Updates from December, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Adrienne Frank 6:22 pm on December 17, 2013 Permalink  

    aim high 

    1501794_10152015338472459_596937123_nYesterday I realized one of my childhood dreams: getting up close and personal with an F-16. (My parents have a photo of me as a little girl with a female fighter pilot at an air show in Arizona. I wanted to be that woman.)

    I’m not going to give anything away (you’ll have to check out the April issue of American magazine to find out why we were at Andrews Air Force Base), but I will share this photo of art director Maria Jackson with an awesome piece of machinery in the background.

    Curiosity piqued yet?

  • Adrienne Frank 8:24 pm on December 12, 2013 Permalink  

    we’re golden! 

    D14_336_003American magazine received a gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) District II. Among the judges’ comments: “Good sense of place; concepts borrowed well from popular media; quality info and storytelling.”

    I’m not going to lie, we’re on cloud nine! A lot of love and sweat equity went into the redesign and we’re so proud of the magazine. The real reward is that AU alumni enjoy the magazine… but the CASE award is pretty awesome, too.

  • Mike Unger 5:59 pm on December 5, 2013 Permalink  

    our latest new American 

    DullahDullah Hassan is America’s newest citizen.

    Well, almost (more on that later).

    Hassan, the 20-year-old freshman who graces the cover of the latest edition of the magazine, passed his citizenship test Monday. He originally was scheduled to take it in October (before the magazine came out), but it was postponed due to the government shutdown.

    On a chilly morning in a nondescript office building in Fairfax, Virginia, Hassan passed the reading, writing, and civics tests that turned out to be much easier than he anticipated. In the car on the way to the Washington field office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he crammed in some last-minute studying on his iPhone.

    He wasn’t particularly nervous or anxious. Hassan has lived in America for nearly a decade now. He speaks English fluently, and he’s well versed in the country’s history. He was confident.

    After going through a metal detector to enter the building (belts had to come off, but shoes could stay on), Dullah had to show his official test time and date notification, his green card, and provide scans of his fingerprints (actual ink prints had been taken months earlier). Following a short wait in the DMV-like waiting room, he was called into the office of a test administrator and placed under oath.

    Aida Hernandez, the USCIS official who interviewed Dullah, had him sign an attorney waver, then mentioned that there was a slight problem. Applicants are required to be residents of the area in which they’ll be sworn in for at least 90 days before filing their official citizenship application. Dullah grew up near Atlanta and didn’t come to Washington until August, meaning he didn’t meet the D.C. area residency requirement.

    Hernandez told him that if he passed the test, he’d have to take the oath in Atlanta. Hassan, an unflappable kind of kid, took the hiccup in stride.

    The first set of questions Hernandez asked Hassan included:

    • Are you a member of a terrorist organization?
    • Do you owe taxes?
    • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
    • Have you ever sold or smuggled narcotics?
    • Have you ever helped assist in smuggling anyone into the country?

    “No,” Dullah (thankfully) replied to them all.

    His reading sample was straightforward: “Who elects Congress,” he said with no problem.

    Hernandez asked him to write the sentence “Congress meets in Washington,” before moving on to the civics test. Six questions were selected from the 100 possible ones Hassan studied. He went six-for-six, correctly answering:

    • Name three of the 13 original colonies
    • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
    • Name one state that borders Mexico
    • Who is the commander in chief of the military?
    • What are the two major political parties?
    • Which party is the president a member of?

    “You passed, congratulations,” Hernandez said. And that was it. No balloons, no music, no fanfare. Hassan’s technically not a citizen until his swearing in, but during the walk back to the car he smiled and said he was “relieved.”

    He planned to celebrate by eating a big lunch on campus, registering for classes next semester, and perhaps taking a nap. When you’ve experienced as much as Dullah has, nothing seems like too big of a deal.

    His newfound status is, perhaps, more exciting to his girlfriend. Samantha, who attends Emory University, texted him: “I’m going to be dating an American!”

  • Adrienne Frank 6:02 pm on December 3, 2013 Permalink  

    a witness to history 

    pov2AU tops Princeton Review’s 2013 list of most politically active campuses, so it should come as no surprise that our alumni are equally engaged in “the business of Washington.”

    White House press assistant Hannah Hankins, SOC/BA ’11, is one of AU’s “party animals.” Hannah—who worked in the magazine’s own University Communications and Marketing office as an undergrad—has held three different positions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We were blown away by how cool, calm and collected Hannah is, especially since we arrived to take her photo late on Sept. 27, the Friday before the government shutdown. (President Obama delivered remarks in the briefing room just minutes before Jeff Watts snapped Hannah’s portrait.)

    Cooler still, the native Minnesotan is one of five AU alumna in the White House communications office. pov1(Pictured from left: Hankins; associate research director Kristen Bartoloni, SPA/BA ’08; executive assistant to the communications director Dawn Selak, SOC/BA ’10; and deputy research director Alex Platkin, SPA/BA ’07. With the impending shutdown, ommunications director Jennifer Palmieri couldn’t make the mini AU reunion.)

    And speaking of the “POTUS,” as Hannah called him throughout our interview, President Barack Obama will be at AU on Thursday, December 5 for a taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews. You can submit a question for the POTUS here.

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