Kirklander Receives Washington Policy Center Scholarship Award

WPC’s 2016 Jennifer Dunn-Thomson Scholarship Awarded to Sophia Steele


Washington Policy Center (WPC) announced today it has awarded the 2016 Jennifer Dunn-Thomson Scholarship to Sophia Steele of Kirkland, WA.  The sixth annual scholarship provides total funding of $15,000 in honor of the late Congresswoman to female college students who exemplify Jennifer’s leadership, commitment to public service and personal values.


Sophia is entering her senior year at Washington State University in Pullman, where she is pursuing a dual major in Communications, Public Relations and Political Science. Sophia has served as an intern for Washington Policy Center, as well as for the House Republican Conference & Office of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington, D.C. She is also a graduate of the Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute, and served as a news reporter for WSU’s campus paper The Daily Evergreen. She climbed Mount Rainier in 2014 on behalf of the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center.

“It is a privilege and an honor to carry on the legacy of Jennifer Dunn. This scholarship will be used to further my education and I am deeply grateful and humbled by the opportunity to serve,” Sophia said.

“Sophia’s accomplishments are a testament to the bright future that lies ahead of her, and we are proud to award this year’s scholarship to her. She has already displayed a great tenacity for public service with her internship in D.C. as well as here at Washington Policy Center,” said WPC President Dann Mead Smith. “We look forward to watching her carry on Jennifer’s legacy of leadership and values both on her campus and in her community.”

Jennifer Dunn-Thomson, who passed away in 2007, served as the Representative from Washington’s 8th Congressional District from 1993–2005. During her time in Congress, she served on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, championed fiscal reform, and rose to become Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference.  At its 2005 Annual Dinner in Seattle, WPC honored Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn-Thomson with its annual Champion of Freedom Award “for her contributions throughout her distinguished Congressional career advocating for her constituents and our entire state on the important policy issues facing our region. Honoring her strong leadership, support of free-market principles and being a friend to small businesses and taxpayers on the death tax repeal and other tax reforms.”

This year, WPC awarded two other female college students with funds from the scholarship: Courtney Bell and Maggie Douglas. Courtney, a Tacoma native, is entering her third year of law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane. Maggie currently works as WPC’s Easter Washington Assistant and grew up in Almira, WA. She is entering her senior year at Gonzaga University.

WPC, an independent, public policy think tank with a staff of 20, a $2.7 million budget and offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane and the Tri-Cities, will begin accepting applications for the 2017 Jennifer Dunn-Thomson Scholarship this fall.