Eyes on Richmond is an award-winning government transparency project of Progress Virginia, an advocacy and communications nonprofit dedicated to furthering progressive issues and causes in the Commonwealth. For more information about Progress Virginia, please visit the website.
Launched in 2017, Eyes on Richmond aimed to stream Virginia General Assembly legislative hearings for the first time ever—often bringing to light commentary, deliberation, and even votes from elected officials that had previously never been streamed or broadcast publicly. Because of this work, the project won the Virginia Coalition for Open Government’s Laurence E. Richardson Citizen Award.
None of this work would be possible without the hard work of the Fellows who stay on top of all committee hearings and record all of our live feeds. Read about the 2018 fellows below.
Amina Husain is a Junior at Virginia Commonwealth University, pursuing her Bachelor’s in Political Science with a concentration in public policy. She is currently on the Policy Committee for Amnesty International where she lobbies for various human-rights related legislation and assists in event-organizing. Amina is also involved with a grassroots social justice coalition dedicated to improving relations between minorities and law enforcement in Richmond.
Raised in Sterling, VA., Amina enjoys quality time with friends and family. In her free time, she likes to spend time outdoors and cook. Her favorite place to hike is the Shenandoah and she’s always looking for new things to try and new places to see.
Cameron Washington is a third-year undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University double-majoring in English (BA) and Political Science (BA) with a minor in History. Prior to working with Progress Virginia, Cameron interned in the Virginia Governor’s office under the Secretary of the Commonwealth in the Restoration of Rights department. In addition to his work in the Governor’s office, Cameron has worked with David Bailey Associates, where he assisted with lobbying efforts on the behalf of school counselors. Most recently, Cameron participated in a study abroad program where he and other students met with political leaders in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda to learn about East African politics. Cameron hopes that the knowledge gained from these opportunities and experiences will allow him to contribute something unique to Progress Virginia in this wonderful fellowship. He is excited to learn more as an Eyes on Richmond Legislative Fellow.
David Hessler is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and is studying Political Science as well as Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Originally from Sterling, Virginia, David got involved in the community with Boy Scouts of America. The program helped shape his interest in politics on all levels. It also fostered a love for the outdoors. In his senior year of High School, David began to volunteer with the local rescue squad. After graduating from High School and earning his Eagle Scout rank, David moved down to Richmond to attend VCU and move closer to the State Capital. He’s interned as a research assistant with VCU professors and now looks forward to his first year with the Eyes of Richmond program. In his free time, you can find David wandering the streets of Richmond to take pictures or guiding a raft on the Shenandoah river during the Summer.
Genevieve Markee is a longtime resident of Midlothian, Virginia and a current student at the University of Richmond, where she studies Political Science, English, and Chinese. She had the honor of working for Abigail Spanberger’s congressional campaign last year. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing novels and plays, as well as spending time with her family. After graduating, she plans to engage in nonprofit work to bring more charity and compassion into politics and society.
Jacob Giovia is studying at Virginia Commonwealth University for a degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy — coursework that helped him place his own experience of being affected by the housing crisis within a greater socio-political and economic context and fostered an understanding of the ways in which his own experiences with a lack housing and affordable healthcare impacted his life. To further understand and actualize his lived experience, he began his research on urban design and sustainability as it pertains to migrant populations in cities as well as the connections between housing, healthcare, and education. As a telemedicine research assistant with the VCU’s Neurology department, he developed new applications for technology in medicine to limit emergency treatment times. Now, as a Progress Virginia Fellow, he has decided to demonstrate how change begins when we build educated, informed, and engaged communities.
This is Maricela Embe-Mamong’s second year with Eyes on Richmond. As a Richmond native, Maricela grew up in the State’s capital and credits that for her interests in politics. She is currently a first year grad student at VCU, working on her Master’s of Public Administration. After interning for the DPVA and Virginia House Democratic Caucus during last years General Assembly Session, she found herself eager to return to this year’s session. In her spare time, she loves discovering new music, binge watching shows on Hulu, and playing around with her beagle. If she’s not doing any of those things, you can usually find her teaching swim lessons at the YMCA or JCC. She hopes to spend this summer abroad in Europe to reward herself for making it through her first year of grad school. In the future, she hopes to work as a policy analyst.
Marie Divine studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, Women’s Studies, and will graduate a year early in July of 2019. Marie is an avid speaker and writer who gave a Ted Talk in 2016 on two different topics. First, reforming education in America and second, re-evaluating and advancing feminism to be more inclusive. Her political experience began in her home state of Kansas in the 2018 legislative session as an intern. In the summer of 2018, Marie was selected to intern in the United States House of Representatives. Marie was a Campaign Fellow for the Virginia Democratic Party, advocating primarily for Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Donald McEachin, and newly elected Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. Marie has interned across the aisle with the intention of promoting bi-partisanship and providing challenging ideas to better improve legislation for all Americans. Marie is a keen believer that American politics would be at its most ideal state when women and other marginalized communities are at the forefront of government.
Shayne Lowman is currently a senior at VCU majoring in political science with a minor in nonprofit management and administration. She is currently serving a fellowship with Progress VA to foster transparency within the Virginia General Assembly. Her goal after graduation is to serve with a non-profit specializing in women’s health and education issues. Ultimately her desire is to attend law school.
Shayne previously has served in many roles with escalating levels of responsibility. Most recently she spent time in Africa delivering medical education and supplies to the people of Ghana. Upon returning she applied for and was accepted to study in Malaga, Spain. Shayne graduated from Courtland High School, Fredericksburg, VA in 2015. She currently resides in Richmond, VA and is on schedule to graduate VCU in May 2019.
Uhunoma Edamwen is a fourth-year at the University of Virginia, majoring in Media Studies and Public Policy. A Richmond-area native himself, he grew up in Chesterfield where his family still resides. As a young change-maker, Uhunoma has sought ways to make his communities more egalitarian, inclusive, and progressive in their changes. Most recently, he interned for Justin Fairfax’s campaign in 2017 as well as canvassed and did voter turnout work to help Abigail Spanberger’s campaign in 2018. Throughout his college career, he has been involved in his Student Council and several other groups. Outside of student leadership and electoral politics, Uhunoma enjoys filmmaking, playing dodgeball and racquet sports, watching Marvel movies and DC television, and listening to many podcasts. As a fellow with ProgressVA, he’s excited to bring his passion for media and increasing accessibility to governance to shed a light on our General Assembly’s legislative process for 2019.