Newsroom Archive for 04/, 2012


Announcing our 2012 Youth Program Managers
Apr 2 2012 - 1:31pm

 The Sorensen Institute is proud to announce the Program Managers for our 2012 youth programs season: Meghan Czaikoski (CLP 2011), Kyle Gardiner (HSLP 2007) and Nilam Patel (HSLP 2007).  The Program Managers help direct our College and High School Leaders Programs, which are held each summer on grounds at the University of Virginia.  They are critical to the success of the programs, providing on-site mentoring, instruction, and leadership to our students.  

Meghan Czaikoski, of Woodbridge, Virginia, graduated in the Spring of 2011 from Longwood University with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. While at Longwood Meghan served as the President of a political club on campus, as well as the Treasurer of Lambda Alpha Epsilon the Criminal Justice fraternity, and was a proud member of Alpha Kappa Delta (Academic Sociology Fraternity). Currently she represents leaders of organizations on the Executive Board of a statewide organization for young adults in politics.  Meghan has worked on numerous campaigns since 2009. She is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute’s College Leaders Program Class of 2011.
Since attending the High School Leaders Program in 2007, Kyle Gardiner has served as both a Congressional and campaign intern, and has worked on a number of other local and statewide races. He attends Virginia Tech, where he has held various positions in the Student Government Association for four years. He will graduate in May with Bachelors Degrees in Political Science and Philosophy.
Nilam A. Patel is a native of Roanoke, VA.  She’s spent the past three and a half years studying at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC and is currently finishing up her senior year with a history major and minors in journalism and entrepreneurship and social enterprise.  She has held several leadership positions on campus in organizations such as Student Government, the Old Gold & Black (student newspaper) and The QUAD – an organization that connects the four universities in Winston-Salem to break down stereotypes.   She currently serves as Student Government President at Wake Forest University and is a graduate of the 2007 High School Leaders Program.


Andrus Welcomes Baby Girl
Apr 6 2012 - 3:24pm

Joel Andrus and his wife welcomed Mary Garland Virginia Andrus the morning of April 1st.  She weighed 7lbs 7oz and measured 19.5 in, and everyone is happy and healthy.  Congratulations, Joel!

2012 Youth Program Participants Announced
Apr 11 2012 - 10:05am

Members of the Sorensen Institute staff and regional boards have completed an exhaustive review of all  applicants for admission to the 2012 College Leaders and High School Leaders Programs. We're proud to announce the College Leaders Program Class of 2012 and the High School Leaders Program Class of 2012! These students have proven themselves to be active and engaged citizens in the communities. We can't wait for them to join us in Charlottesville this summer!

College Leaders Program Class of 2012
Bryan Byrd, George Mason University; Martinsville
Colin Christensen, Emory and Henry College; Strasburg
Sean “John” Deviney, Virginia Commonwealth University; Barrington, RI
Troy Ehardt, James Madison University; Fredericksburg
Sarah-Wynne Eppes, The University of Virginia; Lynchburg
Matthew “Todd” Galyean, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise; Big Stone Gap
Samantha Gould-Ginesi, Virginia Commonwealth University; Newport News
Claire Hathaway, Radford University; Ashburn
Meghan Hobbs, University of Mary Washington; Bristol
Maha Khaliq, George Mason University; Alexandria
James Lawrence, Radford University; Salem
Grace Leahey, Lynchburg College; Warwick, RI
Amanda Lemons, Virginia Tech University; Roanoke
Celia “Claire” McNabb, James Madison University; Alexandria
Nathalie Navarrete, Bates College; Alexandria
Michael Nolan, Virginia Commonwealth University; Kilamarnock
Brendan Oudekerk, University of Mary Washington; Winchester
Sean Simons, University of Mary Washington; Fairless Hills, PA
High School Leaders Program Class of 2012
Brianna Barbachem, Princess Anne High School; Virginia Beach
Anna Benson, Blacksburg High School; Blacksburg
Bella Blackney, Tallwood High School; Virginia Beach
James Bollinger, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; McLean
Caroline Bones, St. Catherine’s School; Richmond
Andrew Brightbill, Princess Anne High School; Virginia Beach
Gowri Buddiga, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School; Glen Allen
David “Ford” Carson, Patrick Henry High School; Roanoke
Alvin Chan, Annandale High School; Annandale
Grace Charlton, Battlefield High School; Gainesville
Suchita Chharia, Loudoun Valley High School; Purcellville
Tilden “Lester” Coleman, Carlisle School; Martinsville
Thomas Courtney, Charlottesville High School; Charlottesville
Marc Cugnon, Wakefield Country Day School; Flint Hill
Christina Holman; George Mason High School; Falls Church
Laura Houchens, Douglas Southall Freeman High School; Richmond
Orrick “Fitzhugh” Johnson, Fredericksburg Academy; Fredericksburg
Matthew King, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School; Henrico
Ryan LaMura, Benedictine College Preparatory; Richmond
Sean McIntosh, Edison High School; Alexandria
John “Jack” Minchew, Tuscarora High School; Leesburg
Jasmine Parham, King’s Fork High School; Suffolk
Marc Petrine, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School; Midlothian
Ralph “Jacob” Rich, Mills E. Godwin High School, Richmond
William Romness, Western Albemarle High School; Charlottesville
Ashley Roten, King’s Fork High School; Suffolk
Tina Rowland, King’s Fork High School; Suffolk
William Snoeyenbos, HB Woodlawn Secondary School; Arlington
Fletcher Stephens, King’s Fork High School; Suffolk
Ann Valentine, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School; Richmond
Emily Votroubek, Broad Run High School; Ashburn
Matthew Watts, Grafton High School; Yorktown
Karen Xia, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; Chantilly

Honeybee Legislation Signed Into Law
Apr 16 2012 - 5:04pm

Governor McDonnell recently signed SB 354 and HB 300, inspired by a College Leaders Program policy project, into law.  CLP 2011 members Rebecca Lamb, Scott Bennett, Danny Yates, Kelli Montgomery, and Kevin Muchiri developed the idea for a Honeybee Incentive, which proposed a tax credit for beekeepers for as much as $200 for every new beehive, up to $2,400. 

The project was adopted by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County) and Delegate Ed Scott (R-Culpeper) and presented to the General Assembly.  Similar bills had failed in previous years, but passed this year after being changed by legislative committee to a grant system to be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The General Assembly established a fund totaling $175,000 to apiarists to encourage developing the state's dying bee population.  

Sorensen Gala Gathers Nine Governors
Apr 19 2012 - 11:27am

Tuesday's Gala was a historic event, gathering together all eight former governors of Virginia, as well as Gov. McDonnell. An April 18 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch has full details of the event, as well as a summary of each governor's remarks.

Watch the Newsroom for audio and video of this event in the upcoming week, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for a wealth of Gala photos coming soon.

Trumbo Named "Teacher of the Year"
Apr 19 2012 - 6:09pm

Bo Trumbo (PLP 2009) is the winner of the 2012 John Marshall Foundation Teacher of the Year Award for excellence in teacher the United States Constitution to high school students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The award will be presented in Richmond on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 as part of the Law Day luncheon ceremony of the Richmond Bar Association. The John Marshall Foundation sponsors educational and public interest programs in the fields of law, government, history, and public affairs to promote a greater public understanding of Chief Justice John Marshall. The annual award recognition began in 1989 as one of the Foundation's first educational programs to honor outstanding secondary school teachers for their demonstrated knowledge of and enthusiasm for the United States Constitution.  

Congratulations, Bo!

AUDIO: Bob Gibson Welcomes Guests to Gala
Apr 24 2012 - 11:18am

Executive Director Bob Gibson and State Advisory Board Chair John Hager welcome guests to the 2012 Governors Gala.

AUDIO: Gov. Holton on Civil Rights
Apr 24 2012 - 11:28am

Gov. Linwood Holton, the evening's first speaker, discussed civil rights in Virginia and his administration. Executive Director Bob Gibson introduced Gov. Holton.

AUDIO: Gov. Robb on Education
Apr 24 2012 - 11:41am


Featured Alumni

  • Jesse Ferguson.jpg

    Jesse Ferguson

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2004

    Jesse serves as the Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    He was Brian Moran's Chief of Staff during Moran's tenure as Democratic Caucus Chairman in the Virginia House of Delegates and was also the communications director on Moran’s Democratic primary campaign for Governor. Jesse is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and a co-founder and former Executive Director of Virginia21.