Featured Alumni Talk -- Jon Powers (GSS '12)


On April 10, as part of a joint event between the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies and the EPC-ESP Speaker Series, Jon Powers gave a talk, "Exploring the Intersection of Energy, Innovation and Finance."  Jon is a 2012 graduate of the MA in Global Security Studies and wrote his thesis on energy security.  While serving as an U.S. Army officer in Iraq, Jon saw firsthand the vulnerability energy dependency brought to our military operations.  When he returned to the U.S., he worked as the Special Advisor on Energy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations, Energy & Environment.  He later brought his energy security expertise to the White House as President Obama's Federal Environment Executive.  Today, after a time as a Managing Director of Public Sector Business Development at Bloom Energy, Jon is the Co-Founder and President of CleanCapital, a pathbreaking renewable energy investment firm.  Jon gave a compelling overview of how innovation is driving renewables to not only be the cleanest and and most economical energy sources available, but in part for those very reasons are also the best bets from a finance perspective as well.   He also discussed his journey from Hopkins to his current position as a widely respected energy security expert and a leader in renewable energy finance.           
You may view his presentation as captured in the livestream of it at the DC Campus.  Please note:  Mr. Powers' talk begins at the 5:09 mark of the livestream.



Dr. Wolfson Presents Paper to Midwest Political Science Association Conference


Dorothea Wolfson, the Director of the MA in Government Program, attended the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference in Chicago this past weekend.  She chaired a panel on Addressing Critical Questions in Religious Thought and delivered a paper on "The Religious Instinct, Institutions, and Political Extremism"  Also presenting papers were Carlos Alberto Baena Lopez, who is a member of the Political Party MIRA in Columbia, South America and Michael Giles from Michigan State University.  The discussant was Professor Andrew Lewis of the University of Cincinnati.  


Alum Talk: Exploring the Intersection of Energy, Innovation and Finance

Please join us on April 10, 2018 from 5-6pm for a talk by Jon Powers, Co-Founder and President of Clean Capital; formerly President Obama's Federal Chief Sustainability Officer and 2012 Global Security Studies Graduate.  John will talk about "Exploring the Intersection of Energy, Innovation and Finance"

Please RSVP To Kathy Hill, 


AAP Public Management Students Competed in NASPAA-Batten Student Policy Simulation Competition

By Lauren Vessey and Jim Ong


Imagine this year’s flu scaled into a pandemic like that of a hundred years ago. Governments would need to safeguard their citizens through enacting swift policies with split second decisions. As students in the AAP Public Management Program, we tested our quick analysis skills by participating in the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition February 24th, where the topic was pandemic crisis management.


A total of 563 students in 117 teams competed globally at 16 sites. This daylong competition featured four computer-based simulation rounds, and two policy memo-writing rounds. The simulation rounds required teams to represent a different fictions country’s government, and then interact directly with the simulation itself and three other teams on site. Teams rapidly decided policies as new events arose and other teams implemented their own policies. Additionally, the memo rounds had teams compose policy recommendations based on previous simulation round.

Lauren Vessey’s team advanced to the semi-final round, after scoring well on all the simulation and memo rounds. The semi-final round required a short, taped policy presentation the team's decision-making process and policy recommendations.


We both found this an enriching experience that complements our Johns Hopkins degree. “This valuable real-world simulation marries classroom theory with applied decision making, both of which are prized by employers,” Lauren Vessey commented. Jim Ong added, “The NASPAA competition is a state of the art policy simulation that exposes students to real-world situations. I highly recommend it.” Students interested in next year’s competition consult the following website in the fall at:


GAB Forum: Machine Learning for Risk-Based Enforcement

This month's Government Analytics Breakfast Forum welcomed Jennifer Diamantis, Associate Director and Chief, Office of Market Intelligence and Austin Gerig, Assistant Director, Office of Research and Data Services from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to present their talk, Using Data Analysis and Machine Learning for Risk-Based Enforcement.

The presenters discussed how the SEC is using analytics to detect and gather evidence of insider trading and other market abuses.  Analytics allow the SEC to identify suspicious activity without receiving specific tips or complaints.  Further, the SEC is now better able to identify other individuals who may be involved with known suspicious activity. 

The SEC relies on a variety of statistical methods to make sense of the data they continuosly receive from the entities they regulate.  Using mostly open-source software such as R and Python, the SEC uses machine learning, text analytics, cluster analysis and network analysis to detect anomalies and abnormal behavior that may warrant further investigation.

The speakers were careful to note that these methods may, on occasion, produce false negative or false positives, so the results are carefully interpreted by those who have significant experience in the financial industry. 

The increased reliance on analytics has helped the SEC save resources by empowering them to accomplish more with less human capital.

A full recording of the presentation can be viewed here