Issue Number 7
April 2015
A PR Coup for GSPM's
PR Program

Larry Parnell (center) and his Media Relations students at the NASDAQ Market
the day after the PR Week win

At its annual awards dinner on March 20 in New York City, PR Week magazine gave its 2015 Education Program of the Year Award to The Graduate School of Political Management's Strategic Public Relations program. GW's SPR came out ahead of other finalists, Georgetown, Brigham Young and American Universities, to garner this prestigious award. The PR Week Awards recognize excellence in corporate, nonprofit, agency, government and education categories and are known as the "Oscars" of the PR industry.


"Professor Larry Parnell has worked tirelessly to make the Strategic PR program at this university one of the best in the nation, and he has succeeded," said GSPM Director Mark Kennedy. "This award is a testament to the outstanding faculty and students we have in our program," said Professor Larry Parnell, program director for the Strategic PR program. "Our success is a reflection of the great work they do here every day at GW."


In its description of the Program and why it was selected for the Award, PR Week extolled SPR's "hugely innovative, world-class curriculum", "phenomenal guidance" students receive from their professors, and its recent enrollment gains, particularly international enrollment. Comparing the fall semester 2013 to the same period in 2014, campus enrollment jumped more than 50% and the number of international students increased by 40%.


Since the Program's inception in 2008, a total of 328 students have graduated with master's degrees and more than 75% of graduate-level students are already working in the industry. "An exceptional program with graduates poised to make a difference," was a remark by one of the judges.


Read about GSPM's PR Week recognition.


A Fellowship for a
Band of Brothers and Sisters

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The George Washington University, through CPS and its Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP), has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to establish a fellowship program for Native American students who are members of the California tribe to live, study and work in Washington, D.C.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Palm Springs, California, with 32,000 acres of reservation lands spreading beyond Palm Springs to Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. Qualified students from the Band will have the opportunity to participate in the semester-long fellowship program which will welcome its first class of fellows in the spring of 2016. In addition to taking courses at GW and taking part in

NAPLP activities, fellows will have part-time internships to ensure experience-based learning. The fellowship also includes seminars and briefings with key policymakers, issue advocates and community leaders.

"This experience at the George Washington University will allow Native American students to enhance classroom learning and gain invaluable experience in the real world," said Jeff L. Grubbe, chairman of the Band. "Chairman Milanovich was a respected leader throughout Indian Country and Washington, D.C. and this fellowship recognizes his legacy of service to the Tribe."


Director of NAPLP, Gregory Lebel, who worked with the Band's Tribal Council to ink the agreement, added "We are very excited about this new and important partnership with the Agua Caliente Band....this is a significant opportunity for future fellows, for the Band, and for the GW community."


NAPLP is part of CPS' Semester in Washington program and provides full scholarships for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students.


Click here to read the Desert Sun article.


Innovation Nation: CPS Students Transforming STEM Education

(L to R) Jenny Nguyen, Maria Castagnino,
Dr. Sara Hooshangi and Naeem Khan at their STEMopshere booth

Two seniors from CPS' IIST (Integrated Information, Science and Technology) program participated in the STEMosphere, the centerpiece of Share Fair, an annual interactive symposium that celebrates innovative teaching and learning tools in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), held at the Smith Center on April 11th.


In their booth, Jenny Nguyen and Naeem Khan demonstrated two hands-on experiments to the visitors to the Fair who included pupils from an elementary school where another IIST student Maria Castagnino is a tutor. In one experiment, they used a simple EKG sensor connected to a computer to read the heart rhythm of visitors through three small disposable electrodes attached to their arms and then printed the EKG trace on a wireless printer so the participants could take their heart rhythm home. In another experiment, visitors were asked to use different parts of their hands, palms, fingers and their grip to press on a Dynamometer sensor. A trace of the calculated force would then be shown on the computer screen and they could compare the strength of different muscles in their hands. According to the IIST Director Professor Sara Hooshangi who supervised Jenny and Naeem, these experiments were easy and fun demonstrations of the importance of bio-instrumentation and the use of sensors in medical technology (see the following story).  


"We can actually teach teachers how to make education more interesting," said Nguyen confidently. Her classmate Khan agreed. "Giving students hands-on experience with information technology helps them see the range that's out there," he said.

Click here to read GW Today's story and view photos



 IIST Students and CPS Team Leaders at NIST
How cool will it be for a STEM student to step into an immersive virtual reality environment where he can observe how quantitative information is gathered from sensors implanted on the human body? Sixteen IIST (Integrated Information, Science and Technology) students had that experience when they visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) main facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland last March.
The visit was part of a series of visits sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and coordinated by the IIST program and CPS Career Services. Accompanied by CPS faculty and staff, the students visited two specialty labs at NIST. The Body Area Network (BAN) Project investigates wearable and implantable sensors that continuously gather a variety of important health and/or physiological data wirelessly. The BAN Project scientists are working to create standards for sensor communication, networking interoperability and sensor information security. Their work has the potential to significantly advance healthcare IT and telemedicine. Brian Combs, an IIST student, remarked: "The Body Area Network (BAN) project was simply amazing. The virtual reality demonstration of how sensor technology is improving healthcare is a direct correlation to those GW IIST students on Health IT track." 

The second lab visited by the 
students, works on Smart Grid Technology. The Smart Grid is a planned nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely. The Smart Grid represents a leap from a one-way, analog system of disconnected power suppliers to a two-way, digital, interoperable national network. Students witnessed a demonstration

on current efforts at developing a standard for timing synchronization, which is critical to the success of the Smart Grid project. "This visit proved to be an incredibly invaluable experience for students to gain exposure to the research side of technology and interact with successful investigators at the forefront of research with enormous impact potential" said Derek Haseltine, Director, CPS Careers.

Founded in 1901, and now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories. Today, NIST measurements support the smallest of technologies-nanoscale devices so tiny that tens of thousands can fit on the end of a single human hair-to the largest and most complex of human-made creations, from earthquake-resistant skyscrapers to wide-body jetliners to global communication networks.


Click here to view images and videos of the BAN project


A Harvest of Awards & Honors


GW's Solar Decathlon team which included students from the CPS Sustainable Landscape program ended 2014 with not one, not two, but three prestigious awards from recognized professional organizations. The awards were given to Harvest Home, the team's entry in the U.S. Department of Energy's 2013 Solar Decathlon. These are the awards:


Award of Excellence in the Student Collaboration category by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)


"It's an extensive team, but you can see that the landscape architecture and architecture students collaborated well and had a combined sense of what they were after. Collaboration of architect and landscape architect is so strong."

--Jury Comment


The Gold Award in outdoor design by the Association of 

Professional Landscape Designers (APLD)


"GW's landscape design for Harvest Home broke through the conventional boundaries of the Solar Decathlon competition. Few entries had ever focused on reinforcing the design concept of the house through the landscape" 

-- Adele Ashkar, CPS Associate Dean for Academic Excellence and Sustainable Landscapes Program Director


Award of Distinction in the Special Events (Design/Build) 

category by the Landscape Contractors Association (LCA)


"Although the landscape is not specifically evaluated in any of the current Solar Decathlon efficiency contests, feedback from many of the thousands of visitors to the home, as well as official comments from competition jurors, validated the team's premise that a thoughtful, well-planned landscape can be ecologically sound, livable, and beautiful at the same time."

-- From the students' narrative

Harvest Home was conceived and built as a zero-energy house that would "harvest" solar, water, and wind energy and it was specifically designed as housing for military veterans suffering from physical and/or mental trauma and emphasized healing,
accessibility and adaptation. It is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and was donated to the Wounded Warrior Homes at the conclusion of the competition.



Have Contract, Will Consult!

SUP Student Dulce Naime
Dulce Naime, Sustainable Urban Planning program studentPhoto: Rob Stewart/GW Today 

The Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty is a key global event where experts from all over the world gather to discuss land policy and implementation issues. As they have in the last few years, a group of about 17 GW students from all across the campus provided logistical support for the five-day event as registration assistants and room monitors during the last week of March. In the past, the World Bank would provide funds to GW to hire students for the conference. But this year, the students were offered individual consulting contracts directly by the Bank. According to Professor John Carruthers, Director of CPS' Sustainable Urban Planning (SUP) program and a liaison between the Bank and GW for this event, this is a big deal because each student will leave the event with a record of employment with a prestigious international organization and a foothold in the consulting world.

"This is an important step in terms of the careers of students who are going to work as consultants," said Ruby Shamayleh, a CPS alumna and a 2013 awardee of the Climate Change Management and Policy graduate certificate program. Ruby should know as she was a student assistant at the same conference two years ago. Today, she works at a civil engineering firm and is in her second year overseeing the training of the student assistant team as a World Bank consultant!

GW students' participation 
at the Land and Poverty Conference has grown from four in 2012 to 12 in 2014 to about 17 this year. Dulce Naime, a first-year graduate student studying for her master's in SUP, signed up looking to meet and network with people interested in city and community planning and poverty reduction. She was not disappointed. "We had students interested in exploring inequity and political management....that was amazing because we share a common interest with people of different academic backgrounds." said Dulce.

Read James Irwin's story in GW Today.


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Kiasha J. Sullivan
CPS Marketing & Production

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In This Issue
Of Note:

June 15, 2015: Ethics & Publishing Conference


The MPS Program in Publishing is holding its 8th Ethics and Publishing Conference on the Foggy Bottom campus on June 15th. The topic is "The Ethics of Profit in Scholarly Publishing" and the roster of distinguished speakers represents leading organizations and scholarly presses:

Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Alexander Street Press

John Sherer, UNC Press 

Krista Cox, Association of Research Libraries

John Unsworth, Brandies University

Al Greco, Fordham University

Peter Kaufmann, IntelligentTV

John Warren, George Mason University Press

Dean Smith, Cornell University Press

Phillippa Benson, AAAS

Ivan Oransky,


Registration is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Arnie Grossblatt, Director, MPS in Publishing:


Watch video: Business In a Political Age
Watch video: Business In a Political Age

GW began offering a signature massive open online course (MOOC) in April entitled Business in a Political Age. The course is taught by Hon. Mark Kennedy, Professor and Director of the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM). Focusing on the interweaving paths of business and political interests, students will focus on case studies, taking the roles of major players in current and historical events. "The course will serve as a road map for navigating a globally connected economy," says Mark Kennedy.

The course is free and it will be offered continuously, with students signing up at any time for access to the website.