May 6, 2009 — The second annual Senator John W. Warner Public Leadership Awards have been given to University of Virginia third-year students Paul Wiley, a government major from Charlottesville, and Melissa Zinder, an American politics major from Richmond.
The Warner Awards, established by the University through an unrestricted gift from former U.S. Sen. John Warner, is given to third-year undergraduates who exhibit a serious, convincing ambition to seek future election to public office. The award honors individuals who strive for service in elected office, whether it is a part-time city council position or a full-time legislative or executive office.
Named for Warner, a 1953 graduate of the U.Va. School of Law and a five-term member of the U.S. Senate, the award includes a stipend to help support the recipients' education and their interest in public life.
Wiley, a graduate of Charlottesville High School, is a member of the University mock trial team, and a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He will intern this summer on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello.
Zinder, a graduate of Douglas S. Freeman High School in Richmond, has been involved in several political campaigns, including those for U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, state Sen. Bill Bolling and state Sen. Creigh Deeds. This summer, she will intern in the Commonwealth's Liaison Office in Washington.
A committee chaired by Larry Sabato, Robert Kent Gooch and University Professor of Politics and director of U.Va.'s Center for Politics, selected the winners on the basis of their academic credentials, a reflective statement of their future goals and a letter of support.