From a young age, Lillian Anderson understood the power of language. When she was young, her relentless debating and negotiating with her family earned her the nickname “jackhammer”. She argued her way out of the time- out chair, household chores, and sharing a room with her brother.

As she grew older, her passion for speaking strengthened. She joined the debate team in the 8th grade, where she learned to conduct research, survive 48-hour debate tournaments, graciously destroy her condescending male opponents, and become articulate in the areas of foreign and domestic policy. Most importantly, she found a set of life-long friends that share her nerdy-ness, and continuously inspire her to speak her mind.

Lilly soon learned that beyond the debate rounds, there were bigger battles to fight. Having attended public schools all her life, Lilly reflects, “my experiences gave me a deep appreciation for self-determination, and a voice to advocate for myself and incite change in my community.” Lilly’s experiences as the founder of the BLS feminist club, youth representative on the Mayor’s Youth Council, member of the BLS Social Justice Advisory Committee, and Head Student Representative on her school’s Diversity and Equity Steering Committee, have coalesced in a vision for herself as a leader in public service.

“I see now as a graduate of BLS that my path has been with a purpose.” As a Ward Fellow this summer, Lilly is working for Rachel Madden, Undersecretary of the Office of Administration and Finance. At the state house, she is learning about the intricacies of state government, meeting esteemed officials such as Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey, and thriving under the mentorship of her boss, Undersecretary Madden. Next year, Lilly will be attending Barnard College of Columbia University, where she plans to major in, (guess!) Political Science. However, she plans to return to Boston and run for city council, and eventually governor of Massachusetts, so that she may continue to speak out for those who do not have a voice. As she says, “I’ll always want to give back to this community that has so profoundly shaped me.”