Monday, June 27, 2016

SPS 2016: Tour of National Public Radio

After a relaxing weekend, it was "back to work" for the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2016.  After a case study this morning on the U.S. use of drone warfare, this afternoon SPS '16 got an amazing tour of the National Public Radio studios (including the opportunity to pose with an Emmy won by NPR music).  The NPR visit culminated in a Q&A session with the NPR News Director, Mr. Michael Oreskes.

Friday, June 24, 2016

SPS 2016: Whew! Time to Relax After an Amazing First Week!

It was an action-packed first week for the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2016.  They read and discussed three case studies.  They heard from five different speakers (a New York Times investigative reporter, the U.S. Global AIDs coordinator, the Australian Ambassador to the United States, a top appellate lawyer, and the Deputy General Counsel of the Office of Personnel Management).  They visited the Australian Embassy and watched the Congressional Baseball game and saw the Presidential Scholars for the Arts perform at the Kennedy Center.  They prepared for and argued a Supreme Court case from the current term, Fisher v. United States.  And smaller groups from the SPS 2016 went on optional trips to hear Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation at the AEI think tank; Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley at the CSIS think tank; and panels on the Ukraine and the National Security Council at the Atlantic Council think tank.

After all the hard work and engagement of the past week, it's time for a little relaxation this weekend!  The down time started with a Friday night riverfront concert at The Yards Park in D.C. (photos below).
Enjoying the concert with new friends!

From left: Alex, Bradford, Anvesh, Jesus, and Luis

From left: Millie, Marie, Emily W., Emily Y., and Georgia

From left: Bradford, Jesus, Alex, Anvesh, and Luis

SPS 2016: Small Group Trip to Melinda Gates Event at AEI Think Tank

At the St. Albans School of Public Service, we are lucky enough to have as our faculty member Mr. Ted Eagles, who leads small groups of SPS students each summer in outings we call "Ted Trips." These "Ted Trips" allow small groups of students to sign up on an optional basis for events chosen by Mr. Eagles -- whether Congressional hearing or think tank panel or speaker. This morning, twelve SPS 2016 students were lucky enough to hear an inspirational presentation by Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation on the progress and challenges in working to reduce disease and extreme policy across the globe. Below is the video of the event, courtesy of AEI:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

SPS 2016: A DC Tradition -- the Congressional Baseball Game

There's no other tradition like it -- the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which pits Republican and Democratic members of Congress against each other in opposing dugouts on a baseball field instead of across the aisle.  This evening the St. Albans School of Public Service is enjoying a warm night at Nats Stadium watching the legislators strut their stuff on the diamond.

SPS 2016: Congressional Candidate Jamie Raskin Visits SPS

In an election year as exciting as any in recent memory, today the St. Albans School of Public Service was lucky enough to welcome as a speaker Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, who won the Democratic Primary for Maryland's 8th Congressional District and is seeking election in November to the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Raskin spoke about how he became involved in politics, his policy beliefs and priorities, and the recent primary campaign, before fielding a wide range of questions on the current political scene from the SPS Class of 2016.

SPS 2016: Case Studies at the St. Albans School of Public Service

This week at the St. Albans School of Public Service, the students have already engaged in three case studies on a range of policy issues.  Case studies put the reader in the role of the decision-maker, and are designed to bring out issues of complexity and nuance in the policy realm.  Below are photos from yesterday's case study discussion of the ethics of undercover "hidden camera" journalism and, more broadly, the role of the media in promoting the public interest (and what the boundaries of that role might be).
From left: Daniel and Jesus

From left: Jack C. and Julianna

From left: Bradford and Sylvie

From left: Medhanit, Anvesh, and Millie

From left: Faculty member Mr. Stephany, Emily W.,
Alex, Meya, and Jack B.

From left: George and Spencer

From left: Madeline and Alexa

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SPS 2016: The Speaker Series Continues

The St. Albans School of Public Service Speaker Series continued today, as we were lucky enough to hear from two engaging and inspirational speakers in one today.  In the morning, SPS heard from leading appellate attorney Jeff Wall, who spoke about his past work as a Department of Justice attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General and his current work as an appellate lawyer with a practice that includes arguments in front of the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Wall's visit was particularly timely, as the SPS students will be taking part in the mock Supreme Court argument later this week of an actual pending Supreme Court case, Fisher v. University of Texas.  Mr. Wall was able to offer insights on how a lawyer approaches a difficult appellate argument and fielded questions on everything from developments in constitutional interpretation to the background of the Fisher case.  (He was kind enough to stay after and answer additional questions, as well, from his eager audience.)

Mr. Jeff Wall answers additional questions from the SPS students
This afternoon the emphasis switched from law to medicine and public health, as the St. Albans School of Public Service was fortunate enough to host Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.  In her four decades of service in public health, Dr. Birx has promoted public health with positions in the Department of Defense, CDC, NIH, and the State Department.  She spoke to our students about her current work, her path to public service, and then fielded wide-ranging questions about areas of public health concern in the U.S. and worldwide.

Monday, June 20, 2016

SPS 2016: First Full Day of the Program

Speaker Ian Urbina of the New York Times
Today was the first full day of the St. Albans School of Public Service program (and as of this post, it's not over yet -- the group is attending the Salute to the 2016 Presidential Scholars concert at the Kennedy Center).  We started the day off with the first speaker of the 2016 session, Mr. Ian Urbina of the New York Times.  Mr. Urbina spoke about his career as an investigative journalist and led the students of a "deep dive" (no pun intended) into his most recent series of articles, the groundbreaking Outlaw Ocean Series (click on preceding link to go to the series).  Our bright and motivated SPS 2016 students asked lots of great questions!

After a break for lunch, SPS 2016 took part in their first case study of the session, which set forth a series of vignettes to consider the concept of whether it can ever be in the public interest for government officials to be less than fully honest with the public.  Then it was on to a different arena: the Amazing Race, Cathedral Close* Edition (*name for the grounds on which a Cathedral sits).  Six intrepid teams deciphered clues at various locations around the campus on which St. Albans School sits.  Tonight, it's off to the storied Kennedy Center to watch some talented young artists in concert.

Team Four -- major competitors -- at the outset of the Race!
Zoe, Dillon, and Tommy of Team Three n a group selfie with
the St. Albans Bulldog (a clue location!)