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Maryland Girls State Returns to SU

Emily Herbert, Deborah Mullen, Logan Brown, and Patricia Lach

Pictured (L-R) are 2010 Maryland Girls State Senators Emily Herbert and Deborah Mullen, with Governor Logan Brown and Program Director Patricia Lach. 

SALISBURY, MD---In 2009, Salisbury University hosted Maryland Girls State for the first time, marking its return to the Eastern Shore after nearly a decade away.

This year, from June 20-25, more than 130 high school seniors throughout Maryland again converge at SU for a hands-on look at what makes government run.

Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, is a non-partisan event. During the week, participants are assigned to represent fictitious cities and counties, learning how local and state governments work, from elections to the passage of legislation.

With Wicomico County Election Director Anthony Gutierriz, Girls State officials will conduct mock elections using touch-screen voting machines. Representatives from the Wicomico County Board of Elections will be on hand to assist anyone needing help with the process, similar to actual local, state and federal elections.

Participants meet with local and state legislators, including Maryland Delegate and SU alumna Jeanne Haddaway, Salisbury Mayor and SU alumnus James Ireton and Wicomico County Councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes.

This year, the girls participate in a mock trial, learning about the judicial process and jury duty responsibility in a program with instruction provided by the Honorable Lynne Battaglia, Court of Appeals Judge in Maryland’s 3rd Appellate Circuit.

Other guest speakers include Dr. Rosemary M. Thomas, SU vice president for advancement and executive director of the SU Foundation, Inc.; SU admissions director Aaron Basko; SU championship field hockey coach Dawn Chamberlin; Amy Waters, SU director of leadership giving and stewardship; and Dr. Peggy Naleppa, president and CEO of Peninsula Regional medical center and health system and winner of SU’s 2010 President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award. They are joined by American Legion Auxiliary Past National President Linda Newsome.

SU’s Healthy U program also plays a part in this year’s event, hosting daily exercise programs for participants.

Two from Maryland Girls State will be selected to attend Girls Nation, which focuses on the federal government. Girls Nation “senators” meet for a week in Washington, D.C., where they will hold mock elections for political office, campaign for the passage of legislation, and meet with government officials, often including the U.S. president.

This year’s participants follow in the footsteps of some very prominent women. Girls State alumni throughout the United States include former Texas governor Ann Richards, news commentator Jane Pauley and past chairwoman for the National Endowment for the Humanities Lynne Cheney.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at