Hello, I’m Alexa Barnes. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m a  student ​​at American University, pursuing a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Law, Economics, and Government, with a Minor in Political Science. Upon completion of my undergratuate studies in December 2020, I will remain at American in a part-time capacity to complete my MA in Political Science: Applied Politics.

In my first year with the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program, I worked alongside a group of my peers to better understand how pre-existing medical conditions impact patients, physicians, and insurers as they navigate the health care system. Providing affordable health care to all Americans is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation, and while support for the Affordable Care Act remains at an all-time high, our system remains difficult to navigate, and quality care is still out of reach for many Americans.

In my second year with the program, I completed an independent project on barriers to electoral participation for college-aged voters. My research in the fall semester focused on identifying specific obstacles to registration, re-registration, and voting, and evaluating policies and campaigns that seek to address these barriers. I am currently working with the California Secretary of State’s Office to change state guidelines to allow Californians to request Vote By Mail ballots online, reducing the cost and inconvenience of accessing VBM ballot applications.

In addition to my project, I’ve been involved with the SPA Leadership Program as an Interclass and Community Co-Coordinator during the 2019-2020 school year. Beyond SPA Leadership, I’m a student in the Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program, and a member of the Bipartisan Climate and Conservation Policy Club.  My academic research has focused primarily on using FEC data to evaluate the empirical relationships between campaign behavior, electoral success, and public perception. Professionally, I’m interested in empirically-based campaign strategy, public opinion research, and public policy.