Who We Are

The Association of Young Americans (AYA)

is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership-based organization with one mission: to give young people control of their future.

We have full-time, registered lobbyists working around-the-clock in Washington to advance policies that improve the lives of young people aged 18-35--specifically those related to student debt, climate change, and healthcare.

Our strength is in our numbers. We are 30,000+ members strong, spanning across all 50 states. Our lobbying team listens closely to our membership’s wants and needs and communicates those wants and needs directly to lawmakers to amplify young voices at all levels of government. We work to get young people involved directly in the political process, offering tools for advocacy as well as grassroots lobbying training.

We make young voices heard.

Past Accomplishments


AYA was founded

AYA's founder Ben Brown created AYA on a single idea: if a lobbyist could walk into a room supported by millions of young people, it would change the game entirely. (2021 Update: we've changed the game entirely.)

Suspension on Student Loan Payments

Along with advocating for complete student loan debt cancelation, AYA urged Congress at the beginning of the pandemic to immediately halt all student loan payments. Since March 2020, all federally held student debt payments have been on pause due to the fallout from COVID-19 in order to give borrowers a financial break during these difficult times, especially young people who may have just entered the workforce.

Employer Participation in Repayment Act

The Employer Participation in Repayment Act (EPRA) was introduced by Senators Thune & Warner and Reps. Peters & Davis to incentivize employers to help pay off their employees’ student loans. The bill offered a tax credit to employees to help pay down their employees’ student debt. AYA worked directly with a large number of Congressional offices to help get EPRA enacted. In 2020, the bill was passed into law as part of the CARES Act COVID relief package, a huge win for student borrowers.

Continued increases in Pell Grants

Meant to help the lowest-income families cover the costs of college, the Pell grant now barely covers 28% compared to the 75% when the program was enacted in 1975. While Congress has not yet doubled Pell like AYA has advocated for, it has provided increases in the last several years.

Our Team

Ben Brown

Founder and Advisor

Ben is the Founder and former Executive Director of AYA. He started AYA to give young people a seat at the political decision-making table, and continues to support AYA as an advisor.

Lisa Giordano

Executive Director

As AYA's Director, Lisa makes sure that AYA is meeting our legislative goals and best serving our membership. Lisa has been with AYA since the very beginning, originally working in comms to establish AYA's voice.

Ally Talcott

Legislative Council

Ally is AYA's fierce lobbyist advocating on Capitol Hill to advance the issues we care about. Ally works closely with our coalition allies, staff on the Hill, and press to make sure the policies that will affect positive change for young Americans are being enacted into law.

Albert Samreth

Web Designer

Albert is an artist and web designer, part of the design practice Collection Agency. He made the thing that you're clicking on.

Michael Ray-Von

Web Developer

Michael is an artist and web developer, part of the design practice Collection Agency. He made the thing that you're clicking on.

Emily Shetty

Legislative Council

A political and advocacy insider, Emily supports AYA's healthcare agenda on Capitol Hill. With nearly a decade and a half of political and policy experience at the federal, state and local levels, Emily works hard to ensure AYA's priorities are heard by the right people.

Galia Basail


Galia is a designer and artist with footing in social practice. She centers her work on establishing and growing AYA’s visual identity with accessible, relatable, and playful designs for all platforms.

Layla Fassa


Layla is AYA's "very online" communications manager. She works to keep AYA's membership informed and engaged across digital platforms and to strengthen partnerships within AYA's coalitions.

Turn your politics into policy.

Join tens of thousands of young people fighting for change on the issues that matter.

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