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Alabama A&M student invited to White House for inaugural Youth Policy Summit

HUNTSVILLE — Alabama A&M University student Cassidy McClellan was among 90 young people from across the country invited to the White House for the first-ever Interagency Youth Policy Summit: Cultivating PossibilitiesThe senior elementary education major from Toledo, Ohio, said she was thrilled to be invited to take part.

“I was selected by the National Center of Learning Disabilities to represent their Young Adult Leadership Council,” said McClellan. “The invitation came from U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona. With students from across the country, I was one of the few students from an HBCU.”

The Biden-Harris Administration created the summit to give federal policymakers a chance to hear directly from young people how to improve policies and programs to ensure all youth have the opportunity to thrive. McClellan says students visited the White House on Feb. 12 to hear First Lady Dr. Jill Biden speak, and the following day, gathered at the U.S. Department of Education to talk to lawmakers.

Cassidy McClellan at the White House

“I engaged with agencies and policymakers in break-out rooms and offered recommendations on policy improvement,” said McClellan. “I plan to go into educational policy, so this was a wonderful opportunity. I want to effect policy on a federal level and aid in dismantling inequitable systems and systems of oppression.”

McClellan said she also witnessed how important advocacy is and that youth voices matter.

“The best part of the event was engaging and being immersed with fellow attendees who share the same dedication to education policy as I do,” she said. “As one of the few HBCU students at the summit, I was proud to represent my illustrious institution and show that Alabama A&M has some amazing students on The Hill.”

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