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Virginia Civics Coalition

A Growing Partnership to Improve Civic Life in Virginia

In partnership with the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, Virginia Civics is spearheading the Virginia Civics Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals committed to advancing effective and meaningful civic learning policies and practices. The Coalition is based on a shared commitment to policies and practices that represent the interests and experiences of all Virginians, with distinct recommendations for K-12, higher education, and adults.

The Coalition began in 2021 with a “listening tour,” engaging Virginians from a broad cross-section of civic learning, from practitioners to consumers, to get a comprehensive look at the civic health of the Commonwealth. These conversations were organized by various “communities of practice,” where Coalition members engaged with their professional peers, and a Coalition Advisory Group was formed with representatives from each of these communities.

"A Virginia for All Virginians"

From the listening tour, a number of themes, principles, and recommendations emerged to continue the strong successes that Virginia has had in K-12 civic education, and to expand our efforts into higher education and adult learning. The Coalition’s report provides practical suggestions that hopefully spark conversation about additional action we can all take to improve civic life in Virginia.

Communities of Practice

Join Our Coalition

Coalition Communities of Practice meet quarterly for virtual sessions where Members discuss goals, progress, and best practices for civic learning with professional peers.
An all-Member conference will take place in November.

Emily Voss

Emily Voss comes to civic education from the museum world, where she was passionate about making museums relevant to the modern world. She currently serves as the Manager of National Programs for the Center for Civic Education. Prior to that, she served as the Education Director at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier where she spent the past decade developing programs for adult professionals that invited engagement with America’s founding documents. She served as the Virginia State Coordinator of the We the People program for 10 years and is a co-founder of Virginia Civics. Emily holds a BA in History from Gettysburg College, and an MA in Museum Education from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY). She and her family currently reside in central Virginia.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Programs Officer

Jen Patja

Jen Patja has dedicated her career to strengthening constitutional self-government through her work with Virginia Civics, the Center for Civic Education, and Montpelier’s Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where she served as Deputy Director. Jen is a co-founder of Virginia Civics, and serves as a House of Delegates-appointed member of the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, a state legislative commission. She is the producer and editor of “Rational Security,” a weekly foreign policy and national security roundup, and “The Lawfare Podcast,” a daily audio production in cooperation with the Brookings Institution. Jen has held teaching and research positions at the University of Virginia, most notably in Criminology and the school’s University Internship Program with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. She received her master’s in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer

Amelia Bochain

Amelia Bochain has devoted her professional life to effective social studies education that fosters civil discourse. As a classroom teacher for nine years, she implemented project-based learning that focused on civic engagement and encouraging effective discussion skills. She is particularly passionate about the We the People program, where she coached teams that placed in regional, state, and national competitions.

State Coordinator