Speaker Series: The Dance of Politics


Shariq Ahmad ’07, chief of staff for state assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, came to Edison High School on February 6 to discuss the steps he took to secure the job he has now. 

Ahmed graduated from EHS thirteen years ago, with the dreams of making a difference in the world. He delegated in Model UN, pole-vaulted in track, and carried out mock trials within the school. 

Upon graduation, Ahmed attended Rutgers University as a political science major and ran the model UN team. Contrary to popular belief, he believes that his major did not help him obtain a secure position in politics. Instead, he believes working hard matters more than any major. 

To gain political experience, he interned at the United Nations Foundation. He learned that interning is the best way to gain connections. He worked on political campaigns and in the Senate with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who Ahmed distinguishes as one of the smartest people in the Senate, despite his shortcomings recently put on trial.

Ultimately, Ahmed decided to not work within Congress despite interning there. He wanted to be able to quickly create change, and with the two political factions constantly arguing, he felt he would not be able to do so. As a result, he joined the New Jersey Assembly and is now the Chief of Staff for 18th District Assemblyman Karabinchak. He works on school funding and believes that the system is designed to hurt towns like Edison, districts with high populations and little funding.  

He aspires to be able to help others and make the world a safer place filled with justice. As a minority, he knows the way it feels to face discrimination, especially during campaigning season when he seeks to solicit favor door-to-door.

But in the long run, Ahmed needs good, kind people to join politics and help him make the world a better place, because he feels politics has too many people with their own agendas. To him, past experience does not matter in the world of politics, only the drive to take a stance and fight for it. And, after this session, EHS students appeared inspired and better informed to enter the complicated but impactful world of politics.