A Look at The Leadership Scholars Fall Retreat in Atlanta, GA


In November of 2019, The Leadership Scholars Class of 2019 gathered in Atlanta, GA for the weekend to hear from professors, local leaders and network with TFAS alumni.

George and Sally Mayer Fellow for Economic Education and TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley opened the weekend with a lecture and discussion on “Inequality, Justice and Economic Freedom,” sharing the meaning behind economic inequality and how it is viewed around the world.

Throughout the weekend, each discussion built upon the next to apply economic theory as a framework for solving current issues. Emily Schroen ’19 said this format provided her with a context for how to address issues such as poverty on historical, global and local levels.

“We’ve discussed a mix of pure economic theory and practical implications of economic policies,” she said. “This is something that not only I’m passionate about, but I know the other scholars are as well. This has been an incredible chance to see these things we’ve learned in action.”

2019 TFAS Hong Kong professor and director of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program at Mercer University, Dr. Charlotte (Charlie) Thomas, continued the conversation and led the scholars in an interactive discussion on how classical authors including Hayek, Locke and Hume might address modern events.

Bringing economic theory down to the local level, Randy Hicks, president and CEO of the Georgia Center for Opportunity, shared an overview of the important work his organization is doing in education access, re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals and removing barriers to employment opportunities for people in the state of Georgia. He discussed ways the scholars can address poverty and find opportunities in their own communities, and he challenged the young leaders to think locally about public policy solutions, rather than through a national or partisan lens.

Charisma Hunter ’19, said Hicks’ discussion challenged her perspective of how she views current policy issues.

“I think the work he conducts is extremely beneficial and I truly appreciate it,” Hunter said. “As someone who wants to become a civil rights or constitutional law attorney, I know it serves an overwhelming importance, not only for local communities but for the U.S. overall.”

In addition to continued learning and academic development, the retreat also strengthened the scholars’ personal and professional development. Six Atlanta TFAS alumni volunteered their time to attend the retreat to share career advice and networking tips during a “speed-networking” session and lunch.

The opportunity to connect with the alumni opened doors for Cayleigh Jackson ’19 and allowed her to embrace and learn more about how she can become involved in the TFAS Alumni Network as she grows in her career.

“Spending more time with my fellow TFAS Leaderships Scholars and meeting alumni has reminded me how impressive TFAS people really are, and how lucky I am to have access and be a part of them,” Jackson said.

Following the academic and networking sessions, the learning continued with a behind-the-scenes, VIP tour of World of Coca-Cola. During the tour, the scholars explored the economic, social and cultural impact of the beverage company, in addition to tasting their way through a variety of Coca-Cola products from around the world.

The retreat concluded with reflections and a series of leadership development exercises designed to teach the scholars how to be effective leaders on their campuses and communities.


Competitively selected applicants will join a cohort of 25 students from around the nation. Additional programming during the summer and beyond will hone your leadership skills and deepen your understanding of economics and public policy. Upon competition of the program you will find yourself part of a supportive network as you advance your career. 

The Leadership Scholars Program provides full tuition + housing scholarships for top students to participate in the Summer Academic Internship Program in Washington, D.C.


  • Fully furnished modern housing on the campus of George Washington University in the heart of Washington, DC.
  • 6-credit tuition from George Mason University.
  • Guaranteed internship placement in the Washington, DC metro area.
  • Opportunities for networking, professional development and career exploration.
  • Exclusive programming and private events during the summer.
  • 2 fully funded weekend retreats (includes airfare, accommodations and meals).

Please note: Scholarship awardees will pay the $500 program fee in addition to travel to and from Washington, DC, and food/personal expenses while in the program.


Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more about the scholarship criteria and start an application.