The Gene A. Burd Institute on Media & Politics

An engaging, hands-on experience created to introduce students to the relationship between media and politics.

High school student in civic training program stands outside of a brick school, wearing a white shirt, plaid blazer and glasses, smiling.
  • Date

    July 15 - 20, 2024
  • Duration

    6 Days
  • Location

    Georgetown University
  • Cost

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Gene A. Burd Institute on Media & Politics will be offered as a specialized learning track within the inaugural JSA National Convention hosted at Georgetown University from July 15 - 20, 2024. Stay tuned for more details!

About the Program

The Gene A. Burd Institute on Media & Politics is a one-week residential summer program, also offered virtually.

Students begin with an introduction to journalism before engaging in sophisticated discussions and projects centered around political and advocacy communication. They will have opportunities to collaborate with peers in hands-on activities including analyzing media bias, writing editorial content, creating podcasts and videos, and creating political communication plans and events.

Students will have opportunities to engage with current media professionals. Past presenters include Camille Hahn, Managing Editor of Ms. Magazine; Jeffrey Marcus, Editor, New York Times; Julie Mastrine,; Dan Schnur, Professor at Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy at USC; and Jonathan Karl, former White House Correspondent; Nick White, KCRW; Matthew Summy, Comcast; Amy Watanabe, Nakatomi & Associates; Danielle Fairlee, Nakatomi & Associates; Eric Dezenhall, Dezenhall Resources; Sergio Lopez, Councilmember for the City of Campbell, CA; Marilyn Chavez-Martinez, Daily Bruin; Kari Lau, Daily Bruin; Alex Leeds Matthews, U.S. News & World Report.

Who Should Attend?

The material for The Gene A. Burd Institute is designed for high school students in 9th-12th grade. The youngest group who can sign up for this experience are incoming 9th graders.

2023 Confirmed Speakers

We're excited to share two confirmed speakers, with many more to come. Our keynote speaker, Dan Schnur, is a professor at UC Berkeley, Pepperdine University, and the University of Southern California, where he teaches courses in politics, communications, and leadership. Julie Mastrine is a writer and director of marketing at AllSides, a website providing balanced news and media bias ratings.

Keynote Speaker

Dan Schnur

Dan Schnur
Guest Speaker

Julie Mastrine

Julie Mastrine
Key Takeaways
  • Foundational introduction to journalism
  • Understand how the media covers politics
  • Learn to produce engaging, ethical content
  • Make friends with students who share your interests

Goals & Outcomes

Students who participate in our Burd Institute will:


Be better equipped to participate in government at the national, state, and local levels


Be able to lead and participate in civil conversations with people from different backgrounds and perspectives


Learn and demonstrate effective 21st-century leadership skills


Be ready to address current and future political, economic, and social issues facing the world


Be better suited to succeed in secondary and post-secondary education environments


Develop and hone essential critical thinking skills

  • JSA Institutes are an invaluable way to learn about politics beyond what is covered in the national media. Discussions with speakers with years of experience in lobbying and policymaking offer unique insight into what a career in politics can entail, and how to best get there.

    Brian O.
    JSA Institute Graduate
  • I was able to learn about topics I had never heard before, listen to compelling speakers, and meet inspiring students. I will make sure to apply all the skills and knowledge I have acquired in my daily life and share it with others.

  • This was an amazing opportunity and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity. To be able to be engaged with JSAers from all over the world while learning new topics every week has been so memorable and truly made me a better advocate, communicator, listener, podcaster, writer, and citizen.

  • For me, being able to participate in this institute means that I am now able to think about what I see and hear in the news in a more objective fashion and critically analyze all of the different points.

  • Media bias is usually a controversial and "hands-off" topic, but Burd made it a more interesting and approachable conversation.


Have questions?

How do I apply to JSA Summer Programs?

Do I need to be a member of JSA to attend Summer Experiences?

Are transcripts or letters of recommendation required for Summer Programs?

What is included in my tuition?

Are scholarships available for Summer Experiences?

Do I need to be vaccinated to attend in-person events?

How can I contact someone with questions?

View all FAQs