News and Events
Pepperdine Graduates Awarded California Capital Fellowships
The prestigious California Capital Fellows Program accepts fewer than 20 fellows annually to its four programs, and this fall two of those spaces will be taken by Pepperdine graduates Andrea Lane and Grant Lea.
Lane (MA '08, GSEP) will work with a California State Senator during her 11-month Senate Fellowship, while Lea (B '08, SC) has been selected for the Executive Fellowship.
Fellows work full-time in public policy as members of a legislative, executive, or judicial branch office. The fellowships are sponsored by the Center for California Studies, the Office of the Governor, and California State University, Sacramento.
Since its earliest days, the Capital Fellows Program has nurtured the talents of individuals who have gone on to become notable public figures in California, including Superior Court Judge Yvonne Campos, Senator Dean Florez, and Representatives Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, and Mike Thompson. More than 20 Pepperdine graduates have earned California Capital Fellowships over the years (meet some of these scholars).
Here's a closer look at how Lane and Lea will use their exclusive fellowship opportunities to make a difference through education legislation and stronger anti-abuse laws.
Lane's passion for preventing child abuse was ignited during her junior year of high school. She volunteered to paint a child abuse clinic for extra credit and found herself so interested in the good work being done that she ended up working there all summer.
She graduated from Pepperdine this year with a master's in psychology from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, after gaining her bachelor's degree in psychology from UCLA.
"I started getting more interested in laws and child policies, and learned I could get my law school certificate while getting my master's," says Lane. She earned a certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine's Straus Institute and is now putting that knowledge to use.
To apply for the senate fellowship, she wrote a policy and will have the opportunity to present it to the Senate later this year. The policy's aim is to provide therapy and treatment to drug-addicted mothers of newborns. Lane proposes that in return for compliance the women get food stamps or a trip to Disneyland with their kids.
"It's about positive reinforcement, and making them feel like a good parent," Lane explains. "But is it feasible or sustainable? I've never done public policy so I need to find whether it would be possible and what reinforcements might be sustainable."
Lane hopes the Senate experience will prepare her for a future in public policy. She wants to use her knowledge as a therapist and apply it at the state level to make laws and effect change. The fellowship starts in October in Sacramento, an hour north of her hometown of Pleasant Hill, California. In the meantime, she is apartment hunting with her mother, while reading up on public policy and crossing her fingers that she'll be paired up with a liberal senator.
"I'd have to say Nancy Pelosi is the politician I most admire," she says. "Her ability to work with people on both sides of the aisle and her desire to make positive changes in our country is inspiring. She has given women hope that we have the ability to impact the world."
Lea was raised on a farm in California's central valley with his autistic brother and adopted Mexican immigrant sister, who joined the Lea household after escaping an abusive family.
Witnessing the struggles of his siblings inspired Lea to set his sights on making changes in agricultural policy, immigration laws, and educational policies for people with disabilities.
"I believe I have a mission to accomplish in my life," says Lea, who will work in Sacramento for 11 months in the Executive Fellowship before pursuing a legal education.
Lea graduated magna cum laude from Seaver College with a BA in political science. Already he has interned with California Assemblyperson Doug LaMalfa and assisted at Pepperdine's Special Education Advocacy Clinic, helping the clinic to provide legal representation for families with disabled students and establish educational plans for the students. He made the National Dean's List in 2007.
"Lea is a truly outstanding student," says his academic advisor Dan Caldwell, Distinguished Professor of Political Science. "Not only is he intelligent and motivated, he is also concerned about important social issues."
"Like many Pepperdine students, Grant holds strong religious convictions," adds Joel Fetzer, associate professor of political science. "But his grounds for advocacy for the disabled is 'simple human decency' rather than revealed religion. He was shy, quiet, and respectful, but I would not want to have to argue against him in a courtroom!"
For more information on the California Capital Fellows Program, please visit the Seaver College Graduate Fellowships Web site.
by Sarah Fisher