Secular Coalition for America Proudly Introduces Summer 2010 Capitol Hill Scholars

At the Secular Coalition for America, a key part of our mission is to increase the visibility and respect for Secular Americans in all aspects of public life, but most especially in the political arena. There is perhaps no better way to realize this goal then by bringing talented young nontheists to the nation's capital to immerse themselves in public policy.
We are also launching a Fall program for college students. Go to secular.org/policyleader to apply!

That's why this year we kicked off the Secular Coalition for America Capitol Hill Scholars Program. Our goal is to encourage the best young minds within the secular community to work within the Washington, D.C. political system and establish a presence where federal policy is formed. Our Scholars take on unpaid internships with U.S. Congressional offices, and they are sponsored by the Secular Coalition for America through stipends that help to defray the costs of living during their internships.

By doing this important work, our scholarship winners gain invaluable experience in public policy at the heart of American government, while showing to the political world the best of what the secular community has to offer.

We are delighted to introduce to you the winners of our 2010 Capitol Hill Scholars Program, already diligently working with their respective officeholders, representing the next generation of secular leaders. Here's a little bit about each of our scholarship winners.

Elizabeth CraneElizabeth Crane hails from La Honda, California and currently attends Brandeis University where she majors in both international studies and politics. She is very involved in the Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society, and has studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany in a political science and international relations program. Elizabeth interns at the district office of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and says of her experience, "As a non-theistic student who strongly supports secular politics and society, I have been very fortunate to receive the backing of an organization committed to the same values. I believe that secular values hold enormous promise for creating effective public policy, particularly in the areas of equal rights, education, and scientific advancement."

Max McGowenMax McGowen's roots are in Northern New Jersey, but he now lives full-time in Washington, D.C. as he attends George Washington University pursuing a political science bachelor's degree, and eventually a master's degree in legislative affairs. At GWU, he has worked as a research assistant at the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, as well as the United Nations Association of the USA. Max is working in the office of U.S. Rep. Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ) and told us, "Nonbelievers such as myself have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard, and so I believe it is not only necessary, but essential that we become involved in the political process to make sure that current policy reflects the framers' intention to establish a constitutional separation of church and state in the United States."

We're really looking forward to seeing where their efforts take these two young leaders, both this summer, and in the years to come. Thanks, Elizabeth and Max!

If you're interested in learning more about this program, contact Legislative Director Sasha Bartolf at sasha@secular.org.

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