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Carah Lynn Ong Whaley

Civics Education Academic Program Officer, University of Virginia
Chapter Member: Virginia SSN

About Carah

Ong Whaley researches civic engagement and political participation. Ong Whaley desires to illuminate how political actors and institutions structure public access and participation in policy & decision-making with the goal of creating a more just & inclusive democracy. Ong Whaley currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Civic Engagement Section of the American Political Science Association and as a Civic Fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and University's American Democracy Project. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, Teen Vogue, NPR, Inside Higher Education, Education Dive, among others.


Jan. 6 Hearings Show a Democracy in Crisis. Civic Education Can Help.

    Carah Lynn Ong Whaley

In the News

Carah Lynn Ong Whaley quoted by Julie Carey, "Virginia GOP Using Ranked Choice Voting in Some Primaries" 4 Washington, May 6, 2022.
Carah Lynn Ong Whaley quoted by Jake Conley, "JMU Part of ‘Record-Breaking’ Turnout in 2020 General Election" The Breeze, November 2, 2021.
"If You Think Voting Is Important, Try The Census," Carah Lynn Ong Whaley, Leadership/Civic Nation, Forbes, February 20, 2020.
Carah Lynn Ong Whaley quoted by Emma North, "Virginia College Students Weigh In Before Election Day" WHSV3, November 4, 2019.


Civic Engagement in an Era of Divisive Politics and Civil Unrest (Journal of Public Affairs, 2022).

Encourages readers to deliberate on the different lenses through which they might view the January 6, 2021 insurrection as a symptom of longstanding inequities in access, voice, and participation in democratic institutions, and to use it as a teachable moment for reimagining a more just and inclusive democracy.

"Let’s Get Political: Co-Creating and Assessing Civic Learning and Engagement" (with Abraham Goldberg and Dena A. Pastor). Political Science and Politics 55, no. 2 (2022).

Demonstrates the importance of campus-wide civic learning and democratic engagement learning outcomes and how to measure them.

"We the People, We the Process: Engaging Students in Election Administration" (with Angelina Clapp). Political Science 2, no. 2 (2022).

 Discusses engaging students in the election process to build trust in democratic institutions.

"2020 APSA Election Reflection Series: Bringing Politics Back In" (with Abe Goldberg). Political Science Now (2021).

Discusses the rise in student voting being encouraging and hopefully a sign of things to come, but turnout alone is not sufficient to build a more just and inclusive democracy.

"Can We Get an Upgrade? How Two College Campuses Are Building the Democracy We Aspire To Be" (with Suzanne M. Chod, Abraham Goldberg, William Muck, and Dena Pastor), in Teaching Civic Engagement Globally (2021), edited by Elizabeth C. Matto, Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion, Alasdair Blair, Taiyi Sun, Dawn Michele Whitehead (American Political Science Association, 2021), 209-222.

Illustrates educators around the globe are facing challenges in teaching politics in an era in which populist values are on the rise, authoritarian governance is legitimized, and core democratic tenets are regularly undermined by leaders and citizens alike. Mentions to combat anti-democratic outcomes and citizens’ apathy, Teaching Civic Engagement Globally provides a wide range of pedagogical tools to help the current generation learn to effectively navigate debates and lead changes