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Meet Your Program Associates

Program Associates (PAs) are here to support first-year Honors students both academically and socially during the fall semester. They will attend a CORE-106 Complex Problems course with you and help lead the associated HNRS-150 Experiential Learning lab. In addition, they live on the Honors and CBRS floor of Anderson Hall where they hold office hours, plan co-curricular and social activities, and act as the bridge between the classroom and the living environment. 

Jess Bach

Cultures of Corruption with Prof. Bates

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Major: International Studies

Why did you decide to come to AU? I came to AU because of the unique opportunities that the Honors Program and the School of International Service offer as well as AU's beautiful campus within the city.

Favorite course or AU experience (so far)?  My favorite experience at AU has been traveling to Nicaragua with Honors as a first-year student. 

Favorite spot on campus: The amphitheater

Favorite place in DC: Rock Creek Park and the Renwick Gallery

Will Cann

What is Legitimate? with Prof. Esser

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Major: International Studies Minor: Anthropology

Why did you decide to come to AU? I not only wanted to go to a college in D.C. for the amazing opportunities the city offers, but I also really wanted a school where I could be curious and learn both about a variety of subjects and about myself. I think AU does a great job providing space for students to grow.

Favorite course or AU experience (so far): My first-year course, "Dying, Death, and the Afterlife," was a mind-blowing experience. The class introduced us to different iterations of the afterlife and how various religions and cultures celebrate and mourn death. Having the chance to supplement the knowledge I gained inside the classroom with experiential learning activities is something I will never forget.

Favorite spot on campus: I love Katzen because it's such a great place to study. Plus, it's awesome to look at the artwork and listen to student musicians practicing. 

Favorite place in DC: I would probably say the Renwick Gallery. It's a small American art gallery, so you can check out the whole thing in one visit. They have a small permanent collection as well as ever-changing temporary exhibitions, which are gorgeous and often interactive.

Colette Combs

Contemporary World Cinema with Prof. Middents

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

Major(s): Political Science and History 

Why did you decide to come to AU? I love DC- there are endless things to do and it’s the perfect place for a political science major. The school has an amazing community feel with a beautiful campus, friendly and helpful faculty, engaging classes, and fantastic resources and events. I feel at home here at AU!

Favorite course or AU experience (so far): The first speaker I ever saw on campus was Jim Obergefell in my first week on campus. He was one of the plaintiffs in the marriage equality Supreme Court case, and an inspiration to me. It was such an important experience for me that made feel at home at AU.

Favorite spot on campus: I love the Dav (try their chai- they’re the best!) and the SIS atrium just outside. It’s a great place to work, relax, or hang out with friends!

Favorite place in DC: I love exploring new neighborhoods! Right now, I like going to Potter’s House in Adams Morgan (one of my favorite neighborhoods right now) and there’s always something to do in Dupont Circle!

Claire Mills

Depicting the Divine with Prof. Allen

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Major: International Studies Minor: Legal Studies

Why did you decide to come to AU? I loved AU's focus on building service into education, because this is exactly why I wanted to go to college. And it was important to me to center my studies in the kind of work I'd hope to pursue, so going to school in DC was perfect. 

Favorite course or AU experience that you've had (so far): I will always be thankful for my very first Honors course, the "Urban Experience in DC." This class taught me all about the rich history of this city, and the issues of gentrification that currently affect life in the capital, and helped me understand the place I was moving to. And most importantly, it empowered me to take an active role in the DC community and break out of the typical, tourist mold in order to truly experience this city. 

Favorite spot on campus: The Dav, hands down. It has the best coffee on campus, great music, and comfy study spots. Plus, I always run into someone I know, so it feels like home. 

Favorite place in DC: I could probably spend the rest of my life in the National Gallery of Art. It has every type of art you could ever want to see! And if you head there on a weekday, you can easily snag a quiet spot to do some reading, sketching, or even homework! 

Isaiah Washington

Black is Beautiful with Prof. Leonard

Pronouns: He/him/his

Major: Literature Minor: Political Science

Why did you decide to come to AU? American University is a vehicle for me to refine my leadership skills and elevate them to a new level of engagement in the nation’s capital. I am able to better the lives of low-income, illiterate residents in the D.C. area, actualizing service projects like the book fair I started at my high school. I am allocated an intimate, collaborative setting that is limitless in regards to the people I can exchange ideas with. American University continues to offer me multiple opportunities to serve the community, participate in a vibrant arts scene, have internships, and have on-campus avenues to explore journalism and social activism. The buoyancy of my experience is due to the network of support the Honors Program has helped to sow.

Favorite course or AU experience (so far):  My favorite has been my Honors Complex Problems course, Displaced Lives in the DMV, led by Professor David Pike. Through field research, I was able to audit the forces shaping gentrification and displacement in the D.C. area, capturing anthropological snapshots of the Salvadoran and Ethiopian communities in the DMV area.

Favorite spot on campus: Battelle Tompkins Atrium 

Favorite place in DC: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts