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Advance Team 2011-12

The 2011-12 Advance Team with Diane Ravitch and Secretary Riley

Meet the 2011-12 Riley Institute Advance Team members! This year's A-Team comes from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts and South Carolina with varying majors — Neuroscience, History Political Science, Poverty Studies Concentration, Latin American Studies, French, Accounting and Economics, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Mathematics, and English.

The Advance Team was led this year by Drew Callaghan, a Political Science major from Philadelphia, PA. 

The Advance Team's year began with the Riley Institute's Fellow in Residence Deborah Horan. Horan, a former reporter with the Chicago Tribune and the Houston Chronicle who has more than a decade of experience covering the Middle Eastmet with the A-Team over pizza to discuss issues in the Middle East. She shared many interesting stories about women's place in society in the Mideast, cultural differences, and the role of the media in these countries.

Advance Team members traveled to the South Carolina state capitol on September 20th where they heard from a variety of “shot-callers” in the South Carolina healthcare debate. Mr. Frank Knapp, representing the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, spoke with the students about the advantages of the healthcare plan for small businesses. His talk was followed by State Representative Brian White, chair of the House Ways and Means committee, who spoke about his take on the budgetary restrictions and his opposition to the plan. The slate of meetings concluded with an information session from Elizabeth Powers, Director of Government Relations for the South Carolina Hospital system in which she gave the hospital’s perspective on the pending healthcare reform. The visit concluded with a meal at Advance Team’s favorite restaurant, Mellow Mushroom! It was an incredible experience and one that helped to clarify many of the issues that make the healthcare debate in South Carolina so controversial.

Other opportunities the Advance Team enjoyed this year were hearing Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education at New York University, speak about her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education; meeting and interacting with the Riley Institute Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Residence John Baldacci, a former U.S. Congressman and Governor of Maine; and attending the annual Seventh Wilkins Legislative and Civic Awards Dinner held in Columbia in January 2012.

Advance Team member Ben Saul, a junior from Greenwood, has been named a 2012 Truman Scholar, one of the nation’s highest academic honors. Saul is one of 54 students from 48 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the highly competitive Truman Scholarship, which is given annually to students who have excelled academically and are committed to careers in public service. A political science major at Furman, Saul plans to pursue a graduate degree in public policy after graduation. To read the press release in its entirety, click here.