Sorensen Staff

Sorensen Bids a Fond Farewell to April Auger
May 18 2011 - 4:46pm

On June 1, April Auger is leaving Sorensen as an outstanding program director after three years to pursue her first love—the world of fashion and image consulting—and all of us are sad to see her depart and wish her the very best.

April is a creative and talented leader who is beloved by all of us at the Sorensen Institute and the many participants in the programs she has guided. Her humor and passion for the Sorensen mission will be remembered and missed.

April will be pursuing her career as an image consultant and working part time with the University's Enrichment Voyages at Semester at Sea.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to work at the Sorensen Institute for the past three years. I've been blessed with the opportunity to meet many truly amazing people and the friendships I've made will last a lifetime. The greatest reward, however, will be in watching all of these I've met go on to lead the Commonwealth in a manner demonstrating the ideals of Sorensen, knowing I've played some small part in that success. I am sincerely grateful for my time here and wish only the best for the future of the Institute and its programs."

Youth Program Coordinators for 2011
Apr 7 2011 - 11:02am

Every year, the Sorensen Institute is joined by three Youth Program alumni who serve as Youth Program Coordinators. They assist the Manager of Youth Programs and Director of Programs with the day-to-day operation of the College Leaders and High School Leaders Programs. We're pleased to announce those alumni who have been selected to serve as our 2011 Youth Program Coordinators!

Elisabeth Maddrell
Elisabeth is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute's College Leaders Program (Class of 2010). She graduates this May from Mary Baldwin College with a degree in Political Science. At Mary Baldwin she serves as an Assistant Community Coordinator, is an active member of Mary Baldwin College's Resident Assistant Staff and has served as an intern for the Environmental Protection Agency. She is a proud member of Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Fraternity) and Alpha Lambda Delta. (Pictured at right.)








Dale Warfield
Hailing from Portsmouth, Virginia, Dale is a 2008 graduate of the Sorensen Institute's College Leaders Program. Dale graduates from George Mason University this May with a degree in Government. At George Mason, Dale is active in the Akoma Circle, Future Business Leaders of American and the Student Government Association. In the past, Dale has volunteered for Tutor Grove Baptist Church, the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Drive and has canvassed for several campaigns. Dale is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi. (Pictured at left.)








Beau Wright
Beau is a proud graduate of the 2006 High School Leaders Program. A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, he graduated from E.C. Glass High School before going on to study at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. Enchanted with his home state, he returned to attend the College of William & Mary, from which he will graduate this May with a degree in Government and History. Outside of his interest in nonpartisan politics, Beau enjoys leading tours at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, and traveling. (Pictured at right.)


Positions Open: Youth Program Coordinators
Dec 10 2010 - 1:05pm

Youth Program Coordinator
Position Announcement

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is seeking applicants to be Youth Program Coordinators during the summer of 2011 for its College Leaders Program and High School Leaders Program.

Both programs are residential at the University of Virginia. The College Leaders Program runs for four weeks from May 28th to June 25th; the High School Leaders Program runs from July 9th to July 23rd.

Desirable Qualifications are: effective time management skills; a high degree of organization; the ability to work with high school and college students in a residential and classroom setting; knowledge of Virginia government and politics; significant peer leadership experience; experience working in a peer-to-peer counseling setting; strong written and oral communication skills; and excellent human relations skills. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree by the program start date.

The regular positions will run from May 24th to July 24th. During the program, Youth Program Coordinators will be required to live in residence with the students every night and work on average 6 days a week, with some vacation time between the two programs. There will be some limited work requirements for recruitment and review of applications starting in Mid-January 2011. Program Coordinators will receive room and board with the students during the programs in addition to a $3,250 stipend.

Applicants should include a current resume and relevant references, in addition to a brief letter explaining why the applicant is interested in the position. Letters of recommendation are welcome, but not required.

Please submit all materials to Ben Heath, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, P.O. Box 400206, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904 or by email to

Questions can be directed to Ben Heath, Manager of Youth Programs, at or 434-243-2844. Applications must be submitted by Monday, January 3, 2011 for consideration. Applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview.


Compensation: $3,250 plus room and board during the programs

A. The full time position runs from May 24th through July 24th.
B. Coordinators must be in residence at the University of Virginia at all times when students are in the dorms; with one day off each week.
C. Assist in the daily operations of the programs - supervise students during the day, be on call certain evenings to assist students, etc.
D. Travel with the programs on all field trips.
E. Advise students in preparation of their culminating project as outlined in program materials. Oversee at least one student research group.
F. Provide administrative support during the program - help with coordination of activities, contact with speakers, development of culminating project groups, evening activities, etc.
G. Coordinate social events for the students in the programs.
H. Provide reasonable assistance to the Sorensen Institute in the recruitment and selection of program participants.
I. Assist in evaluating students completing the CLP or HSLP for academic credit.
J. Other tasks necessary for the operation of the programs as requested by the Sorensen Institute's staff.

Sorensen Institute to be featured on WMRA
Sep 30 2010 - 3:13pm

On Monday, October 4th, from 3pm-4pm, the Sorensen Institute will be featured and profiled on WMRA’s Virginia Insight program. Sorensen’s Executive Director, Bob Gibson, will be joined by the Director of the Center for Public Service and Scholarship at Shenandoah University, Karen Schultz. Together they will discuss the methods for teaching and encouraging public service. Virginia Insight is WMRA’s own call-in talk show, airing Mondays and Thursdays at 3pm, before All Things Considered. An encore broadcast from the week is featured Sunday afternoon at 3pm, following A Prairie Home Companion. Virginia Insight’s producer and host, Tom Graham, served as a radio news director in North Carolina, Tennessee and California. Tom has also worked in television as a reporter and news anchor.

The show’s call-in number is 888-967-2825 and listeners are welcome and encouraged to call in. The show will be streamed live at Below, you will find the radio dial numbers for WMRA.

103.5 FM Charlottesville
91.3 FM Farmville
90.7 FM Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley
89.9 FM Lexington
94.5 FM Winchester

Gibson on Civility
May 17 2010 - 1:50pm

Bob Gibson is the author of a recent commentary in the Charlottesville Daily Progress: "Civility isn't easy but worth making an effort." Click here to read the article.

"The All-Spin Zone"
Mar 24 2010 - 9:26pm

Sorensen's Bob Gibson is the author of a recent Charlottesville Daily Progress op-ed on the media and politics. Click here to read the article.

Gibson Authors Commmentary on Bayh Retirement
Feb 22 2010 - 2:39pm

Bob Gibson's latest column in the Charlottesville Daily Progress concerns the retirement of U.S. Senator Evan Bayh.

Roanoke Times Editorial Showcases Work of Sorensen
Jan 31 2010 - 11:09pm

In its Sunday editorial today, the Roanoke Times presented a thoughtful look at the work and mission of the Sorensen Instiute.

If a new generation of politicians does not get caught up in today's zero-sum politics, the General Assembly might dare to set aside rigid ideology and deal pragmatically with the challenges ahead.

Click here to read the full story.

Johnson to Leave Sorensen Institute
Jan 13 2010 - 10:24pm


In an email to members of the Sorensen Institute's State and Regional Boards this afternoon, Executive Director Bob Gibson announced that Marc Johnson would be leaving the Sorensen staff.

Marc will be joining the Tayloe Murphy Center—Virginia at the Darden Graduate School of Business at UVA, where he will serve as the Associate Director.  The Tayloe Murphy Center aims to help reshape disadvantaged communities within the Commonwealth into economically competitive communities. Marc will join other Center staff in reaching out to select communities within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Targeted communities will be defined by sluggish growth and overall economic distress. They will be communities marked by disadvantage, but which, with Tayloe Murphy Center support — education, leadership, alliances and resources — will be encouraged to reach towards reinvention.

"Marc's enthusiasm and commitment to Sorensen will be greatly missed by all of us," Gibson said. "Since he came to Sorensen in 2004 as an alumnus (CLP 2003) and the new manager of the College Leaders Program, he has helped teach and inspire literally hundreds of Sorensen graduates in pursuit of the institute's mission of improving political leadership and strengthening the quality of governance at all levels. As Assistant Director and Director of Programs the past several years, he has been a great help in building and strengthening all of Sorensen's programs."

"We all wish Marc the best as he pursues new opportunities helping direct the Tayloe Murphy Center's mission of helping distressed Virginia communities. I am delighted that he stays close by at the University in his new career endeavor and expect great things from him as he works to help stressed communities reinvent themselves."

Johnson said he has been "deeply honored to work at the Sorensen Institute for the past six years. It is an institution whose ideals and mission are compelling and easily inspire passion.  To have been part of pursuing that mission alongside Sorensen's staff, program participants, fellow alumni, and board members has been a true delight and inspiration.  As I move on to new challenges, I know that what I have learned from the people associated with Sorensen will be the foundation for my future work.  As an alumnus, I will certainly never be a stranger to the Sorensen Institute, and I look forward to supporting the organization in new ways as I leave the staff."

Free Speech or Disruption: Civility in Public Debate
Jan 6 2010 - 9:38am


The Sorensen Institute's Bob Gibson and Coy Barefoot participated in a panel discussion recently in Charlottesville exploring civility in public debate and discourse. The event was sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and titled "Free Speech or Disruption: Balancing the Rights to Speak and Hear."

Panelists included Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute; Elaine Jones, retired Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the first African-American woman to graduate from the UVa School of Law; Robert O'Neil, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center and former President of the University of Virginia; Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor for and a Contributing Editor to Newsweek; and John Whitehead, CEO and Founder of the Rutherford Institute. Coy Barefoot served as the moderator.

This was a fascinating conversation that explored from many angles the role of civility in public discourse today. Click here to watch a complete video of the event.

Featured Alumni

  • Ann Mallek.jpg

    Ann Mallek

    Candidate Training Program

    Class of 2007

    Shortly after graduating from the Candidate Training Program, Ann announced her candidacy for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors in the White Hall District. She won the election in November 2007 and still serves.