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Advance Team 2019-20


The 2019-20 Advance Team with Derek Black and Sarah McCammon, StraightTalk

Meet the 2019-20 Riley Institute Advance Team members! The Advance Team is compiled of students from many different hometowns, academic interests, and personal passions. Welcome to new and returning members, and, as always, the Riley Institute is excited about each of you joining and assisting us at Riley events during the academic year! 

The Advance Team plays an incredibly important role in the success of Riley Institute events. Their professionalism and dedication to ensure that events run seamlessly is indispensable!

This year's Advance Team leader is Shekinah Lightner ('20) from Rock Hill, SC. Her majors are Politics and International Affairs and Economics.

To kick-off the 2019-20 academic year, the Advance Team assisted with StraightTalk: Nationalist Fervor on the Rise in the U.S. and Europe held August 29 and September 5 and September 12, 2019. The series culminated with guest speaker Derek Black, the godson of David Duke and former heir to the white nationalist movement, on September 12th at McAlister Auditorium. He shared his story of transformation from leader in the white nationalist movement to outspoken critic of the movement. 

Following close behind on September 18th, the Advance Team assisted with the Institute's annual observation of Constitution Day. Guest speaker Andy Rudalevige, Ph.D., Professor of Government, Bowdoin College, specializing in the modern presidency and interbranch relations spoke about "Slipping toward Monarchy?: The Rising Power of the Presidency." 

Upon returning from the students' holiday break, the Advance Team headed to Columbia to serve as hosts of The Fifteenth Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner on January 14, 2020. Many Advance Team members enjoyed meeting and speaking with SC Governor Henry McMaster and interacting with other attendees. The award winners were Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York), who received the 2019 Wilkins Award for Legislative Leadership and Nella Barkley, who received the 2019 Wilkins Award for Civic Leadership.

The Riley Institute's next guest speaker was Angela Maria Kelley, Senior Strategic Advisor for Immigration, Open Society Foundations. Her topic of discussion was "Immigration Policy and Politics in 2020: Separating Fact from Fiction." The Advance Team assisted, over the week while Angela was on campus, by escorting her from classroom to classroom, taking her on a tour of the campus, and enjoying lunch with her. Angela was so impressed and appreciative of the Advance Team that she said the night of the event, "That Advance Team! Those are top notch young people that have really made this a very special week for me!" You rock, Advance Team!