Springfield alumni, Kaylee Neil, experiences US Political tour of a lifetime

After a rigorous selection process in 2019, Kaylee Neil, our former Year 12 Springfield Captain, was chosen to experience the political trip of a lifetime.  Kaylee was part of a select group of 16 Australian student leaders for The United Nations (UN) Youth Political 2020 Tour. The tour is an annual, four-week program where delegates visit US cities including New York, Boston, Washington and San Francisco to explore the current state of American politics. 

The UN Youth Australia’s American Political Tour presents an amazing opportunity for students to visit cities of the US looking at the interaction between local, state, and federal politics in the US and to understand how a state’s identity can become a Democrat or Republican stronghold. The 2020 team visited monuments, museums, and memorials and unpacked the history of America in order to understand the intricacies of American politics. They met and engaged with non-governmental organisations, think-tanks, and members of Congress to challenge preconceived ideas of what democracy in America entails.

Kaylee says, “I genuinely had the most incredible time over the course of the month. If I had to pick just one highlight it would probably be the 9/11 memorial in New York. It was undoubtedly the most powerful and painfully exquisite exhibition I have ever visited.”

The group met many influential people throughout the tour. “It was a pleasure to meet Former Obama Advisor, Jeremy Bernton, New Yorker Cartoonist Jason Chatfield and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Economist David Vannier. I also learned a lot from our consultations with Californian senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, Mitch Fifield,” says Kaylee.

“Admittedly, I was most impressed by our meeting with Teens Take Charge,” explains Kaylee. They’re a student-led movement fighting for educational equity in New York City. Despite making up 70% of NYC public school system, African American and Latino students only represent 10.6% of elite public high schools. 

The beauty of the tour was that it reaffirmed my love of history and the study of politics. I’m adamant now that I’ve chosen the correct field of study and I’m wholeheartedly committed to one day having a career in the field of international affairs.

At this point in time Kaylee is interested in becoming a diplomat or federal public servant. “My dream job would probably be working in the Australian mission to the UN in New York, Geneva or Vienna.”

Kaylee has advice for students who want to experience events like the UN’s political tour. “Make the most of your opportunities. When I began high school, I wasn’t an active member of the community. By the end of school, I was a debater and coach, involved in mooting, had travelled on language exchanges, received my bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and served as school captain. If I hadn’t had those experiences, I never would have been considered for a place on the tour."

My advice to others is to find what you’re passionate about be involved in whatever capacity you can be. Build upon your previous experiences to be considered for new ones.

The active alumni is always trying to think of new ways to engage the community. As YCMA’s youth representative Kaylee plans on making a difference in the lives of youth in her Jordan electorate. “I’m looking forward to expanding my reach in the Springfield region in both the near and distant future. I’m currently in the process of proposing new programs and activities, so I’m excited to see where that takes me.”

Fulfil your potential and and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities St Peters Springfield have on offer. 

Be part of our supportive St Peters Springfield community and contact enrolment by email s.enolments@stpeters.qld.edu.au or call 3470 3888.