April Alumni Spotlight: Sui Lang Panoke

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Sui Lang Panoke is the founder of RE-Think Tank LLC and Founder of Women Politics Media LLC

Graduation: I graduated in 2003 with a BS in Political Science

Hinckley Experience:

I served 4 Hinckley Internships. My First was with Nisa Cisneros’ campaign for UT State Senate, District 1; then with Mayor Rocky Anderson’s Office in Minority Affairs; after than was in journalism with the Olympic News Service in 2002 during the Winter Olympic Games in Utah; and finally as an intern with Penn, Shoen & Berland in Washington, D.C.

What is your favorite Hinckley memory?

Basically every interaction I’ve ever had with Dr. Tim Chambless and Dr. Dan Jones.  These two men became my mentors in politics and have both played a critical role in shaping my values, views and vision for what is possible in America.

The Hinckley Highlight for me was serving a summer internship in Washington, D.C.  This experience introduced me to the world of politics “inside the beltway,” opened the door for me to pursue Grad school at American University’s Women & Politics Institute, and eventually led to Capitol Hill becoming my home for the past 12 years. To anyone who is seeking to pursue a career in politics and has never traveled outside of Utah, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the Washington internship program or any study abroad opportunities that come your way. My summer in Washington exposed me to a wide range of opinions, experiences and different ways of life that conditioned me be more “conscious” of the diversity of public interests that exist in American politics and this mindset has ultimately made me a better leader, trainer and advocate.      

How has the Hinckley Institute impacted your life?

The Hinckley Institute is where I began to solidify my identity, voice and brand.  My desire to pursue a career in diversifying political leadership was born here. The Institute helped me build the confidence, knowledge, experience and network that has afforded me

I would say most people do not typically think of Utah as the "Land of Diversity." But, for me, as I reflect upon my undergraduate experience at the "U," it was in fact my experience growing up in the Beehive state that made me the Diversity Champion I am today.  As a student who often felt "different" growing up in a place like Utah, my experience at the Hinckley Institute conditioned me to see the world through a myriad of differing social, cultural, economic and political lenses with sincere interest, a strong desire to understand and a great deal of respect because the people who were different from me became my teachers, my mentors and my friends.  Building genuine friendships inside and outside of the beltway is what it means to be an American.  The political arena is simply the space where those differing points of view can be shared, valued and transmuted into innovative policy solutions that will benefit our families and friends for generations to come.  To those of you who may be "turned off by politics," I invite you to join us.  You are exactly what we need.  Significant change has always started with people who had a distaste for the status quo.