Twenty-two year old Doctorate aims for U.S. Presidency

A Samoan student with a newly minted Juris Doctorate Degree (Doctorate in Jurisprudence) and Masters in Public Affairs from Brigham Young University (B.Y.U.) is aiming to be President of the United States when she turns 35, in just 12 years.

Sala McCarthy-Stonex began studying for her Bachelor of Arts at 17, and took on Co-President of the Pacific Island Law Students Association while studying her post-graduate programmes at B.Y.U. in Utah. 

Just 22-years-old, she is now looking to begin her life after study but is on a strict timeline: to campaign for the presidency in 2032. 

“I’d be the first female, the first Polynesian, the first abroad-born citizen and hopefully the youngest,” she told Tagata Pasifika.

“P.O.T.U.S: the office in itself, the power that it has… I want to be a different type of leader for the new world that we have.”

And because she is stubborn, and has already told everyone she is campaigning for 2032, she can’t change her mind, she said.

“People know. I have to do it now.

“Women and minorities know so much and we see so much. So having a different perspective in politics to better represent the constituents of the U.S. but also the world, is what I see for the future.”

Ms. McCarthy-Stonex was born in Auckand, New Zealand and lived in Hawaii and Arizona during her childhood, where she spent time with the Native American reservations in Southern Utah. 

As a young woman, she sought out opportunities to travel and study abroad. She has been to 43 countries on scholarships and internship opportunities, including Myanmar, Rwanda, Uganda, Japan and Switzerland.

“I’m so determined to seek out these opportunities […] to the point where I just google international internships. I swear Google is my best friend.”

She told Tagata Pasifika her law degrees are more for the study than to pursue a legal career. When she returns to New Zealand, she hopes to work across mediation, and intercultural work. 

“I know that learning about the power of advocacy, and the knowledge and skills about the law, would help me even the industry playing field, which is filled with white men mostly,” she said.

“Grassroots efforts are amazing and I love being involved with the people. 

“Getting to see hands-on work and just being able to work and do it and see it right there is very rewarding.

“But if nothing changes at a higher level and you can’t get past the policies and the laws that are already there, then nothing is sustainable, and nothing can continue to change.”

She tributes her mother for driving her passion for education and instilling within her a desire to change the world.

Her mother was an advocate for minority cultures in America, including spending 15 years on the Southern Utah reservation working with the Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders there. 

She also kept her family connected to their New Zealand and Hawaii roots with regular visits and trips home.

“I’ve always had this drive within me that says you need the education, but you need to hurry up and get out there. Things are happening, people like you are needed,” Ms. McCarthy-Stonex said.

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