From Sullivan Scholar to Alumni Award Recipient

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 2:28 PM PDT

Hopefully by now you’ve heard about this year’s Alumni Award recipients include Shasti Conrad, ’07, our Outstanding Recent Alumna Award winner.  Shasti Conrad, ’07, is a rising star who leads with compassion and honesty. Recognized as a dynamic change maker, Shasti’s work is guided by diversity and inclusion.  

A sociology and international studies major while at Seattle University, Shasti cites both the Sullivan Scholars and Honors programs as the highlight of her years at Seattle U.

Following graduation, she became a field organizer for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, and with support from another Sullivan Scholar, Alyson Palmer ‘06, Shasti joined President Obama’s first class of White House interns. She parlayed that internship to a full-time role in the West Wing with longtime Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, eventually overseeing a policy portfolio that included youth violence in the United States.

“Recognizing, creating and valuing meaningful communities has proven a valuable lesson, one I learned during my time at Seattle U,” Shasti says. “I brought that with me to the White House and take it with me wherever I go.”

Following the 2012 presidential campaign, Shasti went to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School to earn her master’s in public affair and co-chaired the Students and Alumni of Color network. She also oversaw an annual conference on race relations. As a Princeton Graduate Fellow, she seized an opportunity to work with The Malala Fund, eventually travelling with Malala Yousafzai and her family to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, an experience she calls “transformative.”

Upon her graduation in 2015, Shasti joined a creative social impact agency focused on social justice campaigns, including Art for Amnesty, the Environmental Defense Fund and the United Nations.

Returning home to Washington, Shasti joined the national advance team for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Following the 2016 election, she answered a call from friends and colleagues to run for office herself, a longshot bid for Washington State’s 37th Legislative District Senate seat. A late entry to the race and the youngest, she surprised many by joining the top three vote getters. Seattle U alumna Rebecca Saldana, ’99, won the seat. Local leaders and media took note of this “national leader now home to serve the community she loves.”

Since then, Shasti has kept busy with community efforts, such as her elected position as State Committeewoman to the Washington State Democratic Party for the 37th Legislative District. She is also supporting the work of another Nobel Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, as the U.S. campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign, which aims to be the largest youth mobilization in history to end child labor and trafficking.

Committed to Seattle University, Shasti has been a mentor to other Sullivan Scholars, students and alumni, served as alumni representative for the India Initiative and partnered with Professor Jodi O’Brien, PhD, on a diversity and inclusion project for the University of Memphis.

“Shasti is dedicated to helping other people and correcting the systems that disenfranchise,” says DJ Weidner, ’07, a fellow Sullivan Scholar. “She is an advocate, leader and a perfect example of a person dedicated to others, fighting for a just and humane world.”

Shasti’s ability to bring people together doesn’t stop with her career. Shasti is spearheading the Sullivan Scholar’s reunion taking place on May 5 during Reunion Weekend.  All Sullivan Scholars old and new are invited back to campus to share their favorite memories of the program, connect with their classmates and current students and discover how the program has continued to grow. You can learn more about the Sullivan Scholar Reunion here.

We hope you’ll also join us to celebrate Shasti at the Alumni Awards on May 4 at the Seattle Four Seasons Hotel.