December 15, 2010

'Paul Simon Youth Leadership Day' set for Jan. 11

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Chancellor Rita Cheng will share her insights when selected area high school students attend a leadership conference next month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute will host the second “Paul Simon Youth Leadership Day” on Jan. 11. Organizers expect about 30 high school students to participate in the program. School principals from 34 area high schools will choose the participants.

The event is limited to 30 students, and openings are still available. Students interested in participating need to contact their high school principal.

The event is to help students develop leadership skills, said David Yepsen, Institute director.

“One of our missions is to prepare students to take leading roles in society. It’s never too early to start doing that,” Yepsen said. “We’ll talk about what goes into leadership and the sorts of things students must do to prepare for careers in public service.”

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the event. For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate institute director, at 618/201-0082.

This one-day event is “fast-paced” and designed for students who live close to SIUC in the region, Yepsen said.

“The idea is they can come here, attend the workshop and be home all in the same day -- at a time when SIUC students are still on break, so it’s easy to get around campus,” he said.

High school principals received letters earlier this month asking them to select two or three juniors or seniors who show special interest in politics and government and are promising young leaders.

During the day, students will hear from speakers including Cheng; Yepsen; Linda Renee Baker, Institute/University professor; Emily Burke, Institute program coordinator; John S. Jackson, Institute visiting professor; and Lee A. Stewart, a senior honors student in political science and philosophy from Dowell, and a national archery competitor.

The topics include preparing for a career in public service, the role of women and minorities in politics, civic engagement, and youth and political activism. Stewart, who spent nine months as a resident athlete for USA Archery at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., training for the 2008 Olympic Games, will discuss, “Hitting the Goal in Life by Choosing to Take the Shot.”

The Institute also presents an annual Youth Government Day in Springfield each spring. The annual Youth Government Day in Springfield is set for April 9.