Spring 2023 Barbara Boxer Fellow
Stephanie L. Young is a communications strategist and thought leader at the intersection of culture, social impact, and Democracy. She currently serves as the Executive Director of When We All Vote, a non-partisan voting initiative launched by Michelle Obama in 2018. During her time as Executive Director, Stephanie has created and implemented the inaugural Culture of Democracy Summit— a four-day convening that brought together a cross-section of industry leaders from tech, music, sports, entertainment, corporate and civic engagement to explore their individual and collective roles in expanding and protecting Democracy. Under her leadership, Stephanie also led a brand refresh for the organization, expanded the celebrity Co-Chair roster, and implemented new advocacy and chapter leader organizing programs.
In 2020, as the Chief Officer for Communications and Culture, Stephanie led When We All Vote’s messaging and cultural strategy that helped register over 500,000 voters— the largest increase in voter participation in over 120 years. She brought strong partnerships to the table and helped recruit over 400 artists, athletes, and influencers to help the campaign reach over 220 million individuals on social media.
Stephanie has over 15 years of strategic communications and public engagement experience ranging from the Obama White House, political campaigns, House Democratic Leadership, and leading television networks BET and NBC.
During her time in the Obama Administration, she had the unique opportunity of serving in two critical roles as the Associate Communications Director and then as the Senior Public Engagement Advisor in the Office of Public Engagement. Prior to her White House stint, she worked as the National Press Secretary for Majority Leader Hoyer and Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Stephanie is a graduate of Hampton University who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Study Group: The Intersection of Pop Culture and Politics
This study group explored how popular culture influences our elections, political process, and shapes our democracy. From the political figures we’re attracted to, to the way we get our news and stay informed, pop culture influences all of it— so why does it tend to be underestimated, instead of recognizing its immense power? Together, we took an in-depth look at how media, sports, music, and entertainment have infiltrated the way we look at ourselves, our government and our country.
Spring 2023 Semester Recap
Stephanie Young shared this about her experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “I thoroughly enjoyed teaching at the USC Center for the Political Future! I was blown away by the amazing students in my study group and their passion to make this country better through service. I was so grateful to be the Barbara Boxer Spring 2023 Fellow for the USC Center for Political Future. Thanks to Bob Shrum, Kamy Akhavan, and the entire CPF staff for a great semester!” (Source: Stephanie Young’s Instagram)
USC students in Stephanie’s study group shared this about their experience:
“My favorite part was the guest speakers. Hearing from different leaders in pop culture and political spaces was incredibly inspiring and it showed me there are other careers possible at the intersection of politics and pop culture. Stephanie was incredibly engaging.”
“Signing up for Stephanie’s study group was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Stephanie’s class opened my eyes to how we can harness pop culture to create a better democracy and stronger communities; I never thought about pop culture in that way before. Stephanie’s former position as Executive Director of When We All Vote embodies my dream career. I had the chance to spend one-on-one time with her in office hours and gained invaluable career advice. Getting to know her on a personal level and learn in such an intimate setting was priceless. Only at USC will you find an opportunity like that.”
“I enjoyed Stephanie’s insight on how the intersection of democracy and politics looks in the real world. I enjoyed her study group and learned a lot each week, as we met to discuss different topics from the history of democracy and role of misinformation in politics. I appreciate and thank Stephanie for being a Fellow for CPF and allowing me and my peers to learn more about democracy and media.”