Political Leaders 2006 Profile: Claire Ward
Apr 13 2006 - 2:01pm

Throughout this year the Sorensen Blog will be posting individual profiles of the participants in our 2006 programs. We begin today with a profile of Claire Ward (shown above), a member of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006.

Name: Claire Ward   
Age: None of your business.
Born: Palo Alto, California.  I’m a Navy brat, so I grew up all over the world.
Current digs: I live and work in Richmond.
Occupation: Project Manager
Favorite part about the job? Building consensus among stakeholders, managing resources/priorities and getting it done!
First job ever?  An usher at the San Francisco Opera
Favorite book? A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Favorite movie? Sunset Boulevard, Suddenly Last Summer
Must See TV? The L Word, any flavor of Law and Order.
Comfort food? Cheese toast
What's in your car CD player right now? A dance mix CD that was burned for me by Rick Danger, a Richmond DJ.
Next journey? Pleasure: Washington, D.C. to see the Cézanne and Dada exhibits at the National Gallery and to see Tai Shan at the National Zoo. Business:  Fort Lauderdale.
One thing people might be surprised to learn about you? That I am a journeyman ship fitter (the folks who do structural steel work on ships).
Last gift you received?  Clay impression of my cat Mars' paw
Best advice you ever got? Never let your boss be surprised.
Whom do you admire and why? Jonathan Daniels and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Both of these men were people of great faith and courage who gave their lives in the pursuit of justice. In case you're unfamiliar, here's the scoop on these two: Jonathan Daniels was a VMI graduate and Episcopalian seminarian who went to Alabama to do civil rights work.  In 1965 he was murdered when he stepped in front of a young black girl to shield her from a shotgun blast. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an eminent German theologian who was deeply involved in the German resistance movement. The Nazis executed him in 1945.
If you could have dinner with any one currently living, whom would it be and why?  The Dalai Lama; because he's got a lot to teach, and I've got a lot to learn.
Ambition, political or otherwise?  Immediate professional ambitions:  PMP and Six Sigma Black Belt certification.  Long term professional ambitions:  Corporate Government Relations job.  Personal ambition:  To live happily ever after.
Describe a perfect day.  Sunny, around 78 degrees.  Kayak down the James with a group of friends.  Home for shower, lunch and nap.  Putter in the garden and play with the dog.  Cook yummy dinner for partner and couple of friends.



Sorensen Staff at Work Building International Relationships
Apr 13 2006 - 1:26pm

While on vacation in Finland this week, our Director of Youth Programs, Marc Johnson (on the right in this photo), met with members of the Finnish government to discuss the work of the Sorensen Institute, and specifically our High School and College Leaders Programs.

Marc met with Tuomas Kurttila (far left), a Planning Officer with the Advisory Council for Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Education, and Maria Wakeham, a Chief Inspector at their Citizen Participation Policy Programme in the Ministry of Justice.

In an email received today, Marc writes, "We discussed the work of the Sorensen Institute and civic engagement in the U.S. and in Finland. We shared concern over the disengagement of people generally from civic life, especially among the youth in both our countries. They were very interested in our programs, as they don't have any that focus on political leadership. They asked that we stay in touch and please send them more information about Sorensen."

"One of the best advances in ethical education and development..."
Apr 13 2006 - 1:02pm

In a recent online Q&A with the Not Larry Sabato blog, Delegate Brian Moran (46th District) had this to say about the Sorensen Institute: "One of the best advances in ethical education and development has been
the increasing number of members and candidates who graduate from the
Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership which makes ethics a major

Click here to read the full interview with Delegate Moran

Lucy Hutchinson Headed to the House
Apr 12 2006 - 10:10am


Lucy Hutchinson, an alumna of the College Leaders Program Class of 2005, is one of only two James Madison University students who will participate in a five-day simulation of the U.S. House of Representatives on April 17-21 in Washington.

According to a press release from JMU: "Senior Lucy Hutchinson, an international affairs major from Chantilly, Va., will represent Virginia's 10th district, officially represented by Frank R. Wolf, at the U.S. Model House. Hutchinson is a student government senator and finance chair, and is JMU's first fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization focused on educating young leaders."

Congratulations Lucy!

A Capital Semester for Joe Stanley
Apr 12 2006 - 8:35am


Joe Stanley (shown left with House Minority Leader Delegate Frank Hall) is a graduate of Sorensen's High School Leaders Program Class of 2005 and is currently a first-year at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This past semester Joe has worked as an intern in Delegate Hall's office as part of the Capital Semester Program. (the youngest intern Hall's office has ever had, by the way). Delegate Hall was so pleased with Joe's work ethic and skills that he asked Joe to stay on as his interim Legislative Assistant. So not only is Joe a full-time student at VCU (with plans to get involved in SGA), but he works full-time as a Legislative Assistant in the General Assembly as well! Way to go Joe!


Smith Elected Chair of Va Beach Republicans
Apr 10 2006 - 10:57am


Chuck Smith (left), a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach this past Saturday. Congratulations Chuck!

Chuck will replace out-going VA Beach Republican Party Chair Mark McKinney, who is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute's Political Leaders Program (Class of 2004).

Alumnus Jesse Ferguson Profiled by RTD
Apr 10 2006 - 10:31am


Jesse Ferguson, a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2004, was recently profiled by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Click here to read the article.

BREAKING NEWS: Sorensen Announces Youth Programs Classes of 2006
Apr 10 2006 - 8:18am

After many weeks of interviews around the Commonwealth, the Sorensen Institute is proud to announce that the members of the High School Leaders Program 2006 and the College Leaders Program 2006 have at last been selected. Competition was especially rigorous this year, and we want to thank everyone who applied to the programs. "We are fortunate to have an incredible group of students for both programs this year," commented Marc Johnson, Director of Sorensen's Youth Programs. "We are looking forward to getting started. It's going to be a great summer." Congratulations to all our new Sorensen students!

The COLLEGE LEADERS Program begins
on May 27 and runs through June 24. The members of the College Leaders Program Class of 2006 are:

Andrew Almand, Arlington, Christopher Newport University (2006), Political Science, minor in History

Sean Banks, Midlothian, James Madison University (2009), Undeclared

Catherine Bauman, Danville, The University of Virginia (2007), Government, minor in French

Ashley Call, Fairfax, Christopher Newport University (2008), Early Childhood Psychology, minor in Italian

Daniel Carawan, Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University (2008), Political Science

Shonda Copeland, Chesapeake, Norfolk State University (2007), Political Science, minor in English Education

Brian Coy, Woodbridge, James Madison University (2006), Political Science, minor in Geology

Anja Davis, Virginia Beach, Virginia Commonwealth University (2009), Political Science

Brady DeRemer, Grand Forks Air Force Base, The University of Mary Washington (2007), Political Science, concentration in Public Policy

Brandon Eickel, Germantown, Maryland, James Madison University (2008), Political Science and Communications

Katherine Ely, Smithfield, Old Dominion University (2005), Psychology and Communications

Nancy Funkhouser, Gordonsville, The University of Virginia (2008), International Relations, minor in Economics

Elizabeth Hooper, Martinsville, Radford University (2006), Political Science, minor in History

LaAndra Jones, Alexandria, Hampton University (2006), Political Science

Andrew Lamar, Fredericksburg, The University of Mary Washington (2007), Political Science and Economics

Emad Maghsoudi, Clifton, Virginia Commonwealth University (2008), Political Science, concentration in Pre-Law

Holly Mattocks, Fairfax, The University of Virginia (2007), Foreign Affairs, minor in History

Kimberly McKay, Charlottesville, Virginia Tech (2007), History and Political Science

Eric Paulson, Port Republic, Virginia Tech (2006), Political Science (B.A.) and Dairy Science (B.S.)

Jarrett Ray, Charlottesville, James Madison University (2008), Political Science and Philosophy and Religion

Emily Reijmers, Charlottesville, Virginia Commonwealth University (2008), Political Science, minor in International Relations

Chelsea Rock, Woodbridge, University of Richmond (2006), Rhetoric and Communications Studies, minors in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Spanish

Lincoln Saunders, Kilmarnock, the College of William & Mary (2006), Government, minor in Classical Studies

Tyler Sinsabaugh, Glen Allen, Longwood University (2006), Political Science, concentration in Pre-Law, minor in History

Michael Sizemore, Collinsville, Virginia Tech (2007), Political Science, minor in Urban Affairs and Planning

Lauren Stech, Chesapeake, Radford University (2007), Political Science, minor in Business Administration

Tsion Tesfaye, Midlothian, Virginia Commonwealth University (2009), English

Veronica Tessler, Yorktown, Virginia Commonwealth University (2007), International Studies, minor in Italian

Curtis Walton, Portsmouth, Old Dominion University (2008), Political Science and Finance

Chalana Williams, Chesapeake, Radford University (2009), Political Science

The HIGH SCHOOL LEADERS Program begins on July 8 and runs through July 22. The members of the High School Leaders Program Class of 2006 are:

Mark Armstrong, Lynchburg, E.C. Glass High School (2008)

Natacha Arora, Chesapeake, Oscar F. Smith High School (2008)

Kendall Bailey, Lynchburg, , E.C. Glass High School (2007)

Adam Barton, Roanoke, Northside High School (2007)

Kaitlyn Bennett, Chesapeake, Oscar F. Smith High School (2008)

Paul Blair, Virginia Beach, First Colonial High School (2008)

Amanda Blevins, Lovingston, Nelson County High School (2007)

William Corcelius, Quicksburg, Stonewall Jackson High School (2007)

Sarah Davidson, Blackwater, Rye Cove High School (2006)

Evan Davis, Virginia Beach, First Colonial High School (2008)

Courtenay Dobbins, Danville, George Washington High School (2008)

Alexandra Fey, Keswick, St. Anne’s Belfield (2007)

Kristen Gardner, Ashland, Patrick Henry High School (2007)

Phinizy Generelly, Palmyra, Tandem Friends School (2007)

Grant Johnson, Great Falls, George C. Marshall High School (2008)

Conor Kantwill, Charlottesville, St. Anne’s Belfield (2007)

Anna Mahone, Marion, Marion Senior High School (2008)

Ellen Marsteller, Manakin-Sabot, Collegiate School (2008)

Nicholas O’Boyle, Danville, Galileo Magnet High School (2008)

Natalie Oschrin, Charlottesville, Charlottesville High School (2007)

Carlos Quintela, Oakton, Thomas Jefferson High school (2008)

Erik Rison, Ashland, Patrick Henry High School (2008)

Tully Satre, Jeffersonton, Notre Dame Academy (2007)

Marie Sicola, Ashland, Patrick Henry High School (2008)

Alia Stewart-Silver, Charlottesville, Tandem Friends School (2006)

Lauren Story, Carrsville, Windsor High School (2008)

Beau Wright, Lynchburg, E.C. Glass High School (2007)

THIS JUST IN: Wrobel Makes Phi Beta Kappa
Apr 7 2006 - 1:45pm


This just in from Charlottesville: Christopher Wrobel, a third-year student at the University of Virginia and a graduate of Sorensen's College Leaders Program Class of 2005, was recently invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, capping off many years of hard work in school.

According to the UVA website: "Students are elected to Phi Beta Kappa for their stellar academic performance. Undergraduate members of Phi Beta Kappa are chosen from the top 12 percent of the fourth-year class and the top 4 percent of the third-year class.  Students chosen for Phi Beta Kappa not only have earned a high grade point average but have also consistently demonstrated scholarship in the liberal arts.  As a rule, students elected will have: (1) carried a full load of courses (15 credit hours per semester; not 12, as stated in the Undergraduate Record), (2) demonstrated proficiency in challenging advanced-level courses, and (3) chosen courses that reflect a scholarly commitment to the liberal arts in general (including a balance of courses in sciences and/or mathematics and the humanities and/or social sciences). In sum, the students who are elected choose programs that have breadth, depth, and rigor."

Chris will be working for the Sorensen Institute this summer as a Youth Program Manager. Congratulations Chris!

MEDIA ALERT: Alumna Mason to Appear LIVE on Virginia Currents tonight, April 6
Apr 6 2006 - 1:41pm


Dyana Mason, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, and a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2005, will appear tonight at 8pm on the PBS program "Virginia Currents." The program will broadcast LIVE and will be taking your calls and comments.

According to the Virginia Currents website the program will focus on the proposed marriage amendment that will appear on statewide ballots here in the Commonwealth in November: "The one-hour live special will be devoted to discussion of this controversial measure. At issue is the proposed marriage amendment to the Virginia constitution which would define marriage as between a man and a woman. Opponents say the measure would deny other forms of legal relationship recognition. Viewers are invited to call in with questions and comments."

Check local listings for exact time and channel to view the program.

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  • 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.