Youth & Government Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Sifferman

Last updated: October 13, 2021, at 7:49 a.m. PT

Originally published: May 3, 2021, at 7:48 p.m. PT

Alumni Lauren

My mother encouraged me to join Youth and Government as an eighth grader to encourage my interest in social justice and hone public speaking skills. Throughout my years in the program, the bills that I developed became areas of interest and topics that I still advocate for today.

I attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate, where I studied interdisciplinary visual arts and psychology. Artwork that I created in my program frequently connected to women's rights issues, LGBTQ+ issues, criticism of discriminatory policy, and human rights violations. I credit my time Youth & Government with aiding me in developing my voice in these areas.

I am now pursuing a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling with a specialty in art therapy at Antioch University. My social justice background is a critical part of my work in this field and has already become a distinguishing aspect of my research. As we move into a time where mental health professionals need to account for a much larger role in public safety interventions, integrated community support, advocacy, and education a solid understanding of government policy is more important than ever.

I encourage each member of this program to think about the time that they are spending in Youth & Government as the foundations for their future roles as change-makers and influencers in their fields