KatieTaranThree weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining the team here
at Young America’s Foundation as a program officer.  It’s been a dream come true for a number of

In August 2007, I attended my first National Conservative
Student Conference.  I heard from a wide
range of conservative speakers and met a lot of fellow like-minded students
from across the country.  Attending the
conference made me realize what tremendous resources the Foundation provides
for students eager to spread the conservative message. 

As a graduate student at Florida State
University, I worked with YAF to bring Humberto Fontova , Dinesh D’Souza, and Michelle Malkin to my campus and to host events like the 9/11: Never Forget Project .  Since 2007, I’ve attended other conferences
and programs either put on or associated with the Foundation, and there’s never
any shortage of reunions or hugs or laughs from those I’ve met.  I get to catch up with my conference friends
that I only see once or twice a year and it’s like no time has passed since we
were listening to speeches during the day and exploring DC at night.  It’s so exciting for me to get to work for
the organization that has provided me and others with so many resources and
good times and I look forward to being able to pass those along to today’s

Prior to joining the Foundation, I was living at home and my
full-time job was applying for work. 
Since I’d moved home from graduate school in summer 2009, I had a few
part-time jobs, a temporary job, and taken 24 credit hours towards another
degree.  A friend joked that if I wasn’t
able to get a job soon that I would become a liberal.  During those trying months, I’m sure that Obama would have loved for me to turn to the government for support, but that goes against my core beliefs.  I am blessed to have a great relationship
with my family and was fortunate to have their support, but my friend’s words
ate at me.  I wanted nothing more than to
begin my American Dream, to be out on my own, to work hard, and to support
myself—they’re the conservative things to do! Obama’s economy wasn’t going to turn me liberal!

Last but not least (actually I saved the best for last), I
am grateful to work for an organization whose cause is important to me.   Growing
up, I always considered myself a conservative because that’s what my family
was.  Then, I really took the time to
understand and appreciate my paternal grandparents’ story.  They sacrificed everything to escape
Soviet-controlled Ukraine, cross war-torn Europe, and board a ship bound for a
land of freedom and opportunity.  Their
story, like so many others, is a testament to the American Dream, and I applaud
Young America’s Foundation for educating students on the principles that make
such a dream possible.    I feel a sense of obligation to do what I can
to defend conservative ideas and make sure students get to hear the
conservative message.  Getting a job in
this economy was a blessing, but getting the opportunity to work for something
I’m so passionate about is an infinitely more rewarding.



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