Meet Alexander de Avila: California Native, Fiction Writer, & Pundit Of the Week


Alexander de Avila is committed to the idea that there is no monopoly on who can solve the political problems of the day. He's interested in exploring how technology, government and citizens will interact in the future, and as PolicyMic pundit of the week, eagerly shares his thoughts on why more millennials need to join public debate.

As part of the "pundit of the week" column, we spotlight one standout PolicyMic-er to share personal experiences with our community, and pose one never-been-asked question to a staff member.

This week, a number of staff answered Alexander's "unusual" question. You're in for a treat. Check out last week's Q&A with Erin Lahman.

About Alexander: Alexander is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College’s school of government in California. He speaks four languages, and enjoys writing fiction. His areas of interest include international politics, immigration reform, and exploring how technology, government, and citizens will interact in the future. He spends his time between Los Angeles and D.C.

Caira Conner (CC): When and why did you get involved with PolicyMic?

Alexander de Avila (AA): I decided to get involved in PolicyMic because I think our generation has too many political challenges to solve and not enough voices engaging in public debate. PolicyMic is the best place for millennials to start wrangling with how to solve the issues that previous generations have left us with. That’s why I’m here.

CC: A number of pundits have mentioned they'd like to connect with more people interested in their particular hot-button issues. Has PolicyMic been an effective platform for your cause? 

AA: I think PolicyMic has helped connect me to other people interested in the same issues, but there's always room for improvement. However, one of the best things about PolicyMic is that it's a great platform to both argue for your cause and learn more about it from other like-minded members of the community

For anyone looking to get involved in the political arena — not just millenials — PolicyMic is an excellent place to start because it's not only about reporting the news. PolicyMic is dedicated to spurring debate, something we desperately need more of in America today.

CC: You're a proud Californian. Though we look to bring in pundits far and wide, the bulk of our community resides on the east coast. How can PolicyMic encourage membership outside of our D.C. and New York hubs?

AA: To me, if you really want to encourage membership of any kind, especially in the political sphere, there is nothing more powerful than face-to-face interaction. PolicyMic could use some West Coast ambassadors going to the many universities up and down the state of California. Californians have a lot to contribute to American politics, and California has historically been a testing ground for solutions to our nation’s political and social puzzles du jour.

CC: Any tips for new pundits looking to make the most of their PolicyMic user experience? What's one ideal outcome that could result from your using PolicyMic as a platform?

AA: Get in the arena. Jump into researching, writing, and debating, regardless of your political stance. Don’t be afraid of criticism, negative comments, or messing up – it means you’re doing your job. 

For me an ideal outcome from PolicyMic would be to be able to gain enough experience as a writer to be able to contribute to political debate and continue writing at a high level.

CC: Let's go offline. What do you like to do when you're not PolicyMic'in'?

I love spending time with family and friends. They really keep me ticking. When I need alone time I enjoy competitive endurance sports— running, swimming, etc. For me, competing = living.

CC: Your turn. What's a question you have for the PolicyMic staff?

AA: If PolicyMic were a blockbuster movie, and the office was the setting, what would the title of the movie be? Also, please give a brief description and channel your inner Morgan Freeman voice.

T. Chase Meacham, Breaking GIF. 

In a world where the GIFs fly free and the lists run long, where the Times gets hacked and the Post gets bought, one fledgling start-up shows that the kids who don't care about the news, care about the news. This is PolicyMic. We are young. We read. We're here to stay. Here's 10 GIFed-out reasons why. (In other words, why I will never ever, ever be in charge of writing movie trailer scripts).

Alex Marin, Millennials Strike Back! 

These fearless 21st century muckrackers started a media revolution in the height of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression to build a millennial digital empire against all odds, changing not only the way people shared the news but also the news themselves.

Nick Baker, The Neverending News Cycle. 

A cast of scrappy young journalists crouches over their computers. As sore backs and eye strain threaten to drag them down, they march on in their quest for the ultimate prize— winning the Internet. Hours, days, and months blend together as our protagonists perfect headlines, publish articles, and obsessively scan the news. In a riveting climax, a fight breaks out over the final cup of espresso. How does the movie end? You'll have to keep following PolicyMic to find out.

Ben Cosman, My Lunchbreak With PolicyMic. 

Thirty or so sitting in the office, staring dead-eyed at computer screens, blinking away the seconds until death. Every so often someone says something aloud to the office, receives a couple grunts of approval, and then returns to being absorbed into the screens that give off that sickly glow. Just as it's almost too late to save them from melting into one with their desk chairs, an ugly naked man comes into view in the hotel across from us, and wakes everybody out of their Internet-induced comas. So thank you, naked man. You save us all.

Elena Sheppard, War of the Words.

In a world where politics, culture, identity, and grammar combine, one website battles through a changing media landscape to empower a generation.

Nina Ippolito, March of the Content.

There is a mysterious ritual that dates back thousands of years. No living writer has survived, except the pundit. They have words, but also opinions. And every day, they embark on a nearly impossible journey to be published online. Their articles will march to a place so extreme, it supports no other contributors. In the harshest queue on earth, love finds a way. This is the story of one website's journey to bring millennial's voices into the world. March ... of the content.

Jordan Fraade, O Pundit, Where Art Thou? 

If you want more of an action/adventure vibe, I'd say Grammar Cops 2: Analytics Boogaloo.

I won't even try to do a description, since I don't really have an inner Morgan Freeman voice. I can do Brando if I'm having a good day, but that's about it.

Chris Mies, Blue Mountain Hop-Scotch Lolli Flower 

Royal Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius is betrayed when the emperor's ambitious son, Commodus, who murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his emperor.

CC: Alexander, thank you for your insights and for asking such an absurd staff question. We love having you in the PolicyMic community.

For more news on Alexander, follow him on Twitter: @AlexdeAvilaCA