Alumni find many ways to put the skills they learn through Close Up programs into practice. We are shining a spotlight on those doing extraordinary things at all stages in their academic and professional lives. Read our interviews with former students, teachers, and staff to learn about their experiences and accomplishments.


Anita Ortiz - Student 1988

July 2018

Anita Ortiz has a passion for media and politics that inspired her participation as a student in three televised Close Up Forum programs. She continues to put her passion into practice at Viacom, Inc. as an executive working on issues of diversity and inclusion.

Read Anita's Full Interview Here

Jeff Spoeri - Student 1983, Program Instructor 1987

April 2018

As a Close Up student in 1983 and Program Instructor from 1987-1989, Jeff Spoeri developed valuable skills that have served him well personally and professionally.

Read Jeff's Full Interview Here

Maya Nieto - Student 2009

April 2018

Maya Nieto drew inspiration from the historic crowd when she attended the 2009 Close Up Inauguration Program as a high school senior.

Read Maya's Full Interview Here

Randy Schipper - Student 1977, Program Instructor 1983

December 2017

Randy Schipper first came to Close Up in 1977 and returned to work as a Program Instructor in 1983. He could fill volumes with Close Up memories.

Read Randy's Full Interview Here

Geoff Browning - Student 2004

December 2017

Geoff Browning found a spark of inspiration to pursue a career on Capitol Hill during Close Up programs in 2004 and 2005.

Read Geoff's Full Interview Here

Amy Sue Vruwink - Student 1993

December 2013


Read Amy Sue's Full Interview Here

Leon Harris - Student 1979

August 2012


Read Leon's Full Interview Here

Dr. Frank Mora - Student 1981

March 2012


Read Frank's Full Interview Here


"I recently graduated with a B.A. in political science and am now working in the environmental non-profit field. I am planning on attending law school a year from now. The Close Up Program helped me realize how much I want to be a part of shaping government and politics. As a result, I am dedicating my life to public service."

   – Chyanne, Student, MO
Educating for democracy since 1971