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A New Hampshire college student says attending this week’s State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill has given her new incentive to continue the fight to make higher education more affordable for all.
Alexis Ploss attended Tuesday’s event as the guest of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Ploss said she and Warren have worked together before on college affordability, including early last year when Ploss testified before a senate committee.
She (Warren) actually requested last April that I attend another forum at the University of Massachusetts in Boston,” said Ploss, who calls Warren a fantastic role model and a woman she respects on so many levels. “She’s done some amazing things politically. But she also used to teach and, while traveling to the Capitol, I got to exchange some teaching stories with her.”
The two also took a photo together which got lots of love on social media.
“I was walking back to my hotel when they posted it and my phone had died,” said Ploss. “So by the time I got my phone back on, it had just sort of blew up, with friends sharing the post and people sharing really kind and encouraging words.”
As for attending the State of the Union address as Warren’s guest, Ploss described it as an experience that was both exhilarating and surreal.
“Watching the representatives, the senators, and (Supreme Court) justices walk in…and then the President come in…you just got this feeling like all of these people are so important, and me getting the opportunity to experience this was fantastic.”
Ploss, who has worked on the NEA’s Degrees Not Debt campaign, said being there for the president’s final State of the Union has energized her even more to go out and fight to make sure those who want to go to college can do so without racking up an insurmountable amount of debt.
“It has definitely re-ignited some passions and fires that I had for it,” said Ploss, who added she’s looking forward to more opportunities to tell her story. “Getting an opportunity to share my story on a statewide and national platform has allowed me to see there are people out there who want to listen, who want to know what students like me are struggling with in order to get our degrees and that is really encouraging.”