To contact any of the Minnesota Youth Council representatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, with the name of the council member in the subject line.
Congressional District 1
Zamzam Abdullahi, Sophomore at Rochester STEM Academy
“I joined the MYC because I saw that there needed to be a change in the education in the state of Minnesota, and if I just think someone else is going to do it, in the end nobody will. I can make a change in the world, but only if I step up to do it. There are many issues that I would like to solve while I’m in the Minnesota Youth Council, such as better education throughout Minnesota, making it easier to go to school for those who are struggling, and providing more extracurricular activities in schools.”
Salma Abdi, Sophomore at Rochester Century High School
“I’ve advocated for people in my own way and when I heard about MYC I knew I wanted to join it, so I can bring to attention what the thousands of young people in my community want because we’re the future.” Salma’s on her school’s Speech team and a member of the Student Government. Salma is also a member of her school’s Student Action Committee, a group that listens to students’ concerns when it comes to education and wellbeing at her school. Salma looks forward to focusing her MYC term on making every voice in the education system heard and collaborate with parents and teachers to implement policies that will be good for everyone across the state from public to private school. Salma’s passions are writing poetry and running.
Tripp Dow, Junior at Rochester Mayo High SchoolTripp believes that the ability to learn about and influence the world he lives in is a huge honor. Tripp loves philosophy and education, working through the deeper questions and helping people learn to think critically. Tripp has the privilege of being on the executive board for MHS Diversity Committee, where it’s his responsibility to moderate and create educational presentations to teach others about our diverse and beautiful planet. “I’m looking forward to participating this year in theatre, Honors Choir, and of course, Minnesota Youth Council!”
Shikha Kumar, Junior at Rochester Mayo High School
Passionate about having the voices of today’s youth in state government, Shikha joined the Minnesota Youth Council in hopes of improving youth representation on issues such education equity, the environment, and social justice. She hopes to address the ways policy affects youth in Minnesota and stand up for issues she finds important. Outside from the Youth Council, Shikha enjoys traveling, debate, and spending time with family and friends.
Congressional District 2
Harita Duggirala, Senior at Eastview High School
Harita is very excited to start her third year on the Minnesota Youth Council and is interested in promoting healthy living amongst youth, and is especially interested in addressing mental health. Harita spent her summer on the McKnight Young Leaders Steering Committee where she interviewed community leaders to help develop a vision for the 7-county metro area. She is also a research volunteer for CaringBridge, a nonprofit organization trying to find the role technology can play in providing spiritual support to patients and their loved ones. In her free time, Harita enjoys learning about iOS app development and hopes to build an app of her own. In school, Harita plays tennis and is on the Science Olympiad team.
Nina Baker, Senior at Lakeville South High School
Nina joined the Minnesota Youth Council to expand non-partisan civic education for Minnesota youth, as well as to uplift youth voices in all areas of Minnesota policy. She’s passionate about expanding political access and education to the people of Minnesota, as well as producing productive conversations between each area of the political spectrum. When she’s not working with the Minnesota Youth Council, Nina spends her time reading an excessive amount of fantasy books, researching philosophy for Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and obsessing over national politics. Eventually, she hopes to turn her political obsession into a Political Science career in academia.
Hasate Getu, Junior at Park High School
Hasate is very passionate about things that involve social justice. “I feel like many things in our society needs to get changed. One topic that I’ve been very interested in is gentrification.” Hasate’s goal after she graduates from high school is to go to college and get a degree in political science.
Claire Nelson, Senior at Farmington High School
Claire is an upcoming senior at Farmington High School. She is involved in a large variety of clubs, but her favorites are debate, speech, and student council. She likes reading, writing, and spending time with people. After high school, she plans to attend an accredited university and study communications.
Congressional District 3
Anushka Thorat, Senior at Edina High School
Anushka is incredibly excited for her second year on the Minnesota Youth Council. She’s deeply interested in public policy and was on the policy committee of the MYC last year. She served on Dean Philips’s Youth Advisory Committee this summer, and will be involved with her school’s debate team in congressional debate during the school year. Anushka is passionate about educational equity and amplifying youth voice in legislature.
Jacob Kiflu, 8th Grader at Seven Hills Prep Academy – Richfield
Jacob plays basketball and soccer and is a Black Belt in Kor-Am Taekwondo. Jacob is a high honors award winner from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Jacob believes that great leaders have a drive to better one’s community, the willingness to speak openly about one’s beliefs, and the courage to stand up and deliver a speech. Jacob wants to be a voice for people less fortunate than himself, and help them as much as he can.
Yazzmine Zaccardi, Senior at Coon Rapids High School
Yazzmine is involved in theatre productions at Coon Rapids High School. Being a part of a tight knit community has taught her valuable lessons in empathy, patience, and perseverance. One of the issues she is very passionate about it sexual education and health among Minnesota youth.
Olivia Schaefer, Junior at Chanhassen High School
As a first-year representative, Olivia is passionate about criminal justice reform, housing access, equity in education and treatment in schools, and environmental justice. Olivia serves as Captain of her school’s Debate Team, member of the Speech Team, a Board Member of the Multicultural Club, a member of the PRIDE Committee (PBIS) and Student Ambassador Program, and as Secretary of the Student Council. Through her experience in debate and MSHSL Discussion, Olivia encourages non-partisan discourse surrounding issues, “because at the end of the day, many issues in Minnesota impact everyone, regardless of their political alignment.” In the little free time she has, Olivia enjoys hiking and painting with her friends. She hopes to bring back learning and opportunities from the Council to her school and community.
Congressional District 4
Hufsa Ahmed, Senior at Mounds View High SchoolHufsa is a second-year Minnesota Youth Council representative and a senior at Mounds View High School. She loves involving herself in the community and helping others through co-curricular activities including DECA and H2O for Life. Hufsa is passionate about mental health awareness and increasing civic engagement among youth. She is excited for another amazing year!
Paula Akakpo, Sophomore at Math + Science Academy – Woodbury
At a young age, the news and history were always an influence on Paula. As she continued to research history, it caused her to be constantly aware of politics and past injustices. It inspired her to do something about all of the inequities in Minnesota and the United States. During her time at the Minnesota Youth Council, Paula hopes to address issues affecting youth such as food deserts, mental health, the education system, and gender equality. When she’s not obsessing about history, she can be found reading books, writing, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Adri Arquin, Sophomore at St. Paul Central High SchoolAdri joined the Minnesota Youth Council because he was disappointed with the lack of youth representation on issues which were directly impacting youth across the world. In his time on the Minnesota Youth Council, he will stand up to the big issues facing our state and our youth today. Issues like climate change, gun violence, and civil rights. He believes that by growing and building up the youth of our state we can help build a better future for all in Minnesota. He can often be seen in his spare time on the soccer field, in the choir room, or on his bike enjoying the great state we live in.
Congressional District 5
Bryan Forsman, Senior at Minneapolis Washburn High School
Bryan has served on the Minnesota Youth Council for the past four years. He enjoys reading, writing, video games and mechanical work. He is passionate about gun control, free speech and the environment
Emily Geier, Sophomore at St. Anthony High School
Emily is a hard working, enthusiastic student at St. Anthony High School. Emily loves to go camping, hiking, biking, running, being with her family, playing tennis, and practicing karate.
Juwaria Jama, Sophomore at Spring Lake Park High School
Juwaria started her first ever organization; Eyes Open which is a youth led activism group. As a group they’ve held a walk out in protest of gun violence, voiced opinions on matters affecting their school, and raised more than $12,000 to aid Syrian refugees. Juwaria is very passionate about letting the youth be heard, standing your ground, and allowing a safe place for youth to learn. She’s excited to work with MYC and sharpen her skills as a leader and learn and interact with those around her.
Liv Steen, Junior at Hopkins High School
Liv is Social Action Vice President for her Synagogue Temple Israel (of Minneapolis), and is Co-Leader of Royals United, a student-led mental health group. She strives to find a connection, and ways to take action every day, from poetry to music to clubs she participates in. Liv believes that a leader is someone down to earth, connected, and understanding of what it is like to be in another person’s shoes.
Congressional District 6
Genavieve Billet, Junior at Watertown High School
Genavieve is most passionate about social issues including gender equality, racial equity, and the protection of social rights of the LGBTQIA community. Gena is also involved in studio dance and playing clarinet and saxophone in her high school band.
Brandon Wolinski, Junior at Rogers High School
Wolinski has always been inspired by those who have advocated for the under represented, and has joined the Youth Council for that reason. He views issues like women’s right, police brutality, biased judicial practices, and corporate intervention to be under represented issues. Beyond simple issues, he views most modern activism as far too politically divisive which is why wished to encourage more politicians to find middle-ground solutions.
Nicholas Armstrong, Junior at Blaine High School
Nicholas is very interested in tackling issues that matter to him the most; gun violence, equal opportunities in schools, climate change, LGBTQIA+ rights, and an equitable and fair justice system. Nicholas enjoys being involved and is determined to do what he can to make Minnesota, and the country, a better place for all Americans. He enjoys a variety of music; jazz, soul, R&B, pop, etc. and considers himself a connoisseur of movies, and is a self-proclaimed “nerd” at heart.
Boatemaa Agyeman Mensah, Senior at BreckBoatemaa loves to be involved in her community and, as a first-year representative, is especially passionate about topics surrounding social justice. When she’s not participating in the youth council, Boatemaa might be found at her school performing duty’s as a member of Breck’s integrity council, student action council, or fulfilling responsibilities as student body president. She also enjoys acting as a tri-sport captain and a student leader for her school’s black affinity group. Boatemaa is hoping to make a change in her community through racial advocacy and feels that the MN Youth Council may be the first step to creating a lasting impact.
Congressional District 7
Robert Johnson, Senior at Voyageurs Expeditionary High School (Bemidji)
“A few issues I am passionate about are community outreach, politics, education, and equality in schools and across Minnesota in general.”
Congressional District 8
Ria Edberg, Sophomore at Mora Junior/High School
Ria is a third year returning representative and loves the MYC because it allows her to share youth voice and gives her an outlet into a different world! Ria loves cats, music, tennis, and track. I am active in many activities, like 3 sports, 4H, FFA, theatre, and MLWP. She can’t wait to learn more while on the MYC!
Hannah Erickson, Junior at Greenway High School
“I consider myself a very hard working and driven person. I love educating others, and I want to learn as much about the world as possible. I’m passionate about protecting the environment, raising awareness of and preventing human trafficking, and providing a safe learning environment for all students.”
Helen Clanaugh, Senior at Duluth Denfeld High School
Helen wants to major in Political Science with minors in Environmental Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She has been involved in advocacy and organizing for a little under 2 years- her first campaign was working as an intern/campaign manager for State Rep. Liz Olson’s campaign team. She fell in love with this work and the mission that the purpose is to better the lives of all people no matter their backgrounds. Helen is the Social Media Lead for Students Demand Action, and is on the TakeAction MN Duluth Core Team. Helen is truly inspired every day by her fellow young folks who are currently making change and will continue to make change. She is ecstatic to get to work with the Minnesota Youth Council and start engaging young people all across the state in this awesome work. In her free time, she likes to be outside, play guitar, brew kombucha, knit, read, laugh, and play with her dog and cats.
Lexis Gerard, Junior at Cloquet High School
Lexis joined the Minnesota Youth Council with aspirations of making beneficial changes to Minnesota’s educational system and with goals to help tackle the stigma of mental illness. She is also a strong advocate for youth having a voice within their communities. When she is not doing homework, you can usually find her at sporting events, camping with friends and family, or in a hammock at Jay Cooke!
At Large Representatives
Weston Loughmiller, Junior at Fairmont High School
Weston heard about the youth council because he was browsing the internet looking for a way to get more involved. He stumbled across the Minnesota Youth Council website and decided to fill out an application. He doesn’t listen to music very often but when he does it is often what is on the radio. He is a huge fan of Star Wars and Marvel.
Mimi Le, Senior at Eastview High School
Mimi was inspired to be on the council because she wanted to empower and uplift the youth in her community and all of the youths in Minnesota. Her goal in life is to be a lawyer and fight to put an end to the exploitation of undocumented workers in America. In her free time she loves to watch Key and Peele. Mimi believes that her best quality is that she has an open mind.
Cole Hartman, Senior at Wayzata High School
This will be Cole’s 4th year on the Minnesota Youth Council, he has enjoyed working with peers to create a change in Minnesota. Cole loves that he can be a voice for the youth of Minnesota while influencing policy with issues that relate to the Minnesota youth. Cole also enjoys playing racquetball on a national level and ultimate frisbee on his high school team. Cole discovered his passion for civic engagement through a service learning project addressing bullying within his school, this led to a Red Wagon Award and the opportunity to be a youth emcee at the National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.
Ava Kalenze, Junior at St. Anthony Village High School
Ava is thrilled to be starting her third year on the MYC. With a growing understanding of policy and experience with local and state government, Ava is hoping to include more young people in discussions at every level — in their own schools and communities, at the Capitol, and everywhere in between. She is fiercely passionate about resiliency and ensuring our communities can sustain the following generations, which means holding establishments accountable for their impact on the environment. Ava also is an advocate of affordable, accessible post-secondary education, comprehensive mental health support in schools, and closing the gender pay-gap. Ava spent her summer working on the McKnight Younger Leaders Steering Committee and working with students in her community to provide the district a white paper outlining the needs of the student body. When not at the Capitol, Ava can be found playing her trumpet in the Concert Band or marching band, being captain of the swim team, and studying. She loves to be outside, watch movies, travel, see live music, take pictures, drink coffee, go to Target with her buddies, and sleep (when she has time).