League of Women Voters taps pair of local students for Inside Albany conference

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UTICA — The Utica/Rome Chapter of the League of Women Voters has selected two area students to participate in this year’s Inside Albany program, an interactive conference that brings together high school students from across New York to learn about state government and how citizens can participate in policy making.

As part of the program, Sophia O’Neill, a student at New Hartford Senior High School, and Moolah Bu, of Proctor High School in Utica, will observe Assembly and Senate sessions and shadow their Assembly members and senators as they participate in discussions about the operations of state government.

O’Neill is the president of her school’s Students for Justice and Equality group, and is also active in Ecology Club, Mock Trial Club, and Prism Club (for LGBTQ+ students and allies).

She participates in basketball and track, and is a volunteer at St. John the Evangelist Church. She received the 2021 YWCA Outstanding Youth award.

O’Neill’s counselor describes her as a person who “embraces leadership, confident yet humble, guided by her values of excellence, compassion and inclusiveness.”

She also has a strong desire to observe government in action, and has plans for a career in law and politics.

Bu has participated in the Midtown Utica Community Center’s Youth Employment Program for the past two years, helping with a variety of volunteer efforts that enhance the lives of Utica’s multi-cultural refugee population.

Among these activities, she has helped with trash pickup, gift wrap projects, and a charity fashion show. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped advertise and provide interpretation assistance for the vaccination process.

The MUCC program director describes Moolah as “a conscientious young lady who takes her commitments seriously, with an ability to self-motivate and go above and beyond when completing tasks.”

Her hobbies include art, fashion, crochet, and animal rescue. She is interested in a career in the health field with particular attention to the issues of sex trafficking and abuse.

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