Stetson Law to offer new civic education program for local underrepresented teens

GULFPORT, Fla. (March 5, 2021) – Stetson University College of Law, in partnership with Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, is excited to announce a new summer program aimed at training underrepresented teenagers to advocate for themselves and others.

The weeklong summer course is designed for Pinellas County teenagers, between the ages of 15-17, considered underrepresented because of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, or school performance.

Dean Michèle Alexandre
Michèle Alexandre

“Youth civic engagement training is crucial at this time. Offering a program like this is one of the most   valuable contributions philanthropic organizations and educational institutions such as Healthy St. Pete and Stetson Law can provide to the community,” said Stetson Law Dean Michèle Alexandre. “Stetson Law has longstanding expertise in teaching students to think critically and advocate for vulnerable groups. We believe that these types of programs can create a positive ripple effect for the participants, their families, schools and communities.”

Stetson Law officials recognized that, during the last 20 years, civics education and social action programming have decreased nationally. Students have little, if any, opportunity at the high school level to access the knowledge and tools they need to be advocates.

Randy Russell

“There is a latent power in youth that is often overlooked. Racism takes a tremendous toll on our society and youth now see that in pronounced ways,” said Randy Russell, Chief Executive Officer at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. “By pursuing deeper understanding of their personal identities and their role in a society, it becomes easier to envision how to become change makers striving for race equity in the community and beyond.”

The summer session will be five full days during Summer 2021 and will serve as a pilot program for what officials plan to be a four-year effort. The curriculum will include two civics classes, two civil rights classes, and various engagement opportunities with community leaders and advocates.

Interested students must complete a short application, and all applicants will be reviewed and selected by a committee. In addition to Dean Alexandre, Professors Judith Scully and Christine Cerniglia will lead the program. For more information about the program or how to apply, please email Carmen Johnson at

About Stetson University College of Law

Stetson University College of Law, Florida’s first law school, has prepared lawyers and leaders since 1900. Today, Stetson leads the nation in blending legal doctrine with practical training, evidenced by its top-ranked programs in advocacy and legal writing. Through its academically rigorous curriculum and commitment to social responsibility, Stetson produces lawyers who are ethical advocates ready to succeed in the legal profession.  

About Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private foundation serving the residents of South Pinellas County. Its goal is to improve population health by advancing racial and health equity by working at the county level with countywide systems, such as the school district, health department, and transportation system. The Foundation also works with more than 100 nonprofits and has invested over $21 million in the community over the last three years.