Juniors take a step towards college with summer program

Juniors Sahar Siddique and Kentiaus Charlery heard new perspectives, opened a dialogue about politics, media, and other important issues at a Junior State of America political summer program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Through the program, which lasted from July 24 to 28, Siddique and Charlery were exposed to a variety of opinions and viewpoints from students across the country and around the world. Charlery says “There were a lot of people there and a lot of different personalities [and viewpoints] and that’s what I appreciated.”
JSA is a non-profit, non-partisan student youth organization that aims to promote exchanges of ideas and viewpoints among students through stimulating debates, talks, and programs. The conventions, conferences, and events held by JSA are entirely organized by students. The goal of the organization is to help students improve their viewpoints and become more intelligent and informed citizens.
The program focused on a discussion about the media’s influence in politics and other issues like gentrification and climate change. Siddique and Charlery listened to panelists involved in these issues and spoke to kids their own age about the topics. Siddique says “I think that JSA wanted to start a dialogue with its panelists and debates . . . they wanted young people to be aware of [issues].” She adds “Once you start talking about these issues that’s when real progress [happens].”
In addition to attending talks, Siddique and Charlery were also assigned a long-term video project on a topic of their choice. Siddique and her group chose climate change and similarly Charlery and his group chose the greenhouse gas effect. The video, which included research, the opinions of students in the program, and sound bites, was presented on the last day of the program to educate the audience about the issue.
When Siddique and Charlery weren’t listening to panelists or working on their project, they were learning about UCLA and the college application process. They went on a tour of UCLA and had an information session with a resident adviser who answered their questions and provided guidance. This, said both Siddique and Charlery, solidified their interest in applying to colleges in California. “Now I know that I really do want to go to college in California,” adds Sahar.
Siddique discovered JSA and their summer programs through College and Career Coordinator Deborah Prochnow in June. She was interested in what JSA had to offer because she is interested in attending college in California and pursuing a political career. “I thought a political program in LA would be a really good opportunity for me,” says Siddique. Charlery, who is also interested in a future political career and college in California, discovered the program through JSA directly.