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.

Director of  Policy and Operations

Benjamin Salop (he/him) is a junior 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 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. 

Genavieve Koenigshofer (she/her) is a freshman at University of California: San Diego pursuing a major in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. As Chief of Staff, she oversees all Directors on the Executive Team and coordinates GENup’s operations. She is convinced she has the easiest job because everyone is so committed and passionate! She developed an interest in educational policy as the 2019-2020 Student Advisor to the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees, representing over 50,000 students. In this role, she prioritized diverse student voices by founding the first CUSD Student Advisory Council and becoming the first student representative on the CUSD Cultural Proficiency Task Force. Genavieve has also acted as the Operations Vice President to Congresswoman Katie Porter’s Youth Advisory Board, and the co-founder and co-president of Inspire To Be, through which she planned and executed a number of community service programs from a benefit concert to a virtual cooking show fundraiser. Genavieve became involved with GENup as a founding member of the California Student Board Member Association and now sits on their Board of Directors. She looks forward to continuing her involvement as the Director of College & University Relations for GENup San Diego County, and the founder and president of GENup Collegiate at UCSD.

Director of Innovation and Strategy

Cady Chen (she/her) is a junior at the Harker School. Having attended/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 is responsible for identifying, developing, and planning new initiatives for the organization as a whole. Cady leads an innovation team that 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/activism to students across California, and with the rest of the GENup Executive Team.

Associate Director of Operations

Caitlynn Hauw (she/her) is a sophomore from San Diego, California. While working to combat the technological barriers that have arisen due to her cities transition to distance learning, Caitlynn has seen the effects inequitable resource distribution has deeply had on some of the students within her community. Realizing this issue stemmed from education inequality, her involvement in GENup began soon after in her freshman year of high school as she served as GENup San Diego’s Chief of Staff and became familiar with the logistics required to support an organization. As a strong advocate for youth civic engagement, she also began working with the San Diego Council of Education (SDCOE) to establish a county-wide student cabinet, ensuring diverse student perspectives are actively heard within San Diego’s education system. Through her school’s speech and debate program and other activities such as her school’s newspaper, she has gained greater political awareness and firms views of the world—now GENup has ignited a passion within her to speak up about the pervasive issues surrounding her community and the world.

 

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 junior 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 Outreach

Léo Corzo-Clark (he/him) is a senior at Albany High School in the Bay Area and GENup Director of Outreach. 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 Outreach for GENup, Léo is excited to equip other students with the skills to be successful in both local and statewide advocacy efforts.

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.

 

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 junior 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.

Political 

Director

Michelle Alas (she/her) is a senior at Northgate High School 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.

Winnie Xu (she/her) is from SoCal and is GENup’s Political Director. She works at People’s Legal Services, a pro-bono family and criminal law firm, which has strongly developed her knowledge of the judicial system and highlighted the stark need for reform within the criminal justice system. Winnie currently serves her first term 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 harmed by law enforcement. Winnie believes that awareness through education is the most crucial tool for progressing students and educators. She worked as the Campaign Director on the staff of Assemblymember candidate Liz Lavertu, as well as the Field Coordinator for Superior Court Judge Tim Nader during the 2020 election and applies her experiences working with political campaigns to her work as the Political Director.

 

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!

 

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 Fundraising

Associate Director of Fundraising

Gratia O'Rafferty (she/her) is the Director of Development and Fundraising at GENup. She got started working with GENup to organize the Oakland March for Education, advocating for Schools and Communities First. She is passionate about education reform because she has seen the inequity within the education system and believes that education is the foundation of all other activism and students' lives. As Director of Development and Fundraising, she facilitates communication with the fiscal sponsor, oversees fundraising operations, and manages GENup's budget. Gratia also leads and runs communication and relationship management between GENup's Executive Team and GENup's Board of Directors & Advisors.  In addition to GENup, Gratia is a junior at Bishop O'Dowd High School where she is the captain of the Speech and Debate team, which has pushed her to seek out opportunities to make her voice heard and engage in student activism. She is a member of GENup's executive team because she believes that in order to see change, students have to help each other be heard and work together to confront issues. 

Jessica Yu (she/her) is the Associative Director of Fundraising 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 Fundraising, 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 sophomore at Los Gatos High School. As part of the grant application team, she helps research and apply to grants for GENup’s projects and expenses as well as help build and maintain relationships with donors. 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 and various campaigns to raise funds and technology for students, she saw the power she had as a student in her school and community in regards to the issues she saw. She began to raise her voice to advocate for educational disparities and lack of resources. Manasi is proud to be part of an organization that has an impact on a large scale by improving the education system in California as a whole, but also focuses on the needs of individual communities which is just as important. She is excited to continue her impact through GENup by using her passions for campaigning and outreach to advocate for educational equity across classrooms and work to improve the access to resources, education, and rights for students of all backgrounds.

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 junior 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 four hundred hours to organizations within her local community. Since joining GENup, Rylee has become fascinated by the work being done to improve education as she is disgusted by the current injustices present within the system. 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. In her free time, Rylee enjoys painting, reading, and playing golf. 

 

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 junior 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 rising junior 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 junior 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 a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee 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.

 

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 a freshman at UC San Diego 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 higher education institutions. Although he is relatively new to the advocacy scene, Rick wishes to be of service to these communities as soon as he can and turned to GENup to do so. He is presently the Social Media Manager for GENup and the Media Director of GENup Collegiate at UCSD. In his free time, Rick enjoys listening to music while tending to his numerous houseplants and working on his portrait photography business.

GENup

is a California-based, nationwide student-led social justice organization and student activist coalition that strives to advocate for education through the power of youth voices.

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