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Three Longwood students selected for Sorensen Institute program

February 9, 2016

Longwood students (from left) Kaylin Minton, Benjamin Clark and Meghan Czaikoski were selected for a program of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
Longwood students (from left) Kaylin Minton, Benjamin Clark and Meghan Czaikoski were selected for a program of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

Three Longwood University students have been selected for the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership's College Leaders Program (CLP).

Senior Meghan Czaikoski and juniors Benjamin Clark and Kaylin Minton were among 23 college and university students from across Virginia to be chosen for the prestigious program at the University of Virginia. Only one other university had as many as three students selected for the program, which will be held May 28 through June 25. More than 100 students applied for the CLP, one of four programs sponsored by the Sorensen Institute.

The CLP is an intensive, multidisciplinary, Virginia-focused program on public service and leadership that "gives students the practical skills and political knowledge to become effective advocates in government and business," according to its web site. Its goals are to prepare future leaders for ethical and responsible citizenship and public service in Virginia; to connect Virginia's youth leaders from different backgrounds and philosophies with each other and with current leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors; and to energize our democratic system of government by promoting civic engagement among youth leaders.

Clark, from Farmville, is double-majoring in political science (global politics concentration) and Spanish and double-minoring in German and homeland security. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and Sigma Delta Pi and Delta Phi Alpha, the honor societies, respectively, for Spanish and German, and is a career educator with the Academic and Career Advising Center. He also is a licensed auctioneer in Virginia (he often does benefit auctions for the Amish community) and a Realtor with Yoder Properties Inc. He will participate this fall in Longwood's study-abroad program in Valencia, Spain. Clark plans to attend law school, then return to the Farmville community where he wants to practice law and run for political office.

Czaikoski, a criminal justice major from Woodbridge, is treasurer of Lambda Alpha Epsilon and a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the academic and honor societies, respectively, for criminal justice and sociology. She is president of Longwood Young Democrats and the Council of Presidents' chair of Virginia Young Democrats. She was an intern for former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, working as a field organizer from May 2010 through November 2010. After graduating May 14 and then attending the CLP, Czaikoski wants to work in a political campaign, then attend graduate school and study education policy.

Minton, a criminal justice major from Virginia Beach, is a member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the criminal justice honor society, and is a Student Government Association senator and a member of Virginia 21, a student advocacy group. She interned in Richmond for State Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-8th) of Virginia Beach during this year's Virginia General Assembly session. Minton will work on McWaters' campaign this summer after the CLP ends. She plans to attend law school after graduating from Longwood and wants to be a criminal prosecutor.

The faculty for this year's CLP are Dr. Quentin Kidd, associate professor of political science at Christopher Newport University, and Dr. Stephen Bragaw, professor of American politics and chair of the Department of Government and International Affairs at Sweet Briar College.

The number of Longwood students selected for this year's CLP matches the university's highest number. Those who attended in 2008 were Monique Drake, Jordan Miles and Cameron Patterson. Miles and Patterson, who now works at Longwood as interim administrator for Diversity & Inclusion, are 2010 graduates, and Drake graduated in 2009.

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership was founded in 1993 and was named for benefactor Thomas C. Sorensen of Albemarle County, a retired investment executive and former deputy director of the U.S. Information Agency, shortly before he died in 1997. It also offers the High School Leaders, Political Leaders, and Candidate Training programs.