Celebrating Outstanding Seniors 2019

Rose Institute class of 2019, from left: Bruno Youn, Alec Lopata, Melia Wong, Bryn Miller, Nick Fedorochko, Lindsay Burton, Charlie Harris, Zach Wong, Skip Wiltshire-Gordon.

During the late afternoon hours of May 17, a day before graduation, Rose Institute staff, students, friends, and family, gathered to honor this year’s seniors at a “pinning” ceremony.  Director Andrew Busch handed each member of graduating class a pin specially-designed to show the Institute’s gratitude and pride for each student’s accomplishments during their tenure at the Institute.  This year’s batch of seniors is quite an impressive bunch, considering each one tackled the projects given to them at the Rose while also holding on to other responsibilities all over campus.  We only hope that their experiences at the Rose Institute and CMC prove to be useful in their future endeavors.  Good luck, graduates!

Lindsay Brooke Burton, who came to CMC from Redlands, is a vibrant personality, whose leadership qualities earned her a spot at CMC Army ROTC.  In her first summer after freshman years, she was fully-funded by Project GO to travel to  Amman, Jordan to undergo an intensive Arabic Languages program. The following summer, she received the Critical Language Scholarship from the State Department that fully-funded her travel to Tangier, Morocco to further study Arabic.  Lindsay participated in CMC’s Washington Program interning for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. At the Rose Institute, she led a group of research assistants who gathered information on the history of terrorism in California — the basis of a conference, “Homeland Security at the Local Level,” held in March of 2017.  She also wrote an article for the Inland Empire Outlook entitled California’s Many and Varies Attacks in Spring 2017. Lindsay graduated with a BA degree with a dual major in Government and Middle East Studies.  She was honored as the Military Science Outstanding Major and was named the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Award for Outstanding Senior Woman.

Before landing the coveted position of Rose Institute Student Manager in his senior year, Nicholas Robert Fedorochko, from Bridgewater, New Jersey, was dedicated to the Competitive District project which he started working on with Kate Ridenour’18.  A lot of the credit though fell on him to finish the project, write the white paper, and passing it on to the underclassmen who are picking up the project.  Nick also managed a project on campaign finance, researched fiscal policy, and co-managed the design team. Besides working at the Rose, Nick was also a Robert Day Scholar, participated in the Washington DC program, and a member of the award-winning Model UN team. He graduated cum laude with a BA degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.


Charles Benjamin Harris, from Davis, California, applied to the Rose Institute as a sophomore, was accepted and quickly earned points for articles he wrote for the Inland Empire Outlook: Legislative Responses to Terrorism (2017), Amazon in the Inland Empire (2018), and Proposition 64 in SoCal (2018) his excellent research work recognized when he was selected as one of J. Cleveland McKenna Student Researchers awardees. Charlie’s interest in politics stems from his belief that government can be a positive force in people’s lives. Thanks to funding from the Rose Institute, Charlie interned for The National Association of Counties in the summer of 2017; and with the office of Montana Governor Steve Bullock in the summer of 2018.   He graduated cum laude, earning his BA degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.


In his senior year at the Rose Institute, Alec Michael Lopata stepped in the role of Associate Student Manager with the same enthusiasm he exhibited all throughout his tenure at the Institute.  He researched and wrote the backgrounders for Video Voter 2016 for Prop 56 (Tobacco Tax) and Prop 63 (Gun and Ammunition Control).  For the 2018 Video Voter series, Alec took on managing the project, while also doing his own research work on Prop 11 (Ambulance Employees Paid on-Call Breaks).  He also managed the Miller Initiative Database. In the summer of 2017, he worked as an intern at  Organizing for Action in Chicago.  For his excellent research work on Institute projects, he was selected as a recipient of the J. Cleveland McKenna Student Researchers Award.  For his commitment to research on local government, particularly in his home state of Illinois, he was conferred the George S. Blair Award for State and Local Government.  He also received The Philip Roland Award for Excellence in Public Affairs. He graduated with honors with a BA degree in Government (Public Policy).


From Sudbury, Massachusetts, Bryn Catrin Miller‘s most notable role at the Rose Institute was as the New Hire Manager for 2018-2019, where she put together the program for our eight freshmen and two sophomore hires.  She was also very active in the Video Voter projects, with helping to translate the initiatives into Spanish.  She did her research work on Prop 58 (Bilingual Education) and Prop 61 (Prescription Drug Pricing). Two years later she was still on board the Video Voter project when she researched and wrote about Prop 7 (Daylight Savings Time), and facilitating the translations of all the featured initiatives into Spanish, a language in which she is fluent.  Bryn wrote an article in 2016 for the Inland Empire Outlook: Proposition 58 and Bilingual Education in Inland Empire Districts. Outside the Rose, she was the news editor for the CMC Forum, planned events for the Class of 2019, and was a journalism fellow at the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies. Bryn also spent a semester in Barcelona, Spain. She graduated cum laude with a BA degree in International Relations.

Richard Conover Wiltshire-Gordon, more popularly known as Skip, came to CMC from Wilmette, Illinois.  At the Rose Institute, he managed the Content Team, worked on the California Voting Rights Act project, and researched, wrote about and presented on Prop 53 (Voting on Revenue Bonds) for the Video Voter project in 2016. Outside the Rose Institute, Skip — especially in his senior year — was the face of Free Food (For Thought) podcast. He also helped teach music theory to underprivileged youth through Uncommon Good.  He was enrolled in the Washington DC program in the fall of 2017. Skip graduated cum laude with a BA degree in History and Government, was recognized by the CMC Government Department with the Award for the Outstanding Major, and was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta.


Melia Michico Wong, from Seattle, Washington, was one of our more impressive sophomore hires. In addition to managing the Communications team, she has worked on projects relating to education policy and the Video Voter project of 2018, where she did the research and wrote on Prop 12 (Farm Animal Confinement).  In the summer of 2017, Melia interned at the Center for American Progress’s Millennial outreach arm in Washington, D.C. Outside of the Rose, Melia was a music theory tutor at Uncommon Good, a local nonprofit, co-founded the Claremont Government Society, and served as the resident assistant for Phillips Hall.  Melia was nationally-recognized — having been selected as a Luce Scholar for 2019-2020. Graduating with a dual major in Music and Government cum laude, Melia was given The Brian Walkenbach Award for Outstanding Resident Assistant and recognized by the Government Department with an Award for Outstanding Senior Thesis for her paper on Civil War songs.

Zachary Ryan Wong, from Hinsdale, Illinois, was very interested in the justice system, voter education, and making politics accessible to everyone when he was hired by the Rose Institute. During his tenure with the Institute, Zach worked on the Video Voter project — in 2016, researched and wrote on Prop 59 (Instruction on Campaign Finance) and Prop 64 (Legalization of Marijuana), and in 2018 on Prop 10 (Rent Control) and Prop 6 (Repeal Gas Tax Increase), and once served as the manager of the Kosmont Survey project. He also wrote articles for the Inland Empire Outlook: Robust Renewables: SB350 and its Potential in the Inland Empire (2016), California’s $15 Minimum Wage (2018). Outside the Rose, Zach was an avid cyclist and photographer and a member of the Model UN team and Free Food (for Thought) podcast. He spent the summer of 2017 working on a political campaign in New Zealand and a ranch in Southern California.  In the fall of 2017, he was enrolled in the Washington DC program.  Zach graduated cum laude with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics.

Bruno George Youn, from Seal Beach, California, was in his sophomore year when he applied to the Rose with the hope of balancing out his political knowledge by working at the Institute.  He wrote an article for the Inland Empire Outlook entitled Poverty and Special Education Placement (2018).  Bruno also designed a program to improve technical literacy among his peers at the Institute. On campus, he was also a consultant for SOURCE, and wrote for the Claremont Radius, was a mentor/tutor at QCL, and served as the Woolley Athenaeum Fellow for 2018-2019 .  He spent a summer working on a local county supervisorial campaign and an autism research institute and spent a semester in Argentina.  A day before graduation, the Los Angeles Times’ front-page story featured Bruno about his struggles and accomplishments culminating in his being selected by his class to speak at the commencement ceremonies.  Bruno graduated cum laude with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

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