strong><br />

University. With a circulation<br />

of 120,000, <strong>American</strong> is sent<br />

to alumni and other members<br />

of the university community.<br />

Copyright©<strong>2015</strong>.<br />

An equal opportunity, affirmative<br />

action university. UP15-003<br />

For information regarding the<br />

accreditation and state licensing<br />

of <strong>American</strong> University, please<br />

visit american.edu/academics.<br />

Courage after fire<br />

If my husband knew I was devoting many of this column’s<br />

442 words to him, he would be mortified. Sam’s incredibly<br />

humble—but more on that later.<br />

In this issue, writer Mike Unger explores issues affecting<br />

post-9/11 veterans. The idea sprang from David Finkel’s<br />

incredible Thank You for Your Service, which chronicles<br />

soldiers’ return home from Iraq and Afghanistan and their<br />

struggle to reintegrate—both into their families and into<br />

<strong>American</strong> society. I plowed through the book in two nights<br />

and passed it on to Mike.<br />

As we talked about the book, a story of our own for<br />

<strong>American</strong> began to take shape. AU—like many institutions<br />

across the country—is seeing an influx of student veterans.<br />

But higher education is just one path young vets can take in<br />

civilian life. Rates of unemployment, homelessness, suicide,<br />

and PTSD are higher among post-9/11 vets than those<br />

without military affiliation. I wondered: Why does one vet<br />

end up in college and another on the streets?<br />

I’m sorry to say, you won’t find an answer in our story.<br />

I don’t even think David Finkel has an answer.<br />

What I do know is how my husband ended up in college.<br />

Sam hails from a no-stoplight town (the town’s lone light<br />

was removed sometime in the late ’90s). He enlisted in the<br />

Air Force to pay for college and left for boot camp a week<br />

after high school graduation.<br />

After five years on active duty, civilian life was jarring.<br />

Sam’s military service, including a tour in the Pentagon,<br />

didn’t mean much to employers, and college presented its<br />

own challenges. After being out of school for six years,<br />

algebra felt like a foreign language. His classmates were<br />

younger and unmarried, and he missed the camaraderie of<br />

military life. Still, Sam pushed forward. Community college<br />

led to a top-25 business school, which led to an MBA from<br />

AU—all while serving in the guard and working full-time.<br />

Sam isn’t one to brag about his accomplishments or his<br />

service. He’ll tell you that—like so many other student vets—<br />

he just did what he had to do. (I’ll tell you, the guy who<br />

struggled with algebra can now decipher derivatives.) His<br />

tireless work ethic, discipline, and commitment to the<br />

mission—traits that always existed but that were honed in<br />

the military—continue to inspire me.<br />

I don’t know, exactly, what brought 328 veterans, their<br />

spouses, and their dependents to AU. I suspect, like Sam,<br />

they believe that higher education is the key to a successful,<br />

satisfying life. Whatever the reason, I say to them: thank you<br />

for your service—you make the AU community stronger.<br />

Adrienne Frank<br />

Managing Editor<br />

Send story ideas to afrank@american.edu.

syllabus<br />


Children, Youth, and Digital Culture<br />

Ever since George Gerbner fired up<br />

the RCA Victor in 1960 to study the<br />

impact of TV on kids, researchers<br />

have been riveted by the role of<br />

media in children’s lives. But a half<br />

century after the University of<br />

Pennsylvania professor published<br />

his pioneering cultivation theory, it’s<br />

Twitter, tablets, video games, and<br />

Google that have the attention of<br />

researchers like Margot Susca.<br />

“Digital media changes so rapidly.<br />

As academics and policy makers,<br />

it feels like once we’ve solved one<br />

issue, a new technology has emerged<br />

in its place,” says the School of<br />

Communication professor.<br />

In her popular course—developed<br />

by another giant in the field of<br />

children’s digital media, SOC’s<br />

Kathryn Montgomery—Susca<br />

explores the cognitive, behavioral,<br />

social, and emotional effects of 24/7<br />

connectivity on kids. The class delves<br />

into controversies over violent video<br />

games, sexual and indecent content,<br />

Internet safety, and online privacy and<br />

examines the role of youngsters as<br />

digital media participants, content<br />

creators, and consumers.<br />

“These students grew up with<br />

media, they know media—or they<br />

think they do,” Susca says. “It’s<br />

exciting to explore how media has<br />

shaped their view of the world.”<br />

Perhaps not surprisingly, Susca<br />

created a hashtag (#COMM515) to<br />

encourage real-time discussion<br />

among her 24 tech-savvy students.<br />

“We can debate after-hours. Or if<br />

students are watching TV or reading<br />

an article, they can tweet me in the<br />

middle of the night. It’s all about<br />

meeting today’s digital students<br />

where they are.”<br />

Next swipe<br />


Digital Diplomacy<br />

Students explore new digital<br />

diplomatic tools being adopted by<br />

governments around the world in<br />

the wake of developments such as<br />

WikiLeaks and Arab Spring.<br />


Cyber Security Risk Management<br />

Data security wonks study the<br />

risks associated with information<br />

management in the digital<br />

economy—and the best practices<br />

to mitigate those risks.<br />

4 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

expert<br />

3 MINUTES ON . . . Selfies<br />

Stef Woods<br />

Instructor, Department of History,<br />

College of Arts and Sciences<br />

Selfies capture a moment<br />

in time—how we looked,<br />

where we were. Selfies say, “I<br />

was here.” It started with<br />

celebrities, who took selfies as a<br />

way to show a<br />

different side of<br />

themselves. In<br />

the age of the<br />

paparazzi, selfies give celebs<br />

control over<br />

what they<br />

share. Then<br />

they made their<br />

way to youth,<br />

who are active on social media.<br />

A Today/AOL<br />

study showed that<br />

for 65 percent of<br />

teenage girls, selfies boost<br />

self-confidence. It<br />

gives them control over how they<br />

present themselves<br />

online, at a time when<br />

they want more<br />

control than<br />

they’re allowed.<br />

It’s the idea that “I can’t choose<br />

whether I go to school, what my<br />

curfew is, or when I can drive.<br />

But an outfit? That I can do.”<br />

The critics say, “Look<br />

at these girls who are so<br />

obsessed<br />

with their<br />

looks.”<br />

That’s taking<br />

away from their<br />

agency, from their feeling of<br />

comfort in their skin. It<br />

could also be a bit of envy<br />

that’s motivating<br />

judgment. When<br />

someone takes a selfie looking<br />

great in a bikini, I chuckle<br />

to myself and<br />

think I might<br />

do the<br />

same<br />

thing if I looked that good.<br />

Throwing around the term<br />

“narcissism,” when you’re not<br />

a mental health professional,<br />

might not be the best idea,<br />

since narcissism is<br />

a mental health<br />

disorder. All social media,<br />

in some<br />

sense, is<br />

self-promoting. We’re expressing<br />

ourselves in a way that we<br />

hope will get a<br />

response—that’s what<br />

communication is.<br />

There’s so much negativity<br />

in this world. If this<br />

is an easy way to<br />

get a smile or a<br />

confidence boost, why wouldn’t<br />

we do it? Would every phone<br />

have these resources if<br />

it wasn’t something<br />

that was desired?<br />

Would “selfie”<br />

have been named<br />

the Oxford Dictionaries 2013<br />

Word of the Year?<br />

I take “welfies” of myself and my<br />

daughter, and I post them because<br />

they make me<br />

happy. I hope<br />

that someday<br />

she’ll look at<br />

them the same way I look at old<br />

photo albums of my parents.<br />

But in this culture of<br />

likes and positivity, there is<br />

also the culture of<br />

trolls and criticism. In the<br />

case of the Alabama<br />

teenager who was<br />

criticized for tweeting a selfie<br />

at Auschwitz, it came down<br />

to context. If she had included,<br />

“Dad, I’m here on<br />

the anniversary of<br />

your death, thinking<br />

of how we studied<br />

World War II and wishing you<br />

were here with me”—but she<br />

was constrained by<br />

characters. Was it the<br />

best move? Maybe not. But we’re<br />

judging a teenage girl on how<br />

she’s processing grief in the loss<br />

of her father.<br />

It’s human nature<br />

to take a selfie and post it, because<br />

we see<br />

others do<br />

it. Even<br />

President Obama took a selfie<br />

in 2013 with the British and<br />

Danish prime ministers. We’re<br />

staking our own <strong>American</strong> flag in<br />

whatever our moon is for that day.<br />


As part of the Department of Literature’s Writer as Witness Program—<br />

now in its 17th year—all incoming students read a common text and<br />

meet with its author. After the colloquium in Bender Arena, most of<br />

the books end up on dorm room shelves, collecting dust.<br />

This year, however, hundreds of copies of Brooke Gladstone’s The<br />

Influencing Machine—which chronicles two millennia of media history<br />

through vivid comics by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld—found a happy<br />

home in alumna Jennifer Coleman’s Long Beach, Mississippi, classroom.<br />

“I was following news of this year’s Writer as Witness text with<br />

much interest and a tad of envy,” says Coleman, CAS/MFA ’11, who<br />

teaches at Long Beach High in a school district still recovering from<br />

the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “I couldn’t help but dream<br />

about the lessons and activities that would be possible with such a<br />

versatile and relevant text. I knew my high school students would be<br />

invigorated and engaged with a book like The Influencing Machine.<br />

And that’s when I had this idea: What if AU freshmen were asked<br />

to donate their copy of their Writer as Witness text after they were<br />

finished using it?”<br />

Hundreds of students answered Coleman’s call, and Professor John<br />

Hyman (pictured) spearheaded the effort to ship the paperbacks<br />

south to Mississippi.<br />

“This partnership is just the latest affirmation of many positive<br />

experiences I’ve had since joining the AU family in 2008,” Coleman<br />

says. “The entire Long Beach community thanks you, AU.”<br />

Twenty-five years ago, sharpshooting<br />

point guard Derek Hyra<br />

had sights set on the NBA. When<br />

a coach urged him to venture out<br />

of the suburbs to hone his skills<br />

on New York City’s fabled asphalt<br />

playgrounds, Hyra joined the<br />

Rucker League on 155th Street<br />

in Harlem, where Julius “Dr. J”<br />

Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar<br />

once played.<br />

While Hyra didn’t go on to<br />

play at a premier Division I<br />

school, the experience profoundly<br />

shaped his career. Harlem, like<br />

many cities in the late 1980s and<br />

early ’90s, had been devastated<br />

by drugs, gangs, and crime. On<br />

and off the court, Hyra learned<br />

about race in America from<br />

teammates who lived in Harlem<br />

and the Bronx.<br />

Today, as director of the<br />

School of Public Affairs’s new<br />

Metropolitan Policy Center, Hyra<br />

is leading a team of researchers<br />

interested in issues that continue<br />

to plague urbanites: affordable<br />

housing, racial and ethnic<br />

diversity, social service provisions,<br />

and economic development.<br />

The center, which hosts an<br />

urban speaker series showcasing<br />

research by AU faculty and grad<br />

students, houses academics<br />

from across campus. Current<br />

projects include Bradley Hardy’s<br />

examination of the efficacy of the<br />

DC supplemental earned income<br />

tax credit and Daniel Kerr’s<br />

historical research project with<br />

residents of DC’s Community<br />

for Creative Non-Violence<br />

homeless shelter, located just<br />

blocks from the Capitol.<br />

“It’s great that we have<br />

more inclusive, mixed-income<br />

neighborhoods, but when<br />

you really get into these<br />

racially diverse, redeveloping<br />

communities, there is<br />

microsegregation, racial power<br />

imbalances, and social tensions,”<br />

Hyra says. “These challenges are<br />

still the defining urban issues of<br />

our time.”<br />


AU’s international relations program is the ninth-best in the country,<br />

according to Foreign Policy’s annual rankings, released in February. The<br />

School of International Service clocked in at No. 8 for master’s programs<br />

and No. 22 for doctoral programs. Results were based on responses<br />

from 1,615 IR scholars at 1,375 US colleges.<br />


John S. Dykes’s civil rights illustrations from the November 2014<br />

issue of <strong>American</strong> were among 400 works showcased at the Society<br />

of Illustrators’ annual exhibition in New York City. The exhibit, which<br />

ran through February 28, featured the year’s best illustrations<br />

commissioned by newspapers and magazines.<br />

6 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

news<br />

One in eight Washington<br />

households is “food-insecure,”<br />

according to DC Hunger Solutions.<br />

Ever the good neighbor, AU<br />

and its dining services provider,<br />

Aramark, have teamed up with<br />

the Food Recovery Network to<br />

help Washingtonians who are<br />

struggling to put food on the table.<br />

“With an institution the size<br />

of AU and its daily dining needs,<br />

it’s inevitable that we will have<br />

leftover food. Donating it to<br />

reputable, local organizations<br />

whose mission is to feed the<br />

hungry seemed like the most<br />

sensible and socially responsible<br />

thing to do,” says Jo-Ann Jolly,<br />

Dining Services’s registered<br />

dietician.<br />

Last year, AU donated almost<br />

300 meals, including more than<br />

$3,000 worth of fresh produce,<br />

ready-to-eat meals, and bread.<br />

Twice a week, students collect<br />

and distribute the food to local<br />

nonprofits like Martha’s Table.<br />

The Food Recovery Network<br />

was founded in 2012 at the<br />

University of Maryland. The<br />

organization, which now boasts<br />

partners at 110 colleges in 30<br />

states and the District, has<br />

donated more than 500,000<br />

pounds of food.<br />

Sixteen years ago, University Chaplain Joe Eldridge posted a flier in<br />

the Kay Spiritual Life Center lounge, advertising a spring break trip<br />

to Honduras. But instead of sunning themselves along the Caribbean<br />

Sea, AU’s spring breakers were to help with relief efforts in the wake<br />

of Hurricane Mitch, which killed 5,000 people and destroyed more<br />

than 33,000 houses.<br />

And with that, the Alternative Breaks program—a cornerstone of<br />

the AU experience—was born.<br />

Hundreds of students have since spent their summer, spring, and<br />

winter breaks immersed in social justice issues in all corners of the<br />

world, from Appalachia to Zambia. Now, a new endowment bearing<br />

Eldridge’s name will enable even more students to participate.<br />

“Alternative Breaks is such a valuable program for our students<br />

and so in line with the values of this institution,” says Fanta Aw,<br />

assistant vice president of campus life, who spearheaded the<br />

effort to create the Joseph T. Eldridge Social Justice Alternative<br />

Break Endowment.<br />

“We’re celebrating the legacy of a great person who continues to<br />

do this work, day in and day out.”<br />

The award will provide financial assistance to students for whom<br />

traveling abroad is cost-prohibitive. Visit giving.american.edu to<br />

make a gift.<br />



Pronunciator, the library’s newest online learning tool, enables<br />

users to master 80 languages in any of 50 languages. The range of<br />

permutations means that a Spanish speaker can learn Chinese, or<br />

a Thai speaker can learn Russian (just to name a few of the 4,000<br />

combinations). Access to the database is free for alumni.<br />


Emmy Award–winning producer Betsy Fischer Martin, SPA/BA ’92, SOC/<br />

MA ’96, has returned to the School of Public Affairs as an executive in<br />

residence. Fischer Martin— More magazine’s new Washington, DC, editor<br />

and former executive producer of NBC’s Meet the Press—will help shape<br />

SPA’s political communications curriculum.<br />


on campus<br />

WITH 236 CLUBS, AU students<br />

have an array of activities from which<br />

to choose. From Bollywood dancers<br />

to Shakespearean actors to aspiring<br />

accountants, “there’s something for<br />

everyone,” says Annalise Setorie,<br />

student activities coordinator.<br />

The largest group, College<br />

Democrats, boasts 202 students, while<br />

the smallest ones have eight—the<br />

minimum amount to be recognized.<br />

(In case you’re curious, AU College<br />

Republicans has 37 members.)<br />

But it’s often the smallest groups<br />

that have the mightiest voices, Setorie<br />

says. “I always see AU Texans out<br />

tabling in cowboy hats and boots,<br />

repping their state.”<br />

Launched by 13 proud Lone Star<br />

Staters, AU Texans was one of 30 new<br />

clubs last fall. If a student has an<br />

interest—and seven other recruits—<br />

a club can soon follow. Foodies? Spoon<br />

University. Singers? Pitches Be Trippin’.<br />

Sci-fi fanatics? Doctor Who@AU.<br />

Join the club<br />

Although interests come and go,<br />

clubs have been part of student life<br />

at AU for 90 years.<br />

AU’s first club, the Areopagus<br />

Society, formed in December 1925.<br />

The 15-member debate team (whose<br />

first match in early 1926 against<br />

Washington College centered<br />

on the Child Labor Amendment)<br />

was followed by the Pi Mu Kappa<br />

Mathematics Club, the History Club,<br />

and the AU Orchestra.<br />

Today, just as they did nearly a<br />

century ago, “clubs help students<br />

find their AU family, people who<br />

understand them on a deeper level,”<br />

says Tatiana Laing, SPA/BA ’16,<br />

Caribbean Circle president.<br />

And for Setorie, that’s a win: “My<br />

job is to help students find their place<br />

on campus.”<br />


8 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

mastery<br />


1992<br />

Earned political<br />

science degree from<br />

University of North<br />

Carolina–Chapel<br />

Hill, where he met<br />

future wife and law<br />

partner Amy Howe.<br />

Sowed seeds of oral<br />

argument talent on<br />

UNC debate team.<br />

1993<br />

Discovered destiny by<br />

accident, interning with<br />

NPR Supreme Court<br />

reporter Nina Totenberg.<br />

“I DID IT FOR<br />





1995<br />

Graduated from WCL.<br />

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of<br />

Success offers a formula for success—being born<br />

at the right place and time and investing at least<br />

10,000 hours in pursuit of your goal. After more<br />

than 100 Supreme Court cases, attorney Tom<br />

Goldstein, WCL/JD ’95, is a seasoned veteran<br />

of the nation’s highest court. In a profession<br />

that loves tradition, his entrepreneurial spirit<br />

ruffled feathers—at first. Today, colleagues<br />

emulate his once-unconventional strategy for<br />

landing cases. SCOTUSblog, the site Goldstein,<br />

44, cofounded with wife Amy Howe, has made<br />

the court more transparent than ever, for lawyers<br />

and laypeople alike.<br />

2003<br />

Daughter Betsy born.<br />

On a whim, created<br />

SCOTUSblog with Amy. With<br />

an encouraging 30 hits the<br />

first day, Goldstein decided<br />

to keep blogging. Today,<br />

SCOTUSblog is an unparalleled<br />

source for reporters, lawyers,<br />

legislators, and lobbyists.<br />

Caught a televised game<br />

of Texas Hold ’Em on ESPN.<br />

Got hooked.<br />

2000<br />

Served as second chair<br />

in Bush v. Gore on behalf<br />

of Vice President Al Gore.<br />

1999<br />

Started Goldstein & Howe<br />

out of his spare bedroom,<br />

hustling for Supreme Court<br />

cases from the get-go. Raised<br />

eyebrows by cold-calling<br />

attorneys and offering to file<br />

appeals for free. “IT WAS<br />


UPON . . . BUT IT WAS<br />



IN THE DOOR.”<br />

Argued first case before the<br />

Supreme Court. Didn’t win,<br />

but learned a lot.<br />

2004<br />

Cofounded Stanford<br />

Supreme Court<br />

Litigation Clinic.<br />

2005<br />

Established Harvard<br />

Supreme Court<br />

Litigation Clinic.<br />

2006<br />

Joined Akin Gump<br />

to establish firm’s<br />

Supreme Court<br />

practice. Stayed five<br />

years, becoming<br />

partner and litigation<br />

practice cochair.<br />

2007<br />

Daughter Nina born,<br />

named in honor of<br />

a certain Supreme<br />

Court reporter.<br />

2008<br />

Won a seat in World<br />

Series of Poker by<br />

beating 130 opponents<br />

in a charity tournament.<br />

2011<br />

Rejoined his law<br />

firm, now Goldstein<br />

& Russell.<br />

Made gentleman’s<br />

bet with friend and<br />

professional poker<br />

player Dan Bilzerian:<br />

Goldstein’s Ferrari<br />

458 Italia vs.<br />

Bilzerian’s 1965<br />

AC Cobra (with<br />

NASCAR engine) in<br />

quarter-mile race<br />

at Las Vegas Motor<br />

Speedway. Lost<br />

race, but “IT WAS<br />

A LOT OF FUN.”<br />

2010<br />

Served as creative<br />

consultant for NBCcommissioned<br />

script<br />

for Tommy Supreme,<br />

a TV series based<br />

on his life. “THIS<br />






SCOTUSblog became<br />

first blog to win<br />

<strong>American</strong> Bar<br />

Association’s Silver<br />

Gavel Award.<br />

2009<br />

Landed on GQ’s list of 50<br />

Most Powerful People in<br />

Washington, DC.<br />

2012<br />

On the day the Supreme<br />

Court upheld the Affordable<br />

Care Act, SCOTUSblog<br />

scored 5.3 million hits from<br />

1.7 million unique visitors.<br />







AS A SOURCE.”<br />

Invited to appear on The Daily<br />

Show with Jon Stewart. Did<br />

so well that he was invited<br />

back a year later.<br />

2013<br />

Named one of 100 most<br />

influential attorneys in the<br />

country (for the second time)<br />

by National Law Journal.<br />

SCOTUSblog became first blog<br />

recipient of prestigious Peabody<br />

Award. Blog readership keeps<br />

growing: roughly 45,000 hits<br />

on a quiet day, 200,000-plus<br />

for big court decisions.<br />

<strong>2015</strong><br />

Argued 34th Supreme Court<br />

case. “I FEEL LIKE<br />















DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong><br />

magazine app to hear more of<br />

Goldstein’s story in his own words.<br />


play<br />

My jaw hurts. I’m not a regular<br />

gum chewer, but I also don’t<br />

usually sit on the bench with a<br />

Division I women’s basketball<br />

team during its conference home<br />

opener. Before my stint as AU’s<br />

honorary guest coach for its<br />

January 7 tussle with Loyola, I<br />

had popped a piece of Orbit, and<br />

as the game gets more and more<br />

intense, so does my chomping.<br />

The action is fast and freeflowing<br />

from floor level. My<br />

chair sits between the relentlessly<br />

upbeat players to my right<br />

(“Let’s go, white!” they scream)<br />

and the always-coaching coaches<br />

to my left (“Call out screens!”<br />

they shout nonstop).<br />

My role is ceremonial—the<br />

only assignment is handing Coach<br />

Megan Gebbia her clipboard<br />

during timeouts—but the<br />

experience offers a fascinating<br />

behind-the-scenes look at a<br />

college basketball team.<br />

“It’s important that the faculty,<br />

staff, and alumni feel like they’re<br />

a part of our program,” Gebbia<br />

says. “They get to see what the<br />

girls go through on the court and<br />

before the game. Our players<br />

study basketball.”<br />

In the locker room prior to<br />

opening tip, the second-year head<br />

coach lists five keys for beating<br />

the Greyhounds. The first four<br />

are technical (example: contain<br />

dribble penetration), but the fifth<br />

is psychological.<br />

“Control the game,” she says to<br />

her attentive team. “In the Patriot<br />

League, we should be able to go<br />

into most games and feel like<br />

we’re in control. Where have we<br />

struggled? In the first half. We’ve<br />

got to find a way to keep them<br />

at bay. That’s part of you guys<br />

growing and maturing as a group.”<br />

Her words resonate. AU jumps<br />

out to a 30–13 lead and takes a<br />

16-point lead at halftime. Gebbia’s<br />

pleased, but she makes a point to<br />

stress to her players the importance<br />

of minimizing turnovers. Loyola<br />

outscores AU by four in the second<br />

half, but the Eagles still cruise to a<br />

62–50 victory, which puts them on<br />

top of the Patriot League with a<br />

3–0 record.<br />

In the postgame locker room,<br />

you would think AU had lost.<br />

“Fifteen assists to 15 turnovers<br />

against this team is not good,”<br />

Gebbia says. Her voice never rises.<br />

She’s teaching, not scolding. “This<br />

should be a 20–25 point win for us.<br />

That really bothers me, because I<br />

want to win and I want to win big.<br />

You guys are so much better than<br />

you’ve shown.”<br />

She then surprises me by asking<br />

if I’d like to say a few words.<br />

“I’ll be a little more positive,”<br />

I say while clapping my hands,<br />

drawing a smile from the coach<br />

and laughter from the players.<br />

“Great win!”<br />

As the guest coach, my night is<br />

over, but for the real coaches and<br />

players, the season is one long blur<br />

of seemingly never-ending work.<br />

“Tomorrow morning, you have<br />

lifting at nine,” Gebbia tells the<br />

team, which might have to leave<br />

for its upcoming road trip early to<br />

avoid a predicted snowstorm.<br />

“We’ve got Colgate on Saturday.”<br />

—Mike Unger<br />


With a dominating 41–29 win over Navy on February 25, the women’s basketball team clinched the Patriot<br />

League regular season title and the top seed in the conference tournament. The Eagles were led by senior<br />

Jen Dumiak, who scored 22 points and was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I<br />

women’s basketball team a day later.<br />


The late Shawn Kuykendall, SOC/BA ’05, who waged an inspiring battle<br />

against cancer, was inducted into the Stafford H. “Pop” Cassell Hall of<br />

Fame on February 14. Joining the former soccer standout in the hall<br />

is Magdalena Aguilar, CAS/BA ’03, a four-time All-Patriot League field<br />

hockey player, and former basketball star Calvin Brown, SOC/BA ’78.<br />

10 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

news<br />

Last November, 30-year-old Elise<br />

Stefanik became the youngest<br />

woman ever elected to Congress.<br />

Mia Love of Utah won her<br />

race and will be the inaugural<br />

female Republican African<br />

<strong>American</strong> to serve in the House<br />

of Representatives. For the first<br />

time, a woman, Gina Raimondo,<br />

is the governer of Rhode Island.<br />

These and other high-profile<br />

victories made the 2014 election<br />

a monumental one for women—<br />

or so it seemed.<br />

“Symbolically, it was important<br />

because the total number of<br />

women in Congress passed the<br />

triple-digit threshold,” says<br />

School of Public Affairs professor<br />

Jennifer Lawless, director of the<br />

Women and Politics Institute. “But<br />

in terms of actual progress, it’s<br />

really minimal.”<br />

A closer look at the numbers<br />

reveals why. Before the election,<br />

there were five female governors—<br />

the same as after it. The Senate<br />

remained 20 percent female. And<br />

what about the number of women<br />

in the House jumping to 103? The<br />

previous Congress had 99.<br />

Fifty-one percent<br />

of <strong>American</strong>s<br />

are female, yet<br />

women make up<br />

just 23 percent of<br />

the US Congress.<br />

Lawless believes 2014 was<br />

“Not a ‘Year of the Woman’ . . .<br />

and 2036 Doesn’t Look So Good<br />

Either.” That’s the title of a paper<br />

she published with Richard Fox<br />

for the Brookings Institution.<br />

The biggest impediment to<br />

women winning political office,<br />

Lawless believes, is that not<br />

enough of them run.<br />

“When women are competing<br />

in only about a third of the races<br />

across the country, there aren’t<br />

that many opportunities for<br />

them to make substantial<br />

gains,” she says. “Even<br />

in this election cycle,<br />

which was an antiincumbency<br />

year,<br />

about 95 percent<br />

of incumbents<br />

were reelected.<br />

So if men are<br />

80 percent of<br />

the members<br />

of Congress,<br />

and 90 percent of them seek<br />

reelection, and 95 percent of<br />

them get reelected, that does<br />

not allow opportunities for any<br />

traditionally marginalized groups<br />

to make gains. That’s exacerbated<br />

when women are far less likely<br />

than men to run for office in the<br />

first place.”<br />

Lawless and Fox found that<br />

the difference in men’s and<br />

women’s political ambition begins<br />

to appear in college. Although<br />

the same proportion of high<br />

school boys and girls say they<br />

would “definitely” be interested<br />

in running for office, college men<br />

were twice as likely as college<br />

women to show interest in a<br />

future candidacy.<br />

“If we can intervene on<br />

college campuses to close that<br />

gap, that can have long-standing<br />

effects,” Lawless says. “Unless<br />

something changes, there’s no<br />

reason to believe that things are<br />

going to look any different 22<br />

years from now.”<br />

How addicted to social media are<br />

today’s college students? Consider<br />

this: a number of apps allow users to<br />

purposely lock themselves out of their<br />

social media accounts, ostensibly<br />

so they can study.<br />

One site millennials are not liking<br />

much these days is Facebook, which is<br />

increasingly populated by old fogies<br />

(that is, anyone over 30).<br />

“Facebook is sort of like breakfast,”<br />

says School of Communication<br />

professor Scott Talan, an expert on<br />

social media. “Older people tend to<br />

have breakfast pretty regularly. Younger<br />

people, especially college students,<br />

because they’re up later, are skipping<br />

breakfast. But they’re still eating. They<br />

are having snacks and other meals at<br />

other times, whether that’s Instagram<br />

or Snapchat. In the past 12 months, the<br />

rise of anonymous apps—Yik Yak in<br />

particular—came out of nowhere.”<br />

Yik Yak allows users within a<br />

10-mile radius to post comments<br />

anonymously. It’s available on roughly<br />

1,500 college campuses.<br />

“You definitely get a real insight<br />

into the minds of college students,”<br />

Talan says. “There’s the good side:<br />

I like someone, what are some<br />

suggestions for letting them know?<br />

On the negative side, there’s<br />

everything from drinking to sexual<br />

matters, in pretty graphic language.”<br />

While it’s the latest social media<br />

craze, Yik Yak certainly won’t be the last.<br />

You can bet that something new will<br />

burst onto the scene soon, Talan says.<br />

“Social media is ubiquitous,<br />

omnipresent, and omnivorous because<br />

humans are social.”<br />




Chemistry professor Stefano Costanzi has created a 3-D<br />

computer model of a receptor protein derived from a<br />

gene linked to human growth. Costanzi’s model, detailed<br />

in the New England Journal of Medicine, may lead to the<br />

development of drugs to treat gigantism and dwarfism.<br />

SOC’s Laura DeNardis has received a<br />

$51,676 Google Research Award to advance<br />

her work on the destabilization of Internet<br />

governance. The grant will provide full<br />

funding for one of SOC’s doctoral fellows.<br />

SIS professor Stephen Silvia has been awarded the 2014 German<br />

Academic Exchange Service Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in<br />

German and European Studies. Silva, whose current research centers<br />

on the industrial practices of German automobile “transplants” in the<br />

United States, is the 20th scholar to receive the award.<br />



Lincoln laughed. That much we know. His<br />

war secretary did not. The rest of the<br />

cabinet either collectively chuckled or<br />

uniformly scowled, depending on whose<br />

account you believe.<br />

It was noon on September 22, 1862, five days after<br />

Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.<br />

The president, meeting with his advisors in what is<br />

now the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House, was<br />

about to sign his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.<br />

As a preamble to this historic act, the tall, somber<br />

executive read aloud the words of Artemus Ward—the<br />

national jester of the Civil War era and America’s first<br />

stand-up comic.<br />

For anyone familiar with the intersection of<br />

Massachusetts and Nebraska Avenues, something might<br />

sound a bit off. Isn’t the statue at the center of Ward<br />

Circle of a Revolutionary War general? Yes, it is. It’s also<br />

a statue of Artemas Ward—with an a. It’s time you got<br />

to know Artemus with a u.<br />

Artemus Ward was a persona dreamed up by 23-yearold<br />

New Englander and newspaperman Charles Foster<br />

Browne (née Brown—he added the e to affect an<br />

English air). Browne started out as a humble typesetter<br />

but rose to transatlantic fame thanks to this immensely<br />

popular alter ego he created to fill out the pages of the<br />

Cleveland Plain Dealer.<br />

Browne developed the character of Ward—a plump,<br />

balding, opportunistic sideshow promoter—through<br />

dozens of comically misspelled letters ostensibly<br />

written to newspapers and magazines to recount his<br />

travels and pitch his bogus sideshow, one “ekalled<br />

by few & exceld by none.” Intolerant of religious<br />

and political fervor, the Ward travelogues satirized<br />

extremists and institutions of all stripes using<br />

butchered attempts at highfalutin language.<br />

In that 1862 cabinet meeting, Lincoln read Ward’s<br />

“High-Handed Outrage at Utica,” in which a country<br />

moralizer destroys a wax figure of “Judas Iscarrot” to<br />

punish the false apostle for daring to show his face<br />

in town. “What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss<br />

here fur?” the avenging local asked Artemus while<br />

clobbering the statue to bits.<br />

Ward had skewered Lincoln himself, poking fun at<br />

his humbler-than-life, folksy image. But apparently,<br />

honest Abe was big enough to laugh at himself. That<br />

day, in fact, he felt he needed to.<br />

“With the fearful strain that is upon me night<br />

and day, if I did not laugh I should die,” he said to his<br />

cabinet after reading the Utica story, “and you need<br />

this medicine as much as I do.”<br />

Ward’s letters helped Browne become editor of<br />

Vanity Fair, a humor publication unrelated to today’s<br />

magazine. The position was short-lived but established<br />

Browne as an arbiter of an emerging, national comedic<br />

style. He became a regular at Pfaff’s, a legendary<br />

bohemian saloon in New York City where Walt Whitman<br />

also imbibed.<br />

Around this time, Browne transformed Artemus<br />

from a character in the pages of the Plain Dealer into<br />

the touring star of a comedic lecture, essentially an<br />

hour-long stand-up routine.<br />

The Ward of the stage, as portrayed by Browne, was<br />

thin, with a prominent nose and imposing mustache.<br />

His signature opening was to remain silent with such<br />

a sustained straight face that its woodenness in the<br />

awkward pause inevitably prompted laughter. At that<br />

point, he would take extreme and bewildered offense,<br />

offering to continue only once the audience had<br />

stopped interrupting him.<br />

On a coast-to-coast lecture circuit, Browne set<br />

attendance records, earned handsome sums, and drank<br />

heavily. In Virginia City, Nevada, he spent 10 raucous<br />

days with another aspiring writer who employed a<br />

pseudonym—Mark Twain.<br />

Browne later gave a career boost to his literary<br />

peer, asking Twain for a story to pad the pages of a<br />

book anthologizing the Artemus letters. Twain sent<br />

one, but it arrived too late. Instead, Henry Clapp, who<br />

hosted the gatherings at Pfaff’s, published the tale<br />

of a celebrated jumping frog, and it became Twain’s<br />

breakout hit.<br />

Twain borrowed inspiration—and a few jokes—<br />

from Ward as his career developed but later tired at<br />

comparisons to the more famous storyteller. Their<br />

12 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

TH A<br />



careers often intertwined, but they never met in<br />

person again.<br />

Browne’s final tour as Ward was to London, where<br />

he was the talk of the town and contributed to the<br />

humor magazine Punch. Browne died there in 1867, and<br />

his body was brought back across the Atlantic, landing<br />

in New York Harbor just as Twain was outbound on his<br />

own trip to Europe.<br />

Twain eulogized Browne as “one of the kindest<br />

and gentlest men in the world” and “America’s<br />

greatest humorist.”<br />

It is unclear if Browne picked his pseudonym in<br />

homage to Artemas Ward, the Revolutionary War general.<br />

That’s one explanation he offered, but he also claimed to<br />

have lifted it from a showman of the same name.<br />

Ward, the general, has no connection to AU. By the<br />

whim of a planning commission, his statue was installed<br />

at the Massachusetts Avenue intersection, and the<br />

campus now brushes against the circumference of the<br />

circle that bears his name. He may stand at the center<br />

to greet campus visitors, but his relation to our alma<br />

mater is—both historically and geometrically—<br />

only tangential.<br />

Nonetheless, AU has embraced General Ward as a<br />

mascot of sorts, adopting his name for the School of<br />

Public Affairs building and the annual Artie Ward Week<br />

celebration. Imagine what might have been if the other<br />

Artemus had been enshrined in that spot.<br />

Perhaps we would be home, instead, to a School<br />

or Public Satire ekalled by few & exceld by none.<br />


service<br />



OPENED IN 2005, volunteers<br />

made it possible for a tiny staff of<br />

two to manage the 30,000-squarefoot<br />

space. A decade and an inch<br />

of paint later (the walls have been<br />

painted 250 times to accommodate<br />

more than 25 exhibits each year),<br />

45 volunteers continue to give the<br />

museum an accordion-like ability to<br />

do more.<br />

The volunteer corps comprises<br />

alumni, students, retirees, and working<br />

professionals, who do more than simply<br />

man the front desk. They lead tours,<br />

develop programming, and spread<br />

the word about exhibits and events<br />

throughout the arts community. Many<br />

of the volunteers live in AU Park—<br />

making it likely that visitors to the AU<br />

Museum will be greeted by a neighbor.<br />

“The volunteers are the best thing<br />

that’s happened to AU’s relationship<br />

with its neighborhood,” says museum<br />

director and curator Jack Rasmussen<br />

(pictured, far right).<br />

The group makes museumgoers<br />

feel at home in the three-story gallery,<br />

perched off Ward Circle. It can be a<br />

challenge, with five or more exhibits<br />

rotating every eight weeks (including<br />

Locally Sourced, pictured above). The<br />

volunteers, many with an encyclopedic<br />

knowledge of art history, wrestle with<br />

the new works, before figuring out how<br />

best to engage visitors.<br />

“Every two months we start from<br />

scratch,” Rasmussen says. “I give<br />

a presentation to volunteers about<br />

how to be open to the artwork and<br />

facilitate visitors’ experience. It’s<br />

about knowing how to start the<br />

conversation in each room.”<br />

Hands to work<br />

For AU Museum volunteers, this<br />

is more than a service gig. It’s an<br />

opportunity for a tight-knit group of<br />

art lovers to share their knowledge<br />

and enthusiasm with even the<br />

youngest museumgoers.<br />

“Our hands are in a lot of what you<br />

see,” says Shelley Broderick, who<br />

cochairs Kids@Katzen with Susan<br />

Cole. Geared at youngsters ages 5 to<br />

12, Kids@Katzen features artist talks<br />

and crafts inspired by the exhibits.<br />

“We feel like we’re part of something<br />

where we can make a difference.”<br />

Visit american.edu/cas/museum for<br />

details on exhibits opening April 4.<br />

14 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

wonk<br />

Q. How did you come to believe in the importance of organ, eye,<br />

and tissue donation?<br />

A. My husband and I learned that I was pregnant with identical<br />

twins when I was halfway through my degree at <strong>American</strong>. When I was<br />

about three months along, we learned one of the twins had a fatal birth<br />

defect, anencephaly, and would not survive. It was a very difficult time.<br />

It was hard to feel happy about having a baby, and it was also<br />

hard to feel sad. It was a time of suffering.<br />

I tried to think of a way to ease the suffering or<br />

find some meaning, and I thought of organ donation.<br />

My mother and I approached Washington Regional<br />

Transplant Community to ask if this was possible. But a<br />

lot of babies just don’t need hearts or lungs that are that<br />

small. We couldn’t donate for transplant, but we could<br />

donate to research.<br />

Thomas was the sick twin and Callum, who is now four, was<br />

healthy. The day they were born, we weren’t sure if Thomas was<br />

going to survive. He lived for five days, so we were able to take<br />

him home. In a lot of ways, he seemed like a healthy baby. He would<br />

cuddle us and fall asleep in our arms. But he started having seizures.<br />

He died at home.<br />

Thomas’s liver went to a research center in North Carolina, his<br />

retinas went to the University of Pennsylvania, and his corneas went<br />

to Harvard University Schepens Eye Research Institute. I learned<br />

that Duke University was doing research on anencephaly, and they<br />

said they would be grateful to receive his cord blood.<br />

It is awesome to be able to brag about<br />

Thomas. Moms like to brag about<br />

their kids, and when you have a child<br />

who dies, there is mostly pity. People<br />

feel sorry for you or they don’t want<br />

to talk about it. It’s really nice to have a<br />

happy reason to talk about Thomas’s life. I<br />

like to say my son got into Harvard and the<br />

University of Pennsylvania and Duke. It’s<br />

a source of pride.<br />

People who want to be a donor can<br />

register at donatelife.net. A donation<br />

for research can help unlock the<br />

mysteries of medical science. Through<br />

transplant, one organ, eye, and tissue<br />

donor can save between 8 and 10 lives,<br />

heal up to 100 people, and provide<br />

sight to 2 people.<br />


SOC/MA ’14<br />

Director of marketing and public affairs,<br />

<strong>American</strong> Association of Tissue Banks<br />


Emily Roseman, SOC/BA ’12<br />

Video producer, Associated Press<br />

Noah Black, SPA/BA ’05<br />

Vice president of public affairs,<br />

Association of Private Sector<br />

Colleges and Universities<br />

Julie Rogers, CAS/MA ’15<br />

Public history fellow,<br />

White House Historical Association

An urban playground. A laboratory for learning. A professional hub.<br />

A vibrant collection of neighborhoods—and neighbors. Washington’s<br />

got it all. And for our alumni, students, and faculty, Metro is their<br />

ticket to ride, connect, and explore AU’s backyard.<br />

Which Metro stop is the center of your world? Share your story: magazine@american.edu.<br />

Jared Farber, Kogod/MBA ’06<br />

Director of digital marketing, Washington Post<br />

Rachel Wojnilower, CAS/BA ’08<br />

Digital marketing manager,<br />

Golden Triangle Business<br />

Improvement District<br />

Philip Coyle, CAS/BS ’15<br />

Research assistant,<br />

US Chamber of Commerce<br />

Isel Galvan, SOC/BA ’10<br />

Digital strategist, Delucchi Plus<br />


Ann Arbor, Michigan-based artist Cathy Gendron has drawn the<br />

covers for all of Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries (see page 21).<br />

<strong>American</strong> commissioned Gendron’s illustration of Alice Alfonsi<br />

and Marc Cerasini, the writing team behind the series.



BLEND<br />





Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini are skilled<br />

at plotting murders, robberies, and<br />

hit-and-runs. They know about New York<br />

City treasures that some natives don’t even<br />

know about, like Socrates Sculpture Park and<br />

the rooftop gardens at Rockefeller Center.<br />

And they are coffee connoisseurs, with<br />

expert knowledge of the common bean and<br />

discriminating palates to rival any<br />

wine aficionado.<br />

Cerasini and Alfonsi, a husband-and-wife<br />

writing team, connect each of those threads<br />

in their best-selling Coffeehouse Mystery<br />

series. (Their pen name, Cleo Coyle, was<br />

inspired in part by their cat, Cleocatra.)<br />

Published by Penguin, the series launched in<br />

2003 with On What Grounds. Their 14th book,<br />

Once upon a Grind, hit shelves in December.<br />

By the time they started the series,<br />

Alfonsi—a 1983 alum of AU’s Washington<br />

Semester Program—and Cerasini had more<br />

than 20 years of experience writing and<br />

editing books, essays, magazines, and media<br />

tie-ins, such as novels based on Fox’s television<br />

show 24. Alfonsi spent her Washington, DC,<br />

semester taking journalism classes at AU<br />

and interning at the Federal Times, before<br />

graduating from Carnegie Mellon. The<br />

Washington Semester Program, established<br />

in 1947, brings undergraduates worldwide to<br />

study at AU and complete an internship.<br />

Alfonsi moved to the Big Apple in 1984,<br />

launching her career as a cub reporter for the<br />

New York Times. Cerasini landed in New York<br />

in 1979. She and Cerasini didn’t know each<br />

other in those early years—they both worked<br />

in publishing, which is how they eventually<br />

met—but they shared common roots in<br />

working-class neighborhoods near Pittsburgh,<br />

a love of literature, and a dream of writing<br />

careers in the big city.<br />

They married in 2000 and have been<br />

writing together almost as long. When<br />

they decided to create their own mystery<br />

series, an amateur sleuth managing a New<br />

York City coffee shop piqued their interest<br />

from the start.<br />

The City<br />

On a frigid January day, Alfonsi and<br />

Cerasini are having lunch at The<br />

Cuckoo’s Nest, one of many Irish pubs in their<br />

Queens neighborhood. With burnished wood<br />

floors, red club chairs, and a wooden bar that<br />

runs the length of the restaurant, it’s a warm<br />

respite from the sharp wind. The Nest is also<br />

one block from the subway station for the<br />

Number 7 train, which appears in their book<br />

A Brew to a Kill.<br />

New York plays a huge role in the authors’<br />

creative process: locations suggest a storyline,<br />

a cabbie becomes a character, real-life<br />

incidents plant the seed of a plot.<br />

“That butcher shop across the street—<br />

people come from all over the city to go there,”<br />

Cerasini says. “I’ll get a good meal and a story<br />

at a place like that.”<br />

The couple moved to the city long before<br />

former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s reforms in the<br />

1990s, which cut crime and improved quality<br />

of life. They remember a plague of drugs and<br />

violence. Early on, when Cerasini lived in<br />

Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, “They<br />

found a corpse down the road by the end of<br />

my block—a Mafia corpse.” Alfonsi remembers<br />

graffiti, drug dealers, shootings, and smashand-grabs<br />

where criminals stole radios out of<br />

parked cars.<br />

Despite all that, they loved the city.<br />

“There’s a lot of energy from the people,”<br />

Alfonsi says. “As writers, it fuels us. You<br />

just get in a cab and talk to the cab driver.<br />

We don’t tell people we’re writers; we<br />

just engage people in conversation and we<br />

hear stories.”<br />


In a city filled with characters, they find an<br />

almost endless supply of colorful detail. Take<br />

that rooftop garden at Rockefeller Center:<br />

“It’s fantastic,” Cerasini says. “So we had a<br />

murder up there.”<br />

New York also inspired their choice of a<br />

protagonist: Clare Cosi, amateur sleuth and<br />

manager of the fictional Village Blend coffee<br />

shop. Cerasini describes her as a “workingclass<br />

heroine.”<br />

“The powerful working-class roots in New<br />

York City are ignored in a lot of stuff in popular<br />

culture,” he says. “You just see the gritty side—<br />

you’re talking Taxi Driver—or you see mob<br />

crime, or you see the rich people like Gossip<br />

Girls. You don’t really see how the average New<br />

Yorker lives.”<br />

The authors also<br />

I was taking<br />

“<br />

pictures of this one<br />

door. The next thing<br />

I knew there were<br />

guards standing all<br />

around. They said,<br />

‘What are you doing?’<br />

They thought I was<br />

planning a robbery.<br />

I was planning a<br />

robbery, but only<br />

for the story.<br />

”<br />

—Marc Cerasini<br />

wanted their leading<br />

lady to be a strong female<br />

character; Clare Cosi is<br />

empowered, Alfonsi says,<br />

but not in an exaggerated<br />

way. They took equal<br />

care with their character<br />

Madame, a wise, elegant<br />

woman who defies<br />

stereotypes of older<br />

people as bumbling and<br />

clueless, and a gay barista<br />

whose sexuality is neither<br />

caricatured nor unduly<br />

highlighted.<br />

The Village Blend<br />

isn’t based on an actual<br />

coffee shop (to the<br />

disappointment of fans<br />

who email the authors to<br />

ask for an address, so they<br />

can visit), but the authors<br />

did have a specific reason for setting their<br />

books in storied Greenwich Village.<br />

“We started to see the disappearance of<br />

the old Village,” Alfonsi says, recounting the<br />

area’s rich history, which ranges from Cold<br />

War spies to legendary artists to the roots<br />

of gay rights activism. Nowadays, New York<br />

University owns much of the neighborhood<br />

real estate, and national chains have pushed<br />

out many boutique businesses.<br />

“My favorite comic book store is a phone<br />

store now,” Cerasini says.<br />

Conducting research in the city does create<br />

interesting challenges. Cerasini recalls the day<br />

he scoped out the Metropolitan Museum of<br />

Art for the book Espresso Shot.<br />

“I was taking pictures of this one door. The<br />

next thing I knew there were guards standing<br />

all around. They said, ‘What are you doing?’<br />

They thought I was planning a robbery. I was<br />

planning a robbery, but only for the story.”<br />

The Coffee<br />

When Alfonsi and Cerasini started<br />

their series, coffee shops were just<br />

emerging in <strong>American</strong> popular culture. But<br />

Alfonsi, the daughter of Italians, knew all<br />

about the espresso scene. Her first job, in fact,<br />

was pushing a coffee cart at church bingo<br />

when she was 12. Cerasini also<br />

encountered coffee early: in<br />

high school, he served coffee<br />

at a Greek deli in Carnegie,<br />

Pennsylvania.<br />

Today, more than a decade<br />

after they started writing<br />

about baristas and specialty<br />

beans, Alfonsi and Cerasini are<br />

experts in their own right.<br />

“There are so many levels<br />

now to the coffee business,”<br />

Alfonsi says.<br />

Just as oenophiles study<br />

vineyards and varietals, coffee<br />

enthusiasts learn about coffee<br />

farms, agriculture practices,<br />

and sustainable sourcing.<br />

Alfonsi and Cerasini tap local<br />

experts to learn certain aspects<br />

of the business, and they can<br />

rattle off the best roasters in<br />

the country.<br />

Their connoisseurship shows<br />

when The Cuckoo’s Nest waiter stops by to ask,<br />

in a light Irish brogue, if anyone wants afterlunch<br />

coffee. Alfonsi says sure, and Cerasini<br />

hesitates, then orders a cup.<br />

“I hope it’s good coffee,” he says, after the<br />

waiter leaves. “We’ll see.”<br />

Alfonsi gives him a glance and a little smile,<br />

like she knows what’s coming next.<br />

“I don’t even like to say it, but the best<br />

coffee in the city is at our house,” Cerasini<br />

says. “We make it the way we like it.”<br />

The authors set their stories in a coffee<br />

shop, in part, because it’s a location that<br />

nearly everyone visits.<br />

“You have the beat cops coming in for<br />

coffee, you have kids coming in after school,<br />

you have baristas dealing with people who<br />

are aficionados of the bean,” Alfonsi says. “It’s<br />

the village within the village.”<br />

The fictional Village Blend, in fact, is<br />

named to reflect that mix of humanity.<br />

“We’ve had a mystery about a homeless<br />

man dressed as a Santa Claus, and we’ve had<br />

a mystery about a billionaire,” Cerasini says.<br />

“And it can only be possible because they’re<br />

both New Yorkers and they both came to the<br />

Village Blend.”<br />

The Crimes<br />

The authors’ writing process starts with<br />

the crime that kicks off the story. Then<br />

they create an outline—“that will always,<br />

always change,” Alfonsi says—and each writes<br />

certain parts of the story.<br />

“It’s brick by brick,” Alfonsi says. “One of<br />

us will have a stronger feeling about [writing]<br />

a scene, but then once it’s done, we hand it<br />

over to the other person and they may layer<br />

in jokes or extra observations or details.”<br />

Alfonsi writes in a nearby coffee shop,<br />

Lucid Café, where the hum and bustle help her<br />

concentrate. Cerasini works at home, for good<br />

reason: “I would be ridiculous in a room full of<br />

normal people. I talk to my characters.”<br />

When it comes to research, the authors<br />

have found creative ways to gain insight<br />

into characters. Take members of the New<br />

York City Police Department, who appear<br />

frequently in their books. When one of<br />

Alfonsi’s friends, an Upper East Side resident,<br />

attended a meeting with detectives after a<br />

series of crimes in her upscale neighborhood,<br />

Alfonsi tagged along to observe how cops<br />

interacted with the neighbors.<br />

Day-to-day living provides ample<br />

opportunity to collect details and information<br />

that later might be useful for a story. When<br />

Alfonsi’s car was broken into, Cerasini says,<br />

“We were grilling the cops who came over.”<br />

Today, after making good on their goal to<br />

become full-time authors in New York City—<br />

a dream that has lured and defeated many<br />

aspiring writers—Alfonsi and Cerasini are<br />

grateful for their success.<br />

“Our point of view is to bring as high a<br />

standard as we can to what we’re doing,”<br />

Alfonsi says.<br />

So, how is the coffee at The Cuckoo’s Nest?<br />

Cerasini shrugs. “I thought it was okay.”<br />

20 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

Excerpt from Espresso Shot: A Coffeehouse<br />

Mystery by Cleo Coyle<br />

The way I see it, a wedding is a new beginning, full of<br />

hope and possibility. Death is an ending—black, dark,<br />

final. Flowers are involved with both, and tasteful music<br />

selections, but for the most part, brides and corpses<br />

have nothing in common, unless you’re talking about the<br />

Bride of Frankenstein, in which case the bride is a corpse.<br />

This particular wedding story involved a bride and<br />

several corpses. I was not one of the corpses. I wasn’t<br />

the bride, either. The one and only time I’d been a bride<br />

took place at Manhattan’s City Hall, where I waited with<br />

my groom in a long line of couples to obtain the proper<br />

paperwork, after which my future husband and I were<br />

ushered into a room with all the charm of a DMV office.<br />

A fleshy-faced justice of the peace in a snug-fitting suit<br />

then auto-stamped our marriage license in the midst of<br />

declaring us wed, which sounded something like—<br />

“I now pronounce you” . . . ker-chunk . . . “man<br />

and wife.”<br />

I was nineteen at the time.<br />

In calendar years, my bridegroom was barely three<br />

years older than I. Sexually speaking, however, Matteo<br />

Allegro had traveled light-years beyond. Case in point:<br />

our first date.<br />

The life-altering event began with my giving<br />

him a chaste tour of the Vatican Museums. It ended<br />

in a Roman pensione with me giggling naked and<br />

blindfolded on a narrow bed, my future husband hand-<br />

feeding me bites of gorgonzola-stuffed figs. Eve had the<br />

apple. For me it was a Mediterranean fruit drenched in<br />

honey and balsamic vinegar.<br />

Dozens more times, I’d succumbed to Matt’s perilous<br />

charms (not to mention those figs), and by summer’s end<br />

my fate was sealed. I’d gone to Italy a virgin art student,<br />

determined to expose myself to Renaissance genius. I’d<br />

returned pregnant with a daughter named Joy.<br />

Matt had been the one to name our daughter, a child<br />

he loved dearly (too often from afar), but ultimately Joy’s<br />

name had not been a good predictor of the years ahead,<br />

and after ten difficult laps with my groom around the<br />

sun, I forced myself to admit that the magnetic young<br />

man to whom I’d passionately pledged my undying<br />

fidelity viewed our vows not as a sacred covenant but as<br />

a loose collection of suggested guidelines. (His addiction<br />

to cocaine hadn’t helped, either.)<br />

After our divorce, I’d made a new life for myself<br />

and our daughter. We moved to a suburb in New Jersey,<br />

where I put together an odd collection of part-time<br />

jobs: assisting a busy caterer, writing freelance for<br />

coffee industry trades, and baking snacks for a nearby<br />

day care center (caffeine free, I assure you).<br />

Unfortunately, my new address across the Hudson<br />

and a ream of fully signed legal papers did little to stop<br />

my infrequent reunions with my ex-husband. Given<br />

his perpetual itches and my own pathetic weakness,<br />

the man’s magic hands, hard body, and low intentions<br />

occasionally found their way back into my lonely,<br />

single-mom bed.<br />

Now, with our daughter grown and working<br />

abroad, I was back in Greenwich Village. My marital<br />

partnership with Matt remained dissolved, yet our<br />

alliance continued in other ways: like the parenting of<br />

Joy, for one, and the running of the Village Blend coffee<br />

business, for another . . .<br />

On good days, my ex and I actually acknowledged<br />

what we meant to each other. Even on bad ones, we<br />

managed to remain begrudging friends. So, when he<br />

asked me, I agreed to help out with aspects of his second<br />

wedding, a union with the annoyingly swanlike Breanne<br />

Summour, disdainer-in-chief of Trend magazine.<br />

For months now, Breanne had been planning the<br />

nuptials and reception. Photographers were hired (still<br />

and video), flower and cake designs selected (elaborate<br />

and expensive), dress fitted (a House of Fen original),<br />

and venue reserved (New York’s Metropolitan Museum<br />

of Art). In sum, the event was shaping up to be a tad<br />

more lavish than the unceremonious City Hall kerchunking<br />

of the man’s first marriage to me.<br />

This was the week that brought us down to the<br />

wire. The groom-to-be had just moved back into the<br />

apartment above our coffeehouse, and the bride was<br />

moving into panic mode . . .<br />

All rights reserved. Text under copyright and published by<br />

arrangement with the authors and the Penguin Group.<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong> magazine app<br />

for a chance to win the Cleo Coyle collection.<br />


Many of the nation’s 2.8 million veterans who served after 9/11—<br />

including 40 percent who saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan—have<br />

higher education. Thanks in part to the enhanced Post-9/11 GI Bill,<br />

the ranks of veterans on college campuses across the United States,<br />

including AU, are swelling to record numbers (1.1 million at latest<br />

count). Vets who trade their rucksacks for backpacks bring to the<br />

classroom unique perspectives and challenges. In many cases, they’ve<br />

experienced more violence, tragedy, and loss—both on the battlefield<br />

and on the home front—by their 21st birthday than most people see in<br />

a lifetime. And while their high-and-tights or the straight and tall way<br />

in which they walk across campus might betray their former lives,<br />

student veterans share one thing in common with their traditional<br />

classmates: the hope, the belief, that a college degree will better their<br />

future. These are a few of AU’s veterans’ stories. BY MIKE UNGER<br />

22 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

It’s reasonable to assume that few—if any—<br />

of Matthew Hawkland’s classmates, many<br />

of whom aren’t old enough to legally<br />

buy a Budweiser, have experienced a day<br />

like the one the 29-year-old is recounting in<br />

chilling detail.<br />

As we sit on stone benches in the courtyard<br />

outside Asbury Hall on a pleasant mid-<br />

November day, his mind is transported back<br />

to Afghanistan, where he served three tours<br />

in the infantry. The School of International<br />

Service undergraduate does not strain to<br />

conjure minutiae—whether he likes it or not,<br />

hardly a day elapses without memories of<br />

combat and the friends he fought alongside<br />

inhabiting his brain.<br />

“I watched my mentor take a shit-ton of<br />

shrapnel to his face and body,” he says, his<br />

voice as calm as the leaves rustling around<br />

us. “I watched my private die. We were in a<br />

firefight for 45 minutes. That was the one time<br />

in my life when I was like, ‘I’m probably going<br />

to die tonight. That’s cool.’ I came back inside<br />

the wire and I just started crying.”<br />

Hawkland’s one of the lucky ones. He<br />

made it home alive, his body and mind<br />

intact. He doesn’t consider the unease he<br />

occasionally feels among big groups of<br />

people or his jumpiness at loud noises (twoby-fours<br />

clapping together sound an awful lot<br />

like rifle rounds passing overhead, he says)<br />

symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder<br />

(PTSD)—a psychological condition many<br />

veterans consider serious yet often unfairly<br />

branded upon all of them. Rather, Hawkland<br />

believes these behaviors are just a part of his<br />

personality now, the fabric of his new normal.<br />

As America’s longest-ever foreign war<br />

winds down in Afghanistan, institutes of<br />

higher learning are increasingly populated by<br />

veterans. Like all students on campus, who<br />

range from slackers to studious, veterans<br />

are not a homogenous bunch. Some, like<br />

Hawkland, flew halfway around the world,<br />

taking the fight to the enemy. Others carried<br />

out their service stateside from behind a<br />

desk. Still, they all bring backgrounds and<br />

experiences that differ from those of the<br />

traditional student.<br />

Approximately 1.1 million veterans<br />

attended colleges in 2013, according to<br />

Student Veterans of America. (About 16<br />

percent of those went to a private school.)<br />

At <strong>American</strong> University, 328 veterans and<br />

their spouses or dependents were certified<br />

for benefits for the fall semester under the<br />

Post-9/11 GI Bill (a 2008 law that provides<br />

enhanced education benefits for service<br />

members who have served on active duty for<br />

90 or more days since September 10, 2001), up<br />

from 223 in 2012. Overall, AU has seen a 175<br />

percent increase in veteran enrollment in the<br />

past five years.<br />

A desire to smooth their transition to<br />

scholastic life led AU to create its Veterans<br />

Liaison Network, a collection of staff from<br />

the counseling and career centers, academic<br />

advising, admissions, and students from<br />

AU Vets.<br />

“The cultures in the military and on<br />

college campuses are very different,” says<br />

Jeanne Piette, assistant director for training<br />

at the counseling center. “There are also<br />

developmental differences. A number of<br />

I can’t tell you<br />

“ how many times<br />

I’ve watched<br />

walls explode<br />

with AK-47<br />

fire. One of my<br />

soldiers died,<br />

two of them lost<br />

legs. The only<br />

people you can<br />

really talk about<br />

[this stuff] with<br />

are people who<br />

share your own<br />

experience.<br />

—Matthew Hawkland ”<br />

veterans coming to campus will already have<br />

a life partner or kids, which is really different<br />

from an 18-year-old. Sometimes finding<br />

connections to people on campus can be a<br />

little bit challenging.”<br />

That, in part, sparked AU to open a lounge<br />

specifically for veterans in Asbury Hall. It’s<br />

where Hawkland, SIS/BA ’16, who’s the<br />

president of AU Vets, spends a lot of time.<br />

“I’ve stepped over three IEDs, I’ve had<br />

six RPGs shot at me,” says the former staff<br />

sergeant, who left active duty in 2013. “I can’t<br />

tell you how many times I’ve watched walls<br />

explode with AK-47 fire. One of my soldiers<br />

died, two of them lost legs. The only people<br />

you can really talk about [this stuff ] with are<br />

people who share your own experience. You<br />

tell some of these 18-year-olds about some<br />

of the things I’ve seen and done, they can’t<br />

comprehend it.”<br />

The tears he shed that fateful day were<br />

his last in Afghanistan.<br />

“My platoon sergeant slapped me straight<br />

across my face and pushed me up against a<br />

wall and said, ‘You better man up. You have a<br />

responsibility. They see you like that, what’s<br />

that gonna do to everybody else?’” he recalls.<br />

“You have to internalize everything because it<br />

can affect your soldiers.”<br />

More than 16 million <strong>American</strong>s<br />

served in the military during<br />

World War II, and most were<br />

greeted as heroes upon their<br />

return home. But in the 1940s and ’50s, many<br />

of the transitional issues that are openly<br />

discussed now were ignored publicly, which<br />

is not to say that veterans then didn’t face some<br />

of the same challenges their contemporary<br />

counterparts do today.<br />

“One didn’t hear about a suicide problem.<br />

That doesn’t mean it didn’t occur, but there’s<br />

no evidence that there were a lot of suicides<br />

after the war,” says AU history professor Alan<br />

Kraut. “Remember, the ability to save lives<br />

during the Second World War was not as<br />

great as it is today. Many of the people who<br />

are returning without limbs today would have<br />

simply died in the Second World War.”<br />

Vietnam veterans came back from their<br />

tours to an often hostile homeland. Many<br />

left the military with drug habits they didn’t<br />

have going in, which may have been their<br />

way of coping with PTSD, a term that hadn’t<br />

yet entered the mainstream lexicon. Almost<br />

31 percent of Vietnam veterans suffer from<br />

PTSD, according to Department of Veterans<br />

Affairs estimates.<br />

After Vietnam the draft was abolished, and<br />

today’s all-volunteer force has more soldiers,<br />

seamen, marines, and airmen who enter the<br />

armed services having never established a<br />

career path. Unlike veterans from previous<br />

wars, many either have no vocation to return<br />

to or find their skills don’t transfer to the<br />

civilian world when they leave the military.<br />

For some that can lead to difficulties when<br />

they enter the crowded workforce.<br />

“In the case of most soldiers who are<br />

coming out at 22 or 25 or somewhere in<br />

that area, they have never held a civilian job<br />


THE<br />


POST-9/11 VETS<br />

FACE aren’t limited<br />

to the classroom. Veterans—<br />

of which there are nearly 22<br />

million in the United States,<br />

spanning World War II to<br />

the War in Afghanistan—<br />

wrestle with unemployment,<br />

homelessness, PTSD, and<br />

suicide at rates higher than<br />

the average <strong>American</strong>. In<br />

many cases, young vets are<br />

the hardest hit.<br />

WOMEN make up 10–12% of the military<br />

ranks and 27% of student veterans. < < < < < <<br />

In the US,<br />

of veterans<br />

graduate—<br />

slightly<br />

less than<br />

the rate for<br />

traditional<br />

students<br />

(56%).<br />

54%<br />


are pursuing<br />

associate degrees<br />

or certificates<br />

44%<br />


are enrolled<br />

in bachelor’s<br />

programs<br />

Nearly1MILLION veterans have used<br />

benefits offered through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.<br />

before,” says Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David Barno,<br />

distinguished practitioner in residence at SIS.<br />

“So going into that employment environment<br />

when you’ve had no opportunity, no<br />

experience in how to write a résumé, how<br />

to sell yourself—which is actually frowned<br />

upon in the military—how to negotiate a<br />

salary, how to understand what your actual<br />

skills and strengths are versus what your<br />

employer is looking for and align those two,<br />

is a very big challenge.”<br />

Todd Hunter, SOC/MA ’14, served eight<br />

years, five months, and 14 days in the Marine<br />

Corps. In some ways, he believes, that time was<br />

easier than the months following his departure.<br />

“Transitioning out of the military has<br />

been infinitely more difficult than joining the<br />

military,” he says. “There’s a lot of what-ifs<br />

and uncertainty. Coming in, you’re broken<br />

down to fit a mold the military wants you to<br />

be. It’s easy, because the entire time you’re<br />

surrounded by a group of peers going through<br />

the same thing, so you have a support system.<br />

When you get out, you’re all on your own.”<br />

Veterans also must deal with preconceived<br />

notions employers might have about them.<br />

Hawkland faced this when he applied for a<br />

data entry job.<br />

“The interviewer actually asked me how<br />

PTSD would affect my job,” he says. “I was<br />

insulted. If it affects my performance, then<br />

you should fire me. And who are you to know<br />

anything about it? You have an engineering<br />

degree. You have no concept of what it’s like.”<br />

Hawkland, who attended college before<br />

joining the service at 21, always planned<br />

to return to higher education (he chose<br />

AU because of its strong reputation in<br />

international studies). Nontraditional<br />

students like him face an entirely different<br />

set of challenges.<br />

“In the academic arena, the big change<br />

for most veterans is moving from an<br />

environment that is very structured and<br />

hierarchical and predictable to a very<br />

unstructured environment,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.)<br />

Barno says. “That’s a sea change even for<br />

officers who leave the military, but particularly<br />

for young soldiers, young marines.<br />

“You decide whether to go to class or<br />

not—you should go to class, clearly—but<br />

nobody’s checking up on you on a daily basis.<br />

You don’t have to be standing in a prescribed<br />

uniform at 6:30 every morning to do physical<br />

training or show up at 9:00 to get the orders<br />

for the day. So they’ve moved from an<br />

environment that’s very deliberate and<br />

predictable to one that is none of those<br />

things. I think that psychological change is<br />

an immense challenge for many people.”<br />

For others, military experience is an<br />

asset in the classroom. William Hubbard,<br />

SIS/BA ’11, is vice president of government<br />

affairs at Student Veterans of America. He<br />

attended AU while serving in the US Marine<br />

Corps Reserve.<br />

“It was a balancing act, but in the end it was<br />

quite worthwhile,” says Hubbard, who plans<br />

to serve 20 years in the intelligence field. “You<br />

gain the discipline of focusing on two different<br />

aspects of your life and succeeding in both.”<br />

The presence of veterans on campus is<br />

enriching to universities in a multitude of ways.<br />

At private schools like AU, the Yellow Ribbon<br />

Program allows a university to voluntarily<br />

enter into an agreement with the VA to fund<br />

tuition expenses that exceed the highest public<br />

in-state undergraduate tuition rate. In addition<br />

to the financial benefits, veterans bring a<br />

wealth of unique knowledge to classrooms.<br />

“The folks who have been in the military<br />

oftentimes will have been overseas and<br />

experienced other cultures,” Barno says.<br />

“They have had to accomplish some very<br />

difficult things, sometimes under some<br />

immense pressure. In some ways, they’re<br />

more mature because they’ve had these<br />

significant life experiences. They also have<br />

perhaps a broader experience of what life’s<br />

challenges and difficulties and dynamics are.<br />

24 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

16%<br />

private<br />

27%<br />

for-profit<br />

57%<br />

public<br />

In 2013, 1.1 million<br />

student veterans<br />

attended institutions<br />

of higher education.<br />

Veterans are,<br />

on average,<br />

25<br />

YEARS<br />

OLD<br />

at the start<br />

of their<br />

postsecondary<br />

education;<br />

44%<br />

ARE<br />


28% of post-9/11 veterans work in the public<br />

sector; the federal government employs 16%<br />

of post-9/11 veterans<br />

The<br />

unemployment<br />

rate in<br />

2013<br />

for post-9/11<br />

veterans<br />

was 9%—higher<br />

than that<br />

of all<br />

veterans (6.6%).<br />

Among those<br />

AGES<br />

18–24,<br />

veterans had a higher<br />

unemployment rate<br />

than nonveterans<br />

(21.4% vs. 14.3%).<br />

Sources: <strong>American</strong> Council on Education,<br />

National Conference of State Legislatures,<br />

Pat Tillman Foundation and Operation<br />

College Promise, Student Veterans of<br />

America, US Department of Veterans Affairs<br />

and<br />

54%<br />

HAVE<br />


62% of post-9/11 vets<br />

believe civilian employers<br />

see their military service<br />

as an advantage<br />

Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics,<br />

Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation<br />

They’re going to bring a very different flavor<br />

and outlook to the classroom. I think that is<br />

very valuable to both the students and the<br />

professors alike.”<br />

PTSD is a psychiatric diagnosis that<br />

affects people who have experienced<br />

a horrific or life-threatening event.<br />

Reliving the experience through<br />

nightmares or flashbacks, difficulty sleeping<br />

or concentrating, and feeling anxious or<br />

hypervigilant are among the 20 symptoms<br />

defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical<br />

Manual of Mental Disorders.<br />

“In the US, the best studies suggest that<br />

approximately 8 percent of <strong>American</strong>s will<br />

experience PTSD in their lifetime,” says<br />

Mark Miller, CAS/BA ’91, a staff psychologist<br />

in the behavioral sciences division of the<br />

National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston<br />

Healthcare System. “From the wars in Iraq<br />

and Afghanistan, we’re seeing 15 to 20 percent<br />

of combat veterans having PTSD.”<br />

Studies suggest that biological variables<br />

may place one person at greater risk for<br />

developing PTSD than another, Miller says.<br />

But the fundamental question remains:<br />

does PTSD alter the brain or do brain<br />

differences reflect higher vulnerabilities<br />

for the development of PTSD?<br />

Talk to enough veterans and you’ll hear a<br />

common theme: experiencing post-traumatic<br />

stress is not a disorder.<br />

“I think it’s important to note that PTSD,<br />

which I want to call PTS, is a spectrum<br />

disorder,” says Todd Hunter, the national<br />

director of communications for Disabled<br />

<strong>American</strong> Veterans. “There’s different<br />

symptoms that affect people at different<br />

levels. I know there are guys who went<br />

through a hell of a lot worse things than I did<br />

and actually came out better, and I know that<br />

there’s people who went through a hell of a lot<br />

less than I did, who are having some serious<br />

problems functioning day to day. I’ve been<br />

lucky to be okay for the most part.”<br />

While at AU he wrote an honors capstone<br />

on the military, the media, and PTSD.<br />

“I know people who have it and I don’t<br />

think it’s right to portray everyone as ticking<br />

time bombs,” Hunter says. “But also I noticed<br />

that a lot of the people who I know, I feel like<br />

they didn’t get help because they were so<br />

worried about the stigma of having a disorder.<br />

I feel like the civilian media will more likely<br />

portray you as a victim because you have a<br />

certain condition. To me, there’s nothing<br />

wrong with it. There would be something<br />

wrong if you went to combat and came back<br />

the same. That’s just not possible.”<br />

Despite that inevitable change, Piette<br />

says veterans who seek counseling often<br />

are dealing with the same problems other<br />

students have. We shouldn’t assume, she<br />

says, that their lives are always indelibly<br />

harmed by their military experiences.<br />

“We have some pretty powerful myths<br />

about veterans,” she says. “They can go in<br />

many different directions. The hero myth, or<br />

for some people, veterans as villains. Or the<br />

PTSD sufferer.<br />

“None of us want to be seen as stereotypes.”<br />

Ben King is urging his students to get<br />

taller. Soften your feet; drop your<br />

chin; pull your shoulder blades back,<br />

he tells the half-dozen students<br />

standing on mats in a studio at the Cassell<br />

Fitness Center on campus.<br />

They’ve come to this free class on<br />

Veterans Day to learn King’s blend of yoga<br />

and meditation, which he says helped save<br />

him from the physical and emotional scars<br />

inflicted on him during a year of combat in<br />

Iraq. He calls the program “Armor Down.”<br />

The room is peacefully quiet, save for the<br />

sound of a fan and King’s booming voice.<br />

“I want you to take a deep breath in and<br />

hold it,” he says. “Feel the pressure. You’re<br />

going to start to feel your body telling you<br />


half hour into Fort Bliss, Claudia<br />

A Myers’s emotionally stirring<br />

film released late last year, Staff<br />

Sergeant Maggie Swann, wearing<br />

green army fatigues and a guarded<br />

look, walks into the office of her new<br />

commanding officer. She’s a medic<br />

and single mother who has returned<br />

to Texas from a tour of duty in<br />

Afghanistan to discover her bond with<br />

her 5-year-old son has been broken.<br />

She’s also recently reenlisted.<br />

“So how does it feel, to be<br />

back a second time around?”<br />

the officer asks.<br />

“It’s always an adjustment, sir,”<br />

responds Swann, played by Michelle<br />

Monaghan of True Detective fame.<br />

“I always say, coming home’s a lot<br />

harder than going to war,” he says.<br />

“So many damn expectations.”<br />

The weight of those expectations,<br />

shouldered by both soldiers and<br />

their loved ones, is at the heart<br />

of Myers’s film, which she<br />

wrote, directed, and produced.<br />

It received critical acclaim<br />

during its limited theatrical run—<br />

including the audience award<br />

at the Champs-Élysées Film<br />

Festival—and it’s now streaming<br />

on Netflix and available on<br />

iTunes and Amazon.<br />

In the tradition of cominghome-from-war<br />

classics like The<br />

Best Years of Our Lives, The Deer<br />

Hunter, and even this year’s smash<br />

hit <strong>American</strong> Sniper, Fort Bliss<br />

aims to capture how everyday<br />

life unfolds after the euphoria<br />

of familial reunion wears off.<br />

(Unlike previous movies, it does<br />

so from the perspective of a<br />

female lead character.)<br />

“It’s not just the reunion we<br />

see at the homecomings,” says<br />

Myers, a School of Communication<br />

professor. “That’s actually just<br />

the very beginning of a long and<br />

complicated journey for people to<br />

get to know each other again when<br />

both have changed.”<br />

She became interested in the<br />

topic after making a training film<br />

for the army about leadership<br />

at the junior officer level and a<br />

documentary for the VA on the<br />

evolution of women’s roles in the<br />

military. During those projects,<br />

she forged relationships with<br />

veterans and their families,<br />

and realized the gulf that exists<br />

between their expectations<br />

and reality.<br />

“I believe that most people<br />

don’t see or grasp the social<br />

impact of war,” Myers says.<br />

“When a soldier deploys, the<br />

family’s at war, too. They have<br />

their own stresses and their own<br />

challenges. When the family is<br />

back together, it’s disruptive in<br />

a way, and it’s difficult. Everyone<br />

is affected.”<br />








OR BOTH; 40% ARE<br />


Sources:<br />

National Coalition<br />

for Homeless<br />

Veterans, US<br />

Department<br />

of Housing<br />

and Urban<br />

Development,<br />

US Department<br />

of Veterans<br />

Affairs<br />

to exhale. That’s an impulse. It’s an impulse<br />

similar to anger, rage, whatever. Your body is<br />

always communicating with you. The trick is<br />

to learn how to listen to it.”<br />

It took King, SPA/BA ’03, CAS/MA ’10,<br />

several years to heed his own advice. Always<br />

fascinated with guns, war movies, and<br />

societal ideals of masculinity, he joined the<br />

army while a student at AU and deployed<br />

in 2006. On New Year’s Eve he was driving<br />

down a South Baghdad road he’d been on a<br />

thousand times before.<br />

“I looked back at the lieutenant who came<br />

with us and said, ‘I bet you didn’t think you’d<br />

be spending New Year’s in a Humvee,’” he<br />

recalls. “Then it was, boom!” His voice<br />

explodes and he smacks his hands together.<br />

“Time stood still. There was a bright<br />

flash—heat, rocks, dirt, and metal came<br />

rushing in my face. I remember thinking,<br />

‘Close your eyes.’ I remember pain in my leg,<br />

pain in my hand, pain in my groin. I opened<br />

my eyes slowly and there was blood all over<br />

me. The guy in the turret was bleeding out<br />

of his face, and the guy in the back was<br />

screaming about his neck. I was medevaced<br />

to the Green Zone where they took care of<br />

my injuries. I sustained burns and lacerations<br />

to my leg and hand and blunt force trauma to<br />

my left testicle.”<br />

26 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

post-9/11 veterans<br />

were homeless or<br />

in a federal program<br />

aimed at keeping<br />

them off the streets<br />

in 2013—<br />

almost<br />

triple the<br />

number<br />

in 2011.<br />




IN ANY<br />


11 to20<br />


100 POST-9/11<br />


PTSD.<br />

SINCE 2006, 400,000<br />



3.6% OF<br />



HAS PTSD<br />

Sources: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN),<br />

US Department of Veterans Affairs,<br />

Washington Post and the Kaiser<br />

Family Foundation<br />

EVERY<br />

65<br />

MINUTES,<br />


DIES BY<br />

SUICIDE.<br />

9%<br />

of homeless<br />

veterans are<br />

between the<br />

AGES<br />

OF<br />

18–30<br />

50,409<br />

veterans have been<br />

wounded in action<br />

since October 2001;<br />

239,174 have been<br />

diagnosed with PTSD<br />

Sources: CBS News, Congressional Research Service, National Center for PTSD,<br />

US Department of Defense, US Department of Veterans Affairs<br />

NEARLY<br />

20% of<br />

female<br />

post-9/11<br />

veterans<br />

have been<br />

diagnosed<br />

with PTSD.<br />

of post-9/11<br />

veterans know a<br />

service member<br />

who’s attempted<br />

or committed<br />

suicide<br />

IN 2013,<br />

132<br />



DIED IN<br />


475<br />


SUICIDE.<br />

Three days later he was back on duty. After<br />

finishing his tour (he received a Purple Heart<br />

and honorable discharge), King struggled to<br />

find himself. He was working as a personal<br />

trainer in Washington yet felt tremendous<br />

physical pain in his back and knees. He<br />

couldn’t sleep, couldn’t turn his mind to “off,”<br />

couldn’t find inner peace.<br />

He believes he was suffering from PTSD<br />

during this time, and he still is waiting to be<br />

evaluated by the VA.<br />

“Once the euphoria of coming home wore<br />

off, my mind began to overwhelm me, to the<br />

point where I was never at ease,” he says. “My<br />

mind was constantly racing, it was an electric<br />

hum in my head. I had no recourse to do<br />

anything about it. I felt constantly pressed.”<br />

He took a chance on a yoga class and<br />

was instantly hooked. A membership to a<br />

wellness center began to inform his thinking<br />

on the mind-body relationship, and soon he<br />

established his workout program, designed to<br />

help veterans realign their bodies and minds<br />

to nonmilitary living.<br />

“Once you exhale, the reward comes in the<br />

presence of an impulse of thank you,” he tells<br />

his students. “That is the same as having an<br />

impulse that gets stuck. Take post-traumatic<br />

stress. For me, impulses like doubt, worry,<br />

fear, guilt—that is a sensational experience.<br />

“I didn’t understand it. I thought it was<br />

a thought process. I had no relationship to<br />

the physical, sensational experience of it. But<br />

when you begin to see that it’s not that you<br />

eliminate anger, fear, guilt, frustration, it’s that<br />

you begin to recognize that, yes, it’s there, but<br />

with awareness I can watch it show up and<br />

watch it leave.”<br />

For King, helping other veterans traverse<br />

the road to mental, physical, and spiritual<br />

recovery is a critical part of his own<br />

readjustment to civilian life. It’s a tricky path<br />

to negotiate, and the consequences of failure<br />

can be dire.<br />

The statistic is almost too ghastly to<br />

contemplate: a veteran commits<br />

suicide once every 65 minutes.<br />

That’s 22 veterans taking their<br />

own lives every day. (It’s a horrific, muchpublicized<br />

number, but it may not be a direct<br />

result of the War on Terror. While a Los<br />

Angeles Times report found the figure to be<br />

misleading—about 72 percent of veterans<br />

are 50 or older, accounting for more than<br />

15 of the 22 per day—even one suicide is<br />

one too many.)<br />

Tim Lawson, SOC/BA ’16, started the 1, 2<br />

Many: Veteran Suicide podcast in response to<br />

the torrent of media coverage of the issue.<br />

“I was reading articles on how horrible<br />

the problem was. They were just talking<br />

about the numbers and statistics,” he<br />

says. “It really angered me that we were<br />

dehumanizing the crisis.”<br />

A marine veteran who did not serve in<br />

combat, Lawson was planning just 10 to 12<br />

episodes of the show until he discovered<br />

how many people were willing to share their<br />

stories. He extended it indefinitely.<br />

“Each week I feature a veteran or a family<br />

member who’s lost someone to suicide, and I<br />

get the raw story of what happened,” he says.<br />

“The objective is to remove the stigma, to<br />

help us realize what suicide prevention really<br />

means. Are we having the right conversation<br />

about suicide in general? I want to make it an<br />

easier conversation to have.”<br />

Hawkland knew two soldiers who took<br />

their own lives, seemingly out of nowhere.<br />

Each appeared to be doing well in the “real<br />

world.” They’re a tragic reminder of his<br />

former life, which on this breezy afternoon—<br />

and all others—feels like it was both yesterday<br />

and light-years ago.<br />

After an hour-long conversation filled with<br />

memories prideful and painful, he heads back<br />

to the veterans’ lounge, where friends and<br />

comrades—and his textbooks—await.<br />


Len Forkas was determined to connect his sick, homebound<br />

son to his friends and teachers at school. Hundreds of other<br />

children continue to reap the benefits of his resolve.<br />


he skinny 22-year-old man with a thick<br />

tuft of brown hair sitting at the kitchen<br />

table and the photo of the bald, sallow<br />

9-year-old boy, his cheeks severely swollen,<br />

share only one obvious similarity.<br />

The same broad smile.<br />

When Len Forkas’s calves were pulsating,<br />

his back tightening, his head pounding, his<br />

lungs gasping for oxygen, he thought often of<br />

both the boy in the photo and the man that<br />

boy has become. But throughout the 3,000-<br />

mile Race across America he completed<br />

in 2012, he also drew inspiration from the<br />

roughly 14,000 other children who, like his<br />

son Matt a decade earlier, are diagnosed with<br />

cancer every year. Len, Kogod/MBA ’89, rode<br />

his Trek Madone 5.9 bike from the Pacific<br />

Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay to raise money<br />

for Hopecam, a charity born from his son’s<br />

battle for life.<br />

On a mild December day that seems too<br />

warm for the wire polar bears and other<br />

holiday decorations on the front lawn of the<br />

family’s Vienna, Virginia, home, father and<br />

son sit next to each another, recounting the<br />

darkest days of their lives and the blessings<br />

those trials ultimately brought.<br />

“Everybody gets tested in their lives,<br />

and it comes in different forms,” Len says.<br />

“The question is, when it happens to you,<br />

what do you do? Fortunately, as a family, we<br />

didn’t look at ourselves as victims. We fought<br />

it. We turned a negative into a positive by<br />

focusing on ways that we could help other<br />

people going through the same thing we<br />

went through.”<br />

Matt is home for winter break from Stetson<br />

University in Florida, where he’s majoring<br />

in business and digital arts. He’s a bit more<br />

laid back than his telecommunications<br />

entrepreneur, marathon-running, bike-racing,<br />

55-year-old father, but the two did team up to<br />

summit Mount Kilimanjaro last summer to<br />

raise $25,000 for Hopecam. Matt bears almost<br />

28 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

no resemblance to that sickly kid in the photo,<br />

whom he hardly recognizes anymore.<br />

“It’s not like I’m happy that I got [cancer],<br />

but I don’t think I’d be who I am today<br />

without getting sick,” he says quietly. “It<br />

matured me very quickly. Faced with death<br />

so young kind of sped up that process. It gave<br />

me a lot more to be grateful for. It made me<br />

a lot more grounded. It’s so long ago that it<br />

almost seems like it didn’t happen, but at the<br />

same time, I have so many things to show<br />

that it did happen. Like Hopecam.”<br />

he phone rang in Len Forkas’s office<br />

at 10 a.m. on January 18, 2002. He<br />

remembers the date and time precisely.<br />

“Can we wait until after school?” Len<br />

asked the physician on the other line, who<br />

was unmistakably concerned about Matt.<br />

“No, he’s got to come in right now.”<br />

The urgency in the doctor’s voice was<br />

alarming.<br />

For the first eight years of his life, Matt<br />

Forkas was a healthy, normal boy. He loved to<br />

play basketball with his friends, but he began<br />

getting curiously short of breath during games.<br />

Doctors struggled to pinpoint the problem.<br />

One diagnosed whooping cough, which his<br />

parents, Len and Elizabeth, found odd. Who<br />

gets whooping cough anymore? He missed<br />

numerous days of school with headaches and<br />

generally felt under the weather.<br />

During a family vacation his color turned<br />

yellowish, so his parents took him to the doctor<br />

for blood work when they returned home.<br />

After dropping him off at school, Len was now<br />

being told to bring him back. Immediately.<br />

“That’s when they told us he had<br />

leukemia,” Len says. “Nothing prepares you<br />

for that, and I had to explain it to him. I<br />

said, ‘We think you have cancer. Cancer is<br />

something we can fight, and we can win it.<br />

I’m going to be with you the whole way.’”<br />

They drove to Inova Children’s Hospital<br />

in Falls Church, Virginia, parked in the<br />

garage, then walked across a skybridge<br />

toward the building.<br />

“It’s five o’clock, it’s dark and cold,” Len<br />

says as if he’s describing yesterday, not a<br />

Friday more than a dozen years ago. “I look<br />

down and Matthew is holding in his hand<br />

a statue of St. Matthew that my mom gave<br />

him when he had his first communion. That’s<br />

the moment he asks me if he is going to die.<br />

It’s almost like our old life is over here on this<br />

parking deck, and the new world is behind<br />

these big steel doors, and it feels like we’re<br />

going through this tunnel. You don’t know how<br />

far it goes or how long it’s going to go, and you<br />

can’t see past.”<br />

That was the first day.<br />

Matt’s chemo treatments for acute<br />

lymphoblastic leukemia were extremely<br />

intense. His thigh was injected with vincristine,<br />

and he received methotrexate, which caused<br />

painful sores in his mouth. He took steroids<br />

to shrink the swelling of his cells, but that<br />

caused his face to puff up. Because doctors<br />

were trying to kill as many of his cancerous<br />

white blood cells as possible, he was at high<br />

risk for contracting pneumonia, and he was<br />

homebound for the rest of the school year.<br />

The nine-year-old boy began losing his<br />

hair, as if he were 49.<br />

Seeing his son virtually bedridden and<br />

depressed tore at Len. He was determined<br />

to reunite Matt with his friends, even if they<br />

couldn’t physically interact. So he decided<br />

to equip computers in Matt’s bedroom and<br />

fourth-grade classroom with cameras, and<br />

connect the two. In 2002, eons before Skype or<br />

FaceTime, this was no easy task. He contacted<br />

the Fairfax County School System’s head of<br />

technology, who helped him figure out answers<br />

to his myriad questions. What software could<br />

be used? How could they test it? Was it even<br />

legal to put a camera in a classroom?<br />

“The hardest part was to create a sense<br />

of urgency to make this happen, because the<br />

clock was ticking,” Len says. “Every single<br />

day I came home and saw Matt and how<br />

tough it was for him. School was going to<br />

be over in June, so I was really trying to get<br />

this done quickly. In the end it took us eight<br />

weeks. All the roadblocks that got thrown in<br />

front of us, we picked them off one at a time.”<br />

Using Microsoft’s NetMeeting software,<br />

Matt was able to see his classroom and talk<br />

to his friends every morning and after recess.<br />

“Seeing everyone smiling and waving<br />

made me feel like I was there,” Matt says. “It<br />

almost made me forget that I was undergoing<br />

all those treatments. Everyone looked at me<br />

like it was me. They weren’t scared.”<br />

Len believes it was a transformative<br />

experience for all involved.<br />

“He didn’t even recognize himself, but<br />

those 24 kids in the classroom could see<br />

him and they knew it was Matt,” Len says.<br />

“They reminded him that he hadn’t been<br />

forgotten and you’re coming back. Your desk<br />

is still there waiting for you. The unintended<br />

consequence of this was we demystified what<br />

cancer was for the 24 kids, and we taught<br />

them empathy and how valuable it is to stay<br />

connected to your friends.”<br />

When Matt returned to school in the fall,<br />

some of his buddies rubbed his head for<br />

good luck.<br />

“When I saw how easy it was for him<br />

to transition back to school, that’s when<br />

I realized the value of it. Those kids<br />

understood what he went through, he didn’t<br />

have to explain it to anybody. They saw<br />

it. That to me was the magic of what we<br />

stumbled on. I’d gone through all the red<br />

tape and cut through all the bureaucracy, and<br />

I can’t even imagine what another parent<br />

would have to go through trying to do<br />

what I did. That’s when I realized I’ve<br />

got to find a way to help more kids.”<br />

n the early 2000s, laptops ran about<br />

$1,000 and Internet connections were<br />

far from ubiquitous. Len knew that to<br />

provide other sick kids with the connectivity<br />

that benefitted his son, he’d have to raise<br />

money. Fast.<br />

So he started running.<br />

30 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

“When Matt was born, I ran the Marine<br />

Corps Marathon,” he says. “I promised I<br />

would never do another one of those. But<br />

I started running more and biking more to<br />

cope with the stress of his illness. I ended up<br />

doing the Marine Corps again, then I signed<br />

up for a 50-mile ultramarathon, and I raised<br />

five grand. I bought five computers, I went to<br />

a clinic, and we found five kids to help. The<br />

next year I raised 10 grand. Every year I raised<br />

more money to help more kids.”<br />

Hopecam was officially born in 2003,<br />

and its growth has been powered by Len’s<br />

grit and determination. He completed an<br />

Ironman triathlon, which raised $30,000 for<br />

the charity, enabling him to hire a part-time<br />

director. Next was a 400-mile, 24-hour bike<br />

race in Florida, which raised enough money<br />

to make that director full-time. By 2012 Matt<br />

had been declared cancer-free, and Hopecam<br />

was helping dozens of kids throughout the<br />

mid-Atlantic.<br />

The organization provides kids with a<br />

tablet computer equipped with a webcam,<br />

and Internet access if needed, then works<br />

with schools to establish a regular<br />

connection, enabling housebound children<br />

to participate in classroom activities and<br />

interact with friends.<br />

“We are the ombudsman for the parents,”<br />

Len says. “Lots of charities can give you an<br />

iPad with Skype, but to be able to connect<br />

to the school and cut through the red tape,<br />

that’s the real differentiator.”<br />

few years ago, Len, who Matt says<br />

sleeps four hours a night and takes<br />

10-minute catnaps that completely<br />

reenergize him, had an itch.<br />

He wanted to take Hopecam to the next<br />

level, so he recruited a crew of 11 volunteers to<br />

help him compete in—and complete—the Race<br />

across America. Only half the entrants in the<br />

race from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis,<br />

Maryland, generally finish it, but Len had a<br />

motivation the others did not: Hopecam.<br />

Sleeping for two-hour clips and subsisting<br />

on a largely liquid diet, he finished the race<br />

in 11 days, 4 hours, and 47 minutes. He was<br />

one of just 28 of the 45 solo competitors to<br />

finish the race. Of those 28, Len placed first<br />

in his age group (50–59) and 10th overall.<br />

In What Spins the Wheel, the book<br />

he wrote about the business and<br />

leadership lessons he learned from the<br />

race (he’s founder and CEO of Milestone<br />

Communications, a wireless infrastructure<br />

company that has developed and managed<br />

more than 100 wireless towers in the<br />

Washington region), Forkas described the<br />

physical toll of the grueling endeavor.<br />

“In the desert, the sun is melting you. The<br />

headwinds are making you feel like you are<br />

Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill, only to have<br />

it roll down again and have to start all over.<br />

Then you are in the Rockies, your extremities<br />

numbed by the cold. Finally you summit the<br />

highest peak and coast into the Great Plains,<br />

only to find the Kansas crosswinds acting like<br />

ropes pulling you back and forth and sideways.<br />

You have never ridden this far in a training<br />

ride and so everything now is uncharted<br />

territory . . . and you haven’t even gotten to<br />

the Appalachians yet, the final push that feels<br />

harder than the Rockies because the hills, like<br />

going 25 rounds with the boxer Mike Tyson,<br />

just keep coming at you.”<br />

Len dropped 10 pounds and raised<br />

$350,000 for Hopecam, which last year<br />

helped 359 kids in 38 states.<br />

Isaac Benjamin was one of them. Unable<br />

to attend first grade in Port Orchard,<br />

Washington, while he undergoes treatment<br />

for leukemia, the six-year-old Skypes for a<br />

half hour with his classmates each week.<br />

“It was so special for us,” says his mother<br />

Sarah. “All his little first-grade classmates<br />

were super excited to talk to him. They were<br />

quizzing him on his math just for fun, they<br />

read a book to him, and they talked to him<br />

about Christmas. There was a lot of joy in<br />

that meeting.<br />

“This journey that you’re on with cancer<br />

is pretty gloomy and gray. You get these spots<br />

of sunshine that people send your way, like<br />

Hopecam,” Sarah says. “Those things that<br />

people do, they really do help, even if<br />

it’s a little thing. Okay, Isaac got to spend half<br />

an hour talking to his class. It’s just a little<br />

spot of sunshine, but it makes a difference<br />

on your journey.”<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong> magazine<br />

app to read more thank-you notes from<br />

Hopecam’s kids.<br />


BY<br />

MIKE<br />


wanted a selfie with the<br />

mayor. One month after Muriel Bowser’s inauguration, the leader of<br />

the nation’s capital held an open house at her new professional home.<br />

More than 2,500 men and women of all ages, races, and religions trekked<br />

downtown to the John A. Wilson Building after work on a cold, dark<br />

Monday in February for a chance to meet Madam Mayor, as many people<br />

formally address her. Along with the calypso sounds of a steel drum, a<br />

strand of pure optimism particular to a new administration filled the air.<br />

“Call me Muriel,” the 42-year-old said while people swarmed her as<br />

if she were a rock star.<br />

In some ways, she is. A native daughter of DC, Bowser, SPA/MPP<br />

’00, is the second woman and second-youngest person elected to the<br />

District’s highest office since Congress oh-so-generously began letting<br />

residents of the capital of the world’s strongest democracy choose their<br />

own mayor in 1974. Virtually unknown in political circles a decade ago,<br />

her meteoric rise has invigorated a city where her two predecessors<br />

proved wildly unpopular.<br />

“It didn’t seem like such a novel idea, but people left so energized,”<br />

Bowser said of the open house 10 days later, during an interview with<br />

<strong>American</strong>. It was past 7 p.m., and she’d just come from a marathon of<br />

meetings that included interviews with potential fire chiefs. Ten hours<br />

into her workday, which usually runs about 12, she took a seat on one<br />

of the two white couches in her new office, which she moved from the<br />

sixth floor to the third to be closer to her staff and constituents.<br />

“We had people who had never been in this building,” she said. “For<br />

us to have a building as beautiful as this one, on Pennsylvania Avenue,<br />

a stone’s throw from the White House, is a remarkable thing for the<br />

people of the District of Columbia.”<br />

As is Bowser’s ascent to office No. 310H from the North Michigan<br />

Park house she grew up in. Her father, Joe, was a school facilities<br />

manager who dabbled in local politics, and her mother, Joan,<br />

was a nurse. She attended a small women’s college in Pittsburgh<br />

and AU’s School of Public Affairs before she got into politics. In<br />

2000 she bought a row house in Riggs Park (where she still lives),<br />

and four years later was elected as an advisory neighborhood<br />

commissioner. When Ward 4 councilman Adrian Fenty won the<br />

2006 Democratic mayoral primary (and later the general election),<br />

Bowser was working as an assistant director of an economic agency<br />

in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was then she began to feel an<br />

unmistakable pull toward public office.<br />

Q. People call you Madam Mayor.<br />

Have you gotten used to that yet?<br />

People call me a lot of things: Muriel, Miss<br />

Mayor, Madam Mayor. I answer to them all.<br />

Q. What, if anything, has surprised<br />

you about the job one month in?<br />

It’s interesting, I’m not all that surprised by the<br />

job. Maybe because I was running for so long<br />

that I eased into the type of decision making<br />

and the type of accountability that go along<br />

with it. But, at the end of the day, when you’re<br />

a candidate or when you’re on the council, you<br />

can point out all the problems. When you’re<br />

the mayor, whether you’re the cause of them or<br />

not, they’re now your responsibility. That’s not<br />

a surprise, but it is a heavy reality.<br />

Q. When did you first know you<br />

wanted to be a politician?<br />

It hasn’t been a lifelong aspiration, but I<br />

certainly saw while working in the community<br />

and in government that going the elected route<br />

was the fastest way to make change.<br />

Q. Why did you decide to go to<br />

AU for your master’s degree?<br />

I wanted to come home. At the time I was<br />

living in Philadelphia, and I was looking for<br />

a top program. I knew that I wanted to be in<br />

a policy program that was really substantive.<br />

AU fit all of those criteria.<br />

AU stretched me in some ways because<br />

of the quantitative focus. I enjoyed looking<br />

at government decisions from an economic<br />

policy model. That really shaped the way I<br />

deal with a lot of the issues and problems<br />

that I interact with. It’s made me realize how<br />

important data are to evaluate how we’re<br />

distributing resources.<br />

Q. You really jumped into politics<br />

when you ran for Adrian Fenty’s<br />

Ward 4 seat. How influential was he<br />

and is he to your political career?<br />

He’s a great friend and mentor, and I think<br />

we share an energy and vision for how<br />

government should serve people in our<br />

hometown, and a restlessness about getting<br />

things done. We also share a passion for how<br />

we pull along people who are like-minded.<br />

Part of my political career has been trying to<br />

find talented, hardworking people who share<br />

my energy and restlessness about change.<br />

Q. Your dad ran—unsuccessfully—<br />

for city council in 1994. What<br />

have you learned from him about<br />

politics?<br />

I think my father represents the best of<br />

grassroots politics. In DC, as much as we’re<br />

known for being the capital city and the home<br />

of Congress and the White House, we’re really a<br />

small town in some ways, and grassroots politics<br />

matter here. My father was very good at them.<br />

Q. Do you enjoy the process<br />

of campaigning?<br />

I do. I really love every aspect of it, but mostly<br />

because when you’re on the campaign there’s<br />

really no filter between you and the people<br />

you serve.<br />

I campaigned from the ground, so<br />

knocking on doors, being in churches and<br />

with community groups, talking to people<br />

about what their real concerns are. When<br />

you’re in government, sometimes you can<br />

get isolated from what real people are saying,<br />

especially in this time when there’s so much<br />

focus on 24-hour news and social media.<br />

Sometimes the insiders just get busy talking<br />

to each other.<br />

In governing, my style is also open and<br />

transparent and close to the ground. That’s<br />

one huge difference between how we have<br />

set out to govern and how others have. This<br />

[February] we have the whole senior team<br />

out in community meetings.<br />

We’re going to upend the budget process<br />

so that we’re getting feedback from people<br />

before we actually go “pencils down” and<br />

submit it to the council. People thought it<br />

was kind of funny that I said we’re going to<br />

have a fresh start, but we really do mean that<br />

we’re looking for ways to start fresh across<br />

the whole government.<br />


Q. Is feeling filtered or isolated<br />

something you’re experiencing<br />

now that you’re in office? Is it<br />

tougher to interact with people?<br />

You have to be intentional about it. I lead a<br />

government of 30,000 people, so it’s not my<br />

job to do everything that needs to happen in<br />

government. My job is to hire great people,<br />

set metrics for them to reach, hold them<br />

accountable. It’s important for me to listen<br />

to the community and be the voice of the<br />

community in this building. I also realize<br />

that it’s the mayor’s job to make the big asks.<br />

Be the salesperson, be the recruiter, but<br />

ultimately be the person that holds all the<br />

leaders accountable.<br />

Q. What are some of your<br />

priorities for your first year<br />

and term?<br />

We are right now really looking at the things<br />

that are important to accomplish in the first<br />

100 days. What I’ve told everybody is that like<br />

every other mayor in the history of mayors,<br />

you inherit the successes of your predecessors,<br />

but you also inherit the overdue promises and<br />

everything else that could go wrong in a city.<br />

We inherited a city that’s growing. Business<br />

is coming, people are coming, but we’ve also<br />

inherited the stresses of growth. Soaring<br />

housing prices, homelessness, especially family<br />

homelessness. We have systems that aren’t<br />

working the way they should be in our public<br />

safety sector, but on balance a lot of cities<br />

would like to be in our position.<br />

I promised that I would continue growth<br />

in this city while being very intentional<br />

about expanding our middle class. Our first<br />

budget will be due on April 4. Affordable<br />

housing and jobs are what we’ll focus on. I’m<br />

committed to putting $100 million toward<br />

affordable housing.<br />

Q. You also inherited a sizable<br />

budget deficit. How does that<br />

impact your agenda?<br />

I’m not a sky-is-falling type of person; I<br />

think that we have a manageable gap. This<br />

year is about $80 million, next year is about<br />

$240 million out of $12 billion. We have to<br />

be prudent, but we can get our priorities<br />

met. I’ve asked the agencies to go through<br />

an exercise of cuts that will allow us to<br />

meet the gap but also fund new initiatives.<br />

We’re going to meet our commitment for<br />

$100 million for the housing, we’re going to<br />

meet our commitment to change the way<br />

we do job training, and we’ll meet all of our<br />

commitments around schools.<br />

“My job is to hire<br />

great people, set metrics<br />

for them to reach, hold<br />

them accountable. It’s<br />

important for me to listen<br />

to the community and be<br />

the voice of the community<br />

in this building.”<br />

Q. We’ve seen what happened<br />

in Ferguson and New York.<br />

How would you assess the state<br />

of relations between District<br />

citizens and their police force?<br />

I think they’re very good, especially relative<br />

to the incidents that you reference. I wouldn’t<br />

have said the same thing 20 years ago. A<br />

lot of great police leaders and officers and<br />

community members and elected officials<br />

have improved the state of relations between<br />

our department and our communities. We<br />

have improved our ranks, and we’re holding<br />

our officers accountable. They’re getting the<br />

training and support that they need. We have<br />

stable and very good leadership at the top<br />

with [Chief ] Cathy Lanier; she’s done a great<br />

job of promoting, within the ranks, really<br />

talented leaders in the department.<br />

We’ve built a lot of trust between the<br />

police and the community. The thing I see<br />

that tells me if communities are working<br />

with police is when crimes get solved,<br />

especially violent crimes.<br />

When there’s a homicide in your city and<br />

somebody’s getting arrested, it’s because, nine<br />

times out of ten, the community helped the<br />

police. Nine times out of ten, in this city, when<br />

there’s a homicide, somebody knows who did<br />

it. The improvement in closing cases like that<br />

demonstrates to me that the community and<br />

the police are talking and that trust has grown<br />

and we’re a much safer city because of it.<br />

Q. DC is the only major city where<br />

the mayor, the chief of police, and<br />

the schools superintendent are all<br />

women. What do you think it says<br />

about the city, if anything?<br />

I’m very proud of it. I don’t think any of us<br />

aspire to be the woman chief or the woman<br />

mayor or the woman schools chancellor, but<br />

I think it’s fitting for the nation’s capital to<br />

say that we are appointing and electing the<br />

most qualified people that share our values. I<br />

think that’s why I was elected; people wanted<br />

a mayor whom they could trust, a mayor<br />

who had a vision for how the city grows, but<br />

a mayor who also wanted to expand who is<br />

participating in that prosperity.<br />

Q. Your first week in office, there<br />

was a threat of snow. It seems like<br />

snow removal is the holy grail for<br />

a big-city mayor . . .<br />

Yes, it is.<br />

Q. What can you do about that<br />

short of picking up a shovel and<br />

digging out yourself ? How do you<br />

ensure that city services like trash<br />

removal, snow removal—these<br />

things that affect people on a dayto-day<br />

basis—run smoothly?<br />

We have to have the right people. Period. We<br />

have to have good information and rely on that<br />

information, and we also can’t make excuses. If<br />

we get something wrong, we gotta say we got it<br />

wrong, figure out what happened, and fix it for<br />

the next time. I regard clearing the snow and<br />

removing the trash as one of my top jobs. People<br />

pay taxes, the least they can expect is to get their<br />

trash picked up. It’s not a small matter at all.<br />

I can’t say that I was happy about the first<br />

snow. We’ve had six since then—I don’t think<br />

anybody has mentioned those. We reinstituted<br />

an accountability system called CapStat. The<br />

last administration went away from it; the<br />

Fenty administration was big on it. It’s a way<br />

to look at the data, look at the responses, and<br />

figure out what happened.<br />

Q. You have a unique perspective<br />

because you’re a lifelong<br />

Washingtonian. What would a<br />

10-year-old Muriel Bowser think<br />

of the city right now?<br />

The city is almost not recognizable from<br />

when I was 10 years old. When I was 10 years<br />

34 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

old, this city was dangerous. When I was<br />

10, my world was my North Michigan Park<br />

home with my family, so you couldn’t tell me<br />

that I didn’t have a great life. Great family, I<br />

had a great education, and I lived in a great<br />

neighborhood where people looked out for<br />

each other.<br />

I would wish my life as a 10-year-old on all<br />

the 10-year-olds of today. Now, knowing what<br />

I know as an adult, looking back at that time,<br />

I think it was not a very stable time in our<br />

city’s history.<br />

Q. When you go to other<br />

cities and people sneer at the<br />

mere mention of Washington,<br />

DC, what do you tell them<br />

about why it’s such a great<br />

actual place, not a conceptual<br />

nightmare?<br />

I’ve never really understood it, to be honest<br />

with you. You couldn’t tell me that I didn’t<br />

live in the greatest city in the world. I left<br />

home in 1990; I went to school in Pittsburgh.<br />

At that time, we were the murder capital of<br />

the world. We were on the nightly news for<br />

all the wrong reasons. Even then, I enjoyed<br />

Washington a lot. I worked in the counties<br />

for a good part of my early career. It was a<br />

different kind of sneer. It was “Why is DC<br />

so screwed up?” They were talking about<br />

DC government, not the Congress and the<br />

White House.<br />

Actually, we weren’t getting it right. We<br />

weren’t picking up the trash. Ambulances<br />

were taking 45 minutes. It really bothered<br />

me a lot. I felt strongly that I should be<br />

in my city making the changes that my<br />

city needed.<br />

Q. Four years from now, or<br />

whenever your time in office<br />

comes to an end, how are you<br />

going to know whether you’ve<br />

been successful?<br />

There’s a lot of different metrics, but I think<br />

that people will say that “She kept her word,<br />

she did what she said she was going to do, she<br />

was honest and had an open government, and<br />

we see an appreciable difference in how the<br />

middle class is growing in DC.”<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong> magazine<br />

app to watch Mayor Bowser’s inaugural<br />

address.<br />

Q. You can have one great meal<br />

in DC. Where are you going?<br />

I take a lot of people to Acadiana. I love<br />

the low country. I get criticized sometimes,<br />

but I’m a big fan of Ruth’s Chris. I also love<br />

Lauriol Plaza. It has good neighborhood food.<br />

Q. What’s your favorite landmark?<br />

That’s tough. It’s not necessarily a building or<br />

a statue. I would say Rock Creek Park. It’s so<br />

calming, it’s such a beautiful resource. It’s a<br />

well-used park, and we should feel very lucky<br />

to have it.<br />

Q. Who’s your favorite Republican?<br />

I like Connie Morella.<br />

Q. What’s your favorite season?<br />

Summer. I was born in August. I’m over winter.<br />

Q. Should DC become a state?<br />

Yes.<br />

Q. Favorite sports team?<br />

You’re gonna get me in trouble. I do support<br />

all of our teams, but I didn’t grow up with<br />

baseball. My father is a huge baseball fan; he<br />

did grow up with baseball in Washington. I<br />

have caught the Nationals fever. The thing<br />

that I really like about our sports teams is the<br />

social aspect of it. Going to the games, seeing<br />

people, and eating a hot dog. The games<br />

themselves are kind of secondary.<br />

Q. Should the Redskins change<br />

their name?<br />

Yes.<br />

Q. If you weren’t in public<br />

service, what do you think you<br />

would have done?<br />

I would have liked to have owned a flower<br />

shop. I still might.<br />


department<br />

Nicole Gasmen’s snapshot<br />

from high above Seoul on<br />

Mt. Ansan scored second<br />

place in AU Abroad’s<br />

biannual photo contest.<br />

The picture, taken during<br />

the international studies<br />

major’s semester abroad<br />

at Yonsei University,<br />

“combines two of South<br />

Korea’s greatest loves—<br />

selfie sticks and hiking,”<br />

says Gasmen, SIS/BA ’15,<br />

second from right. (Read<br />

more about selfies on<br />

page 5 and download the<br />

<strong>American</strong> magazine app for<br />

more winning photographs<br />

from students’ travels.)

1950s<br />

Bob DiChiara, CAS/BA ’50, was<br />

honored at the Veterans Day 70th<br />

anniversary celebration as the<br />

guest of honor. He spoke about<br />

his wartime experiences aboard<br />

the SS Red Oak Victory.<br />

David Pattison, SIS/BA ’59,<br />

WCL/JD ’61, SPA/MA ’65, was<br />

awarded the annual, statewide,<br />

first-place award for the best<br />

photo in a single issue by the<br />

Florida Press Association. He<br />

-1968-<br />

TIME<br />


TOP TUNE<br />

“Hey Jude,” the Beatles<br />


2001: A Space Odyssey<br />


North Vietnamese launch the Tet<br />

Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam<br />

War; Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated<br />

in Memphis; primetime news magazine 60<br />

Minutes debuts on CBS<br />


Louis Marcoussis’s painting “Abstractions”<br />

is stolen from the Kreeger Music Building<br />

and found in an impounded car in the<br />

police lot, thanks to an anonymous tipster.<br />


Luiz Simmons was 1968–1969 Student<br />

Association president. Today, he<br />

represents the 17th District in the<br />

Maryland House of Delegates.<br />

has been writing travel stories for<br />

his local newspaper, the Marco<br />

Island Sun Times, for several<br />

years. He’s traveled to all seven<br />

continents and more than 100<br />

countries.<br />

1960s<br />

Arnold Danielson, CAS/BA ’62,<br />

wrote <strong>American</strong> Banking through<br />

Crises and Consolidation, an<br />

update of a book he wrote<br />

previously.<br />

David Edgell, CAS/BA ’68, was<br />

honored with the 2014 Board<br />

on Human Sciences Lifetime<br />

Achievement Award, which<br />

recognized a national leader<br />

with a significant history of<br />

advancing human sciences in<br />

higher education.<br />

Sherrill Cannon,<br />

CAS/BA ’69, has<br />

received 28<br />

national and<br />

international<br />

awards for<br />

her books,<br />

My Fingerpaint<br />

Masterpiece,<br />

Manner-Man, Gimee-<br />

Jimmy, The Magic Word, Peter<br />

and the Whimper-Whineys, and<br />

Santa’s Birthday Gift. She is also<br />

the author of seven published and<br />

internationally performed plays<br />

for elementary school children,<br />

which have been produced all<br />

over the world.<br />

UPDATE<br />






I’m like a kid in a<br />

candy store. Never in<br />

my life did I expect<br />

to see the ship again,<br />

let alone walk on the<br />

deck. To be 89 and to<br />

feel like I’m 18 again<br />

is in itself a treat.”<br />

—Bob DiChiara, CAS/BA ’50, on<br />

his return to the SS Red Oak Victory,<br />

where he served for two years<br />

during World War II (1944–1946)<br />

Karen Feld, CAS/BA ’69, was<br />

honored by the National<br />

Federation of Press<br />

Women for<br />

1970s<br />

Excellence in<br />

Journalism<br />

with first-place<br />

awards in a<br />

communications<br />

contest for online<br />

feature, editorial/<br />

opinion, and news<br />

stories.<br />

Barry Moss, CAS/BA ’71,<br />

was elected to the Pompano<br />

Beach, Florida, City Commission.<br />

Pompano Beach has about<br />

125,000 residents “in season” and<br />

about 105,000 in the summer.<br />

Don White, SPA/BS ’76, received<br />

the 2014 Joan White Grassroots<br />

Volunteer Award, in honor of 44<br />

years of community service to<br />

organizations across Alexandria,<br />

Virginia. The award was presented<br />

by Alexandria mayor William<br />

Euille at the US Patent and<br />

Trademark Office headquarters<br />

on November 6, 2014.<br />

-1976-<br />

TIME<br />


TOP TUNE<br />

“Silly Love Songs,” Wings<br />


Rocky<br />


US Supreme Court rules that the death<br />

penalty is a constitutionally acceptable<br />

form of punishment; Israeli commandos<br />

attack Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, freeing<br />

103 hostages held by pro-Palestinian<br />

hijackers; mysterious disease that<br />

eventually claims 29 lives strikes <strong>American</strong><br />

Legion convention in Philadelphia<br />


A concertgoer loses a finger during the<br />

Peter Frampton show in the Woods-Brown<br />

Ampitheater. The spring concert was<br />

marred by overcrowding, an arrest, a<br />

traffic jam, and “an awesome accumulation<br />

of garbage,” according to the Eagle.<br />


Alan Russo served as 1976–1977<br />

Student Confederation president.<br />

Today, he’s a partner at Russo<br />

& Toner, LLP, in New York City.<br />


giving<br />

MY MESSAGE IN THIS ISSUE of <strong>American</strong> is different from previous letters.<br />

I will leave AU in May to become Franklin College’s next president. As I prepare for this new<br />

chapter in my journey, I reflect on the gains we have made together for AU.<br />

Since I arrived in 2008, thanks to our first-rate staff and alumni board, we’ve made noticeable<br />

progress in the development of outstanding alumni programs:<br />

• ALUMNI EVENT ATTENDANCE has increased fourfold, a result of an enhanced alumni<br />

weekend and robust growth in service, mentorship, social networking, and career<br />

enhancement programs.<br />

• PARTICIPATION IN ALUMNI CHAPTERS is up; leaders are engaged in a<br />

reinvigorated alumni board and in new, more active deans’ councils, including the<br />

new Eagles Leadership Council.<br />


created to engage alumni in the critical work of student recruitment. They connected<br />

with 5,100 prospective students last year alone.<br />

• MORE STUDENTS CONNECT WITH ALUMNI at wide-ranging events, from<br />

convocation to senior barbecues.<br />

Along with many of you who made important annual gifts, trustees and lead donors have<br />

helped cultivate a greater culture of philanthropy at AU, knowing that private support is<br />

the hallmark of successful higher education.<br />

• OVER FIVE YEARS, total dollars for gifts and pledges nearly doubled to $32 million<br />

annually; cash revenues increased 68 percent to $26.3 million annually.<br />

It has been a<br />

privilege to<br />

work with you<br />

to advance this<br />

great institution<br />

and raise the<br />

profile of AU.<br />

• SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT GIFTS ADVANCED our strategic plan goals, including<br />

seven-figure naming gifts. Among them were:<br />

Cassell Hall<br />

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater<br />

Susan Carmel Lehrman Chair in Russian History and Culture<br />

Gary D. Cohn Scholarship<br />

Martin H. Steiner Scholarship<br />

Alper Initiative for Washington Art<br />

• I ESPECIALLY WANT TO RECOGNIZE Board of Trustees chair Jeff Sine, who<br />

generously established AU Reach and the Community-Based Research Scholars Program.<br />

My work has benefited tremendously from the talent, commitment, and friendship of so many<br />

of you who care deeply about your alma mater. It has been a privilege to work with you to<br />

advance this great institution and raise the profile of AU. I hope you share my pride in all that<br />

we’ve accomplished.<br />

With your support, the university is well positioned to continue its trajectory. I’m proud to<br />

have called AU home for a pivotal time in my career. As I head to Indiana, I will live by the<br />

mantra repeated so often at alumni events: Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Thomas J. Minar, PhD<br />

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations<br />


38 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

vision + planning = legacy<br />

HOWARD LEE, SPA/BA ’69, WCL/JD ’73<br />

Howard Lee is proof that there’s no better place to study government and law than the nation’s capital. A Washington native, Lee is<br />

a veteran of the George H. W. Bush administration and a former staff director for the US House of Representatives’s subcommittee<br />

on domestic finance and monetary policy. “AU’s School of Public Affairs and Washington College of Law provide students the<br />

opportunity to learn from some of the finest policy makers, advocates, and judges serving our country,” says Lee, executive secretary<br />

and managing director of Cosmos Alliance, a DC-based investment group that advances emerging biotechnologies.<br />

An AU alumnus twice over, Lee believes it’s his duty to help safeguard the academic integrity of independent, private<br />

institutions. “It’s important that everyone who has a stake in AU do what they can to ensure its future.” For his part, Lee created<br />

three awards, named in honor of friends and family—Pat Heinaman, SPA/BA ’71; Charles M. Johnson, CAS/BA ’68, and his wife,<br />

Lucy; and his aunt Alice Lee Quan, CAS/BA ’34, and her husband, Lau King Quan—to help AU students cover their academic<br />

expenses. Lee has also provided annual contributions to WCL for more than three decades.<br />

Years ago, the Fredericksburg, Virginia, resident named SPA and WCL in his estate plans. His gift will support scholarships to<br />

help relieve the burden of student debt and better prepare AU Eagles to pursue their passions. “Howard’s commitment to helping<br />

the next generation of AU students fulfill their academic and professional dreams is remarkable,” says AU president Neil Kerwin.<br />

“I am grateful for his philanthropic vision and generous spirit.”<br />

FOR INFORMATION ON HOW YOUR VISION CAN CREATE A LEGACY at <strong>American</strong> University through a sound charitable estate plan,<br />

contact Kara Barnes, director of planned giving, at 202-885-5914 or kbarnes@american.edu, or visit american.edu/plannedgiving.<br />


class notes<br />

1980s<br />

Pamela Demain, Kogod/MBA<br />

’80, was elected president of the<br />

Licensing Executives Society<br />

(USA and Canada) during its 50th<br />

anniversary annual meeting.<br />

Karen Lesmez, CAS/BA ’81,<br />

CAS/MEd ’83, was featured as<br />

an extra in the movie A Deaf<br />

Superhero.<br />

Doug Ballantine, SPA/BA ’84,<br />

was named a “Local Star” in<br />

-1984-<br />

TIME<br />


TOP TUNE<br />

“When Doves Cry,” Prince<br />

and the Revolution<br />


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom<br />


Apple debuts the Macintosh personal<br />

computer; Soviet Union boycotts the<br />

summer Olympic games in Los Angeles;<br />

Syria frees captured US Navy pilot,<br />

Lt. Robert Goodman Jr.<br />


Sex therapist Ruth Westheimer visits<br />

AU for a lecture sponsored by the<br />

Kennedy Political Union. The infamous<br />

Dr. Ruth encourages women to carry<br />

contraceptives: “They now come in any<br />

color to match [your] pocketbook.”<br />


Darryl Jones was 1983–1984 Student<br />

Confederation president.<br />

It is an honor and privilege to work<br />

for Senator Cruz. His leadership is truly<br />

motivating, and I can’t wait to get started<br />

on our collaboration for liberty.”<br />

—Paul Teller, SPA/PhD ’99, on his appointment as Senator Ted<br />

Cruz’s (R-TX) chief of staff, January 16<br />

Kentucky by Benchmark<br />

Litigation in the areas of<br />

environmental, general<br />

commercial, insurance, and<br />

intellectual property law.<br />

Joseph Nader, SIS/BA ’88,<br />

Kogod/MBA ’90, has been named<br />

to the board of directors of Miami<br />

Children’s Hospital. He will<br />

serve on the finance committee<br />

and continue as a member of the<br />

investment committee, on which<br />

he has served since 2012.<br />

Susan Shelby, SIS/BA ’88, is<br />

the founder of public relations<br />

firm Rhino, chosen by Zampell<br />

Facilities Management<br />

to create and<br />

execute a<br />

comprehensive<br />

marketing and<br />

public relations<br />

program.<br />

Len Forkas,<br />

Kogod/MBA ’89,<br />

and the charity he<br />

founded<br />

with his son, Hopecam,<br />

were featured on Anderson Cooper<br />

360° and Fox and Friends. Forkas<br />

raised more than $300,000 for<br />

Hopecam by participating in<br />

the 2012 Race across America.<br />

Forkas wrote a book, What Spins<br />

the Wheel, about leadership<br />

lessons he learned from the race.<br />

Brian Keane, SPA/BA ’89,<br />

received a Lifetime Achievement<br />

Award from People’s Action for<br />

Clean Energy for his book Green<br />

Is Good.<br />

1990s<br />

KEEP<br />






Jeffrey Halick, Kogod/BSBA ’91,<br />

SIS/BA ’91, was promoted to<br />

colonel in the US Army<br />

Reserves.<br />

Mary Call Blanusa,<br />

SIS/BA ’93, was<br />

appointed<br />

education<br />

program officer<br />

for US policy<br />

and advocacy at the<br />

Helmsley Charitable<br />

Trust in New York.<br />

Jen Nadol, CAS/BA ’93,<br />

published her third novel, This Is<br />

How It Ends, on October 7, 2014.<br />

-1996-<br />

TIME<br />


TOP TUNE<br />

“Macarena,” Los del Río<br />


Independence Day<br />


President Bill Clinton appoints Madeleine<br />

Albright as the first female US secretary<br />

of state; Congress passes welfare reform<br />

bill; rapper Tupac Shakur dies after a<br />

drive-by shooting in Las Vegas<br />


Thirty-five members of AU’s Free Burma<br />

Coalition participate in a three-day<br />

fast to bring awareness to business<br />

and political problems in the embattled<br />

Southeast Asia country.<br />


Thomas Palermo was 1996–1997 Student<br />

Confederation president. Today, he’s<br />

an assistant US attorney at the<br />

Department of Justice.<br />

James Morris, CAS/BA ’96, will<br />

publish his new book, Eye on the<br />

Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First<br />

Lady of the Black Press, through<br />

HarperCollins.<br />

Michael Dovilla, SPA/MPA ’99,<br />

was elected to a third term in the<br />

Ohio House of Representatives<br />

and was chosen by colleagues to<br />

serve as majority whip in the 131st<br />

General Assembly (<strong>2015</strong>–2016).<br />

Paul Teller, SPA/PhD ’99, was<br />

promoted to chief of staff in the<br />

Washington, DC, office of US<br />

senator Ted Cruz.<br />


alumniassociation.<br />

american.edu<br />

FOLLOW<br />

Twitter.com/<br />

<strong>American</strong>UAlum<br />

LIKE<br />

Facebook.com/<br />

<strong>American</strong>UAlum<br />

VIEW<br />

Flickr.com/photos/<br />

<strong>American</strong>UAlum<br />

40 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

teamwork<br />


Baye Harrell, CAS/MA ’15 + Brooke Kidd, SIS-CAS/BA ’91, CAS/MA ’98<br />

+ Neena Narayanan, CAS/MA ’12 + Michael Herman, WCL/JD ’92 (not pictured)<br />

Twenty years ago, Kidd had a vision for a cultural center that would NURTURE ARTISTS AND NEIGHBORHOODS alike.<br />

Today, her vision is thriving: JOE’S MOVEMENT EMPORIUM, where she is artistic and executive director, is a hub of<br />

Prince George’s County’s Gateway Arts District, a two-mile stretch of arts-driven revitalization from Mount Rainier to Hyattsville,<br />

just north of DC. Named for “the average Joe”—and the notion that EVERYONE CAN DANCE—Joe’s offers performances,<br />

classes, and a program to prepare at-risk teens for careers in theater production. “A lot of YOUNG PEOPLE ARE CRAVING<br />

DEVELOPMENT AND EXPRESSION, and that’s something we can provide,” Kidd says. Joe’s is also a major player in the<br />

district’s “creative place making”—think POP-UP GALLERIES, art-and-farmers markets in abandoned lots, and a recording<br />

studio for young musicians. Kidd, who found Joe’s permanent home in Mount Rainier seven years ago, says, “We were totally<br />

welcomed into this community and EVERYTHING JUST GREW.” Narayanan, who interned at Joe’s as a grad student, joined<br />

the team full-time in 2013 to lead Art Lives Here, a community engagement program. Harrell joined Joe’s through a fellowship<br />

program at AU, but his connection is also personal. A Prince George’s native, he has watched the district evolve: “I knew Joe’s had<br />

played a role in that.” Herman joined Joe’s board last year and now serves as its chair. Kidd is watching her seeds take root and<br />

flourish: “I think we’ve become A HUB OF A HEALTHY COMMUNITY.”<br />


class notes<br />

2000s<br />

Sarah Moss, SOC/BA ’01, sang<br />

with her former boss, Colorado<br />

governor John Hickenlooper, and<br />

“The Hick-Tones” in the Denver<br />

Press Club Gridiron political<br />

satire show on October 10. In<br />

-2003-<br />

TIME<br />


TOP TUNE<br />

“In Da Club,” 50 Cent<br />


The Lord of the Rings:<br />

The Return of the King<br />


North Korea withdraws from the<br />

nonproliferation of nuclear weapons<br />

treaty; Saddam Hussein captured by<br />

<strong>American</strong> troops; Supreme Court upholds<br />

the right of affirmative action in higher<br />

education; United States declares official<br />

end to combat operations in Iraq<br />


Students smash an old campus van to<br />

raise money for an alternative spring<br />

break in Chiapas, Mexico. Participants<br />

shell out $1 for three hits, $3 for 10<br />

seconds, and $5 for 20 seconds.<br />


Haley Stevens was 2003–2004<br />

Student Confederation president.<br />

Today, she’s the associate director of<br />

workforce development at the Digital<br />

Manufacturing and Design Innovation<br />

Institute in Chicago.<br />

August, she began her master’s<br />

degree in public administration<br />

at the University of Colorado–<br />

Denver.<br />

Amy Anda, Kogod/BSBA ’02,<br />

was named a 2014 Woman of<br />

Distinction Award finalist by the<br />

National Association of Women<br />

Business Owners of Greater DC.<br />

The award recognizes women<br />

who advance women’s business<br />

in meaningful ways.<br />

Sharon Foster, SOC/MA ’02,<br />

recently published a book, Live<br />

Lightly: A Summer of Poetry.<br />

The poetry collection is grouped<br />

into seven sections: change,<br />

inspiration, love lost, love found,<br />

the streets, humanity, and beauty.<br />

Laiza Reidenbach,<br />

SIS/BA ’03, and<br />

Jason Reidenbach,<br />

along with big<br />

sisters Melissa<br />

and Victoria,<br />

welcomed<br />

Alexandra<br />

Adriana on May<br />

29, 2014.<br />

Robert Kelley, SIS/<br />

BA ’04, has published Agency<br />

Change: Diplomatic Action beyond<br />

the State on the Rowman and<br />

Littlefield imprint.<br />

2010s<br />

Lauren Ryczek, SIS/BA ’10, and<br />

Michael Stubel, SPA/BA ’10, were<br />

married on September 25, 2014,<br />

KNOW<br />





It’s a thrill hanging around the Capitol all<br />

day, picking up a nugget of information<br />

and turning that into a must-read story.”<br />

—Heather Caygle, SOC/MA ’12, on her job as Politico’s<br />

federal transportation policy reporter<br />

in Chicago. Many AU alumni<br />

attended, and Kelly Lanza, SOC/<br />

BA ’10, and Tim Gallivan, SPA/<br />

BA ’10, were members of the<br />

wedding party.<br />

Hayley Tamburello, CAS/BA ’10,<br />

opened her own immigration law<br />

office, the Law Office of Hayley<br />

Tamburello, in Baltimore.<br />

Heather Caygle,<br />

SOC/MA ’12,<br />

writes the<br />

daily Morning<br />

Transportation<br />

column for<br />

Politico Pro.<br />

Ryan Briggs, SIS/<br />

PhD ’13, has been<br />

appointed assistant<br />

professor in the Department<br />

of Political Science at Virginia<br />

Tech’s College of Liberal Arts<br />

and Human Sciences.<br />

Benjamin Leffel, SIS/MA ’13, is<br />

a scholar-practitioner of US-<br />

China local-level relations. He<br />

is starting a PhD in sociology<br />

at the University of California,<br />

where he will focus on US-China<br />

subnational relations. He also<br />

serves as director of research for<br />

the nonprofit Tai Initiative.<br />

Olivia Curl, SIS/BA ’14, and her<br />

partner Lena Shareef, SOC/<br />

BA ’11, were among 10 finalists<br />

selected by National Geographic’s<br />

Expedition Granted. They<br />

founded a social media movement,<br />

#GIRLWITHABOOK, in response<br />

to the assassination attempt<br />

on Pakistani youth education<br />

activist Malala Yousafzai. They<br />

hope to lead an expedition to 12<br />

counties in 12 months to highlight<br />

individuals and organizations<br />

who are breaking barriers to girls’<br />

education.<br />

To update your address<br />

EMAIL<br />

alumupdate@american.edu<br />

VISIT<br />

american.edu/alumni/connected<br />

WRITE<br />

Office of Alumni Relations<br />

<strong>American</strong> University<br />

4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW<br />

Washington, DC 20016-8002<br />

Francis Duffy, CAS/<br />

MEd ’64, September 13,<br />

2014, Arlington, Virginia<br />

Barbara Williams,<br />

SPA/MPA ’76, August<br />

22, 2014, Silver Spring,<br />

Maryland<br />

Cheryl Mitchell, CAS/<br />

BA ’86, September 14, 2014,<br />

Little Elm, Texas<br />

Josette Balthazar,<br />

Kogod/BSBA ’97, September<br />

28, 2014, Washington, DC<br />

Carla Williams, SOC/<br />

MA ’97, July 22, 2014,<br />

Billings, Montana<br />

Todd Levett, SPA/<br />

BA ’05, October 30, 2014,<br />

Baltimore, Maryland<br />

42 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

memories<br />


DID YOU<br />

stand up for<br />

social justice at<br />

AU or in DC?<br />

Email magazine@<br />

american.edu.<br />

1968<br />

In a decade that saw scores of antiwar gatherings,<br />

50 AU students and faculty members joined other DC<br />

demonstrators at the Department of Justice to protest<br />

the indictment of Benjamin Spock and four other<br />

leaders of the peace movement, who were charged<br />

with conspiracy to counsel, aid, and abet resistance<br />

to the draft. After the protest, the AU group walked<br />

to nearby Western High School to “engage in draft<br />

resistance counseling.”<br />

1970<br />

Following the shooting deaths of four unarmed, antiwar<br />

protestors at Kent State, 250 AU students overran<br />

Ward Circle, urging motorists to “honk for peace.”<br />

Protestors passed out antiwar flyers while members of<br />

DC’s Civil Disturbance Unit stood by with clubs and tear<br />

gas. Pleas to honk for peace “were met with a noisy<br />

response,” according to the Eagle, but “some drivers, no<br />

doubt, honked for other reasons, as traffic backed up”<br />

Massachusetts and Nebraska avenues.<br />

1982<br />

“Why can’t Johnny read? He can’t afford to learn.” More<br />

than 3,000 sign-toting students swarmed the quad to<br />

peacefully protest a proposed 18 percent tuition hike and<br />

a 19.3 percent increase in housing costs. “One of the most<br />

famous educators in history, Socrates, taught his students<br />

to question everything. We are emulating his teachings,”<br />

the Student Confederation said in an open letter to the<br />

university president. Despite the students’ best efforts,<br />

the Board of Trustees approved the hikes two weeks later.<br />

2014<br />

In the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by<br />

police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, 100<br />

students staged a “die-in” to support the Black Lives<br />

Matter movement (pictured left). The protestors laid on<br />

the steps of Mary Graydon Center for 4 minutes and 30<br />

seconds to symbolize the 4 hours and 30 minutes that<br />

Brown’s body was left in the street after he was shot. “I<br />

feel like AU represents America as a whole, so if we’re<br />

quiet or complacent about things, then we’re never<br />

going to see any change,” said senior Akosua Bamfo.<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong> magazine<br />

app to see more of senior Samantha Storch’s<br />

photos of the Ferguson protest.<br />



THE SUN (OR<br />



THE SEASON) is the<br />

Grand Canyon state’s largest<br />

city and its capital. Home to<br />

haboobs—giant walls of dust that<br />

envelope the city during monsoon<br />

season—and Super Bowl XLIX,<br />

Phoenix is also known for its<br />

stately saguaros, sprawling<br />

suburbs, and striking sunsets.<br />

Incorporated in 1881, 31 years<br />

before Arizona attained statehood,<br />

Phoenix stacked its early economy<br />

on the five Cs: copper, cattle,<br />

climate, cotton, and citrus.<br />

Though the nation’s sixth-largest<br />

city was the epicenter of the<br />

housing bust in 2008, real estate<br />

is again booming in Phoenix;<br />

financial services, manufacturing,<br />

health care, and retail round out<br />

the top five industries.<br />

The vast Phoenix metro area is<br />

home to 4.4 million people—and<br />

about 600 AU alumni. What<br />

besides SPF 50 bought in bulk, a<br />

taste for Mexican food, and a<br />

disregard for daylight savings time<br />

do these Phoenicians share? The<br />

insider’s knowledge of DC, gained<br />

while studying at <strong>American</strong><br />

University. Get to know some of<br />

AU’s desert dwellers here.<br />


When most people think opera, they<br />

conjure up the classics: La Bohéme,<br />

Madame Butterfly.<br />

But it was Cruzar la Cara de la Luna—<br />

not Carmen, or a century-old Puccini<br />

production—that reenergized the Phoenix<br />

opera scene, signaling what Arizona Republic<br />

theater critic Kerry Lengel called “a change<br />

in direction at the once-staid Arizona Opera.”<br />

Arizona Opera kicked off its 43rd season<br />

in October with the world’s first mariachi<br />

opera and saw a huge crescendo in single<br />

ticket sales, according to Zack Hayhurst.<br />

“One thousand people turned out for<br />

that production that had never been to<br />

the Arizona Opera before,” he says. “We’ll<br />

always do the traditional operas, but more<br />

and more, we want to tell stories that our<br />

community can relate to,” like Cruzar, an<br />

affecting story of an immigrant Mexican<br />

family told in English and Spanish.<br />

Arizona Opera is nestled off palm<br />

tree–lined Central Avenue, downtown<br />

Phoenix’s main drag. It’s part of the newly<br />

designated Central Arts District, which<br />

includes the Phoenix Art Museum and the<br />

Heard Museum, home to one of the world’s<br />

largest collections of <strong>American</strong> Indian art.<br />

About $60 million has been invested in<br />

the district in recent years, including the<br />

construction of Arizona Opera’s gleaming<br />

new headquarters.<br />

A native Floridian, Hayhurst—whose<br />

duties include casting, budgeting,<br />

scheduling, and “anything else that has<br />

to do with the talent on stage or in the<br />

orchestra pit”—is excited to be part of the<br />

Valley of the Sun’s sizzling arts scene.<br />

“We have two major theater companies,<br />

a ballet company, a symphony orchestra,<br />

and a number of local choral organizations.<br />

There are so many cool restaurants,<br />

coffee shops, and bookstores.” And on this<br />

particular day, he says, “it’s 65 and sunny.”<br />

Bravo.<br />



Marcy Karin, SPA, CAS/BA ’00, clinical<br />

professor. Karin heads the Work-Life Law<br />

and Policy Clinic at ASU’s law school, named<br />

for the retired Supreme Court justice, who<br />

grew up on an Arizona cattle ranch.<br />


Mike Sunnucks, SIS/BA ’89, SPA/MA ’94,<br />

senior writer. Sunnucks covers commercial<br />

and residential real estate for the weekly<br />

paper, which boasts a circulation of more<br />

than 16,000.<br />


Alyssa Chamberlain, SPA/MS ’03,<br />

assistant professor, School of Criminology and<br />

Criminal Justice. The Urban Institute veteran’s<br />

research centers on neighborhood dynamics<br />

and crime.<br />

44 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

where we are<br />

C. Murphy Hebert<br />

SPA/MA ’07<br />




Being a Democrat in a traditionally red state is enough<br />

to make someone blue. But C. Murphy Hebert is up to<br />

the challenge.<br />

“I really enjoy local politics. I grew up here, I went<br />

to school here. I know this community, and I love this<br />

community. And man, it’s a good place to fight,” says<br />

Hebert, an alumna of the Campaign Management<br />

Institute, now in its 30th year at AU.<br />

A former newspaper reporter who discovered she<br />

was more interested in participating in politics than<br />

writing about it, Hebert serves as a liaison between the<br />

press and the 24 Democratic members of the Arizona<br />

House of Representatives. She crafts speeches and<br />

talking points, drafts constituent materials, and<br />

maintains the caucus’s website and social media.<br />

“I’m surrounded by passionate people who are<br />

smart, dedicated—and have a great sense of humor,”<br />

she says with an infectious laugh of her own.<br />

Arizona has traditionally been a Republican<br />

stronghold (about 53 percent of voters cast ballots for<br />

Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election).<br />

However, last spring, registered independents edged<br />

past Republicans, becoming the state’s largest voting<br />

bloc. Of Arizona’s 3.2 million registered voters, 35.78<br />

percent are independents.<br />

So, does Hebert foresee more blue in Arizona’s<br />

future—or at least a purplish hue?<br />

“There’s an opportunity for more progressive values<br />

to take root here. Arizona is a place where people<br />

value financial and political independence—and that’s<br />

an environment where progressive values can prosper.”<br />


Andrea Michaels, CAS/BA ’73, chief steward,<br />

northern region. The scenic 800-mile Arizona<br />

Trail, which runs from Mexico to Utah, traverses<br />

postcard-perfect mountains, deserts, and canyons.<br />


David Brooks, SPA/BA ’91, vice president, data<br />

management. Founded in 1996, this Phoenix-based<br />

company provides health care services for service<br />

members, veterans, and their families.<br />


Dana Diller, Kogod/BSBA ’87, vice president, US<br />

business development. This Tempe-based firm is the<br />

global leader in photovoltaic solar energy solutions,<br />

with more than 8 gigawatts installed worldwide.<br />


teamwork<br />


Elizabeth Tobbe Swibel, SOC/BA ’98, SPA/MPA ’05 + Matt Swibel, SOC/BA ’99<br />

Photographed at the new School<br />

of Communication building<br />

She first noticed his BLUE EYES AND DIMPLES. It was spring of 1995, and she was a freshman leading a group of high<br />

school seniors around campus. He was visiting from Chicago, bound for AU that fall. Beth’s best friend (and later maid of honor)<br />

encouraged her to STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION. “I didn’t know she was recruiting a husband—I thought she was just<br />

recruiting freshmen,” Matt jokes. Back at AU that fall, they became fast friends. Conversation flowed easily, and THEY MADE<br />

EACH OTHER LAUGH. Their first date was on October 27: dinner at the iconic Old Ebbitt Grill and a walk to the Willard hotel<br />

to pick out their home state seals on the storied lobby ceiling. After that, Matt says, “We found ourselves finding ways to spend more<br />

and more time together.” By 2000, both had graduated and were READY TO START THEIR LIFE TOGETHER. That May,<br />

Matt—then a Washington Business Journal reporter—placed a marriage proposal ad in the newspaper. While Beth read it, he got<br />

down on his knee. “SHE WAS SO EXCITED, SHE GRABBED THE RING AND PUT IT ON HERSELF,” Matt says.<br />

“I said, ‘I’m assuming that’s a yes.’” They married August 11, 2001. Today, she is a grant-writing consultant, and he directs corporate<br />

sustainability for Lockheed Martin. Both have kept AU ties: Beth earned a master’s, and Matt spent three years as an adjunct<br />

professor. Their sons, Jacob, 9, and Aaron, 6, join Matt for runs on the AU track. Beth credits their happy marriage to A STRONG<br />


46 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>

top picks<br />

Libby Umstead’s path to<br />

Tinseltown unfolded like one<br />

of the Hollywood scripts that she<br />

sets to song as a music supervisor.<br />

While driving cross-country in<br />

2005, Umstead, CAS/BA ’04, had<br />

a serendipitous meeting<br />

in a Memphis bar with a<br />

screenwriter who introduced<br />

her to Dana Sano, founder of<br />

Santa Monica–based Zenden<br />

Entertainment. Umstead, a lit<br />

major and longtime music lover<br />

(she knew she wanted to pair<br />

music with movies after seeing<br />

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet<br />

in ninth grade), has been working<br />

with acclaimed music supervisor<br />

Sano ever since.<br />

Umstead—whose own iTunes<br />

collection numbers more than<br />

300,000 songs—works with<br />

directors and composers to craft<br />

soundtracks for films and TV<br />

shows, securing the rights to each<br />

selection. “We’re always looking<br />

for the goose-bumps moments.”<br />

Her credits include Horrible<br />

Bosses, August: Osage County,<br />

and the highly anticipated Fifty<br />

Shades of Grey, which<br />

hit theaters in February. The<br />

soundtrack to the erotic drama,<br />

based on the best-selling novel<br />

of the same name, features songs<br />

by Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, and<br />

The Weeknd.<br />

Umstead’s favorite<br />

soundtracks:<br />


Music can be transcendent. The prisoners<br />

and guards have a unifying experience when<br />

“The Marriage of Figaro Duettino” plays on<br />

vinyl in the library scene. Tim Robbins took<br />

that piece to solitary confinement.<br />

2. LONE SURVIVOR (2013)<br />

I watched this on a plane and the<br />

flight attendants kept checking on me<br />

because I was sobbing hysterically. The<br />

orchestration and electronic elements<br />

made it very modern.<br />

3. AMADEUS (1984)<br />

For Mozart, music was a friend, lover, foe,<br />

challenge, and chase. The filmmakers did<br />

an excellent job of using his masterpieces<br />

to show all those nuances.<br />


(2003)<br />

Howard Shore just did an incredible job of<br />

creating an epic score with soft, whimsical,<br />

ethereal, magical elements without being<br />

sappy. He carried those themes throughout<br />

the trilogy and built on them.<br />

5. ROMEO + JULIET (1996)<br />

I have a musical theater background, so I<br />

love drama. Pairing an old story with new<br />

music was revolutionary.<br />

6. MONEYBALL (2011)<br />

Mychael Danna did an amazing job with the<br />

score, which was more on the minimal side.<br />

“It’s a Process” is a gorgeous score cue.<br />

7. THE LION KING (1994)<br />

Along with Aladdin and The Little Mermaid,<br />

The Lion King redefined animated movie<br />

soundtracks. It featured an all-star group of<br />

musicians and composers and introduced<br />

scores of children to Elton John.<br />

8. AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)<br />

As music supervisors, the goal is to give<br />

the audience a sense of time, place, and<br />

tone. We create a sonic atmosphere in<br />

which to experience the story. <strong>American</strong><br />

Hustle did just that with such elegance.<br />

9. PULP FICTION (1994)<br />

It’s crazy, it’s cool, it’s very Quentin.<br />

The scene where Uma Thurman and<br />

John Travolta dance to Chuck Berry’s<br />

“You Never Can Tell” is great.<br />

10. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)<br />

I grew up with this one. It’s magnificent<br />

and timeless. Maria brought happiness to<br />

the Von Trapp family because she brought<br />

music to their hearts.<br />

—Michael Menachem, SOC/BA ’04<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong><br />

magazine app for a chance to win<br />

Umstead’s favorite soundtracks.<br />

10<br />

3<br />

9<br />

4<br />


1<br />

2<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />


must haves<br />

8<br />

9<br />

7<br />

2<br />

10<br />

1<br />

3<br />

6<br />

5<br />

11 12<br />

4<br />

*SOC/BA ’92, New York–based creator of syndicated comic strip Daddy’s Home, author, and fine artist (rubinocreative.com)<br />

1. I use paint for my fine art (some of the<br />

work is also digital). As a cartoonist, I<br />

use ink pens for the line art when I’m<br />

finished with the sketch.<br />

2. I sketch on the iPad with a stylus and<br />

sketching app. I also use it to watch TV<br />

or listen to music. I need silence when<br />

I’m writing, but I like to listen to music<br />

when I’m drawing.<br />

3. A couple years ago, I started doing<br />

fine art—mostly pop art—and I’ve had<br />

shows in Chicago and New York. The<br />

city is filled with art, whether it’s public<br />

sculpture, graffiti, or an exhibit at<br />

MoMA. I’m so inspired by the city.<br />

4. My reading glasses with a mild<br />

prescription make me look smarter.<br />

5. I work out of my apartment, but I take<br />

the subway to meet with my agent,<br />

publisher, and Avanti Publishing, a<br />

greeting card company with whom I<br />

work as a creative consultant.<br />

6. Beats by Dre headphones are great for<br />

blocking out street noise. I use them to<br />

listen to music (the Rolling Stones are a<br />

favorite) and talk on the phone.<br />

7. I wear my lucky Communist hat while I<br />

work. It’s not really lucky, but I like that<br />

it makes me look like Che Guevara.<br />

8. We’ve been doing one comic a day since<br />

2008. Ideas come from everywhere. I<br />

have pads to jot down an idea or quick<br />

sketch, and I use a vellum pad for inking.<br />

9. The worst thing I can do is stare at a<br />

blank page. Ideas come to me while<br />

I’m working out or walking in the city.<br />

10. I used to drink coffee, but I find diet<br />

Red Bull is a more efficient means of<br />

delivering the drug. I drink four a day.<br />

11. I’ve written 10 books. One of them, Why<br />

Didn’t I Think of That? 101 Inventions That<br />

Changed the World by Hardly Trying, led<br />

to a column that’s distributed overseas<br />

by a London syndicate.<br />

12. I had one of the first Macs ever and I’ve<br />

just kept upgrading. I use my MacBook<br />

Pro for social networking and design<br />

work and to manage all my businesses.<br />

DOWNLOAD the <strong>American</strong><br />

magazine app for a chance to<br />

win autographed books and<br />

artwork by Tony Rubino.<br />


48 AMERICAN MAGAZINE MARCH <strong>2015</strong>



BURLINGTON, VT 05401<br />

WASHINGTON, DC 20016-8002<br />

PERMIT NO. 604<br />

Address Service Requested<br />

For information regarding the<br />

accreditation and state licensing of<br />

<strong>American</strong> University, please visit<br />

american.edu/academics.<br />

i love you,<br />

lois.<br />

oh, ralph...<br />

on a scale of<br />

one to five,<br />

i strongly<br />

agree!<br />

show us your love (or tell us what we can do better).<br />

take the american magazine survey by april 30<br />

for a chance to win an ipad mini.<br />

and don’t forget to download the american app—<br />

lois loves that, too!

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!