RSG Newsletter – September 2017
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
Regent alumni are all around us. From my daughter’s teacher at a local public school to an Army National Guard officer I met on Hurricane Harvey duty on the Texas coast, I bump into our alumni wherever I go. I am proud of these associations and I hope that you too have met many Regent alumni who are fulfilling our mission to be “Christian leaders changing the world.”
In this edition of our newsletter you will meet two of our most recent alumni, Karline Fischer and Alyson Reed. Technically speaking, Karline is in her final internship in Washington, DC but she ended up there after a set of experiences, from Iran to Silicon Valley, that are highly unusual. Alyson Reed spent the summer after finishing her M.A. working for Hardwired Global, a Richmond, VA-based organization dedicated to expanding global religious freedom through education and advocacy. Moreover, alumnus and former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell returns to the classroom this month as distinguished professor of government.
If you are a RSG alumnus, you will shortly be hearing from us about a new effort to re-connect alumni to friends from Regent with whom they’ve lost touch as well as connect alumni mentors with current students. RSG benefits from the experience our alumni have had in the field and we want to make sure to celebrate those accomplishments as well as learn from them. If you want to connect immediately, please reach out to our alumni officer Jacob Ragsdale at email@example.com. And even if you are not an alumnus but want to support and serve students, please let me know and we’ll get you connected!
Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Faculty Story – Welcome Professor Andrew “A. J.” Nolte
A.J. Nolte is currently ABD at Catholic University of America (CUA), where he is completing his dissertation on the relationship between political Islam and high modernism in Turkey and Indonesia’s state-formation processes. He received an MA from CUA in 2009. Professor Nolte has worked for the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. From Fall 2013 to Spring 2017 he served as an adjunct professor of politics at Messiah College. He also taught at George Washington University, Catholic University, and National Defense University. Professor Nolte, his wife Tisa, and their baby daughter, Reagan, are excited to join the Regent community and contribute to the mission of the Robertson School of Government.
Alumni – Karline Fischer (MA’18)
Karline Fischer was born and raised in Iran as an Assyrian Christian minority. At age 15, she immigrated to the United States, following the Iran revolution and its regime change to the Islamic Republic. Over the years, she has received her Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering, taught government and civics at a Christian high school for five years, and interned at a think tank in Washington DC which focuses on national security issues facing the United States. Her responsibilities were to assist in researching and collecting open source intelligence, and attend lectures and write articles about international issues, specifically Middle East and United States national security issues. Karline says, “This experience was an eye opener. I realized that some of our enemies are very subtle in their activities and plan to defeat our democracy with various approaches. This internship validated and confirmed my passion for pursuing a career in national security and intelligence.” She hopes to contribute to the discussion and provide information to policy makers about the threats facing our freedoms.
Currently, Karline is completing her Master’s in Government with an emphasis in International Relations. She chose to attend RSG because the mission statement resonated with her and she found it exciting to find a school that aligned with her values and beliefs. She says, “RSG establishes students in solid Biblical principles of government and exposes students to diverse thoughts and viewpoints allowing them to reason through issues and apply biblical principles to the current problems at hand.” Upon graduation, she hopes to serve in the field of diplomacy, intelligence, or foreign relations. Long-term, she aspires to serve as an analyst or a foreign policy advisor in one of the executive agencies.
Student Story – Alyson Reed, (MA’17) Influencing Others through Law and Government
Alyson Reed recently completed her Master’s in Government with a concentration in American Government. Before coming to Regent University, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Music from Pensacola Christian College.
During this summer, Alyson interned for Hardwired Global, an organization that advocates for and advances international religious freedom by training teachers and government officials to teach others how to encourage religious freedom in their own communities. Hardwired, based in Richmond, VA, has trained individuals in North Africa, the greater Middle East, West Africa, and Central Asia. RSG Dean Eric Patterson, who sits on Hardwired’s board, said, “This organization, led by religious freedom expert Tina Ramirez, does unique and powerful work helping those in foreign countries learn about the rights they have under international law. I’ve seen the training in person and can testify that this is an important, efficacious work.”
Alyson was able to use the skills she obtained in her education at RSG to research cases of individuals who currently are experiencing religious oppression. The work she completed this summer will serve to educate young people on the extent to which religious oppression affects the overall freedom of individuals. In addition, Alyson used her musical background to create instructional tools that allow teachers to explain aspects of religious freedom in a fun and engaging way.
After finishing her RSG coursework this summer, Alyson enrolled in the Juris Doctor program at Regent University’s School of Law. She hopes to use her education to pursue employment in legal research fields including a clerkship with a federal court. Alyson firmly believes that God called her to influence others in the areas of law and government. For her, pursuing excellence is striving to glorify God in all things and seeking to apply that excellence to her current and future endeavors gives her the opportunity to impact others.
Leadership Institute’s Campaign Data Workshop
Using data to understand public policy and politics are important tools. During a recent campaign data workshop hosted be the Leadership Institute and held in Robertson Hall at Regent University, Virginia Beach Delegate Jason Miyares stated, “It is necessary to use technology to be successful in the battlespace of ideas.” Miyares explained that data mining and analysis are used to develop messages to reach the majority on Election Day. Representatives from the Leadership Institute discussed how various data tools are essential to enhance polling forecasts, such as: commercial data, statistical models, marketing partners, and SQL select statements. SQL (structured query language) is used to query or retrieve data from a table within a database and is very efficient when it comes to running a campaign because it keeps track of contacts, products, location of contacts, and other demographics.
Abigail Alger, director of digital training at the Leadership Institute explained that a database is simply “a warehouse of information – everything put in one place.” According to Alger, a SQL statement can query donations, names, and addresses for political campaigns and other group formations. In addition, Facebook can also be an important tool to expand and engage connections. A Facebook graph search can also help to build up formation of groups and campaigns. In sum, data is everywhere and used everywhere in real-time metrics. There is data mining, factoids, patterns, reporting, and analysis. Data provides real-time updates and the world consists of a sea of data.
Dr. Patterson serves in aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
RSG Dean Eric Patterson was called to state active duty in the Texas Air National Guard in response to Hurricane Harvey. Patterson, who holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and has nearly twenty-one years of Air National Guard experience in California and Texas, was part of a mandatory recall of all members of the Texas Military Department in the days immediately following Hurricane Harvey. Patterson was supported at RSG by faculty and staff who immediately stepped in to cover courses and administrative duties.
Patterson served as officer-in-charge of a thirty-five person group deployed to Beaumont, Texas, a city that had experienced thirty inches of rainfall in about a twenty-four hour period. He worked to meet manpower needs of city officials, including Fire Chief Eric Chapman and Deputy Fire Chief Tim Byerly (pictured), as well as with Army National Guardsmen, including Regent Law alumnus Captain Jonathan Bracewell. Patterson’s team handed out meals-ready-to-eat (MREs), water, and ice to citizens at four sites around greater Beaumont and was just one tiny part of thousands of people who responded to Hurricane Harvey.
“Members of my Air Guard unit did everything from serve evacuees at a shelter in San Antonio to toss hay bales to stranded cattle out the back of a Chinook helicopter. I was proud of the service ethic of our ‘weekend warriors’ and even more humbled by the selflessness of local law enforcement and first responders, who had to both care for their own families as well as their neighbors,” said Patterson. When asked about his two decades of Air National Guard service, Patterson observed, “Although I have spent time with the military traveling in more than two dozen U.S. states and various countries in Southwest and Central Asia, nonetheless this was my first time being called up to serve in a natural disaster. It was a learning experience.”
European Study Abroad First Informational Meeting
RSG students are headed back to Europe in 2018. Earlier this month, Dr. Agyapong and Dr. Manjikian organized the first Informational Meeting for RSG’s study abroad tour to Europe. Students attended both in person and online. Students were introduced to the study abroad program, which is part of a one-credit special topics course on “Government and Politics in Europe” to be offered in summer 2018. The course can be applied toward both the MA and MPA degrees, and includes a two-week study abroad tour in late May 2018 to Europe (London, The Hague, Brussels, and Paris). The tour component is open to all students, faculty, and staff of Regent University. For more information about the program and to take advantage of the September enrollment discount, visit the tour organizer’s website (click here). All other inquiries about the program may be directed to Dr. Agyapong at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Manjikian at email@example.com.
RSG Adds National Security Studies Degree
It’s official! As of September 2017 the Robertson School of Government began offering its third degree program, a stand-alone Master of Arts in National Security Studies. With one-third of Regent students directly connected in some way to the U.S. military and with the Virginia Beach area being one of the top two hubs for federal jobs in the country, this degree will quickly fill with individuals seeking to expand their knowledge and experience in the area of national security affairs.
The National Security Studies master’s degree begins with required courses on grand strategy, international relations, foreign policy, and the law of armed conflict. This latter course has a strong blend of Christian just war thinking as well as humanitarian and international law. Students can choose a deeper specialization in international relations, cybersecurity policy and ethics, or Middle East politics.
RSG Dean Eric Patterson noted, “This degree is in high demand by military officers who can essentially earn transfer credits toward the degree by completing their professional military education (i.e. war college). However, it is also very attractive to civilians who want to get a job in intelligence, national defense, or diplomacy. We are fortunate to have our new professional-in-residence, Rear Admiral Larry Baucom (USN, ret.), teaching in this program.”
For more information about the Master of Arts in National Security Studies, click HERE.
Dr. Manjikian speaks on Russian Cybersecurity Strategy and Tactics
Associate Professor Mary Manjikian travelled to Norwich University in Vermont to participate in the Reserve Officer’s Association annual conference on September 9. She spoke to US and German reserve officers as part of this year’s theme of cybersecurity. Her presentation focused on Russian cybersecurity strategy and tactics, including the contentious issue of US election meddling.
Dr. Manjikian, who also serves as RSG Associate Dean, is recognized as a leading thinker on the ethics of cybersecurity policy, with a new textbook in the final stages of publication. That book will be the first cybersecurity text devoted to the ethical dilemmas, and potential solutions, of cybersecurity. She is also developing a new suite of courses for RSG’s M.A. in National Security Studies program that focus on the multidimensionality of cybersecurity ethics and practice. This summer she also participated in cybersecurity conferences in Washington, DC and Dublin, Ireland.
- A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics with The Honorable J. Randy Forbes – September 19, 2017
- FBI Career Information Session – September 21, 2017
- ARMY JAG On-Campus Interviews – September 26, 2017
- RSG Student’s Dinner with Distinguished Professor and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft – September 27, 2017
- Woodrow Wilson House Tour – October 6, 2017
- Defense Against the Dark Arts with RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) – November 9, 2017
- Nonprofit Symposium and Expo – November 18, 2017
- U.S. Army TRADOC Band Holiday Concert – December 9, 2017