The Executive Team

 

Operations Committee

The Operations Committee oversees all other executive committees. They work closely with the Executive Director to make decisions on action plans for nationwide campaigns. Additionally, they create resources to assist chapters in successfully operating and executing campaigns.

Executive

Director

 

Chief of Staff

Alvin Lee (he/him) is the founder and Executive Director of GENup. In this capacity, he oversees day-to-day operations of the organization as well as strategic development and expansion of the organization as a whole. He began his foray into political activism after working for several campaigns as a younger child, and was deeply impressed by the sheer impact organizing can make on other people's lives. Alvin is deeply involved with political activism in his local community and beyond and found a spark for education policy and advocacy late freshman year. Since then, he's been extremely engaged in educational issues in both his local community and beyond and is excited to lead GENup in a new direction. Alvin believes that grassroots, community-oriented organizing is at the core of every successful movement. In his free time, Alvin enjoys music, hiking, and tennis.

Genavieve Koenigshofer (she/her) is a sophomore at University of California: San Diego. She is a pre-med student pursuing a double major in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and Political Science: Public Policy. As Chief of Staff, she oversees all Directors on the Executive Team and coordinates GENup’s operations. Genavieve developed an interest in education policy as the 2019-2020 Student Advisor to the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees, representing almost 50,000 students. She is a founding member of the California Student Board Member Association and now sits on their Board of Directors. Genavieve has also served as the Operations VP for Congresswoman Katie Porter's Youth Advisory Board, as a UCSD campus leader for the UC Advocacy Network, and as the President of GENup Collegiate at UCSD.

Director of  Policy and Operations

Benjamin Salop (he/him) is a senior at Oakland Technical High School. Benjamin is passionate about understanding the community at large and loves to walk the streets that he represents and connect with people. Benjamin serves on Oakland's All City Council where he serves as the LCAP director, helping manage LCAP funding formulas from a perspective of student voice. He also sits on the Board of Generation Citizen, a national organization committed to lowering voting ages in elections to 16.  He has also been an intern for the City of Berkeley and was likewise selected for the prestigious  Coro Fellowship as a Norcal Fellow. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Oakland Youth Commission and was a Persisten for the Warren Campaign. Benjamin enjoys organizing and political affairs in his free team, and is a school site representative at his higschool. He is a proud leader of his student union and a myriad of school clubs. In his free time, Benjamin likes to learn new languages, go on long hikes with his camera, and tackle challenging projects. He is excited to share his love of education policy and political affairs with GENup and leverage his unique experiences to make an impact on his community at large.

Director of Innovation and Strategy

Cady Chen (she/her) is a senior at the Harker School. Having attended and experienced both public and private school systems, she understands the importance of educational equity and strongly believes that every student deserves an equal chance at success. She serves as the Director of Innovation and Strategy for GENup and co-leads a campaigns team that is responsible for identifying, developing, and planning new initiatives for the organization as a whole. Cady also focuses on identifying new areas of potential development and growth within GENup to better allow us as a whole to promote our educational values and amplify our work. Aside from being an education activist, she is also a student researcher as well as a musician. She is deeply involved in her local community and looks forward to sharing her love for community organizing and education advocacy to students across California, and with the rest of the GENup Executive Team.

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. 

Caucus Coordinator

Jennifer Tran (she/her) is a Senior at Bolsa Grande High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District. Last Spring, she implemented the Take A Seat Campaign in her local School District, and became the first Preferential Voting Student Board Member for the Garden Grove Unified District, representing over 40,000 students. Jennifer has been involved in California's Education System for over a year, serving as the Policy Director for both GENup and the California Student Board Member Association (CSBMA), both California-based student-activist coalitions. At her school, Jennifer is the Founder and President of Bolsa Grande's Tri-M National Music Honor Society, and the Co-Founder of the school's Debate Club. Jennifer is passionate about student representation, LGBTQ+ rights, civic engagement, mental health, and educational equity. Additionally, she is also a member of GLSEN's National Student Council. In her free time she likes to bullet journal, create spotify playlists, drink way too many Iced Vanilla Oat Milk Lattes, and rant to her now very tired friends about the Education System.

Caucus Coordinator

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.

Director of Expansion

Eileen Solorzano (she/her) is a freshman at California Baptist University pursuing her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Photography. As Director of Expansion, she is responsible for planning, devising, and implementing strategies for GENup’s National Expansion effort as well as working with state leads to develop chapters across the nation. Since middle school, Eileen has undergone challenges in and out of the classroom where she noticed the inequity and inaccessible care students had over their education. She has learned the importance leadership has done to create a pathway of becoming the change she desires to see through community organizing. Eileen founded the GENup Riverside Chapter in 2020 which has successfully expanded to cover all high school districts across Riverside County. Eileen has gained experience from educational public policy through the California Association of Student Councils attending Mini-SABE and environmental public policy work through the Close Up Program in Washington. Her leadership excellence granted her the nomination of being one of City of Riverside’s Top 25 Most Remarkable Teens in 2021. Eileen’s intersectionality between her career as a Photographer, Photojournalist, and Activist is fueled by her passion of addressing societal and educational issues affecting marginalised communities nationwide. Through GENup, she is excited to provide students the opportunity to create a platform of student voice to advocate and fight for the education they deserve.

Associate Director of Strategy

Kimiya Attar (she/they) is a junior at University High School in Fresno, CA. Growing up in the Central Valley has allowed for Kimiya to be exposed to people of diverse racial groups, socio-economic standpoints, religious affiliations, gender identities, and sexual orientations, and has made her aware of the importance of grassroots organizing to amplify marginalized voices. Kimiya served as a Youth Fellow for CADEM, volunteering for local Congressional Candidates Phil Arballo and TJ Cox, as well as Selma School Board Trustee Jaspreet Nagra. In her role, Kimiya phone-banked and canvassed, as well as registering over 3,000 community members in Fresno County and Kern County to vote in the November election. She became passionate about education reform after volunteering for a local school board trustee candidate, a role in which she phonebanked, canvassed, and gave a speech at a campaign event to raise awareness about implementing progressive policies, such as Green New Deal practices, the removal of SROs on campus, and Mutual Aid Groups to provide resources to working class families in the Fresno Unified School District. Kimiya is  a reporter for The kNOw Fresno, a local youth-led magazine that brings prominence to sociopolitical, cultural, environmental, and educational matters. Currently, Kimiya is the president of the Fresno GENup chapter, and is working to form legislative policies that highlight the importance of mental health, learning tactics that are inclusive to neurodivergent students, budget reform, civic engagement, and a Diversify our Narrative campaign for districtwide textbooks and literature pieces. As their school’s finalist for the American Legion Auxiliary, a statewide conference delving into governmental affairs, Kimiya recognizes the responsibility that comes with student leadership, and finds ways to enact that into their everyday life. Kimiya is a Peer Mentor for her school’s Speech and Debate, as well as an active member in  Chamber Choir, Mock Trial, and Model United Nations. In her free time, she loves to volunteer at a local nursing home for Alzheimer’s patients, play the piano, and go hiking at Yosemite National Park.

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.

 

Organizing Committee

The Organizing Committee reaches out and makes connections with all GENup chapters. They provide a one-on-one line of communication to the GENup Executive Team and are also instrumental in rolling out new campaigns.

Director of Organizing 

Iris Zhou (she/her) is a senior from San Jose, California and goes to Leland High School. Through school programs like speech and debate, she became aware of social injustices and inequality surrounding our community today. Attending local marches and rallies such as March for our Lives and Women’s March helped inspire her to take a more active role in political activism, hence why she joined GENUp and helped organize our first ever March for Education in San Jose. She loves grassroots organizing and knows firsthand the importance of speaking up and persisting toward your values. As GENUp’s national Executive Director of Organizing, Iris oversees GENup's Board of Organizing and manages relationship between the Executive Team and GENup Chapter President. In addition, she oversees strategic expansion into new school districts and manages/facilitates State Council. She is excited to be a part of GENup's Executive Team and can't wait to lead GENup's strategic organizing efforts in various facets of education advocacy.

 

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee is on the front line of rolling out GENup’s new campaigns. They help develop resources for campaigns and reach out to potential GENup allies.

Director of Outreach

Sam Blattner (he/him) is the Director of Outreach for GENup. Sam is a junior at Albany High School, and is also on the leadership team for his local Youth and Government chapter for the past two years where he has run statewide campaigns, planned and facilitated chapter meetings, and mentored young members. He is on the leadership team of SPEAK, a group of students from Albany High who educate elementary schoolers on issues such as intersectionality and racism. Sam is also a member of Peer Help, a passionate group of students who teach fellow highschoolers about mental health and provide sex education. Sam has been an elementary school classroom aide as well as an assistant at his temple’s religious school for the past four years.  He is passionate about education and concerned about inequalities facing our school system. He is excited to be a part of GENup's executive team and looks forward to growing the movement to implement a positive vision for education across California.

Director of Resources & Advocacy

Director of Outreach

Dana Agbede (she/her) is the Director of Outreach at GENUp. Passionate about educational accessibility, she utilizes her role to gather resources and design strategies to ensure the success of policy initiatives. Born and raised in Southern California, Dana’s experience with socioeconomically diverse communities has cemented her commitment to equitable access to education. She is passionate about hands-on involvement in creating a better educational experience for students from marginalized backgrounds. This has led her to volunteer with children on the autism spectrum and to designing a national tutoring infrastructure as a member of the executive board of Teens Tutor Teens, an entirely student-run 501c nonprofit. Her passion for political advocacy and fighting social injustice grew from her experience in policy debate. As she begins her second year as captain of her team, her eagerness to research the political process continues to inform her activism. She brings her devotion to research and her interest in education reform to her position at GENUp. She maintains a deep commitment to amplifying the voices of students at her school. As the founder of a multicultural coalition, Dana has become an advocate for racial justice through generating implicit bias curriculum for students and teachers. Her ongoing involvement in the education policy shapes her enthusiasm to collaborate with the rest of the executive board and create nationwide change.

Léo Corzo-Clark (he/him) is a senior at Albany High School in the Bay Area and GENup Director of Resources & Advocacy. As a student with ADHD, Léo learned at a young age that many social inequities start in the classroom. His experiences have shown him the importance of an equitable education, and are the reason why his efforts in activism are centered around education advocacy. Recognizing a lack of communication between students and administrators in his school district, Léo first became involved in education politics his sophomore year as the first Student Representative on his district’s Local Control an Accountability Planning Committee, where he championed student voices and increased support for marginalized groups such as students with special needs and BIPOC students. Léo now serves as Student Board Member on his Board of Education, where he has brought things like mental health and civic engagement to the forefront of his Board’s agenda. Léo is also currently the Director of Resources and Curriculum for the California Student Board Members Association, where he leads a team that trains student board members across California on how to effectively create change and pass legislation in their local school districts. As Director of Resources & Advocacy for GENup, Léo is excited to equip other students with the skills to be successful in both local and statewide advocacy efforts.

 

Policy Committee

The Policy Committee develops most new campaigns for GENup to pursue. They are also in charge of drafting educational policy, reaching out to legislators and tracking key bills that GENup may support.

Director of 

Policy and 

Operations

 

Policy Director

Benjamin Salop (he/him) is a senior at Oakland Technical High School. Benjamin is passionate about understanding the community at large and loves to walk the streets that he represents and connect with people. Benjamin serves on Oakland's All City Council where he serves as the LCAP director, helping manage LCAP funding formulas from a perspective of student voice. He also sits on the Board of Generation Citizen, a national organization committed to lowering voting ages in elections to 16.  He has also been an intern for the City of Berkeley and was likewise selected for the prestigious  Coro Fellowship as a Norcal Fellow. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Oakland Youth Commission and was a Persisten for the Warren Campaign. Benjamin enjoys organizing and political affairs in his free team, and is a school site representative at his higschool. He is a proud leader of his student union and a myriad of school clubs. In his free time, Benjamin likes to learn new languages, go on long hikes with his camera, and tackle challenging projects. He is excited to share his love of education policy and political affairs with GENup and leverage his unique experiences to make an impact on his community at large.

Michelle Alas (she/her) is a incoming freshman at Brown University and the GENup Nationwide Policy Director. She is a proud Salvadoran-American living in the Bay Area. She strives to ensure representation of Latinx/Hispanic folks in local government as well as mobilize the next generation of leaders. Michelle is Chairperson of the Walnut Creek Youth Leadership Commission, where she has facilitated voter registration drives and undertaken a virtual Cultural Awareness series. Formerly the President of the GENup Mt. Diablo-Acalanes Chapter, Michelle moderated webinars with prominent local leaders in education, so that all student constituents had the opportunity to ask the questions that needed to be asked. As a Democratic Party Fellow, the President of Region 4 California Association of Student Councils, and co-founder of Empowered Contra Costa, a youth-led initiative giving students the resources to effectively phone bank on a variety of issues, Michelle demonstrates her beliefs in the power of democracy and the will of the people. As a Presidential Gold Service Award recipient, Michelle has shown immense dedication to serving people in her community. She is currently one of three finalists to serve as the next Student Member on the California State Board of Education. Michelle is a strong advocate for education equity and reform in the state of California, so that every child has the opportunity to learn in a supportive environment.

Political 

Director

Winnie Xu (she/her) is a student at Westview High School and is GENup’s Political Director. She will be serving as the 2021-2022 Poway Unified Student Board Member, representing 36,000 students within the Poway Unified School District. She will pursue goals surrounding the digital divide, civic engagement, chronic absenteeism, equitable access to resources, and racial equity. Winnie works at People’s Legal Services, a pro-bono sliding law firm that has strongly developed her awareness of the inequitable access to justice and highlighted the stark need for reform within the criminal justice system. She is interested in progressive prosecution and discretion, the private prison medical industry, legal representation for undocumented immigrants, and the consequences of incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Winnie works on Assemblymember Marc Levine's Capitol staff researching capital punishment and building support around ACA2 and AB1224, reforms that would amend California's Death Penalty. Winnie currently serves on the board of Justicia Criminal Defense Association, an organization consisting of district attorneys, public defenders, and criminal defense attorneys that work to provide pro-bono aid to those punished for their First Amendment rights. Winnie believes that social progression within the justice system and carceral industry is contingent upon education. 

 

Policy Director

Sam Benabou (he/him) is a senior at College Park High School and is GENup’s Policy Director. His experience as a volunteer tutor for low-income students from disadvantaged populations domestically and internationally exposed him to the systemic inequities embedded within society. He seeks to create upstream solutions through policy action to ensure that every student has equal access to academic opportunity. As the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Education Foundation Student Board Member, Sam, in collaboration with a representative cohort of like-minded students within the school district, provided resources for students to become involved in the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair and hosted a Slam Poetry Night. He is also the Vice Chairperson of the College Park School Site Council, where he has spoken and acted on behalf of his peers to allocate school funding in a way that supports all students. Sam believes the most effective means of creating educational equity is to make space for a diverse set of student voices wherever decisions are being made, reexamine school funding processes, and focus on the holistic student while developing policy campaigns. As Policy Director, Sam is excited to brainstorm solutions that will give marginalized students equal access to opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. Education is not a commodity that can be bought with privilege; it is a universal right for all.

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.

Policy Director

Tannvi Banerjee(she/her) is a junior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, CA. She is passionate about creating an equitable and diverse education system that is accessible and inclusive for all students. As the founder and president of Middle Ground, she has led over 50 students to organize voter registration drives, facilitate debates with local politicians, and participate in phone-banking campaigns. In addition, she was selected to intern for Representative Ro Khanna and congressional candidate Rishi Kumar, under whom she researched about water and transportation issues affecting her local community. Aside from political activism, she is involved in activities such as speech and debate, spending her weekends learning more about foreign policy. As a part of the debate community, Tannvi also leads fundraising initiatives at Beyond Resolved, an organization focused on making the activity more accessible for low income and minority students. In her free time, Tannvi loves to try out new baking recipes, make Spotify playlists, and play badminton with her twin sister. She is excited to join GENup and advocate for tangible change in education reform across the nation.

Collegiate Director of Policy

Akul Gupta (he/him) is a senior at Redlands East Valley High School and Collegiate Director of Policy. His work since middle school as the founder and director of a peer tutor program led him to GENup, a medium to target systematic inequality in the American education system. Akul took on the role of President for GENup Redlands, joined the National Expansion Taskforce, and became the Chair of both the AAPI Caucus and Rural Caucus. Within his capacity as Collegiate Director of Policy, he will continue to help facilitate the success of those left behind by an unjust system. Akul is an Eagle Scout and pioneered various programs at his high school. He is involved with Project RISHI at University of California, Irvine where he partners with NGOs to improve the quality of life in Rural India. Akul works on research for a medical publication as well as in a lab at the University of Redlands. He is on the executive team of Students for Oncological Aid and Relief (SOAR) and has founded several nonprofits to aid other parts of the world in need.

 

Policy Director

Inara Khankashi (she/her) is a high school junior at Citrus Valley High School. As a first generation student who moved to America permanently in sixth grade, they understand the struggles and faults of the school system, and her own experiences shaped her determination to ensure others feel comfortable in their own learning environments. They felt and continue to feel that actively working towards policy is the way to make students feel safer and more valued within their own communities, rather than suffering through painfully racist exchanges dismissed as jokes throughout their academic careers. She learned of GENup through her work at her own school, and was excited to work with a student-led group making tangible change on a statewide level, and holds the role of Student/School Board Member Relations. They also established a Junior State of America at her own school, and singularly setting up the chapter curated her skills extensively by pushing them out of their comfort zone and into new territory. They are the Deputy Director of Debate for Southern California’s Junior State Cabinet. Inara is also a student researcher at UCR as well as an intern for SWANA public radio, constantly ensuring knowledge and information is spread in a cohesive, accessible way. Outside of school and advocacy, they love reading, writing, listening to music, and watching Studio Ghibli movies! Their favorite books include On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Norwegian Wood, Slaughterhouse Five, and No Longer Human. She also loves matcha oat milk lattes and Mitski! They try their best to exemplify the philosophy that kindness is an active choice by pursuing a more equitable world, whether through organizing initiatives to diversify curricula in school, amplify student voices, or just by trying to make other people's days a little bit brighter through acts of kindness :)

 

Partnerships Committee

The Partnerships Committee is in charge of all communications and relationships with partner organizations. They develop resources for campaigns in partnership with other organizations, and help mentor smaller youth-led civic organizations.

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships

Sarah Cheung (she/her) is a senior at San Francisco University High School. As the GENup Director of Strategic Partnerships, she is responsible for building and maintaining connections with our 40+ partner organizations, from teacher unions to youth-led nonprofits. 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 District 1 Representative and Vice Chair, 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.

Saanvi Arora (she/her) is a junior at Harker School in San Jose, California, and serves as GENup’s Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships. Her passion for education reform started when she was 12 and visited developing schools in rural parts of India, which allowed her to recognize the importance of ample support for students and the need for more tangible policy changes both in India and across the Pacific in her hometown of Cupertino. Since then, Saanvi’s worked on numerous election-related and student-led campaigns, and currently serves on Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s Student Advisory Board. As the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships, Saanvi works with the Partnerships Team to maintain GENup’s existing networks and build new partnerships to further the scope of GENup’s campaigns and help expand GENup’s work. In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball, going on walks in the middle of the night, and write!

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.

 

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee manages all monetary affairs. They are also in charge of all fundraising efforts, such as developing new, innovative fundraising ideas and applying for grants.

Director of 
Development and Finance

Associate Director of Finance

Kenneth Ng (he/him) is a senior at Washington High School in California, and is the Finance Director at GENup. He began his involvement in GENup as a Regional Anchor for the Fremont chapter, working alongside local student leaders to fight for numerous issues such as addressing microaggressions on campus and reinvesting in our students’ mental health. He has also served in his school’s ASB since freshman year, and is a member of SURFBoardE, an organization within FUSD that provides student input to the Board of Education. Kenneth has spent a few years working with various clubs and non-profits in fundraising and financial management; as Chapter Development Coordinator, he works with individual GENup chapters, providing support in regards to their financial needs and expansion strategies. In his free time, Kenneth likes doing physics problems (what a nerd), playing the piano, and driving around in the middle of the night. He is excited to continue being a part of GENup and to help lift up student voices from around the nation in advocating for tangible changes within our educational system.

Jessica Yu (she/her) is the Associative Director of Finance at GENup. She is currently a junior at Mission San Jose in California. With a passion for business, Jessica hopes to impact GENup through her business knowledge. As Associative Director of Finance, she assists in grassroots fundraising and introducing new ways to generate income. She also serves as the Director of Accounting at her school's DECA chapter and is also Chief Finance Officer at Tri-City Band Corps, a student run non-profit. As a staff writer at her school's newspaper The Smoke Signal and as a Features Intern at local newspaper The Tri-City Voice, she enjoys writing about worldwide issues and expressing her thoughts through writing. In her spare time, she enjoyed playing with her corgi, hanging out with friends, and producing music. Although GENup is one of her first ventures into activism, she is excited to gain more experience in grassroots fundraising and towards becoming an advocate for change. 

Grant Application Team

Grant Application Team

Manasi Gajjalapurna (she/her) is a junior at Los Gatos High School. As the Chapter Development Coordinator she works with the Finance and Organizing teams to help support chapters, create toolkits, and apply for grants. As a first generation student, she understands the importance of prioritizing student education and providing all students with the resources and education they need regardless of their background. Growing up in a town that struggled with diversity and cultural awareness allowed Manasi to realize the importance of educating her peers and community members on these topics. Through being involved in Leadership programs, raising funds for student technology, and leading the development of ethnic studies in her district, she saw the power she had as a student in her school and community in regards to the issues she saw. In her free time, Manasi likes to sing, write about social inequity, and go hiking. She is excited to continue her impact through GENup by using her passions for campaigning and outreach to continue advocating for equity across schools and students, and work to support the rise of student leaders advocating for such issues!

Stephanie Cheung (she/her) is from San Francisco and is passionate about education reform. Having realized that the center of a lot of systematic problems lies in the education system, she learned more about the inequity, how underfunded it was, and the lack of student representation in the system. Thus, she found her spark for education reform near the end of middle school. Discovering the education gap urged her to work towards change, so she became involved in her school’s student government. As Stephanie searched for ways to be involved in activism, one of her friends invited her to join GENup. She then became the Director of Operations for the San Francisco chapter. Now, she is excited to be a part of the GENup executive team and engage in education advocacy, learning more about activism in the process.

 

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in charge of all written communications from GENup. Some of their duties include writing press releases, open letters, website content, blog posts, and editorials. They also run the GENup podcast and manage email communications.

Director of Communications

Associate Director of 

Communications

Josette Thornhill (she/her) is a senior at Aragon High School. As an editor-in-chief of her school newspaper as well as an intern at a local publication, she's very passionate about journalism and utilizing media platforms to spread awareness on political issues. She began involvement with GENup through a local organization called the San Mateo Activist Coalition, which encouraged student activism on a variety of issues including gun violence prevention, reproductive rights and environmental action. During her time with that organization, she worked on organizing several walk-outs and rallies, a hygiene products drive, and a documentary about lead poisoning as a result of structural racism in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. As the Director of Communications for GENup, she enjoys writing blogs, newsletters and press releases to bring GENup's mission to a wider audience. She's very passionate about education advocacy and promoting equity between California's students, and is grateful to be a part of GENup's historic work in the field.

Associate

Director of 

Communications

Benjamin Tarver (he/him) is a senior at American High School in Fremont. He discovered his passion for educational advocacy through GENup, promoting the expansion of state education spending through Propositions 13 + 15 and youth civic engagement in his capacity as a Student Ambassador and, later, Director of Organizing for his local chapter. As Deputy Director of Communications, Benjamin performs outreach to the community through podcasts (check out the Blog/Podcast tab to listen to The Edgenda), blog posts, newsletters, and interactions with news media. He is highly appreciative of the opportunities GENup has afforded him to advance the cause of education equity and would like to give a special thanks to his friends in Student Council and Leadership for encouraging him with their congeniality to take his vision of serving his community to new heights. In his free time, Benjamin enjoys listening to current events podcasts, going on midnight strolls, and playing with his dog Cooper. He is ecstatic at the prospect of contributing to GENup’s initiatives on a nationwide level as a member of the Executive Board and looks forward to applying his experience as both a writer/communicator and an organizer to further impact educational policy in the state of California.

Rylee Vizvary (she/her) is a senior at Calabasas High School. Her love for her community began with a nonprofit organization called National Charity League (NCL) with which she has volunteered over five hundred hours to organizations within her local community and resides as the President this year. Since joining GENup, Rylee has become fascinated by the work being done to improve education. As a very inclusive person, Rylee believes every opinion is valuable and real change cannot occur if these opinions are not spoken. Rylee believes the key to a successful organization is an atmosphere willing to embrace any opinion offered. In addition, Rylee is a member of her school’s Link Crew, which is a program created to provide a welcoming environment for the incoming freshmen class. Rylee is also a member of Youth and Government, where she serves as the Wellness Officer for the West Valley delegation. In her free time, Rylee enjoys painting, reading, and playing golf. She is looking forward to the coming year and is ready to spark change with GENup

Associate Director of 

Communications

Irene Kim (she/her) is a sophomore at Mission Viejo High School in Orange County, California. When she emigrated from South Korea and immigrated to the diverse Orange County that houses thousands of talented and change-seeking teenagers, she recognized the immense power that youth have to initiate change and be leaders, whether that be in the educational setting or outside of it. However, she also notices the lack of student voice and representation in education systems that promise the best for their students and teachers. By joining GenUP, she is taking her first stride towards education advocacy, and hopes to amplify and advocate for the student voice for many more years to come. In Korean American Young Leaders, she serves as a Writer and Podcast writer to write on current events affecting marginalized communities today, and as an Associate Communications Director at GenUP, she hopes to utilize her passion for writing and speaking to spread awareness on pressing topics while also educating her constantly-learning self. She is thrilled and honored to be a part of an organization that she has admired for months, and cannot wait for her future with GenUP and education advocacy.

Associate

Director of 

Communications

Asheley Wi (she/her) is a junior at Cerritos High School. She first joined GenUp Cerritos's team to work with other students who share similar interests in education equity. As an associate communications director and a lover of writing, she hopes to work on press releases and other written tasks. She strongly believes that every child and every student should not be hindered from succeeding and furthering one's education because of one's background, skin color, or race. Striving to be a student activist and leader she hopes to represent her community. She also believes that students should be involved in any decision process that affects them. She also advocates for mental health awareness, passing ethnic studies, and fighting for social injustice. In her past school years, she has worked to engage students with disabilities and connecting peers for support. She is excited to work with GenUp, contribute to the team, and create a more fair country.

 

Technology Committee

The Technology Committee handles a variety of tech-related activities, from managing the website and other online platforms, to setting up webinars and our digital outreach tools, and much more!

Director of Technology

Associate 

Director of Technology

Steven Luo (he/him) is a senior at Evergreen Valley High School. He first got his start in GENup as the Director of Technology and Student/School Board Member Relations in the East Side Union High School District branch. His experience in technology includes technical work as well, and has taken college courses and/or programmed in Python, C++, R, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript. Steven has been a member of EVHS's School Site Council since his freshman year, and is also part of ESUHSD’s Student Governing Board. He is also the co-Chair & District 3 Commissioner of the Santa Clara County Youth Task Force, where he ensures that youth voices are heard and considered by Santa Clara County supervisors. Steven is excited to further contribute to GENup in his capacity as the National Director of Technology.

Siddhartha Mishra (he/him) is a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. Growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley, he has always been surrounded by technology and predictably has a strong passion for STEM, programming, and the tech industry as a whole. However, in recent years he has noticed that although there are various opportunities in technology, there is a large issue of diversity in the tech industry and he has realigned my focuses to using technology to create equal opportunities for all. Additionally, since he is a student in high school, he realized that the area in which he can have the biggest impact is in education and has worked with other friends to help bridge the problem of educational inequity in our district and ensure that everyone reaches the same education. That is why he believes GENup is the perfect organization for him and was aligned with my interests and passions. Since joining GENup, he has worked with the team and the community to address educational issues and start the conversation for education reform on a local level, something that he is very proud of.

Associate 

Director of Technology

Anousha Athreya (she/her) is a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School. She strongly believes in the importance of the education system in uplifting student's voices and teaching them about real-life skills and applications. From there, she found her love for social advocacy and civic engagement through the advocacy project at her school where she serves as the lead for the Gun Violence Prevention team. Passionate about public speaking and learning more about systemic issues that affect society, Anousha is also a lead on her school's speech and debate team to help write affirmatives that deal with these basic issues and the necessity of uplifting equity in legislation. She is also the president of the GENup San Jose chapter and so far has aided in planning the March for Education held last year and facilitated a webinar about the intersection about COVID-19 and Education with local civic leaders to help educate students on what they can do over the pandemic to continue advocating for education equity. She is the Governmental Affairs Director in Region 4 of the California Association of Student Councils and strive to take legislative actions are all issues that are affecting students today, working specifically to advocate for better civic education in schools in front of the Board of Education. Apart from civil service and advocacy, Anousha is passionate about science research and continues to work towards research in brain health and renewable energy to help sustain our environment and always search for better solutions. She is excited to be working with GENup and help advocate for education equity to help more students receive the education that they deserve in their communities.

Data Director

Allen Chen (he/him) is a senior at Mission San Jose High School. He first got involved in GENup as a Regional Anchor for the Fremont chapter, a position he still holds today. By leading a team of over 30 passionate student ambassadors, he has seen firsthand the immense power students hold in their communities. Intimately familiar with the scientific process, Allen has over 3 years of research experience in chemistry and data science, with 5 publications in peer-reviewed academic journals. He also holds leadership positions in several non-profit organizations and loves giving back to his community. In his free time, Allen enjoys playing with his dog and listening to music/podcasts. He is excited to fulfill his role as Data Director and work with the rest of the GENup executive team to reform our education system.

 

Media Committee

The Media Committee makes content for and manages all GENup social media. They also edit GENup videos and the GENup podcast.

Artistic 

Director

Social Media 

Manager

Melissa Liu (she/her) is a rising junior at Irvington High School in California. She serves as the Artistic Director for GENup and is responsible to oversee the creation of all promotional and informational material for the team, especially on the website and on GENup's social media platforms. She has dabbled in art and design for several years, and has earned various regional, national, and international prizes for her work, from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards to being published in the World Journal to creating advertisements for other organizations. Overall, she is invested in sharing her worldview and spreading awareness about current issues through her art! Beyond being an artist and an activist, she loves to read, look at rabbits, and video call with her friends. She believes in education and supporting both students and educators throughout California.

Rick Mandal (he/him) is an undergrad student at UC San Diego from Fremont, California and is currently pursuing a Clinical Psychology degree. With the intent of becoming a child psychiatrist to assist underserved and underfunded youth communities in the future, Rick joined GENup because he recognizes the multiple systemic hurdles many of those community members face in order receive a quality, holistic education and access higher education institutions. He presently holds a number of roles: Co-lead for HELAC, Social Media Manager for GENup and GENup Collegiate, Media Director for GENup Collegiate at UCSD, Social Lead for Pride in Running, and Director of Publicity for SCERC. In his free time, Rick loves attending music festivals enjoys listening to music while tending to his numerous houseplants.

Content 

Creator

Content 

Creator

Saanvi Agarwal is a Junior at American High School and a Content Creator for GenUp. As a Content Creator, she researches and writes engaging content to help more of the public be aware of political and social issues that GENup is advocating for. Her interest in educational advocacy and reform comes from growing up in a community lacking the necessary resources for students. Upon entering high school, she steadily got involved in multiple service and political organizations before she began working with GenUp Fremont as a regional anchor during the beginning of her school’s lockdown. There she helped run multiple events including ending the SRO program at FUSD. She aims to bridge the digital, social, and racial divide in the educational system by uplifting marginalized and youth voices through her writing and advocacy. She is currently the president of Foundation for Advocating Youth’s Education (FAYE), a non-profit that aims to provide all students with a safe and effective school environment and resources, and a youth ambassador for CovEd, an organization helping students during the current social distancing school year. Her previous experience in writing includes winning local and national competitions and showcasing the experience of students through articles at schools, libraries, and organizations. She hopes to continue her work of raising awareness and shaping a more equitable society and educational system through her passions. She is excited and honored to be part of GenUp going forward.

Associate

Artistic 

Director

Olivia James-Singh is a junior at Armijo high-school in Fairfield, California. They are one of the Associate Artistic Director‘s helping to create informational posts on GENup’s social media. Olivia is also a student ambassador for the Fairfield Suisun chapter, which is how she first got involved in GENup. Olivia has been involved in educational advocacy since the beginning of her high school career. Joining her schools leadership program, sitting in on district board meetings, and working with school admin to assure the voices of students are being heard. As someone who hopes to become involved in politics in the future, Olivia is excited about the experiences and opportunities GENup will bring. In her free time Olivia likes to read, listen to music, and spend time with friends and family. Olivia strongly believes in what GENup is doing for education reform in California as her goal is to help students and educators alike

Moniola Odunsi is a junior at the Madeira School in Virginia, serving as a content creator for GenUp. In her role as a content creator, Moniola researches critical social and political issues related to education and translates this into valuable information for readers. She prides herself on her innovative spirit to lead social change, starting Bits of Business to highlight underrepresented entrepreneurs and earning a top 10 spot of 300 teams in the 2020 Convergence Digital Inclusion challenge with an idea aimed at mitigating global education disparities. She is passionate about the way she can use writing as a powerful tool to advocate for educational, political, and social justice reform, placing as a finalist in a New York Times Competition for a piece focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and publishing a piece in Equallity magazine. Overall, she recognizes the importance of the next generation performing actions that assure the best future, specifically in areas like education. In her free time, Moniola enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.

Social 

Chair

Emily Hauw (she/her) is a high school junior from San Diego, California and is the Social Chair for GENup. Her work through programs such as Peer Counseling and Best Buddies has given Emily the opportunity to spread awareness on crucial topics such as mental health and inclusion on school campuses. Emily's work within her community left her wanting to gain experience with student advocacy, which led her to join GENup. As Vice President of GENup San Diego County and the Director of Fundraising and Development for GENup Poway Unified School District, Emily has been able to amplify the voices of students in her community. After seeing and experiencing discrimination firsthand on her school campus, Emily hopes to work with other student advocates to fight for racial equity, while continuing to highlight the importance of mental health and civic engagement. She believes that advocating for safe and supportive environments for students to learn and grow starts with the voices of the students. As Social Chair, Emily hopes to remind students that the fight for education equity is a community effort and all student voices must be heard in order to advocate for each student's rights.

Tiktok

Manager 

Audiovisual

Editor

Hedy Bian (she/her) is a senior at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California who serves as the Tiktok manager for GENup. After being exposed to the injustices and inequities in her local community, Hedy became involved in GENup because it presented an eye-opening opportunity to advocate for students in her school district on vital issues that had long been suppressed and ignored. Through her experience serving as Director of Organizing in GENup Riverside, Hedy was able to gain first-hand experience regarding grassroots activism and advocacy, speak out on prevalent issues in her local community, as well as recognize the power of student voices. Hedy’s main goal is to utilize her passion and experience in educational advocacy in order to achieve social justice and provide all students with the opportunity to pursue a safe and equitable education. Today, she stands strongly to represent GENup's mission and hopes to become a representative for students all across California by encouraging and amplifying student voices in order to strive for reform and change. Outside of GENup, Hedy is involved in competitive swimming, Key Club, and scientific research in her local community. By being a part of the GENup Executive Team, Hedy hopes to develop her passion for educational advocacy and gain the opportunity to learn and grow along like-minded and hardworking individuals.

Angela Luo is a junior at Washington High School in California. Her involvement in organizations such as Amnesty International and Our Future of Change has allowed her to develop her skills to speak out about vital topics. Angela's passion to diversify school curricula and spread awareness on discrimination against minorities motivated her to join GENup. Being a part of District Council for Interact District 5170 has inspired her to take more action in policy-making as she loves to give back to her community and provide essential resources to all. She is ecstatic to have the opportunity of working alongside a driven and hard-working team. Ever since junior high, she started learning videography and graphic design, allowing her to expand her creative abilities and knowledge of editing software. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with friends, painting, and listening to music. As the Audiovisual Editor, Angela wants to encourage others to get involved with GENup and create a long-lasting change for students and staff.