Civic Engagement Project Student Spotlight- Simran Pandey

Submitted by sbosna on

Today, we spotlight Simran Padney, who participated in our Civic Leadership Institute.

Simran Pandey is a senior in the Bay Area in California with a passion for geopolitics, civic engagement, history, and law. In school, Simran is involved with Mock Trials and is looking forward to serving as the president of her school’s club this year, and she is also a part of her school’s Competition Civics team, which she thoroughly enjoys being a part of. Outside of school, she is involved with her district’s student action council and frequently volunteers to help people in her community; she also enjoys working on projects and with nonprofits related to advocating for health equity. With interests in policymaking, law, and community service, Simran hopes to major in Public Policy, or something similar, in college before going to law school.

My experience with the Civic Leadership Institute was incredibly positive! I really enjoyed my stay at ASU and the various lectures and tours we could attend. I learned a lot about different aspects of the government and politics, and I really appreciated the emphasis on court cases and precedent because of my interest in case law. I also really enjoyed the moot court because it was both an incredibly fun experience and an incredibly informative one to be able to reenact a court case that had already been decided by using modern-day information to shape our decision. All the faculty were incredibly personable, kind, helpful, and knowledgeable, making the experience incredibly interesting. As for the research project itself, the materials we used to do our research were incredibly well-put-together. They offered a lot of insight into bolstering civic engagement by highlighting specific values necessary for our generation. My mentor was also incredibly helpful, and he gave me a lot of valuable insight into my project. 

I chose to work on this civic engagement project because it is incredibly important for today’s youth to be actively involved in making their communities better and acting on issues they see around them. After interning for a social justice organization focused on connecting youth to civic engagement opportunities, I felt inspired to connect students in my community to more civic-related opportunities. Many students in my community are focused on STEM education, and many don’t realize that there is a lot of intersectionality between STEM and civic education, which allows many students to bridge their own interests with the concept and opportunity of making their community a better place. I felt it was important to step up and help those around me feel like they could become more involved with local government and policymaking. 

My project is multi-faceted, but it has one primary focus: creating a for-youth city-wide newsletter that details how our city council works, summarizes policies being voted on or being discussed, and allows students to give feedback on city policies by responding to surveys or by signing up to make public comments. This newsletter aims to make it easier for students to understand what is going on in our city so that they can feel more integrated with the local policymaking process. Politics, especially local politics, can be both daunting and confusing for students who aren’t necessarily drawn to politics, so it’s important to simplify key political processes so that students can understand how they can amplify their voices and voice their concerns. Some other parts of my project include potentially organizing a voter registration drive and a mock election within my school to help familiarize students with the voting process and prepare them to vote as soon as possible. 

After this project, I hope to continue finding ways to become more civically engaged and help others do the same. I hope to continue volunteering for causes that I care about, and I aspire to be a positive influence within my community. In college, I hope to find different ways to educate myself about law, social justice, and policymaking to play my part in bettering the communities that have shaped me into the person I am today. 

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

-Eleanor Roosevelt