Name: Clay Aiken
Place of birth: Raleigh
Career: Singer and activist
Education: Bachelor's degree from UNC Charlotte in special education
Previous elected offices: None
Aiken has worked as a political activist since shortly after he rose to fame in 2003 through "American Idol." His most frequent causes have been supporting autism awareness, gay rights and access to education in impoverished countries.
He was appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2006 by President George W. Bush. He also co-founded the National Inclusion Project, a charitable foundation that provides summer camps for children with autism and awards volunteers who work with disabled children.
He also worked with UNICEF from 2004-08, traveling internationally to raise money and awareness for childhood education in countries stricken by war or poverty, such as Uganda, Afghanistan, Somalia and Mexico. He also traveled to Indonesia to call for efforts and funds to restart schools after the tsunami of 2004, which killed more than 200,000 people.