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
Care Advantage
Commonwealth Connections, Inc.
Cornerstone Government Affairs
David Bailey Associates
Davis Consultants, Inc.
Grant Thornton
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

Now Hiring 2016 Youth Program Managers
Dec 21 2015 - 2:40pm
Youth Program Manager

Position Announcement

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is seeking applicants to be a Youth Program Manager in the summer of 2016 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 11-25, and the High School Leaders Program being held July 9-23.

Successful applicants will possess the following skills:
  • excellent time management
  • a high degree of organization
  • the ability to work with high school and college students in a residential and classroom setting
  • a knowledge of Virginia government and politics
  • significant peer leadership experience
  • experience in peer-to-peer counseling
  • thorough professionalism
  • strong written and oral communication abilities
  • an ability to adjust to shifting priorities
Favorable consideration will be given to applicants who hold a bachelor's degree by the program start date, but rising college seniors are also encouraged to apply.
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 employment period will run from June 9, 2016 until July 26, 2016. During the program, Youth Program Managers will  live in residence every night and work each day with the program participants while the programs are in session, with some half-days off duty.  There will also be a vacation gap between programs, from Monday, June 27 to Thursday, July 7.  Program Coordinators will receive room and board with the students during the programs, as well as a university parking pass, in addition to the 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 Student Programs Cash Arehart at (434) 243-2470, or Cash Arehart, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, P.O. Box 400206, Charlottesville, VA 22904.  Applications must be submitted by Monday, February 29, 2016 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 midnight, Monday, February 29, 2016 for consideration.
A. The full time position runs from Thursday, June 9 to Tuesday, July 26.

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 class on all program field trips.

E. Advise students in preparation of their culminating project as outlined in program materials. Personally mentor at least one student research group in each program.

F. Provide administrative support during the program - help with coordination of activities, contact with speakers, development of culminating project groups, evening activities, grocery shopping trips, greeting VIPs, etc.
G. Coordinate social events for program participants.

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 successful operation of the programs as assigned by the Sorensen Institute staff.


Now Accepting 2016 CLP and HSLP Applications
Dec 18 2015 - 3:22pm

The Sorensen Institute is now accepting applications for the 2016 College Leaders Program (CLP) and the 2016 High School Leaders Program (HSLP). 

 The College Leaders Program offers college students across the commonwealth an advanced program on public service and leadership with a focus on state and local politics.

The 2016 College Leaders Program (CLP) will be held June 11 - 25 on grounds at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Students attending school at any accredited school in Virginia, or native Virginians attending a school out of state are eligible to apply for the CLP.


The High School Leaders Program offers concentrated study in Virginia politics and government for high school students throughout the commonwealth. Students who are at least 16 years of age, or are rising juniors or seniors are encouraged to apply. Graduating seniors are also eligible to apply.

The 2016 High School Leaders Program (HSLP) will take place on grounds at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, July 9 - 23.

State Farm is a proud sponsor of the HSLP.


Both programs are built on the firm understanding that younger citizens not only can make a positive difference in their communities, but that they should be mentored and strongly encouraged to do so. Students in each program engage in substantive debate about the public policy challenges facing the Commonwealth and interact with Virginia's political and business leaders, and participants gain practical skills and political knowledge to become effective advocates in their schools and communities, in government, and in business.


Applications for both the CLP and the HSLP are due by midnight on Monday, March 7.  More information about the application process can be found on our Applications Page.

If you have any questions about either program, please contact Cash Arehart at 434-243-2470 or

If you would like to refer someone to our program, please visit our referrals page.

Holsworth to speak in Danville Tuesday, Oct. 6
Sep 14 2015 - 6:36pm

Join us at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville on Oct. 6 as renowned political scientist and analyst Bob Holsworth engages in a thought-provoking discussion of state and national elections in Virginia.

The evening begins with a 6 p.m. reception hosted by Sorensen alumni and community leaders Jennifer Bowles, Julie Brown, Helm Dobbins, Steven Gould, Missy Neff Gould, and Chris West. Be sure to bring potential applicants for the Political Leaders Program and Candidate Training Program!

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

Sorensen to host third Autumn Gala on Nov. 10
Sep 10 2015 - 6:46pm

The Sorensen Institute is pleased to announce our third annual Autumn Gala, featuring a discussion on the collaborative and bipartisan efforts to introduce legislation to better define the nation's war powers.

We hope you'll join us on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City to hear from:

• U.S. Senator Tim Kaine;
• Va. Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, Admiral John Harvey;
• Scholar and diplomat Philip Zelikow; and
• Our discussion moderator, TIME's Massimo Calabresi.

You can have your business or organization sponsor a table! Contact Colleen Smith at 434-982-4910.

After dinner, the evening continues at a special alumni afterparty at Siné Irish Pub in Pentagon Row beginning at 9:30 p.m. All Sorensen alumni, including those who cannot attend the Gala, are invited to the afterparty. Potential PLP and CTP applicants are also welcome. (There is no dress code for the afterparty—cocktail and casual attire are equally appropriate.)

To purchase Gala tickets, visit To RSVP for the free alumni afterparty, email

Now Accepting 2016 CTP and PLP Applications
Sep 8 2015 - 4:46pm

Sorensen is now accepting applications for the 2016 Candidate Training Program (CTP) and the 2016 Political Leaders Program (PLP).

The Candidate Training Program is an intensive, four-day program focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign for office.  Participants explore the nuts and bolts of building a strong campaign from the ground up—all within the context of ethics and principled public service. The curriculum does not prescribe a particular set of campaign guidelines or rules, but does provide candidates with a framework for developing their own code of conduct to run a winning and ethical campaign. Participants in the program represent  a broad range of ideologies and a diversity of communities from throughout Virginia.  The Candidate Training Program is sponsored in part by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, which helps us keep tuition costs affordable.

The Political Leaders Program, Sorensen's flagship program, is a leadership development program for residents of Virginia interested in becoming more active in public service, whether as community leaders or as elected officials. Participation in this program has become a traditional "first step" for future political leaders in the Commonwealth. The class meets in various locations across Virginia, once a month for 10 months from March through December.

 Applications for both the PLP and the CTP are due by midnight on Monday, November 16th.  More information about the application process can be found on our Applications Page.

If you have any questions about either program, please contact Lauren Gilbert at 434-243-2844 or
If you would like to refer someone to our program, please visit our referrals page.

State Farm Seeking New Youth Advisory Board Members
Aug 25 2015 - 9:13am

A message from one of our High School Leaders Program sponsors, State Farm:

To all community partners, educators and students:
Applications are now available for new board members for the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB). This is an incredible opportunity for a young person to grow as a leader, help out their communities, and network with a diverse group of 28 youth, ages 17-20, from across the U.S!
The YAB board is responsible for granting $5 million dollars in service-learning and community impact grants that seek to solve important domestic issues. As a member of the YAB, students will be provided an amazing personal developmental opportunity, as well as being able to make a long-lasting impact in communities they care about and provide solutions to today’s pertinent issues.
Students can apply now by visiting The application deadline is Oct. 2, 2015 at 5 PM (CST).
Please also forward this information to any 17-20 year old that you think would be interested in becoming a board member. They can check out the YAB on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!
With a passion for education and service, our youth can make a difference! Thank you for helping us spread the word.

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Featured Alumni

  • Alfonso Lopez.jpg

    Alfonso Lopez

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2003

    Alfonso was the Director of the Virginia Liaison Office during the Kaine administration. In 2011 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in the 49th District. He also serves on the Sorensen Institute's Northern Virginia Regional Board.