PAF Alumni Weekend Reception: A Celebration of PAF Past and Present

Alumni Weekend Reception Fall 2016 Group Photo
October 31, 2016

Family reunions are a staple of any tight-knit group. The PAFamily celebrated its own family reunion on Friday, October 28th during GW’s Alumni Weekend. The current PAFs, the PAF Advising Team, and 25 PAF alumni gathered together to chat, celebrate the PAF legacy, and toast to the future of the program. We were also joined by GW administrators including President Steven Knapp, Chief of Staff (and PAF Preceptor) Barbara Porter, and Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Matt Manfra.

This year, the PAF Alumni Weekend Reception was held at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. The museum graciously hosted us in their ground floor reception room and opened their galleries to self-guided tours throughout the evening. PAFs have been placed at the museum since before its move to campus, starting with Lauren Shenfeld and then Kelsey Johnston, and the museum continues to be an important part of the PAF program, serving as the placement site for current PAF Zunara Naeem.

After a group photo, the programming kicked off with a speech from President Knapp. This is President Knapp’s last year at GW, and he has supported PAF through his entire tenure. President Knapp has employed a PAF in his office all ten years of his presidency and consistently supported the program through participation in PAF events. In his speech, President Knapp addressed the importance of the PAF program, touching not only on the value current PAFs add to GW, but also on the importance of the PAF alumni community. PAF graduates are among the most engaged GW alumni, and many former PAFs continue to support GW initiatives.

Eric Thibault, CCAS BA ’11 MPA ’13, is one example of an engaged PAF alumnus. Eric volunteered to speak at the reception and shared his reflections on how PAF has shaped his career. He continued the speaking program by discussing the development of the PAF professional development competencies and how the competencies influenced his professional choices. Eric was among the first PAFs to participate in the professional development program, studying things such as conflict management, giving and receiving feedback, and other professional “soft” skills. These skills not only helped Eric in his first position with Deloitte, but they eventually led him to seek a position in human development. Eric now uses the professional skills he learned in PAF to create a constructive environment at his current firm, Appian.

Fiona Conroy, CCAS BA ’04 GSPM MA ‘06, Vice President of the GW Alumni Association (GWAA) spoke next on behalf of the GWAA as a co-sponsor of the reception. She explained the mission of the GWAA and the value of alumni time and donations to the university. Finally, Robert Snyder, PAF Program Director, took the podium to introduce the current PAFs and encourage the PAF alumni to continue to support the program through participating in events, helping with selection, and making donations to the PAF Professional and Academic Development Fund.

Overall, the PAF Alumni Weekend reception was a warm celebration of the PAF program's 27-year legacy at GW. PAFs past and present mingled and discussed how the program has and will continue to shape their professional paths. 

Grace Mausser

Grace is a second year fellow pursuing a Master of Public Policy with a professional placement in the Office of the President.