Hello, I’m Alexa Barnes. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m a second-year undergraduate student ​​at American University, pursuing a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, Law, Economics, and Government with a Minor in Political Science.

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 too difficult to understand, and quality care is still far too expensive for many Americans.

This year, I am completing 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 involved with the SPA Leadership Program as an Interclass and Community Co-Coordinator. Beyond SPA Leadership, I’m a second-year student in the Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program. This semester, I’m interning at a progressive political research firm, and completing my capstone research on the efficacy of congressional campaign spending. Professionally, I’m interested in political management, campaign strategy, and public policy.