Lugar Fellows Prepare for Spring Break Trip to Nation's Capital

by Katie Staples | Mar 07, 2013

Five Marian University students will travel to Washington, D.C. this March for an educational spring break excursion. These students comprise the fourth Richard G. Lugar Fellows group to make the trip since 2009. Led by Pierre Atlas, Ph.D., director of The Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies (LFCGS), and joined by Shunji Cui, Ph.D., Marian University’s Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence from China, this year’s group anticipates an impressively full itinerary that will expose them to the capital city’s inner workings, institutions, professionals, think tanks, and universities.

As in previous years, the group will enjoy accommodations on the campus of Catholic University, located three subway stops from Union Station and the Capitol. They will navigate the city via the Metro and do a significant amount of walking as they make customary tours of the Capitol, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, World Bank, Brookings Institution, State Department, and the Smithsonian museums.

In addition to the usual sightseeing, Atlas has used his extensive network to plan a variety of visits with a host of dignitaries, too. Having historically planned the Lugar Fellows’ spring break trip in tandem with Senator Richard G. Lugar’s staff, Atlas acknowledged that this year’s agenda will be slightly altered now that Senator Lugar is no longer in the Senate (though the group will still visit the senator in his new Washington, D.C. office). As a substitute, Atlas has been working with Senator Dan Coats’ staff, opening up some new opportunities for the Fellows. 

Students will meet Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly, as well as Representatives André Carson and Susan Brooks. Further, since Senator Coats is on the Select Intelligence Committee and served as a former ambassador to Germany, the group will receive briefings from two of his senior staffers with expertise on those matters.

Other visits include lunch with Brian Hook, former deputy secretary of state for international organizations (President George W. Bush’s administration) and foreign policy advisory to the Mitt Romney campaign, as well as a meeting with Ice Miller Strategies, the agency that lobbies on behalf of Marian University.

With Cui participating in the program, Atlas has given this year’s excursion an added focus on China. The annual visit to the Brookings Institute will now include a meeting with one of the think tank’s China Center Fellows, and the group will visit the Chinese Embassy where both Cui and Atlas will make brief presentations as part of a dialogue that the Fellows group will have with junior and senior diplomats. Atlas will talk about U.S.-China relations, while Cui will discuss Sino-Japanese relations and the current crisis. Preceding the embassy visit, the group will have lunch with Ed McCord ’73, a China scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

McCord is not the only Marian College alumnus on the Fellows’ agenda. The group will also have dinner with Atlas’ former student, Patrick Trulock ’06 and his wife Megan ’06. This year, Trulock has arranged to secure the group a tour of his workplace, the headquarters of Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security. Alumna Sharon Lenius ’62 will also volunteer time to take the group sightseeing at Mt. Vernon and the Arlington National Cemetery. She will join Joe Moser ’00 in treating the Fellows to dinner at Good Stuff Eatery, a legendary burger joint near Capitol Hill.

Monetary support of the Lugar Fellows trip continues to expand each year. Dennis Donahue ’62 and Jody Benz ’67 join McCord as members of the LFCGS advisory group and have gifted funds to help underwrite the students’ travel expenses. Moreover, young alumni who participated in past D.C. trips—Meghann Ezzell ’10, Megan Karnes ’10, Loralee Sweet ’12, Marybeth (Fredericks) Lettellier ’10, and Stefanie Krueger ’09—have contributed as well.

Marian University is proud to once again facilitate the Lugar Fellows spring break opportunity as a means of furthering students’ political and global awareness. Among this year’s travelers are the following students:

1.  Andrew Barton, senior political science and prelaw major

2.  Stephen (Alex) Battiato, senior political science major and art minor

3.  Kelley Hoehn, junior political science major and global studies minor

4.  Annabelle Ondari, junior finance major and global studies minor; Lugar Fellow Scholar

5.  Hannah Spencer, senior political science major and ROTC student

For more information about The Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies, please visit the web site.


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