Senior Jennifer Lambert is a Political Science major with minors in Communications and Public Administration. She is also the author of a book, “Voter Z.”
“Writing a book has always been on my bucket list,” Lambert said. “I just did not think it would happen when I was 20 years old.”
“Voter Z”is a non-fiction book on current political events. It explores the formation of Generation Z-ers’ political identities and shares how this generation is redefining engagement with American politics. Set against the backdrop of major historical events from the Iraq War to COVID-19, it features interviews with young voters, activists and leaders all over the country. The book explores different facets of Gen Z’s identity, including race, gender, sexuality, social media presence, political socialization and partisan loyalties.
“I have always loved to write, so I started to combine that with my interest in politics,” Lambert said.
Writing for The Odyssey's breaking news section, Lambert was discovered by Professor Eric Koester at Georgetown University. At the time, Koester was expanding his book writing program to help college students and professionals across the country publish books based on their passions.
Lambert decided to focus her book on how major historical events have shaped the political beliefs of Gen Z. It also explores the ways that social media has increased youth mobilization, youth activism, social media’s role with Gen Z and how it allows youth to mobilize at such high rates. While she was writing the book, the pandemic was at its peak, Black Lives Matter protests were sweeping across the countries, the election took place and the Jan. 6 insurrection occurred.
“I felt like this book could also serve as a time capsule of the unique historical and political moment that was 2020 through early 2021,” Lambert said. “The nature of politics is that it’s constantly changing.”
The book contains copious amounts of research and first-hand accounts. Lambert began her process in Jan. 2020 by reaching out to young people on social media who were actively engaged with politics.
“I devoted about 10 hours a week just to book research while taking five classes,” Lambert said. “I treated my book like a job once I started doing workshops with the Creator Institute in May of 2020. I’m not going to lie, it was very difficult and time consuming. Writing a book while being a student and working another job is not for the faint of heart.”
The process was not entirely easy. Lambert experienced many difficulties along the way, including self-doubt and negative criticism.
“When you write about a controversial topic like politics, you receive a lot of criticism,” Lambert said. “Some of it is valid, but sometimes I’ve been attacked based on my beliefs, age and gender. I came to realize that this book is bigger than me and any hate comments I might receive.”
When asked what she wanted to leave readers with, Lambert responded with hope. One of the last questions she asked each of her interviewees was: “Are you driven more by hope, or by fear?” Only two respondents said fear.
“Our current political environment can feel very scary, but the Gen Z-ers I talked to had a relentless sense that they could make this country a better place,” Lambert said. “I wanted my readers to walk away feeling hopeful about the future of this country, especially at a time when there is so much uncertainty.”
Now as a published author and soon-to-be-graduate, Lambert has a piece of advice for underclassmen.
“I would tell underclassmen to make the most out of their college experience because it is never too soon to start chasing your dreams,” Lambert said. “I never would have thought that I would publish a book while I was still in college, but I learned so much about myself and the subject matter through the process.”