Political Science Alumna Finds Passion in the People


With four UCF degrees and one on the way, UCF Political Science alumna, Anna Eskamani, ’12, ’15, has long time found a home at UCF.

After graduating in 2012 with two bachelor degrees in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies, Eskamani went on to earn two master’s degrees in both Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from UCF, graduating in 2015. She is also one of four proud Knights in her family.

“My dad graduated in 1994 when I was four years old, and as a kid I would often find myself rolling down the Reflection Pond with my siblings or running through the library in search of children’s books,” said Eskamani. “These experiences were foundational for me and my family and today there are four Eskamani alumni from UCF, including my Dad, brother, and twin sister.”

At UCF, Eskamani discovered the value of self-efficacy, what she describes to be the extent or strength of one’s belief in their own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Her Political Science degree allowed her to broaden this concept, pushing her to become a critical thinker and exposing her to varying viewpoints that inspired her to consider new perspectives and theories.

Photo Credit: Bernard Wilchusky

Photo Credit: Bernard Wilchusky

Eskamani exercised this virtue outside of the classroom. She became involved with the UCF Arboretum, rose in the ranks of the Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, and served as the Vice President for the Iranian Student Organization. However, one particular organization helped Eskamani truly find her passion.

“I ultimately found my niche within the College Democrats at UCF,” said Eskamani. “I became involved with our local chapter in the summer of 2010 and became their Vice President in 2011-2012 along with my twin sister who served as President. That same year I served as Women’s Caucus Chair for Florida College Democrats, the state arm.”

With that, Eskamani would continue to be a voice for people. Shortly before her graduation, Eskamani was hired as a Development Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando. There, she played a key role in expanding the organization’s fundraising and public affairs efforts quickly rising to senior management. Last year her local affiliate merged with two other Planned Parenthood organization’s creating the 22 county-wide Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Eskamani played a key role in this merger, and she now serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Field Operations, overseeing the organization’s advocacy, legislative, and communications work.

Eskamani speaks at press conference in Lakeland, FL during the 2016 Legislative Session outside Senator Kelli Stargel’s District Office. Photo Credit: The Ledger

Eskamani speaks at press conference in Lakeland, FL during the 2016 Legislative Session outside Senator Kelli Stargel’s District Office. Photo Credit: The Ledger

People are my passion,” Eskamani explained. “It’s that moment when someone tells me that I’ve had a positive impact on their day or when I’ve helped to make a difficult moment just a little bit easier. Those moments define my work.”

This fall Eskamani will begin pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Affairs from UCF while working as an adjunct professor with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, teaching introductory courses online. “I am thrilled for this opportunity,” said Eskamani. “Especially for the chance to give back to a program that has given so much to me.”

Eskamani gives current students and UCF alumni this simple take away for post-graduate life: “Make sure you are happy with who you are becoming. The rest of life will fall into place.”

Below, Eskamani shared more on her time at UCF, her career, and fun facts about herself.

What is your best UCF memory?

Too many to keep track of! My many late nights with the College Democrats at UCF will always be my favorite. Prepping for direct actions, campaigning on issues that we cared about, registering voters, and building power have had a long standing impact on the person I am today.

The first campaign I independently launched was “Keep PBS in Orlando” in 2011. At the time our local PBS station was WMFE Channel 24 and on April 1st WMFE announced that they would be selling their PBS station to a Texas-based religious network.

Growing up in a middle class family meant that for me, PBS was my connection to the world and I refused for families like my own to not have access to high-quality, objective, and educational programming. I took action and worked with colleagues to launch a campaign to stop the sale of our PBS station and encourage UCF to become the community’s new flagship station. The campaign was successful and today WUCF-TV is the region’s provider of public broadcasting.

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

You’ve got to lose a couple fights to win, and at Planned Parenthood we are up against a lot– especially in Florida’s aggressive political climate. My most memorable experiences are finding common ground with unique partners, inspiring elected officials to stand up for reproductive health, and building power among our volunteers and patients. This work is rooted in compassion, and my heart is always full.

What do you do for fun?

My favorite getaway spot is Sebastian Inlet State Park located right along the Brevard and Indian River County line. Anything near the water I find to be incredibly comforting. Good company helps.

What is your favorite movie? Those who really know me will know the answer to this question: Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. I grew up as a huge Star Wars fan, with Han Solo being my first ever crush.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”


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