Student Advocate Wins Fellowship for Political Achievement

May 21, 2009 -

Senior Kara van Stralen has been selected as National Student Advocate of the Year in The George Washington University Undergraduate Political Achievement Fellowship Program. She is one of four students nationwide to receive the fellowship, and the only one to achieve the National Student Advocate of the Year distinction.

The Undergraduate Political Achievement Fellowship Program, launched this year, recognizes four students in their junior and senior years of college who have excelled at running a student government campaign, being an on-campus or community advocate for a cause they care about, developing persuasive political media, and going above and beyond the call of duty on a political campaign, according to The Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.

As part of the fellowship, van Stralen will receive a $10,000 scholarship for study at The Graduate School of Political Management.

She also will have an essay published in the school’s first-ever Rising Stars of Undergraduate Politics publication. She is slated to participate in a panel discussion at The George Washington University to discuss her work and the larger goal of increasing undergraduate participation in political and civic life.

Van Stralen also will have an opportunity to record a short video clip at Redlands for inclusion in a documentary highlighting her achievements and activities and encouraging other young adults to become politically engaged.

Van Stralen participated in a May Term class in Washington, D.C. this year and will complete an internship this summer at Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s Capitol Hill office.

She said she wanted to participate in the fellowship because of the advocacy opportunities it could provide for her in the future.

"I feel it will help me have a positive impact on policy regarding poverty, the environment and human rights," van Stralen said.

Van Stralen was selected in part because of her advocacy at Redlands. She organized a large debate on campus to discuss gay marriage. As part of the project, she brought in leading speakers, raised all the funds and marketed the event. She marketed the debate by putting up photo booths on campus for people to take wedding-style photos.

"Kara understands how to get people talking about an issue, and for that, she is one of the brightest young organizers in our country," said F. Christopher Arterton, dean of The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University.

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