Al Hunt: An Insider’s Perspective on American Politics Today
3:00 – 4:00 Pugh Auditorium, Benson Center
Moderators: David Coates, Politics and International Affairs and Rose O’Brien, Politics and International Affairs Major.

Al Hunt

Bloomberg View columnist and regular contributor on Bloomberg Television

al-huntAl Hunt, who has covered politics and business in Washington D.C. for nearly four decades, oversees Bloomberg’s coverage of U.S. elections and other political news. Since joining Bloomberg in January 2005, Hunt has played a key role in the Washington bureau’s extensive growth, which today includes more than 160 editors and reporters. He also writes a weekly commentary column for Bloomberg News and The International Herald Tribune.

Hunt previously served for 35 years in the Washington, D.C. bureau of The Wall Street Journal. There, he acted as bureau chief and executive Washington editor in addition to roles as a Congressional and national political reporter. For 11 years, Hunt wrote the weekly column, “Politics & People” and was a member of the board of Ottaway Newspapers and president of the Dow Jones Newspapers Fund.

Additionally, for more than 17 years, Hunt was a regular panelist on CNN’s weekly public affairs program “The Capital Gang” and was a member of CNN’s “Novak, Hunt & Shields,” which featured in-depth interviews with top newsmakers. He also served as a panelist on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and PBS’ “Washington Week in Review” and well as a political analyst for CBS Morning News.

Hunt is the co-author of a series of books on U.S. national elections by the American Enterprise Institute: “The American Elections of 1980,” “The American Elections of 1982,” and “The American Elections of 1984.” He co-authored the Brookings Institution’s book, “Elections American Style,” and contributed an essay about Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold’s campaign finance reform efforts to Caroline Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage for Our Time.”

In 1999, Al Hunt earned the William Allen White Foundation’s national citation, one of the highest honors in journalism. He and his wife, Judy Woodruff – host of Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” – also received the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism from the University of South Dakota in 1995.

Al Hunt is currently a Trustee of Wake Forest University, as well as an alumnus.



Session 3: Immigration Politics
4:00 – 5:30 Pugh Auditorium, Benson Center
Moderator: Hana Brown

This session offers differing perspectives on immigration policy in the United States, including such topics as undocumented immigration, refugee admissions, border security, and the social and economic impact of immigration.



Hana E. Brown joined the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest in Fall 2011. She completed her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College (2001) and her M.A (2006) and Ph.D. (2011) at the University of California, Berkeley.  Dr. Brown’s work examines the relationship between politics, the state, and social inequality. Using an array of methodological approaches, her research analyzes the effects of political actors and institutions on racial inequality, the effects of immigration and racial divisions on policy outcomes, and the micro-level effects of state actions on the lives of racial minorities and immigrants.  Her research has been published in such outlets as American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Social Problems.


Alex Nowrasteh
Cato Institute

alex-nowrastehAlex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, and elsewhere. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Fletcher Security Review, and Public Choice. Alex has appeared on Fox News, Bloomberg, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is the coauthor, with Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay (Encounter Broadsides, 2014).

He is a native of Southern California and received a BA in economics from George Mason University and a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.


Phil Wolgin
Center for American Progress

philip-wolginPhilip E. Wolgin is the Managing Director for the Immigration Policy team at American Progress. He directs American Progress’ research and publications on immigration and has helped lead the team’s work on a diverse set of issues, such as immigration reform, child refugees at the United States’ southern border, border security, executive action, rebuttals to nativist claims about immigrants, and E-Verify. Philip has directed reports on a range of subjects related to immigrants in America, from studies on the daily lives of the undocumented through the “Documenting the Undocumented” series, to producing the first-of-its-kind analysis of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. At American Progress, he has held the positions of Senior Policy Analyst and Policy Analyst, both on the Immigration team.

Philip is active in local D.C.-area immigration and refugee causes and serves on the national board of directors of the refugee organization HIAS. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as International Migration Review and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, as well as in online publications such as The Huffington Post.

A native of New Jersey, Philip earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. from New York University.



Session 4: Education Policy in North Carolina
6:30 – 8:00 Pugh Auditorium, Benson Center
Moderators: Sara Dahill-Brown and Alan Brown

Schools in the state of North Carolina have experienced significant changes over the past decade. First, the Great Recession forced the state, along with many others around the country, to freeze the salaries and spending. In 2010, North Carolina became one of the first states to adopt and implement the Common Core State Standards. In 2011, the North Carolina legislature voted to end the long-standing North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. In 2013, the state ended career status protections for educators and established a program of publicly funded vouchers to support private school attendance. These and other reforms have been adopted in a partisan political environment; both the impact of the reforms and the motivation behind them has been a focus of debate in state and local elections this year. Panelists will discuss these and other recent reforms and the political discourse surrounding them, and they will describe what they expect – and hope – for the future of North Carolina Schools as a result of the upcoming election.



Sara Dahill-Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. She earned her B.A. at Trinity University and her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research and teaching interests include educational politics, policy reform, implementation, and federalism all of which stem from her experiences as a public school student in Utah (the Beehive state), a middle-school teacher in Texas (the Lone Star state) and as an assistant in the office of Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin (the Badger state) during the Race to the Top grant competition. She was recognized by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar in 2013.








Alan Brown is Assistant Professor of English Education at Wake Forest University. He earned a B.S. in English and Secondary Education from Appalachian State University, an M.A.Ed. in English Education from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in secondary English education from The University of Alabama. He is a former high school English teacher who now serves as the secondary education program coordinator for Wake Forest University’s Department of Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on topics such as action research, adolescent literacy, educational leadership, English methods, and young adult literature. He was awarded the Innovative Leadership Award by the National Council of Teachers of English’s Conference on English Leadership in 2015 for his work with sports literacy and his leadership within NCTE.


Marcus Brandon

marcus-brandonMarcus Brandon is the executive director of CarolinaCAN: The North Carolina Campaign for Achievement Now, a statewide movement working to give every North Carolina child access to a great public school.

Growing up in Guilford County with a family entrenched in the civil rights movement, Marcus learned the value of public service at an early age. Ever since he could walk, he was out working to better his community: passing out fliers, knocking on doors and organizing with his family to advocate for equal opportunity and equal access.  Marcus attended Southern Guilford High School and graduated from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro with a degree in Liberal Studies: Race, Culture and Class. At these institutions Marcus honed the skills learned as a youngster into the leadership abilities necessary to create positive change for his community.

Marcus served two terms as state representative in the North Carolina House of Representatives, focusing primarily on the issues of education reform and poverty. Serving as vice chair of the House Education Committee, Marcus was able to pass key pieces of education legislation: Tax Credits for Special Needs, Opportunity Scholarships for Low Income Families and the Teacher Paperwork Reduction Act. Marcus was awarded Legislator of the Year by Parents for Educational Freedom, Black Alliance for Educational Options and Democrats for Education Reform and was recognized by Governing magazine in their “Top 12 Legislators to Watch Nationally” list.


Lora Cohen-Vogel
UNC Chapel-Hill

lora-cohen-vogelLora Cohen-Vogel (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is Robena and Walter E. Hussman, Jr. Endowed Chair of Policy and Education Reform in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also directs the PhD program in Policy, Leadership and School Improvement. From 2010 through 2015, Lora also helped lead the National Center for Scaling up Effective Schools, a $14 million center funded by the U.S. Department of Education that works to bring effective programs to scale across urban high schools. With partners at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Lora has just begun a study that seeks to sustain the positive impacts of high-quality PreK programs into later grades in six rural counties in North Carolina. Lora is Vice President of the Policy and Politics Division of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association where she also sits on the Executive Council.


Stuart Egan
West Forsyth High School

stuart-eganStuart Egan is an English Teacher at West Forsyth High School. An 18-year veteran, he earned his bachelor and Master’s degrees (B.A. and M.A.Ed.) from Wake Forest University, the latter as a Master Teacher Fellow. He also earned an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University and has earned National Certification. Stuart is also a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Forsyth County Association of Educators, and the Network for Public Education. Furthermore, he serves as on the Advisory Board for Public Schools First NC.

Stuart is an active member of the Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network joining when he and his wife, Laura, received a prenatal diagnosis of their son, Malcolm, who will be entering the third grade at a traditional public school. His oldest child, McKenzie, is a freshman at West Forsyth High School.

Much of Egan’s activism for public schools comes in the form of writing articles and op-eds for publications promoting legislation to fully fund North Carolina’s public schools and encouraging advocacy for public school teachers. His work has been published in newspapers across the state and other state and national media outlets such as the Washington Post’s “The Answer Sheet,” Diane Ravitch’s blog,, and NC Policy Watch. Egan authors a blog called “Caffeinated Rage” ( which explores issues in education, special needs children, politics, and parenting.