About Us

Who We Are

We are a youth advocacy nonprofit founded and led entirely by college students. As students, we’ve seen firsthand how young people are excluded from the political conversation. To bridge that gap, we mobilize young people to achieve electoral and policy outcomes that will center youth perspectives and achieve long-term change.

Our Founding

The Young People’s Alliance was founded by Sam Hiner and Mick Tobin when they were high school students. They jumped into advocacy after coming up with state legislation to stop partisan power grabs. While they were able to contribute to advocacy on other issues, like ending child marriage and protecting teens on the road, their own legislative ideas were not taken seriously.

Sam and Mick realized the danger of this lack of youth power. With their perspectives not being seriously considered, issues affecting young people wouldn’t be solved in ways that actually solved the problems faced by young people. Since young people felt dismissed from the political process, more and more became disengaged from it, posing a risk to our democracy. To change this narrative, Sam and Mick started the Young People’s Alliance to give young people a real voice in the political process and to encourage long-lasting civic engagement.

Our Work

Our teams on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures, and across 9 college campuses work to empower young people in politics. We engage and mobilize students through voter registration and mobilization events, hosting community events to connect students to the political world, and advocating for youth issues on campus. We also build relations with legislators and other non-profits to include young people’s perspectives in the law-making process. Learn more about the impact we’ve had on college campuses through our Campus Organizing and at the state and federal capitols through our Advocacy.


Sam Hiner's profile photo

Sam Hiner

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Student at UNC Chapel Hill from Mooresville, NC
Ava Smithing's profile photo

Ava Smithing

Advocacy & Community Director

Full-time employee from Nashville, TN
Alexandre Dray's profile photo

Alexandre Dray

Field Operations Director

Student at Duke University from Miami, FL
Mick Tobin's profile photo

Mick Tobin

Operations Director & Co-Founder

Student at Duke University from Mooresville, NC
Elina Murarka's profile photo

Elina Murarka

Communications Director

Student at Duke University from New Haven, CT
Noah Coffman's profile photo

Noah Coffman

Research & Policy Director

Student at University of Notre Dame from Tulsa, OK
Brien Brennan's profile photo

Brien Brennan

Development Director

Student at Duke University from Youngsville, NC
Colby Kelley's profile photo

Colby Kelley

Compliance Director

Student at UNC-Chapel Hill from Mooresville, NC
Neil Sairam's profile photo

Neil Sairam

Policy Advisor

Student at George Washington University from Washington, DC
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Andrew Fingeret

Policy Advisor

Student at George Washington University from Pittsburgh, PA
Kennedy Smith's profile photo

Kennedy Smith

Campus Field Director

Student at East Carolina University from Raleigh, NC
Amarah Din's profile photo

Amarah Din

Campus Field Director

Student at Appalachian State University from Cary, NC
Briana Harmon's profile photo

Briana Harmon

Campus Field Director

Student at Davidson College from Kamuela, Hawai'i
Maite McPherson's profile photo

Maite McPherson

Campus Field Director

Student at Duke University from Marshall, MN
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Emily Wilson

Campus Field Director

Student at North Carolina A&T State University from Detroit, Michigan
Drayton Coleman's profile photo

Drayton Coleman

Campus Field Director

Student at UNC-Greensboro from Durham, NC

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