Harrisburg, PA - This month, the State Board of Education welcomed two new student members to the Board: Natalie Imhoof, a Susquehanna University student, and Claire Chi, a junior at State College Area High School in the State College Area School District.
“Student voices are critically important as we work to develop policies and best practices in schools across the commonwealth, and we welcome the unique perspectives that Natalie and Claire will bring to the State Board of Education,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “Through their participation in a number of important conversations, these two bright young leaders will help shape the vision of education for decades to come.”
Natalie Imhoof, a Biology and Management major at Susquehanna University, serves as a student ambassador at the university; is a summer intern at the Mid-Atlantic Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development; serves as a Vertical Garden Project leader of Partners for a Healthy Community, where she creates and coordinates installation of indoor gardens at senior living facilities and researched the effects of gardening on social isolation and loneliness, a study which she will provide to the National Gardening Association; and serves as the American Sign Language (ASL) Club Treasurer; among other honors and activities.
Natalie serves as the Board’s Junior Postsecondary Student Member.
Claire Chi, class of 2024, was in 2021 named a Top 10 Speaker in the National Symposium for Debate Tournament; received two merit scholarships from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to Penn State summer programs – Finding Your Roots (2018) and Penn State Pre-Med Academy (2019); serves as a research assistant with Dr. Erin Hofmann of Utah State University and an intern at the Smithsonian Institute; among other accolades.
This year, she founded the non-profit Dancing Against Hunger, which fights hunger by providing youth with dance education and opportunities for social empowerment. In 2020, she received the Girl Scout Silver Award for her efforts to distribute masks and create mask education resources for both parents and children.
Claire serves as the Board’s Junior High School Student Member.
“The Board values the input and perspectives that our student members provide on issues that are important to Pennsylvania’s students,” said Chair of the Board Karen Farmer White. “By including student leaders on the Board, we seek to encourage civic participation among Pennsylvania’s youth and to empower student voice in education policymaking.”
The State Board changed its bylaws in May 2008 to incorporate student representation in a non-voting capacity on the Council of Basic Education and the Council of Higher Education. Student members must attend and participate in board meetings, advise, and consult with the board, and adhere to board regulations. They will also establish an ongoing relationship with other students throughout the commonwealth to more effectively represent student voice in Pennsylvania’s educational policymaking. The State Board of Education’s members – and four student representatives – convene every other month throughout the year to discuss and vote on education policies and procedures.
Student representation on the state Board of Education is made possible through a grant provided by Highmark, supporting opportunity for students in Pennsylvania to have a direct voice in helping to shape education policy.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website. Follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest.
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