June 6, 2016

The Next Big Names in Liberty: Our 2016 Emerging Leaders

By: Matthew Hartill

America’s Future Foundation is pleased to introduce the 2016 Emerging Leaders.  These students and recent graduates have been chosen from many nominated applicants across the country.  They represent the future of the liberty movement and have already influenced their peers in favor of free market ideas on campus.  

You are invited to join in honoring them at AFF’s Welcome to Washington event. We look forward to their future accomplishments in the liberty movement and will invite them to use AFF’s resources to continue influencing the Millennial generation for free markets.


Sam Audia

Sam Audia emergingSam Audia recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies and looks forward to beginning a career in political communications before attending grad school. While in undergrad, she wrote for several publications and held down the second soprano line in a university a cappella group. Multiple internships in the movement have taken her from Ann Arbor to Washington, D.C., but she will always call Garden City, MI home!

“Young Americans are perpetually seeking freedom, whether it be from student loan debt or government intervention in our lives. Young women, particularly, are singled out by those who would forego liberty in favor of government intervention in the spheres of healthcare, education, and employment. My goals for the liberty movement are simple: that we develop innovative ways to communicate our ideals to women, and empower women to make the individual decisions that accurately address the needs of themselves and their families.”


Mariana Barillas

mariana barillas emergingMariana Barillas is a 2016-2017 Collegiate Network fellow, working as a general assignment reporter at the Washington Examiner. Seeking a classical liberal arts education without the debt, she completed the four-year Angelicum Academy Great Books Program while supplementing her studies at Mott Community College and the University of Michigan-Flint. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University in March 2016. She has written for a number of media outlets, including Campus Reform, The Daily Signal, and the Intercollegiate Review.

“The first order of business for any reporter is to know what is going on, but I hope to develop my interest in the Western philosophical and political tradition to help explain why. Ideas do have cultural consequences and we cannot understand where our country is going without knowing where we came from. My hope is to combine my practical experiences with my theoretical background to inform my future writing, whether it be reporting or commentary.”


Megan Cook

megan cook emergingMegan Cook grew up in Northern Virginia and went to North Carolina to later graduate from Salem College with a degree in economics and political science with a minor in history. While in school, she became interested in the ideas of liberty and became an intern for multiple nonprofits in the DC and Atlanta areas. When she is not working, you will find her with her family, enjoying the outdoors, or enjoying the amazing food in DC. She looks forward to furthering the ideas of liberty as a development intern at America’s Future Foundation this summer.

“I was first exposed to the ideas of liberty through the Salem College Young Americans for Liberty chapter during my first year at Salem College. Since then, I have been influenced by multiple nonprofits including YAL, SFL, and FEE in my intern or leadership positions within these organizations. These organizations allowed for me to grow my network and find incredible mentors. When looking for future opportunities after college, I know that I want to continue my life working with liberty-leaning nonprofits.”


Cahleel Copus

cahleel copus emergingCahleel Copus currently attends the University of Wisconsin Madison as a Sophomore where he studies Political Science, Legal Studies, and Political Philosophy. He has been fighting for a free society as a YAL chapter president and as a YAL State Chair. He will soon become a Students for Liberty Campus Coordinator and work on student government at UW Madison in the upcoming semester.

“I strongly believe that this election cycle has brought about a pivotal moment for the liberty movement and I hope that we can more strongly brand ourselves in the mainstream society as the voice of freedom and reason. No longer do I want liberty-minded people to be seen in the mainstream as Rothbardian book nerds, but as individuals who want liberty and a peaceful society. I hope to help accomplish this goal by bringing more diversity and younger people into the liberty movement.”


Chris Harelson

chris harelson emergingChris Harelson moved to Utah two years ago to pursue higher education and start his career helping to build the Liberty Movement. Since that time, Chris has served as the Young Americans for Liberty Utah State Chair, Students for Liberty Western States Regional Director, Chief-of-Staff for a Utah State Senator, and the Northern Utah Field Director for Americans for Prosperity. Chris lives in Salt Lake City with his wife of one year, Brittany.

“Not only am I optimistic that our movement will succeed, I expect it to. The human spirit is indomitable and the fire of individuality unquenchable. While history shows there is an ebb and a flow in policies, or lack thereof, that are conductive to a free society I believe that humans are now more free, and society better off, than ever before in the history of the world. While there is still much to overcome, we are overcoming it. Ultimately, superstition is giving way to reason, blind orthodoxy to progress, pragmatism to principle, and fallacy to fact.”


Destiny Goede

destiny goede emergingDestiny Goede was born in Naples, Florida and is a senior at the University of Florida, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Public Leadership. During her time at the University of Florida, she has had the opportunity to serve the University through her involvement as the Agency Head for Chomp the Vote, her involvement in Florida Blue Key, Student Government, and President of Delta Zeta Sorority. She has been highly involved in the political realm, having served as an intern for Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Representative Heather Fitzenhagen.  Destiny also serves the Liberty Movement as the James Madison Institute’s Campus Representative.

The Liberty Movement is one that embodies the principles of America’s future, it is a movement that has truly changed my life and it has taught me the ideals and foundation for which I live upon on a daily basis. These ideals are absolutely crucial to the success of America’s future, as I continue on to law school, I hope to engage in the very ideals that our nation was built upon and to use this knowledge to continue spreading the liberty movement. My hope for the liberty movement is that we are able to truly engage the next generation of America’s leaders and to challenge citizens to live by the principles of limited government, economic freedom, federalism, and individual responsibility.”


Chris Perrigan

chris perrigan emergingFrom Tallahassee, Florida, Chris Perrigan just graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Political Science. He is the FGCU campus representative for the James Madison Institute, a Florida-based research and educational organization valuing ideas such limited government, economic freedom, federalism, and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. He was also a four-year member of the FGCU Men’s Tennis program.

“Being involved with making the liberty movement more aware to a socially liberal college campus, I hope to see our principles continue to spread throughout all college campuses across the United States. Personally I will continue my efforts with the James Madison Institute to further the liberty movement on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. I believe being taught the ideals of economic freedom, individual liberty and individual responsibility prepare young adults for the mindset and attitude to achieve success and personal happiness throughout their lives.”




Cameron Swathwood

cameron swathwood emergingCameron Swathwood comes from upstate South Carolina and attended college at Liberty University in Virginia. Prior to graduating in May 2016 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Intelligence Studies, Cameron worked as The Heritage Foundation’s Strategic Studies Intern for the summer of 2015. While there, he assisted with research projects and wrote numerous short articles on current events and developments in the strategic and nuclear fields. He is currently awaiting orders to active duty as a military officer.

“C.S. Lewis said ‘What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects, with their Christianity latent.’ I believe this sentiment applies to us as well. Perhaps what will begin to revive America are articulate, winsome, liberty-minded citizens as the backbone of every sphere of life, from academia to entertainment to the military. By preparing and dispatching such agents of change into society, the conservative movement can bear lasting fruit.”


Daniel Takash

daniel takash emergingDaniel Takash is from Brielle, New Jersey and recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Political Science. He previously interned at the Cato Institute where he worked on issues related to budget, tax, and regulatory policy. He later worked at the Marijuana Policy Project, researching state medical marijuana policies and the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

“I hope that within the next ten years, the proposals advanced by those within the liberty movement will gain such prominence in the discourse that ideas considered radical now will play a major role in future policy debates. Even in instances where our specific proposals are not adopted, we should work to make individual liberty and free markets key principles that guide the way policies are shaped. I believe that even modest success in the short-run will demonstrate the value of these principles when applied to public policy, increasing their popularity and laying the foundation for future policy changes.”


Natalie Tuttle

natalie tuttle emergingNatalie Tuttle studies economics and international affairs at Florida State University. She joined the liberty movement after hearing Rand Paul speak at CPAC her freshmen year.  Natalie started her school’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty and directed Students for Rand in Florida before interning at the Leadership Institute this past spring.

“The millennials of the liberty movement change minds by discussing Uber, Airbnb, and food trucks in everyday conversations, not debating economic theory. We take our message to college campuses and communities where tyranny runs rampant. While government regulations threaten to stifle our generation’s greatest inventions, our movement grows stronger.”


Liz Wolfe

liz wolfe emergingLiz Wolfe will be graduating from The College of William and Mary this December, having condensed her schooling into 2.5 years total while rock climbing as often as possible. Having spent 10 months in total interning and working for Reason, and currently interning for Praxis, Liz is deeply committed to helping people live freely with less government interference. Currently studying abroad in Chile in order to learn Spanish, Liz will be moving to Mexico City for the summer in order to learn more Spanish and eat dangerous amounts of street food.

“Spending time in formerly-socialist countries in Latin America has not only furthered my belief that capitalism is the key to economic prosperity, but has also created an interest in promoting libertarian ideas to left-leaning audiences. Inspired by thinkers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Haidt, I hope to write about race relations and drug policy in the future to find areas of agreement between left and right. Having spent time researching criminal justice policy at Reason, I think this is a crucial area in which libertarians can–and need to–make a difference.”