FREMONT (TIP): Ishan Shah is the first Indian American ever to be appointed to Ohlone College’s board. Shah, 21, a Mission San Jose High graduate and former Ohlone student, bested two other finalists to nab the appointment. “Ishan brings the perspective of being a recent student at Ohlone College,” board President Garrett Yee said. “That’s a perspective that none of the other board members can bring.”
While barely old enough to legally enter a bar, he already is a political veteran. In 2009, he ran for City Council at age 16. A year later, he ran for an open Ohlone College board seat. He lost both races but gained valuable experience and a reputation as a solid candidate with fundraising abilities beyond his years. He also caught the eye of local and state leaders. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the California Student Aid Commission, on which he served while studying political science at the University of Southern California.
He also has served on the Alameda County Human Relations Commission. “Ever since (losing the Ohlone election in 2010), a significant part of my life has been spent on fighting for students,” he said. “I think the board saw in me someone who could say to the student body, ‘I get what you’re going through.'” Shah plans to commute between Fremont and Los Angeles, splitting time between Ohlone College and USC until he earns his bachelor’s degree later this year.