GMU’s Schar School of Policy and Government No. 2 for Security Studies Programs

The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University has been named No. 2 in the country in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report for its security studies programs.

If you dream of a career in international security, homeland security, emergency management or other fields that tackle “wicked problems” around the world, the Schar School has top-rated master’s degrees, graduate certificate programs and PhD programs to help you achieve your goals.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Schar School, convenient to the decision-and policy-makers of Washington, D.C., boasts a faculty that includes program former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director Michael V. Hayden, former ambassador Richard Kauzlarich and inaugural Carnegie Fellow and terrorism expert Louise Shelley.

Faculty also includes border security expert Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, former president and CEO of the Stimson Center Ellen Laipson, regional economics expert Stephen Fuller and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The Schar School is an important part of George Mason’s Research 1 Doctoral Universities rating as its faculty and students contribute research of consequence in fields including biodefense, homeland security, emergency management, global relations, war, elections, federalism, economics, energy and others.

For more information about Schar School offerings, including graduate programs in Biodefense, International Commerce, International Security, Organization Development & Knowledge Management, Public Administration, Public Policy, Political Science, Transportation Policy and Operations & Logistics, click here.

Join us for an online information session to learn more about the Schar School’s Master’s in International Commerce and Policy program. The webinar begins at noon (EST) on Thursday, April 11. The webinar is free. Register here.

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Ballston Quarter Changes the Game with 5 Wits

Joining the latest and greatest at Ballston Quarter, 5 Wits officially opened for business earlier last month, bringing its unique style of interactive entertainment to the Arlington area.

Located in a 15,000 square foot facility within the mall, 5 Wits creates deeply immersive, theme park-style adventure experiences. Guests travel through real, physical environments, interacting with their surroundings through challenges, puzzles and elaborate special effects.

Each adventure tells its own story, with its guests’ performance deciding the outcome: the ending actually changes depending on how well its participants perform.

While the technology that runs this massive $2 million venue is cutting edge, the company behind it isn’t exactly new — in fact, 5 Wits is celebrating its 15th year in business. Its arrival in Ballston Quarter signals a shift toward entertainment-based offerings that set the redeveloped center apart as a destination.

“5 Wits is excited to bring our adventures to the Arlington area in such a unique and dynamic project. Ballston Quarter is curating an experience that the community is going to love,” says Frank Cerio, the company’s COO.

As Nothern Virginia’s newest dining, shopping and entertainment destination, the revitalized Ballston Quarter’s focus on experiential entertainment retailers continues well beyond 5 Wits. Offerings like play space Nook, entertainment complex Punch Social Bowl and Onelife Fitness compliment new expansive gathering spaces and fresh retail and culinary brands.

Community members and visitors are invited to experience the new heart of Ballston with continued openings, spring and summer holiday celebrations and seasonal programming that make Ballston Quarter a year-round community experience.

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Local MBA Program Named One of Top 15 in Country

Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program moved up three places to No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 rankings of the best part-time MBA programs.

The Northern Virginia-based program now ranks as the top public university part-time MBA in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The report assessed more than 300 part-time MBA programs across the country on factors such as student quality, peer reputation and the ratio of part-time to full-time students.

“This marks the fifth consecutive year that the Evening MBA has featured in the top 20 programs nationwide,” said Dana K. Hansson, director of MBA programs. “We believe the faculty expertise and high level of flexibility we offer are key factors in continuing to attract high quality students to our program.”

The Evening MBA is one of three MBA programs offered by the Pamplin College of Business. With many shared courses and faculty, the Executive and Professional MBA program options offer a similar academic experience to the Evening program, but with alternate formats and locations to better serve a range of students.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

This commitment to serving part-time students contributed to Virginia Tech’s highest ever overall score in the ranking. Another contributing factor was a strong appraisal by other programs.

“We’re particularly proud of the peer assessment score given the high quality of other programs in the nation,” said Dr. Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs at Pamplin. “In part, we believe the high rating is due to our commitment to offering cutting-edge courses in areas like innovation and entrepreneurship, machine learning/AI and cybersecurity that aren’t available to students in more traditional MBA programs.”

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Education Options to Fill the Tech Skills Gap

These days, there isn’t just one way to get an education, says Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast.

Popular program options for working professionals include MOOCs, coding bootcamps, technical certifications and master’s degrees. The question is which one to choose.

MOOCs — massive, open, online courseslet students audit courses online, at no charge, through well-known universities. Students may also participate in paid versions of the course, which add graded assignments, extra support and a certificate for successful completion.

Coding bootcamps vary widely in their duration, format and cost, but all have a similar goal: to help students ramp up quickly on coding skills, especially web and mobile development.

Technical certifications are credentials that show people have passed a test and, in some cases, worked in a given job for a set period of time. These can be inexpensive to attain, if the student is willing to do self-study. However, they’re of limited duration; when the technology is updated, the certification needs to be updated, too.

Then there’s the master’s degree:

  • It’s only available through institutions that have gone through an accrediting process to prove the quality of their instructors and courses.
  • In the leading schools, faculty have practical experience in the subject and bring cutting-edge information to their students.
  • The program generally includes a community of alumni with deep connections and support.

The online Master of Information Technology, offered by Virginia Tech, adds an additional benefit: It has been jointly developed by faculty from both business and engineering, which means it can strike that sweet spot of “technical and soft skills” that employers truly value, notes Sumichrast. The combination, he says, “makes for a really well-rounded student coming out of the program.”

So how do you choose a program? Sumichrast recommends looking at the context in which you’re operating. “If you’ve already got a degree in the field that you’re trying to update, then maybe a single course, such as a MOOC, could give you a narrow update on what you already know.”

“These are personal decisions,” Sumichrast advises. “Find the education that best fits you. For many students that means one that puts the facts that you learn in context and that approaches problems from different directions so that you can have a more coherent whole when you finish.”

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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In Focus: Amazon HQ2 and National Landing

Once it was cutting edge; a few decades later, it was obsolete. Now, Crystal City has a golden opportunity to reinvent itself yet again — as National Landing — after Amazon chose the urban neighborhood in Arlington County, as one of its two new headquarters.

“It’s a decision that I think will be a benchmark and a case study for many years to come,” says Uwe Brandes, faculty director of the Georgetown University Master’s program in Urban & Regional Planning.

Here, Brandes talks with Glenn Williamson, faculty director of the Master’s in Real Estate program, about the decision’s impact on Northern Virginia and the entire Washington, D.C. region.

Crystal City developer JBG Smith “had a portfolio of buildings that were obsolete, and they were like ugly ducklings,” Williamson said. “And what they’ve managed to do now with this property is to turn it into a beautiful swan.”

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Herndon’s Best Arts and Craft Show Returns With Free Admission and Parking

Find unique handmade gifts, affordable fine art, yummy edibles and holiday decorations at the Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show.

Get your shopping done Sunday, December 2 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Herndon Community Center. Admission and parking are free! Gift wrapping available and refreshments will be for sale.

This year there will be over 90 juried vendors selling handmade wood products, hand-knotted carpets, birdhouses, pottery, bath soaps, lotions, holiday cards, crocheted clothing and accessories. Plus, there will also be the ever-popular crafters with their custom artwork, paintings, holiday decorations, one-of-a-kind jewelry, stained glass, and much more.

Looking for gifts for the foodie in the family? Try the new peanut vendor, tea, spices, artisan olive oil, balsamic vinegars and delicious baked goods. In addition, the Herndon Woman’s Club will sell White House ornaments.

The Herndon Community Center, a public recreation facility located at 814 Ferndale Avenue, features an indoor pool, spa, sauna, fitness room, full-size gymnasium, three racquetball courts and hundreds of recreation programs.

The Town of Herndon Parks and Recreation Department produces this show along with many other programs and events in Herndon. To learn more please visit the Town of Herndon’s website or call 703-787-7300.

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More Than a Job: Millennials See Work as a Way to Do Good

Young people are idealistic: That’s as true today as it was 50 years ago.

But there’s one sentiment that sets millennials apart from earlier generations — from the silent generation, the baby boomers and Generation X. They are also eminently practical. Call them “realistic idealists,” if you will, or “idealistic realists.” Either term applies.

Take their attitudes toward work. Many young baby boomers were skeptical that businesses had the inclination to make the world a better place. But today’s young people feel differently — they expect to give back through their jobs, too.

According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, “Many millennials feel unable to exert any meaningful influence on some of society’s biggest challenges; but in the workforce, they can feel a greater sense of control — [as] an active participant rather than a bystander.”

Businesses are responding to these attitudes — both to attract young workers and to make a difference themselves.

“Leading companies aren’t just redirecting profits by giving back to society through more traditional ‘corporate social responsibility’ tactics,” said Robert Haynie, an instructor at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. “They are figuring out how to address social and environmental issues while simultaneously advancing their business interests.”

And this mentality isn’t just limited to the business world. Before venturing into the professional world, millennials are seeking a practical way to integrate this desire to do good within their careers — without their success taking a backseat.

At Georgetown, coursework is designed to serve students who want to make money and make an impact. This approach is driven by the School’s Jesuit values, which emphasize community, social justice and service to others.

Whether you’re a millennial or a business that hires them, the landscape is changing. It’s more important now than ever that the work we do has a purpose and serves the greater good.

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How to Address Three Common Financial Mistakes

Provided by Matthew Cash with Baird Wealth Management.

Through my years as a Financial Advisor, I’ve met with dozens of people. Many of whom want to confirm that what they’re doing is correct. Here are some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen…

They haven’t changed their investments in years — This is common with 401(k)’s & Rollover IRA’s. They may have met with an advisor or someone at a bank or discount brokerage firm. And that person helped get them into the right investments (hopefully).

They get a statement every month with the person’s name on it. And other than a few hiccups here and there, the account has shown steady growth. So why should they change?

Imagine you originally started with a portfolio of 60% stocks & 40% bonds. If stocks grew 7% every year & bonds 3%, after five years your portfolio would be comprised of 65% stocks & 35% bonds.

You’ve unintentionally increased your portfolio risk. All while moving closer to retirement.

They do it themselves (there may be some overlap here with the previous example. Especially with 401(k)’s) — Despite having a full-time job, this person wants to handle their investments on their own. And like the previous example, they think it’s been working.

Unfortunately, the average investor underperforms the market by about 2% per year. And if they think they can beat the market, they’re probably wrong. In fact, most professional active managers underperform their respective benchmarks in the long run.

On a $500,000 portfolio, underperforming the market by 2% adds up to about $110,000 over a 10-year period.

They hold too much cash — Holding a lot of cash makes people feel secure. It never loses value. And they may even earn a few dollars on it every month. What’s the problem?

Unless you’re earning 2% interest on your cash, you’re actually losing money due to inflation. And, as mentioned in the previous example, 2% can add up to a lot. Some cash in your portfolio is ok, as long as it’s part of a financial plan.

So, what should you be doing?

Have a formal financial plan. One that answers the following questions:

1. What is the probability that I will achieve my financial goals?

Knowing this is critical. And it should be the first thing an advisor helps you to determine. It is a specific number. And once you know the answer, you can move on to the second question:

2. Can I increase the probability of achieving my financial goals?

Whether it be reallocating to the proper investments, changing the order of what you’re funding, or changing how you’re spending, you can likely increase your probability of success.

This, along with adjusting for any life-changing events, and rebalancing your portfolio when necessary, can lead to success.

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Here’s What Professionals Can Do to Keep up with the Changing Job Market

There used to be a widely accepted formula for career success: earn a college degree, land a job and work your way up.

That’s still good advice, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. And that’s because today’s professionals, college-educated or not, are encountering a new age of job disruption that is perhaps more radical than anything before.

So what does this mean for today’s professionals?

In a world where competencies are becoming obsolete, adaptability helps you stay competitive. That means being able to regularly respond to and anticipate change by building upon existing knowledge, as well as expanding it to new areas.

“Education isn’t something that stops,” said Dr. Annie Green, a faculty member for the Artificial Intelligence Management Certificate at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. “It continues. Just like the continuous improvement of an organization, it’s the continuous improvement of a person’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.”

More and more professionals today are adopting this “continuous learning” mentality. A smaller commitment, certificate programs offer an accelerated way for professionals to stay relevant. And the higher education world is responding to these shifting demands by making certificates more accessible. Today’s certificates are as varied as the needs of the professionals who earn them.

Take Moe Tun, an engineer who earned a Certificate in Cybersecurity Strategy. Cybersecurity impacts many aspects of Tun’s job, so he assembled the information he learned into a framework, similar to those his team members use to process complex technical information outside their areas of expertise. Earning a certificate in a new subject helped him adapt to evolving technologies.

No matter the industry, motivation, or career level, one thing is clear: maintaining the status quo doesn’t cut it anymore. Today’s professionals must adapt, embrace uncharted territory, and create new ways forward — wherever they may lead.

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What is the Best Age For Your First Visit to the Orthodontist?

What is the best age to see an orthodontist for the first time? The current recommendation from the American Association of Orthodontists is for children to have their first exam with an orthodontist at age 7 — and for good reason!

“Adult teeth typically begin to erupt around age 6-7, which makes this the ideal time to ensure that these teeth are erupting properly, and that the upper and lower jaws are growing correctly in relation to each other,” shared Northern Virginia Orthodontics’ very own Dr. Robb.

If there are any indications for early treatment, Northern Virginia Orthodontics (NVO) can offer interceptive treatment to prevent more severe issues down the road.

Lucky for you, August is a great time to visit Northern Virginia Orthodontics! Not only can you get your child’s complimentary consultation taken care of before the school year begins, but NVO is offering all new patients $1,000 off and 2 tubes of take home whitening until August 31, 2018. Just mention “Reston Now” when scheduling your appointment to secure your savings and whitening!

No matter what age you are, NVO would love to help you transform your smile! Dr. Casagrande, Dr. Barcoma, Dr. Robb and Dr. Cole rank as the #2 Invisalign providers in the nation, and have treated the most Invisalign patients in the state of Virginia. We can’t wait to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, and this month is the best time to get started.

Learn more about NVO today at nvorthodontics.com or submit an appointment request online and a member of our team will contact you shortly.

*Offer valid for new patients and full treatment only. Not valid on Smile Express by NVO. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Offer expires August 31, 2018.

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Young, Single and Childless but Not Invincible — You Need an Estate Plan

If you are single and have no kids, you may think spending money on an estate plan can wait. But if you own anything of value such as a home, you may want to rethink your decision.

Imagine that you live in Reston and your parents live in California. The unthinkable happens to you and your grieving parents have to hire an attorney in Virginia to probate your intestate estate because you died without a will.

No one intentionally leaves their parents in this situation, but it happens all the time.

There are other benefits to making a will. Perhaps you have potential heirs that are entitled to receive your property if you die intestate and these potential heirs would squander any inheritance of your property.

Talking to an attorney will help identify and address how to effectively disinherit someone.

For example, it’s better to almost disinherit a person and incentivize them not to protest. For instance, if you have an estate of half a million dollars, you could leave a troublesome sibling $1,000 and combine that with a no-contest clause saying that anyone who challenges the will loses their inheritance.

Certainly, you have people in your life that you care about or maybe even a dog. How do you want them to be provided for?

Care enough to leave clear and legally rock-solid language about your wishes. If you do not leave clear instructions, your loved ones will have to navigate the complexities of the probate process while trying to grieve your loss. Think of making a will as an act of love to make life easier for those you leave behind.

Even if you are single and don’t have children, you need an estate plan. Contact us or call me at 703-712-8000 to set up a consultation and take the necessary steps to protect your assets and make provisions for the people (and things) that are important to you.

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J-Petal Now Open in Reston

Are you looking for an all natural, gluten-free treat? J-petal’s Japanese crepes and Thai rolled ice cream could be just want you need.

Inspired by Japanese crepes, J-petal’s founders put a twist on their recipes, then tested them out thousands of times before bringing them to the market. The Brooklyn-based shop has a Reston location that serves its crepes made with fresh fruit, vegetables and meats.

The J-petal Special, for instance, is loaded with in-house seasoned beef, chicken, shrimp, carrots, peppers, spinach, Japanese mayo and more. The menu offers more than a dozen crepes from savory to sweet. Plus, each crepe is crafted by a skilled chef so it doesn’t just taste great, it’s visually pleasing too.

Customers also love the made-to-order Thai rolled ice cream. Try a traditional Thai ice tea flavor or delve into a strawberry, Nutella and matcha combination. There are more than a half dozen flavors to try or you can create your own.

And don’t forget about the lightbulb drinks — there’s everything from mango colada and honey green iced tea to mojito virgin and thai ice tea. The weather is finally warming up, these are good bets to cool you down.

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VIP Limo Tour of New Construction Homes in Loudoun County — May 12

Interested in buying a new home or designing your own?  Get a glimpse of the best new construction homes that Northern Virginia has to offer — on Saturday, May 12 at 12 p.m.!

Join the Keri Shull Team for an exclusive luxury tour around the latest and greatest new construction communities of Loudoun County including Toll Brothers, Beazer Homes and NVR Homes.

Hosted by New Construction Specialists from the Keri Shull Team, this luxury tour around Loudoun will take you through these new communities, while going over the ins-and-outs of building or buying a brand new home.

Perfect opportunity to discover your new home, meet your future developer or find your next inspiration!

Ride in style with the Keri Shull Team — Saturday, May 12! Wine and hors d’oeurves are included free of charge.

What’s Included With Your $49.99 Refundable Deposit

  • Executive limo van transportation from Reston Limousine
  • Boxed lunch from Pinstripes
  • Keri Shull Team wine opener
  • Expert guidance from the areas top new construction agents
  • Private arranged VIP tour; exclusive insights for this tour only
  • $250 Moving rebate from Town and Country Movers
  • $100 credit towards labor from Charles Graves Painting
  • Free staging consult if you have a home to sell
  • Lifetime membership to our exclusive client events

For your deposit to be refunded, you must buy any home within the next 12 months from your tour date. Space is limited to 20 attendees, so sign up today before it fills up! Click here to register.

Event details

  • What: VIP New Construction Limo Tour
  • When: Saturday May 12, from 12-3 p.m.
  • Where: Toll Brothers, Beazer Homes, and NVR Homes
  • Cost: $49.99 refundable deposit
  • Contact:  [email protected]or call 571-969-7653

Space is limited to 20 attendees, so sign up today before it fills up! Click here to register.

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Estate Planning for the Modern Family

There are many reasons to make sure you have an estate plan after remarriage. In this brief space I will address a few.

We are all familiar with the sitcom Modern Family, and many of us live in a “modern” family.  That is because 3 out of 4 people who divorce eventually remarry.

According to data published by the Pew Research Center, 6 in 10 women in remarriages are living in what the Census Bureau calls a “blended family.”

However, we have come a long way since the Brady Bunch. Today’s modern family may have step children and step parents, but they may also include half siblings and adopted siblings.

Blended families are faced with unique challenges such as co-parenting with another family and finding balance for children who live between two homes. Planning your estate with a blended family also presents unique challenges, like how to provide for your spouse without accidentally disinheriting your biological children.

Let’s assume: 1) your spouse has children, 2) your spouse does not adopt your children, and 3) your assets consist of retirements funds and a jointly owned home with your spouse. What if according to the laws of your state, in the absence of an estate plan everything passes to your spouse? And what if your spouse dies without an estate plan and all his assets — including the ones he inherits from you — go to his children? Your children get nothing. Clearly, this is not a desirable outcome.

A better alternative is to establish a plan that provides for your children, your spouse and perhaps your spouse’s children.

For example, you may want a trust that allows your spouse to use the assets in your estate for the remainder of his life, then pass those assets to your children. Or you may wish to leave a portion of your assets to your children outright and leave the remainder to your spouse. In this scenario, you might consider who will manage your children’s assets. You might also consider a trust that protects your spouses’ children if your spouse remarries, gets sued or dies.

Other factors to consider include the impact of divorce agreements and marital property laws. If there are minor children, planning for their custody adds further complexity. Suppose you don’t want your ex-spouse to take custody of your children? What are your options?

There are many things to think about when planning an estate after remarriage. Be clear about your intentions and reach out to experts to address your concerns. Contact Global Law PLLC or call 703-712-8000 for more information about to create an estate plan for your blended family.

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Founding Farmers Reston — Now Open!

Founding Farmers Reston is now open and has all of your lunch needs covered! Get out of the office and take a real break while you lunch or meet with friends for some light bites and drinks at the bar.

Located on the Silver Line at the Wiehle-Reston East Station, the restaurant is just steps from the Metro. With validated parking and $3 valet, parking is easy! Reserve your table today.

They’re also open for full service breakfast Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. with complimentary Wi-Fi, or grab & go style at their First Bake Café. The café is your on the go, one stop shop for coffees, teas, cold pressed juices, breakfast burritos, donuts and more!

Open seven days serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner and a can’t miss Farmers Market Buffet Brunch on weekends. Make your way over to Reston Station to see all that Founding Farmers has to offer. To view menus or to make a reservation, visit WeAreFoundingFarmers.com.

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