Alum of the Month: Jaylin McClinton

Jaylin graduated in 2012 from Curie Metropolitan High School, located in the Southwest side of  Chicago. He participated in Mikva’s Student Election Judge program.

                                                                              Tell us about your Mikva experience… 
As a Mikva student, I had the opportunity to serve as a student election judge. That experience played a major role in how I thought about democracy and public service because I was right there on the front lines reassuring people that their voice (and vote) mattered.  In addition, I was able to learn from others that were 100% invested in developing me. The opportunity to educate people in a non-partisan manner has always been of interest, as restoring the thought that elected officials work for the people is extremely important to me.

In what ways has your Mikva experience shaped who you are today?                                   The Mikva experience was empowering. Mikva Challenge laid the foundation for my views on democracy and public service. I remember it like it was yesterday, waking up at about 4:30 a.m. putting on the red Mikva shirt and going to the polling place near my home. I was checking folks in and sending them to a voting booth. As someone who has ancestors that never had the right to vote, Mikva solidified my interests in the voting rights arena, which is a big part of what I plan to do in my long-term career.  The opportunity to participate in high school was life-changing, and now as an adult, I am looking for ways to give back. In fact, serving as a student election judge is where I developed my strong passion for social justice and voting rights. A lot of my friends at Curie participated in Mikva, so I still keep in touch with those folks. In addition, I have maintained a strong relationship with Brian Brady, who has been a mentor in many ways. Brian has helped me remain engaged as an alumnus of Mikva Challenge!

What are you doing now?                                                                                                                             May 2016, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I majored in African-American Studies and Political Science with a Pre-Law Concentration. Shortly thereafter, I participated in a summer-long internship at the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF). I was a one of two Reuss interns and focused on advancement initiatives related to the College of Engineering, the College of Business, and Student Affairs. In the fall, I was accepted into the White House Internship Program and remained until December. While at the White House, I served in the Office of Management & Administration (MA) in White House Personnel. The office focused on the on-boarding/off-boarding of staff, professional development, health and wellness programming, and special events pertaining to the roughly 500 staff in the White House Office (WHO) portion of the Executive Office of the President.  Now, I am working for the State of Illinois as a District Manager for newly sworn-in State Representative Juliana Stratton.