Spotlight on Success
The Bill of Rights Institute engages, educates, and empowers tens of thousands of inspiring students, alumni, and educators each year and we want to share their amazing stories with YOU! Please read through our current Spotlights (below) and browse our past Spotlights (click “more” above) for additional examples of the great work happening in classrooms, homes, and communities across the country!
Know a student, educator, or Institute alumni that should be featured? Nominate them here!
December 2016- Annika Cushnyr
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Honors: Red Cross Real Heroes Youth Good Samaritan 2014, Medical Reserve Corps Honors, President’s List (4.0) Fall 2015 and Spring 2016, Girl Scout Gold Award, Constitutional Academy 2015
Annika Cushnyr is a sophomore at the Central Michigan University Honors College, and is double majoring in French and Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. She is a former intern for Senator Tom Udall, a current Resident Assistant at her University, and is involved in the SigmaSigma Sigma sorority. Annika is described by her friends as “determined, ambitious, and organized.”
Annika was initially introduced to the Institute through the “We the Students” essay contest in 2015. Annika deepened her involvement in BRI by attending Constitutional Academy in the summer of 2015. She described the academy as, “an incredible week that forced her to think about issues from many different viewpoints. It was a rewarding experience to be surrounded by individuals that are passionate about the same topics as me, even though we may have disagreed on major issues.”
Of great importance to Annika is the Constitutional principle of “equality under the law.” In her mind equality, should be at the heart of all decisions made by policy-makers. The principle of equality connects to Annika in a more concrete way to her current and future career. Beginning in 2017, Annika will have the opportunity to be CEO of the non-profit Bridges to Tajikistan, whose mission is to build connections, create opportunity, and advance education for youth in both the U.S. and Tajikistan.
Annika will be studying abroad in Sweden during the Fall semester of 2017, and hopes to continue her international focus by studying in France the following Spring. Annika plans to attend law school upon the completion of her bachelor’s degree. After law school, she would like to work within the field of international human rights.
November 2016 – Michael Rohlin
VFW Citizenship Teacher Award for Western New York
While new to The Institute’s programs, Michael Rohlin has already proven himself to be a dedicated educator. The first clue was when he drove several hours from Mayville, New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to participate in BRI’s “Congress: The First Branch and the Constitution” .
While attending this seminar, it was clear to everyone that Michael was eager to contribute during the discussion groups. His enthusiasm was inspiring and infectious.
When asked about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the first word that came to Michael’s mind was “passion.” He believes that this passion for the founding documents of our nation drives him to engage his students with lessons and activities centered around these key documents. To facilitate student learning, Michael told us that he consistently uses BRI’s resources to help his students better understand our nation’s founding.
Michael discusses the importance of the Constitution with his students and helps them learn about the founding documents through a focus on the inner-workings of the government. His goal is to ensure that everyone leaves his classroom with a basic understanding of the roles of each branch of our government and how they currently operate in our modern world.
This award-winning teacher considers his most satisfying accomplishments when students remark that his class has helped them to better understand our government; and also the times thatMichael is contacted by a former student seeking to gain more knowledge.
Beyond the classroom, Michael speaks with the parents of his students about encouraging their children to become involved in community and civic activities. Many of his current and former students are now engaged as young citizens working to change the world in their own community.
Our staff is grateful for Mr. Rohlin’s participation as a newcomer to The Institute’s programs. We certainly look forward to seeing him again at future seminars and Institute sponsored colloquia!