JSA Now! Newsletter
Junior Statesmen Foundation Donate Now!
Volume II, Number 6 - June 15, 2010

JSA Readies for Another Fun-Filled Summer  

Upcoming Events

June 20 - July 11 Georgetown I Summer School, Washington, D.C. 

June 27 - July 18 Stanford Summer School, Mountain View CA 

July 1 - 26 Beijing Diplomat Program, Beijing, China 

July 4 - August 1 Princeton Summer School  (APUSH), Princeton, NJ

July 11 - August 1 Princeton Summer School, Princeton, NJ

July 18 - August 8 Georgetown II Summer School, Washington, D.C. 


Watching Hills Regional H.S., Warren, NJ

Dave Viotti

Student Institute Examines Arizona

BY DAVID VIOTTI: The weather is as hot as the issues at JSA's Arizona Institute on Leadership and Politics, being held this week at Arizona State University. Our students are taking on the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, issue head on. 

They've had a chance to question the author of the controversial bill, along with "Sheriff Joe" Arpaio and other state leaders and journalists engaged in the debate. 

Now in its fourth year, our Arizona program is thriving. 

This month's issue of JSA Now! pays tribute to Richard Prosser, who announced his retirement in May after 41 years of service to the foundation. We also share the work of our newly elected council of governors, Jonathan Schwartz is our featured alum this month and there's other alumni news in Karen's Corner

Richard Prosser
Prosser, former executive director of JSA from 1969 to 2007, announced his retirement in May.

Richard Prosser Retires After 41 Years with JSA

BY DAVID M. COLE: Following a 41-year career with the Junior Statesmen Foundation, Richard T. Prosser announced at the end of May that he was retiring. Prossser served as the executive director of the foundation from 1969-2007 and most recently had been the group's national affairs director and Arizona state program director.

During Prosser's time as executive director, the student-run organization grew from fewer than 1000 active students participating in California and Washington state to chapters in 450 high schools with more than 10,500 dues-paying members from virtually every state in the union.

Additionally, Prosser grew the summer program from a single summer school on one college campus in California that served fewer than three dozen students to sessions held on campuses at five universities around the country that provided more than 1400 students annually the Junior Statesmen Summer School experience. Prosser also conceived, created and implemented summer symposia, week-long summer sessions held around the country.

Under Prosser's stewardship more than 400,000 high school students were involved in the year-round and summer programs.

"Richard Prosser personifies all that JSA tries to teach about leadership and statesmanship," said Alex Evans, president of the board of directors of the Junior Statesmen Foundation. "He has been and will continue to be an inspiration for the board and our staff."

"The modern JSA program exists precisely because of the personal commitment of Richard Prosser," said David Viotti, chief executive officer of the Junior Statesmen Foundation. "In my time running JSA, Richard has provided me wise counsel and has been gracious in his support. We wouldn’t be where we are today if Richard had not taken over in 1969."
Prosser first became involved with Junior Statesmen at Napa High School in Northern California 50 years ago. He served as a regional mayor in the student-run organization and in its state senate.

After completing an undergraduate degree at Sacramento State, Prosser joined the Junior Statesmen Foundation as executive director in 1969, supervising the student program and acting as director of the summer schools. During his tenure at the foundation, Prosser received a masters' degree in mass communications at San Jose State University.

Prosser, along with his wife Karen Prosser, tirelessly raised funds for the organization, visiting corporations and community groups to secure support to grow both the summer and year-round programs. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Richard was the group's only paid staffer.

Donate Now!Help promote democracy

How Can I Help JSA?

Annually, thousands of JSA alumni and friends donate their time, talent, and treasure to support the program. Please contact Matthew Randazzo, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer, if you wish to volunteer, reconnect with the program, or make a gift to JSA. mrandazzo@jsa.org or 800.317.9338. Read More

Council of Governors
The newly elected JSA governors met in California over Memorial Day weekend to discuss their plans for national JSA.


New Governors Organize for 2010-2011 

BY JEFF HARRIS: Over Memorial Day weekend the recently elected governors of the eight states and two territories gathered at the JSA office in San Mateo to formally meet one another and discuss their future plans for the national JSA organization.

More than any other year, most of the new Council of Governors already knew each other because they had attended the 2009 Montezuma Leadership Summit last summer together. This made it easier for them to efficiently move past the common lengthy introductions and get to work even sooner than expected.

After meeting and discussing national goals with Foundation Board President Alex Evans and Chief Executive Officer Dave Viotti, the Council of Governors (commonly called the COG) focused on how to better utilize the Internet and other technologies to move JSA forward in the digital world.

Elected to national roles were Issy Figueroa of the Pacific Northwest, as the upcoming year's COG chair; Lia Cromwell of the Northeast, as foundation trustee; Tony Castagnoli of the Midwest as CoG secretary, and Alex Maingot of Texas, as COG treasurer.

The other 2010-2011 governors include Arizona's Theo Jones, the Mid-Atlantic's Brent Bovenzi, Northern California's Jay Moody, the Ohio River Valley's Raja Gupta, the Southeast's Jared Odessky and Southern Cailifornia's Matthew Saunders.

Following the appointments, the governors established goals for the national JSA organization: to increase the number of tax-paid chapters to 525, the number of tax paid members to 11,500, and to establish a national cabinet that would efficiently run the interests of COG when each governor is occupied with the functions of his or her own state or territory.

Throughout the weekend, while meeting with various adults and alumni affiliated with JSA, the governors were constantly reminded of the reason they came to California in the first place: to further expand JSA and expose high school students to the ideals Prof. Rogers laid out more than 75 years ago.

One of the most valuable moments of the weekend was choosing the themes for both Fall State and Spring State for the upcoming school year. Together, the COG came up with the Fall State 2010 theme, Energizing America: Capturing the Winds of Change and the Spring State 2011 theme, Revolutionizing Democracy: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Jonathan Schwartz
 Schwartz, a Georgetown Summer School alum, now works as an attorney with Bressler, Amery & Ross, LLC.

Alum Profile: Jonathan Schwartz   

BY MATTHEW WONG: Jonathan Schwartz is a testament of how the non-partisan Junior State of America helps individuals develop, strengthen — and sometimes even radically change — their political beliefs. A major impact JSA had on Schwartz's life: his political conversion from being a liberal to a conservative-leaning independent.
Since 2008, Schwartz has worked as an attorney with Bressler, Amery & Ross, LLC. He specializes in securities law and commercial litigation.
"When I went to JSA, I was extremely liberal," Schwartz, an alum of Georgetown Summer School 2000, said. "It was always Democrats with a big D."

Living among a diverse background of people and political beliefs, Schwartz was introduced to a variety of opinions. "That was really the first time I was exposed to very conservative opinions," he admitted.
With much credit to JSA, Schwartz later impressed his bosses, as an intern with Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), with his political knowledge and experience.
A Floridian, Schwartz first heard about JSA after receiving a brochure in the mail. "I noticed that one of the summer programs was based in Washington, D.C.," he said. "I wanted to go to Georgetown [University]. I wanted to test out living in Washington."
Schwartz did, and he loved it. "I thought it was fantastic," he said. "The experience was extremely helpful and it really allowed me to make a lot of friends."
Schwartz, who described the JSA summer program as "a great learning experience and opportunity," eventually decided to study at George Washington University, also located in the nation’s capital.
A quick learner, Schwartz finished his undergraduate career in three years, double majoring in history and political science, minoring in international affairs. He then studied law at the University of Florida.
JSA taught him to "become more independent and analytical, which are two features very helpful in law," he said. "In order to be successful as a litigator, you need to be able to think on your feet quickly, analyze the facts around you, and objectively assess the importance of each."

Karen Prosser 
Updates about JSA
alumni from Karen Prosser
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Karen’s Corner

BY KAREN PROSSER: In the "It's a Small World" category: Robert Benedetti, Ph.D., and political science professor at the University of the Pacific, is scheduled to be our Redwood Grove speaker at the JSA National Leadership Conference at the Presentation Center/Montezuma School in August. We discovered that his daughter, Beth Benedetti, attended the 1998 JSA Summer School at Stanford and the 1999 Georgetown session.
About Beth: She graduated from Willamette University in Oregon with a major in political science and a minor in economics. She wrote her senior thesis on the initiatives in Oregon, California and Washington attempting to legalize physician-assisted suicide. She showed it to the president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Sacramento and he hired her on the spot as research director. She stayed there seven years and received a masters of public policy from the University of San Francisco while working. Then she got a job with Alliant University in institutional research. She works out of Sacramento, but for the San Francisco headquarters. In other words, she has used both her politics and her heritage in higher ed.

And: The director of this summer’s National Security Institute (and former program director) Larry Guillemette writes that he was at a Memorial Day barbeque. "I was introduced to all the guests, none of whom was familiar. Over the course of the evening, I met a young woman who was from Guam. I mentioned that I had been to Guam in the late 1990s and she asked what made me travel to Guam. I told her that I worked for a non-profit educational organization and was doing recruitment for their summer programs.

"She said, 'Are you talking about Junior Statesmen?' So there we stood and for the next half hour we talked all about JSA/JSF and how great the program was, how much she enjoyed the University of Texas summer school and how hard she had worked to raise the funds to attend. Her name is Angel Palomo and she's a speech therapist in Maryland. Her brother attended the Stanford Summer School!"

Do all JSA alumni go into the law? Sometimes it seems that way. At the recent Los Angeles 75th Anniversary event, the crowd was full of lawyers and lawyers-to-be. Jennifer Brockett, a Summer School grad and a former JSA SoCal State Speaker, is an lawyer and she is married to another laywer — Bobby Swerlow, who also was a JSA SoCal State Speaker. Jennifer and Bobby have two adorable little boys — lawyers in the making?
Jennifer Bunn, former JSA SoCal Governor and Summer School grad is in her second year at Stanford Law School after spending a year in the Teacher's Corps.
Jim Finsten, former JSA SoCal governor and Summer School grad is an attorney and he and his wife, Alisa brought baby Sam Finsten to the event. A spitting image of his daddy, baby Sam delighted one and all.

No, and here’s proof: Casey Isom, a JSA Alum from Fruitland, Idaho, writes us: Thought I should give an update. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Asian studies at Brigham Young University, I went to medical school at the University of Washington. I stayed at UW for a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery. I have been practicing in Logan, Utah, for four years. I have been married to Jennifer (Chenn) Isom for almost 15 years and we have four kids, ages 10 to 18 months. We enjoy the mountains and rivers in Northeast Utah. I am still keeping a close eye on government affairs and stay involved in the process."
JSA Summer School alum from the 1980s, Eric Oliver, is professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His books include Democracy in Suburbia, Fat Politics: the Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic, and The Paradoxes of Segregation: Race, Neighborhood, and Civic Life in Multi-ethnic America, published this month. Oliver was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale University (1999-2001), a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation (2002-2003), and winner of a Young Investigators Career Award from the National Science Foundation. 

JSA Poll

This Month’s JSA Poll

Who has the better news parody show, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, are two of America's most popular late-night comedians. Stewart took over as "anchor" of The Daily Show in 1999. Colbert, himself a former "correspondent" of The Daily Show, became the "anchor" of the conservative spinoff, The Colbert Report, in 2005. Today, many Americans, in particular those of the younger generation, watch either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, to get their latest scoop on the nation's news and politics. Who has a better "news" show?   

What do you think? Answer Now

--This month’s newsletter by: Dave Viotti, David M. Cole, Jeff Dunn, Matthew Wong, Karen Prosser, Jeff Harris