Alexander Uryga ’15 has been selected as Indiana's 2016 James Madison Fellow. Uryga, of La Porte, Ind., graduated from Christ College, Valparaiso University’s honor college, summa cum laude with majors in political science and history. A first-generation student, he served as student body president as a junior and completed an internship for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly through the Lutheran College Washington Semester program.
“It's clear Alex’s hard work, both in his classes and in his internship, has paid off,” said Amy Atchison, assistant professor of political science and international relations. “We have no doubt Alex will bring the same enthusiasm to his students that he brought to all of his political science classes here at Valpo.”
Uryga participated in the 25th annual fellowship competition, sponsored by The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation of Alexandria, Va., and is the only Indiana recipient among a total of 53 James Madison Fellows to be honored with the award for secondary teachers.
Named in honor of the fourth president of the United States, who is acknowledged as the “Father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” a James Madison Fellowship funds up to $24,000 of each fellow’s course of study in working toward a master’s degree program.
“You could attribute my environment to why I want to be a teacher, particularly a social studies teacher,” Uryga said. “The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation has given me the chance to pursue my dream of becoming an incredible teacher of the Constitution, in a day and age that so desperately needs to be educated about the Constitution’s principles and history, as it is essential to supporting American democracy.”
Throughout his years at Valpo, Uryga’s desire to teach and lead was evident while serving as president of the student body in Student Senate and as the vice chair of University Council. While overseeing various committees, Uryga initiated courses of action and policy on behalf of the student body.
“Valparaiso University offered opportunities to serve on campus, in the community, and for our country, in ways that I could not have dreamed of,” Uryga said. Valpo steered me further toward my passions for fellowship, leadership and scholarship and has substantially contributed to my lifelong purpose — a calling of public service.”
Uryga is the first James Madison Fellow from Valparaiso University and the first Junior Fellow in seven years from the state of Indiana.