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ASU honors student selected for 2022 Henry Clay Center College Student Congress

Program focuses on public policy, politics, diplomacy and leadership

Photo of Anusha Natarajan

Anusha Natarajan, a third-year honors student, will participate in the Henry Clay Center College Student Congress this summer.

April 06, 2022

The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement has announced that Anusha Natarajan, a third-year student in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, has been selected for the Henry Clay Center College Student Congress, a two-week summer program for undergraduates interested in public policy, politics, diplomacy and modern leadership.

The program selects just one student per state, so Natarajan, a sociology, history and political science major, will not only represent ASU, but the entire Copper State. The congress will take place June 6–17 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington; Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

“There is always a lot of publicity and excitement when students win well-known fellowships like the Rhodes Scholarship or Fulbright,” said Kyle Mox, associate dean and director of ONSA, “but there are hundreds of fellowships out there that provide incredible experiences such as the Henry Clay Center.

“Not only will Anusha reap the benefits of this immersive public policy experience, she can also benefit from the acclaim that comes with being the sole representative of the state of Arizona. That’s quite an honor.”

During the congress, the 51 delegates will learn about the dynamics of the policy process through an experiential and immersive curriculum and engage with lawmakers, academics, government relations experts, policy advisers and other leaders to explore the challenges of formulating comprehensive public policy.

“We’re so polarized (politically) now,” Natarajan said. “I’m really looking forward to engaging in civil conversations about public policy and hopefully find ways to reduce that polarization.”

Natarajan is deeply committed to promoting civic engagement — in fact, she was a 2021 recipient of the Congressman Ed Pastor Civic Leadership Medallion in 2021, which recognizes ASU students who demonstrate exemplary dedication to public service and engagement.

As chair of the ASU Civic Engagement Coalition and lead fellow for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Natarajan has implemented events and initiatives to share information about public policy, promote voter registration and encourage voter turnout among her peers.

This semester, she collaborated with the ASU Library to hold an event to educate the university community on the history of Arizona's statehood and to register voters. She hopes to create programs and policies that increase voter registration and turnout among college students, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

“To me, this work matters because it is important for people to be engaged in their communities and understand what is happening around them,” Natarajan said.

Most recently, she served on a panel at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, “Gen Z is Making Change: New Tools for Impact”, which focused on tools and methods used by youth activists to become empowered to make an impact now and in the future.

Natarajan also has held numerous governmental and research internships, including Phoenix Sister Cities, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the McCain Institute. She was also a student research aide for the Arizona Constitution Project in ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Following her time at the Henry Clay Center Student Congress, Natarajan will complete her senior year at ASU and prepare for a doctoral program that will pull together her interests in public policy, particularly participation in voting and elections, strengthening voter turnout and fairness in elections globally.

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