After graduation, I decided to stay in Moscow because I love this community. I took a position as a Crowdfunding Coordinator managing U&I Give, UI’s new crowdfunding platform. I love my job because I help students, faculty, and staff fundraise for the causes that drive their passion. This year, I also became a first-time homebuyer and joined the Fair and Affordable Housing Commission. Civic engagement is important to me, and I enjoy finding new, meaningful ways to be involved. Currently, I also volunteer as a language partner with international students from Arabic-speaking countries and have started to volunteer with Radio Free Moscow and the Latah County Recovery Center this year.
At 24, I never expected to seek public office. Heading into what would be my senior year of high school in Middleton, Idaho I had a pretty tough home life. I worked full-time at a fast food restaurant to graduate on-time and save for college. Having to take online classes to graduate, the Luna Laws sparked newfound passion to participate in the political process. It was clear they didn’t intend to include young people in the decision, but I was determined to have a say in Idaho’s education system.
The rising cost of college meant an uphill financial battle, and in 2011 I moved to Moscow to pursue a college education. Interested in finding purpose and belonging in my new home, I began working with different local and statewide organizations like Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, the Idaho Rural Partnership, and the Boise International Market. This new exposure to a diverse community sparked my passion for service that shaped my education to prepare me for a career aimed at serving the public.
To pay for school, I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant to provide in-home care to mentally disabled youth and people with dementia and on hospice. I added to my set of skills and completed the EMT basic course where I learned the basics of being a first responder and how to handle a situation when someone’s life is in your hands.
As a student, I spent one year in Morocco learning French and Arabic and studying the impact of international development on developing countries around the world. The following year I returned to Moscow to work as a field organizer and then as a student lobbyist in the state legislature to fight for increased funding for Idaho’s higher education institutions and an alternative service break coordinator planning regional, domestic, and international service trip for students. The team I worked with is responsible for sending our first trip to the Refugee Center in Twin Falls—one of the center’s most popular service trips.
Finding ways to engage young people in the political process is a passion of mine, which I put to use while serving as the President of the Idaho Young Democrats from 2015 until a few months ago. During my term, we hired staff for the first time for our 2016 Field Fellowship. This program directly supported legislative candidates in swing districts. It was an amazing experience to provide that learning opportunity for other young people and on-the-ground support for candidates.
As anyone who lives here knows, Moscow is home to many great leaders and mentors. I had the opportunity to receive mentorship from former state senator Dan Schmidt—who has always treated me like a person with ideas and never under-valued me because of my youth. His mentorship helped me see first-hand the importance of bringing people together and working towards an inclusive community.
These experiences have shaped my core value of working with and empowering others to come together as a team to accomplish big things. This is what I plan to bring to the Moscow City Council.