The day Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) met the Democratic presidential candidate is not one he will forget anytime soon.
“Getting to meet Biden up close was a really great experience because I have been supporting him since day one, and he was super charismatic,” Nemazi told The Hoya in an interview. “He came out and spoke about Virginia and how we’re going to fight to take back our country and the values that make us who we are.”
Sina Nemazi (COL ’21), the chair of Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia Students For Biden, is one of many Georgetown students who have gotten to witness the democratic process up close as volunteers on campaigns across the country, from congressional races to the presidential race.
Students for Biden is a branch of Biden’s national campaign focused on arranging phone banks and voter registration drives and marketing Biden’s campaign message to young voters. The organization’s DMV chapter has also hosted events with big-name speakers, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and former Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. Nemazi says he’s also been on calls with former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D).
Although it has been harder to juggle schoolwork with the campaign as the election nears, managing Students for Biden merits the investment of time and energy, according to Nemazi.
“We’re within 30-some days of the election, and all we want to do is just phone bank and get voters registered and all this stuff, and it’s just kind of hard to do that because you have to manage your student schedule with that,” Nemazi said. “I would say that it is difficult to manage, but we make it work.”
Annalise Myre (COL ’24), who is currently taking a gap year, started working for the Biden campaign in Iowa in February, knocking on doors and phone banking to make sure people turned out for the Iowa caucuses in support of Biden (Full disclosure: Myre is a staff writer at The Hoya).
“I had really interesting conversations with people in their homes about why Biden was the best candidate and convinced a few Bernie [Sanders] supporters to ultimately support Biden,” Myre wrote in a message to The Hoya. “Being on the ground in Iowa showed me that campaigns are run by young people and if you are passionate about a candidate, you can contribute a lot to the momentum of the campaign”
Over the summer, Myre interned for Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm, where she worked with Stephanie Cutter, Program Executive for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. At Precision Strategies, Myre was responsible for finding stories about COVID-19 related to the campaign.
“Kristin Urquiza, the woman who lost her father to COVID and went viral for saying the only preexisting condition her father had was trusting Donald Trump, was actually someone I found and suggested to my team,” Myre wrote. “It was amazing to see her speak at the Convention and see her story break through as a standout moment from the first night.”
Over the summer, Arianne Kane (COL ‘24) and Yasy Celikoyar (COL ‘23) both worked on the Jesse Mermell campaign for Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District, the seat vacated by former Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
After struggling to find a summer job, Kane decided to help out Mermell’s campaign. Although she does not plan on working for another campaign, the experience left her inspired to pursue a career in public health policy, she wrote.
“I love being in the political world, so I’d want to find a way to merge my interest in healthcare with policy,” Kane wrote. “And unfortunately, as is the case with reproductive healthcare, gun violence prevention, and so many more issues, healthcare is inextricably tied to policy, so I’m sure this won’t be my last foray into politics.”
Mermell (D-Mass.) ran on a progressive platform, but lost the Democratic primary to the more moderate Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.). The campaign’s positive atmosphere left Celikoyar motivated to continue working on and managing campaigns despite the loss, she said.
“The staff was amazing. It was all women-led, women-managed, and I think that you know after leaving a campaign like that you can’t help but be super motivated to go out there in the world and make a difference,” Celikoyar said. “I don’t think I would ever necessarily want to run for office seeing how tiring that can be, but I do love the organizing aspect of it, and I hopefully can continue this process and be a campaign manager someday.”