Graduate starts first Young Invincibles in Texas

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Erin Hemlin is making strides in her career. She recently opened the first Young Invincibles office in Texas. She is a former hilltopper who graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2008.

Young Invincibles is an organization that was founded in 2009 on the basis that young people’s voices were not being heard in the debate over health care reform. 

It has grown from its main office in Washington D.C. to several regional offices all across the country in the past year, including the Houston office Hemlin recently started. Today, Young Invincibles aims to represent the interests of 18 to 34-year-olds in America. They focus on four main issues: higher education, jobs and economy, healthcare and entrepreneurship.

During her time at St. Edward’s, Hemlin played softball for two years and was also a member of college democrats and the student government association. She graduated with a degree in political science, and she said she “loved” her time on the hilltop.

Hemlin obtained her master’s in political science with a focus in American politics and government at George Mason University just minutes away from Washington D.C. Now, she is the Southern Regional Manager and National Organizing and Programs Manager of Young Invincibles.  She educates young people about topics ranging from the Affordable Care Act to student loans.

Professor William Nichols taught several of Hemlin’s required courses for her political science major. Hemlin was also among the students who studied abroad with Nichols in Sevilla, Spain in the summer of 2007.

“She was a great student, a lot of fun and very bright. She was always interested in politics, so what she’s doing right now certainly fits her. I’m excited to hear that she’s doing this, and I think it’s a good position to have in terms of her longer career goals,” Nichols said.

If you had asked Hemlin as a senior at St. Edward’s where she saw herself in five years, she definitely would not have guessed she’d be working on Affordable Care Act implementation, but she describes it as a learning experience.  A major component of Hemlin’s job is facing the misconceptions young Americans have about the Affordable Care Act and the whole financial aid process.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about what the Affordable Care Act is in general, so that has kind of been our biggest challenge. A lot of people aren’t aware about being able to stay under your parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, or the process of ending discrimination against pre-existing conditions,” Hemlin said.

Hemlin was not immune to the fear of finding a job after college, but she offers some valuable advice to current St. Edward’s students.

“I think just being able to get a foot in the door somewhere, meeting people, networking and getting your name out there seem to be the most effective ways of getting where you want to be. Take every opportunity you can to learn, be involved in cool organizations, take internships when you can and definitely graduate,” Hemlin said.

Hemlin plans to continue giving presentations, with ten upcoming ones in Texas keeping her busy.  

On Nov. 20, Hemlin and Young Invincibles are co-sponsoring a free, purely educational event in Austin, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University’s Agard-Lovinggood Auditorium. It’s an “Affordable Care Act 101” information session for students and other members of the community hosted by Huston-Tillotson University. This event is particularly special because it’s being put on by State Senator Kirk Watson, whose District 14 covers most of Travis and Bastrop counties.

 “Texans are so friendly, and I’ve gotten a really great reception so far. There’s a lot of interest, which is great, because we’re really trying to help get the information out there. We’re here to help,” Hemlin said.