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Meet the activist

Junior Lisa Shen has been an avid fan of politics since her freshman year. As the founder of the school’s first political journal and a member of a myriad of leadership positions in clubs, Shen is active in political advocacy and projecting out her own voice.

Shen’s passion first stemmed from her world history class, in which she developed a strong curiosity for the socioeconomic issues.

“I was fervent about history, and I was always probing beyond the textbook–questioning historical topics and finding interesting concepts on my own,” Shen said. “I developed a lot of opinions based on what I read and researched. We are all part of history, and I grew progressively adamant about inserting my own voice in it.”

To develop her own perspectives, she maintained an open mindset during freshman year and joined both Teen Republicans and Young Democrats to learn about the vast array of political spectrum.

“I wanted to understand the issues at hand–the topics debated over on national television, by the very politicians that we chose to speak on our behalf,” Shen said. “[Joining the different clubs] broke a lot of preconceptions for me. Before joining either of them, I was more of a liberal due to my personal background. Both clubs are designed to educate, not propagate. I learned that labeling others, or yourself, deters your ability to be empathetic—which is necessary for any positive change in this world.”

During her freshman year, Shen also developed The Inksight, a student-run political journal that contains op-ed and freelance writing that critique political policies, providing an outlet for students and teen activists to express their concerns and voice their opinions.

“Although we may not have the ability to vote yet, there are other ways—and arguably more powerful ways—of engaging in the political process. Learning to write formidable opinion editorials and pitching your ideas effectively is a valuable and rewarding skill to have,” Shen said. “Thus, being able to incite change and communicate our opinions professionally is a very powerful tool.  The Inksight teaches students how to pitch their ideas.”

To understand more about current news and update her political journal, Shen subscribes to a multitude of news sources, including The Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and the The Washington Post.

“I’m always up-to-date with current events. My dad calls me a news junkie. Whenever I’m especially intrigued by a specific news topic, I scour the internet to learn more about it.” Shen said. “I try to keep updated on all levels of politics—world, national, local, state.”

Shen wishes to become a diplomat, teacher or government worker to continue exploring her interests.

“The decisions we make today generate a foundation for our children, our children’s children, and so on.  Staying informed in politics allows us to become better decision makers, and therefore better foundation builders,” Shen said.

By Caroline Huang and Eric Peng, News editors