One summer night, Erica Wood’s father came to her room demanding she come downstairs to watch the news.
It was a strange request for a middle school student. That was the night Ronald Reagan died.
Her father stressed the importance of the event, saying that one of the most influential men of the century had died.
“He legitimately interrupted what we were doing to watch this day that he considered historic,” Wood recalled.
Wood's father was a financial planner for campaigns and instilled in his daughter the importance of public service through government involvement.
Wood applied this enthusiasm during her senior year of high school, when she interned for her district congressman and became a neighborhood party leader.
That year, she spent her time planning financial and fundraising dinners, calling people to ask for donations, entering data and simply asking people in the community if they were registered to vote.