Chicago Leaders Class

By Malik Alim, Dhruva Mehta, Jack Evans, Myiesha Boyce, Kevin Cao, Matt Niemer, Andrew Soloutos |

From widespread privatization to the new Illinois state budget, Chicago has problems that demand solutions. Chicago Leaders Class (CLC) brings together students from Chicago area schools each semester for a crash-course in local public policy issues, grassroots organizing, and political discourse– helping to engage students during in the crucial upcoming local elections. CLC is an incubator for leaders; past participants have started Roosevelt campus network chapters at University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul, and Moraine Valley, with more in development at Northwestern, the University of Illinois, and more.

Through CLC undergraduate students  develop critical public policy and organizational leadership skills in researching, writing and enacting change on their campus and in their Illinois community. The spring 2017 class will focus on a policy topic chosen by the students during our application process. We build our meeting schedule, our topics, and activities all around students availability.

Applications will be accepted through August for the 10 week class which begins in September 2017. A class of 10-20 accepted students from colleges and universities across Chicago will have the opportunity to join the Chicago Leaders Class. During the semester-long workshop, students will learn the basics of researching, writing and advocating for local policy change, meet policy professionals at the state and local level, and prepare to launch Roosevelt chapters on their campus.

Check out our Chicago Leaders Class FAQ’s for additional information about the program.

Applications for the fourth Chicago Leaders class are now open. Use the form below to apply today.



Learn more about our Spring 2017 Leaders and the Roosevelt Institute Illinois team below.

Malik Alim is the Illinois Organizer at Roosevelt Institute. He is responsible for cultivating a diverse network of students and developing new Roosevelt chapters at colleges and universities. As a trainer, facilitator, and organizer, Malik provides students with the tools and resources to mobilize their peers around policy issues, build strong chapters, and develop conscientious leaders. Malik has previously been involved in several grassroots campaigns in Chicago, including the demand for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), the Chicago Police Torture Survivors Memorial, and the Coalition to Save Dyett High School. He also serves as the Chicago chapter Membership Co-Chair for the Black Youth Project 100, a national collective of young Black organizers. In his spare time, Malik enjoys taking road-trips, reading, and having spirited debates.

Dhruva Mehta is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently majoring in philosophy and political science, in addition to pre-medical studies. He is extremely interested in health care and ethics policies as well as issues in democratic access. He is an active participant in the UIC Model United Nations team, is on the board to organize the annual UIC TED talk, and is the vice-president of Project ESTEEM, an organization that visits children’s homes to teach them about the wonders of science and encourage active participation in STEM fields. His hobbies include fencing, camping, and listening to any type of music other than country. Instagram: @dhruva.mehta

Jack Evans is a student at DePaul University majoring in economics and public policy. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but moved to Chicago to live in a big city and pursue his dreams. Jack is really passionate about economic development and social justice policies. One day he hopes to work either in non-profits or the government pushing for policies to combat income inequality and social injustices. Currently Jack is a Student Government Senator for the College of Business and member of DECA and DePaul Democrats. His hobbies include cross-country, movies/tv, hiking, and hanging with his dog. Twitter: @Evans294Jack Instagram: @jaxkevans

Myiesha Boyce is a 21 year old student from the south suburbs of Chicago, and currently a student at Governors State University. She is also currently serving in the Air Force Reserves and majoring in Social Work and Criminal Justice. She aspires to go into restorative justice so that she can focus on reintegrating troubled youth into society. She strongly believes that our future lies in the youth, and wants to be a part of the change she wants to see in the world.

Kevin Cao is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, currently studying biology and political science on a pre-med track. His focuses are rooted in health justice issues that branch out into larger roles of social equality. Having worked in local clinics and community planning areas, he enjoys meeting new people and finding sustainable ways to help them. In his free time, Kevin enjoys hiking, watching movies, and playing rugby for his college team.

Matt is a junior studying at Northwestern University pursuing a Bachelor's degree computer science. He is very interested in working at the intersection of technology and civic engagement and is hoping to create new solutions which allow citizens to get involved in local government with ease. He has a strong desire to learn more about civics and policy in order to build new tools which can make an immediate impact on how citizens interact with their government. In his spare time, Matt plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys exploring the city of Chicago.

Andrew SaLoutos is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Andrew has a history of civic engagement due to his background in the Boy Scouts of America organization, and is hoping to team up with Matt Niemer to create a web platform for the visualization and interpretation of open source data from the city of Chicago that citizens can use to create more meaningful and substantial policy proposals. In his free time, Andrew enjoys working with the NU robotics club, playing ultimate frisbee, and spending time outdoors.