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Fall 2020 Cohort

Executive Board



Emma Smith



Schuyler Janzen

VP of Internal Relations


Rachel Milner

VP of External Relations 


Noah Purdy

VP of Finance and Operations


Sophia Barnes

VP of Marketing


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Abby Grant

Hometown: New Boston, MI
Year: Sophomore
Major: Political Science

Why SFD: I chose to join Students for Democracy so that I could dive deeper into the policy writing process. I am hoping to go into public policy or lobbyist work, so I thought that Students for Democracy would help me develop better writing and critical thinking skills. More importantly, Students for Democracy is a place where I can meet with likeminded people who are striving toward making positive change in our society.

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Allie Nadelman

Hometown: Bethesda, MD
Year: Sophomore
Major: English, minor in Education for empowerment

Why SFD: "I want to learn how to effectively create policy change. I am minoring in Education for Empowerment so I need to understand the best ways to create long-lasting, positive change in the field of education. Moreover, the fact that we can attempt to implement the policies we create immediately after writing them is amazing and I want to participate in effecting changes in this country."

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Brody Mayoras

Hometown: West Bloomfield
Year: Freshman
Major: Undeclared

Why SFD: "I chose to join SFD in order to pursue my passion for voting rights. This year, I hope to build upon the recent progress made in Michigan and continue to fight for increased equality, transparency, and access to voting in America."

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Danielle Goodstein

Hometown: Great Neck, NY
Year: Freshman
Major: Economics, undeclared

Why SFD: "In high school, I spent a lot of time volunteering for nonprofit ERASE Racism which sought to close the gap in inequitable education due to systemic racism at the curricular level. I joined Students for Democracy as a continuation of my pursuit to bring about racial justice in society as well as to deepen my knowledge about the inequalities which have and still shape our world."

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Emily Wallace

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Year: Freshman
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Why SFD: "I wanted to be more educated on the threats facing on our democracy, and I wanted to have an acting role in creating solutions to these issues."

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Ethan Story

Hometown: Allen, TX
Year: Sophomore
Major: Economics & Political Science

Why SFD: "I was excited to find a community that was as passionate about democratic research as I am!"

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Gaurang Vaidya

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Year: Freshman
Major: Chemical Engineering

Why SFD: "I joined SFD to have an opportunity to pursue my passion for policy advocacy, lobbying, and research, while positively impacting local communities in the process."

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Greta Schorer

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Year: Freshman
Major: International Studies

Why SFD: "I chose to join SFD because I am really interested in government and how we can change the way the world works for the better. Specifically, I want to learn more about injustice in our country and how to fight it."

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Isabelle Zhan

Hometown: Clarksville, MD
Year: Sophomore
Major: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics

Why SFD: "I'm passionate about voting policies specific to the U.S., especially this election cycle. My past knowledge acquired from courses, UROP, and campaign experience exposed me to some nuances/issues, and SFD would allow me to develop a policy-driven approach to find solutions. I'm super excited to get to know everyone in the club!"

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Jacob Bruetsch

Hometown: Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Year: Junior
Major: Public policy

Why SFD: "I chose to join SFD because I liked the organization’s goal of increasing voter turnout and overall participation in the democratic process and wanted to contribute. As an aspiring public policy student, I also thought that the organization could provide useful experience creating policy change."

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Jason Steiger

Hometown: New York City, New York
Year: Sophomore
Major: Public Policy

Why SFD: "Students for Democracy presents the opportunity to join a community of politically-minded students who wish to make lasting policy change through collaborative research. In this way, SFD gives me the platform to explore my policy pursuits while engaging with a diverse group of students on a variety of sociopolitical issues. "

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Kate Weiland

Hometown: Irvine, CA
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Political Science

Why SFD: "I joined Students for Democracy because I wanted to meet a community of people where I could learn more about democracy and how to advocate for change."

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Kendall Koenen

Hometown: Park Ridge, IL
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Political Science

Why SFD: "I love politics and want to induce real change. SFD will give me the platform to propose solutions to real problems plaguing citizens of the United States."

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Lizzy Peppercorn

Hometown: Concord, MA
Year: Sophomore
(Intended) Major: Sociology with sub major in Law Justice and Social Change

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I feel obligated to educate myself on the issues our democracy needs to address such as systemic racism, access to healthcare, etc. and to advocate for possible solutions. The governments failure to effectively and collectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd shed light on deep rooted problems in our countries institutions that must be analyzed and understood to move forward with successful policy solutions. SFD provides a community with the same passion for problem solving and working towards a better future for this country."

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Macey Owen

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Political Science

Why SFD: "To meet people with similar interests, learn about and address current issues, and gain research skills!"

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Max Katz

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Public Policy

Why SFD: "I wanted to join a cohort of students who shared a passion for using modern tools to restore the visions that our country was founded upon."

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Megan Shohfi

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Year: Sophomore
(Intended) Major: Political Science or Public Policy major, French minor

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I wanted to learn about a specific policy area connected to systemic racism through research experiences in a collaborative setting. I'm excited to work with a new group of people in order to be a better ally through the policy and advocacy angle."

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Natasha Robertson

Hometown: Grand Haven
Year: Junior
(Intended) Major: Political Science and History

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I want to gain new skills in research development and want to participate directly in the policy creation process. The best way to learn is through experience and SFD encapsulates this idea, as it allows me to develop policy solutions to problems that I am passionate about and to present them to the local community."

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Nick Rea

Hometown: Wyckoff NJ
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Public Policy

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I want to work in policy and creating policy that can help tackle massive problems like systemic racism and I felt that this club would offer a window into the work I want to spend the rest of my life doing."

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Patrick Pullis

Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Political Science and Polish

Why SFD: "I chose to join SFD because I wanted to research educational inequality and better understand how it impacts people's lives both financially and socially. I am also very interested in public policy, so writing a policy brief that discusses educational inequality seemed very interesting to me."

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Preston Parana

Hometown: Canton, MI
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Biochemistry

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I want to ensure that all citizens receive equal treatment under the law."

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Rachel Barkan

Hometown: Los Altos, California 
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Political Science

Why SFD: "I chose to join Students for Democracy because it is an incredible opportunity to explore the world of policymaking. In the last year, I have become increasingly invested in politics and am excited to discuss and debate controversial topics with my peers. Beyond just discussion, I am very interested in studying ways to build consensus and support for concrete policy solutions. I am considering a career in policymaking and participation in this club would provide me with insight into how policymaking works in the real world."

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Rachel Song

Hometown: New York City
Year: Sophomore
(Intended) Major: Political science and psychology

Why SFD: "I chose to join Students for Democracy because I wanted to get more involved on the campus while meeting new people who share similar interests with me. In addition, this club was a chance for me to research and work with social issues that I am passionate about. I wanted to join a club where I could utilize what I learned and apply it to everyday life. SFD has the tools to provide me with many professional and social opportunities that can help build the foundation for my future career."

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Samantha Gordon

Hometown: Demarest, NJ
Year: Sophomore
(Intended) Major: Public Health

Why SFD: "I am excited to be part of a team working to develop effective solutions to help protect and improve our democracy."

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Sarah Biagi

Hometown: Park Ridge, Illinois
Year: Sophomore
(Intended) Major: Political Science

Why SFD: "To work with other students passionate about democratic reform, and to create and promote policies that better reflect democratic ideals."

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Sarah Graber

Hometown: Rochester, MI
Year: Junior
(Intended) Major: Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience

Why SFD: "I joined SFD to increase my involvement in our democracy and to work towards meaningful change. I am already learning so many new things, and I cannot wait for the rest of the semester!"

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Satvik Nagpal

Hometown: San Diego, CA
Year: Junior
(Intended) Major: Computer Science

Why SFD: "To actively engage in the issues that impact all of our lives, and to advocate for positions that make this country a better place."

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Sushanth Sunil

Hometown: Okemos, MI
Year: Senior
(Intended) Major: Neuroscience

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because, as someone who wants to be a physician in the future, I want to know more about public policy as it is something that not only affects the healthcare system but also the patients that physicians serve. I hope as a part of SFD to not only learn more about policy but to be able to work with an amazing group of people to make a difference in our local community and beyond!"

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Talia Rubin

Hometown: Long Grove, IL
Year: Junior
(Intended) Major: Psychology major and Law, Justice, and Social Change minor

Why SFD: "I wanted to join SFD to apply the knowledge I have learned in my classes regarding law and policy reform to the real-world experience that SFD provides. SFD allows me to further fuel my passion for public policy and social change while also developing stronger research and writing skills."

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Yasmine Elkharssa

Hometown: Dearborn Heights, MI
Year: Freshman
(Intended) Major: Public Policy

Why SFD: "I chose to join SFD because I want to work together with likeminded people to work towards ensuring our democracy is equitable, and representative of us all. "

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Karthik Pasupula

Hometown: Aurora, IL
Year: Freshman 
(Intended) Major: PPE

Why SFD: "I joined SFD because I wanted to gain experience in policymaking and advocating for meaningful change in government. I felt that SFD was a great place not only to meet people with this same intent, but also meet those who come from different backgrounds that I can learn from and reevaluate my own views. SFD is a great fit for me because it allows me to advocate for imperative issues like systemic racism, while still allowing me to be creative with policy."

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