AUDIO: Spring Gala honoring Virginia women in leadership
Apr 25 2016 - 5:11pm

We had a great evening Tuesday at our Spring Gala honoring Virginia Women in Leadership. Our incredible panelists discussed their own paths to leadership and offered guidance to women considering running for office. You can stream the remarks below, or hit the download link to save the audio file to your computer.

Our panelists were:
Amanda Chase, Virginia State Senator
Anne Holton, Virginia Secretary of Education
Bobbie Kilberg, President & CEO, NVTC
Jenn McClellan, Virginia State Delegate
Jill Vogel, Virginia State Senator
Kathryn Falk, VP Public & Government Affairs, Cox Communications (moderator)

Announcing the CLP and HSLP Classes of 2016
Apr 25 2016 - 4:29pm

We are delighted to announce the 2016 College Leaders Program and High School Leaders Program classes. Members of the CLP will meet in Charlottesville on June 11, and the HSLP will begin in Charlottesville on July 9. Congratulations to all!

2016 College Leaders Program Participants:

Hayley Allison, Bluefield College, Cedar Bluff, VA
Bradford Decker, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
Olivia Defibaugh, Virginia Commonwealth University, Chesterfield, VA
Kaelyn Dickinson, Mary Baldwin College, Richmond, VA
Danni Gonyo, George Mason University, Glen Allen, VA
Stewart Lawrence, Hampden-Sydney College, Richmond, VA
Felisha Leffler, Sweet Briar College, Enosburg Falls, VT
Ricardo Manoatl, Radford University, Oakton, VA
Brandon Martin, Christopher Newport University, Axton, VA
Chris Medrano, James Madison University, Annandale, VA
Summer Peebles, Old Dominion University, Virginia Beach, VA
Marc Reiner, Christopher Newport University, Henrico, VA
Matthew Revis, Christopher Newport University, Rixeyville, VA
Karlin Stuckey, Christopher Newport University, Glen Allen, VA
Tania Valencia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Woodbridge, VA
Milagro Ventura, Mary Baldwin College, Washington, D.C.
Kristen Walker, Spelman College, North Chesterfield, VA

2016 High School Leaders Program Participants:

Campbell Baker, Wakefield Country Day School, The Plains, VA
Thomas Best, Douglas S. Freeman, Henrico, VA
Wells Carson, Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke, VA
Kameron Choe, South Lakes High School, Herndon, VA
Kat Detter, McLean High School, McLean, VA
Olivia Even-Vaca, George C. Marshall High School, Falls Church, VA
Karli Foster, Bassett High School, Collinsville, VA
Sunita Ganesh, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Midlothian, VA
Claudia Gohn, Madison County High School, Madison, VA
Pablo Gómez García, James River High School, North Chesterfield, VA
Eve Grill, George C. Marshall High School, Vienna, VA
Sasha Grossman, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Chris Hopkins, James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School, Fairfax Station, VA
Lily Hungarland, George Washington High School, Danville, VA
Omar Karim, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Henrico, VA
Jacob Lewis, Sherando High School, Winchester, VA
Carter Light, George Washington High School, Danville, VA
Mynome Lorde, Manchester High School, Chester, VA
Lara Maluf-Mas, Monticello High School, Keswick, VA
Emily Martin, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Midlothian, VA
Sophia McCrimmon, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Mechanicsville, VA
Trevor Monk, Eastside High School, Coeburn, VA
Michael Pang, Mills E. Goodwin High School, Glen Allen, VA
Evelyn Saunders, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Midlothian, VA
Lindsey Shavers, Henrico High School, Richmond, VA
Oliver Simon, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA
David Wilbourne, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA

HSLP Alternates:
Anny Arroyo-Pena, JEB Stuart High School, Falls Church, VA
Susanna Maize, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, VA
Matthew Thompson, Math and Science High School at Clover Hill, Midlothian, VA


Fifer and Elson appear on NOVA NOW!
Apr 8 2016 - 12:09pm

Craig Fifer and Brian Elson, co-chairs of Sorensen's Northern Virginia Regional Board, appeared on Cox's NOVA NOW! to talk about how Sorensen champions civility and respect in Virginia politics. They also discussed our upcoming Spring Gala honoring Virginia Women in Leadership. The event, featuring a panel discussion with women who lead in Virginia, is on April 19 in Richmond.

Many thanks to our Media Sponsor Cox Communications for this fantastic opportunity.

Visit for more information about the Gala and to purchase tickets through April 12.



Sorensen Day 2016 is here!
Apr 6 2016 - 10:53am

We're excited to celebrate our second-ever Sorensen Day today! 

Sorensen Day can be celebrated where ever you are.

On Sorensen Day:

  • Wear your Sorensen pin
  • Talk to someone about a Sorensen program- Applications for the ELP will be open April 1-May 27; applications for the 2017 PLP and CTP will open Tuesday, September 6th
  • Meet up with another Sorensen alum
  • Give a gift to Sorensen- Barbara Fried, Sorensen’s Chairman Emeritus and current member of the University’s Board of Visitors, has provided incentive to give to Sorensen leading up to UVA’s “Giving ToHoosDay” on April 12. She will match, dollar for dollar, contributions to Sorensen that come through the Giving ToHoosDay portal. To give online, visit and click “Give Now” on the top right. Scroll down to designate your gift to go to The Sorensen Institute!
  • Win a ticket to the April 19th Spring Gala!-

On Wednesday, April 6th, post a picture on the Facebook event of yourself wearing a Sorensen pin or t-shirt, or a picture of you getting together with another alum, and you'll be entered to win a free ticket to the Spring Gala on April 19th!

Applications for the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program Now Open!
Mar 31 2016 - 2:04pm

Applications for the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program are now being accepted. 

The Sorensen Institute Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a seven-day leadership development program that meets over the course of three months for young residents of Virginia who have worked in state government and are interested in becoming more active in public service and public policy, whether as community leaders or as elected or appointed officials in the executive or legislative branches. Participation in this program will help train public policy and political leaders in the Commonwealth. The class meets at Carter Hall for one weekends in each July and September and in Richmond for two days in August.

More information about the Emerging Leaders Program and how to apply can be found here.  Applications for the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program will be due at midnight on Friday, May 27th, 2016.  For questions about the ELP, please contact Director of Programs Lauren Gilbert at or (434) 243-2844.

Sorensen mourns loss of alumna Tiffany Joslyn
Mar 8 2016 - 4:14pm

The Sorensen alumni family is saddened by the news that a tragic auto accident on Interstate 95 in New England took the life of a member of the Sorensen Political Leaders Program Class of 2011 and her brother over the weekend.

The class is processing the death of Tiffany May Joslyn, 33, of Arlington. She and her younger brother, Derrick, were driving to pick up a car for her when the vehicle they were in was struck on the interstate and rolled over into oncoming traffic.

All of the Sorensen family misses Tiffany, who brought light and smiles and caring to those she touched.

Tiffany was Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security & Investigations.

The Judiciary Committee issued the following statement about her:

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), and the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) today released the following joint statement in the wake of the death of Tiffany May Joslyn, Deputy Chief Counsel of the Crime Subcommittee (Democratic staff), who died on Saturday, March 5, 2016:

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden, tragic loss of Tiffany May Joslyn and her brother, Derrick T. Joslyn, who died in an auto accident in Rhode Island.

“Tiffany joined the committee almost one year ago and came into the office everyday with boundless energy and positivity. She was brilliant, determined, compassionate and kind.

“Her hardworking nature and diligent spirit served as an inspiration to everyone who knew her and worked with her, regardless of political affiliation.

“Tiffany’s passionate work and dedication to social justice is unparalleled. From her time working in the non-profit sector as a young criminal defense attorney to her many months of hard work to reform our criminal justice system as Deputy Chief Counsel of the U.S. House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee (Democratic staff) – her work made a lasting impact.

“Though her life was cut short by tragedy, Tiffany had a profound and positive impact on the world. She made a true difference in the lives of many, both professionally and personally. We are grateful for the time we were able to spend with Tiffany, and for her critical work on the committee. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family.” 

Tiffany Joslyn (second row, third from left) poses with her classmates from the Political Leaders Program Class of 2011 at a Sorensen Gala on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.


Author Mike Signer to speak in Danville Feb. 25
Feb 1 2016 - 9:51am

Join us at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville on Feb. 25 as Mike Signer engages in a provocative discussion and signs copies of his latest book on James Madison.

The evening begins with a 6 p.m. reception hosted by Sorensen alumni and community leaders including Jennifer Bowles, Julie Brown, Helm Dobbins, Alexis Ehrhardt, Steven Gould, Missy Neff Gould, Steve Kaylor, and Laurie Moran. Be sure to bring potential applicants for the High School Leaders Program and College Leaders Program!

Our evening's featured speaker Mike Signer is an author, advocate, political theorist, and attorney. He is known for his books “Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father” and “Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from its Worst Enemies.”

He is a former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor who last year was elected to Charlottesville City Council and is the city’s mayor. He is a lecturer at the University of Virginia.

This event is cosponsored by the Danville Register & Bee and the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

Also on Feb. 25, Mike Signer presents "Leadership Lessons for Young Citizens," an after-school event for high school and college students at Brewed Awakening. Refreshments will be available beginning at 3:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 3:45 p.m.

10th Annual Legislative Reception, Feb. 23
Jan 29 2016 - 6:51pm

You Are Invited!

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
10th Annual Legislative Reception

Tuesday, Feb. 23
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Williams Mullen Center, 15th Floor
200 South 10th Street, Richmond

by Tuesday, Feb. 16 


This event, which has become a must-attend gathering in the Richmond political social calendar, recognizes our alumni in the Virginia General Assembly. Sorensen is proud to honor our 28 alumni currently serving in the General Assembly and statewide office.

This event is free and open to all Sorensen alumni, supporters and members of the Virginia General Assembly.

It's not too late to become a sponsor of Sorensen's Legislative Reception! To learn more, contact Colleen Smith at (434) 982‑4910 or

Sorensen wishes to thank our Event Sponsors:
Advantus Strategies
Alliance Group
Altria Client Services
Care Advantage
Commonwealth Connections, Inc.
Cornerstone Government Affairs
David Bailey Associates
Davis Consultants, Inc.
Grant Thornton LLP
Kemper Consulting
Lindl Corporation
Luck Companies
National Filter Service
The Vectre Corporation
Virginia Association of Health Plans
Williams Mullen


*Image courtesy Taber Andrew Bain.

Announcing the Candidate Training Program and Political Leaders Program Classes of 2016!
Jan 8 2016 - 1:34pm

We are delighted to announce the members of our first two classes of 2016. The Candidate Training Program participants will meet at Carter Hall from January 21-24th. The Political Leaders Program participants will meet for the first time in Williamsburg on March 17-19.  Congratulations to all!

2016 Candidate Training Program
Andreas Addison, Richmond
Angelia Allen, Portsmouth
Victor Angry, Woodbridge
Christopher Atkins, Berryville
Edward Champion, Blacksburg
Billy Chaney, Danville
John Flannery, Lovettsville
Bryan Horn, Henrico
Marques Jones, Henrico
Jeannie Keen, Salem
Joshua King, Woodbridge
George Lamb, Falls Church
Cathy Revell, Portsmouth
Garrett Sawyer, Richmond
John Williams, Morgantown

2016 Political Leaders Program
Christopher Atkins, Berryville
Eric Bagwell, Arlington
Phillip Blevins, Grundy
Jennifer Bowles, Martinsville
Diane Cullo, Alexandria
Ronique Day, Chester
Matt de Ferranti, Arlington
Joe Dillard, Jr., Norfolk
Bill Docalovich, Norfolk
Marvin Figueroa, Arlington
Albert Flores, Richmond
Mike Forehand, Fairfax
Leslie Frazier, Richmond
Roger Jarrell, Lexington
Elizabeth Jones, Alexandria
Vincent Jones, Richmond
Ben Keane, Arlington
Tommy Keefe, Sterling
Jeannie Keen, Salem
Tony Lucadamo, Charlottesville
Laurie MacNamara, Alexandria
Natalie Miller-Moore, Williamsburg
Wilson Paine, Reston
Jake Plummer, Tappahannock
Tony Riley, Portsmouth
Jon Russell, Culpeper
Don Shaw, Gainesville
Kalia Sokos, Richmond
CJ Stolle, Alexandria
Charles Sumpter, Alexandria
Ryan Touhill, Alexandria
Thomas Turner, Jr.,  Suffolk
Joe Valenti, Alexandria
Natale Ward, Hampton
Angie Youngen, Arlington
Cheryl Zando, Henrico

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Featured Alumni

  • Dyana Mason.jpg

    Dyana Mason

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2005

    Dyana is a former Executive Director of Capitol Pride Alliance and of Equality Virginia. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy.