Testimonials from 2016 SNAP Fellows

SNAP Fellowships are the core of what we do; equipping ambitious and intelligent young progressives to break into American politics. Although Summer 2016 just came to a close, these Fellows already are feeling the impact of their SNAP experience. They may all come from incredibly diverse and varied backgrounds, but they shared a lifechanging summer. What do they have to say about their SNAP Fellowship?

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Meet Keira Thompson

On the night of November 4, 2014, I stood in a beautiful hotel banquet room surrounded by some of the most passionate progressives I have ever known; young, old and in-between. They clapped, and many of them cried, as Martha Robertson conceded defeat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. But Martha smiled, even as she recalled exactly how long and arduous the journey to election day had been for her – she had been on the campaign trail for more than a year, gaining the support of thousands of upstate voters, the endorsement of close to a hundred advocacy or union organizations, funding and training from the likes of the DCCC and EMILY’s List and raising more than 2 million dollars

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Meet Trisha Hongcharti

snapppp.jpgAfter our SNAP PAC training at Yale, I was sent to California’s 36th district to work on Dr. Raul Ruiz's reelection campaign during the summer of 2014. I arrived right after the primary and was assigned to the Hemet field office. Since it was the newest location, I had the chance to help establish the foundation and utilize my creativity. Throughout my time there I was right in the midst of grassroots organizing by recruiting, training, scheduling, and managing volunteers. A unique responsibility I had was researching and monitoring the opposing candidate's presence in social media and press coverage. I would prepare daily detailed memos on his online activity. Most of my days were spent making calls, knocking on doors, and registering people to vote. While the tasks were tough, I knew what I was doing was vital to informing people and increasing voter turnout. It paid off, because Dr. Ruiz was reelected in what was considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the country.

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Meet Sydney Lewis

When I left home to drive to Maine in June, I had never worked on a political campaign. I was a self-described activist for reproductive justice and education reform, but both Maine and politics were totally uncharted territory for me. I had been assigned to work with the Shenna Bellows for US Senate campaign as a field organizing Fellow, and I was excited to work for such a young, fearless defender of equal pay, reproductive freedom, voting rights, marriage equality, and many other crucial issues. 

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Meet Kara Schmidt

Have you seen Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district? It’s huge — almost half the state huge.  As in, a four-hour drive from east to west and a five-hour drive north to south. But Kelly Westlund was excited to take on that challenge, and so I was inspired to do what I could to help her run for Congress.

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Meet Zachary Stringer

Zach StringThere is no place like New Hampshire when it comes to politics. Every two years Granite Staters head to the polls to elect a governor, their state’s 424 member legislature, and members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Victories in those races are not possible without the selfless sacrifice and countless hours of the thousands of volunteers throughout the state working hard to secure the future they want to see for their homes and families. As a field organizer, I was continuously in awe of their dedication and efforts to move New Hampshire forward. I entered New Hampshire with very little knowledge of field organizing and even less knowledge of the political history of the First Congressional District besides what I read online.

 

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Meet Dave Caldwell

Dave CaldwellAnyone in Washington D.C. will tell you that the best way to get a start in politics is by working on a campaign.  After taking that advice, and fulfilling a fellowship through Students for a New American Politics (SNAP PAC), I have to say that they were right. My experience as a SNAP fellow on the Mike Honda (CA-17) for Congress Campaign was the most formative political experience I’ve had as a civically engaged young professional.

 

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Meet Dan Kim

 

Dan KimThe Bellows campaign was like no other. Working for a candidate as enthusiastic and committed as Shenna, along with a staff equally as passionate, reinvigorated my belief in the political system. It also reminded me of the vital role all citizens play within it. 

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Meet Amalia Skilton

Amalia Skilton was one of our program’s youngest fellows when she was sent to work for Roxanne Conlin’s Iowa Senate campaign in 2010. With no prior electoral campaign background, the opportunity to work in the state best known for field campaigns turned her into a seasoned field operative, skills she has since put to use on campaigns in Arizona and Connecticut. Her fellowship wasn’t the end of her SNAP experience either – Amalia currently serves as SNAP’s Finance Director, helping to expand the fellowship program so that even more students can have the experience that got her started. Here’s what she had to say while on the campaign in Iowa in 2010: 

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Meet Cody Hooks

Cody_Hooks.jpgCody was one of our 2010 fellows who worked on Secretary of State Elaine Marshall’s campaign for the Senate in North Carolina. While Elaine’s general election campaign came up short, the experience Cody gained in the primary helped him make the leap from a student concerned about the environment to a serious campus activist, as he shared with us in an update following his return to school.

 

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