About Us

Collegiate Executive Team

Meet our passionate student leaders advocating for equitable and accessible higher education for all!

 
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Director of GENup Collegiate

Kimberly Woo (she/her) is an undergraduate student at University of California, Berkeley, pursuing her higher education in the fields of Political Science, Legal Studies, and Ethnic Studies. Due to her strong beliefs in equitable educational practices, she strives for an inclusive, diverse, and representative educational curriculum as well as an affordable, accessible right to education for all students. Her political advocacy began at a young age when she noticed the alarming absence of narratives from people of color in her education, entertainment/media, politics, and community. Through community organizations, research, newspaper interviews, and protests, Kimberly has advocated for social justice issues, inspiring her to join GENup. As Director of GENup Collegiate, Kimberly helps spearhead the collegiate front in the fight for education equity by organizing advocacy events, such as phone and text banking for Propositions 15 and 16 as well as an advocacy day for education funding. By working in state and municipal politics as well as the judicial system, Kimberly has furthered her knowledge and passion for legal and governmental issues, believing that the law is the most effective and influential way to enact change. As a firm advocate for social justice and equality, Kimberly aspires to become a civil rights lawyer, defending and empowering people of marginalized communities to create a more accepting and fair future. 

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Collegiate Director of Operations

Allyson Chan (she/her) is a senior at Hillsdale High School in the Bay Area and GENup’s Collegiate Director of Operations. Having been involved in student government since elementary school, Allyson has always been passionate about representing her peers' voices and aims to do so on a greater level by advocating for inclusive educational curriculum with GENup. Allyson is a Youth Commissioner and Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee in the San Mateo County Youth Commission, where she has drafted policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on various issues impacting youth, ranging from juvenile justice approaches to ethnic studies in addition to organizing conferences for student civic engagement. As the Student Board Member on the San Mateo County Board of Education, Allyson represents over 90,000 student voices and has provided insight on various issues, such as emphasizing a need for student input on the Local Control and Accountability Plan. From involvement with electoral politics leading My School Votes Bay Area to lobbying for gun violence reform with BAStA to interning for congressional candidate Brynne Kennedy, Allyson has experienced many different avenues of activism. As she enters college—the next chapter of her life, Allyson is eager to advocate for educational equity at the collegiate level and looks forward to working with other passionate students on GENup’s Executive Team.

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Collegiate Director of Policy

Sasha Sembur is a rising college freshman, and she currently attends Green Hope High School. She has lived in Cupertino, California for almost ten years before moving to Cary, North Carolina in 2017. Throughout high school, Sasha has been serving her community as a volunteer for Cary Teen Council and as the Chapter President of Ma(s)king a Difference NC. At school, she broadens her interest for science as the Vice President of Green Hope High School's Astronomy Club. Sasha has been a violin player since seventh grade, and she continues to exercise her passion for fine arts as the Violin I Section Leader for her school's chamber orchestra, a member of the Orchestra Leadership Committee, and as the Public Relations Director for this year's musical production. She remains civically engaged as the communications director for the High School Democrats of America Asian-American and Pacific Islanders caucus and as a fellow for Civics Unplugged. During the 2020 election season, she served as the Chair of North Carolina High Schoolers for Biden/Harris and the National Campaigns Director for Indian High Schoolers for Biden/Harris. In her free time, Sasha loves to read political books, listen to 1950s music, and hang out with her dog Lego. As the current political director for GENup's newly established North Carolina chapter, she has made connections with Mayor Baldwin of Raleigh, Governor Cooper of North Carolina, and Congresswoman Deborah Ross of NC-02 while working to pass the Take a Seat campaign in Wake County. Sasha will be attending UNC Charlotte this Fall with a major in Political Science, and she looks forward to continue making a difference in education reform as the Collegiate Director of Policy.

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Collegiate Director of Partnerships

Mickaylah Mehari (she/her) is a Senior at Mount Diablo High School. Mickaylah's passions for education advocacy and reform sprout from her own personal experience at home. Growing up with a sister on the Autism Spectrum, she saw first hand how much a lack of effective resources and programs negatively impacted her sister. This moved her to the realization of the true importance of education advocacy. Mickaylah is currently serving as Vice Chair on the Mount Diablo Education Foundation's Student Advisory Committee. Joining the Student Advisory Committee, she noticed a significant lack of student participation from several schools in the Mount Diablo Unified School District. Through her involvement, she pushes out STEAM efforts created by the MDEDF, as well as creates more STEAM opportunities with her team. She continues to realize the value of student outreach and creating opportunities that are accessible for all. She is ecstatic to further her passions for education advocacy and reform through her involvement in GENup. In her free time she enjoys working out, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.

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Collegiate 
Director of
Policy

Roel Jacob Francisco (he/him) is a freshman at University of California at Davis. He is a political science major on the pre-law track. He serves as the Director of Policy for GENup Collegiate and along with his fellow directors determine the policies that the collegiate branch should pursue. In his senior year of high school Jacob started the Fairfield-Suisun chapter of GENup in his school district. Not only were they successful in their first year incorporating the State Seal of Civic Engagement, but the Fairfield-Suisun Chapter has made connections with the local school district, the teacher union, as well as other community organizations. Jacob was also a Student Board Member for his school district and was actively engaged in the California Student Board Member Association. Through his senior year and his senior project, Jacob found a passion for civic engagement. With this passion and his background as an Filipino American, he applied to the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) Solano Chapter internship, he was able to learn more about professional development and helped in getting the word out about vaccinations. In addition, he was able to get an internship with the City of Fairfield in the Community Development department where he helped conduct a downtown study as well as help with the art in public spaces program. Recently Jacob is a Youth Commissioner for the City of Fairfield, serving the needs of the youth and being the representative for their voices to the City Council. Jacob is also currently a Congressional Intern for Congressman John Garamendi at his Davis District office, where he helps out the staff and learns the facets of our federal government. He is deeply involved with his local community, volunteering his time when he can to pick up trash or help at different city and county events when needed. 

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Collegiate Director of Strategic Partnerships

 Ani Sahakyan (she/her) is a first-year college student from Glendale, CA. She first became a part of GENup through serving as the Director of Social Media for her local chapter, and realized she wanted to be more involved with GENup. She was in the student government at her high school for four years, and has served as the Student Body President. She has also been a part of the Student Advisory Council of the Glendale Unified School District. As an immigrant student for whom English was a second language, She has personally experienced the inequities the system has against ESL students, and how a lack of effective resources, programs and support negatively impacts students overall. She believes that education advocacy, if utilized correctly, has a lot of power to make change, hence why she is so thrilled to be a part of GENup’s Executive Team as the Collegiate Director of Partnerships. GENup has given her the opportunities to voice the problems she has experienced firsthand and has seen other students in her community suffer with, which is priceless for her. Currently, she is involved with numerous clubs at her college and local nonprofits and work mainly in relations.  In her free time she enjoys watching TV shows, listening to music, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

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Collegiate 
Director of
Policy

Akul Gupta (he/him) is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biomedical Sciences. Akul joined GENup after working on a district-wide activism group called Students for Change to target ever-present inequities between students. He developed a Redlands Unified School District GENup chapter before joining the collegiate team on the National Policy Slate. Akul also works on global health initiatives including apps, clinics, and research while running his own nonprofits and social good organizations.

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Collegiate Director of 
 Media 

Rick Mandal (he/him) is a UC San Diego undergrad student from Fremont, California and is currently pursuing a Clinical Psychology degree. As someone who is looking to become a child psychiatrist to assist underserved and underfunded youth communities in the future, he recognizes the multiple hurdles many of those community members have to overcome in order receive a quality, holistic education, and access to higher education institutions. In his third year in the advocacy scene, Rick continues to be of service to these communities through GENup. He is presently the Social Media Manager for GENup National and the Media Director for both GENup Collegiate and GENup Collegiate at UCSD. He was also the former Co-Lead for GENup’s Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Coalition (HELAC). In his free time, Rick enjoys listening to music while tending to his numerous houseplants and practicing as part of his college’s competitive Raas dance team, Raas Ruckus.

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Collegiate Director of Technology

Sarah Cheung (she/her) is a rising first-year at Yale University. As the GENup Collegiate Director of Technology, she is responsible for building and leading tech initiatives. She formerly served as the GENup Director of Strategic Partnerships, maintaining connections with our 40+ partner organizations. Her passion for education advocacy sparked from growing up in San Francisco’s public schools and after-school programs and seeing a stark contrast in resources and opportunities compared to private high schools. Sarah was inspired from her experience to become involved in activism through TeenTechSF, a nonprofit dedicated to providing access to tech for all teens, where she served as the Communication Co-Chair and is currently the President. This work led her to become familiar with the San Francisco Youth Commission, a chartered body that gives recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and Mayor’s Office on youth-related legislation. On the Youth Commission, she currently serves as the Mayoral Appointee and Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee, and has been a youth leader on Vote16, a charter amendment on November’s ballot to expand voting rights to 16 and 17 year olds in municipal elections. At school, she is the leader of their AAPI Club and an admissions ambassador. In her free time, she enjoys playing music, exploring new places, and eating good food. Sarah is excited to continue pushing for equitable education and demand change through GENup’s campaigns.

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Collegiate 
Director of
Policy

Marissa Powers (she/her) is a current freshman at Palomar College and will soon be transferring to Point Loma Nazarene University in the near future. She is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Child Development, focusing on educational policy. She has lived in Southern California her whole life and has attended many different types of schools in her elementary and secondary education. Marissa strives to advocate for educational equity for all students, regardless of socio-economic status. In her free time, she enjoys walking on the beach and reading about Public Policy. Her career goal is to work in Congress, representing constituents and advocating for change with regards to various issues in Southern California. 

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Collegiate 
Director of
Policy

George Ashford (he/him) is a freshman at Claremont McKenna College and a prospective Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major.  Before joining GENup's Collegiate policy team, George pursued his passion for youth advocacy and local government as the Chair of the Takoma Park Youth City Council and a Cohort Captain and Roundtable Facilitator with the YMCA Changemakers Institute. He has volunteered and organized on campaigns including that of Senator Gary Peters and President Joe Biden in Michigan, worked as a communications assistant for Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart, and interned with the Executive Department at FairVote, an electoral reform advocacy organization. He currently works as a research assistant for the Rose Institute for State and Local Government. In his spare time, George loves arguing about tax policy, backpacking, skiing, and otherwise enjoying the outdoors. He is excited to join GENup and making higher education more accessible for students of all races and income backgrounds!

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Collegiate Director of 
Communications

Ethan Collier (he/they) is a first-year college student from San Diego, CA. Ethan became first involved in GENup by founding GENup San Diego, a county-wide chapter of GENup overseeing all areas of San Diego, CA, and as a founding member of the California Student Board Member Association, now sitting on its Board of Directors. He now serves as one of GENup’s Collegiate Director of Communications, working to provide clear and transparent news on educational policy reforms at the collegiate level. As the son of a fifth-grade teacher, Ethan has gotten first-hand experiences about the inequities of the education system at a very young age. He would watch his mother work tirelessly to ensure that her curricula was impeccable and paying out of pocket for resources that her school could not provide her. Especially now in the COVID-19 pandemic, he would stay up with his mother to help her plan interactive lessons for her students during Distance Learning. Thus, Ethan had a special appreciation for educators and grew into a relentless advocate for them and his fellow students. Outside of his activism work, Ethan is a first-year at the University of California, Berkeley and is excited to begin working towards his degree in Political Science and Media Studies. Being heavily involved with his community, he feels capable of understanding the perspectives of others around him. He takes each perspective as a learning opportunity to become more aware of societal issues that may not be faced by every person on a daily basis. Thus, he is excited to be helping building GENup Collegiate's platform for advocating for a fair and just collegiate educational experience for all postsecondary students across the United States.