Congratulations to our Winter 2016 and Summer 2016 Valedictorian Alejandra Teresita Gimenez and Lauren Barden Hair.
Alejandra Teresita Gimenez, a political science major with an emphasis in American Politics, is the daughter of Oscar and Durelle Gimenez. Born and raised in Southington, Connecticut, she grew up singing and playing tennis with her four sisters. At BYU she was a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and the Gender and Civic Engagement Lab, as well as a Wheatley Scholar. She has been a member of the BYU Concert Choir and also served as the publicity chair of the Political Affairs Society. In 2014, Alejandra was heavily involved with the Utah Colleges Exit Poll, coordinating the 1,200 student volunteers and serving as an analyst on KBYUTV’s election night broadcast. She has presented research at multiple professional conferences. She was an American Political Science Association Minority Fellow for 2016-2017. In her last semester, Alejandra worked as an intern at the Pew Research Center. In the fall, she will begin a PhD program in American Politics with plans to be a professor. She would like to thank her parents, sisters, and especially her professors for their incredible support and mentorship.
Lauren Barden Hair, a political science major with a minor in Chinese, has always possessed a passion for public service. As a young woman in Minneapolis, MN, Lauren became fascinated in United States politics as she volunteered in the 2008 Romney campaign and completed a congressional internship in Washington, D.C. After arriving at BYU, Lauren’s interest in politics shifted to the international stage as she participated as a team member, and later teaching assistant, for BYU’s Model United Nations Team, and completed a study abroad in Jerusalem. A church mission in Taipei, Taiwan furthered her interests in the Chinese language and in China’s internal and international policies. Lauren has also served as a research assistant and project manager for BYU Professor Dan Nielson and had the opportunity to travel to Uganda for her work. Lauren will be moving to Chicago to pursue dual master’s degrees in international relations and public policy at the University of Chicago. Lauren is the daughter of Dr. Christopher Barden and Robin Jones Barden.