Eisenhower Institute News Latest news coverage for the Eisenhower Institute SALTT Participants Attend SCUSA Conference at West Point http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=6f9410e4-8e6a-4aa5-ad44-f0ebdd798996&pageTitle=SALTT+Participants+Attend+SCUSA+Conference+at+West+Point http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=6f9410e4-8e6a-4aa5-ad44-f0ebdd798996&pageTitle=SALTT+Participants+Attend+SCUSA+Conference+at+West+Point Since 1948, the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY, has hosted its annual Student Conference on US Affairs (SCUSA). This year, current and former Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times (SALTT) participants Abigail Major ’19, Caleb Parker ’18, and Julie Welde ’18 attended the conference representing The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College.

At the conference, student delegates from around the world study policy issues relevant to U.S. foreign policy and prepare a report with policy suggestions to be presented at the end of the conference. This year’s theme was “The Politics of the Forgotten and the Aggrieved: Remaking the World Order.” Students were assigned issues ranging from climate change to the future of NATO.

The conference is run exclusively by West Point Cadets, giving students the opportunity to learn more about the school and interact with the cadets. Student delegates stayed in the barracks to get the full West Point experience.

Read below to hear about the Gettysburg delegation’s experience in their own words.

in committee

Abigail Major ’19

“Not only was I able to meet and collaborate with exceptional cadets, fellow civilians, and professionals, but I was also able to apply the skills I have learned from SALTT,” said Major, a History and Classics double major who worked on policy recommendations related to NATO and the future of US alliances.

“At certain times we became so caught up in goal setting. In those moments, I would take a step back and realize that we were not addressing how we were actually going to achieve these specific goals. Being a participant in SALTT has taught me the difference between strategies and goals, the process in structuring these two concepts, the importance of self-reflection, as well as the practice of considering multiple viewpoints.”

Caleb Parker ’18

Parker, a Political Science major, worked on a committee dedicated to forming policy regarding bilateral relations between the United States and Russia.

“SCUSA places America’s future military and civilian leaders together to learn what it takes to control the helm of policy making,” Parker said.

“The process demonstrated the complexities of working together to find compromise, however, the rewards include lasting impact that will hopefully benefit future generations.”

Julie Welde ’18

“I was assigned to [the] Displacement [roundtable], addressing refugees and asylum seekers worldwide with 24 other students from West Point, American schools, and even schools from around the globe,” said Welde, a Health Science and Public Policy double major.

“Working with Susan Eisenhower, I have learned about the importance of strategy and was able to address the displacement issues through a strategical lens, which immensely helped our entire group.”

Article by Jeffrey Lauck ‘18, a political science and history double major and a 2017-2018 Fielding Fellow

Photos by Julie Welde ’18

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 11:04:18 EST
Institute Hosts Fundraising Event to Celebrate Growth of Programs and Honor the Legacy of Prof. Kenneth F. Mott http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=5934dc22-273f-4538-a002-c5e17f60a1ac&pageTitle=Institute+Hosts+Fundraising+Event+to+Celebrate+Growth+of+Programs+and+Honor+the+Legacy+of+Prof.+Kenneth+F.+Mott http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=5934dc22-273f-4538-a002-c5e17f60a1ac&pageTitle=Institute+Hosts+Fundraising+Event+to+Celebrate+Growth+of+Programs+and+Honor+the+Legacy+of+Prof.+Kenneth+F.+Mott On November 9, the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College hosted a celebration of the legacy of longtime Gettysburg political science Prof. Kenneth F. Mott P’07. The event was held at a private venue in New York City and featured remarks from hosts Lynn Scillieri Holuba ’79 P’08 and Peter G. Seiden ’73 as well as students and some of our program experts.

During his 50-year career as a professor at Gettysburg College, Mott played an important role in a number of key initiatives on campus, including leading the Task Force on Public Affairs and Public Service as part of the College’s Commission on the Future. This group’s work helped lay the groundwork for the integration of the former Eisenhower World Affairs Institute with Gettysburg College to form The Eisenhower Institute. Mott also served as the Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies.

The event began with a cocktail reception featuring Eisenhower Institute experts and student participants.

View photos from the event:

11/9/17 New York City Event

Following the reception, Holuba and Seiden delivered welcoming remarks. “Professor Mott’s career was always focused on students,” said Seiden. With the support of the Institute’s experts and supporters, “we ensure his impact and legacy continues.”

Hanna Bogorowsky ’18, a political science major and current Fielding Fellow, attended the event with her father, who took Mott’s constitutional law course in 1981. “Professor Mott will be missed dearly by the Gettysburg College community, and we thank him for the decades of commitment, knowledge, and smiles he gave us.”

Caleb Parker ’18, a Political Science major and current Undergraduate Fellow, shared his experiences with the Eisenhower Institute. “All of these experiences have helped me throughout my life,” said Parker. “Each mentor, each program, and each opportunity are all part of the journey.”

Mott moderated a panel discussion on President Eisenhower’s Lasting Legacy in the Contemporary World, featuring Seiden-Levi Fellow and Environmental Leadership expert Dr. Howard Ernst and Salisbury Fellow of Intelligence and Middle East Affairs and Inside the Middle East expert Avi Melamed.

The event concluded with remarks from Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77: “The knowledge and experience among our faculty and among our Eisenhower Institute’s experts—coupled with their passion for what they’re doing—truly positions us to leave a lasting impact on the lives of our students.”

To learn more about Mott’s lasting legacy at Gettysburg College and to contribute to the Eisenhower Institute in his honor, visit the Ken Mott Fund page. Read a feature of Mott in Gettysburg magazine, "The feeding and flexing of an open mind."

Article by Jeffrey Lauck ‘18, a political science and history double major and a 2017-2018 Fielding Fellow

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 02:30:42 EST
For the love of data: Svet Semov '11 works for Amazon Web Services http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=59a3a894-eb83-4557-9a78-e5aab7c29f91&pageTitle=For+the+love+of+data%3A+Svet+Semov+%2711+works+for+Amazon+Web+Services http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=59a3a894-eb83-4557-9a78-e5aab7c29f91&pageTitle=For+the+love+of+data%3A+Svet+Semov+%2711+works+for+Amazon+Web+Services Svet Semov '11 participated in the Undergraduate Fellows program during the 2010-2011 year.

The first time Svet Semov ’11 knew he wanted to pursue his Ph.D. in economics was when he was sitting in economics prof. Char Weise’s class. Weise was explaining his research on the Great Inflation of the 1970s to the class, and for Semov, it just clicked.

“Hearing Weise talk about his research was where my fascination with data really started,” Semov said. “Having the ability to think of a clever idea, collect your own data and engage in a policy debate based on that data, sounded pretty remarkable to me.”

Since then, Semov graduated valedictorian of his class, received a Ph.D. in economics at Boston University, and is now working as an economist for Amazon Web Services in Seattle, Washington.

“Amazon is the largest private sector employer of Ph.D. economists,” Semov explained. “It’s a very data-driven company. The people who make decisions are very willing to listen to what that data says. For me, it really makes for a great environment.”

When Semov first came to Gettysburg, he knew he wanted to study math. He came from a high school in Bulgaria that specializes in math, but he was also looking for a way to complement his quantitative focus with a subject that was grounded in policy.

He declared a double major in math and economics and got involved in campus activities like Amnesty International, International Relations Club, German Club, and the Campus Activities Board. He was also an Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellow, where he examined public policy issues and elevated bipartisan discourse across campus.

It was his course work that had the greatest impact on him during his time at Gettysburg, though. He took multiple courses with Weise, including a monetary policy class that competes in the annual Federal Reserve Challenge, and distinctly remembers Weise’s feedback on his senior thesis.

“He kept pushing me to look at more than just the data,” Semov said. “He wanted me to be aware of the relevant institutional details, the cultural context from which the data was drawn, and the historical narrative surrounding the period I was studying. He was pushing me to make sense of the data, and I feel this emphasis on contextualizing data to better interpret it has stuck with me.”

Svet Semov

The biggest difference between the data he was working with at Gettysburg and Boston University, though, and the data he works with now at Amazon, is that he has the ability to influence decision making and see the outcome of those decisions.

“It’s still a new feeling for me, to be able to translate analysis into change,” Semov said. “In grad school, you analyze data and get results, but there aren’t necessarily changes made based on your analysis. At Amazon, I was recently evaluating a training program and met with the person responsible for it as part of my research. There was a more personal connection, and the results I found helped make more informed business decisions.”

Semov joined Amazon Web Services shortly after his graduation from Boston University in the spring of 2017. He works on their strategy and productivity team and uses data to try to increase the productivity of the sellers who work for Amazon. What he finds equally exciting about his role is the ability to keep learning the latest advances in econometrics and to apply them to real-world questions.

“I’m very excited about the questions I am pursuing here at Amazon. I want to make sure that I am continuing to learn and get better at my field. The tools for analyzing data keep evolving, and I try to keep up with that. It’s not easy, but it’s exciting, especially when you see the end goal.”

Keeping that excitement central to career goals is something that he would encourage current students and young alumni to do, too.

“It’s hard to put the hours in when you don’t have something you are excited about,” Semov said. “At Gettysburg, I was excited about the research I was doing with Weise on the policy response in financial crises. In grad school, I had to be excited about the research I was doing because I was spending so much time with it. You have to find something you’re excited about, otherwise you won’t want to put the hours and the work in.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Contact: Kasey Varner '14, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6806

Posted: Mon, 18 Sep 2017

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 02:44:06 EDT
Dr. Shirley Anne Warshaw Named NCAA Fellow http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=8aa442aa-782f-4ca9-be5a-21fc2ce4ca55&pageTitle=Dr.+Shirley+Anne+Warshaw+Named+NCAA+Fellow http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=8aa442aa-782f-4ca9-be5a-21fc2ce4ca55&pageTitle=Dr.+Shirley+Anne+Warshaw+Named+NCAA+Fellow Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies Dr. Shirley Anne Warshaw was recently named a Division III Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) Fellow by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The NCAA Division III FAR Fellows Institute was created in 2010 with the goal of helping faculty better meet the needs of student athletes on campuses around the nation. Dr. Warshaw will be joining other FAR Fellows at the 2017 FAR Fellows Institute conference this October in Indianapolis, IN. Participants will attend workshops designed to increase the effectiveness of NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives on campuses around the nation, including identifying best practices and promoting leadership skills.

Article written by Jeffrey Lauck ‘18, a political science and history double major and a 2017-2018 Fielding Fellow

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:41:11 EDT
Fielding Fellows Awarded Diplomacy Lab project from U.S. State Department http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=90ba918d-56a5-45f9-8fb3-b7aaa08eba36&pageTitle=Fielding+Fellows+Awarded+Diplomacy+Lab+project+from+U.S.+State+Department http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=90ba918d-56a5-45f9-8fb3-b7aaa08eba36&pageTitle=Fielding+Fellows+Awarded+Diplomacy+Lab+project+from+U.S.+State+Department In September, Dr. Shirley Anne Warshaw, the Director of the Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study, received an award from the United States Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab initiative. Working with the eight Fielding Fellows, Dr. Warshaw and the Fellows will examine alternatives for repurposing a U.S. Air Force base in Portugal for private-sector use.  The base in Portugal no longer serves its original military purpose and will be deeded over to Portugal for non-military use.  At the conclusion of the project in March, Dr. Warshaw and the Fielding Fellows will present their findings at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

Last year, Dr. Warshaw received a State Department Diplomacy Lab award to examine options for reducing state and local corruption in Hungary, also working with the Fielding Fellows.  To enhance their understanding of corruption in Hungary, the Fielding Fellows travelled to Berlin, Germany to meet with Transparency International, to discuss global anti-corruption initiatives. In January 2017, the Fielding Fellows presented their findings at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, including data on both broader Eastern European and Hungarian corruption and solutions for addressing such corruption.

Since 2013, Diplomacy Lab has tapped students and faculty around the nation to study real-world policy issues on their behalf, with the dual goals of promoting civic engagement in diplomacy and expanding the State Department’s research base. Gettysburg College is one of only twenty-eight institutions engaged in this competitive partnership with the Department of State.

Article written by Jeffrey Lauck ‘18, a political science and history double major and a 2017-2018 Fielding Fellow

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:33:15 EDT
From Gettysburg to Yale to a Public Health Start-up http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=d132e992-2ad7-4ee2-9b53-4d92441d6676&pageTitle=From+Gettysburg+to+Yale+to+a+Public+Health+Start-up http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=d132e992-2ad7-4ee2-9b53-4d92441d6676&pageTitle=From+Gettysburg+to+Yale+to+a+Public+Health+Start-up Alyssa Foxx '13 participated in EI's Women in Leadership program in Fall 2011.

“I think that a liberal arts education prepares you so well to work at a start-up,” said Gettysburg alum Alyssa Foxx ’13. “In start-ups, there's always so much to be done, so you have to wear many different hats. The ability to think critically and to fill any role that is needed from you— that’s something that a Gettysburg College degree really prepares you for.”

Foxx graduated from Gettysburg with degrees in anthropology and public policy, and attended Yale University as a post-grad to earn a master's degree in public health. Today, Foxx works as a product manager of reporting and data science at CipherHealth, a New York City healthcare IT start-up, focused on improving the efficiency of healthcare offerings for low-income populations.

As an ambitious undergrad, Foxx uncovered her passion for public health initiatives through the Introduction to Medical Anthropology course she took during her sophomore year at Gettysburg. The course served as a catalyst for her Mellon Grant research project aimed at understanding the experience of accessing the healthcare system within Adams County.

“I started thinking about the integration of public policy and healthcare in my Medical Anthropology class,” said Foxx. “Then I really pursued that interest through the Mellon Grant research—igniting my passion for helping low-income population through the scope of healthcare.”

In her efforts to advance healthcare access to underrepresented populations, Foxx coupled her anthropological work with relevant public policy research.

“On the public policy side, my main interest was the Affordable Care Act—which I spent a lot of time learning about as a part of my public policy major, encouraged by my Capstone Professor, Bruce Larson, of the public policy department,” said Foxx. “I knew that I had an interest in healthcare—and I wanted to learn more about the challenges and barriers that inhibit populations from accessing healthcare.”

With academic interests in healthcare policies and anthropological research, Foxx looked to her Mellon Grant research mentor, Prof. Amy Dailey, for advice on how she could practically apply her passions in her life post-Gettysburg. Dailey encouraged Foxx to pursue her master's in public health, and to study at a top-level university, where Foxx could use her experience and excitement for public health to further cultivate her multidimensional research skills.

“With the encouragement of Amy Dailey, I ultimately I chose to study post-grad at Yale,” said Foxx. “While at Yale, I studied health policy in a two-year master's program, where I was able to gain some more quantitative skills to complement the skills I gained through my liberal arts education at Gettysburg.”

As a Yale School of Public Health alumna herself, Dailey felt confident that Foxx would not only be accepted, but would excel in the master's program as a result of her dual degrees in anthropology and public policy and her research experience at Gettysburg.

“Public health is an interdisciplinary field that applies the natural and social sciences to public policy and real-world population health challenges,” said Dailey. “The interdisciplinary community-based research that Alyssa was able to complete at Gettysburg allowed her to acquire relevant skills and provided the applied public health context—it likely gave Alyssa a significant advantage at Yale, compared to her peers.”

After graduating from Yale, Foxx found herself gravitating towards career opportunities within healthcare IT. CipherHealth was a great fit as Foxx was able to connect her data skills garnered from Yale, as well as her research experience from Gettysburg. Now two years into her career, Foxx finds the start-up culture to be rewarding, as she is able to fully utilize the problem-solving skills learned at Gettysburg.

s2017_Alyssa.Foxx.3“CipherHealth was such a good fit because I am able to implement my data skills and help the populations that I really enjoyed interacting with when I was doing my Mellon Grant research at Gettysburg.

“In a lot of ways, I feel like the liberal arts education at Gettysburg gave me a full perspective of looking at problems,” said Foxx. “There are going to be a lot of different perspectives in a start-up culture, and part of the challenge is bringing those perspectives together to come to the best solution—that was really reinforced for me at Gettysburg.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Article by Megan Decker ’17, communications and marketing intern

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Thu, 27 Apr 2017

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:35:31 EDT
Congratulations to the Class of 2017! http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=e624a15e-1efb-48dc-a6ea-5a2a5b8f71d0&pageTitle=Congratulations+to+the+Class+of+2017%21 http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=e624a15e-1efb-48dc-a6ea-5a2a5b8f71d0&pageTitle=Congratulations+to+the+Class+of+2017%21 We bid farewell and wish to congratulate all of our 50+ 2017 graduates. You have made an impact on the Eisenhower Institute and your fellow Gettysburgians. We now challenge you to continue that impact throughout the world – and we know that you won’t let us down!

Take a look at some of the thoughts and upcoming plans for our newest alumni:

In the Gettysburg College article “24 Things to do Before you Graduate”:

EI Undergraduate Fellow Greg Dachille shared in #3 - Meet one-on-one with President Riggs, Provost Zappe, Dr. Arnold, Dean Ramsey… - “I came to Gettysburg for the people. Not for the facilities or the opportunities or the location, but for the people. Every college has a new building and an interesting program, but the individuals that compose the student body, and particularly the staff, faculty and administration, are unique to us. They are what makes Gettysburg exist year after year and they are the people I will miss the most.” Greg also mentioned EI in #12 - Say goodbye to your comfort zone - "My favorite experiences are all of the experiential educational opportunities I have been able to participate in. Through GRAB, CPS, SSE, and EI, I have gone to Ireland, Scotland, France, Mexico, Texas, and Alabama, met with refugees, presented original mixed methods research at a graduate and professional conference, toured the UN, conducted research for the United States Department of State, work with Susan Eisenhower, and solve a seventy-two year old mystery, just to name a few."

Fall 2015 EI Hilton Scholarship recipient Anthony Wagner V commented in #23 - Connect your passions to your professional goals - “Thanks to a generous grant from the Office of the Provost and the Department of Anthropology, I was able to return to Durban, South Africa during summer 2016 to conduct ethnographic fieldwork for an honors thesis. I learned that undergraduate opportunities for original research can play a huge role in developing academic and professional skills! I hope to use this research to apply for graduate school and continue similar research in the future. In the meantime, I will be teaching English in Jiangsu Province China and applying for volunteer position in the Peace Corps in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Future Plans

Mariam Aghayan (Inside Politics; Fielding Fellows)– Pursuing MA in Law and Diplomacy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University

Kevin Bielicki (SALTT) – Moving to Beijing to work for Vericant

Hannah Dallman (Women in Leadership) – Teach for America in Oklahoma City

Phoebe Do (Women in Leadership) – Technology Consultant at Deloitte Analytics in NYC

Will Essigs (Inside Politics; Fielding Fellows) – Consulting Analyst at Mercer

Konrad Neptun (CCT) – Financial Consultant at Navigant in DC

Piper O’Keefe (Women in Leadership; Undergraduate Fellows) – Joined the Peace Corps to teach English in Sierra Leone

Maja Thomas (Inside Politics; Environmental Leadership; CCT) – Account Administrator at Lockton Companies in DC

Abigail Tootell (Inside Politics; Women in Leadership; SALTT) – Law School at Penn

Alyssa Waaramaa (Undergraduate Fellows) – Law School at NYU

Read more about Gettysburg’s Class of 2017.

Congratulations to our new alumni and stay in touch!

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:28:54 EDT
VIDEO: 2016-2017 Eisenhower Institute Year in Review http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=37435aed-774e-4e73-8493-04f2e32457bc&pageTitle=VIDEO%3A+2016-2017+Eisenhower+Institute+Year+in+Review http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=37435aed-774e-4e73-8493-04f2e32457bc&pageTitle=VIDEO%3A+2016-2017+Eisenhower+Institute+Year+in+Review See the impact of The Eisenhower Institute and its expert programs during the 2016-2017 academic year.
This video was first broadcast on April 25, 2017 during the EI End of the Year Celebration.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the 2016-2017 year great.

Video by Khun Minn Ohn '19

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 10:49:36 EDT
Institute receives $250,000 gift to enhance Fielding Center http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=c572ee66-37d2-4363-9ebe-619cf0d5575c&pageTitle=Institute+receives+%24250%2C000+gift+to+enhance+Fielding+Center http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=c572ee66-37d2-4363-9ebe-619cf0d5575c&pageTitle=Institute+receives+%24250%2C000+gift+to+enhance+Fielding+Center At the end of March, The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College hosted a celebration of its Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The event honored the Center’s founder, Fred F. Fielding ’61, who served as White House Counsel to President Reagan and President George W. Bush. Over 200 friends, supporters, alumni, staff, students, and parents were in attendance.

Fielding gave brief remarks during the speaking program, held underneath the wing of Air Force One. Reflecting on his career, Fielding commented on his numerous personal, professional, and public service opportunities.

“Now Gettysburg College and the Eisenhower Institute have provided another such special moment in my life,” he said, “not only this event tonight, but the creation of this exciting Fielding Center for the study of the elements of leadership in our nation’s governance and—most importantly—to teach and encourage the values of government service and civic engagement. For this, I am honored and most grateful.”

Following Fielding’s remarks came the announcement of a $250,000 gift to establish the Price-Eisenhower Civic Engagement Initiative in support of enhancing programs of the Fielding Center, now going into its third year. The gift was made from the estate of Doug Price, who served as a special assistant to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His nephew, Jonathan Price, made the surprise announcement.

“Doug cherished his time working with President Eisenhower, during his time in Washington as well as after Eisenhower retired, up to his death in 1969, and thereafter with his involvement within the Eisenhower Institute,” said Jonathan Price after the event. “The family thought this would be a fitting way to honor Doug’s service—allowing more young people the opportunity to engage in all the great opportunities existing within The Fielding Center.”

In addition, if the Institute raises $250,000 from gifts made to the Fielding Center (including all gifts made from June 1, 2016 to present), the Price Family will match all of those gifts up to $250,000, placing $750,000 total into this endowed fund.

“This very generous gift will allow us to honor President Eisenhower’s living legacy and continue the work and values of his administration,” said Jeffrey Blavatt ’88, executive director of the Eisenhower Institute. “In addition, it will meet a very important need—and that is emphasizing the importance of civic engagement, not only for our students, but in the world today.”

 View more photos on Flickr.

Fielding Center at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

A cornerstone of the Fielding Center is its Fielding Fellowship, which offers a select group of Gettysburg College seniors an opportunity to investigate presidential leadership through the lens of the executive branch, legislative affairs, and foreign policy. Founded in 2015, the program emphasizes the value of civic engagement and governmental service.

In addition to Mr. Fielding’s mentorship, the Center is led by Washington professionals and experts at the Eisenhower Institute:

  • Carl Cannon, EI Scholar in Residence, the Washington Bureau Chief of RealClearPolitics, and Executive Editor of RealClear media Grup
  • Kasey Pipes, Norris Fellow, communications and policy advisor, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and chief author of the Republican Party platform in 2004.
  • Richard Norton Smith, Noted presidential historian
  • Shirley Anne Warshaw, Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies, professor of political science at Gettysburg College, expert on the study of presidential leadership

While in California, the Fielding Fellows and another group of students from the Eisenhower Institute, the Undergraduate Fellows, attended meetings with experts on the presidency, including Lou Cannon, who wrote the authoritative biography of President Reagan, and the leadership teams of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

A special activity? Completing The Situation Room Experience in what had been the actual situation room before it was renovated in 2006. This level of access and first-hand learning experience is a defining feature of the Fielding Fellowship and the Fielding Center.

Another integral element is rigorous research. Under the guidance of Warshaw, this year the Fellows completed a project that culminated in making formal recommendations to the U.S. State Department on foreign anti-corruption practices.

As one more example of the opportunities the program provides, last year, the fellows traveled to the George W. Bush Presidential Library with Mr. Fielding.

“Serving as a Fielding Fellow has been one of the most defining experiences of my college career,” said Jason Spiegel ’17, a political science major, a philosophy minor, and a Kermit Finstad Scholar at The Sunderman Conservatory of Music.

“We were honored to work directly with Mr. Fielding in our study of presidential leadership, and privileged to access his wealth of personal experience and knowledge in the field. In traveling to both the Reagan and George W. Bush Presidential Libraries with Mr. Fielding, we learned not just the stories history tells of these men and their legacies, but Mr. Fielding's personal stories and experiences. That kind of experience is unique and invaluable.”

To learn more about the Fielding Center and the matching opportunity, visit the Eisenhower Institute’s website.

Click Here to view the article on the Gettysburg College website.

Photos by Guill Photography

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Thu, 27 Apr 2017

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:54:58 EST
Panel explores effect of Trump’s actions on immigration http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=42d7b769-dcdf-4635-86ac-5a357b4adc16&pageTitle=Panel+explores+effect+of+Trump%E2%80%99s+actions+on+immigration http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=42d7b769-dcdf-4635-86ac-5a357b4adc16&pageTitle=Panel+explores+effect+of+Trump%E2%80%99s+actions+on+immigration By Brendan Salyards, Contributing Writer, The Gettysburgian

The Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows held a panel Thursday on the topic of immigration as they continue their ongoing study of refugee resettlement in the United States. This, the third in their series this year, was titled “Lady Liberty’s Poor and Huddled Masses: Rethinking Refugees in America.”

The bulk of the questions in the moderated portion of the panel pertained to recent actions by the Trump administration to curtail immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Panelists agreed that many of the actions hindered their mission of settling refugees in the United States.

Panelists included Stephanie Gromek, the Community Service Coordinator for Church World Services in Lancaster; Tania Lee, an information, communications, technology (ICT) practitioner currently working as a freelancer for Cultural Orientation Resources Exchange; and Giulia McPherson, the Director of Advocacy and Operations at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

Questions covered topics such as the recent immigration ban itself, the rhetoric surrounding immigration and refugee resettlement, and the detainment of public figures at airports as they try to enter the country.

The final question of the moderated portion of the panel concerned the use of biometrics as a means of keeping track of refugee services. Lee explained the advantages that such technology provides in ensuring that benefits are allocated accurately and commented on the potential problems of ensuring that such information remains uncompromised. She also shared some of the problems that NGOs face is in expanding the use of biometrics, which include laws concerning where information can be stored and a lack of funding to support the use of such technology.

The audience questions probed the work of NGOs more directly.

They concerned the advantages and disadvantages of a privately-funded refugee resettlement program, the process of resettlement, the effects of a scale back in US foreign aid, and actions that individuals can take to assist organizations involved in resettlement.

The panelists agreed that the proposed budget cuts to foreign aid would negatively affect efforts to resettle refugees in the United States and shared stories of specific impacts such cuts could have.

One interesting discussion point surrounded the possibility of allowing privately-funded organizations to work in the field of resettlement, as is permitted in Canada. This private system existed in the United States before the current public-private partnership (the government provides limited money to organizations that resettle refugees) that exists today was implemented. No such move is on the horizon.

The panel concluded with panelists appealing to attendees to raise their voices in advocacy for refugees and the organizations that resettle them.

Piper O’Keefe ’17, an Undergraduate Fellow, said, “The panel provided an especially interesting perspective on the role of NGOs in the refugee resettlement process. Considering the negative rhetoric surrounding refugees coming from the administration, the roles played by these organizations and individuals in general is more vital than ever to ensure a welcoming community for all in our nation.”

Click here to view additional photos from this campus debate.

This article originally appeared in The Gettysburgian on March 5, 2017. Reprinted with permission; click to view the original article.

Wed, 10 May 2017 02:10:36 EDT
Policy debate probes foreign, domestic issues http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=d49bcb0f-0068-4e34-8036-2a25fa085531&pageTitle=Policy+debate+probes+foreign%2C+domestic+issues http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=d49bcb0f-0068-4e34-8036-2a25fa085531&pageTitle=Policy+debate+probes+foreign%2C+domestic+issues By Jeremy Porter, Staff Writer, The Gettysburgian

On Wednesday evening, the Eisenhower Institute held a campus-wide policy debate. The widely-attended event took place in Mara Auditorium, and was moderated by visiting assistant professor of political science Douglas Page.

The debaters, twelve in total, were representatives for one of the six politically-oriented clubs on campus: the College Republicans, College Democrats, College Independents, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), and Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective (GACC).

The fundamental purpose of the debate was to promote political discourse among Gettysburg students, according to EI discussions chair Marley Dizney Swanson ’18.

As stragglers shuffled into the auditorium and the remaining slices of pizza were snatched, Professor Page opened the floor to the debaters, allotting each pair of representatives two minutes to provide information regarding both their club’s fundamental beliefs and practicalities like when and where they meet.

Page then outlined the format of the debate: he would pose a series of questions, some pre-planned and some generated by the audience, to which the representatives would respond in seat order. Following their responses, they each had the opportunity to rebut the points of another group.

The debate began with a question about President Trump and his actions regarding international trade agreements. Representatives from YAF and YAL agreed that the United States should remain a part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal of which, in its current form, Trump is not supportive, and that Adam Smith-style free trade is the most logical and efficient economic system.

The College Democrats and College Independents also believe that our country should engage in free trade and stay in NAFTA, but both groups emphasized the importance of balancing international trade with environmental regulations.

Conversely, debaters from both GACC and the College Republicans stressed the necessity to get out of NAFTA and other global trade agreements, but the clubs had different reasoning for their views. The Republicans favor bilateral trade agreements and adopted an “America First” stance, urging President Trump to bring back manufacturing jobs to the US. GACC, however, established its belief that all global trade deals are harmful to the environment and that the capitalist system is inherently flawed.

For the second question of the debate, Professor Page asked the representatives how they thought the Affordable Care Act should be handled by the Trump administration.

GACC and the College Democrats agreed that healthcare is a fundamental human right, but the former thinks a single-payer system, akin to the one currently in place in Canada, is the way to go.

The Independents argued that it would be too difficult to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying that it instead must be reformed by lowering medical procedure costs and malpractice lawsuits.

The general consensus among the remaining three clubs was that the act must be repealed and replaced with a private, more economically competitive system to drive down costs.

The next few questions focused on topics ranging from foreign policy to the judiciary.

When asked their beliefs about the power of the executive and whether or not President Trump has overstepped his boundaries with his executive orders, YAF and the College Republicans argued that Trump’s actions are neither unconstitutional nor unforeseen. They cited the forced return of Haitian refugees from the US under the Bush and Clinton administrations in the 1990s and explained that Trump’s actions are necessary in order to protect Americans.

In opposition, the remaining club representatives denounced the president’s executive orders and asserted that, in the past, such orders have only really been used for governmental “housekeeping.”

In regards to a question concerning the role of torture in American foreign policy, each club condemned the use of torture methods such as waterboarding, but YAF and the Republicans feel that tactics like sleep deprivation should be used in extreme cases when it is clear an attack can be prevented.

On the contrary, YAL emphasized the importance of civil military transparency and the need to close Guantanamo Bay, and the Independents explained that the US needs to act as the global standard of morality and ethics.

Another interesting question posed at the debate was whether or not Senate Democrats should obstruct Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee. Five out of the six clubs, including the College Democrats, argued that the Senate needs to do its job and confirm Gorsuch to avoid the dangers of an incomplete court.

GACC, however, contended that obstruction in the name of justice is perfectly acceptable and an integral part of democracy.

In the final portion of the debate, the panelists answered questions from the audience, which were either hand-written or live-tweeted to the EI Twitter page.

One audience member asked if Trump’s behavior regarding the press is dictatorial. YAF and the Republicans agreed that biased press deserves to be called out if it is perpetuating the falsehoods about the president that are circulating in the American public.

The Democrats and Independents stated that while Trump has the right to argue with the press, he must do so in a modest and professional manner, which he has failed to do so far during his presidency.

YAL and GACC representatives took the question as an opportunity to express their own values: YAL stressed the provisions of freedom of speech and press in the first amendment, and GACC explained how it feels Trump has been oppressive towards women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups.

The second question from the audience was arguably the night’s most contentious: what are the clubs’ views on abortion? The audience temporarily erupted with chatter after the question was read, and Professor Page banged the gavel, calling for silence.

Despite the emotional reaction, the clubs’ answers were fairly predictable. The more conservative groups contended that life starts at conception and abortion is immoral (the Republicans did add that the disparity in healthcare costs for men and women must be reduced), and the more liberal groups advocated for the funding of Planned Parenthood and pro-choice policies.

Representatives from YAL, however, explained how the organization as a whole has not come to a consensus on the issue, and they did not want to argue on behalf of all members.

The evening concluded with a final statement from each club’s representatives. They thanked Swanson and Page, for organizing and moderating the event, respectively. They also expressed their appreciation for the large crowd turnout.

If there was one thing on which all the debaters agreed Wednesday night, it was the importance of listening to others and engaging in open political conversation in an era defined by political polarization and civil cynicism.

Click here to view additional photos from this campus debate.

This article originally appeared in The Gettysburgian on February 24, 2017. Reprinted with permission; click to view the original article.

Wed, 10 May 2017 02:11:10 EDT
Students bridge the American-Russian divide http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=02aa8e3f-8b02-462a-bc05-e8776b95877e&pageTitle=Students+bridge+the+American-Russian+divide http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=02aa8e3f-8b02-462a-bc05-e8776b95877e&pageTitle=Students+bridge+the+American-Russian+divide

During the weekend of February 11-12, 2017, Eisenhower Institute participants from Susan Eisenhower’s Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times (SALTT) program held a conference with student counterparts from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Azerbaijan on the current challenges between the United States and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Marking the 25th anniversary of the dissolution of the USSR, the students discussed the tensions between the United States and Russia, the internal challenges facing the former Soviet republics and the United States, and the cultural stereotypes and misunderstandings that  are inhibiting a constructive relationship.

The two-day conference ended with a trip to the Eisenhower Farm Historical Site, where Susan Eisenhower emphasized the visit of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to Gettysburg in 1959. The meeting between Khrushchev and Eisenhower provided an apt symbol for the students as they undertook their own conversations during another tense time between the United States and Russia.

The visiting students from the former Soviet Union were selected and led by Dr. Anton Fedyashin of American University’s Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History. The students included full-time undergraduate and graduate students from American University and students from Russian universities spending a semester abroad at American. Yulia Melnikova from MGIMO University in Moscow said of the experience: “the trip to Gettysburg has been the…most fascinating experience of mine in the USA…The fact that we could agree on certain issues and have an argument on the others; listen, understand and teach each other made me believe in feasibility of improvement of mutual relations between our countries. Since in the end, we are the same people, who have similar problems, complaints, aspirations, and dreams.”

Colleen Maher ’18 shared, “the way I perceive the news and our government's policies considering Russia has been completely changed. Our peer's feelings, opinions, and insights will continue to affect how I think about our country's relationships with other nations moving onward.” Julia Kerr ’18 added “I learned a substantial amount about our similarities, but also our differences, and ways in which we could bridge those differences through open and honest dialogue. It was such a rewarding experience to have conversations about what we think our respective countries can improve, and I believe that if our governments could have similar talks to the ones we had, there would be greater respect and understanding between the US and Russia.”

The conference was part of the SALTT program’s yearlong study of US-Russian relations and the concepts of strategic thinking. The program has specifically focused on the benefits of cross-cultural dialogue within the United States and around the world. In the fall, three SALTT participants traveled to West Point, NY for the United States Military Academy’s Student Conference on US Affairs, which discussed Global Democracy and Democratization. In January, four current and former SALTT participants attended another conference at West Point on Honorable Leadership and Ethics. In March, SALTT program participants traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan, to study that country’s post-Soviet Union trajectory and challenges in the region. 

Click here to view additional photos from this visit.

Wed, 10 May 2017 02:13:43 EDT
Fielding Fellows Research in Berlin & Budapest http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=65440b42-aeee-4e9c-8abd-82cfd14b97d6&pageTitle=Fielding+Fellows+Research+in+Berlin+%26+Budapest http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=65440b42-aeee-4e9c-8abd-82cfd14b97d6&pageTitle=Fielding+Fellows+Research+in+Berlin+%26+Budapest During winter break in January 2017, the Fellows of the Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership embarked on a research trip to Europe for their Diplomacy Labs project. Over the summer, the Fielding Fellows competed for and won a grant from the State Department’s Diplomacy Lab initiative to study corruption in the Hungarian government. The goal of the project is to produce solutions to this problem in the hopes of helping the United States Embassy in Budapest curtail these corrupt practices in the future.

After carrying out preliminary research throughout the fall semester, the Fellows believed it would be incredibly beneficial to meet with experts familiar with corruption within Eastern Europe. The trip began with a stop in Berlin, Germany to visit the headquarters of Transparency International (TI). TI is a non-governmental organization (NGO) which aims to create a corruption free world, by giving a voice to the locals who encounter these practices the most. While at the headquarters, the Fellows heeded the advice of Cornelia Abel who is the Regional Coordinator for Southeast Europe, Turkey and Israel. According to fellow Rachel Haskins, “The meeting with Transparency International really put our research into a local context. It’s one thing to do the research, but to actually talk to individuals who have encountered corruption really allowed for a better understanding of how to craft solutions to the problem.” During the meeting, the Fellows were able to question Ms. Abel about the work done by TI within this region and analyze how it compared to the measures being taken in Hungary. While in Berlin, the Fellows also had the opportunity to learn about Germany’s history during the Cold War era. A trip to Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall served as reminders for how pervasive the Communist impact was on European politics as a whole.

After arriving in Budapest, the Fielding Fellows departed for the U.S. Embassy to present their findings to Foreign Service Officer Greg Meier. However, a trip to the embassy in Budapest would not be complete without first stopping to see the bronze statue of Mr. Fielding’s '61 former boss, President Ronald Reagan, in Freedom Square. While in the embassy, the Fellows had the opportunity to present their research to Mr. Meier and five of his colleagues and receive feedback in preparation for their spring presentation to the State Department in Washington D.C. The chance to present in Budapest was an invaluable experience as these officials were able to give first hand information regarding the climate of the corruption within Hungary. The Fellows also received a valuable talk on what it takes to become a member of the Foreign Service. Meetings such as these truly bring the Fielding Center and the greater Gettysburg experience full circle by allowing the Fellows to take their classroom knowledge and see how it can be transferred into a career.

Following the trip, the Fielding Fellows are continuing to perfect their research prior to presenting to the State Department at the end of the year.

Click here to view additional photos from their journey.

Article written by Taylor Beck ‘17, a political science major and a 2016-2017 Fielding Fellow.


Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:26:55 EDT
Meet Mariam Aghayan '17, Future Diplomat http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=e4286888-8936-4c9c-8eee-50c3d28e70eb&pageTitle=Meet+Mariam+Aghayan+%2717%2C+Future+Diplomat http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=e4286888-8936-4c9c-8eee-50c3d28e70eb&pageTitle=Meet+Mariam+Aghayan+%2717%2C+Future+Diplomat When Mariam Aghayan ’17 was 11-years-old, she moved to the United States from Armenia. For two years, she and her family lived in the house of a woman named Mary Smith, who Aghayan calls one of the three most significant women in her life.

The first is her mother. And the other is Political Science Prof. Shirley Anne Warshaw.

“I’ve been empowered by these three powerful women throughout my life,” said Aghayan, “and I know that whatever I want, if I work hard enough, if I’m driven enough, I can reach my goals.”

Aghayan’s goal is to become a diplomat, but it’s a means to an end—her passion is advocating for human rights. Coming to Gettysburg, Aghayan’s first step towards her goal was making Warshaw her mentor after taking her First-Year Seminar. She’s accomplished much since that first year, and it’s not hard to imagine the political science and public policy double major—now a senior—reaching any and all of her goals. At the age of 21, Aghayan has already spoken in front of the United Nations (UN) in support of human rights, completed multiple internships, studied abroad twice, and received multiple fellowships and grants to conduct research on human rights around the world.

An important connection for Aghayan is the work she’s done for her home country. As a first-year student, she was nominated by the Center for Public Service for—and received—a Project for Peace grant from the Davis Foundation to educate disabled, homeless, and children of war-torn families in Armenia, teaching them English, healthy living, computer literacy, and social skills.

In the diplomacy arena, she’s held several internships as part of the Permanent Mission of Armenia both to the United Nations Headquarters and the United Nations Offices in Geneva, as well as the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the Federal Republic of Germany.

“I learned what it takes to be a diplomat,” said Aghayan. “It’s not all glamorous parties. It’s 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. working hours, and if you leave at 10:00 p.m., you’re still working on the way home.”

As part of the learning experience, Aghayan had the opportunity to attend bilateral and multilateral meetings and observe the nuances in negotiation between countries, behind the scenes. It was such an impactful internship that when she returned to Gettysburg in the fall, Aghayan felt like she needed to pay the experience forward.

“I wanted to use my connections to get people more involved in the career of diplomacy,” she said.

With funding support from The Eisenhower Institute, student senate, and the Provost’s Office, Aghayan helped arrange a trip for her peers to the UN headquarters where she interned. The public tours were full, but the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Armenia offered their group a personal tour. The Ambassador of Armenia to the United Nations provided a private briefing that lasted two-and-a-half hours.

Continuing her involvement with The Eisenhower Institute, in the same semester, Aghayan helped kick off the inaugural class of Fielding Fellows with the launch of the new Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study—named after Fred Fielding ’61, who served as Deputy Counsel to President Richard Nixon and later as White House Counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The program is advised by several other experts, including Aghayan’s mentor, Warshaw, and is designed to provide students with opportunities to examine presidential leadership and shape their own paths as our nation’s future leaders, elected officials, and public servants.

“It’s so incredible to be mentored by Mr. Fred Fielding and Dr. Shirley Anne Warshaw,” she said. “These are two incredible people on different sides of the political spectrum. They get along so well, they are respectful—they teach us what political discourse should be.”

In the following semester, Aghayan studied abroad in Berlin, Germany, in a program focused on political science and international relations. Of course, refugee policy was already a major topic of discussion at the time, and a focus for the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Aghayan got to experience the discussions happening there first hand.

“My area of expertise is human rights, but I studied so many interesting things while I was in Germany,” said Aghayan. “The former director of Germany’s Doctors Without Borders taught a class called contemporary global health challenges. I took it and loved it. In Berlin, I studied everything from international finance to European immigration and energy diplomacy.”

While attending classes full time, she also interned at the Embassy of Armenia to Germany and was recommended to intern at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, where she had the opportunity to attend the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body for the World Health Organization.

“What was incredible about the experience is I wasn’t treated like an intern, I was treated like a colleague,” she said. “My superiors would come to me to ask me for advice. Sometimes I would be representing Armenia in meetings, which is an advantage of having a small delegation, since each individual has greater responsibility. It was surreal to deal with Ambassadors, Ministers, and representatives from different countries on a day-to-day basis.”

Aghayan also had the opportunity to attend the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council as part of her internship at the United Nations in Geneva through the Permanent Mission of Armenia. This past summer, Aghayan continued to address human rights concerns by giving a speech at the United Nations Headquarters as the Youth Ambassador from Armenia.

“Hate and discrimination have no place in our society,” she said in her speech.

“We must make an effort to understand problems from different viewpoints and cultures. We have a duty, as human beings, to respect one another and to make sure none of us are stripped of our human rights.”

As a senior, Aghayan is in the process of applying to graduate schools and plans to study international affairs.

“They would all be lucky to have her,” Warshaw said. “I first met Mariam when she was in my First-Year Seminar and from the moment that I met her I could tell that she was amazing. She was polished, smart, and understood complex concepts. Because of my admiration for her, I asked her to be my teaching assistant the next year and, happily for me, she continued to be over the next three years. Mariam thinks outside the box, always seeking to be the best that she can be and encouraging her friends to follow suit.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Tue, 31 Jan 2017

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:36:30 EDT
EI Undergraduate Fellows Panel Probes Issues of Refugees, Terrorism, and National Security http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=92142539-7855-4c2f-b8ec-1c2d35809db7&pageTitle=EI+Undergraduate+Fellows+Panel+Probes+Issues+of+Refugees%2C+Terrorism%2C+and+National+Security http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=92142539-7855-4c2f-b8ec-1c2d35809db7&pageTitle=EI+Undergraduate+Fellows+Panel+Probes+Issues+of+Refugees%2C+Terrorism%2C+and+National+Security By Ben Pontz, Staff Writer, The Gettysburgian

Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily halting the refugee program and limiting the number of refugees permitted to enter the United States each year to 50,000, the Eisenhower Institute’s first panel of 2017 was all the more timely as the Undergraduate Fellows hosted a panel discussion in a packed Joseph Theater that featured three speakers, whose expertise ranged from personally experiencing the vetting process for refugees, helping to settle incoming refugees, and studying national security policy with an emphasis on the Middle East.

The speakers were:

Amer Alfayadh, a case manager for the Church World Service in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which BBC recently named “America’s refugee capital.” Though traditionally a conservative area politically, Alfayadh discussed the warm embrace refugees he works with receive in Lancaster as well as the experiences he has shepherding incoming refugees through the resettlement process.

Stacie Blake, the director of government and community relations for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a non-profit organization that protects the rights and addresses the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration. She voiced her concerns regarding the administration’s approach to immigration and refugee policy as well as statistical and anecdotal information emphasizing the need, in her view, for a change in perspective on such issues. At one point, she shared that, already, the administration’s rhetoric and actions on refugees have hindered cultural exchanges with prominent judicial leaders from Muslim countries. Accordingly, she urged attendees to judge others based on personal interactions rather than preconceived stereotypes.

Dr. Chris Bolan, a professor of Middle East Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle. He provided commentary on the refugee situation from a national security perspective. He argued that the terrorist threat to Americans is statistically negligible as U.S. citizens are far more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed in a terrorist attack. Moreover, he said there is little substantive basis for the exaggerated fear some have of the threat posed by refugees. In particular, he noted that not a single refugee admitted to the U.S. has been responsible for a major terrorist attack. Moreover, he observed that more Americans have been killed by radical right wing groups than by radical jihadi extremists. Finally, as the San Bernardino attacks demonstrated, the larger terrorist threat is posed by existing U.S. citizens becoming self-radicalized via the internet as opposed to the unlikely prospect that a terrorist would immigrate through the already rigorous refugee admittance process.

The discussion was moderated by four of the EI Undergraduate Fellows: seniors Anthony Citarella, Yanet Gonzalez, Piper O’Keefe, and Alyssa Waaramaa.

Students from various political science classes as well as from across the campus attended the event, and extra seats were moved into the sides of the packed Joseph Theater, indicative of a strong student interest in the program.

Brendan Salyards ’20, a political science major, reflected on the panel by concurring with the panelists.

“I’d say my main take away was that experts agree that refugees do not pose a threat to the security of the United States and that there doesn’t seem to be a rationale, based upon national security interests, for barring them from entering the country.”

Note: Although the panel was held off-the-record, The Gettysburgian contacted the panelists afterwards for their permission to summarize the substantive portions of their comments that would otherwise not be publicly available.

Click here to view additional photos from this panel discussion.

This article originally appeared in The Gettysburgian on February 12, 2017. Reprinted with permission; click to view the original article.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 03:55:49 EDT
Eisenhower Institute Fellows Awarded Projects from the U.S. State Department http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=2c493ecb-f13e-40da-bdf9-fa15ec5eb804&pageTitle=Eisenhower+Institute+Fellows+Awarded+Projects+from+the+U.S.+State+Department http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=2c493ecb-f13e-40da-bdf9-fa15ec5eb804&pageTitle=Eisenhower+Institute+Fellows+Awarded+Projects+from+the+U.S.+State+Department Sitting at the head of a long (and full) boardroom table, Will Essigs ’17 and Mariam Aghayan ’17 present an update about the research they have been completing this year. Around that table are members of the advisory board for The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College—including former ambassadors, state and federal officials, and judges—but both students exude an air of confidence and poise. Aghayan answers a question about what non-governmental organizations they had met with, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia nods with recognition.

They seem well practiced at this kind of public speaking and show of leadership because, well, they are. Just the week before this presentation, they presented their research to officials at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.

These presentations are part of two projects that were awarded by the United States State Department to Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies Shirley Anne Warshaw and students from two programs of the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College—the Undergraduate Fellows and Fielding Fellows (of which Aghayan and Essigs are a part). Gettysburg is the only private, four-year liberal arts College to be named a partner institution of the Diplomacy Lab initiative, whose goal it is to broaden the Department’s research in response to global challenges.

The two projects are focused on: 1. Health care records management and migration in the Eastern Mediterranean; and 2. Foreign anti-corruption policy. After spending the year conducting research, attending meetings, and traveling to collect as much data and information as possible to inform their work, the Fellows will present their research and findings to the State Department this spring. In addition to the contributions the Fellows will make through their findings, they are also taking much away from the experience—how to conduct research and present recommendations that can produce tangible results.

“They have approached [the projects] with great professionalism, excitement, enthusiasm, and—more importantly—a great sense of collaborative research,” said Prof. Warshaw.

Health Records and Refugee Policy

Aligning with one of the Institute’s themes of study this year—refugee resettlement in the United States—the State Department tasked the Undergraduate Fellows with researching how governments in different countries approach the collection of health records from migrants and refugees, and specifically how these policies impact the current crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Throughout the year, the Undergraduate Fellows hosted a series of panel discussions about the refugee crisis on campus, bringing together experts from a variety of backgrounds, organizations, and perspectives. They also met with federal, state, and private officials, hosting meetings in cities from Washington D.C. and New York City (at the United Nations Headquarters) to Lancaster, PA, where they spoke directly with Syrian refugees. To achieve a global perspective, they traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to attend workshops hosted by the Irish Refugee Council, and met with administrators and faculty at Trinity College, to learn how colleges have been approaching their research.

“My experiences this year have helped solidify my interest in policy work,” said Katerina Krohn ’17, a Political Science and Environmental Studies double major who worked on the project. “I hope that the results our project will be able to help guide the State Department as they make decisions regarding refugee health records.”

Foreign corruption

Fielding Fellows traveled to BerlinOver winter break, the Fielding Fellows traveled to Berlin, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, to learn the challenges around corruption facing the European Union. In Berlin, they met with leaders from Transparency International, the leading non-governmental organization on worldwide corruption of public officials. After hearing from the former head of the organization for Hungary, the Fellows developed some new ideas for the presentation they had planned to share the next day with U.S. Embassy staff in Hungary.

“[After the meeting], they went back to their hotel in Berlin and stayed up until midnight refining and refocusing their presentation,” said Warshaw. “We hoped that would happen—that we would travel there and get a better sense of how to approach the research.”

"We are extremely impressed with the Gettysburg College Diplomacy Lab team," said Greg Meier, Foreign Service Officer at the State Department. "During their January visit to Embassy Budapest, they presented a well-researched thesis on the causes and potential solutions of the entrenched problem of corruption. We struggle with these questions every day. By identifying successful initiatives undertaken in other countries, the team gave us useful ideas that we plan to pursue in our programming.”

Will Essigs ’17, who previously conducted research on corruption through opportunities abroad, helped lead the project. “I took an unofficial leadership role on the project after studying a similar topic through an International Bridge Course grant,” he said. “I quickly learned that the most important function for an individual in this role is to empower the people around them and help provide tools for success. At our meeting in January, it was exciting to see the Embassy’s satisfaction with our work, but it most rewarding to see how invested our team had become in the project.”

The Fellows are still polishing their takeaways—so stay tuned for the findings—but Warshaw said their work provides a fresh perspective on the two projects.

“They do a tremendous amount of literature research and talk with experts—which brings the issues to life,” she said.

“This program is a wonderful opportunity to engage college students and to give them a window into the work of the State Department,” said Emily Royse Green, Foreign Service Officer, who has been speaking, Skyping, and working with the Fellows throughout the course of the project.

 “The students participating in the Diplomacy Lab were given a real world research question to explore. We have had several videoconferences with the students about their research throughout the course of the project, and we look forward to reading the final project when they submit it.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Thu, 16 Feb 2017


Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:36:13 EDT
2017 Jennings Randolph International Fellows announced by EI and the APWA http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=4989a5d3-277e-4f03-9fd2-ab9b006fb4ac&pageTitle=2017+Jennings+Randolph+International+Fellows+announced+by+EI+and+the+APWA http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=4989a5d3-277e-4f03-9fd2-ab9b006fb4ac&pageTitle=2017+Jennings+Randolph+International+Fellows+announced+by+EI+and+the+APWA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager
P: 202.218.6736
E: lbynum@apwa.net

American Public Works Association Announces 2017 Jennings Randolph International Fellows

KANSAS CITY, MO. – February 8, 2017 – The American Public Works Association (APWA), in association with the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College (EI), announces today the selection of the 2017 Jennings Randolph International Fellows. Administered through the APWA International Affairs Committee, the Jennings Randolph International Fellows are accomplished public works professionals who study public works topics and projects internationally in association with APWA’s international partner organizations.

The Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program, which was established in 1987, is a unique international study and professional exchange opportunity that promotes collaboration and sharing of public works best practices, knowledge, and innovation.

The three 2017 APWA Jennings Randolph International Fellows will conduct public works study tours and provide presentations at international partner associations’ annual membership meetings in Perth, Australia in August, 2017 and in Gothenburg, Sweden in September, 2017.

The APWA 2017 Jennings Randolph International Fellows include:

Evan N. Pratt, P.E., Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, Director of Public Works, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mr. Pratt will conduct his public works study tour with travel through Australia, and will focus on trading asset management knowledge during his travels and at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) conference to be held in Perth, Australia. He will specifically study sustainable infrastructure funding by gathering information about how they have achieved this through national policies, legislation and standards. He plans to share the legislative mechanisms, administrative structure and government’s role in technical support to link funding with asset management. He will also research specific public works agency examples focusing on two technical areas, case studies on maintenance optimization and specifics about asset management methods for underground utilities, which differ from methods for roads. Pratt plans to present his legislative story while attending the IPWEA conference, in addition, he will also share what his home state has done legislatively and on the ground.

Joanne Zhang, P.E., CCM, Council Liaison, Executive Division, Bureau of Engineering, City of Los Angeles, California

Ms. Zhang has been selected to travel throughout Australia to study the ways that the country is fostering a culture of innovation in public works along with its effect on attracting and retaining talent and capital project delivery. Through her travel experience and research, she plans to gain insight on how Australia has implemented successful initiatives to foster a culture of innovation with limited resources to learn an effective innovation strategy for APWA members. Zhang will meet with officials from the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to determine engineering resources, policies, standards and contacts. In addition, Zhang also plans to interview local staff with range of experience and attend a Switch Your Thinking event, which is a local government initiative to promote sustainable action in Perth. She will also tour project sites, different modes of transportation and public spaces while in Australia. Zhang’s presentation at the IPWEA conference will focus on the Millennial Perspective and the study results will be used in areas of recruitment, succession planning, gender equity and project delivery.

Aaron Putnam, Public Works Administrator, City of Ankeny, Iowa

Mr. Putnam has been selected to travel through Sweden to conduct a study tour to compare winter maintenance practices between Ankeny and three cities in Southern Sweden. His study will look at the entire winter maintenance realm from city planning to material and equipment usage, goals and priorities, staff scheduling and public relations.

Putnam will study three communities in Sweden, including Orebro, Gothenburg, and Stockholm. He will be exchanging information to improve relations, share perspectives, and advance winter service currently provided in our cities. He will also meet with public works peers in Sweden in their work environment to discuss successes and challenges, seeing tools and equipment and being immersed in their environment. He will make a presentation while attending the SKT Annual Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden in September that will include information about the City of Ankeny’s weather, equipment, pre-season preparation, pre-snow event activities, snow event operations and post snow event wrap up.

For more information about the APWA Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program, contact the APWA International and Outreach Manager Lillie Plowman at lplowman@apwa.net. For APWA media queries on the Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program, contact Laura Bynum, M.A., APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager at lbynum@apwa.net.

About APWA

The American Public Works Association (www.apwa.net) is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 29,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, has an office in Washington, D.C. and 63 chapters in North America.


Mon, 02 Oct 2017 09:17:44 EDT
Joseph Recupero ’17 shares reflections on studying in Mongolia http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=125075f4-8634-440c-b94c-33e885023f07&pageTitle=Joseph+Recupero+%E2%80%9917+shares+reflections+on+studying+in+Mongolia http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=125075f4-8634-440c-b94c-33e885023f07&pageTitle=Joseph+Recupero+%E2%80%9917+shares+reflections+on+studying+in+Mongolia Joseph Recupero '17 was a participant in the Institute's 2016-2017 Strategy and Leadership in Transformational Times program.

“To get there, it took me a 10 hour drive one day, a 15 hour drive the next day, and then two days on a horse on a wooden saddle in -35° weather,” recalled Joseph Recupero ’17. He was on his way to interview Tsaatan reindeer herders for his independent research through the School for International Training program in Mongolia, where he studied abroad.

“The last month of the program, you complete independent research,” said Recupero, a Political Science and Anthropology major and Africana Studies minor. “My project was on culture commodification in the Mongolian tourism industry and the motivating factors behind why tourism is moving into the area.”

There are two regions where the Tsaatan herders have lived and worked for thousands of years: the East Taiga and West Taiga in northern Mongolia. While completing his background research, Recupero discovered that a movie released in the 1980s had impacted the traditions of reindeer herders who lived in the East Taiga. They changed their antler carving traditions to match the movie’s so they could appeal to tourists. Recupero decided to interview reindeer herders in West Taiga to see if this was also true of that region—thus the long journey by horseback.

Recupero studied abroad in Costa Rica previously and enjoyed the process of conducting research internationally. Originally, he hadn't considered traveling to Mongolia, but learned from the Center for Global Education that the program focused on nomadism, geopolitics, and the environment—areas in which Recupero was interested. It ended up being a good fit. Mongolia would provide Recupero with additional opportunities to hone the skills he knew he would need to pursue his Ph.D.

In addition to interviewing the Tsaatan reindeer herders, Recupero conducted ethnographic research with the Kazakh eagle-hunters in Western Mongolia and conducted interviews in Ulaanbaatar with tourism officials.

In his voice: field notes

During his time in Mongolia, Recupero kept field notes of his experiences and personal reflections. Below are a few snippets from his research journal.

  • “When you are standing on top of the world, you realize you are quite small and it is quite large and you are a part of something so much grander than yourself." -Standing atop mountains in Bayan Olgii, western Mongolia and thinking about my place in the world
  • "I'm slowly learning that anthropology is not about speaking for people, it is about allowing them to speak through you." -Reflection on interviews with Tsaatan reindeer herders
  • "I have no idea what is going to come of this research, but I know one thing, it was one hell of a ride." -Finishing my paper and reflecting on the research experience
  • "You may be sitting around waiting for the world, but it surely isn't waiting around for you. Better get out there and take in everything it has to show you." -Giving myself a little motivation about traveling on my own across Russia

“The program helped me to plan everything, but I created my research design, worked on finding contacts, and scheduled my interviews and everything by myself,” he said. “That helped prepare me for doing capstone work this year and then dissertation work down the road.”

Recupero became interested in anthropology while he was still in high school, after a family friend suggested he research the field. It wasn’t until Gettysburg, however, that he would learn he had a knack for teaching and a desire to pursue a Ph.D.

“While graduate school has been in the back of my mind at Gettysburg, I think it was only after being able to do hands-on research, give presentations, and get my work published that I knew research and academia was the road I wanted to go down,” Recupero said.

“And it’s been nice being able to do research here, because I can also incorporate my political science background and my Africana studies minor into my work. In some anthropological research, you work in isolation and with just one group of people. I am very interested in that, but I’m also very interested in studying how larger trends affect multiple groups of people throughout a country or a region and I can pool all of my majors together to do that. Anthropology as a field is also moving in that direction, so I’ll be prepared for graduate school.”

During his time at Gettysburg, Recupero has published several papers, including the research he conducted in Mongolia. (If you’re curious, he learned the reindeer herders in the West Taiga were not impacted by the movie and tourists like the herders in the East Taiga.) He also had the opportunity to present his overall findings to an audience of professors and administrators in the Ministry of Tourism.

In his last year at Gettysburg, Recupero hopes to learn more about the field of political anthropology—how political decisions and policies are made and how they affect people at the local level. Then, it’s off to graduate school.

“I think there’s so much in the world to see and explore and learn about, and my majors and experiences allow me to do that,” said Recupero. “That’s also why I want to go into academia and teaching, because it’s one thing to have experiences—it’s another to share them and be able to educate people through them. It takes the work a step beyond.”

More about Recupero

  • He’s the diversity chair of the Sigma Chi-Gettysburg chapter.
  • You can spot Recupero giving tours on campus as an admissions tour guide.
  • He was a triple jumper and long jumper in Track and Field before suffering an injury.
  • He is a member of Friend or FOE, and helped organize a vigil remembering the victims of the Orlando shooting this past June.

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Wed, 4 Jan 2017



Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:36:51 EDT
Passion to act: Micaela Edelson ’17 gives voice to environmental issues http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=45a5ccad-ef06-4bf1-b058-9aeab1161756&pageTitle=Passion+to+act%3A+Micaela+Edelson+%E2%80%9917+gives+voice+to+environmental+issues http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=45a5ccad-ef06-4bf1-b058-9aeab1161756&pageTitle=Passion+to+act%3A+Micaela+Edelson+%E2%80%9917+gives+voice+to+environmental+issues Micaela Edelson '17 is an alumna of Inside Politics, Environmental Leadership, and Inside the Middle East.

A week before the U.S. Army Corps denied an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, Micaela Edelson ’17 used the issue as an example of why she wants to enter a career in environmental justice. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe argued that the oil pipeline would dishonor its spiritual land and contaminate its water source, and after months of protests, the pipeline will now be rerouted.

“Political capacity is important—without people advocating on behalf of an issue, it simply isn’t heard,” Edelson said.  The Dakota Access oil pipeline is, on the other hand, an example of how a group of people who are passionate about an issue—and speak up—can change the course of events.

Edelson plans to devote her career to advocating for environmental justice for those who cannot or may not have the capacity to speak up. As an environmental studies  and public policy double major, with minors in political science and peace and justice studies, she has spent her time at Gettysburg learning more about environmental issues and completing internships that have allowed her to pursue policy research. In her junior year, she was awarded a prestigious $50,000 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship from The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct research on the potential risks faced by agricultural migrant workers exposed to pesticides—a project she is completing this year as her senior honors thesis project.   

“I’ve been interested in social justice and environmental studies for a while,” said Edelson, “so [environmental justice] is a connection that just makes sense.” 

According to Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve working conditions for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, the risk of pesticide exposure can be at levels that are hundreds of times greater for farmworkers than consumers, yet sometimes adequate protection isn’t provided.  Edelson said it’s difficult to measure exposure level directly, so she’s focusing on how a sample size of workers in Pennsylvania’s Adams County perceives the impact of pesticides on health. 

“Ideally, I want to compare their perception of risk, and actual risk,” said Edelson.

By the end of the project, Edelson will summarize her findings and provide recommendations to policy-makers about how to enforce safer work environments. With guidance from her internship supervisor and honors thesis supervisor, environmental studies Prof. Salma Monani, and based off of previous perception studies, Edelson designed a survey. In September and October, she spent four hours every day, three to four times a week, interviewing migrant farm workers, using a connection she made through the Center for Public Service (CPS) with the Lincoln Intermediate Unit No. 12 Migrant Education Programs. So far, the responses do not indicate that the workers feel unsafe. Edelson plans to interview farm owners in January.

“Micaela is a very motivated student.  I’m so impressed by the way she took initiative to apply for the EPA-GRO grant,” said Monani. "Her research is important as it provides the first such study on pesticide risk for migrant farmworkers in Adams County.  We hope to be able to publish her research findings in a peer reviewed journal and share it with the local community.”

As another component of the fellowship, Edelson, who is originally from Oregon, completed a summer internship in Seattle, Washington, at the EPA. There, she was responsible for identifying communities where environmental health risks were disproportionally impacting low-income and minority communities. She provided recommendations to the EPA for local community and environmental organizations they could reach out to, about potential grant opportunities.

Why environmental justice?

Edelson first became interested in environmental justice after taking an environmental humanities course as a sophomore.  She learned about a chemical company that had buried waste under an elementary school and was making children sick. The town advocated to rectify the situation; other case studies involving minority communities were not as effective in their advocacy. Edelson was struck by the disparity.

“Policy making should actively seek out marginalized voices,” said Edelson. “If someone is working two or three jobs, they can’t step out of their job to attend a public meeting. Or have time to protest. Your health is the one thing that you have, but you may not have control over it if you were born into a certain social status.”

Complementing her interest in environmental justice, Edelson has also used her Gettysburg connections to get involved in advocacy in other areas—a recurring theme is food.

“My sophomore year, I led a CPS immersion project to Philadelphia that focused on urban food justice and Judaism. While we were there we were introduced to an organization called Challah for Hunger, which addresses food access issues by selling Challah.” Edelson, who is the current president of Hillel, brought the idea back to campus. She helped establish a partnership with South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP), which has a program for teaching adults employable skills. Students make the dough; clients at SCCAP bake the bread.

“In the first three semesters, the program raised $3,900,” said Edelson. “We donate the proceeds to Campus Kitchen, and the other half to an international organization that addresses food insecurity for people of all faiths.”

After graduation from Gettysburg, Edelson envisions working at a nonprofit related to advocacy work or environmental justice, using her broad experiences to make connections.

“Each experience provides its own set of knowledge,” said Edelson. “I appreciate the diversity of knowledge and experiences—I think that will help me have a more comprehensive outlook on everything.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Photos on campus by Miranda Harple

Posted: Tue, 13 Dec 2016


Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:39:32 EDT
What Nikita La Cruz ’13 learned at Gettysburg—and how it could impact Guyana http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=cb10a511-9e00-475f-885b-6e68cbd2e3c1&pageTitle=What+Nikita+La+Cruz+%E2%80%9913+learned+at+Gettysburg%E2%80%94and+how+it+could+impact+Guyana http://eisenhowerinstitute.org/news/news_detail.dot?inode=cb10a511-9e00-475f-885b-6e68cbd2e3c1&pageTitle=What+Nikita+La+Cruz+%E2%80%9913+learned+at+Gettysburg%E2%80%94and+how+it+could+impact+Guyana Nikita La Cruz '13 is an alumna of the Institute's Environmental Leadership program.

Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America. About 83 percent of the country is covered by tropical rain forests, and there is an abundance of gold, minerals and precious stones—but many of those resources potentially remain untapped.

This is one of the reasons why Nikita La Cruz ’13, who is originally from Guyana, is pursuing a career as an economic geologist/geochemist. The job of an economic geologist is to identify earth materials that can be used for economic purposes.

“Guyana is a country where access to the basic things people need, like education and healthcare, is limited—I think that using our mineral resources and discovering new ones can help [provide the economic support needed],” said La Cruz.

The Chemistry and Environmental Studies double major was attracted to Gettysburg by the offer of a scholarship and the opportunity to study at a competitive liberal arts college in the United States. Post-Gettysburg, she continued her studies, receiving her master’s at the University of South Florida, and is currently a second year student in the economic geology Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. Only three years after graduating from Gettysburg, her research was cited in NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine. Once she’s earned her Ph.D., La Cruz plans to return home to Guyana to fill what she says is a tremendous need for geochemists who have the skills to assist in cataloging the country’s existing mineral deposits and discovering new ones.

“Right now our mining industry focusses on gold, bauxite and diamonds, but I think there are opportunities to explore for and discover other types of deposits,” said La Cruz. “The only geological reports we get are from mining companies that go into Guyana looking for specific minerals. Using geochemistry and geophysics, we should hopefully be able to get a better idea of whether or not there are other minerals that are present below the dense jungle cover.”

Geochemistry encompasses the study of Earth’s composition, and the geochemist’s job is to use his or her knowledge of Earth’s structure and geological processes to make informed research decisions that may have practical industrial applications. La Cruz’s area of focus is the formation of ore deposits. She seeks to understand the processes that cause economically and industrially important elements, like gold, iron, copper and the rare earths, to be concentrated into very small regions of the earth’s crust.  

“If we understand ore deposits well, we know what to look for when we go out in the field, and this can be used to give people an idea of what to expect when they go to places where it’s likely that these processes could have occurred,” said La Cruz. So instead of cutting down forests to look for gold or other minerals, miners—with the help of the economic geologists—can be more intentional about where they mine, using these clues to make smart decisions about where profitable resources are likely to be found. The goal is to preserve biodiversity while still exploring for minerals.

A hat tip from NASA

La Cruz became interested in the synthesis of minerals while taking Prof. Joseph Grzybowski’s inorganic chemistry class during her senior year at Gettysburg and chose the University of South Florida master’s program for the opportunity to do that work. There, she conducted research funded by the Center for Chemical Evolution and NASA to investigate the chemical evolution of life on Earth.

“The thought is that there had to be chemical evolution before biological evolution,” said La Cruz.

La Cruz and fellow researchers set out to discover the origin of phosphorus, a chemical element that is important for many reasons, including serving as the backbone of the nucleotides that make up RNA and DNA and the building block for the structure of cell membranes.

Scientists believe that meteorites are a plausible source of phosphorus since they contain a phosphorus-bearing mineral called schreibersite. So, as part of their project, La Cruz and a colleague showed how a synthesized form of schreibersite—which mimics the iron nickel phosphide mineral found in iron meteorites—reacts when exposed to water. As the water evaporates, phosphorus-oxygen bonds form on the surface of the schreibersite. The finding is significant because it supports the hypothesis that meteorites could be responsible for bringing phosphorus to Earth.

“When I was getting involved in the project, I had no idea how many people were interested [in the research project],” said La Cruz. Her master’s advisor encouraged her to write a paper about her findings. That published paper is what would later get picked up by Astrobiology Magazine and earn her a prestigious thesis award from the University of South Florida.  

“My parents taught me to do my best without thinking about whether I would be rewarded for my actions,” said La Cruz. “I never set out to do something to be recognized. I just always work hard and do what needs to be done,  but it was nice to be recognized for my hard work.”

A love of rocks

La Cruz attributes what she calls her “love of rocks” to taking Environmental Studies Prof. Sarah Principato’s earth systems science class as an undergraduate. Her senior capstone project combined her environmental studies and chemistry coursework, focusing on measuring the amount of lead in soil, which she then mapped using Geographic Information Systems—a skill that is useful to her work as an economic geologist.

“That was my first research experience and good preparation,” said La Cruz. “Coming from a small country, the education I received at Gettysburg was world class. The combination of theoretical and hands on learning prepared me very well for moving into geology, conducting independent research, and developing the skills I needed to perform well in graduate school. I am very grateful for the funding Gettysburg provided, my professors, my family and friends and everyone who helped me along the way.”

Originally posted on the Gettysburg College website. 

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Fri, 9 Dec 2016


Fri, 11 Aug 2017 03:40:18 EDT