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Students

Student Spotlight

Annalise Wade

StudentBig Sandy, Tennessee • Class of 2021

Both inside and outside the classroom, BRI student network member Annalise Wade displays a diverse set of interests. A junior at Big Sandy School in Tennessee, her favorite classes are U.S. History and AP Biology, the latter of which fed into her participation in the HOSA – Future Health Professionals student organization this past year. In addition to playing for Big Sandy’s varsity basketball team all throughout high school, Annalise is involved in Beta Club and she recently co-founded a creative writing organization at the school. If he were alive and on social media today, Annalise would follow famed writer C.S. Lewis, who Annalise thinks “would be a remarkable source of inspiration and blessing in today’s climate,” as she “[admires] his writing and passion for following Christ as Lord and Savior.” Annalise praises her older sister, Abbey, for being a positive influence in her life, adding that Abbey’s “loyalty, honesty, and genius have been and will continue to be something I’m constantly amazed and blessed by.” As a future voter, Annalise cares deeply about preserving the separation of powers that exists between the U.S. government and state governments under federalism. Moreover, she is especially concerned about issues related to Second Amendment rights and abortion. Though her future plans are admittedly “somewhat uncertain,” Annalise will likely attend college with the intention of becoming a nurse practitioner and, eventually, returning to school to become a physician assistant.

Annika Cushnyr

StudentAlbuquerque, New Mexico • December 2016

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 Sigma Sigma 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.

Caroline Lindey

StudentCo-president, Speech and debate team

Voted “Most Likely to Run the Constitutional Academy in 10 years” by my Constitutional Academy peers; Co-president of the speech and debate team; Graduate of the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School in Arlington, Virginia; First place winner for Senior Individual Exhibit for the National History Day’s Pittsburgh regional competition In the past, most of my peers in school have had this apathy towards my love of history, economics and politics. I always felt that students my own age saw me as an outsider because of my passion for discussing current events and learning more about our founding documents. I even at times dealt with opponents inside and outside of the classroom who were very against my support of the Constitution. Thankfully, at Constitutional Academy, I found the opposite. I discovered that there are professors and teachers who praised the founding fathers rather than degrade them. I connected with other bright young constitutionalists who believe that it us up to us, the rising generation, to restore America back to the country the founders intended. And I felt a sense of mutual admiration and respect from these classmates I only spent a few days with. The young minds who are left with the task of protecting and defending the Constitution in a culture that tells us it is outdated and does not promote “progress”. I recently applied for an internship at United States Representative Mike Kelly’s regional office where I hope to learn more about the legislative process. I also have applied to attend Turning Point USA’s Winter Activism Conference where I plan to learn more about campus activism and network with other conservatives. My hope is to be accepted and to attend Hillsdale College in Michigan. I hope for the opportunity to take a gap year, return to Hillsdale, double major in economics and political science, and maybe intern for an organization like the Bill of Rights Institute. I honestly would intern for the Bill of Rights Institute this summer if they would take me, because I know how successful they are at conveying the messages and voices of the founders in such a spirited, youthful, honest and lively way. I feel part of my future is finding out why an organization such as the Bill of Rights Institute is so successful in what they do and then replicate that myself. I envision myself in 20 years establishing my own organization, if not sooner.

Danae Melon

StudentLas Cruces, New Mexico • September 2016

Awards: 2014, 2015, 2016 NMAA Symphony Orchestra State Champion; 2017 NMASC State Conference Student Coordinator; Student Board of Directors- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Branch of El Paso); Bill of Rights Institute’s USCIS Immigration Group Project Winner Danae is currently a senior attending Centennial High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her involvement in her school’s symphony orchestra, student government, National Honors Society, Key Club, and Interact Club have developed her as a young community leader. Her greatest achievements have come through her involvement in her high school’s orchestra and student government. Danae notes that her involvement in the We the Students essay competition, Constitutional Connection, and 2016 Constitutional Academy has, “broadened her familiarity with current issues and opened her mind up to new ways of thinking.” This summer, she had an opportunity to participate in a naturalization ceremony as part of the 2016 Constitutional Academy. She described this experience as an, “amazing scene to see such a diverse population be so overjoyed to become United States citizens,” and thought that Constitutional Academy as a whole “was a life-changing event.” Danae will be graduating in 2017 and hopes to attend Baylor University. After university, she wants to help people by practicing as a pediatrician surgeon both locally and internationally, later going on to work in health policy.

Daniel Paviglianiti

StudentPittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Class of 2017

Honors: Two-time FBLA states attendee, Silver Medal winner at the Head of Ohio (2015), Bronze Medal winner at Midwest Rowing Regionals (2015) Daniel is currently a senior at Fox Chapel Area High School in Pittsburgh. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is an active member of his school’s FBLA team, crew team, forensics club, chess club, and orchestra. Daniel has worked diligently to pursue his passions, and he is a regional silver and bronze medalist in crew, and a two-time state qualifier in the FBLA. Daniel has participated in the Institute’s online debate platform, and was also selected to attend the 2017 Constitutional Academy. Reflecting on his experience at the Academy, Daniel says he “loved having open and civil discussions on a variety of hot political topics with students from all over the nation. Constitutional Academy strengthened my understanding of the Constitution.” He is known as something of a history buff, excelling in his AP U.S. History, AP World History, and AP Government courses. When asked about how the Constitution and the Founding principles play a role in his life he says, “I want to tie the Constitution into my life by respecting the rights that I believe everyone has.” Daniel believes that the Constitution is the most important document in our country’s history, as it secures certain rights for citizens and facilitates freedom. Daniel is looking forward to graduating this coming spring and taking his talents to either the University of Pittsburgh, Holy Cross, Hillsdale College, or Loyola University in Maryland. After majoring in political science or business, Daniel aspires to attend law school to become a Constitutional lawyer. He desires to help others understand their rights and guarantee their protection under the Constitution.

Daniel Zhang

StudentCortland, New York • Class of 2022

An 11th grader at Cortland High School in Cortland, New York, Daniel Zhang is a recent winner of our Think the Vote debate contest. As a future voter, Daniel cares most about issues concerning young people’s mental health, LGBTQ+ rights, and affordable health care. Daniel keeps a busy schedule. In addition to his academics–his favorite subjects are Physics and AP U.S. History–he also plays tennis, serves as student body treasurer, and is principal chair violin in the school orchestra. When asked who he would follow from history if they were on social media today, Daniel’s answer was Diana, Princess of Wales, “for her sense of friendliness and duty over materialistic titles such as Queen.” Daniel himself is active on Instagram. And what are his plans for the future? “I actually want to expand into the science field,” says Daniel, “especially into medicine. But who knows? Maybe politics is my calling.”

Grace Young

StudentCookeville, Tennessee • College Junior

Faith is definitely a central part of Grace Young’s life. She volunteers at her church, and when asked who she would follow from history if they were on social media today, she replied, “Jesus Christ. Given his expert knowledge, excellent public speaking skills, connection with others, and compassion for people, Jesus would be an influencer like no other.” One of our Think the Vote debate winners, Grace is currently a college junior at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Before that, she received a B.A. in political science at Motlow State Community College where she was the Executive Vice President of the Student Government Association (McMinnville Campus), a Student Ambassador, Secretary of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society (McMinnville Campus), a member of the Honors Program, and 2019 Homecoming Queen. As a current voter, the three most important issues for Grace are abortion, First Amendment issues, and education. As far as plans for the future, Grace hopes to pursue a career in the legal field and become an author and someday publish an inspirational book.

James Carroll

StudentErlanger, Kentucky • Class of 2021

James Carroll, one of our recent Think the Vote debate winners, is a senior at St. Henry District High School in Erlanger, Kentucky. St. Henry’s is Northern Kentucky’s largest Catholic, college-preparatory, co-educational high school. AP Government and AP European History are James’ two favorite subjects, and he is also active on the Academic Team, the Japanese Culture Club, and the Creative Writing Club at St. Henry’s. Although he doesn’t use social media himself, James says he would definitely follow his favorite president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, if he were alive and on social media today. James says his father has been the greatest influence on him, and the three issues he cares most about as a future voter are climate change, income inequality, and education reform. As for future plans, James is unsure. “I ‘m still deciding what I will major in,” says James. “Currently I‘m thinking either psychology or political science.”

Jolynn Smith

StudentLenexa, Kansas • June 2016

Outstanding Community Leader – presented by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Alliance for Economic Inclusion Spotlight Acknowledgement; Governor’s Scholar; Kansas Honor Scholar; Free Speech Competition Grand Award; Pogue Scholar (@ UNC Chapel Hill for the upcoming school year) Jolynn has been an outstanding participant in various Bill of Rights Institute programs, including the We the Student Essay Competition and Constitutional Academy 2015. During the Academy, her peers and staff described her as,“collaborative, constantly curious and a great listener.” When reflecting on Constitutional Academy 2015, she notes,“the Academy allowed my mindset to expand as I utilized knowledge I gained when analyzing current events. Additionally, I was able to dive into topics and history that I would not have had access to otherwise.” Her love of the Founding and the Constitution is rooted deep within the fabric of her being. Jolynn says, “the Constitution and Founding principles have given me new lenses with which to read the newspaper. They shape my voice when I participate in political discussions. More than this, they have made me more politically aware, actively seeking out knowledge on political topics.” Throughout her life, Jolynn has been focused on empowering others. She created and implemented a financial literacy program for her high school, was selected as a global delegate to the Trust Women Conference held in England, and helped local charities through the Girl’s Grant Project. Describing herself as, “a firm believer in the power of the individual,” Jolynn is proudest of the work she has done to help facilitate empowerment for other individuals. Jolynn recently graduated from high school and will be attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the fall as a Pogue Scholar. She plans on studying business and conducting research that focuses on human rights issues.

Joshua Bogen

StudentDenver, Colorado • February 2017

Honors: Two-time Colorado History Day State Champion, Colorado All State Band, 2016 Daniels Scholar Joshua Bogen is currently a freshman at Occidental College in Denver, Colorado. He is active in his community and participates in extra-curricular activities such as teaching Hebrew and Judaica, and playing Varsity baseball. He is a Board Member of The Rose Youth Foundation, an organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life of the Greater Denver community through its leadership, resources, traditions and values. Joshua is an alumnus of Constitutional Academy 2015. A defining moment in Josh’s education came during Constitutional Academy when he discovered that, “discourse is the most powerful tool in our democracy.” Reflecting on Constitutional Academy Josh said that, “during the Academy I spent most of my time talking to those I disagreed with, because I realized that I could learn more from those with whom I disagreed than I would in an entire year of high school government class.” Since participating in Constitutional Academy, Josh has remained in contact with many of his colleagues and continues to engage in ongoing discourse and friendly debate with them. Joshua’s biggest achievement as a student was receiving the Daniels Fund Scholarship. The Daniels Fund Scholarships is awarded to students in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah who are recognized as having great leadership potential, the desire to do good, and the aptitude to do well. Joshua said that, “it has been a tremendous honor to be a part of this wonderful organization.” Joshua is still in the process of figuring out what he would like to do in life, although he does have a passion for politics. He said that “Whatever I decide to do, my only goal is to help the world as much as I possibly can. To me, a person’s purpose on this planet is to leave it better than they found it.”

Kyla O’Guin

StudentLyles, Tennessee • Class of 2021

Kyla O’Guin is one busy and accomplished high schooler, to say the least. A member of BRI’s student network, Kyla is a junior at East Hickman High School in Lyles, Tennessee, where she especially enjoys her Spanish and science classes. Outside the classroom, Kyla serves as secretary of the Student Council in addition to being a member of East Hickman’s Spanish Club, Beta Club, yearbook staff, and STAR Teens. She references her mother as her greatest role model in life, “because she always stands up for her beliefs.” Another formative influence on Kyla is Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the historical figure Kyla would most want to follow on social media if she were alive today, because of her “remarkable personality” in the face of tragedy. Kyla cites “continually [engaging] in discourse” as an important way that she can “enhance [her] understanding of political issues.” In particular, civil rights, animal rights, and health care are three such issues that she values most. As for her future ambitions, Kyla plans to become an ophthalmologist, and she broadly seeks to “make a difference in the lives of others.” It is this drive to inspire others that motivates Kyla.

Kyle Feldkamp

StudentGranger, Indiana • Class of 2021

Kyle Feldkamp, a member of BRI’s student network, is deeply passionate about civic engagement. A junior from Saint Joseph High School in Granger, Indiana, Kyle serves as secretary of the Indiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council and, remarkably, he is already making a bid for political office, running to become a state delegate for the Democratic Party this election cycle. Kyle is also active in student government, NHS, mock trial, tennis, and Fed Challenge at his school, on top of his involvement in the Youth Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka program. Considering his clear interests in leadership and politics at such a young age, it is not surprising that Kyle identifies general youth advocacy and civic education as two of the most important issues to him, as he claims that “[i]t is important to have effective programs and curriculum to establish educated voters, and to increase voter participation.” Alongside these broad issues, he recognizes climate change as a crucial problem that must be addressed for the benefit of ourselves and posterity. In the classroom, Kyle is an eager student of all things history. He particularly enjoys American history, and he is excited to take AP Government next school year. In line with this interest of his, Kyle idolizes important figures like President John F. Kennedy; when asked what person from history he would want to follow on social media if they were still alive, Kyle cited JFK, claiming that his tweets “would be the most inspirational and effective uses of the character limits.” Likewise, Kyle credits former Indiana congressional candidate and community activist Lynn Coleman as a major source of personal inspiration and as “the true definition of a servant leader.” In the future, Kyle plans to study government and political science in college, staying engaged in local politics in the process. Further down the road, he hopes to attend law school and help reform the American criminal justice system as a public defender.