Meet the Summer 2022 Victory Congressional Interns!
We are so proud to announce and introduce the biggest Victory Congressional Intern cohort in the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s history! Congratulations to these 16 incredible emerging LGBTQ leaders who will intern on Capitol Hill for Summer 2022.
The Victory Congressional Internship (VCI) is developing the next generation of out public leaders. This summer’s eight-week program will include a rigorous in-person weekly leadership development series, community outreach, and mentorship component. This summer’s professional mentors are incredible out queer professionals who will guide our students through networking while in DC. They work at such places as the White House, Microsoft, Twitter, NASA, Deloitte, Altria, Global Healthy Living Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Trevor Project, PFLAG, RAINN, LGBTQ Congressional Staff Association, and many more.
The LGBTQ Victory Institute is proud of our continued and growing partnership with the LGBTQ Equality Caucus, its members, and other LGBTQ-friendly members of Congress.
A brief overview of our Summer 2022 LGBTQ Victory Congressional Interns:
Ila Amiri (she/her)
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
School: Duke University
Placement: Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15)
Ila Amiri (she/her/hers) is a junior from Los Angeles, CA studying Public Policy with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She takes pride in her identity as both a lesbian and Iranian woman and is interested in policy pertaining to them as individuals and in their intersection. Ila plans to attend law school and use her knowledge and time to fight for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights in the eyes of the law whether that be through volunteering, working at a nonprofit, or eventually stepping into the world of congressional law. Aside from public policy and gender and sexuality studies, Ila loves music and performing and has been playing instruments since she was five years old, starting with the piano and moving on to the flute and guitar. She also sings and writes original music. At Duke, she is the music director for Duke’s first and most award-winning all-female a cappella group, Out of the Blue, is a signed recording artist at the student-run record label, Small Town Records, and is a member of the student-run musical theatre group, Hoof ‘n’ Horn. Needless to say, she doesn’t shy away from a big crowd.
Cody Baynori (he/him)
Hometown: Newport, KY
School: Columbia University
Placement: Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY-10)
Cody Baynori is a third-year at Columbia University studying Political Science and English. A proud native of Kentucky, he hopes to contribute to the cause of restoring Appalachia. He believes that effective education is the path to progress. He has been an instructor for the Columbia Educational Studies Program, HSSP at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Just Ideas at MDC Brooklyn. He also served as the Program Director for the 2020-2021 Political Action & Public Policy National Student Leadership Conference. After graduation, he hopes to become a public school teacher while contributing to the research of education policy. His current research interests surround the idea that language and communication barriers often serve as some of the biggest hindrances in America.
Bridget Beavin (she/her)
Hometown: Louisville, KY
School: Western Kentucky University
Placement: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
Bridget Beavin is a junior studying political science and history at Western Kentucky University. From working with the Kentucky Fairness Campaign and leading a LGBTQ+ network on campus, Bridget has developed a strong passion for defending LGBTQ+ rights and promoting queer community. She believes in the importance of advocacy and grassroots organizing in promoting social change and has put this philosophy into practice during her internship with the advocacy group The Borgen Project and her advocacy work with the Kentucky legislature to promote fairness for queer Kentuckians. Bridget is also active on her campus through serving her college as a Dean’s Council member and as an ambassador for the Mahurin Honors College. After graduation, Bridget plans to pursue a graduate degree in public policy in the hopes of becoming a strong advocate for Kentuckians in nonprofit work.
Adin Burwell (she/her)
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: Cornell University
Placement: Rep. Angie Craig (MN-2)
Adin Burwell is a Junior at Cornell University majoring in Agricultural Science and minoring in Global Health. Adin is passionate about food justice, environmental health, and equity. At Cornell, Adin has been working to increase multicultural enrollment, advocate for the deaf community, and donate food to people in the Ithaca area. She has participated in agroecology research, nutrition research, and is currently doing soil research. Adin is an Agricultural Science Ambassador where she represents her major in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science. She also serves as a Campus Engagement Intern for Cornell Hillel where she serves as a leader to create events and community for all Jewish students on campus. Adin is a kind-hearted, enthusiastic individual who wants to make a difference in the public health arena through the lens of agriculture and food science. In her free time, Adin enjoys scrapbooking, hiking, and playing Just Dance.
Dori-Taylor Carter (she/her)
Hometown: Winnetka, CA
School: Northwestern University
Placement: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Dori-Taylor Carter is a third-year undergraduate student at Northwestern University majoring in American studies with minors in French and sociological research. Born in Winnetka, Los Angeles, California, she is interested in the social and political work of censuses and racial statistics in the United States and abroad. During the 2021 Northwestern Summer Research Opportunities Program, she initiated an independent research project that examines how Asian American community organizations in Chicago, specifically Filipinx American community organizations, interact with the Asian American Pacific Islander label and the extent to which they are made visible and/or are obscured by aggregated census data on Asian Americans. In addition to being a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Dori-Taylor is a Posse Scholar, co-president of Rainbow Alliance, Northwestern’s LGBTQ+ undergraduate student organization, and co-president of The Slam Society, Northwestern’s slam poetry club. Dori-Taylor plans to pursue a PhD in sociology to continue her research on the census, with the goal of improving racial statistic-taking methods as a political tool for historically undercounted groups. In her free time, she likes to hike and embroider gifts for her friends and family.
Kaelynn Crawford (she/they)
Hometown: Caldwell, ID
School: The College of Idaho
Placement: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Kaelynn Crawford is a fourth year undergraduate studying International Political Economy with minors in Asian studies, criminal justice, and natural sciences at the College of Idaho. Kaelynn was born and raised in Idaho, although has called the Oregon Coast home for the past three years. Kaelynn is additionally a former EMT but still enjoys volunteering at their local fire department. They also plan on teaching English in Thailand post-graduation. Kaelynn hopes to obtain their law degree and work for the United Nations pertaining to creating an international norm for non-gender discrimination as well as LGBTQ rights internationally. When they are not working, Kaelynn enjoys skateboarding, surfing, as well as hanging out with their dog, Clementine.
Alán Cruz (he/him)
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
School: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Placement: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV)
Alan is first-generation, disabled, gay, and Mexican Indigenous (Zapotec) young person, born and raised in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He currently attends the University of Nevada Las Vegas as a criminal justice major where he will graduate spring 2022. Alan is passionate about uplifting marginalized communities through law, policy, and social justice. Since the age of 15, Alan has engaged in lobbying efforts ranging from introducing his own voter rights and education bill in Nevada, to lobbying Congress on various issues including LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, immigration, and more. Upon graduating, Alan will be taking a gap year before applying and attending law school. After law school, he plans to become a civil rights attorney and will work in D.C. with a legal non-profit organization to advance LGBTQ+ litigation and public policy. Eventually, Alan plans to run for office to serve as a state legislator and U.S. Senator for the State of Nevada where he will continue to advocate for his communities at home and around the country. Alan’s hope is that one day, we are all one step closer in creating a world that is safe, just, and equitable for all.
Meg Farley (he/they)
Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL
School: Middlebury College
Placement: Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-3)
Meg Farley, a second year student at Middlebury College studying Education and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, is fascinated by the intersection of equity-centered trauma-informed practices and local-level systems work. With a background in inclusive grassroots climate justice organizing and queer liberation theory, their current work focuses on institutionalizing labor rights for migrant dairy workers and queer youth empowerment and resource access. Their student government work, in which they serve as Co-Vice President, aids in institutionalizing the need for justice and inclusion. Meg is working towards their Vermont Secondary Health Education Licensure, and looks forward to being an openly Trans educator and community leader. Deeply interested in policymaking that supports ground-level equity efforts and understands that large systems change begins at the local level, they look forward to spending this summer working on education and climate justice policy. Their work is rooted in deep respect, transformative joy, and revolutionary love; Meg looks forward to a lifetime of change-making and co-creating a more just future.
Michael Gadinis (he/him)
Hometown: Syosset, NY
School: Claremont McKenna College
Placement: Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-1)
Michael Gadinis is a rising junior at Claremont McKenna College, majoring in Government and Economics with a Legal Studies sequence. At CMC, Michael is an active member of the college community. He has served as a leader of his school’s student government, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC), since he started at CMC. While a part of ASCMC, he has led efforts to increase accountability and transparency within the student government and with school administrators. He is also a member of the CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. As a part of CMC Advocates, Michael has supported survivors on campus, provided guidance through the Title IX process, and helped create a consent culture amongst the student body. In 2021, Michael worked with Connecticut Against Gun Violence as an intern and conducted research into gun violence topics, namely gun violence in LGBTQ+ communities. All of these experiences have culminated in his deep passion for legislative advocacy. Hailing from New York, Michael is a diehard New York Giants fan and will forever claim New York bagels to be supreme.
Lauren Glass (she/her)
Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
School: Syracuse University
Placement: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Lauren Glass is a junior working towards Bachelors Degrees’ in Political Science and Anthropology, as well as a minor in European History at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. After graduating, she plans to pursue a degree in Constitutional law. She is passionate about an expansion of civil rights and liberties for underprivileged groups and continuing to fight for female equality through the means of litigation, and aspires to become an attorney fighting for progressive matters through an interest or advocacy group. Lauren grew up in Orange County, California, and found her love for political activism from a young age after first visiting D.C. at the age of 13, from which point she became active in her community through the attendance of marches, rallies, and student protests. Throughout high school and college, she has worked on several political campaigns for Democratic candidates and engaged in community service while in school. She has aspirations of living permanently in Washington D.C. after her graduate studies and helping to pursue a future of expanded equality and egalitarianism in the United States through her work.
Alexandria King (she/her)
Hometown: Highland Village, TX
School: Harvard University
Placement: Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-5)
Alexandria King is a sophomore from Houston Texas concentrating in Government and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Harvard University. At Harvard, Alexandria is a member of the Harvard Cheerleading Team and leader of the Harvard College Democrats where she serves as the organization’s Campaigns Director. She is an avid activist and organizer since she entered into politics at the age of 15 serving as a campaign fellow for Senator Nathan Johnson. Since then, she has served as a campaign fellow, intern, and field director for over 10 political organizations and campaigns at the local and national levels including Colin Allred, Beto O’Rourke, Albert Black, Students Demand, Jon Ossoff, PoweredxPeople, and more. Alexandria has a zeal for policy and civic engagement. Most recently she served as an intern in Senator Edward Markey’s Washington and Boston offices assisting in Communications, Educational and Judiciary policy, and constituent services, facilitating contact between federal agencies and constituents of the Commonwealth in regards to their immigration and Small Business Administration cases. Following graduation, Alexandria hopes to continue her work in government and plans to attend law school to specialize in civil rights or immigration law in pursuit of a career in public service.
Noura Lamb (she/they)
Hometown: Carmel, IN
School: Vassar College
Placement: Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5)
Noura Lamb is a sophomore at Vassar College working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with potential minors in Hispanic Studies and Africana Studies. She was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Noura has interned with several non-profits in the Midwest, including Indiana Youth Group and Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates of Indiana where she worked to provide direct service to her community. She has a strong interest in public service related to the issues of reproductive justice, housing, LGBTQ rights, and prison abolition. After graduation, she plans to pursue a law degree and use it to help non-profit organizations correct systems of inequality and stop cycles of harm in the United States.
Connor Lee (he/him)
Hometown: Wilmette, IL
School: University of Chicago
Placement: Rep. Sean Casten (IL-6)
Connor Lee is a sophomore at the University of Chicago majoring in Political Science. On campus, he is heavily involved with Student Government, serving as a Class of 2024 Representative and the Vice President of Campus & Student Life. Through these leadership positions, he has led a vaccine promotion project, planned a town hall on sustainability with the University’s president, and written resolutions aimed at protecting voting rights and supporting marginalized students. In addition, he is the Civic Engagement Finance Intern at UChicago’s Institute of Politics, and serves as an executive committee member on the Victory Fund’s NextGen network. Connor has worked with several elected officials in the past, including Congresswoman Schakowsky, former Congressman Hurd, and Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy. Connor is passionate about leadership, public service, and protecting voting rights, and he hopes to continue to pursue these passions after graduating.
Hol Polk (they/them)
Hometown: Lakehills, TX
School: Texas A&M University
Placement: House Democratic Caucus
Hol Polk is a rising senior at Texas A&M University, majoring in Political Science with minors in Climate Change and Urban & Regional Planning. They are also a member of the Honors College. Following graduation, Hol is looking to attend law school, pursuing a career in environmental law. Their passions lie in protecting those who will face the worst of the climate crisis, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, those who are in poverty, and individuals of racial minorities. They are active on campus, as a member and leader of multiple student organizations promoting equality and growth. In their professional work, they have worked in environmental adult education, as well as in international research. Outside of professional and educational life, Hol is passionate about music, the outdoors, and reading. They are an overall outgoing, energetic individual with a passion for others.
Matthew Thomas (he/him)
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
School: Georgetown University
Placement: Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in Sacramento, California, Matthew Thomas developed a passion for social justice and advocacy from a young age due his positionality as Black, Chicano and queer. While at Georgetown University, he pursued a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies and Government through “traditional” and experimental courses, including community-based learning and service work in South Africa and a self-designed program focused on social impact and professional development. He is dedicated to advocating for and working with vulnerable communities to make sure their needs are addressed; his interests include sex work policy, trans justice, and housing rights. Including writing his senior thesis on the displacement of trans* sex workers in DC, he has interned for his local LGBTQ+ center, engaged in social impact consulting, and worked at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service since his first year. He loves yoga (certified teacher), cooking, and going on walks with his puppy, Ollie. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Masters in Public Policy and work within the non-profit/advocacy sector.
Jennifer Zhang (she/her)
Hometown: Potsdam, NY
School: Columbia University
Placement: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Jennifer Zhang is a junior at Columbia University studying political science. She seeks to enter public service to support economic justice and progressive policymaking. Jennifer has substantial experience working in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and political advocacy. She is a Consumer Fraud Mediator for the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the National Economic Policy Coordinator for the Roosevelt Network. She has previously served as the Executive Director of The World Is Watching, DNC Delegate-Candidate for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, and keynote speaker and teenage youth delegate at the 2018 and 2019 G20 Summits. She has interned for Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the New York State Assembly. At Columbia, she is the Vice President of the university’s Roosevelt Network chapter and involved with Columbia Democrats and the Mentoring Initiative. Jennifer is the recipient of the Zonta Foundation’s International Young Women in Public Affairs Award and a member of the National Political Science Honor Society.