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, Junior at Rochester STEM Academy
Zamzam joined the Minnesota Youth Council with hopes to become more involved in youth groups around the nation. Going to a charter school for the majority of her life has made her very passionate about education equity. She feels that there isn’t enough representation of youth around the state, especially in matters pertaining to youth. She is also very passionate about the issues that surround accessible health care and housing around the state. Zamzam is also a member of her high schools fencing club.
Salma Abdi, Junior at Rochester Century High School
Salma’s passionate about about climate justice, educational equity, and public health. As the Southern MN co-lead of the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike(MNYCS), Salma advocates for climate justice across District 1 and the entire state focusing on the intersectionality of the climate crisis and other issues. Her deep interest in the healthcare field has led to her interest in global health and as the Co-President of her school’s UNICEF club she gets firsthand knowledge of her privilege to live in Rochester. Also, as the student body secretary of her school, she wants to make sustainable change when it comes to educational equity in her school district. If Salma’s not organizing, you can find her writing poetry and running.
Shikha Kumar, Senior at Rochester Mayo High School
Passionate about equitable systems in public education, healthcare, and housing access, Shikha looks to amplify youth and marginalized voices during her time on the MYC to ensure that decisions are made effectively and fairly. Outside of the MYC, Shikha serves as the Co-Chair of the Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission and as a youth representative on the UNICEF USA National Council. In her free time, Shikha can be found reading new books, baking, or spending time with friends and family.
Kaycie Brookens, Junior at Fairmont Jr/Sr High School
Being an involved and driven student, Kaycie is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the MYC, and represent youth from a more rural community whose voices often go unheard. Kaycie hopes to advocate for an equitable learning environment for all students, especially regarding issues like mental health, special education, and socioeconomic disparities. Kaycie enjoys being involved with her schools music programs and tennis team, and being a passionate public speaker, participating in speech, debate, mock trial, and theatre.
Congressional District 2
Sahasra Molleti, Freshman at Eastview High School
Sahasra enjoys participating in a wide variety of activities such as volleyball, student council, debate, and more. She is passionate about women’s rights, increasing education opportunities, helping the homeless, and taking care of the environment.
Rhea Rajvansh, Junior at Eastview High School
Rhea joined the Minnesota Youth Council because she wanted to see more youth representation on issues that directly impact youth. Rhea is especially passionate on issues such as womxns rights, mental health, and climate change. Outside of Youth Council, Rhea enjoys debate/speech, traveling, and running.
Isabelle Wong, Senior at Apple Valley High School
Isabelle been involved in politics since interning with Former Representative Erin Maye Quade in 2017 when she was 14. From there, she continued to intern for politicians and campaigns as well as becoming involved with her school district’s legislative advisory council. After many meetings with grown adults, Isabelle decided to join her own kind when she began to organize with MN Youth Climate Strike as the logistics director. Her goal has always been to ensure justice prevails and oppressed voices are heard. When she’s not on zoom calls, meetings or at school, Isabelle enjoys fencing, theatre and most of all talking to her friends or family over Boba!
Eric Li, Sophomore at Eagan High School
Eric joined the Minnesota Youth Council because he thought there was a lack of youth representation for issues specifically the school to prison pipeline, school environment, and updated education. Outside the Youth Council, he has been volunteering for Senator Jim Carlson for this election year and is part of the Women’s Empowerment Club as well as his school’s Multicultural Student Union where they look to expand equality throughout their school. He is also part of his school’s Speech and Debate Team and will be volunteering for the Minnesota Urban Debate League to help teach debate to schools throughout the Twin Cities. In his spare time, he loves playing tennis with his friends, playing with his dog, and watching his favorite TV show, The Office.
Congressional District 3
Jacob Kiflu, Freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School
Jacob is returning as a second year MYC member. He is interested in issues regarding education, juvenile justice, and youth voice. Outside of school, he plays basketball and soccer. He also plays Overwatch competitively.
Sage Hartman, Freshman at Wayzata High School
Sage is passionate about environmental awareness. Sage cares deeply about racial equity and inclusion in education. Sage states, “I joined youth council because I want to make a difference within my school and Minnesota as a whole. Ever since I heard about Minnesota Youth Council I’ve wanted to join so I can give back to my community by using my voice to work towards change.”
Kyndal Witherspoon, Junior at Breck School
Kyndal serves on the Student Council and is co-chair of the Student Diversity and Inclusion Council, where she works within her community to advocate for the equality for students of color, and to ensure that the voices of students of color is heard by the administration. She has led Black History Month chapels, written newsletters, and even directed a film on the experience of black students at a predominately white institution, all to inform others and bring to light the issues that students of color face at her school. Over the past few months, her interest has been piqued in finding ways for her voice to be far reaching and help students all over the state of Minnesota.
Rhys Wiloughby, Sophomore at The Blake School
Bio coming soon!
Congressional District 4
Paula Akakpo, Junior at Math + Science Academy – Woodbury
Paula has always been incredibly passionate about history and how it affects us today. As she continued to research, it made her aware of past and current injustices, which lead her to join the Minnesota Youth Council. During her time at the MYC, Paula hopes to address issues affecting young people such as the School to Prison Pipeline, racial equity, and the education system. During her free time, she can be found reading books, writing, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Adri Arquin, Junior at St. Paul Central High SchoolAdri became a MYC Rep because of a noticeable lack of youth and youth of color in leadership spaces in Minnesota. Along with working with the MYC, Adri has focused his efforts on organizing against environmental racism and the climate crisis. Currently he is the lead of the Twin Cities Climate Strike, as well as doing work with COPAL MN on the ties between migration due to the climate crisis and BIPOC communities in Minnesota. Outside of that, he can often be seen on a field with a soccer ball at his feet or singing with friends.
Hailey Dickinson, Senior at North High School, North St. PaulHailey (She/Her) is a youth advocate that works in both advocacy and political spaces to address the issues of sexual violence, gun violence and various issues impacting youth, most recently the inaccessibility of unemployment benefits for high school students. Another core aspect of her work is ensuring that youth voice is heard at the capitol and in other decision-making spaces in Minnesota. She strongly believes that young people need to be leading in these spaces, especially around the issues that directly impact them. She joined the MYC in an effort to further address the lack of youth leadership on these issues. In addition to her work as an advocate, she is also a writer, and the Founder and Executive Director of Lipstick and Rage, an online publication that works to uplift the voices of women and activists. Outside of advocacy and her publication, Hailey is a photographer and PSEO student at St. Cloud State University.
Laichia Vang, Junior at Roseville Area High SchoolLaichia is a Co-Chair of Youth Executive Board, a multi-district group of high school students to influence change, learn about social and political advocacy, and create year long service-learning projects. She also is an active member of Becoming Organizers Becoming Advocates (BOBA), an Asian Minnesotan youth leadership program to learn advocacy and organizing skills, and create solutions to inspire change. Laichia joined MYC because she continues to notice the lack of representation and diversity in positions of influence, but she aspires to use her background and voice to bring justice for marginalized communities. During her time in MYC, she hopes to address the importance and need of ethnic studies, comprehensive sex education, criminal justice reform, LGBTQIA rights, climate change, and among other issues. Beyond her activism, Laichia oftenly participates in theatre, reads novels, listens to KPOP, and searches through Netflix and Hulu to find something new to watch.
Congressional District 5
Nacia Griffin, Freshman at Hopkins North Junior High
Nacia is very passionate about education and student engagement, equal rights, and youth/teen mental health issues. She joined MYC because she saw an opportunity to make a change on a larger scale. In her free time she enjoys playing volleyball, violin, and spending time with family and friends.
Juwaria Jama, Junior at Spring Lake Park High School
JJ is the state lead for the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike, Youthprise ambassador, and a 3rd year youth representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. JJ is passionate about environmental justice, education reform, and most importantly police and prison abolition. Aside from organizing, JJ is an avid poet and spoken word performer.
Bolu Ilelaboye, Junior at DeLaSalle High School
Bolu is passionate about equitable education and eliminating the Achievement Gap in Minnesota, public health and mental health, and the environment. He had the opportunity to conduct research on the STEM Achievement Gap in Minnesota under Keith Ellison and propose policies that could help reduce the disparity through the Congressional Student Advisory Council. He mentors underrepresented minority students in STEM fields to get them interested in STEM and to increase the number of people of color in STEM fields. He also enjoys playing chess and loves to share it by teaching chess to underserved children in Minneapolis and Nigeria. In school he is the Student Body Co-President and Co-President for DeLaSalle’s Black.Liberated.Knowledgable (B.L.K.) Multicultural Student Union, and he uses his roles to make sure that his school is an inclusive environment for all. He chose to serve on the Minnesota Youth Council because he believes that the youth’s voices should be heard while policies that directly impact them are being made.
Alexis Moracco, Junior at St. Anthony Village High School
Alexis is part of Youth in Government (YIG) and also enjoys playing soccer! She is excited to serve on the council so she can help bring youth voices into an area where their ideas and concerns can have an impact on both the present and the future.
Congressional District 6
Genavieve Billet, Senior 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.
Nicholas Armstrong, Senior at Blaine High School
Nicholas serves as the Vice President of the Blaine Student Council, is a tutor for Bengal Junction, and is a hardworking AP student. Nick is active in politics across the metro, especially the northern suburbs. Nick is passionate about youth voice and youth leadership. Nick advocates for mental health support to fight the ongoing mental health crisis that affects high school students. Nick is a champion for gun violence prevention and has been fighting for gun violence prevention legislation since 2018 where he, and other students from across Minnesota, led protests at the state capitol to call for action on the issue. Nick also advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, inclusive sex education, and climate change policy. When Nick isn’t at school or working for a campaign, he works at his local McDonald’s as a shift manager. Nick enjoys camping with family, listening to a wide array of music, reading about economics and politics, and during his free time he’s likely reading an NPR article.
Salam Hijazi, Junior at Coon Rapids High School
Salam loves to read, listen to classical music, bake, and make new friends. She is so excited to be a part of the MYC this year so that she can learn more on how to become a proactive member of the Minnesota youth and help others in my district and outside as well! One of the biggest issues that she is very passionate and vocal about is the Israeli apartheid. As a Palestinian whose experienced first-hand Israeli oppression, she is passionate about providing people with a better understanding on the situation as well as advocating for a better curriculum on the topic in schools. Another topic that Salma is really ardent about is climate change. Seeing how harmful our actions are to the earth made her want to learn how she can reduce her carbon footprint and help others find out what they can do to help. She is excited to learn about other matters from her peers through the MYC and how we can fight for change!
Trinity Hanif, Junior at St.Michael-Albertville High School
Trinity joined MYC to further pursue her legislative interests and help better her community and Minnesota as a whole. She is very passionate about helping others, especially those who are unable to advocate for themselves. She hopes to continue the fight for equality as an MYC representative. Outside the council, she is involved in a variety of activities such as speech, debate, NHS, and Youth in Government. Trinity also runs a Women’s Advocacy Club that advocates for better conditions and intersectionality within her school!
Congressional District 7
Jaden Henderson, Junior at Bemidji High School
Jaden is passionate about addressing racism, climate change and education disparities. She has family members of color and has seen how they are treated first hand. She also believes that the younger generation is our future and that we need to start caring for our planet so that we have that bright future. Lastly what she believes is a priority for all people is that everyone deserves equal education.
Karen Guise, Junior at Red Lake Senior High School
Karen jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the Minnesota Youth Council believing her voice will be heard. Ask any of her social studies teachers, they’ll say she’s perfect for this role and also joke about her being future president or chairwoman. If Karen’s not challenging your beliefs she’s questioning them, wanting to understand your standpoint. She’s extremely tolerant and won’t force her beliefs onto you. Many of her passions include ethnic discrimination, gender equality, bullying, abortion and gun control. She’s a social butterfly which gave her the ability to meet different people and learn about their beliefs and most importantly the why.
Bridget Westrum, Homeschooled Junior – Bemidji
Bridget Westrum is ready to begin her second year on the Council with confidence! She is a Junior from Bemidji, Minnesota, who has been involved in politics since a very young age. She hopes that by continuing her time with the MYC, she’ll be able to bring more awareness to issues in her district, such as MMIW, the Opportunity Gap, Line 3 and gender equality. When not advocating for her community, Bridget can be found in front of a piano, planning her next adventure, or acting in the community Theatre.
Alya Nimis-Ibrahaim, Sophomore at Bemidji High School
Alya competes on the robotics, math league, and cross country teams at her school. She is committed to social justice issues and participated in the ACLU High School Advocacy Institute during the summer of 2020. She will serve on the Minnesota Youth Council in order to gain the skills to make a positive difference in her community.
Congressional District 8
Ria Edberg, Junior at Mora Junior/High School
Ria is active in many clubs like 4H, theater, spanish, choir, and FFA. She is in tennis and track & field. Ria is passionate about helping students in Minnesota that struggle with educational equity, substance abuse, and mental illness. She has been in the MYC since 8th grade, and is grateful to be able to serve the youth of MN.
Lexis Gerard, Senior at Cloquet High School
After Alexis graduates, she aspires to go to medical school and pursue a career in the medical field. She is an introvert at heart but people still consider her a social butterfly. She is also very close with her family and friends. She loves to travel, watch movies, camp, and stay involved in her community in any way she can. The issues she is most passionate about consist of equity in education, environmental justice, and providing students, all across the state, with the tools and resources to succeed after school. All while providing youth with a voice to make changes within their communities!!
Katelyn Dorry, Junior at Northern Lights Community School
Katelyn is on track for the international baccalaureate diploma at her school and plans on continuing her education and working in politics. This is her second year as an MYC rep and she is so excited to be part of the team and tackle community projects related to juvenile justice, public education, and outreach.
Emily Geier, Sophomore at Cambridge-Isanti High School
As the coming year is Emily’s third year on the council, she is looking to plant more action into her work. She is interested in uplifting the voices of youth in Minnesota and making sure their voices can be heard. She is also interested in mental health resources in schools, making sure that all students have access to counselors that care and resources that work. Lastly, Emily would like to be able to educate young people about the government, and get them involved.
At Large Representatives
Weston Loughmiller, Senior at Fairmont High School
Weston plays soccer and tennis, and is on his high school debate team. In his free time he likes to read, play PS4, and watch movies. His favorite president is Ike Eisenhower, and he am planning on majoring in International Relations in college. He cares a lot of about ensuring that programs created at the state capital are viable for rural areas, juvenile justice, and increasing educational opportunity for students of all backgrounds.
Ava Kalenze, Senior at St. Anthony Village High School
The 2020-2021 year will be Ava’s fourth and final year on the Minnesota Youth Council. As she enters her senior year at St. Anthony Village High School, Ava is eager to engage students in the decisions made about them, at both the local and state levels. Ava hopes to focus on issues such as mental health support, accessible and affordable post-secondary education options, and comprehensive sex/consent education this year, as well as striving for equity in the public education system, an issue which has been painfully exacerbated in her city and community over the past year. Ava prefers in-person meetings to Zoom calls, but she’s attempting to remain optimistic through this all. When not at the (virtual?) Capitol, Ava loves to swim on her team and play trumpet in the band. Her two greatest idols are Greta Gerwig and Barack Obama. She loves to be outside, watch movies, travel, see live music, kayak, take pictures, drink coffee, have picnics with her buddies, and sleep (when she has time).
Liv Steen, Senior 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.
Olivia Schaefer, Senior at Chanhassen High School
In her second year on the Council, Liv is excited to continue her work with other youth reps across the state. She is very involved in her school and activities, and she believes every student deserves access to a safe, welcoming school environment. She is passionate about education equity, which became the basis for a community organization she founded with other students in her school district. Last year, she was an active participant in bill hearings and is ready to get back into the legislative session. Liv cares deeply about criminal justice reform, the environment, accessible housing, and youth voice. She hopes to pursue political science and international relations in higher education. When she’s not working on the MYC or 112 Youth or Change, Liv volunteers at a start-up company promoting businesses and events across the state.