The Mayor in Our Midsts

Applied Survey Research (ASR) has been pleased to be joined by the mayor for the summer. Alvaro Zamora is just ending his year-long term as the Mayor of the Watsonville Youth City Council, and as an intern for ASR. Sworn in by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in the fall of 2012, the Watsonville Youth City Council is made up of 11 high school students throughout the city who then selected Alvaro to serve as their mayor. As part of their duties, the council selected 3 issues to focus their efforts on: education, youth-oriented business, and public safety. The work of the Youth City Council of Watsonville was presented by the Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County at the summit on turning the curve on youth violence.

In order to better understand the feelings of Watsonville’s youth about public safety, the youth city council conducted 3 surveys of just over 1,000 students soliciting information on the experiences of youth in the City of Watsonville. The survey focused on how, when, and where they felt safe. According to their findings, 57% of Watsonville youth cited “Gang Activity” as the reason they felt unsafe in Watsonville.

We at ASR are delighted to wish Alvaro well as he starts his studies in astrophysics at Brown University, a journey Alvaro will undertake, in part, due to help from the Watsonville Ivy League Program led by our partners at the MAIA Foundation. Alvaro tells us that he wants to work for a space agency to better understand the mysteries of the universe, including dark matter and dark energy.  When asked about his future goals, Alvaro responded, “Here in Watsonville, the youth are in need of a source of inspiration. I believe that a planetarium can instill some of the city’s youth with the appreciation for and knowledge of the universe.”