Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) created the Puller Institute to honor his predecessor, State Sen. Elizabeth “Toddy” Puller who served in the Virginia General Assembly for 24 years. Sen. Puller was an avid fighter for the citizens of Virginia and this program is dedicated to her years of hard work for the 36th District.
Over a decade ago, Mount Vernon Delegate Kris Amundson created her Young Leader Program. Her program was designed to introduce top high school students in the Mount Vernon area to the Virginia State Government process. After Delegate Amundson's retirement, Surovell continued the program and renamed it the Amundson Institute in honor of Amundson's commitment to Mount Vernon's young leaders. The Puller Institute is modeled on the same program.
“Since the creation of this program, I have met multiple young leaders from the Northern Virginia region with different backgrounds, passions and interests. They have been an excellent source of inspiration for some of my past legislation and always offer a unique insight into issues within their community along with possible solutions. This is a rare opportunity and I am pleased that I am able to continue it another year,” Surovell said.
Students will have a chance to watch the law-making process in action; attend General Assembly sessions of both chambers; watch committee hearings; meet policy makers and cabinet officials; and tour historic state buildings. After their trip, the selected students will complete a personal project that they will then present to Surovell in the Spring. These projects are based on an issue that the students are both passionate about and pertain to the 36th District.
In the past, students have met with Gov. Ralph Northam, Secretaries of Education Ann Holton and Atif Qarni, Former Del. Kris Amundson, Former Del. Chris Saxman, political journalists, advocates and lobbyists. They also attended various committee meetings, and toured the Virginia State Capital and the General Assembly Building.
High school juniors and seniors from all parts of the 36th Senate District are encouraged to apply. You can see if you live in the 36th District by visiting whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov. For more information on The Puller Institute and to apply for the 2022 session, please complete the application here: http://bit.ly/2022PullerInstitute
The deadline for applicants is Dec. 8, and the Richmond program will take place Sunday, Jan. 23 – Tuesday, Jan. 25.