From a fierce healthcare debate to the most executive orders signed at this juncture since President Truman, the Trump Administration’s first 100 days in office saw no shortage of action – and the same can be said for FIU in Washington, D.C.
Here’s a snapshot into FIU’s own track record in the capital during the 100-day threshold.
Engaging the movers and shakers
FIU spent the first months of the Trump presidency engaging with senior administration officials and influencers throughout the federal government. Since before the election, the FIU team identified relevant policy advisers and appointees and introduced them to the university. Above all:
- Now former dean of FIU Law, Alexander Acosta was sworn in as the 27th U.S. Secretary of Labor on April 28, becoming the first FIU administrator or faculty member to serve in a cabinet-level position.
- President Mark B. Rosenberg hosted the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos at Modesto A. Maidique Campus for her first visit to a public university since becoming secretary. The two had also met once in Washington, D.C.
- The historic presidential term started with FIU in D.C. and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs fostering a dialogue with thought leaders, including Mercedes Schlapp ’94, an alumna and FOX News contributor; Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union; and Jennifer S. Korn, now deputy director for the Office of Public Affairs at the White House.
The fight for year-round Pell
After 6 years of advocating for the return of year-round Pell grants, which disproportionately affect a majority of FIU students due to their heavy reliance on aid to attend school, Congress and the president have reinstated the provision for the 2017-2018 academic year. FIU’s Student Government Association and Francisco Valines, director of Financial Aid, have been some of the most vocal advocates and visited the Capitol several times this spring.
Researchers speaking truth to power
FIU researchers moved quickly to engage with the new administration on global challenges the university leads on.
- Todd Crowl, director of FIU’s Institute of Water and Environment (InWE), met with leadership from the White House and led a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the threats facing coastal communities across the country and ways the federal government should consider investing in making these communities more resilient.
- Stavros Georgakopoulos, associate professor at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, showcased his innovative technologies on foldable and deployable reconfigurable antennas with Defense Department officials. FIU’s Congressional delegation directed the Air Force to increase funding in this area.
- FIU’s Office of Research and Economic Development, the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and the University of Miami hosted the 2017 Health Disparities Symposium at FIU’s offices in Washington, D.C. March 1 as part of a recently announced $9.5 million endowment by the National Institutes of Health.
- The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation consulted with experts at FIU’s Extreme Events Institute when formulating the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.
Preserving higher education and innovation funding
While Congress and the president finally enacted the fiscal year 2017 budget with some important increases, including the return of year-round Pell grants, the FIU community is advocating against drastic cuts proposed by President Trump in 2018.
- President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint offered proposed reductions for federal agencies which will not only impact critical research funding at FIU, but also hinder access to higher education. For an in-depth analysis of FIU’s concerns with the FY18 Budget Blueprint, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rosenberg penned an op-ed in the Miami Herald urging Congress to resist the proposed cuts to foreign aid, and encouraging Secretary DeVos to maintain funding for international education.
After promising on the campaign trail to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, President Trump has resorted to a more neutral stance, stating that DACA recipients “shouldn’t be very worried.” President Rosenberg joined hundreds of presidents of private, public and religious colleges and universities across the nation in urging United States leaders to maintain and expand DACA and the protection of undocumented students.
As the Trump administration continues to take shape, several alumni, Miamians and friends of FIU have landed key roles within the executive branch. FIU in D.C. is collaborating with colleges and schools to increase internships and employment opportunities for Panthers. Some key appointments include:
- John Barsa ’91, principal deputy assistant secretary, and acting assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Partnership and Engagement
- Barbara Gonzalez ’00 ’15, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement
- Jose Viana ’92, assistant deputy secretary and director for the Office of English Language Acquisition at the Department of Education
- Carlos Diaz-Rosillo, former adjunct professor at FIU, is now the director of Policy and Interagency Coordination at the White House
- Helen Aguirre-Ferre, former Trustee at Miami Dade College is director of Media Affairs at the White House
- Jarod Agen, director of Communications to the Vice President of the United States
- Andeliz Castillo, deputy director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs to the Vice President of the United States
- Allen Guttierez, assistant administrator at the Small Business Administration
As part of a one-year Intelligence Fellowship program through the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, FIU students visited the nation’s capital to tour intelligence agencies, participate in workshops and meet employers from across the intelligence community.
On May 31, FIU in D.C. will host a webinar on serving in the federal government in advance of FIU’s Career and Talent Development Network’s annual Government Jobs fair on June 21.
South Florida icon announces retirement from Congress
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first FIU alumna elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year after 35 years in elected office. Among her many accomplishments, Ros-Lehtinen was the driving force behind Florida’s prepaid college-tuition program and a longtime supporter of FIU’s local and national priorities.
Looking ahead: Summer of 2017
FIU will continue to drive solutions and amplify its voice in the national dialogue beyond President Trump’s first 100 days. Most immediately:
- With a major infrastructure bill forthcoming, FIU will engage with policy makers as it promotes its solutions in the area of accelerated bridge construction, which provides for the repair, replacement and enhancement of bridges using state-of-the-art technology.
- Stay tuned for another historic opportunity as the Trump Administration brings foreign leaders to our FIU in June to address an important regional challenge.
- This summer, roughly 50 FIU students will make their way to Washington, D.C. to intern at government agencies, Capitol Hill, non-profit organizations, or take part in The Washington Center internship program that places them in sites around the D.C. area.
Connect with FIU in D.C.