Amanda Brown ’07 is the national political director at Rock the Vote, a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage young people in the democracy of the United States. In January, Forbes named Brown to their “30 under 30” list of the “brightest stars” in law and policy. She worked on President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign and has also served as assistant to the director in the White House office of political affairs.
1) What is your current profession?
I oversee Rock the Vote’s civic engagement programming, lead the voter registration modernization advocacy efforts, manage partnerships, and work closely with our digital team on the maintenance and development of Rock the Vote's online voter registration tool. We registered over one million young people for the 2012 elections, another 150,000 for the "off" year in 2013, and have already registered nearly 100,000 young voters for the upcoming midterm elections. It's important work that keeps me very busy and makes me proud.
2) Did any specific classes or experiences at Dartmouth, help prepare you for your career?
If I had to pick one thing it would be my experience with the Rockefeller Center–whether it be the grant that enabled me to spend a fall working in Senator Barack Obama's senate office in 2005, or the Rockefeller Leadership Fellow program, run by the one-and-only Sadhana Hall. But the truth is that I can credit my friends, my professors, and the entire Hanover community for setting me on the path that I am on. Dartmouth prepared me for life outside of college and helped shape the person that I have become.
Here's a story: I cried for my entire graduation ceremony. My dad had to walk with me during the recessional because I was such a wreck. When he realized there was nothing he could do or say to relieve my anxiety, he walked me directly up to President Wright and asked him to "share some words of wisdom." President Wright gave me a hug, patted me on the back, acknowledged my grandpa (Class of ’55 who had died the year before) and my college BFF Meleia Willis Starbuck (who died during my sophomore summer), and he said, “Get excited Amanda. This is the beginning, not the end.” He was right.
3) During the general election in 2008, you served as a "bodywoman" for President Obama's sister, Maya Soetero-Ng. What does that mean?
Interesting and funny question. I remember the day like it was yesterday: I was working in North Carolina in 2008—it was at the point that we knew we would win the primaries. I was in Raleigh with a small team of organizers and I got a call from a 312 number. I panicked—“Chicago is calling!” I thought. I eventually answered and was told to fly two days later and meet Maya, Barack Obama's sister, in San Francisco for a series of fundraisers. We spent nearly two months—June and much of July—visiting donors in California and even New York. These donors, and the world, needed to hear Barack Obama's story, and understand his relationship with his family, and his role as a big brother. It was truly a pleasure to get to know Maya and her own family, to share stories, and to experience that crazy campaign ride with her. We became friends, and continue to be friends. She gives the best Christmas presents.
Sutton Lowry ’16 is the Alumni Relations Whitney Campbell Class of 1925 intern. Lowry is a psychology and brain sciences major from Seattle, WA.
Three Questions profiles alumni in pursuit of their passions.