Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Leadership lived: Student's passion for politics inspired by opportunities at UIS

Andrea Carlson lives and breathes politics. For the sophomore political science and legal studies major it’s not only a future career, but a passion.

Carlson is a member of the College Republicans, Pre-Law Society, and Model Illinois Government at the University of Illinois Springfield. She serves as the Secretary of State for the UIS Model Illinois Government chapter.

Model Illinois Government members debate actual Illinois General Assembly bills, arguing for or against legislation as Democrats or Republicans. At the end of the debate, students cast their vote and decide whether the bill passes or fails.

“I love the chance to learn about how state government works and also get to practice my public speaking skills, my debating skills, and research skills,” said Carlson. “It’s a really interdisciplinary process and it’s just a lot of fun to get up there and speak.”

Each March, Carlson and other students travel to the Illinois State Capitol to compete against students from other Illinois colleges and universities. The students run bills, debate, and vote on the actual Illinois house and senate floors.

Carlson’s love of politics recently led her to enter the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute Conservative Activism Essay Contest. She was awarded 2nd place nationwide and awarded a $500 scholarship towards bringing a speaker to UIS.

The institute loved her essay so much that they invited her to attend the Western Women’s Summit at the Reagan Ranch Center in California. During the all-expense paid trip, she met Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Fox News national security expert KT McFarland and other conservative leaders.

“I got to attend a great conference because some of some of the connections I had here at UIS,” said Carlson.

At the summit, Carlson learned about the challenges that face women in politics, business, and law. She also learned about foreign policy and state and federal issues.

College Republicans staff adviser Raymond Barnett encouraged Carlson to write the essay. He’s part of the supportive campus community that has helped Carlson succeed at UIS.

“I think UIS definitely has many opportunities to get involved in the community and work with your fellow students. There are plenty of opportunities at UIS. You just have to join,” said Carlson.

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