Reported by Julianna Jones (New Kent High School)
After a restful Sunday we headed back into the classroom and kicked our culminating project work into high gear. We started off the day with three fascinating speakers. Samantha Sedivy works as a judicial law clerk for the sixth circuit of Virginia. She described the law school admissions process, her law school experience, and getting involved in politics in high school and college. She also told us of many interesting cases that she’s been involved with, including one about a man who faked his own death.
Next, Tim Cywinski, who works for the youth advocacy group Virginia21, stepped in to tell us about how our generation needs more of a voice in politics. We discussed the age gap, the gender gap, and the lack of diversity among those elected officials who represent us. The goal of Virginia21 is to give young people more of a voice with which to discuss the issues that impact them most, like college affordability.
Our last speaker before lunch was Ali Mislowsky, who talked to us about the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP, and VaNews. VPAP organization provides nonpartisan information to constituents about campaigns, elections, and legislation that might otherwise not see the light of day.
Later in the day Josh Ogburn joined us via videoconference to describe his journey and how he came to be the Director of UVA’s Pay for Success Lab. Pay for Success generates social value and cashable savings for community organizations while driving financial resources toward serving local needs and measurably improving lives. PFS is a new way to fund social programs. Finally, Mr. Marc Johnson spoke to us about transforming policy ideas into laws. Then we moved on to discuss the policymaking process itself and finished off the day with a discussion of our readings.