We inspire students to fulfill their political and civic potential...

foster the respectful exchange of beliefs all over the political spectrum...

and connect individuals across diverse communities who are interested in civic leadership and political engagement.

What We Do

Chapter meetings

At our meetings, we expose Associates to exclusive opportunities, whether it is information for events, meet & greets, or professional development opportunities.

Lunches with Leaders

We host lunches on week days each semester to give Associates a chance to meet face-to-face with prominent political professionals in a more informal setting at the Unruh Institute or the University Club.

Roundtable Discussions

Associates host intimate roundtable discussions each semester on topics ranging from the Supreme Court, to nuclear proliferation, to environmental policy to give Associates a chance to discuss the prominent issues of the day in a civically engaged setting.

Downtown Los Angeles Summit

Every semester, Associates head to Los Angeles City Hall to meet with public and private sector professionals. The trip includes a tour of City Hall, panels hosted in the Tom Bradley Room, and networking sessions. If you have a strong desire to work in politics, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about career opportunities and make an impression with those working in politics today.

Internships through the Unruh Institute

By becoming a part of Unruh Associates you demonstrate your commitment to political advocacy, on campus and off. The Unruh Institute, our parent organization, recognizes this and invites you to apply for interships here.

Special Events, Competitions, and Programs

Unruh Associates leads a number of other student-run events and intiatives, from leading USC's efforts on National Voter Regisration Day to holding audience spots for Associates at CNN Town Halls. As the nature of politics and government is in a constant state of change, we always consider new ways of expanding our intiatives on campus.

Executive Board for 2020

María Manjárrez, President

María Fernanda Manjárrez is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Public Policy and Law. María has been involved with the Institute since she was 15 years old when she attended the annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference. She is deeply humbled and honored to serve as the President of Unruh Associates for 2019. On campus, Maria is also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law fraternity and a Norman Topping Student Aid Fund Scholar. Maria Fernanda has previously interned for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, D-33 Congressman Ted W. Lieu, and has done research with the Skid Row Housing Trust through POSC 395. María is passionate about increased access to higher education, so she was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as a Commissioner on the California Student Aid Commission. After graduating from USC, she plans on attending law school and pursuing a career in public service.

José Gutiérrez, Vice President

José Guillermo Gutiérrez is a rising senior from Mexico City and a Political Science and Philosophy double major. On campus, he is a member of Society 53 and a Warren Bennis Scholar. Previously, he was the Director of Student Safety and an Advocacy Delegate at Undergraduate Student Government, as well as teaching Action Civics at a local charter school through the Unruh Institute’s Building Future Leader’s Program. José has interned at Fundación Baillères, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of International Affairs as a Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellow, Fundación Proempleo, Korn/Ferry International in Mexico City, and did research for Council Member Krekorian through POSC 395.

Ayojide Hospidales, Director of Programming

Ayojide Hospidales is a sophomore majoring in Political Science. As a political junky, Ayojide's passion is molding students to make them more civically engaged. He has volunteered at VoteSC and the Center for Black Students Affairs. In the future, he hopes to become a government attorney and judge, for which he has received great counsel on this path as he is currently mentored by Judge Bobbi Tillmon as part of the Legacy Through Leadership Mentorship Program.

Deven Patel, Director of Publicity

Deven Patel is a sophomore from Irvine, CA, majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Public Policy. He is involved at the Novus Think Tank, Undergraduate Student Government, and Dornsife Ambassadors.He is also a member of the Thematic Option Honors Program. His love for politics stemmed from following the 2016 election, and shortly after, interning with a City Council Member from Irvine.

Lee Fisher, Administrator

Lee Fisher is a rising junior studying Political Science and Music Industry with an emphasis in Pre-Law. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and she can't stop talking about it. At USC, she is the Assistant Director for the Political Student Assembly, Vice President for College Democrats, a member of PAWS (Providing Animals With Shelter), and a member of Phi Alpha Delta, the university's first and only pre-law professional fraternity. Lee has interned at the San Francisco office of U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris and is an active supporter of #Momala2020. This past summer, she interned at Elevate Public Affairs while working at Trial Partners, a jury consulting firm. On campus this year, you can find Lee browsing the selections at the Wednesday farmer's market or, more likely, napping.

Tommy Nguyen, Director of External Relations

Tommy Nguyen is a freshman from Irvine, California. He is a double major in History and Psychology, and is interested in pursuing a career in education. He currently serves as the Director of External Relations for the Unruh Associates and is an active member of the Novus Think Tank and is a delegate for the education committee. Tommy is a delegate for the Undergraduate Student Government in Academic Affairs as well.

National Voter Registration Drive


The Unruh Associates is proud to announce a new initiative for the Fall 2018 semester. Vote SC, created in conjunction with the USC Unruh Institute of Politics and the Undergraduate Student Government, is the largest effort to register students to vote in USC’s history. Centered on bringing voting into the 21st century and putting the power to register to vote directly in the hands of students, Vote SC has created an online platform ( VoteSC Turbovote ) that allows students to register online at their convenience and with ease. Vote SC seeks to connect with all students in USC’s diverse student body, and thus through our online voter platform have created the opportunity to engage with students who come from all different states as well as students who are already registered to vote.

Vote SC in itself is a coalition that seeks to bring together a variety of campus groups in order to face this challenge on our campus head-on. The idea for this coalition originated by looking at the abysmal rates of students on campus who vote, as well as the amounts of undergraduate students who are still not registered to vote. With this lofty goal in mind, Vote SC sought to bring together a variety of student groups in order to engage with every facet of the student population. The coalition has grown beyond its founders to include over 15 student groups, ranging from a variety of political organizations, cultural assemblies, and service organizations. Our ultimate goal is to make voting a seamless and essential part of every student’s time at USC, and to foster a campus culture that promotes civic engagement and breaks down barriers for students to get politically involved.

One way that we’re seeking to engage with our student body this semester is by hosting another edition of our biannual voter competition with our crosstown rivals, UCLA. The competition, last held in 2016, challenges both schools to register as many voters on their campus as possible. UCLA won the competition in 2016 by soundly beating USC, and so this year we are going to be tabling every Monday on Trousdale for our signature Midterm Mondays program, as well as launching a campus wide campaign for National Voter Registration Day on September 25th in the hopes of wrestling the title away from UCLA. Looking to get involved with Vote SC? We are always on the lookout for new organizations to partner with and student volunteers. Check out our Facebook page, Vote SC, for more information on upcoming events, and email us at votesc@turbovote.org for more information.

Check out the VoteSC Facebook page!


Applications will be live Spring 2019

What We’re Looking For

Unruh Associates is open to all undergraduate students of all majors currently pursuing degrees at USC. We’re interested in driven, student leaders who want to make a difference in the political arena. This interest may be demonstrated through academic work, attending and/or organizing political events, prior political volunteerism, political internships, and politically-related activities whether it be political punditry, issue advocacy, or translatable skills. An Unruh Associates is someone who is tolerant and open-minded, willing to learn about new topics and hear different viewpoints, and ready to jump into the conversation. We are looking for people who are engaged or looking to be engaged in the community, and are enthusiastic about Unruh Associates and its mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application process?

(1) You must attend the Unruh Open House in SOS B15 on January 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM. If you cannot attend this event, please reach out to our executive board at unruhassociates@gmail.com and we can accommodate your application.
(2) The written application opens on January 28, 2020 and is due February 2, 2020 at 11:59 PM.
(3) Applicants will be notifies of interview dates shortly thereafter.

Shortly after the interviews we will welcome our new members!

What if I’m a freshman or have recently become interested in politics?

We want you to apply, whatever your experience level in politics. Your application is welcomed as long as you’re interested in politics / civic engagement, want to learn more about what a career in politics looks like, or are passionate about connecting with other politically minded students.

Is Unruh Associates partisan? Do we subscribe to one party’s vision of the country?

Nope! We are a nonpartisan organization and invite students of all political persuasions to apply.

Do you have to be political science major to apply?

Nope! We want you to apply, whatever your major, school, or interest. We have members from many schools at USC, and our members have a wide variety of skills and interests.

What if I have a different question?

Great! Shoot us an email @ unruhassociates@gmail.com, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

We want you here! Joining Unruh Associates is your opportunity to connect with political professionals through on-campus events and off-campus summits and foster civic discourse through impactful student-run events and initiatives.

Get in touch

Feel free to reach out with any questions.