Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It may be hard to believe, but Inc. Magazine lists Tacoma in the top twenty midsized cities for doing business. In the overall rankings of all cities Tacoma comes in at 77--which may not sound that impressive, but compare it to Portland (169) or Seattle (179). Read the whole thing here; similar findings from the Milken Institute here.




After many hours and test versions I've generated a department logo. Now we can hold our heads high and sniff at those logo-less departments in our midst.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Voter Guides

From Professor Bass:

Students in the PG312 Parties, Elections, and Campaigns class have been following particular House and Senate races across the country all semester, researching the candidates, issues, ads, funding, polls, and much, much more. As part of their projects, they’ve put together voter guides on each of their races, and we are making them available to you below. So if you are looking for information on races you’ll vote in next week, or are just interested in learning more about races in the news, here is your one-stop-shopping for many of the most hotly contested races of 2006!

2006 Midterm Election Information

Local Races
The TNT has a link to candidate profiles and campaign coverage on the front page of their website (in the middle of the page): http://www.thenewstribune.com/

Voter Guides
Students in PG 312 have written voter guides for the following races. Incumbents italicized.

Senate Races

  • ArizonaKyl (R) v. Pederson (D)
  • CaliforniaFeinstein (D) v. Montjoy (R)
  • ConnecticutLieberman (I/D) v. Lamont (D) v. Schlesinger (R)
  • FloridaNelson (D) v. Harris (R)
  • MaineSnowe (R) v. Bright (D)
  • Maryland Cardin (D) v. Steele (R) Open seat; currently D
  • MichiganStabenow (D) v. Bouchard (R)
  • MissouriTalent (R) v. McCaskill (D)
  • MontanaBurns (R) v. Tester (D)
  • NebraskaNelson (D) v. Ricketts (R)
  • New JerseyMenendez (D) v. Kean (R)
  • OhioDeWine (R) v. Brown (D)
  • PennsylvaniaSantorum (R) v. Casey (D)
  • Rhode IslandChafee (R) v. Whitehouse (D)
  • Tennessee – Corker (R) v. Ford (D) Open seat; currently R
  • Vermont – Sanders (I/D) v. Tarrant (R) Open seat; currently I/D
  • VirginiaAllen (R) v. Webb (D)
  • WashingtonCantwell (D) v. McGavick (R)
  • West VirginiaByrd (D) v. Raese (R)

House Races

  • AZ-08: Graf (R) v. Giffords (D) Open seat; currently R
  • CA-14: Eshoo (D) v. Smith (R)
  • CO-03: Salazar (D) v. Tipton (R)
  • CO-07: O’Donnell (R) v. Perlmutter (D) Open seat; currently R
  • CT-02: Simmons (R) v. Courtney (D)
  • IL-06: Roskam (R) v. Duckworth (D) Open seat; currently R
  • NH-01: Bradley (R) v. Shea-Porter (D)
  • NM-01: Wilson (R) v. Madrid (D)
  • NC-11: Taylor (R) v. Shuler (D)
  • OH-18: Padgett (R) v. Space (D) Open seat; currently R
  • OR-05: Hooley (D) v. Erickson (R)
  • PA-08: Fitzpatrick (R) v. Murphy (D)
  • TX-17: Edwards (D) v. Taylor (R)
  • TX-22: Sekula-Gibbs (R) v. Lampson (D) Open seat; currently R
  • VA-02: Drake (D) v. Kellam (R)
  • WA-02: Larsen (D) v. Roulstone (R)
  • WA-08: Reichert (R) v. Burner (D)
  • WA-09: Smith (D) v. Cofchin (R)

The Best Barber (Chair) in Tacoma

For years I've had my hair cut at a little place on Sixth Avenue not far from campus. It's been a barber shop since time immemorial, though little of the original detail is left. However, Matt, a new partner in the business, recently restored and installed an incredible 100 year old barber chair that makes you feel good just sitting in it. Oh, and he's the only guy in the South Sound who can give you a shave with a straight razor. The News Tribune has taken note; read the article here.


Day of the Dead


Our colleagues down the hall in Foreign Languages have the artistic edge over us, to be certain. They often decorate the alcove on our floor to celebrate important holidays, including Day of the Dead. I thought I'd snap a couple of pictures this morning to share their work with you all.



Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ephemera: Duck and Cover

survival under atomic attack1

Some years back a colleague found this stuck in a university library book and gave it to me. Given how old this is (the early 1950s) I'd say the book hadn't had a lot of readers. A somewhat creepy Cold War souvenir.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sam and Barack

Sam Kussin-Shoptaw '09 has been very busy this week with his internship (that he got off the blog) with Darcy Burner, who is running for Congress against Dave Reichert. As the campaign moves into the home stretch Sam's responsibilities have grown and his opportunity for sleep declined. One side benefit of all this work, however, is the ability to hobnob with those in power--Sam was at a rally on Thursday held by Senator Barack Obama, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Darcy Burner in Bellevue. We plied Sam with a camera and asked him to take some pictures. Here are a few; you'll find all of them here.

Sam with State Representative Deb Eddy.

Darcy Burner

Barack Obama, Darcy Burner and some guy who looks like he's trying to steal Obama's tie.


Darcy Burner, Barack Obama and Maria Cantwell.

Thanks for the photos, Sam, and we look forward to hearing more about your experiences.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Professor Hansen on the West Bank

This fall Professor Hendrik Hansen spent some time in Israel and the West Bank. He sent along a number of photos which you can find here. I've posted a few below with Professor Hansen's captions.

1_entrance to Bethlehem

Golan Heights, on the border with Syria

4_graffiti in Ramallah

"Checkpoint Atarot, between Ramallah and Jerusalem (it's forbidden to take photos there, that's why it is not straight)

"A view from the Dominus flevit church on the Dome of the Rock (which is close to the Al Aksa Mosque). Dominus Flevit Church is on the Mount of Olives; the church's name is Latin for "The Lord wept". Jesus cried here when he arrived in Jerusalem and predicted the destruction of the Temple, which was destroyed in the year 70 CE (Luke 19, 37-42)."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hungary 56/06

As some of you have probably read, the anniversary celebrations commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Budapest went badly. Jennifer (Eidum) Zinchuk '03 took in the scene and reports on her blog. Read the story here.

Generation Next

Since I'm out of touch, I was unaware of Generation Next, a joint effort between USA Today and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions at PBS. They have what looks to be an interesting blog, and are currently canvasing for letters from those aged 18-29 on the important issues around the 2006 election. Find the blog here, and the flier for student submissions here.

Best article on the blog--parents hiding GPS devices in their kids' cars. There's also an interesting discussion on the diametrically different (and equally problematic) cases of helicopter parents and toxic parents.


Talk: What's at Stake in the Upcoming Elections?

whats at stake in the midterm elections 102606
As an aside, Irene Lim does wonderful posters for us. Thanks, Irene!

Opportunities for Minorities from the American Political Science Association

Here are two opportunities for members of minorities who want to go into a doctoral program in political science. If you are interested in either, come see me, drop me an email or give me a call.

Minority Fellowship Deadline - November 6
APSA has doubled support for minority fellowships to 12 funded fellows annually. The APSA Council acted after hearing a report from the Minority Programs Review Committee on the effectiveness of the program in helping to sustain minority student acceptance to and retention in graduate school. The Council also broadened eligibility to include Asian Pacific American students, beginning with the funding round this Fall. Fellows with stipends receive a $4,000 fellowship, disbursed in two $2,000 payments during their graduate studies -- one at the end of their first year and one at the end of their second -- provided that they remain in good academic standing.

The 2007 deadline for applications is Monday, November 6, 2006. Application reviews will commence thereafter and awards will be announced at the end of November.
For more information, see www.apsanet.org/section_427.cfm. For more information, please contact: Hayle Ziobro at hziobro@apsanet.org.


Minority Identification Project

In 1989, APSA established the Minority Identification (MID) Project as part of its efforts to diversify the political science profession. Faculty members in undergraduate programs are encouraged to contact minority students about careers in political science and then submit the names of promising minority candidates for graduate study to the MID database. Core Schools -- graduate programs participating in the MID Project -- actively recruit students identified in the MID database. The program complements the important efforts already made through the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute and Minority Fellows Program. For more information, visit www.apsanet.org/section_428.cfm.

Next Stop: Oprah

This fall has seen the release of the second edition of Essentials in Comparative Politics, a text authored by myself, Professor Fields and Share. The main text came out in fall, but the case study text (covering the US, UK, Japan, Russia, China, Iran, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Nigeria) just showed up yesterday. This is first hardback edition of the cases, as in its previous incarnation it only existed as an online text.

We decided to pose with our publication like the proud parents that we are.
From left to right: Fields, O'Neil, Share.

If you are interested in knowing more, the publisher has all the details here.

My Favorite Spam

Our once impenetrable email filter on campus has been breached in recent weeks by a smattering of spam. Here's one from my inbox this morning, and seemingly custom-garbled for a political scientist:

From: "Presidents Neither"
To: poneil@ups.edu
Subject: religions. Pikie

Dirty web usual ctd is weighs or inthe or occupy or nation impose or martial law.

I couldn't agree more, and will take this issue up in my next class discussion on Pikie nation impose dirty web.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Professor Weinberger's Daedalus Talk

Yesterday Professor Weinberger gave a talk to the Daedalus Society on campus entitled "Restoring the Balance: War Powers in An Age of Terror". This dinner and talk is typically not directed towards students, but this year our department was encouraged to send along some of our majors who might like to attend. A few shots from the event, courtesy Professor Ferrari.


Professor Weinberger, Linz Heppe '07 and Amelia Lamb '07.



Fantasy Congress

Why play Fantasy Football?
"To put it simply, create an account, join a league, draft a team of real U.S. Members of Congress and have fun as you compete to score as many points as possible. As the Members of Congress you drafted put real legislation through the lawmaking process they will score points for your team."
Fantasy Congress!

Our Ivy League Alums

By my reckoning we now have three alums currently in graduate school at Harvard, two of which are at the Kennedy School of Government--including Kendall LeVan '05. Kendall offers her help to anyone considering grad school, so email me if you want to get in touch with her.


I thought it was about time that I sent an email to say hello. I have very much enjoyed reading the UPS politics department blog over the last however many months. It is fantastic to hear what everyone is up to in their disparate regions of the world.

I ended up in Cambridge going to the Kennedy School of Government and am finally settling into classes and life on the east coast. While I am enjoying it here immensely (the resources at KSG are amzaing; for example, yesterday I went to a study group with Michael Gerson, President Bush's main speech writer for many years; and last week I went to a film screening with Christiane Amanpour), I must say I miss Tacoma and the laid back attitude of UPS (even Joseph Nye's national security knowledge can't compete with Bill Haltom's Raider's jersey!)

More and more I realize that I wouldn't trade my time there for anything. Most of my fellow classmates went to Harvard College, Brown, Princeton, UPenn and so forth. They find it amazing that I had 8-person classes capable of genuine discussion. In terms of education, community and people, I believe I lucked out.

Anyway, now that I am done being nostalgic, I wanted to a) thank you again for your help in my getting to where I am b) offer myself as a resource if you have any students contemplating graduate programs and/or beginning the application process and c) hear what you are working on at the moment and see if you had any must-reads (I will forever think of you as a great recommender after the thesis class reading list). I think that is all.

Hope all is well in Tacoma, Kendall


Monday, October 23, 2006

Alum Update: Estevan Munoz Howard '04

Estevan writes of his recent time abroad and how our incessant use of the concept of social capital in PG 250 finally brainwashed him:

"Since I graduated in 2004 I have mostly been living abroad. Last year I was teaching English in Japan; this year I'm managing an ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Andes. I look forward to finally returning home in June of 2007, at which point I will be finalizing my plans for graduate school and applying to programs next Fall to attend school the following year (2008)....For the longest time I was torn trying to decide which subject to focus on in my studies: Environmental Politics or Latin American Politics. However, since coming here to Ecuador and experiencing the local culture (we live in a very small town) a new interest has taken over and quickly eclipsed the other two. My attention has returned to the idea of social capital...studying it, writing about it, fostering it...

I am interested in working to promote social capital because I see it as a crucial factor in our social and political well-being and I believe that with its increase many other questions and dilemmas can be addressed. I realized that many of the problems we are experiencing in the States are directly related to deficiencies in various types of social capital. I've recently been reading studies and theses regarding this subject on the World Bank website, among others, and they have really piqued my interest.

...I have found the APSIA programs to be interesting. I am particularly interested in the dual-degree programs that combine international affairs with public policy or social work. But the more I look into social capital, the more I feel like that might be the field I will go into (although these fields are clearly not mutually exclusive). I've noticed that there don't seem to be many comprehensive organizations whose specific aim is to build social capital in general. There are several that focus on raising social and political awareness or getting people involved in solving specific problems, but I haven't found too many that attempt to link the various forms of social capital together, at least, not explicitly. At this point, I'm interested in getting experience working with non-profits in the Seattle area and then who knows...maybe starting one of my own or expanding another one that is already out there. Ideally, I would be able to work with an organization that takes a more unified approach to the promotion of social capital...one that seeks to build it on both macro and micro levels...possibly with international programs as well as national ones."

Any alums out there who have thoughts on programs or opportunities that Estevan should look into, given his interests above? Comment below or send me an email and I'll pass it along to him.


Professor Bonura is Keeping Busy

In case you thought that faculty on sabbatical sat around all day eating bon-bons, here's evidence that Professor Bonura, at least, keeps busy. On November 8 he's giving a presentation at St. Andrew's College, Oxford on Muslim civil society in Southeast Asia. Best wishes for the talk!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wage Gaps and Higher Education

From The Wall Street Journal's College Online, a report that the wages of those with undergraduate degrees are not faring as well in the economy as one might expect: "It is in the middle -- where many four-year college graduates work -- that imports, overseas outsourcing and technology seems to be reducing U.S. employer demand most significantly, and thus restraining wages."

So who is doing better? Those with professional and (some) graduate degrees. Read the whole piece here, and there's an accompanying video with more data.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Looking for a Job?

Thanks to all of your help we've been building a tremendous network of UPS PG alums. Not only is there the blog's mailing list and your regular contacts with me and each other, but the ASK Network is also huge, with over 200 alums from our department.

But perhaps we could be more proactive, especially when it comes to those looking for a job. I'd like to experiment with providing a place where job seekers could shout-out to alums who might be able to provide contacts or suggestions. I've looked at some of the networking sites (like LinkedIn) as a way to do this but I don't want our readers to have to sign up for yet another service.

So here is what I'm suggesting:

1. If you're an alum out on the market, we'd be happy to blog about you and host your resume for other readers who might be able to help you out.
2. If you're an alum who has a job opening, we'd be happy to blog about the position and steer potential job candidates your way.

As spring rolls around and our seniors starting looking for work in earnest, I will try to formalize all this with a page that highlights their skills and career interests.

Do you have an idea of how we might best organize this on our end? If so, leave a comment or email me. I would very much welcome feedback on the idea and thoughts on how to make it best work.

Let the networking begin...

DC Alum Gathering Recap

A big thanks to Andrea Tull '02 who helped set up the PG alum gathering in DC last week. And she sent along some pictures, with graduates from the 1980s, 1990s and 00's in attendance--including one alum to be, Cat Fish '08, who is currently in DC interning in Adam Smith's office. You can find all the photos here.

I look forward to making an October gathering a regular DC event, and I will do my best to attend next fall.

From left to right: Jess Box '06, Julie Housh '06, Ron Davison '85, Andrea Tull '02, Jennifer Fischer '94, Cat Fish '08, Evie Schell '02, Nick Lowe '02, Lipika Choudhury '06, Ned Culhane '06. Not pictured: Erin Speck '00

Fish, Speck, Davison, Box

Choudhury, Culhane1

Great to see all of you, and I hope to buy the next round in person!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Scrybe: Online Organization

Could this product be as good as it appears in beta? Watch the video and sign up to test the beta. I've signed up and will keep you posted.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals

Don't want to go to Redmond? How about Germany?

Dear Colleague,

I would like to remind you that the deadline for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals is approaching on December 1st. This federally funded scholarship to Germany is a unique opportunity for students and young professionals between the ages of 18-24 to work and study in a foreign country. The one-year cultural exchange is designed to give 75 Americans an understanding and knowledge of everyday life in Germany by living with a host family, studying at a German university, and working in a German company or organization.

Funded by the US Congress and German Parliament (Bundestag), the program is administered by CDS International, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting work- and study-abroad opportunities for students and young professionals. The program is designed primarily for those in business, technical, vocational and agricultural fields, although applicants in all fields are encouraged to apply. Strong interest in German and international affairs is essential, although German language skills are not required to apply.

The program has three components: a two-month intensive German language course in Germany; four-month study at a German university or professional school; and a five-month internship with a German company or organization in the participant's target field. For the duration of the program, participants live with German host families or in shared-apartment situations.

Program Duration: 1 year, beginning in late July 2007 and ending in mid-July 2008

Scholarship Includes: International airfare; schooling fees; orientation, mid-year and final seminars; insurance; partial local transportation; and host family stipends. Participants must provide their own spending money throughout the year.

Application Deadline is December 1st, 2006. Applications can be completed online, are available for download, or can be requested by mail. Apply today at www.cdsintl.org/cbyx or request an application by emailing cbyx@cdsintl.org.

Requirements: Each participant must be a US citizen or permanent resident between 18 and 24 years old at the start of the program in July 2007; must have a high school diploma, clear career goals and related work experience; and must possess flexibility, diplomacy, and a strong sense of American identity. German language skills are not required to apply!

Fields: Program is targeted to students in business, technical, vocational and agricultural fields, though students from all fields are encouraged to apply.

Please inform eligible candidates of this unique exchange opportunity. If you require promotional materials, or have any questions about the program, please contact:

Will Maier, Assistant Program Officer
Gabrielle White, Program Assistant

CBYX for Young Professionals
CDS International, Inc.
871 United Nations Plaza, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017-1814
Phone: (212) 497-3522
Fax: (212) 497-3535
Email: cbyx@cdsintl.org
URL: www.cdsintl.org/cbyx


Juniors: Summer Paid Internship at Microsoft

From Professor Ostrom in the English Department, and definitely worth considering:

Tim Lulofs (from Microsoft) and I are trying to jump-start a (well paid) summer-internship in technical writing at Microsoft. This internship will be open to any junior, regardless of major, at UPS....I need your help identifying good candidates. I want to present Tim with a good pool from which to choose. This is a remarkable opportunity for our students, for Microsoft tends not to recruit heavily at liberal-arts colleges. The intern will be working on real projects at Microsoft. The criteria:

1. The student must be a junior this year. Microsoft deliberately designs its internships to occur in the summer after the junior year.
2. The student should write well.
3. The student should have some interest in technology. Tim stresses, however, that the student need not be from computer science, nor even be a “computer geek.” Almost any technological angle is worthy. Perhaps the student works with statistics in a project, for example. At the same time, a computer-science major who writes well would certainly not be ruled out, to say the least.
4. The student should be interested in the possibility of a career in technical writing; however, Tim stresses that “technical writing” now covers an enormous array of writing and editing, especially at Microsoft. Some of the writing is related directly to Microsoft’s platforms and software; some is related to its myriad business-applications; and some is related to its entertainment-division. Many of our students may be thinking too narrowly when they hear the term “technical writing.” And of course the internship could be a stepping-stone to a spectrum of careers at Microsoft or elsewhere.
5. The student’s resume and letter-of-interest should be impeccably edited.

The application-deadline is November 15, 2006. The letters and resumes should be sent directly to . . .

Tim Lulofs
c/o Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052-6399

Please encourage juniors who write well to apply, even if “technical writing” isn’t at the top of their Likely Careers list at the moment. Also, please urge them to contact Alana Jardis in Career Development (Howarth Hall) before they apply. Alana is doing great work to help get this internship off the ground. She and I would greatly appreciate any recruitment efforts you could make.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fashion Show

So I decided that one of the major issues our department is confronting is the lack of appropriate swag, as the hip kids say. So I've been tinkering with CafePress and here's what we now have in "beta":

(Note: I'm not responsible for the "Made in the USA," so please no emails on the virtues of comparative advantage and low tariff barriers)

So far it only exists online, but once I get one and if it's halfway decent we'll open it up for orders. At last, our own merchandise!

Time to Embarrass our Alums

Ron Davison '85 sends along these photos from SRA where he and Erin Speck '00 work (see my previous post)


Erin wins Rookie of the Year Award from SRA for her work on Katrina disaster relief


Erin greets President Bush and Department of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff at SRA


Ron gives the secret SRA hand sign to his fellow initiates

A walk of fame for worthy work.

Thanks for the pictures!


Alum Profile: Kevin Billings '77

Another amazing alum with a great story:

What have I done since graduation? Here you go.

Man, it has been such a long time, I sometimes forget.

Anyway, I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior year at UPS as an intern in DC working for Congressman Jack Edwards from Alabama. After I graduated from UPS in December of 1977, I was building houses and figuring out what I wanted to do when in May of 1978, I got a call from Congressman Edwards telling me that his son, Richard, just graduated from high school and was not going to go to college right away, but was coming to Seattle to work as a photographer for Boeing. Mr. Edwards asked if I would meet him at the airport and put him up while he looked for a place to live.

A couple of weeks later Richard was settled and Mr. Edwards call to thank me and as we were talking, he asked me what I was doing and I told him building houses and thinking about Navy OCS. I told him I wanted to do Legislative Affairs in the Navy, but the recruiter told me I would be going to sea at least three times before I see the inside of the Rayburn Building again. Then Mr. Edwards said, if I want to come back and work on the Hill, he and his wife will put me up and he'd pay me intern wages until I found a job.

So, I packed up my car and left Tacoma and arrived in DC the day before Election Day in 1978. I sent out 8 billion resumes and did a bunch of interviews and learned that new Members don't hire inexperienced staff first. But in January '79, I got two job offers on the same day, both from freshman Members. The Member I decided to work for was a freshman Republican from Southern California with probably the most recognizable name in the freshman class, Jerry Lewis. The other guy was a one-term wonder from Texas.

Congressman Lewis had been in Congress all of about 11 days when he hired me with the proviso that I only spend four years on the Hill before I go out and get a "real job". I started as a legislative correspondent and then became a special assistant doing legislative projects; one was saving what was at the time, the largest solar power plant in the world.

After the 1980 elections, I was talking with my old coach at UPS Joe Stortini, and he said that I should look up a buddy of his from the State Legislature who had just been elected, Sid Morrison. I had the chance to meet Sid and his chief of staff at a reception, then one thing led to another and I was hired to do all the energy issues for Morrison's District which included Hanford. Meanwhile, Congressman Lewis held me to my commitment to only work four years on the Hill.

While I worked for Congressman Morrison I was heavily involved in the writing of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, additionally, I worked on the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project, WPPSS, the start up funding of FFTF and the shut down of plutonium extraction facilities at Hanford. When I started to look for a job near the end of the Congress, a number of PR/Government Affairs type of jobs appeared, but one of the Executives with Westinghouse at Hanford suggested to me that some business experience vs. PR experience in a company would serve me better in the long run and that there was a procurement job at Hanford that I should interview for. It was great advice, and in March of 1984, I went to work at Westinghouse Hanford Company in procurement on the FFTF project.

A couple of years later, the President of the American Nuclear Energy Council (ANEC) asked me if I wanted to come back to DC as VP of Legislative Affairs. So, I succumbed to Foggy Bottom Fever and moved back to Washington. I spent five years at ANEC and led the nuclear industry efforts to pass the Price Anderson Act Amendments of 1988, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1987, and Nuclear Plant Licensing Reform. While I was at ANEC, I completed the Executive Development Program at the University Of Pennsylvania Wharton School Of Business.

I then had an opportunity to go back to work for Westinghouse managing the Washington operations for Westinghouse Hanford company. Eventually, was put in charge of Washington Operations for the entire Business Unit and when tat Business Unit was consolidated with three other Business Units, I was selected to become Director and General Manager of Washington operations for that Group. The Government and Environmental Services Company (GESCO) was a $3.5 billion business with its largest customers being the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

Because so much of the business was Washington focused my responsibilities ultimately included all strategic planning, customer relations, and business development, as well as the traditional legislative and regulatory affairs one usually, associates with Washington. During that time I was also, elected to the Boards of Directors of the Westinghouse Idaho Nuclear Company, the Westinghouse Environmental Management Company of Ohio, and the West Valley Nuclear Services Company.

The executive who was initially selected to be President of GESCO was Dr. Francis J. Harvey who had most recently been the Vice President of Science and Technology for Westinghouse. My associations with Dr. Harvey as well as with Congressman Lewis are classic examples of how mentors and friends develop and influence career paths.

Dr. Harvey went on to be President of the Westinghouse Defense and Electronic Business Group. After the sale of that group to Northrop Grumman, Dr. Harvey became the Chief Operating Officer of all of Westinghouse and selected me to be the co-lead of a team to acquire the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) which was being privatized by the Department of Energy. Our team set out and raised $1.5 billion and developed a strategy to vertically integrate the uranium enrichment business with the entire front end of the nuclear fuel cycle while totally changing US market dynamics by being able to restructure the traditional pricing strategy of enrichment services.

Meanwhile, while this was going on, Westinghouse bought CBS and CBS subsequently bought Viacom from Mel Karmazan for a passel full of Westinghouse stock. Without going into the painful details of how it got there, Westinghouse became essentially two companies – broadcasting, which had grown from a group thaat was established in 1920 essentially to provide content for the radios Westinghouse was selling; and the industrial companies in the energy and defense sectors. In the late 1990's the broadcasting tail was wagging the industrial dog.

A classic example of broadcasting driving Westinghouse was when we were ready to submit our bids to the government to buy USEC. After 18 months of effort by a team of 15 employees and numerous consultants; after raising $1.5 billion from Japanese utilities and merchant companies; after crafting three separate bids; after getting all the requisite approvals from the Westinghouse CFO and CEO, we were three days away from submitting all of this to the Department of Energy and Mel Karmazan says we can't do it. Karmazan was concerned that the proposal to the government might unnecessarily make difficult the contemplated split of Westinghouse stock from one stock to a Westinghouse stock and a CBS stock. Since Karmazan had entered the picture, he was obsessed that Wall Street analysts (who are the single most myopic creatures on the planet) were undervaluing the stock. This is because media analysts were clueless about the industrial value of the company and industrial analysts were clueless about broadcasting thereby undervaluing both.

At that point, I had a number of attractive offers and decided to take one. I left Westinghouse to become an executive at ICF Kaiser. Kaiser was acquired about nine months later and I was able to exercise the parachute provisions of my employment agreement.

While I was relaxing and figuring out what I would do next, a number of companies asked me if I would help them with specific projects. This turned into a consulting business that I grew for five years and eventually sold to a subsidiary of MWH Global.

In the meantime, Dr. Harvey had left Westinghouse as well and was serving on a number of corporate Boards. A number of these companies became my clients and I worked closely with him on a number of projects including one that would become the template for Sarbanes/Oxley compliance for one of the world's largest merchant banks.

In 2004, Dr. Harvey was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to become the 19th Secretary of the Army. So, in addition to my other work, I serve as an unpaid advisor to the Secretary of the Army, working primarily on Lean/Six-Sigma and industrial safety projects.

Also, while all of this was going on, Congressman Lewis continued to be elected by his constituents and is currently the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

One of the folks who briefed Dr. Harvey during his transition as SECARMY was Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett author of The Pentagon's New Map who was at the time teaching at the Naval War College. Dr. Harvey explained the brief to me and suggested it was a book I should read. The concepts in Barnett's book supported a business strategy for a client of mine, so I went up to the War College to meet Barnett and to discuss his ideas and how they would fit with my client.

Barnett and I hit it off and at the time he was in the process of leaving the War College and starting his own company. I decided to invest in his company and in about six months, his company was acquired by Enterra Solutions, LLC. Enterra brought me on as a consultant and this May, convinced me to come on board full-time.

Kevin Billings '77

In my personal life, I have a 19 year-old son who is a 3rd Class Midshipman at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, King Point, NY and a 6 year-old daughter adopted from Wuxi, China and a 4 year-old daughter from Hefei, China. All three have brought great joy to my life and opportunities to give something back as well.

After the adoptions of our daughters, I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the International Children's Alliance, and I now serve as its Chairman of the Board. That has proven to be a great opportunity to use the skills I have learned over the years to help families and children come together and also to provide much needed resources to children in orphanages throughout the world.

My work for the Secretary of the Army allowed me helped the Superintendent at Kings Point with a couple of projects with the Department of Defense and the Army. Subsequently, I was asked to participate in the Academy's strategic planning process and most recently I have been asked to assemble and chair an external affairs advisory board for the Academy.

As I get older, I find I enjoy the things I do solely for their intrinsic value lot more than the things I do for monetary remuneration. The ironic thing is that those things often lead to opportunities one wouldn't have imagined at the outset. If you told me 30 years ago, I would have done half of this; I never would have believed you. Clearly, the lessons from UPS have been valuable. From Wallrof, to Cousens, to Heppe, I can't put my finger one thing in particular, but it all seems to have worked out OK.

What comes next? Churchill had some good advice on that -- It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Microsoft on Campus

Short notice, I know, but Timothy Lulofs will be giving a presentation Thursday, October 19 (tomorrow!) at 4 pm in Wyatt 307 on software development, technical writing, internships, and scholarships at Microsoft. I know our readers might be thinking "me, at Microsoft? I'm no programmer!" But we've sent more than one of our alums down the high-tech road, and Mr Lulofs himself has his PhD in English.
On Thursday, October 19, in Wyatt 301, from 4:00-5:00 p.m.,

Mr. Lulofs will present information to interested students about the following topics:

· Microsoft is looking for college students to fill our full-time Software Development positions: www.microsoft.com/college

· Beginning in November, Microsoft will hire students returning to school next year for our summer internships: www.microsoft.com/college/intern.

· Want free tuition? Check out our Web site for scholarship information: http://www.microsoft.com/college/ss_overview.mspx

· Send resumes to NatlTeam@microsoft.com or your UPS recruiter, Lisa Ooyman at lisa.ooyman@microsoft.com.

So go already and find out more!

Sri Lanka Answers: Michelle Collins '01

I received a couple of emails from Michelle Collins '01. I'll let her speak for herself:

I have been reading the PG blog since it started. It is very interesting to see where everyone is. I account for the hits in Sri Lanka. I have been living here since Feb 05 working for the American Embassy. I am due to leave in Jan where my next post will be Kabul for a year at the embassy.

I would consider myself very well versed on LTTE, having lived through numerous bombing, and attacks in the country. The latest being yesterday where a truck bomb killed over 90 navy personal on their way back home. The event happened 150 miles from the capital Colombo where I live. A cease fire has been in place since 2002 but it is only on paper. After the tsumani peace looked promising but that was only because both sides suffered.

However, sad or horrible an attack is life must go on and the people of Sri Lanka know that and are used to it. We as Americans find it strange, but after two years here I am used to seeing suicide bombers and claymore attacks. Anyway I just wanted to send a friendly email from Sri Lanka.

arugrambay 005
The one photo is of me with a Special Task Force member (part of the police) at the signing of the re-building of the Arugam Bay Bridge. The Americans are re-building the bridge which was wiped out in the tsunami in Dec 2004.

arugrambay 010
The other photo is the actual event, showing the relationship between Sri Lanka and the Americans. I was responsible for the security aspects of the event.

Another attack today, this time three suicide boats attacked a navy base in the Southern part of Sri Lanka which has been thought of as relatively safe and is a major tourist site. Everyday some kind of attack. A controlled civil war. Diplomacy at its toughest is what the American Embassy is facing.

If anyone wants to know about Sri Lanka feel free to email me.
Michele Collins mecollins1[at]hotmail.com


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Suave Scholars--No, Really!

No, I'm not trying to be funny (for once). This comes from Professor Ferrari via the Canadian Consulate, and of interest to those about to graduate and more recent alums:

The Program provides an opportunity for up to fourteen young leaders from all over the world to spend eight months in Montreal attending courses at McGill University, to enlarge upon their understanding of the state of the world and their roles in making positive change. The Scholarship is valued at $30,000 CDN. Since its inception, 45 young scholars from 37 different countries have been awarded Sauvé Scholarships.

If you require further information please look at our website www.sauvescholars.org

Here's the eligibility information from their website:

The Program seeks highly-motivated candidates who have completed their undergraduate education, or the equivalent, but who have not necessarily attained an advanced degree. Focusing on the unrealized potential of their youth, but with a solid academic or experiential foundation, candidates should be under thirty years of age.

Candidates will be expected to have a solid academic record, and while attending university, to have taken an active role in campus life as a student organizer or leader, or have taken an active role in the community.

Successful candidates are committed leaders in their professions and in their communities. They demonstrate a track record of success, a skill for communication and an eagerness to engage with the complex issues of the day.

Past Scholars have come from a wide range of disciplines such as journalism, communications, the arts, economics, and social and community development.

Candidates are encouraged to provide the Foundation with proof of their leadership initiatives to date through media reports or third party commentaries.


DC Alums: 10/19 Change of Venue!

From Andrea Tull:

"Slight change of plans...the Union Station location is being closed for a private event (go figure!) so we are moving our gathering to the Capitol City Brewing Company downtown location. This is located just 1-2 blocks from Metro Center off the red, blue, or orange subway lines at the corner of 11th and H Street NW. The P&G Department will pick up the food tab - thank you! Reservation for 15 people in the bar, see you there!"

It's the department's pleasure to pick up the food--looking forward to the pictures. And if you haven't RSVP'ed but have the chance, do drop Andrea a note and drop by!

Barack Obama in Seattle

From Sarah Studer '05, who is currently working as Grants Administrator at the Social Justice Fund in Seattle:

"I wanted to pass this along to the PG Department- Senator Barack Obama will be speaking and signing his new book in Seattle next Thursday, October 26th at Benaroya Hall.
Tickets can be purchased through Elliott Bay Book Co. and more information can be found on their website: http://www.elliottbaybook.com/"
If readers are interested and want to carpool, email me or leave a comment below and we can try to match drivers and riders.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Calling Riyadh

Fairly often we get a hit on the blog from someone surfing in from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Is it an alum? Is it you? If so, would you drop me a line (or leave a comment below!) and say hello? Curiosity is getting the best of me.

Incidentally, it's interesting to see where our alums aren't--much of Africa, that's not too surprising (or they are there but with no internet access), but Russia? We've had not a single hit from there. I would go so far as to say this is symptomatic of the fact that Russia has grown increasingly closed to the outside world over the past decade.

Digitize It

Recently I posted about my new thing, which is to scan whatever I think is interesting and subject some of the folks on this blog to it. But I hold no monopoly. Do you have an old photo from campus, a momento from study abroad, a clipping from The Trail, or anything else that you think would be of interest to the readers? If you've got a scanner, I've got the place to post it. Send it along.

Speaking of which, here's a snap from the past, courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library and the Tacoma News Tribune.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

YouTube, Here is Thy Sting

From the Wall Street Journal's College Journal, how political campaigns are now stalking each other with video cameras and using YouTube to release embarrassing videos of their opponents. Here's one of those videos of US Senator Conrad Burns, with over 80,000 views. An interesting first job after college, no?


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Talent, Mobility, Wealth

There was a recent survey in The Economist on global business talent and the growing competition for it. I pulled out two pieces that I thought readers might find especially interesting. One focuses on how technology creates great opportunities for workers to act as "free agents," or what one person calls "Karl Marx's Revenge," in that people increasingly own the means of production simply by having PCs and the Internet. The second piece looks at how this growing meritocracy is generating inequality and to what effect. I've uploaded them here.


Friday, October 13, 2006

From Puget Sound to the White House

Yesterday the department hosted a visit by Michael Brown '86. Michael was former student body president, and after graduation went on to work in the first Bush Administration and is currently Associate Assistant Administrator for Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Michael came to Tacoma while en route to China, where he was to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese that would facilitate technology transfers and joint research to improve their environmental conditions. Here are a few pictures; you can see all of them here.

In the morning Michael joined students for an informal brunch.
Professors Sherman and Sousa dropped by as well.


Michael also gave two guest talks and reminded students of paid internship opportunities at the EPA.


Michael encouraged our students to be inquisitive, to ask questions and create their own opportunities, and not feel like any job is out of their reach. It was inspiring and students really enjoyed hearing from a PG grad with so much experience in the public and private sectors.

Thank you, Michael!


Another Beautiful Day

Though my office may get stuffy by afternoon, this is the tradeoff for the warm weather.
Looking east over South Hall toward Mt. Tacoma Rainier.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Spring Break in DC?

PG students (majors, minors, and others):

I've been chatting with a few of you about the possibility of organizing a networking and informational spring break (March 12-16) trip to DC. This would involve our department setting up meetings, social opportunities, and straight-up sightseeing with alums who are in the DC area. This would give students the chance to meet alums "on the ground" to talk about careers, gradschool, and life after UPS in general. You'd be on the hook to pay for the trip, but our department would put together the itinerary and help find affordable flights and housing while there. No faculty looking over your shoulder, just you and other students, past and present.

Are you interested? If so drop me a line, and if we have enough of you who would like to do this we'll start working on it.

And DC alums, if we do get this going, I'll be in touch to ask for your help, so thank you in advance!

More DC Opportunities

The Fund for American Studies at Georgetown has an extensive classroom and internship program in DC. It's not cheap, but they say they have scholarships for most of those accepted. Take a look and let's talk if you have questions.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alum Profile: Bill Zuccareno '92

When did you graduate from UPS?


What have you been doing since graduation?

During the Summers of ’94 and ’95, I spent a month each year traveling all over the United States and Canada, sleeping in my car, visiting National Parks and seeing old college friends. Jack Kerouac played a large role in these adventures and I would recommend the entire experience to those who have yet to experience their country on a face-to-face basis.

I entered the East Asian Studies Program at the Gaston Sigur Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in ’94 and quickly became involved in the area of International Trade Development. While in D.C., I had the opportunity to work at the New Zealand Embassy, the Australian Embassy, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and several private trade development groups, which concentrated on development bank projects as well as environmental and energy trade development work. I was fortunate to travel to Hungary, Romania, and Croatia while working for USAID.

After 6 years in Washington, D.C., I was ready to experience international trade development work from a State-perspective and moved to Vermont.
I spent four years as the State’s only senior international trade and business development specialist at the Vermont World Trade Office and now I am the Chief International Officer of the first cross-border international trade coalition in U.S./Canada history (The Northern Vermont-Quebec Trade Coalition).

I am also a proud father of two boys (Jack – 5, Finn – 2), Executive Council member of the Frog Hollow State Craft Center Board of Directors, Adjunct Professor of International Business and International Marketing at Champlain College and a volunteer lacrosse coach for South Burlington’s 5th and 6th grade youth team.

Why and how did you decide to take the career path you did?

While looking for unique internships in Washington, D.C., I stumbled across a newspaper article that talked about a company owned by a woman named Diane Wilkens, who was one of the first to use a database to track international trade development projects through the World Bank pipeline – a commonplace occurrence now, but this was back in ’94. An internship with Diane’s company led to the New Zealand Embassy and another database system, which led to the Australian Embassy and another database and finally on to USAID’s Global Technology Network where a database of over 14,000 U.S. firms were being matched with international trade projects all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the first generation to approach international trade from an academic background and to be on the cutting-edge of technology at the same time.

Are there any aspects of the Politics and Government major or your UPS education in general that have served you particularly well?

For me, the name really says it all – Politics AND Government. Understanding the difference between the two, how they interact and how they influence policy has always separated me from the average PolySci crowd.

My classes with Profs. Share, Fields, Sousa and Ziegler provided me with a solid foundation to critically analyze past and present political events, the regulatory repercussions of those events and their global ripple effect. Being able to form an accurate historical picture of a country’s political evolution and anticipate future governmental developments has opened many doors for me.

Do you have any advice about what our students should make certain they do (or don’t do!) while still in school?

I would recommend three things:
1) Travel – your understanding is always deeper when you’ve spent some time seeing the world through someone else’s eyes
2) Internships
3) Use your Professor’s office hours – I often learned more during office Q&A sessions than I did in class

Do you have any advice about what our students should be thinking about as they consider their careers or further education?

Do something you are passionate about – everyone says it because it’s true.

Approach your career like a thesis project, look at trends, examine the major players, find a niche. Don’t follow the rest of the pack, stand out.

Any other words of wisdom, or important questions I haven’t asked?

Keep track of your friends and classmates!


PSA Wants You

The Political Science Student Association (PSA) is gathering its dark forces Thursdays in the Cafe from 5-6 to plot future events as well as the eventual overthrow of the entire department. They encourage all interested parties to attend. Join the movement!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Your Dinner with Professor Weinberger


Every year the university's Daedalus Society hosts a series of talks by faculty over dinner. The intention is to foster a less formal environment where people can engage interesting ideas (and not be responsible for an exam on them later).

Monday, October 23, at 6 p.m., Professor Weinberger will present a talk entitled "Restoring the Balance: War Powers in An Age of Terror". The talk and dinner will be held in the Murray Board Room. From the advert:

"Professor Weinberger's will address timely questions such as the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s domestic wiretapping operation, as well as the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and demonstrate how recent events such as these bring into focus the larger question of how to balance war powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. Presently working on issues concerning the constitutional law of national security, Professor Weinberger teaches courses on international security and political philosophy, and has also worked as a Defense Analyst in Washington."

Normally the cost for dinner at these talks is $12.00. However, the department would like to pay for a few students (you needn't be a PG major) who might be interested in attending. If you would like to attend this event, would you please contact me? First come, first served.

UPDATE: Sold out!

From Georgetown to Geneva

From Natalie Jones '01:

As you know, Erin Speck and I are good friends and she just sent me a link to the department blog that she's featured prominently in. I realize that technically I am IPE and not P&G, but would it be possible to get added to the list so that I can get updates? Its very interesting reading and a great way of keeping the community together. As an undergrad, the info about grad programs and what other people are up to would have been useful to have.

And now for the obligatory update: I'm currently in Geneva, studying at the University of Geneva. Georgetown started up a partnership with the University and their new "IOMBA" program (www.iomba.ch) , so I'm here for a year doing that. After completing a year of classes here and an internship, I'll go back to Georgetown for a semester to finish, the graduate with my joint MPP and MBA degrees. Its a new program, but the two guest professors they've brought in so far have been pretty good. (for IR, David Kang from Dartmouth and for IPE, John Ravenhill from Australian National University). Its been an intense month since we started at the beginning of September, but so far, so good!

Keep up with the blog! The video footage from the cafe really made me chuckle- just like old times!


Good News

If you like public radio, the Puget Sound is the place to be. Not many places have two public radio stations--KPLU and KUOW, each with their own particular orientation. KPLU is mostly jazz and blues, while KUOW focuses a great deal on Seattle-produced programs.

Now there's a third option. KXOT, 91.7, is particularly noteworthy for its international media coverage. Weekdays from 4 pm they run Radio Netherlands, Radio Australia, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and a late night World Radio Network that spans the globe. The station also has a live stream and several programs are archived on their respective sites.

Get your news from a different angle. Tune in.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Phil and Woody at the Ryder Cup

Woody and Woody

Some alums are lucky. Case in point: Phil Westberg '03, who won the right to purchase a ticket to the Ryder Cup in Ireland this year. Yes, there's a lottery just to be able to go. Phil said he had a great time, as is attested by the grin on his face.

Oh, and who's that guy back behind him on the right?


Bad Old Days

Michael Allen '06 writes:

"Last year I spent the day in NYC doing all the tourist things I could think of and went to Ellis Island. I came across this poster in the immigration museum that might be of historical interest to those who still live in Tacoma. I am sure similar historical relics can be found within Tacoma itself, but it was fun to travel to the East Coast to learn a bit more about the West."

Speaking of which, here's a recent post by a local blogger who's been researching this same issue and time period going back through the Google Newspaper Archive. Tacoma hasn't treated its Chinese population particularly nicely in past.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Professor Bonura on Thailand in London

This from Professor Bonura. He is currently in the UK in advance of his research trip to Thailand which, as you can imagine, has been complicated by the recent coup.

This weekend I attended "Thailand under CEO Thaksin: a debate on events leading up to the coup and the future prospects for democracy in Thailand" at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). This event was designed to shed some light on the incredibly complex politics behind the recent coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra. Taksin was remarkably both popular, in his ability to win large majorities in three elections, and popularly embattled, as he faced mounting public protest to his rule for the last thirteen months. The talk featured Sondhi Limthongkul and Kraisak Choonhavan, two outspoken critics of Thaksin. More than any other individual Sondhi was responsible for organizing massive public demonstrations against Thaksin, highlighting the numerous allegations of corruption that plagued Thaksin's administration since its beginnings in 2001.


Readers of the blog can see Sondhi and Kraisak's arguments against Thaksin and for the coup at SOAS's website which has the entire event on streaming video: http://www.soas.ac.uk/mediaandfilm/thaicoup/ [note: to launch the video click on the event poster on the right of the screen--the actual presentations begin at minute 13 of the video and the sound quality gets increasingly better over time especially around minute 20].

Sondhi and Kraisak outline the corruption, human rights abuses, and violations of Thailand's famed "people's constitution" under Thaksin's rule. They also, toward the end of the video, provide a justification of royal authority in Thailand. This is where the current politics of the coup get very complicated as the conflict is not really between Thaksin and the Military, but rather between Thaksin and a number of different interests including very strong royalist forces who can be found in political parties, the military, and in civil society. Sondhi is by far one of the strongest voices in support of the King's influence in politics.

The event was, however, not without controversy. A letter by Prof. Patrick Jory described how, in fact, the SOAS lectures did not represent a "debate" at all, since Thaksin, who is in fact in London, was not invited and there the two speakers were in total agreement on the legitimacy of the coup.

I've attached this letter and the photo's show Sondhi (in the brown suit with glasses) with some of the audience (which was well over 100) after the talk.




Saturday, October 07, 2006

IM in trouble

We've blogged before about the dangers of email and web postings in securing (or keeping) a job. As we've seen in the news lately, and as The Wall Street Journal reminds us, instant messaging can be just as problematic: "though it seems that IM conversations disappear into a cyber-vacuum when a session is over, that isn't always true." Read the piece here.


Friday, October 06, 2006


I like old bits of paper--tickets, money, handbills, ballots, whatever. Some years ago I got into collecting privatization vouchers from former communist countries. Most of this stuff winds up in a box somewhere and forgotten. But recently I got a scanner at home, so as time permits I've been digging some of this stuff out and digitizing it. So here's one for you: A dance card from Tacoma High School from 1911.

I bought this some years ago at a local business that did estate liquidation. This came from the belongings of a man who had grown up in Tacoma, gone to medical school in the Midwest, served in WWI, and then returned to Tacoma to set up practice. He had kept all his momentos, from grade school artwork to Christmas cards to cancelled checks. It was a fascinating trove of personal history.

Here's the inside of the dance card, duly filled out (you can click on it for a larger size). I like all the nicknames--Muck, Fuzzy, Subs, Doc. A simpler time.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

More from Melissa Duits '90

We've had some comments from Melissa Duits '90 on the blog, and she's sent a follow up letter to Professor Share she's let me reprint.

Hi Don,

Thanks for your note on the blog. Please feel free to pass this note and photos on to Patrick O'Neil for use on the site.

I have two vivid memories from taking a course from you:

1. Living the dream that everyone has. No, not the 'naked in a public area' one, the 'sleeping through a final' one. Imagine my heart-pounding horror at waking up partway through a final exam. I sprinted across the quad, fumbled to give you a rational explanation, bummed a pen and bluebook off someone, and tried to settle down enough to write essays in what little time remained.

2. Part of your exam involved picking something like six out of ten events or people, writing short essays to identify them and explain their significance. Well, there weren't six I recognized so I picked one at random and tried to write convincingly about it. When I got my exam back, your notation was something along the lines of "well-written and creative, but incorrect."

After graduation, I took a short trip to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moscow. It was still the Soviet Union then, so my travel companions and I spent a good deal of time looking for bugs in our rooms and trying to figure out if people who approached us and asked for help were sincere or KGB informants. (The lingering effect of growing up in the Reagan era of fear.)

Seeing the general disarray in that part of the world - the poor methods of construction, the inability to keep food on the shelves - made me wonder why we were so fearful of them for so long. In spite of the absurdity of life there, I longed to return.

While waiting for an opportunity, I went to work in Malaysia. My departure was delayed owing to the first Gulf War and Malaysia siding with Iraq. After that brief conflict cooled, I packed my bag and trekked through the jungles of Borneo for over 4 months (yes, that is a long time when you are in the jungle and traveling without another American to commiserate with). Definitely an eye-opening experience, best summed up in the word's of my friend. "This will be a time filled with memories you'll cherish forever, but never wish to repeat."

In 1993, I finally got my wish to return to the Baltics. I worked for a year near Riga, Latvia, coordinating visa, travel, housing, and translator arrangements for humanitarian groups that were coming to work in the Baltics and Russia. I also handled all the administrative needs of a new church and its volunteer foreign workers.

This was more daunting then it sounds as everything was in a state of transition. Latvia had 2 or 3 currencies in 10 months. With no internet yet, I had to take a train 40 minutes from Jurmala to Riga in order to call or send a fax to America. Such errands were frequently hampered by the electric train cables being cut and sold for scrap metal. Phone cables often faced the same fate.

For a dash of irony, I lived with my team in a beachside sanatorium, that had been used by Soviet military officers for rest and recuperation. Our cafeteria had a large mural on the outside wall, depicting proud moments throughout Soviet naval history. When American friends came to visit, they refused to get out of the cab when it tried to drop them by the entrance marked "Majori sanatori." They argued with the driver, "Our friends would not be staying in a mental house." They did not know that sanatorium means spa or resort. Based on the state of decay of the complex, I don't blame their hesitation. They arrived on a dark and stormy night, and the whole place had the appearance of a setting for a haunted horror film.

After a year, I returned to the states and worked at various jobs in Washington and Ohio. I found myself back in Latvia in 1999. At first, I went just for a holiday and to visit old friends, but while visiting, I found myself thinking, "Maybe I should live here again."

So back to Washington to grab a few sweaters, and to wait and see if the world ended (remember Y2K?). Then I was off again and I've been in Riga, Latvia, ever since.

This time, I started out working for a business consultant handling all manner of things. Print design, advertising, web development, management issues, you name it. After about 18 months, a colleague and I decided to start a web development company. But before that took off, we thought we'd help a friend in St Petersberg, Russia, who was begging for help with starting a new business. We knew how to set one up and get things started so off we went, commuting back-and-forth between Riga and St Petersberg for about 6 months.

The business was growing and was starting to take off until September 11, 2001. The new business consisted of offering business training seminars and relied on bringing knowledgeable guest speakers from the states. After September 11th, most speakers refused to fly.

We did our best to help our friend, but as we had only planned to help with the initial set up, we eventually returned to Riga and our commitments there. Our web business never did take off, although we both continue to do web projects on the side. I volunteer with a few non-profit organizations, mainly creating and maintaining their websites, and occasionally helping with fundraisers.

I also work with an American professor (Larry Stout), who has been in a unique position to impact current and future leaders of the Baltic region. Stout has developed a leadership theory, which he uses to teach undergraduate students. He has conducted training for members of the Latvian Parliament and has also worked with managers from organizations such as Siemens, the World Bank, Bank of Latvia, Lattelekom, etc.

Hope for Children http://www.hope.lv

Mes esam lidzas - a children's rehabilitation center

A web vortal for youth with movement disorders

Ideal Leadership
http://www.idealleadership.com (beta site)

Flowers laid at the American embassy in Riga after September 11, 2001. Those aren't photoshopped - someone really placed red, white and blue roses.


Rookie Awards and Networking

Recently we had a post from Erin Speck '00 on MPA and MPP programs. Much like many of our modest grads, however, Erin didn't share the good news that she was named "rookie of the year" from her firm, SRA, for her support to FEMA for Hurricane Katrina response mission.

And who did I hear this from? Why, Ron Davison '85, who is also working at SRA. When I discovered that there were two alums at SRA I felt like I was quite the man in the know, able to point out to Ron that Erin was at his firm.

Silly me. Erin wrote that she used the ASK Network to find alums in the DC area, and this led to Ron hiring her.

Lesson 1: Networking works!
Lesson 2: Alums are great at helping each other
Lesson 3: I'm out of the loop.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Online MBA Fair

Pretty cool, and it's free, sponsored by The Economist.

From their site:

Live on October 10-11 with an additional live day on October 30, 2006!

Visit MBA Schools
  • Participate in online conferences with expert speakers
  • Interact live with Admissions officers
  • Download free information
Featured programmes include:
  • MBA programme ranking
  • Successful MBA business school applications
  • What business schools look for in a candidate

Kathryn Farmer '98 on Professional Degrees

Kathryn Farmer '98 is currently Admissions Coordinator at the Information School of the University of Washington, and previously worked at other academic institutions in California, including the Naval Postgraduate School. She sends along the following:

"I was at the Friday evening gathering at the Swiss and I mentioned that I would send you an email regarding a group of graduate schools that offer professional Master’s degrees in international relations and public policy. The organization is called APSIA (Association for Professional Schools of International Affairs). Don’t let the "international" word fool you, plenty of them also look at domestic public policy. The link to their website is http://www.apsia.org/apsia/index.php They are having a grad fair (solely APSIA schools, not part of a larger UW grad fair) in Seattle this year on October 23rd up at UW at 4:00pm – this info is on their website.

The grad fair is a fantastic opportunity to meet admissions reps from 12-15 of the member schools (UW, UCLA, UCSD, U Denver, GWU, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts, Duke, etc.) side by side and compare what they have to offer.

When I was in my senior year at UPS I had no idea that such a degree existed - a professional IR Master’s degree? Who would’ve thought? But for students who don’t want law school and don’t know if they want a PhD, this might be a really great alternative.

I’m happy to be a resource for anyone who might have questions about professional master’s programs, what careers you can go into, etc."

Thanks, Katheryn, and it was great to see you and Michael last week.

Update: Here's the formal post:

OCTOBER 23, 2006
4:00-6:00 PM

On Monday, October 23, the Jackson School of International Studies and the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
(APSIA) will host a campus forum on graduate education in international affairs.

Admissions officers from participating schools will be in HUB Room 108 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm to distribute literature on their schools and answer questions from prospective applicants. Many of the country's best graduate programs in international affairs will be represented; as of today, 19 APSIA schools have pledged to attend.

There is no admission fee, and reservations are not required. Attendees are encouraged to register, however, by visiting the APSIA website
(www.apsia.org) and clicking on the "Seattle" Forum name. For additional information, call Student Services at the Jackson School of International Studies (206-543-6001).

Schools expected to attend:

American University
University of California, San Diego
Columbia University
University of Denver
Duke University
Georgetown University
The George Washington University
Harvard University
The Johns Hopkins University
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Pittsburgh
Princeton University
University of Southern California
Syracuse University
Tufts University
University of Washington
Yale University


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Foreign Affairs on the Cheap

The journal Foreign Affairs, an excellent resource for any of our majors, can be purchased at a significant discount if you are a student--$18.oo instead of $32.00. If you're interested you can subscribe here.


EPA Grants for Undergrads

Here is an interesting opportunities that EPA Associate Assistant Administrator for Research and Development Michael Brown '86 passed along. He'll be here October 12, so if you have an interest in this and would like to talk to him about it let me know.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of our Greater Research Opportunities program, is offering Undergraduate Fellowships for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is November 29, 2006. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 20, 2007. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of academic support and up to $7,500 of internship support for a three-month summer period. For more information, go to