Visiting Fellows program adds new mentors

first_imgCalifornia State Senator Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) and former State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) were announced as mentors for the Visiting Fellows Program, formerly known as Legislators-in-Residence, by the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.Across the aisle · California State Senator Mark Wyland (left) and former State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (right) will serve as mentors in the Visiting Fellows Program of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC Dornsife. – Carol Kim | Daily TrojanVisiting Fellows is a program that was created last fall through the Unruh Institute, which strives to aid undergraduate students in the field of politics and public policy with the guidance of local elected officials. From their experience in state politics, Wyland and Portantino will offer students an interactive approach to understanding the rigor of shaping public policy by monitoring various events, such as round table discussions and student forums. As mentors of the program, Wyland and Portantino offer a change in discourse for many students. While working closely with state-elected officials, students are encouraged to envision a life of real-world politics, gaining insight and preparation for the future.“It is very important for us that USC students understand that there is a role for young people in politics and public service,” Unruh Institute Director Dan Schnur said. “We want our legislators to give students an understanding of how the political process works, but we also want to make sure that they explain to the students that they don’t have to be 40 or 50 years old to make a difference.”Schnur also said that Wyland and Portantino’s record of bipartisanship will be an asset to the institute.“Not only are Wyland and Portantino very smart and experienced in public service, but they both gained a reputation in the legislature for being able to work across party lines,” he said. “We want USC students to get involved in politics, but we also want them to learn how to work with people with whom they don’t always agree.”Wyland has been in state office since 2000, when he was elected into the California Assembly. In 2006, he was elected senator of the 38th Congressional District, representing San Diego County and parts of Orange County. His passion for K-12 education in California led to his role as vice chair of the Senate Education Committee. Through his role in the Committee, Wyland garners legislative interest to various initiatives in educational reform, such as improvements in charter and public school education. Wyland joins the Visiting Fellows Program with hopes of promoting higher student literacy in public policy and politics.“I think it is important that everyone, certainly students, understand both public policy, politics and forming policy, because it is rarely one or the other,” Wyland said.Portantino, who is also an adjunct professor of political science at USC, returns for his second year as a Visiting Fellows mentor at the Unruh Institute this fall. Portantino is currently teaching a new political science course at Dornsife this fall called “Values Based Political Leadership and Public Policy.”“I want to inspire young people to look at a career in public policy as a place to make a difference — it is an outstanding career path to work on,” Portantino said. “Whether the topic is science, business or the environment, public policy is a place to make a difference and I hope to inspire people to make it their career.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *