Born in the Bronx, a New York City borough she now represents in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent her younger years there and in neighboring Westchester County, where her parents moved when she was five. Coming of age during the Clinton presidency, she told Time Magazine that her entire generation soon became disillusioned by promises that were never kept. “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity,” she said. “I have never seen that, or experienced it, really, in my adult life.”
She also described herself as the “dorky kid” who did science projects on the environment. By the time she got to Boston University, she was focused on changing the world, studying both economics and international relations (via Time). In the fall of 2008, her life and the world changed when her father died of cancer and America’s financial systems began to collapse, leading the Ocasio-Cortez family into economic hardship like it did for so many others.