The Executive Team
The Operations Committee oversees all other executive committees. They work closely with the Executive Director to make decisions on action plans for nationwide campaigns.
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 is a current Freshman at Claremont Mckenna College studying public policy and government. A proud graduate of California public schools and a Bay Area native, he has been deeply involved in California education policy since 9th grade and envisions an interconnected education system where student voice and leadership help drive policy creation.In the fall of 2019, he organized youth-led marches for education in three cities (Oakland, SF, San Jose) for the Schools and Communities First Ballot Initiative. After getting involved in local school district issues and noticing the lack of youth participation in education, he founded GENup: a national, youth-led advocacy organization that strives to advocate for education reform through the power of youth voices. Alvin believes that grassroots, community-oriented organizing is at the core of every successful movement.
Alvin is the founding member of the California Department of Education’s first Youth Advisory council, where students utilize youth voice to shape education-policy affecting all of California’s 6.3 million public school students. Alvin is also a co-founder of the California Student Board Member Association.
In his free time, Alvin enjoys music, hiking, and tennis.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director of National Policy
Akul Gupta (he/him) is a Biomedical Sciences major at the University of South Florida and serves as Director of National Policy. He spearheads projects on a global scale in underserved communities focusing on preventative care and sustainable development targeting inadequate accessibility through novel methods of communication. Currently on the boards of multiple nonprofit organizations, Akul has run projects in Latin America, Africa, Vietnam, and India. He has published an app to serve as a database on phytomedicine and a book that teaches patients how to manage osteoporosis in their daily lives. Akul has presented at multiple conferences across the country and hopes to help GENup expand their scope of practice within his capacity as Director of National Policy.
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.
Sissi Zhang (she/her) is a junior at Irvington High School in the Fremont Unified School District. As the Policy Director for GENup, she advocates for tangible change within the education system through policymaking. In her district, she serves as a Student Board Representative and has seen the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion alongside civic engagement in order to create the best learning environment for students. Wanting to create change at the state level, Sissi applied for the CA State Board of Education Student Board Member position and is now a top 3 finalist. Aside from educational advocacy, she is also involved in speech and debate and is actively working to create free and accessible teacher-led programs within districts across California to promote equitable debate education. In her free time, she loves to draw and browse through cute pictures of animals and looks forward to working with the GENup Team to make a positive impact on her community."
Director of Policy
Marissa Powers (she/her) is a current sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is majoring in Political Science with minors in Economics and Sociology, 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 public policy, representing constituents and advocating for change with regard to various issues in Southern California like housing, environmental needs, education, housing, and healthcare.
Director of Resources & Advocacy
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.
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.
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 :)
Director of Policy
George Ashford (he/him) is a sophomore 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 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 and as an intern in Congressman Jamie Raskin's DC Office. In his spare time, George loves arguing about tax policy, backpacking, skiing, and otherwise enjoying the outdoors. He is excited to join GENup in making higher education more equitable and accessible for students of all races and income backgrounds!
Director of Policy
Kate Rodgers (she/her) is a second-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, she is pursuing a dual degree and Math and Economics. Kate has been interested in politics since childhood, but she got involved in educational advocacy in high school. Through serving on the student council and running free academic resources for her classmates, she realized that she has a passion for education-related political issues. As a result, Kate co-founded a student protest organization advocating for racial equity in the education system by updating curriculums and removing police from schools. Going forward, she hopes to continue this work as a Director of Policy for GENUp by engaging with statewide policy. Kate hopes to continue her advocacy beyond her school years by pursuing a career in politics or law.
The Campaigns Team creates resources to assist chapters in successfully operating and executing campaigns.
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 Campaign Development
Sreevarshini Amara (she/her) is a freshman at Irvington High School in the Fremont Unified School District. From a young age, Varshi has enjoyed learning about diversity in her community and is interested in using her voice to strive for equality. Varshi has demonstrated passion for advocating through community service, volunteer events, director leadership, and many more. She has been involved in her school’s political club and taken the director position of an international organization from India to represent the current global issues along with domestic and foreign policies. From her short span during high school, she began developing communication skills by joining her class council and speaking in front of large audiences, to gain awareness of current issues. Varshi is also an active member of the United Nations club to explore more about demographic issues. During her free time, she loves to dance and watch TikTok videos. Varshi has a lot of goals to accomplish during her time at GENUP, specifically focusing on the education system.
Director of Innovation and 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.
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
Saanvi Arora (she/her) is a senior at The 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!
Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships
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.
Emile Shah (she/her) is a junior at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California. As the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships, Emile works with the Partnerships Team at GENup to manage existing external networks and partnerships. Her passion for educational and social reform began in high school, when she began to notice that there was a large disparity in quality of education many students were experiencing. In her free time, she likes to write stories, study foreign languages, and watch anime!
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.
Development and Finance
Grant Application Team
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.
Collegiate Director of
Ayush Panta (he/him) is a freshman at UC Berkeley and the Director of Finance at GENup. His involvement in GENup began as founder and president of the Northern Humboldt Chapter, where he worked with other student leaders in successfully pushing for policy reform within local districts through the school board. He also worked with the National Expansion Team in establishing chapters across the country. Additionally, he has been involved with multiple other equity-based organizations, giving him a strong foundation in philanthropy, teamwork, and data management. Ayush hopes to use his experience and interest in business and finance to further benefit GENup. In his spare time, Ayush likes to read, hit the gym, and spend time in nature. He is excited to be a part of the GENup team, where he can work alongside others in advocating for educational equity while also forming a greater understanding of activism, policy, and finance.
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!
Associate Director of
Jasnoor Kaur (she/her) is a senior at North Farmington High School, located in Michigan. She first became involved in GENup during the COVID-19 pandemic, where she started GENup-MI and is now state president. Jasnoor believes strongly in equal representation and is currently working with her team to lead efforts in getting a student on the board of education, both locally and state-wide. She also is heavily experienced with fundraising development and helps manage nation-wide fundraisers as national associate director of fundraising. Aside from GENup, Jasnoor participates in university-level research, student government, community service, and runs cross country.
Director of Finance
Gordon Nguyen (he/him) is a freshman at Orange Coast College from Huntington Beach, California, and is studying History. Gordon has been involved in student and local government, serving as communications officer on the Fiscal Affairs Council of Associated Students Orange Coast College, Congressional Intern for Representative Michelle Steel in California's 48th Congressional District, and a campaign volunteer for Katie Porter for Congress. Through volunteering with the International Education Center at Orange Coast College and working alongside students of different backgrounds within Orange Coast College's Student Government, Gordon values the importance of diversity and inclusion, especially within administrative positions. Gordon strives to transfer to a 4-year institution within the near future and plans to attend law school. In his free time, Gordon enjoys watching movies, and TV shows, traveling and pursuing his hobby of fountain pens. By joining GENup's College Finance team, Gordon is excited to take action in democratizing higher education.
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.
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
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.
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.
Ashlyn Bautista (she/her) is a freshman at UC San Diego from Yorba Linda, California who is majoring in Literature and English. As someone who grew up in a family of educators, she was exposed early to conversations around the disparities and hurdles that many students face within the education spectrum. After seeing the ways that her hometown's Board of Education has been actively trying to ban and condemn inclusive and important aspects of the school curriculum, she wanted to be a part of a group of like-minded people that have the chance to advocate for equitable, racially inclusive policies that have the ability to shape a student's life. Although she is new to the educational advocacy scene, Ashlyn wants to use her passion and talents to be a voice for previously marginalized groups and saw GENup as the perfect way to do so. She is currently a member of the GENup chapter at UC San Diego and the GENup Collegiate Director of Communications. In her free time, she enjoys doing anything artistic, writing poetry, reading a good book, and baking sweets for friends and family.
Director of Communications
Noah Marris (he/him) is a sophomore at UCLA from Denver, Colorado, and is currently pursuing a double major in Education & Social Transformation and Economics. As a student who is heavily considering pursuing a career in teaching, Noah understands the significance of shaping educational policy to make tangible positive impacts on students’ experiences at higher education institutions. Inspired by his learnings in the classroom, Noah joined GENup with the goal of enacting change and hopes to make an impact on our current education system. Although he is a newcomer to the advocacy scene, Noah is prepared to commit himself to pushing for equitable education and demand change in conjunction with GENup’s campaigns and movements. In his free time, you can find Noah playing basketball, listening to music, or exploring.
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
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.
Collegiate Director of Technology
Matthew Aini (he/him) is a sophomore at UC Berkeley pursuing both a major in political science and business administration, with a minor in public policy. His strong belief in ensuring equitable access to public goods, especially in education, has guided him in his past work and has led him to GENup. Previously, Matthew has served on his city's DEI task force, where he got to work on a number of recommendations pertaining to police reform and DEI in city practices. Additionally, he had served on his school district's graduation requirements task force, where he joined various school stakeholders in advancing flexibility to the high school graduation pathways. As a member of the UC Berkeley chapter of GENup Collegiate, Matthew has been vocal in advocating for ways to improve access to resources for commuter students, among other initiatives the chapter has been working on. His work on helping commuters is also furthered through his participation on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation Department's Mobility Equity Committee, where he weighs in on a number of initiatives the department is exploring to help simplify micro-mobility and commuting. In the role of Collegiate Director of Technology, Matthew is in charge of building and managing the organization's technology initiatives. In his free time, Matthew enjoys getting to spend time with loved ones, delving into politics, and visiting new places around the bay area.
The Media Committee makes content for and manages all GENup social media. They also edit GENup videos and the GENup podcast.
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 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.
Ollie 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. Ollie is also a student ambassador for the Fairfield Suisun chapter, which is how they first got involved in GENup. Ollie has been involved in educational advocacy since the beginning of their high school career, joining their school's 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, Ollie is excited about the experiences and opportunities GENup will bring. In their free time Ollie likes to read, listen to music, and spend time with friends and family. Ollie strongly believes in what GENup is doing for education reform in California as their goal is to help students and educators alike.
Collegiate Director of Media
Fabi Huda (she/her) is a student at UC San Diego currently pursuing the pre-med path as a Public Health major with the intent of working with Doctors without Borders as a physician. Fabi joined GENup initially as Director of Operations for GENup Collegiate at UCSD, now joining the GENup Collegiate Executive Team as Co-Director of Media. Fabi’s primary motivation to join GENup was to work with a community of passionate and driven students who recognize the systematic difficulties that certain students face in the American system in the pursuit of quality higher education. Currently, Fabi is serving as the Student Health and Well-Being Advocate for SCSC, Co-President for GENup at UCSD, Director of Finance for Parrhesia, and working on her personal project to advocate for equitable healthcare for women in Bangladesh. In her free time, Fabi enjoys visiting Art Museums, shopping, and indulges in finding good cafes across California.
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.
Collegiate Director of Media
Durriya Ahmed (she/they) is a rising Junior at the University of California, Los Angeles, pursuing a degree in History and Geography/Environmental Studies. As a community college transfer from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, Durriya has been a strong advocate for community colleges and educational equity. During their time at Orange Coast College, Durriya led the advocacy branch of their student government and represented Region VIII in the Student Senate for California Community Colleges: working closely with legislation that actively impacts California Community College students and incorporating bills that GENup has worked with closely in Orange Coast College's legislative advocacy work. As a high schooler, Durriya worked heavily with March for Our Lives California and interned with former Councilmen Gil Cisneros in 2020 throughout their junior and senior years, advocating for gun reform and control. As they move forward in their collegiate career, Durriya hopes to continue working in higher education as a Professor and later move on to Administration.