Ryan Oda is currently serving as a Public Affairs Fellow in the Campaign’s Los Angeles office. Ryan grew up not always knowing if their family would have a home, with Ryan’s father having to work two full-time jobs. Ryan also faced issues in high school, such as homophobic physical and verbal bullying. Ryan almost flunked out of high school because of a lack of security and safety inside and outside of the classroom. However, thanks to the support of Ryan’s grandparents and sisters, they were able to earn enough credits to graduate by taking after-school classes.
After graduating high school, Ryan attended Pasadena City College where they still struggled with classes. With the continued support from their family, but also encouragement from professors, Ryan had to relearn how to manage life and school. After earning an Associate Degree for Transfer at PCC, they attended California State University, Long Beach and earned a BA in Political Science. At PCC, Ryan served as a Student Lobbyist, where they advocated for LGBTQ+, undocumented, and low-income students. After transferring, Ryan served as a District Intern for Congressman Alan Lowenthal.
Ryan’s story is one of hard work and commitment, but also demonstrates the importance of a strong support network. Ryan graduated Cum Laude from CSULB, while also managing a job and internship. “If you asked me my senior year of high school if I was capable of getting a 4.0 while also working and being an intern,” says Ryan, “I would have given a definite ‘no.” Ryan gained inspiration from stories like their father’s, learning to never give up. With their experiences and knowledge, Ryan hopes to build a career dedicated to advancing social justice for all in our society and believes that the Campaign is the perfect place to begin that career.
What do you do at the Campaign? I’m currently serving as a Public Affairs Fellow in the Campaign’s Los Angeles office and am hoping to continue building on their my experiences in advocacy and community outreach to ensure that all Californians can get a college education.
What else gets you up in the morning? The chance to make a difference in the world.
What do you do in your downtime? I like to go to the beach, go dancing, and play video games in my free time.
Fun fact: I’ve been a drag queen for Halloween for three years in a row.