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
“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, Junior 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.
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
Bio coming soon!
Congressional District 2
Sahasra Molleti, Freshman at Eastview High School
Bio coming soon!
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
Bio coming soon!
Congressional District 3
Jacob Kiflu, Freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School
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.
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
Bio coming soon!
Rhys Wiloughby, Sophomore at The Blake School
Bio coming soon!
Congressional District 4
Paula Akakpo, Junior 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, Junior 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.
Hailey Dickinson, Senior at North High School, North St. PaulHailey is a youth activist and first-year representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. She is the founder of Lipstick and Rage, a political activism publication, and the co-founder of We Will Not Ignore, an organization that works to address the effects of gun violence on survivors and communities that have been impacted by it. She also works with organizations like Women’s March Youth Empower, Students Demand Action MN, and many more. Much of her social justice work centers around gun violence prevention and womxn’s rights. Outside of social justice work, Hailey is a photographer and competitive dancer. She believes that youth voice and leadership is crucial to the conversations happening in our world right now and is excited to have the opportunity to serve on the Minnesota Youth Council.
Laichia Vang, Junior at Roseville Area High SchoolBio coming soon!
Congressional District 5
Nacia Griffin, Freshman at Hopkins North Junior High
Bio coming soon!
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 their 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. JJ is excited to work with MYC and sharpen their skills as a leader and learn and interact with other young people.
Bolu Ilelaboye, Senior at DeLaSalle High School
Bio coming soon!
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 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.
Salam Hijazi, Junior at Coon Rapids High School
Bio coming soon!
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’s interest in politics prompted her to apply for the MYC. Jaden is passionate about a lot of things but her main focuses are racism, environmental problems and the school systems and education.
Karen Guise, Junior at Red Lake Senior High School
Bio coming soon.
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.
Congressional District 8
Ria Edberg, Junior at Mora Junior/High School
Ria is a 4th 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. She is active in many activities, like 3 sports, 4H, FFA, theatre, and MLWP.
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!
Katelyn Dorry, Junior at Northern Lights Community School
Katelyn is passionate about taking new opportunities to learn and grow. She’s been involved in multiple different advocacy groups and leadership opportunities, including patterning with Climate Generation for the Youth Convening Minnesota project, Youth in Government, and the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs student chapter. She spent for years in a charter school before switching out this year for new opportunities and extra curriculars. The experience in alt. ed sparked her passion for education and providing every student the chance they need to succeed.
At Large Representatives
Weston Loughmiller, Senior 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.
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, 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.
Olivia Schaefer, Senior at Chanhassen High School
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.