McKenzie Girvan

James Monroe Senior to Represent Virginia at ALA Girls Nation

by | Jun 30, 2016 | Schools & Education

Fredericksburg teen McKenzie Girvan will represent the Commonwealth of Virginia at the 70th annual American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls Nation program in Washington, D.C., July 23 – 30, 2016.

The 16-year-old rising senior at James Monroe High School will be among 98 teens from 49 states who will spend the week creating a mock legislature, submitting bills and resolutions, participating in senate sessions, holding a national convention, and electing officials such as president and vice president. Field trips will include visits to the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, and the national monuments, and a day on Capitol Hill meeting with state senators and representatives.

Girvan was selected by a panel of judges at the ALA Girls State session at Longwood University in June, based on her speech about how the United States should require labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) food products.

Her speech topic was inspired by her experience studying abroad in Austria during the fall semester of her junior year, where her host family consumed non-GMO products. “I learned that 60 countries severely restrict or ban GMO’s in food products, while the United States requires no labeling and the FDA does not regulate non GMO claims,” Girvan said.

“Food safety and sustainability are important issues,” Girvan said. “The United States was built on individual freedoms, and we deserve to make educated decisions about the food we eat. Many girls approached me after my speech to tell me they appreciated the topic, because many people aren’t aware that GMO’s are in their food. Because most GMO research is funded by large food corporations that use GMO’s, I think it raises questions about how objective the research is regarding long term safety and potential unintended consequences. I plan to do more to raise awareness of this issue.”

Girvan is a straight-A student who enjoys learning foreign languages. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, a peer mentor in her school’s JUMP program, a member of Youth In Philanthropy, a Monroe Singers all-district choir member, and lacrosse player.

Since 1947, American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation has provided aspiring young women leaders practical insight into how the federal government works.

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