2016 Summer Fellows
Rowan Maher is originally from Charleston, WV and is a rising junior at Oberlin College in Ohio. She intends to double major in Geology and Environmental Studies with a focus in Political Ecology. She has worked on the campaign to protect half a million acres of forest around Crater Lake. Rowan is passionate about addressing the ways in which environmental harm disproportionately affects marginalized communities and how community organizing can empower these communities. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the woods, playing music, and going to shows.
Vasilisa (Lisa) Smith is a Russian-born Portland native. She is a senior at the University of Oregon studying Political Science and French, and even spent her sophomore year studying politics in Paris. She is an active member in UO’s student government, acting a an academic Senator, and she is a legislative fellow with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. She is energetic and passionate about women’s rights and advocacy, and looking forward to expanding her knowledge in this field! She has previously interned with Senator Jeff Merkley in Washington, D.C. and hopes to return there after graduation to pursue a career in political advocacy.
Anna Hoffer is a Queer, Mixed-Indigenous student at the University of Oregon, majoring in Ethnic Studies and minoring in Native American Studies. Anna first dived into activism during college, participating in protests around rising tuition, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous People’s Day, and doing field work with Vote OR Vote. Anna is driven by Indigenous language revitalization and racial/social justice issues and plans on returning to the Yakama Reservation to teach the Sahaptin language and fight for Indigenous rights within their tribe. In their free time they like to cook for family and friends, listen to slow jams, and laugh at funny memes.
Taylor Carlson attends Whitman College where he munches on onions while working towards a B.A. in Politics. He started his life in the campaign biz as a little tyke using sledgehammers that were far too large to pound campaign signs into the ground. From there he graduated to idolizing cardboard cutouts of Barack Obama, and now works promoting the importance of community engagement with civic society. He is involved with Young Democrats, as well as other groups dealing with domestic and global equality concerns. In his free time he likes to attempt to attempt to read until his attention span gives out, drive up and down the West Coast and dance like he is covered in ants.
Ashley DuPuis is a government and history double major and public policy minor entering her sophomore year at Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Ashley is a Great Issues Scholar and campus tour guide, as well as a member of the varsity rugby team, wind ensemble and Student Assembly. In the Upper Valley, her volunteer work has been focused on health and education, working with groups like GlobeMed and Big Green Readers. On campus, Ashley also writes for The Dartmouth, and serves as an editor for the World Outlook, an international affairs journal. Ashley was born and raised in Damascus, Oregon, and is an alumnae of Sam Barlow High School, where she graduated Valedictorian. Her participation in the PolitiCorps program will see her return to the Pacific Northwest where she hopes to continue to promote broader civic engagement amongst Oregonians. She is eager to make use of the skills she learns as a PolitiCorps Fellow, whether that be in New Hampshire, Oregon, or where ever her career path leads.
Alexandra Fogg is an upcoming senior at Montana State University studying Political Science with a focus in International Relations and a minor in Religious Studies. She became interested in politics during her Intro to Government class freshman year. Since then her passion has continued to grow during this political campaign season. Her interests lie in refugee resettlement, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights. Originally from Vermont she enjoys traveling, eating pancakes with Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, and watching Nicholas Sparks movies.
Emily Cornett, a student at Lewis & Clark College here in Portland, became interested in politics in 2008, watching the presidential election. Since then, she has worked on numerous campaigns in her hometown of Sacramento, and worked in the district office of Darrell Steinberg when he served as the Pro Tem of the California State Senate. As an International Affairs major, Emily is interested in varying political systems, particularly in the Middle East. Her interests lie in reproductive rights, the criminal justice system, and education. Emily loves to knit, hike, read autobiographies, and watch The West Wing.
Kate Thomas is a current student at Portland State University, soon to aquire her BS in Public Health with a focus on Health Administration. Her passion for advocacy first began during her two year stay in New Mexico where she was her county Youth Rotary Representative and created a local Get Healthy/Get Fit program for children and seniors. While being back in Oregon, she was a Planned Parenthood Advicates of Oregon fellow and lobbied for NARAL. Outside of school, work, and advocacy, Kate spends time eating chocolate and tacos and doing cartwheels amongst the landscape of PDX.
An Arizona native, Meera Kumar just graduated from Washington and Lee University in Virginia with a BA in Economics and minors in Mathematics and Art History. While at school, she interned at her congressman’s office, engaged in international development work in Mongolia and Guatemala, studied abroad at the University of Oxford, and developed a sustainable feminine hygiene products initiative for students and faculty. This fall, she is heading off to India as a Fulbright Scholar where she will research the intersection between the agency of village women and the world of fine art. Her long term plans include attending graduate school to work in the realm of public policy–especially focusing on women’s health and reproductive rights. In her free time, Meera enjoys reading contemporary fiction, watching (and rewatching) Jane the Virgin, getting outdoors, and traveling whenever possible.
Kari Schuhknecht was born in California, raised in Idaho, and now happily lives with her boyfriend in SW Portland. She will begin her senior year at Portland State University this fall and receive her BA with a major in Political Science and Public Service and a minor in Business in the Spring of 2017. Her favorite activities include karaoke, hiking, writing poetry, yoga, going to music festivals, napping, spending time with her friends, and being politically active. Her super power is the law of attraction and her favorite day of the week is Tuesday. She knows all the words to “The Elephant Medley” from Moulin Rouge and, yes, she would love to sing it with you sometime.
Kyle Alexander Rush is a Masters student at Portland State University, in Communication Studies. He graduated with his Bachelors of Science degree in both Communication Studies and Public Policy Administration with a concentration in Corrections/Law Enforcement. He works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, a header within his department, and as a server on weekends. He focuses on Political Communication and is working on a thesis regarding media effects with regard to presidential news coverage. He hopes to use the Bus Project to develop himself personally and professionally, and that one day he may be able to make some real change for the better in this world.
Ana Franco is originally from Mexico, she currently lives in Salem, Oregon where she attends Willamette University. She is majoring in politics and economics. She acquired her interest in politics through her involvement in Willamette Academy, a college access non-profit that helps youth that are underrepresented in institutions of higher education to attend college. Her different job positions at Willamette Academy, an academic mentor for 8th, 9th and 11th graders and as an administrative staff for the parent program, allowed her to see the impact of policy on the accessibility and quality of education that students in Oregon receive. As a result, Ana hopes to join the efforts of reaching education equity across Oregon schools. Aside Willamette Academy Anahas also worked at the state Capitol where she was an intern with a state Representative. She worked on co-writing magazine articles about bills that passes last session such as increasing accessibility of benefits for LGBT veterans. Overall, Ana hopes to acquire new skills and experience as a Bus Project fellow and to gain long time friends.
Auna Castellon is originally from Walla Walla, Washington and is in her final undergraduate year at Portland State University with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. As a first generation U.S. citizen, Auna hopes to channel her skills into a focus on Indigenous and culturally responsive methodologies and plans to utilize her degrees to humanize the conversation on immigration and to remove the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ rhetoric that often envelopes the debate. Auna hopes to take the skills and experiences she gains in this program to start her own non-profit initiative – centered on minimizing the financial burden and barriers associated with becoming a naturalized citizen.
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