The Polling Place is led by the Board of Directors, which is comprised of students who manage the organization and lead the research, outreach, and website efforts of The Polling Place.

Karsen Wahal | Co-founder, National Director

Karsen is a sophomore at Stanford University. He’s interested in economics, data science, and politics, with a focus on leveraging quantitative skills to improve government policy and operations. Karsen co-founded The Polling Place in August 2020, and has since led its national expansion. Karsen has previously worked with government agencies, the U.S. Senate, nonprofits, and numerous Stanford faculty members. Through The Polling Place, he seeks to improve voter turnout and political efficacy, especially at the local level. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports, hiking, and playing with his dogs.

Jack Day | National Director (Website)

Jack is a junior at Arizona State University studying mechanical engineering. Although he’s entering a STEM field, Jack believes that staying politically informed – regardless of career or industry – is one of our responsibilities as citizens, and hopes to help The Polling Place ease the weight of that burden for others. In his free time, Jack likes to work on his garden, practice archery, and take pictures of the night sky.

Jade Wang | National Director (Social Media)

Jade is a freshman at Northwestern University. She’s interested in local government and investigative journalism. Jade loves to help out with local issues; she previously worked with Hayward City Council and passionate citizen activists to push for fair redistricting. Through The Polling Place, Jade hopes to improve voter education at the local level to ensure elected officials truly represent the population’s wants and needs. In her free time, Jade enjoys taking walks with her dog, listening to podcasts, and going on boba outings with her sister.

Catherine Jeon | National Director (Research)

Catherine is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She is passionate about promoting social change and enjoys volunteering for organizations geared towards various causes, including climate justice, tutoring, and political awareness. She loves to study biology and debate, competing competitively with her nationally successful school teams. In her free time, Catherine can be found lost in a book, baking, or enjoying the latest songs.

Cameron Ake | National Director (Research)

Cameron is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. While she enjoys math, statistics, and computer science, she is also passionate about politics and elections. At The Polling Place, she hopes to apply this passion in a way that can help people. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her cats, hosting games with her friends, watching the live feeds on Big Brother, and listening to music.

Elly Kang | National Director (Outreach)

Elly is a senior at Marist School. She’s interested in data science, artificial intelligence, and politics. Elly is passionate about promoting diversity and educational opportunity, running and taking part in several related nonprofits and initiatives. She hopes to promote higher voter turnout through the Polling Place so that politicians take action indicative of who they represent. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog and listening to music!

The Polling Place was founded in August 2020 by five students, one of whom (Karsen Wahal) remains on the Board. The rest can be seen below.

Anya Wahal | Co-Founder, Former Director of Outreach

Anya is a senior at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University studying Science, Technology, & International Affairs. Anya is a Research Fellow at the Mortara Center for International Studies, working on projects relating to urban spatial mapping and international development. She spearheads environmental and voter initiatives through the Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network. With The Polling Place, Anya hopes to advocate for the importance of voter accessibility & outreach. In her free time, she enjoys reading, journaling, and cooking with family.

Alicia Wu | Co-Founder, Former Director of Website

Alicia is a senior at Harvard University studying Statistics and Computer Science. She’s interested in creatively leveraging and visualizing data in entrepreneurship, product design, and social innovation. Previously, Alicia has led business development at a student-run user research startup, created tech roadmaps and data dashboards for industry clients at her campus consulting group, and published research on educational inequity. Through The Polling Place, she seeks to educate herself and others about local, less visible political races in Arizona. In her free time, she loves cooking, gouache painting, and dog spotting.

Anuka Upadhye | Co-Founder, Former Director of Social Media

Anuka is a senior at George Washington University studying International Affairs and Philosophy. Throughout her time in college, she seeks to understand how natural resource scarcity influences international and human security. She’s also interested in the intersection between ethics, morality, and international affairs. Anuka currently works at Blue Knot Strategies, a political firm that provides strategic solutions for women and minorities running for office. She hopes that The Polling Place will create more informed voters and ultimately strengthen democracy. Aside from academics, Anuka enjoys tennis and photography.

Madhura Shembekar | Co-founder, Former Director of Outreach

Madhura is a freshman at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She’s interested in journalism, politics, and international affairs. Madhura is passionate about social justice initiatives that further equality in speech and debate and diversify school curriculums. She’s been studying Indian classical music for the last thirteen years. Through The Polling Place, she seeks to increase turnout among young voters. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Frank Ocean and running.