From the time Young Americans for Freedom was born with the drafting of the Sharon Statement in William F. Buckley, Jr.’s Connecticut home, young people have been integral to the leadership of YAF. As the visible presence of the Conservative Movement on their campuses, Young Americans for Freedom activists have carried forward our shared ideas through times when freedom’s principles flourished, and those when even our most basic freedoms were threatened. As YAF’s resurgence continues with more YAF chapters, increasing influence, and expanding activities, who better than members of the rising generation currently engaged on their campuses to help guide YAF’s ongoing growth.

Young America’s Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom are pleased to announce the following additions to the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors (full bios below):

Joseph Ballard of the University of Alabama

Shannon Bell of The George Washington University

Lynn Sementilli of the University at Buffalo

Abby Streu of the University of Wisconsin—Madison

“The Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors is honored to welcome the largest expansion of our board in recent memory,” said YAF National Chairman Grant Strobl. “Joe, Shannon, Abby, and Lynn are accomplished activists whose work truly impacted their campus culture. Their creativity, hard work, and dedication to the ideas in YAF’s founding document, the Sharon Statement, make them eminently qualified to join the Board of Governors. As current or recent students, their guidance will serve to help further expand Young Americans for Freedom across the country.”

Joseph Ballard, University of Alabama

Joe is the founder and current chair of Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Alabama. Originally from San Jose, California, Joseph got his start in the Conservative Movement as a freshman in high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory, where he became active in his school’s YAF chapter. At Alabama, Joseph is studying finance, economics, and public policy. As a YAF activist, Joseph has helped with a variety of campus events including the 9/11: Never Forget Project, Freedom Week, and No More Che Day. He also recently hosted Lt. Col. Allen West. Joseph also gained experience interning in the office of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher–also a YAF alumnus–representing California’s 48th Congressional District. In the summer of 2017, Joseph served as a William & Berniece Grewcock Intern Scholar at YAF’s national headquarters. He also serves as the director of communications and public relations for his fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma. In his free time, Joseph enjoys backpacking and surfing, and is an avid supporter of the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Shannon Bell, The George Washington University

Shannon Bell is currently a senior at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where she majors in International Affairs and minors in Criminal Justice. Shannon has been a member of GW YAF since her freshman year. She served as freshman representative, treasurer, and is now completing her second year as president. Throughout her time at GWU, Shannon has helped GW YAF bring speakers like Ben Shapiro, Rick Santorum, Bay Buchanan, Steve Forbes, and Christina Hoff Sommers, in addition to putting on annual activism events like the 9/11: Never Forget Project.  Shannon attended YAF’s seminars and conferences throughout the country, including the iconic Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Shannon also interned for Young America’s Foundation in the fall of 2015. She has also had the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and at the Department of State. Shannon is originally from Mahopac, NY and hopes to remain in the D.C. area after she graduates this May. She looks forward to continuing her work with the Conservative Movement through her position on the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors.

“No other organization can provide the resources, access, or opportunities than that of Young America’s Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom,” remarked Bell. “It is imperative to continue to grow the Conservative Movement for future generations.”


Lynn Sementilli, University at Buffalo

Lynn Sementilli was born and raised in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, and is currently a part-time graduate student studying Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo. She also currently holds a full-time position as an electrical engineer in the aircraft industry. During her undergraduate years at UB, Lynn founded the UB YAF chapter after a 10 month battle with the student government, and served as the chapter’s chairman until her graduation in May 2017. During her year as chairman, the chapter hosted several events, including a pro-USA counter protest, Constitution Day activism, and a YAF lecture featuring Robert Spencer. Lynn was first introduced to conservative ideas by her parents while being homeschooled during her K-12 years, and was motivated to start a YAF chapter in her Junior year of college after seeing the lack of opportunities for conservatives to voice their opinions on her campus. She continues to have a passion to advocate for conservative principles in her hometown and hopes to continue being politically active through state and local politics in addition to supporting YAF students around the country.

“Young America’s Foundation has provided me with so many incredible opportunities, helped me create numerous lifelong friendships, and pushed me to develop into a leader in the face of adversity,” commented Sementilli. “As I continue to see multitudes of young students get drawn into supporting socialism, abortion, and other unconstitutional ideologies, and as I see the overall apathetic attitude of my generation, I realize the critical need that our nation has for the work that YAF does. In the current campus environment, it is essential for conservatives to stand up for morality, traditional values, and the founding principles which made this country great. I am honored to be a part of YAF’s story in this battle for freedom, and I’m excited to continue!”

Abby Streu, University of  Wisconsin—Madison

Abby Streu is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin—Madison studying economics and journalism with certificates in French and European Studies. She is the chair of the UW Young Americans for Freedom chapter and the UW Luce Society chapter. She is currently a research intern at the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy and was a 2017 summer intern at Americans for Tax Reform’s Center for Worker Freedom.

“Words cannot express how elated I am to have been offered this opportunity and to be able to represent Young Americans for Freedom chapters. I love YAF and the people in it,” said Streu. “I feel so blessed to be able to give back to the organization that sparked my desire to fight for the rights of Americans.”

For further information or to cover this story contact YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown via phone (800-872-1776) or email (