Announcing the CLP and HSLP Classes of 2015
Apr 23 2015 - 2:03pm

We are delighted to announce the 2015 College Leaders Program and High School Leaders Program classes. Members of the CLP will meet in Charlottesville on June 13, and members of the HSLP will meet in Charlottesville on July 11. Congratulations to all!

2015 College Leaders Program Participants:
Tyler Adams, James Madison University; Louisa
Caitlyn Aird, George Mason University; Midlothian
Shalma Akther, Virginia Commonwealth University; Arlington
Graves Anthony,III, Hampden-Sydney College; Stanleytown
Robbie Bradshaw, Old Dominion University; Portsmouth
Nathan Britt, The College of William & Mary; Disputanta
Logan Dupuy, James Madison University; Vesuvius
Evan Fitts, Virginia Tech; Chester
Benjamin Giustiniani, Hampden-Sydney College; Clayton, NC
Stephen Hensell, Virginia Tech; Stafford
Christian Hughes, University of Mary Washington; Charlottesville
Michael Kalifeh, Northern Virginia Community College; Herndon
Ryan LaRochelle. Christopher Newport University; Glen Allen
Niko Leiva. Virginia Commonwealth University; Leesburg
Sarah Lewis, Virginia Tech; Winchester
Michael Lopez, College of William and Mary; Chesapeake
Jacob Perry, The Ohio State University; Charlottesville
Bibi Santana, Mary Baldwin College; Winchester

2015 High School Leaders Program Participants:
Reagan Bracknell, Princess Anne High School; Virginia Beach
Luke Basham, Central High School; Wise
Jack Beedle, Salem High School; Salem
Josie Bulova, James W Robinson Secondary; Fairfax
Kyle Campbell, Salem High School; Salem
Virginia Chambers, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School; Richmond
Ronak Chopra, South Lakes High School; Herndon
Ross Cooper, TC Williams High School; Alexandria
Giovana De Oliveira, John Randolph Tucker High School; Glen Allen
Spencer Gilbert, George C. Marshall High School; Vienna
Hugh Halsey, Christchurch School; Rockville
Joveria Javed, Robert E. Lee High School; Springfield
Cat Johnson, Charlottesville High School; Charlottesville
Jordyn Kent, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School; Disputanta
Mary Alice Kukoski, Saint Gertrude High School; Richmond
Nadine Lin, Douglas S. Freeman High School; Richmond, VA
Aidan McClellan, Maury High School; Norfolk
Ryan McDowell, Chatham High School; Dry Fork
Harrison Premen, Kettle Run High School; Warrenton
Kate Price, Sherando High School; Stephens City
Camryn Rascoe, Warwick High School; Newport News
Dharaa Rathi, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School; Glen Allen
Elizabeth Rountree, Douglas S. Freeman High School; Richmond
Jack Salm, Broadwater Academy; Cape Charles
Christina Shaw, Patriot High School; Gainesville
Ahmad Shawwal, Massaponax High School; Fredericksburg
Mary Stuart, Stafford High School; Fredericksburg
Kia Wassenaar, Monticello High School; Charlottesville
Ryan Wilson, Tuscarora High School; Leesburg
Ellen Yates, Charlottesville High School; Charlottesville

Arehart to Join Sorensen Staff
Mar 12 2015 - 9:44am

David Arehart will be joining the Sorensen staff as Youth Program and Recruitment Director in mid-March. David, or Cash as he is known by friends and colleagues, is the newest addition to the Sorensen staff. He is a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2014, which elected him class President.

Prior to joining the Sorensen staff, Cash was as an Education Outreach Specialist for Colonial Williamsburg where he was a Constitutional Historian and also portrayed several historic characters including John Marshall and Edmund Randolph during his fourteen years with the Foundation. He also served as a liaison between Colonial Williamsburg and Sorensen for the Emerging Leaders Program. A native Virginian and an Eagle Scout, Cash is part of a family that has resided in the Shenandoah Valley since the 1760’s.

In addition to directing the College Leaders Program and High School Leaders Program, he will be Sorensen’s chief recruiter for all five programs and provide staff support to the Political Leaders Program, the Candidate Training Program, and the Emerging Leaders Program. Cash is thrilled for the opportunity to mentor the CLP and HSLP classes of 2015.

All of us at Sorensen are happy for Cash to join the Institute’s team. Welcome, Cash!


Now Hiring 2015 Youth Program Managers
Mar 9 2015 - 7:39pm
Youth Program Manager

Position Announcement

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is seeking applicants to be a Youth Program Manager in the summer of 2015 for its College and High School Leaders Programs.

Both programs are residential at the University of Virginia. Each program is two weeks, with the College Leaders Program scheduled for June 13-27, and the High School Leaders Program being held July 11-25.

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; a good understanding of professionalism; strong written and oral communication abilities; and excellent human relations skills.  Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree by the program start date. Applicants should also be prepared to bring a personal computer or laptop for their own use, and it would be beneficial for an applicant to have a car.

The regular positions will run from June 11 until July 28. During the program, Youth Program Managers will be required to live in residence with the students every night and work each day, with some half-days off duty.  There will also be some vacation time between programs, from June 30 to July 9. There may be some limited work requirements to assist in preparation for the youth programs in late May and early June.  Program Coordinators will receive room and board with the students during the programs, as well as a university parking pass, in addition to a stipend.

Applications should include: a current resume; a letter of recommendation; three references that may be contacted; and a brief letter explaining why the applicant is interested in the position.

Questions and applications can be directed to Director of Programs Lauren Gilbert at (434) 243-2844, or Lauren Gilbert, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, P.O. Box 400206, Charlottesville, VA 22904.  Applications must be submitted by Sunday, April 5, 2015 at midnight for consideration.  Qualified applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview via phone after this date.


$2,400.00 plus room, board, and meals during program

Applications must be submitted by Sunday, April 5, 2015 at midnight for consideration.
A. The full time position runs from June 11 to July 28.

B. Be in residence at the University of Virginia at all times when students are in the dorms with some time 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, serve as a mentor and guide for students, complete administrative work at the Sorensen office, 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.

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.


CLP and HSLP Application Deadline Extended: Thursday, March 5th at Midnight
Mar 2 2015 - 12:51pm

Due to difficulties with inclement weather this winter, The Sorensen Institute has decided to extend the deadline to apply or submit supplementary materials for the College Leaders Program and High School Leaders Program to Thursday, March 5th at midnight. 

More information about the programs and how to apply can be found on our Applications Page.

Questions can be directed to Lauren Gilbert,

Job Opportunity: Youth Program and Recruitment Director
Feb 3 2015 - 12:49pm

The Sorensen Institute is currently seeking to hire a new Youth Program and Recruitment Director.

The position involves responsibility for all program recruitment for five programs throughout the year and for managing faculty, staff, and speakers to ensure proper daily operations of Sorensen's summer youth programs, the High School Leaders Program and College Leaders Program.

Required knowledge, skills, and abilities include:
Ability to independently design, develop, modify and conduct a variety of research procedures;
Ability to serve as liaison to work with diverse groups of people;
Ability to interpret and assess the impact of regulations, procedures, legislative proposals and mandates;
Ability to accurately interpret and report findings;
Working knowledge of Virginia's political system;
Knowledge of policy analysis, legislative practices, research and evaluation techniques
Ability to conduct and report analysis
Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing 

Applicants should have a four-year degree in social sciences or liberal arts and/or five years of experience in the field of youth program management or liberal arts educational activities, which may substitute for degree. With a four-year degree, three years of experience in the field of youth program management or liberal arts educational activities is required.

Applications will be accepted through February 23rd.
For more information about the job or to apply, visit the Jobs@UVA job listing.

9th Annual Legislative Reception, Feb. 17
Jan 15 2015 - 11:55am

You Are Invited!

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
9th Annual Legislative Reception

Tuesday, Feb. 17
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Location Change: 27 Bistro
27 West Broad Street, Richmond

by Tuesday, Feb. 10 


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 25 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
Care Advantage
Cornerstone Government Affairs
Davis Consultants, Inc.
Haley Buick GMC
Kemper Consulting
Lindl Corporation
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 2015
Jan 7 2015 - 12:49pm

We are delighted to announce the members of our first two classes of 2015. The Candidate Training Program participants will meet at Carter Hall from January 22-25th. The Political Leaders Program participants will meet for the first time in Williamsburg on March 19-21.  Congratulations to all!

Candidate Training Program Class of 2015
Dale Agnew, Crozier
Dave Belote, Virginia Beach
Candice Bennett, Lorton
Travis Bird, Fredericksburg
Gerald Goad, Woodlawn
Charlie Grammick, Warrenton
Chris Harris, Alexandria
Ben Hudson, Palmyra
Jeannie Inge, Charlottesville
Monte Johnson, Ashburn
Maral Kalbian, Boyce
Sean Lenehan, Alexandria
Angela Lynn, Charlottesville
Kenya Savage, Chantilly
Don Shaw, Gainesville
Fernando Torrez, Alexandria
Carlos Turner, Claremont

Political Leaders Program Class of 2015
Andreas Addison, Richmond
Lashrecse Aird, Petersburg
Suja Amir, Glen Allen
David Boling, Arlington
Butch Bracknell, Virginia Beach
Lisette Carbajal, Bealeton
Lakshmi Challa, Glen Allen
Melody Clarke, Eastville
Traci DeShazor, Alexandria
Stephanie Ferrugia, Alton
Kathy Galvin, Charlottesville
Bryan Green, Richmond
Jamal Gunn, Virginia Beach
Razi Hashmi, Arlington
Kristian Havard, Richmond
Meg Heubeck, Waynesboro
Matt Homer, Shenandoah
Ann Jennings, Mattaponi
Ken Johnson, Richmond
Jim Kelly, Williamsburg
Jessica Killeen, Alexandria
Michael Kreps, Alexandria
Dawn Matheson, Chesapeake
Phil Miskovic, Crewe
Chris Monioudis, Roanoke
Jibran Muhammad, Falls Church
Mike Mullin, Newport News
Irma Palmer, Charlottesville
Debbie Pickford, Springfield
Taylor Pool, Arlington
Eric Postow, Richmond
Caroline Romano, Arlington
Samantha Sedivy, Richmond
Andrew Sinclair, Portsmouth
Andrew Smith, Beaverdam
Jerri Wilson, Franklin

Lauren Gilbert Named as Director of Programs
Dec 19 2014 - 11:42am

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is delighted to announce that Lauren Gilbert will be our new Director of Programs, succeeding April Auger.

April is leaving Sorensen today after six years to become a full-time graduate student at the University of Richmond to pursue a master’s degree in nonprofit management.

“Lauren has proven herself to be an excellent Youth Program Director and has the skills and the dedication to Sorensen’s mission to lead all five of our programs in 2015 and beyond,” said Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute.

Lauren has been responsible for overseeing recruitment for and implementation of the College and High School Leaders Programs for the past several years. She is a graduate of the College Leaders Program Class of 2009 and returned to Sorensen as a Youth Program Manager in 2010. She is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Political Science.

"I'm excited to take on the responsibilities of the Director of Programs," Gilbert said.  "I have had the privilege of working closely with participants in our youth programs for many years, and I've seen firsthand how our programs create both strong policy ideas and lasting friendships.  I look forward to continuing the good work done by my predecessors in this role."

Legislative Reception Feb. 17 in Richmond
Dec 18 2014 - 2:22pm

Sorensen's Legislative Reception, a must-attend gathering in the Richmond political social calendar, recognizes our 25 alumni currently serving in the General Assembly and statewide office. This Feb. 17 event at Williams Mullen in Richmond begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to all Sorensen alumni and friends.

It's not too late to join our Legislative Reception sponsors in supporting this event, which regularly draws more than 200 attendees, including members of the General Assembly, their staffers, and other leaders in Richmond. Contact Colleen Smith at 424-982-4910 or

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Featured Alumni

  • Andy Block.jpg

    Andy Block

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2006

    Andy is the director of the U.Va. Law School's Child Advocacy Clinic.

    From 1998 to the spring of 2010 he was the founder and legal director of the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center, a program that represents low-income children across the Commonwealth of Virginia.