Democracy Summer Virginia 2018
Lugo-McGinness Academy, 341 11th St. NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903
2018 Session I — Monday, June 11 – Friday, July 13
2018 Session II — Wednesday, July 18 – Wednesday, August
Based in Charlottesville, VA, Democracy Summer Fellows will continue building the Big Blue Wave of 2017 and mobilize to flip Virginia’s 5th and 7th Districts.
Matthew Slaats, Regional Co-Director
Matthew Slaats is an artist, teacher, and community organizer, that grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and now calls Charlottesville, Virginia his home. He is interested in participatory modes of democracy which has lead to a multitude of projects from plans to revitalize an urban stream to issues around food security, participatory budgeting to public health.
He can’t go with out checking out the latest soccer news, searching out new food to try, and traveling to fun places. Presently, he is working on his PhD in the Constructed Environment at the University of Virginia School of Architecture focusing on how new modes of civic participation and creativity support democracy. He is married to his beautiful wife, has two amazing daughters, a very dopey dog, five chickens, and just started raising bees.
Selena Cozart, Regional Co-Director
Selena Cozart is an educational professional and program director with more than twenty years of combined experience. Her areas of expertise include secondary and undergraduate teaching; academic/career mentoring and coaching; group and program facilitation; program evaluation; and academic administration. She hails from Philadelphia and resides in the Belmont section of Charlottesville, Virginia, where she recently returned from a two-week trip with the Charlottesville sister City Delegation to Winneba, Ghana.
Her academic focus is on community engagement and diversity, equity, and inclusion as means to transform community spaces and advance social justice. Selena has a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Indigo who comes to work with her every day! Her hobbies include HIIT and listening to podcasts. She can also make soap, pickles, and kombucha from scratch.
Bridget Rizzo, Senior Fellow
Bridget Rizzo is a rising third year at the University of Virginia here in Charlottesville. She attends the university as an Echols Scholar, and is planning on completing double majors in US Government and Spanish. Bridget has previous experience as a student leader in both her high school community as well as at UVA. She currently serves as the President of the Human-Animal Support Services at UVA, a student organization that works to connect the UVA community with animals through therapy dog visits and volunteering at the local SPCA. She also serves as a Support Officer for the UVA Honor System. After graduation, Bridget hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Policy.
When not at school Bridget calls Winchester, VA home. She loves to spend time with her senior dog Jack, hike the Blue Ridge Mountains, and explore new restaurants around Virginia. Bridget also enjoys spending time travelling with her family, and has been lucky enough to visit countries all over Europe and North America.
Casey Griffin, Senior Fellow
Casey Griffin is a junior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently pursuing a BFA in theatre (stage management) and a BA in the political science honors program. At U of I, Casey serves as a student government representative for the College of Fine and Applied Arts in addition to working on theatrical production assignments throughout the year. Back on the East Coast, she has spent the past two summers working as a fellow with the Democratic Party of Virginia. After graduation, Casey hopes to earn a PhD in political science.
Originally from Warrenton, Virginia, she is very excited to be working close to home again in the 5th District! Casey loves to cook, especially anything involving mushrooms and/or pasta, hike, and read.
Session I Democracy Summer Virginia Fellows
Meet our Session I Democracy Summer Virginia Fellows!
Emma Myers – University of Virginia
Emma Myers is a fourth year student at the University of Virginia. She is currently majoring in both Government and Sociology. Emma currently works as a case manager at a supportive housing community called The Crossings. At UVA, Emma is involved with the Community Honor Fund which seeks to empower members of the community through providing financial counseling and working with them to move towards financial independence. She enjoys exploring the Charlottesville community, spending time with family and friends, and drinking coffee.
Julia Lee – University of Virginia
Julia is a second year majoring in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, she has involved herself with local politics in both Florida and Virginia. She has interned with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as interned in two campaigns in her district in Charlottesville. At UVA, she is an Undergraduate Academic Research Student in the Politics department and the Outreach Chair of Asian Student Union. Julia loves watching the news and enjoys playing the guitar and the piano in her free time.