Shane Mazzella

Vice President, U.S. Programs

Shane Mazzella has fifteen years of program management experience in the nonprofit sector. As vice president of U.S. Programs for The Fund for American Studies, her responsibilities include overseeing all of the TFAS summer and semester academic internship programs. Prior to that, she directed the organization’s programs in philanthropy including the summer Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service and programs for professional leaders in the philanthropic sector. Previously, Shane served as Vice President of Legal Affairs & Administration for the Center for Individual Freedom, where she managed the organization’s legal programs. She also worked as a program manager for a Michigan volunteer center where her primary responsibility was promoting volunteerism and charitable activities on college campuses. Shane currently volunteers with a number of community nonprofit organizations including the Junior League of Northern Virginia and Stop Child Abuse Now! of Northern Virginia where she has served on the Board of Directors. Originally from Michigan, she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Western Michigan University and is an avid Detroit Red Wings fan.

Email: 202.986.0384

Mary Stankus

Director, Recruitment, Admissions + Program Operations

Mary Stankus serves as the Recruitment and Admissions Director and is responsible for organizing the recruitment efforts and overseeing the admissions process for the Washington, DC programs. Mary came to The Fund for American Studies in 2004 as its Admissions Assistant and then served as the Georgetown Institutes Coordinator. Mary is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in art history. During her junior year of college, Mary studied at University College London in England for a semester. Mary grew up in New Hampshire, but now calls Fairfax, VA home.

Email: 202.986.0384

Dana Faught

Assoc. Director, Recruitment, Admissions + Program Operations

Dana Faught serves as the Associate Director for Recruitment and Admissions for TFAS’s Washington, DC programs, specializing in the four summer institutes at Georgetown as well as the Capital Semester program.  She is responsible for website content, student communication and serving as an admissions & financial counselor to incoming students. She previously interned for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources where she worked within the office of communications to organize and promote the Ohio State Fair. She is a graduate of Northeast Ohio’s Mount Union College, where she received her bachelor of arts in media studies and writing. While in college, Dana was actively involved in her sorority, worked on her campus newspaper and volunteered with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter by designing the organization’s promotional materials. She enjoys exploring D.C., cooking and cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Email: 202.986.0384

Melissa Grannetino

Manager, Recruitment, Admissions + Program Operations

Melissa Grannetino is the Manager of Recruitment, Admissions and Program Operation at The Fund for American Studies where she oversees the Leadership Scholars Program, assists with program recruitment, processing applications and planning events for the Summer Program.

Prior to joining The Fund for American Studies, she led training programs, developed speaker series and special events and assisted with fundraising at Foundation Center. Melissa has served as a member of the selection committee for Advancement in Management (AIM) Award Competition (formerly known as The Washington Post Award) and is a volunteer faculty member at the Leadership Institute. Additionally, she also developed and implemented donor cultivation and stewardship programs at both The Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Sociology/Anthropology from Denison University.

Email: 202.986.0384

Joe Starrs

Director, Journalism + Communications and U.S. Programs

Joe Starrs came to TFAS in 2007 as director of the Political Journalism and Communications program after a number of years working in radio, television and public relations. He formerly served as vice president of communications for Veritas Media Group where he produced documentaries and radio as well as television commercials. He also provided on-camera media training for government officials and business executives. In addition, Joe worked as a senior correspondent for FCF News where he interviewed members of Congress, White House officials, political candidates and policy makers. He produced over 2,000 hours of various television broadcasts dealing with Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, and privacy and technology issues. Joe has appeared on Fox News, CNN, Good Morning America, the BCC and numerous other print and broadcast media outlets. He resides in South Riding, VA with his wife and six daughters. Joe enjoys reading, hiking, and playing with his mini-Australian Shepherd, Bella.

Email: 202.986.0384

Colin Parks

Program Director, International Affairs + Legal Studies

Colin Parks joined TFAS as the director of the International Affairs and the Legal Studies programs.  Prior to joining TFAS, he served as the director of student recruitment and intern coordinator at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.  Colin brings to TFAS a love of organization building, student mentorship, and connecting with people.

He received his B.A. with a double major in Political Science and History, and a minor in Philosophy, from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and pursued graduate studies in national security affairs at The Institute of World Politics.

As an Air Force brat, Colin was born in Germany and grew up in multiple locations across the country.  In his free time, Colin enjoys traveling, grilling for family and friends, and following the ups and downs of the Washington Nationals.  He and his wife reside in Woodbridge, VA and are active members of St. Mathew’s Cathedral Parish.

Email: 202.986.0384

Kayla Anderson

Manager, Mentor Program + Student Housing

Kayla Anderson is the Manager of Mentor Program and Student Housing. A graduate of Baker University, Kayla earned a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and history with a minor in Spanish. During her time at Baker University, she served as the class vice president, the vice president of the Baker University History Club, and the vice president of the Baker University Lifeless Language Association. Kayla also participated in the NAIA/American Red Cross National Leadership Program and organized campus blood drives her junior and senior years. She also was a member of the varsity volleyball team and received NAIA Volleyball Academic All-American honors in 2011 and 2012. Kayla studied abroad in January 2010 to several cities in Italy and participated in an Arabic and Spanish Cultural Exchange Program in Granada, Spain in Spring 2011.

Kayla went on to receive her Master of Science degree from the University of Kansas in global and international studies, where she also served as the president of the Masters in International Studies Organization. She focused her graduate studies on Middle Eastern society and politics and wrote her thesis regarding human trafficking at mega sporting events. Kayla is a member of Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Beta Delta honor societies.

Prior to working at TFAS, Kayla was the international credential evaluator for the University of Arkansas Graduate School and Department of International Education in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She also previously worked for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as an international eligibility representative in Kansas City, Missouri. She most recently spent time in Morocco serving as a youth and community development volunteer in the Peace Corps. During her time in Morocco, she studied Moroccan Arabic, Tashelhit, and Arabic script and Moroccan culture for several months in a village in the Atlas mountains.

Kayla is originally from a small farm in Alma, Kansas. In her free time, she enjoys going to farmers markets with her older sister, hiking in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, landscape photography and cooking vegetarian/vegan meals. She is passionate about ancient and medieval history, human trafficking awareness, and sustainable farming practices. She is an avid Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting KC, and Kansas State Wildcat fan.

Email: 202.986.0384

Laura Cusack

Program Director, Public Policy + Economics

Laura Cusack serves as Program Director, Public Policy + Economics. Her role is to ensure that students have an outstanding experience as they intern in D.C., take courses at George Mason University, and network with leaders during their time here.

Laura is from Chicago and previously worked as Program Director of JUF’s Israel Education Center where she oversaw internship programs, speaker series, built relationships with campus partners in IL, and more. Laura is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She has spent the last year in Florida, and now resides in northern Virginia.

Email: 202.986.0384

Chase Forrester

Coordinator, Capital Semester and Leadership + the American Presidency

Chase Forrester is the coordinator of the summer Leadership and the American Presidency program as well as the Capital Semester programs in the fall and spring. She is an alumna of LTAP and during her summer, interned for Americans United for Life. Chase completed her bachelor’s degree in political science with a double minor in Spanish and legal studies at Clemson University. On campus, she was teacher’s assistant and a senior research assistant. She was member of the William T. Howell Pre-Law Society and was treasurer for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. Chase is a competitive ballroom dancer and instructor, trained in swing with an emphasis on the South Carolina State Dance, the Carolina Shag. As of May 2016, she holds four National and Grand National titles for her age division.  Chase also enjoys playing the guitar and is a life-long fan of Clemson Football.

Email: 202.986.0384

Darien Contu

Program Manager, Business + Government Relations

Darien Contu serves Program Manager, Business + Government Relations. Prior to joining TFAS, she worked at the Institute for Humane Studies as a Project Manager of Student Programs. There she managed a suite of Socratic discussion colloquia, reading groups, and lectures on the ideas of a free society for undergraduates at universities across the country. Before joining IHS, she interned with Defy Ventures and The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. Originally from small town Avoca, NY, Darien graduated from The King’s College, New York City with a BA in politics, philosophy and economics. She loves adventures, especially when they involve exploring a new city. In her spare time you can find her roaming around a book store, drinking iced lattes, or playing board games with her husband Isaiah.

Email: 202.986.0384

Holly Focareto

Program Coordinator, International Affairs + Legal Studies

Holly is the coordinator of the International Affairs and Legal Studies programs. She is an alumna of the International Affairs program and during her summer, she interned at the National Defense University. Holly is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in global security and intelligence studies. While in school, she was highly involved on campus including serving as the founding president for her sorority Delta Phi Epsilon, a resident assistant, the Africa regional editor for her school’s Intel newswire, and vice president of the Global Affairs Club, a Model UN and Model NATO competition club. Holly loves traveling and hopes to visit all seven continents including Antarctica.

Email: / Telephone:202.986.0384