Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Profiles

February 27, 2018

We’re asking some of the people you might encounter at the Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement meeting in Anaheim, California including the event planners and coordinators, presenters, faculty, staff, administrators, and students to answer a few questions about themselves and their experiences. Fill out our form and follow us @CLDEstudents to share your story for #CLDE18!

To start our series, we wanted to share with you why we’re passionate about civic learning and democratic engagement.

Hannah has worked to increase representation within the student government at the University of Nevada, Reno. In November, she helped lead the ElectHer workshop to encourage more women to run for office.

Name: Hannah Jackson

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Current City: Reno, Nevada

Field of Study: Journalism, Education, Political Science

Institution: The University of Nevada, Reno

What is your current title, job, or student organization position?

I am currently a student government officer in the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, where I serve as Speaker of the Senate. I am also a student employee in the Vice President for Student Services office. Outside of campus life, I am Nevada’s state alumni representative for the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program.

Share with us part of your story - what’s your why?

During my senior year of high school, I took part in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. For those of you that don’t know, We the People is a K-12 civic education program that is dedicated to promoting the understanding of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and responsible citizenship. Of course, I came out of the class with a much better understanding of our government and its founding (not to mention a few hundred Supreme Court cases), but I will carry some of the other lessons that I have learned with me for the rest of my life.

We the People taught me how to love learning. It also taught me the magnitude of my individual power as a citizen. It has been incredibly empowering, and quite honestly, has changed the course of my life completely. I feel a huge responsibility to play part in getting others to realize their individual power - and that is my why.

(I am forever thankful for Mr. Clark, Mr. Daniel, Mr. Karlin, Mr. Ochs, and all of my other civic educators that have changed my life - and so many other lives. You inspire me every day!)

Along with being a leader on campus, Collin is engaged with political campaigns in his community.

Name: Collin Sullivan

Hometown: Elkridge, MD (right outside of Baltimore)

Current City: Still Elkridge!

Field of Study: Information Systems & Economics

Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County - UMBC

What is your current title, job, or student organization position?

I am a student at UMBC, where I am involved with the SGA and I work in Instructional Technology.

Share with us part of your story - what’s your why?

I’d like to think that I’ve been given a certain amount of energy to consistently ask, “Why?” and failing to accept the answer, “because.”  I’m fortunate enough that I genuinely can’t think of a time when I would ask my parents something and their response would simply be, “no” - there would always be some explanation. “No, you can’t have a third cookie because you won’t be hungry at dinner time,” was an explanation I heard often and while I was upset at that notion, I knew that my parents were probably right. When I was in 3rd grade, I asked my parents, “Can I get a laptop?” to which they responded to, “No, unless you buy it.” I was in 3rd grade eyeballing a $1,000 computer - how could I do this? But I did. I offered to complete chores in exchange for an allowance, and I also asked that for birthday and Christmas gifts that I would receive gift cards instead of presents. Two years later, and after doing some research that an adjacent state doesn’t have sales tax, I bought my first laptop at 10 years old “by myself” (I’m fully aware that my parents still ended up paying for my laptop, but it was a great sense of accomplishment after it felt like I had waited an interminable amount of time).

That’s my why.

I’ve learned in life we hear so many “no’s” - from our parents, our teachers, our bosses, even ourselves. But every “no” shouldn’t be taken as a given. And when we hear a lot of “no’s,” it’s hard to get back up and say, “yes.” How can we, collectively as a society, have more “yes” moments, even if that means we were told “no” to begin with? I believe the world is malleable to change and in time a “no” will become a “yes,” but only with persistence from someone who has fallen down and got back up. There are a lot of people like that in the world - now we just need to figure out how to amplify their voices. That’s why I’m doing what I do now. 

During her time as a student at the College of the Canyons, Vera created The HUB, a club on campus. Her club engages in multiple civic and democratic engagement activities, such as holding food drives.

Name: Vera Barcega-Ramirez

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

Current City: Santa Clarita, CA

Field of Study: Human Resource Management

Institution: College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA

What is your current title, job, or student organization position?

I wear a lot of hats, namely:

Student at College of the Canyons taking Human Resource Management Certification

President and Founder of The HUB Club at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA

Student Representative at the College of the Canyons Foundation First-Year-Promise Taskforce

VP-Membership at Oak Hills Elementary PTA in Santa Clarita, CA

Accounting/HR/Purchasing Support (Independent Contractor) at Laser Operations in Sylmar, CA

Share with us part of your story - what’s your why?

I’ve been working in the corporate industry for a couple of decades.  When my daughter was born 11 years ago, I decided to leave my full-time job of 10 years and work as a temporary employee/independent contractor so I may spend quality time with my daughter in-between assignments.  Out of the more than dozen companies I worked at in the past 11 years, I noticed a sad reality that only 2 of these companies valued employees.  Humanity has gone down through the years.  Perhaps it might be due to the over-supply of workers.  I saw management cared less for their people and only focused on meeting their numbers.  I became passionate about bringing back humanity in the workforce, which is why I went back to school, and also why I accepted to be nominated for the CLDE internship.

We want to hear your story! Fill out our form and encourage others to do the same. Make sure to follow us @CLDEstudents - we will be featuring participants on our blogs and social media.

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