Thursday, July 11, 2019

SPS 2019: The Library of Congress

For the world's largest library, sometimes it seems like the Library of Congress can be overlooked when it comes to Washington sights -- overlooked in favor of the Monuments or the White House.  But no fear!  The School of Public Service is well aware of this amazing institution, and today the SPS class of 2019 was able to take a private tour of this magnificent temple of learning (including checking out two current exhibits: on Women's Suffrage and on the history of baseball).

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

SPS 2019: Twilight Among the Monuments

No matter how long you live in Washington, D.C., the sight of the Monuments on the National Mall at twilight is one to relish.  Tonight, the SPS Class of 2019 was able to share this experience with each other via a twilight walking tour of the monuments (namely, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; the Lincoln Memorial; the World War Two Memorial; and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial). 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

SPS 2019: Supreme Court and Capitol Building Visit

What a day at the St. Albans School of Public Service yesterday!  On Friday of Week 1 of SPS, we were able to visit with those working in not one, but two, branches of our government.  We began the morning with a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court and a tour of the Courtroom where the Supreme Court Justices hear arguments and read out their opinions.  We then got the extraordinary opportunity to meet one-on-one with Associate Justice Kagan for a Q&A session.  SPS 2019 appears to contain many future lawyers, so the group was particularly appreciative of the opportunity.  We next went to the Capitol Building where, after a break for lunch, we toured the historic premises before getting an opportunity to visit the House Floor itself and speak with the Floor Manager for Speaker Pelosi.  It does not get much better than that on a hot Friday in June in Washington!

Friday, June 28, 2019

SPS 2019: Speaker Terrance Woodbury

During the 2019 session of the St. Albans School of Public Service, our students are taking part in a group advocacy project during which they will draft mock legislation; hold a mock press conference "publicizing" their issue; and debate the issue in a Congressional-style debate at the close of the session.  Today, our students heard from Terrance Woodbury, who conducts research (including polling) on behalf of political campaigns and helps candidates shape their messages in a way to effectively reach voters.  Mr. Woodbury also told our group about his own path from graduation from college to working on campaigns at the local, national, and international level, to ultimately founding his own company, HIT Strategies. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

SPS 2019: Hoover Institution Lecture on Middle East Affairs

One of the great traditions of the St. Albans School of Public Service are what we have come to call "Ted Trips" in honor of Mr. Ted Eagles, the SPS faculty member who organizes them.  They are optional small group trips to events such as book talks, lectures, and panel discussions.  Last night saw the first "Ted Trip" outings of the SPS 2019 program.  One small group went to Mount Vernon for a book talk by best-selling author Brad Meltzer on his non-fiction book, First Conspiracy: The Plot to Kill George Washington.  Another group (pictured below) ventured out to the Hoover Institution for a lecture on Middle East affairs by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.  Click HERE for a link to the YouTube video of the event -- at minute 56 of the video, Mr. Hadley posed a question to the crowd answered by SPS '19 student Will H.!  (see bottom photo below)
Our SPS group was able to talk to Mr. Hadley after the lecture

Ethan M. asks Mr. Hadley a question after the lecture

SPS Student Will H. answers a question posed by Mr. Hadley

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SPS 2019: Reception with the School of Public Service Board of Trustees

Last night our members of the St. Albans School of Public Service Class of 2019 had the chance to meet and mingle with the dedicated volunteers who serve on the Board of the School of Public Service.  The SPS board members help us by coming to speak; by arranging speakers and visits for our program each summer; by coming up with amazing programmatic ideas; and by raising money to help make SPS accessible to students from all backgrounds.  After an official welcome to SPS from our chairman, Mr. Jim Rowe, each of the students introduced themselves and spoke about why they chose to attend the School of Public Service this summer.  It was, in word, inspirational to hear directly from this next generation of public servants and citizens.
SPS 2019 Students with SPS Board Chairman Mr. Rowe

SPS Associate Director Ms. Duke with Board Member Mr. Hammer

Board Member Mr. Hammer with SPS 2019 Students

SPS Board Member Mr. Marks with SPS Students Bea F. and Grace D.

Henry D. SPS '19 with Board Members Mr. Ignatius and Mr. Rowe

Our SPS Students Meeting With Mr. Ignatius

SPS Student Ethan M. with Board Member Mr. Ignatius

SPS Students with Board Member Mr. Burelli

Mr. Rowe with SPS Student Marco V.

Board Member Mr. Lindsey with SPS 2019 Serena W.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

SPS 2019: Speakers Evan and Oscie Thomas (collaborators on the Sandra Day O’Connor biography)

Two more fantastic speakers at the St. Albans School of Public Service this morning: Evan and Oscie Thomas, who collaborated on the well-received new biography of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  The conversation with the Thomases is particularly well-timed because our students will be taking part in a mock Supreme Court argument this afternoon and will be visiting the U.S. Supreme Court late this week.  They spoke with our students about the research and writing process; Justice O’Connor’s career; and the institution of the Supreme Court itself.

SPS 2019: Amazing Speaker on Public International Law

This morning’s speaker at the St. Albans School of Public Service is Ms. Clara Brillembourg, a partner  at the Foley Hoag law firm, who has told the students about her fascinating legal practice in public international law.  Me. Brillembourg has talked to the students not only about the details of her practice (and cases such as representing the sovereign state of Uruguay when it was sued by a tobacco maker over its anti-smoking laws), but also about her path to international law, dating back to her interest as a high school student in international travel and community service.

Monday, June 24, 2019

SPS 2019: Quick Excursion to the National Portrait Gallery

One of the best things about Washington, D.C. is how much there is to see and do in the span of just a few city blocks.  This afternoon, after a fun outing to Escape the Room, some of the "Escape Teams" (the small groups that undertook the Escape Room puzzle together) still found time to pop into the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.  The National Portrait Gallery is sometimes overlooked because it is not directly on the National Mall, but as our SPS 2019 students discovered, it's an exciting place to visit!
Relaxing in the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery

In front of the iconic Michelle Obama portrait this afternoon

SPS 2019: First Off Campus Excursion: Escape the Room!

After a good morning's work prepping for tomorrow's mock Supreme Court argument of the gerrymandering case being heard by the "real" Supreme Court and hearing from our first outside speaker, the St. Albans School of Public Service Class of 2019 was ready for a little off-campus adventure!  The class of 51 students is split into 5 smaller groups and each group is enjoying the interactive "Escape the Room" puzzle, where the group solves clues to "escape" the room within the time limit.  Reports from the field are that SPS 2019 works well together and has no problem solving the clues.  They'll be back on campus for dinner in the Refectory before venturing out again tonight to go to the Kennedy Center for a concert given by the talented high school students recognized as Presidential Scholars in the Arts: