Each year, 36 young people serve as Youth Representatives in the Minnesota Youth Council, representing each of Minnesota’s 8 Congressional Districts. There are 4 Youth Representatives for each Congressional District, 4 At-Large members, and a corresponding group of Adult Partners that support their work.
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, Senior 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, Senior 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.
Kaycie Brookens, Senior 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.
Paige Friedrich, student at Kasson Mantorville High School
Paige joined the Minnesota Youth Council with hopes of representing the unique perspective of rural Minnesota, as well as participating in legislation that will affect her generation and generations to come. Some of Paige’s goals as a representative are to obtain more leadership experience and to gain more knowledge of issues affecting youth and what she can do to help solve these issues. She is passionate about issues regarding health disparities and inequities, mental health, and education equity.
Congressional District 2
Sahasra Molleti, Sophomore 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.
Eric Li, Junior at Eagan High SchoolEric is a Junior at Eagan High School and is a returning representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. Eric joined the Minnesota Youth Council because he thought there needed to be increased youth representation when it came to projects surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline and tobacco use and vaping prevention. Outside of the Youth Council, he has interned at the Legal Rights Center, volunteered on various political campaigns, and is an active member of the Minnesota Smoke-Free Generation Lobbying Coalition and an intern at the Tobacco-Free Alliance. Additionally, he is a part of his school’s Speech and Debate Team and founded a debate team through the Minnesota Urban Debate League at Skyview Middle School. In his spare time, he loves hanging out with friends, being a gym rat, and binging random movies.
Maryama Warsame, Senior at Rosemount High School
Maryama is very passionate about climate change and the need for climate education. She also wants to work creating an antiracist school environment in support of critical race theory.
Coco Leonard, Senior at Minnesota Connections Academy
My name is Coco Leonard, I use she/her pronouns and I am a senior in high school. I come from a multi-cultural family which has inspired me to be active in my community and push myself past my comfort zones. Due to family influence and my own interests, I have joined initiatives that both help teens in America but also worldwide, which has given me a broader and deeper outlook on the world as a whole. These initiatives include helping the mental health of youth today as well as helping them understand the complexities of mental health. I also have a passion for helping the planet and spreading the message about climate change and ways to help reduce the waste humans produce. Another interest of mine is understanding the complexities of the political system and how youth can actually have a say in the policies being made, which is why I joined MYC! Other interests of mine which don’t pertain towards social activism include taekwondo, reading, styling and fashion, binge-watching Netflix shows, and of course a healthy diet of Harry Potter!
Congressional District 3
Jacob Kiflu, Sophomore 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, Sophomore 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.”
Chae Lee, student at Minnetonka High School
Chae is interested in social justice, education equity, journalism, and education equity issues. In her free time, she likes to bake or cook and play video games like valorant and league of legends.
Arjun Prasad, student at Wayzata High School
Arjun is passionate about social advocacy and public service. He hopes to be a voice to support education, promote awareness for the special needs community, and help the underprivileged. He started ShareBuddies to provide social skills training sessions for students with social barriers, and is involved with Vidya Gyan as youth board member to raise money for underprivileged girls in India. He is also an instructor at Mathnasium, a volunteer at IOCP, and a coach at MN Tennis Camps. He loves playing tennis, piano, and working with kids!
Congressional District 4
Adri Arquin, Senior at St. Paul Central High SchoolAdri is the Twin Cities Lead in Minnesota Youth for Climate Justice, a St. Paul Climate Justice Board Member, and a third-year representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. Adri biggest focus is advocating for justice inside our communities, wether that be in standing up for vulnerable communities from the climate crisis, advocating to ensure fair and equitable treatment for students of color, or abolishing our policing systems in order to protect everyone. Outside of this, Adri can often be found on a soccer field or playing guitar and singing with friends.
Juwaria Jama, Senior 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.
Aila Brodd, Freshman at Twin Cities AcademyMy name is Aila Maki Brodd and I live in St Paul, MN. I am very passionate about animal and environmental welfare and the preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats, as well as gender and racial equality, and equal educational opportunities for people of different economical backgrounds.
Ava Roots, student at Stillwater Area High School
Ava is passionate about the intersection of environmental and racial justice. Although sustainability is often only thought of as either a culmination of either inaccessible personal actions or sweeping global legislation, through Stillwater Changemakers, a student-led organization, she is passionate about creating accessible and meaningful change at the local level to build community and a planet for the future. Previously serving on a district-wide facilities planning committee, she also hopes to focus on the educational divide that students of color, especially, face to push for equitable resources and access throughout their school careers. In her free time, she enjoys speech, debate, and making garments and other items by hand.
Congressional District 5
Alexis Moracco, Senior at St. Anthony Village High School
“My name is Alexis Moracco and I use she/her pronouns. This year will be my second year serving on the Minnesota Youth Council. Last year I was on the mental health and well being subcommittee where I was able to work on the issues I am passionate about, such as mental health access for minors. I am also very passionate about sexual education and mental health resources in high schools. In my free time, I love taking care of my plants and playing soccer. I am also involved in Youth In Government at my school where I am able to take my passions and put it forth into my work in Youth In Government.”
Naomi Teshome, student at St. Anthony Village High SchoolAs a 15 year old black woman, Naomi’s goals in the Minnesota Youth Council are to bring resources and better ideas and plans to better BIPOC future leaders on topics like climate change, Line 3, gun control, police brutality and more. Another one of her goals is to decrease the amount of black trauma being put in our curriculums and culture in our schools. Black students deserve spaces and therapy where they can vent and relax in to prioritize their mental health, which is crucial to being an effective leader!
Sarah Ragoonanan, student at Hiawatha Collegiate High School Minneapolis“If I’m not educating people about the injustices in our state and country, I’m connecting my passion for social justice, climate change, and equality to my school work and continuing to use my voice in every way I can. Being a first generation Indo-Caribbean woman, I know what it’s like to be overlooked and pushed aside. I joined MYC to bring real representation to my community and speak up against the struggles that people like me know all too well. Bringing change is something I feel obligated to do and nothing would make me happier than making a difference so that in the future, youth of color can grow up without having to relive the same struggles as those before them. My determination and passion for those in my community will continue to push me to make this world a better place for my generation and those after them.”
Charlie Schmit, sophomore Washburn High School Minneapolis
At Washburn, Charlie participates in swimming, student council, site council, Model UN, and Integrate MPS (Minneapolis Public Schools). He has always been passionate about trying to improve the lives of other people, specifically in the process of making the Minneapolis school system more equal. He is also passionate about stopping the Line 3 oil pipeline which would cause mass pollution in Minnesota’s soil. This fall he is working as a city council campaign staffer and is looking towards a better policing system across the state. Lastly, he is passionate about the legalization of marijuana. He is very excited to be part of MYC!
Congressional District 6
Trinity Hanif, Senior 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!
Grace Vu, student at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing ArtistsGrace is passionate about fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, climate change, women’s rights, and racial injustice. She joined MYC wanting to make a difference in the world. From a young age, Grace was involved in politics, helping her parents by knocking and phone banking. On days off, she is often with family, playing/listening to music, and sleeping.
Chloe Billiet, student at Watertown-Mayer High SchoolChloe is passionate about gender and racial equality, the protection of the rights of the LGBTQA community, and environmental preservation. She also passionate about raising awareness of the rising amounts of mental health issues within students and the fight for gun control. Chloe enjoys reading, listening to music, baking and spending time with her friends and family. She also plays the flute in her high school band and has been involved in competitive dance for eight years.
Heba Hussein, student at Blaine High SchoolHeba is a first-year MYC member. She is passionate about racial equity in education and mental health. Outside of MYC, she is an active member of her school’s community! She participates in the student council, math team, BSU, and more!
Congressional District 7
Karen Guise, Senior 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 Senior – Bemidji
This will be Bridget’s third year as a Minnesota Youth Council Representative and her second year as a Congressional District Chair. She is a homeschooled senior from Bemidji, Minnesota with a passion to create change. Bridget has high expectations for her work on the council, this year, as she graduates this spring (2022). She hopes to continue her work with MDE and other state agencies to create a positive living and learning environment for all Minnesota students, including those most affected by the opportunity gap. “My priorities hardly ever change. I want to close the opportunity gap, and give All students an equitable learning environment. I want to bring further awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement and why it matters, and I want to continue educating youth about self sustainability and importance of caring for the environment.” When Bridget isn’t fighting for social change, she can be found in her garden, working on her budding Non-Profit: Growing Our Future, or planning her next adventure.
Alya Nimis-Ibrahim, Junior 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, Senior 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.
Katelyn Dorry, Senior at Grand Rapids Senior High
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, Junior at Cambridge-Isanti High School
As the coming year is Emily’s fourth and final year on the council, Emily is more than excited for the upcoming year to be working with the rest of the commitee. She is interested in uplifting the voices of youth in Minnesota, and putting a voice to everyone who is underrepresented. 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 more involved and excited to share their voice with elected officials.
Sara Maki, Senior at Grand Rapids High School
Sara is an advocate for the Special Education community as well as the Spina Bifida community. After high school Sara plans on furthering her education and working in politics. Sara is a first year Minnesota Youth Council Representative. While serving on the Minnesota Youth Council Sara looks forward to bringing voices of Northern Minnesota youth to the Capital in Saint Paul. Sara is passionate about education equity, disability rights, among many other topics of discussion that are important to people living in Northern Minnesota and Minnesota as a whole. When Sara is not in school she is most likely researching important topics relating to the government and contacting government officials, spending time with her family and friends, playing with her two dogs, or spending time outdoors.
At Large Representatives
Rhys Wiloughby, Junior at The Blake School
Bio coming soon!
Rhea Rajvansh, Senior 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.
Paula Akakpo, Senior 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.
Laichia Vang, Senior at Roseville Area High SchoolLaichia Vang is a senior at Roseville Area High School, and is involved in various organizations as the Co-Chair of Youth Executive Board (YEB), Facilitator at Becoming Organizers Becoming Advocates (BOBA), and more in her community. Some issues that are important to her are racial justice, educational equity, mental and sexual health, LGBTQ rights, and more! Beyond her interests in advocacy and activism, Laichia likes to read multicultural literature, listen to KPOP, and learn about health and fitness. To learn more about social justice, she recommends the following link: https://www.radicalinprogress.org/