Episode #105: Your Vote is Not a Chocolate

Project Vote Smart is a Des Moines, Iowa based organization that uses volunteer power to create a database of transparent information about candidates and politicians all across the United States. Peter McLaughlin, Vote Smart’s Director of Elections and Candidates Research, explains why nonpartisan research is his passion and vital to American democracy.  His story is told by PAYCE Fellow Rana Rishmawi (Al-Quds American Studies) who warns that voting, unlike shopping, requires research in order to avoid a bitter outcome.


Episode #101: Dear Future Generations

 PAYCE Fellow Afnan Abbasi (Al-Quds Bard) profiles Des Moines children’s rights advocate Jill Appelgate.  Jill is motivated to fight for children who are vulnerable because they lack a voice in the political process. Afnan reflects on Jill’s story with a commentary on children’s human rights and the ways that we fall short in our obligation to future generations.


#112: Making local change

Marlu Abarca is a Los Angeles native who moved to Iowa for college in 2010. After moving to Des Moines in 2014, she has gotten involved in civic engagement through local non-profits, like Al Éxito!, volunteering at Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs, and a full-time job at the Des Moines Public Library. PAYCE Fellow Genesis Buckhalton (Drake University) describes how Marlu focuses on local change to bring cultural awareness and to represent the Latino community in Iowa.

“Flauta” from Miente, miente, que algo queda by los tu.l.a. Released: 2018. Track 9. At Free Music Archive.


#110: The kids are all right, right?

When so many powerful interests hold sway in the legislative process, children fall through the cracks. While nobody will oppose the motto “Every Child Matters,” few work actively for these causes. Jill Applegate works for one non-profit in which she speaks up for kids in a tough political environment.  PAYCE Fellow Juli Dajci (University of Hartford) expresses admiration for Jill when compared with peers who are politically apathetic and officials who prioritize differently. He tells how she perseveres while giving young adults a new perspective on being politically active through nonprofit advocacy.


#101: Dear future generations

PAYCE Fellow Afnan Abbasi (Al-Quds Bard) profiles Des Moines children’s rights advocate Jill Appelgate.  Jill is motivated to fight for children who are vulnerable because they lack a voice in the political process. Afnan reflects on Jill’s story with a commentary on children’s human rights and the ways that we fall short in our obligation to future generations.