Theory of Connectivity: Jacob Glass '13

Jacob Glass concluded his Muhlenberg experience as something of a scholastic giant. The international studies and environmental science double major was the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including Muhlenberg’s Future Alumni Leader Award, the Muhlenberg College Presidential Award, a Muhlenberg College Presidential Merit Scholar, National Collegiate Honors Council Student of the Year, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship and the Harry S. Truman Scholarship - only the second Muhlenberg student to do so after Kate Bartkus ’00.

Glass’s Muhlenberg experience can be summed up as a series of seized opportunities. He credits his activities outside the classroom to a number of faculty mentors, including an early discussion with Dr. Mohsin Hashim, associate professor of political science and the director of Muhlenberg’s Dana Scholars program.

Jacob Glass on his skateboard for TOC article interior photo“When I spoke with Dr. Hashim, before I was even a student at Muhlenberg, it became very obvious that there would be the opportunity to follow your dreams,” says Glass. “You could pursue whatever project, whatever research, you could dream up.”

Glass spent his four years at Muhlenberg working with Muhlenberg faculty across diverse disciplines, including Dr. Lora Taub-Pervizpour, his RJ Fellows advisor, in media & communication; Dr. Rich Niesenbaum in biology; Dr. Jack Gambino, Dr. Michele Deegan and most of the faculty in political science; Dr. David Amdur in economics; Dr. Herrick in international studies; and former dean of academic affairs Carol Shiner Wilson. He continues to speak with several of his former professors on a weekly basis.

As a scholar in the RJ Fellows Honors program, he took advantage of funding designated for independent research to film the documentary “Grass Routes.” The film looks at the advocacy work of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, an organization dedicated to education and outreach in the Idaho/Montana Scotchman Peaks area, and shows the somewhat unusual coalition of environmental activists and mining and timber companies working together to preserve 88,000 acres of roadless terrain.

Glass’s film shows an uncommon partnership between interests that have traditionally been at odds; he felt that showing groups spanning a great environmental and political divide working together was particularly important in today’s culture of partisanship. The film was well-received and shown throughout the country and earned Glass the David Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership in 2012.

His advocacy work hasn’t tapered following his departure from Muhlenberg. Glass recently completed a Truman-Albright Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he served as a writer and researcher in Washington, D.C. He now takes his research and editing talents to the Podesta Group, an international government affairs firm, also located in Washington.

He’s also working with Zachary Brown, his friend and fellow Truman Scholar recipient, who is currently running for Montana State Representative in House District 63. Glass has served as Brown’s communications director for the campaign, writing all of the press releases and working with the campaign plan to drive a fundraising campaign.

He has remained a prolific writer, with pieces appearing in the Huffington Post as well as the Morning Call and Hartford Daily Courant, and his ongoing collaborations with Dr. Hashim led to a recent publication in Bangledesh’s Financial Express. Glass also writes as a Junior Fellow at the American Security Project.

“Muhlenberg is really special; I haven’t heard of anyone really having an experience like mine anywhere else,” says Glass. “If you have creativity, the drive to think of your own projects and make connections between departments and professors, the resources are there. Muhlenberg puts you in a position to have a truly unique experience, that, in my case, has vaulted me towards a career and whatever comes next.”

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