GLOBAL YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL
The Global Youth Advisory Council was created to support and amplify the voices of amazing young people, like you, who make a difference. Because youth voices are integral to challenging and overcoming limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their human potential.
Learn more about the power of youth voices from guest blogger and summer intern Patrick King.
Want to join the Council? Check out last year’s application and get ready to apply.
THE 2015-2016 CLASS
Rosa Beltran is a seventeen-year old senior in high school in San Diego, California. She is passionate about a variety of topics such as feminism, Wonder Woman, and social justice. She loves to commit her time to her community by being an Officer in Key Club and President of Youth Leadership of America, a program that teaches high schools students leadership skills such as public speaking, resume-building, and servant leadership. She is on her school’s girls’ varsity tennis team as a doubles player. Rosa hopes to use her compassion to help people by someday becoming an ambassador to the United Nations for Women and believes the perfect first step to growing her knowledge is to work alongside The Representation Project.
Saani Borge is currently a high school junior in Ross, CA who gets excited every time she hears the word feminism. Her foray into feminism started during her freshmen year when she founded her school’s Feminism Club. She is the co-president and has tackled issues like the wage gap, sexual health, rape on college campuses, and the stigma behind feminism through multimedia projects, bake sales, group discussions, and movie presentations. She also takes a leadership role on campus through student council and hosting the Junior Talent Show. She has also worked with issues of school diversity through the National A Better Chance Program. She was a part of the program’s Cornerstone Leadership Council, which works to create events and aid students of color applying to competitive private schools. In her free time, she enjoys computer coding from her time at the Girls Who Code immersion program, traveling from her time in a Swiss exchange program, and competing in sports like soccer, track, and field. During her time in the Global Youth Advisory Council, Saani hopes to tackle the stigma behind rape and the sexist hegemonic values that go along with it.
Kaira Brown is a thirteen-year-old freshman in high school in New Jersey whose interests include technology, equality, community service, and the arts. She is an entrepreneur and started her own handmade jewelry business in sixth grade. Kaira gives back to her community by donating 10% of the profits to charity. In her school, she mentors younger students of color through her school affinity group. She organized a middle-school-wide music video during her seventh grade year. During her eighth and seventh grade years, she was cast in major roles in the school play. Kaira has also competed in speech competitions involving other local schools and earned second and first place, respectively, for her speeches titled “What Disney Did to Me” and “Keeping Affirmative Action”. In eighth grade, Kaira took another leadership position in the Tech Club. She is also a recipient of the A Better Chance Young Leaders Award.
Ava Budavari-Glenn is currently a sophomore in high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her eyes were opened to the issue of gender inequality when she watched Miss Representation and realized how cruelly the media was treating both men and women. In eighth grade, Ava wrote a position paper and speech on Women’s Economic Empowerment / Equal Representation and presented it at the UN where she worked with other kids from all over the world to write resolutions for these issues. She is currently working on starting a chapter of The Representation Project at her school and is secretary of the Human Rights Club. She is passionate about writing and believes she can use it as a way to inspire others to create change. She is currently a writer at her school’s student-run newspaper, ASHES, and is working on a novel. Visit her website for more information.
Christine Cao is beyond grateful to be on the Global Youth Advisory Council. For her, the council is a means to contribute to a greater conversation about culture and think critically. As a third year university student majoring in sociology and visual media studies, she is eager to combine creative mediums and socially conscious thought. Her ambition is to cultivate a culture that is kinder to all identities, to vulnerability, to dynamic beings. She believes Western culture currently does not serve its people well and sees this generation as resilient enough to enact change. Fueled by tea and restless altruistic energy, Christine aims to empower others, reminding them of their defining power in culture. She hopes to ignite passions in her generation, creating a community of global citizens, introspective beings, and most of all, friends. She is a firm believer that when dominant culture is failing us, we must be strong enough to create our own. Attempting to navigate the grey waters of contemporary society, Christine is motivated by the boundless potential for change rather than resentment or bitterness. Though the growing pains of our changing society may be rough, she sees no better way to live than ambitiously and communally.
Getzamany Correa is from Atlanta, Georgia and is currently studying at United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She would be a senior back home in the United States but will be doing an extra year to fulfill her study of the movements for global sustainability and world peace. Getzamany loves activism, and part of her advocacy work is leading her school’s Body Talks Programs that destigmatizes talking about how people feel towards their body and health. She is part of her school’s student council and serves as the Relations and Integration Commission leader where she plans events for the local community. Currently, she is planning a Climate March in Mostar in support of the Paris Climate March and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. Both in her school and back home, Getzamany is involved in preparing workshops on controversial issues. Getzamany finds happiness in traveling, hiking, and trying new things. At her international school, she is learning from many different opinions to find ways to fight for equality in all arenas and bring intersectionality to the table. In joining the Globaly Youth Advisory Council, Getzamany is really excited to work with such empowering young woman to create change in the world.
Katelyn Darrow is a teenage multimedia journalist, founder of a nonprofit organization, and motivational speaker. At the age of twelve, she started a 501c3 nonprofit charity, Angels of God Community Outreach. The organization, setup in a New Jersey storefront, provides free clothing, food, and other services to those in need. Katelyn has won numerous accolades for her volunteer work, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award, Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and has been honored by the New Jersey General Assembly. Katelyn has spoken to schools, groups, and conferences across the country about making a difference, following your dreams, and how she started her charity. As a multimedia journalist, Katelyn has worked with a variety of news outlets, producing compelling reports from a teen’s perspective. She has written about everything from gender equality to social justice. Learn more about Katelyn by visiting her website.
Natalie DeRoche is a junior in high school outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has a writing focus and uses her talent to create social change. She currently is the Junior President of her school’s Gender Equality Club and recently co-taught a seminar class about social justice through gender equality. Natalie has won many awards for the films she has made, including an honorable mention in the 2015 White House Student Film Festival and a featured spot in the Youth Category of the Milwaukee Film Festival. Besides writing and filmmaking, she enjoys traveling, reading, and learning more about the world around her. Natalie looks forward to working with other members of the Global Youth Advisory Council to promote worldwide equality.
Esha (EE-sha) Dholia is a second year public health major at American University. A pre-medical student, she is passionate about global health equity and women’s health as they apply across sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and class. During the fall 2015 semester, Esha studied abroad in Manipal, India, where she conducted an independent research study examining the socioeconomic factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding. She has also interned with USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program, an opportunity that deepened her knowledge of global maternal and child health issues and also allowed her to exercise some of her favorite creative skills - writing and graphic design. These experiences have ensured Esha’s passion for global women’s health, and she is looking forward to applying this love to her work with The Representation Project.
Dallyana Erazo Mora is a high school senior at “Instituto Particular Abdón Calderón” in Ecuador. This year, Dallyana completed an intensive leadership training program (the first of its kind in Latin America) and now is participating in a youth leadership group to conduct social action campaigns. She is also a founding member of the first digital magazine that it is written solely by young people and focuses on issues of policy, culture, economy, and more in Ecuador. She loves the law and is planning on studying it in college, having already used her strong communication skills to win two public speaking contests. Dallyana is an optimistic person who knows that she can make big things happen through perseverance. She loves to swim and dance, even studying dance for seven years and graduating from dance school. In fact, she hopes to become the first woman president of Ecuador because she loves politics and knows her vision would create a better country.
Eva Lin Feindt is a senior in high school in central New Jersey. She is a member of the Teen Prevention Education Program at her school, a highly selective educational experience that presents workshops to freshman and middle school students about topics such as safe sex, normalizing sex, and homophobia reduction. She is also the captain of her club swim team, the YMCA Stingrays, and of her high school swim team. She spends her downtime coaching little kids at the Y and attending various mission trips all throughout the year. Her mixture of experiences, from growing up with a blend of cultures, to attending the International School of Bangkok in Thailand, to seeing very different sides of the “American dream”, has shaped her perspective on social injustice in the world. She is extremely passionate about equal representation in media and the unraveling of unhealthy social constructs. She is extremely grateful to be working alongside such talented and passionate young minds with the Global Youth Advisory Council and is excited to collaborate on creating change in the world.
Claire Gothard is currently a freshman at the University of Louisville studying political science and marketing. She has led youth policy development initiatives in her city and state, representing the state of Kentucky nationally as an advocate for youth programs through both service and policy. In the summer of 2015, Claire studied abroad in Morocco to learn Arabic. There, her appreciation for cross-cultural understanding was cemented and her interest in refugees reaffirmed after working with refugee children in her home community. Her passion for bringing international change via youth is exemplified through her commitment to youth development at home and her representation abroad. Through the Global Youth Advocacy Council, she will be able to promote youth development and cross-cultural understanding globally.
Soleil Kohl is a first year student at the University of Denver majoring in Mechanical Engineering with minors in mathematics and leadership studies. Although she enjoys learning everything STEM-related, she is also passionate about exposing the world to the various inequalities she sees to be so blatantly present. She is a founding member of her school’s Society of Women Engineers chapter, which promotes representation of women in STEM careers. Additionally, she loves working with children and volunteers at the Bridge Project where she tutors underprivileged students to improve their academic skills. At the 2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals, she and her team won eleventh place in the service learning competition where they started a local initiative to promote self-worth among middle school students. In her free time, she loves to dance, play piano, and go camping.
A proud Canadian, Lindsay Kuch is a senior in high school and fluent in two languages. She loves cats, Costa Rica, and cucumbers (just kidding on the latter, but don’t you love the alliteration?). Growing up in a community of accepting individuals, quirky personalities (cucumbers), and Canadian humor, Lindsay has developed a strong global perspective and a passion for equality and social justice. Lindsay first began her involvement in campaigns for social change at the age of fourteen, which led to two terms on the Youth Volunteer Corps’ (YVC) International Youth Advisory Board, a YVC summit in Kansas City, a trip to Washington DC with the Asper Foundation, and The John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights “This is Our Canada” retreat. Through these incredible experiences, Lindsay established an even stronger desire to create change and made many quirky friends. She is proud to feel part of the small yet powerful group of individuals scattered across the globe that she likes to call “world changers and history makers.” With the Global Youth Advisory Council (a group of just such individuals), she ambitiously aims to replace Western culture’s judgment, envy, and prejudice with acceptance, respect, and tolerance. She is thrilled to join the Global Youth Advisory Council and is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such strong, young, and independent women in promoting positive social change.
Neha Kulkarni is a senior in high school. Her initial interest in feminism sparked after watching Miss Representation in tenth grade and then cultivating a profound interest for the organization itself. Since then, Neha has involved herself in several initiatives to better her community such as becoming her city’s director of a national initiative known as Kids Are Scientists Too (KAST). As captain of her Forensics Speech & Debate Team, co-president of her Model United Nations Club, and co-president of her school’s Young Politicians Club, Neha has learned the utmost importance of dissent and its impact on true change and progress. She finds her passions in discussion of reform, particularly in the STEM field, which she envisions herself in someday. Outside of school activities, Neha is also an avid meditator, which centers her on a daily basis. Neha is ecstatic to be part of the Global Youth Advisory Council!
Sofia Kwon is a high school freshman who has always been interested in issues of diversity and representation. In her eighth grade year, Sofia was the leader of her school’s Discussion Group, a weekly club that talked about important issues that tie into current events, often pushing the limits of comfort by choosing topics such as police brutality and abortion. In addition, Sofia is an award-winning writer and has won two national gold medal awards for her poetry and prose as well as numerous regional awards. Her essay about feminism won a silver medal for the East Coast Region-at-Large. She plans to use her writing as a catalyst for change by focusing on more topical issues and is in the process of writing a young adult novel about the LGTBQ+ community. She has also facilitated discussion about feminism in the context of dress codes with her school’s governing body of seniors. Other accomplishments include being cast as the lead of her eighth grade play and attending the prestigious Manhattan School of Music precollege for piano and voice. She is excited to be working with the Global Youth Advisory Council to make social change.
Juliette Luini was born and raised in Los Angeles and is now a sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont. She hopes to major in English and creative writing during her time at Middlebury. Her passions include creative writing, yoga, languages, and traveling. On campus, Juliette is a yoga teacher, a writer for the student-run blog, and an editor of the literary magazine. Juliette possesses a strong interest in sexuality education, positive media usage, and exploring the intersectionality of limiting stereotypes. She was first introduced to The Representation Project at her all-girls high school – the organization inspired her to help start a movement at her school called “Be Bold.” “Be Bold” is an internship program and speaker series that helps connect high school girls with successful women in the workforce.
Ashley Olafsen is a freshman at University of Massachusetts, Amherst who is passionate about self-esteem, body image, media representation, mental health, and all things that hold back teenagers from reaching their full potential. She has created and delivered numerous self-confidence workshops, as well as a five-day summer program to girls all over New England. As the co-founder of MOVE, she draws on her own personal experiences to make the most impact possible. Furthermore, she was a speaker at the 2014 Massachusetts Computer Using Educators Conference in Foxboro, MA and a speaker at the 2015 Consortium for School Networking International Symposium in Atlanta, GA. She has also given a TEDx on why media diversity is important. Additionally, she has spent the past two and a half years writing a book and is working on getting it published. See Ashley’s website, speeches, and sign up for her weekly newsletter.
Milena Orbach is a senior in high school. As a leader, she is co-president of her school’s Girls Who Code club and First Tech Competition robotics team. As a Washingtonian, she volunteers at Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, a DC foundation for LGBTQ+ youth, partakes regularly in the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as the Hirshorn and American Indian museums, and attends every rally and protest she agrees with and can get to. As a nerd, she blogs about video games, superhero shows, and card games. As a dancer, she performs with the Raqs Jameel Bellydance Company. As a writer, she cries at poetry recitations, researches homosexuality in the pre-Stalin Union Soviet Socialist Republics, and expresses her social frustrations in short stories. As a feminist, she is ready to write and right past wrongs with The Representation Project.
Adrianne Owings is a senior in high school in Little Rock, Arkansas who is extremely passionate about supporting young women and their right to equality in the world, especially in the areas of media and education. As part of her advocacy, she works with the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign as a National Teen Advisor and a director and founder of For Arkansas Girls, which aims to help young women in the Natural State. She was elected as the 2015-2016 American Legion Auxiliary Arkansas Girls State Governor by over eight hundred passionate young women and promotes civic education of young women with this position and her half-sister’s acclaimed nonprofit, Women Lead Arkansas. She is also an advocate for sustainability in our world’s oceans as an intern of SeaTrek British Virgin Islands, a National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) Divemaster Candidate and Scientific Diver, and hopefully a future NAUI Instructor. She’s a nationally-recognized orator and debater, as a leader of the National Speech and Debate Association chapter at her high school, a National Merit Semifinalist, and a professional actress at the Arkansas Repertory Theater.
As a graduate of an all-girls preparatory school in Dallas, Texas, Katie Payne grew up with a heightened awareness of the limitations that society imposes on talented and brilliant young women. Having been given the chance to think critically about gender inequality as a high school student, she hopes to extend the same opportunity to others as she believes media literacy to be a crucial component of any education. Today, as a sophomore at Duke University studying political science and international comparative studies, Katie continues to explore these issues outside of the classroom through writing and journalism. On campus, she works as an undergraduate consultant for the Thompson Writing Program and as the Scoop Editor for The Standard, Duke’s online lifestyle and culture magazine. Last year, she penned a column on women, politics, and pop culture for the same publication, flipping perceived feminist beliefs and attempting to solve the fourth wave’s identity crisis and approachability problem. She examines most issues from an op-ed format and believes that a journalistic voice offers much needed reflection and reason in a world of tumultuous debate.
Mollie Pepper is a junior in high school who is passionate about all things equality and likes to think she has been an activist since she could pronounce the word. Over the summer, she organized a conversation group for English Language Learners in her community and tutors English as Second Language students throughout the year. She is in charge of planning We Are The Line, an annual vigil to raise awareness about women’s rights abuses at which she was a featured speaker last year. Through a club sponsored by Charlottesville’s Sexual Assault Resource Agency, she helped rewrite her school’s dress code and gives seminars on consensual relationships to the sports teams. She also loves to ride horses and is a state qualifier in both student congress and public forum style debate. She is elated to be part of the Global Youth Advisory Council and cannot wait to see what’s in store.
Katherine Polkinghorne is a high school senior raised in Chicago and transplanted to Kingwood, Texas at fifteen. Motivated by the miseducation and discrimination she witnessed upon arrival, she started her school’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Alliance and as president of the club, has organized many education and awareness events on behalf of the LGBTQ+ student body. She is also co-president of her school’s debate team and hopes to someday unite her interests as a civil liberties lawyer. Kaede spends an average day negotiating with her school’s administration in the interest of the alliance, managing projects involving a membership body of approximately thirty students, and hyperventilating about college applications. She has an unrelentingly deep passion for social reform and equal representation in the media and in academic spaces and is honored to be working alongside The Representation Project to create a better world.
Vesa Prapashtica is currently a sophomore at the University of Prishtina, Kosovo where she studies English Language and Literature. She works as a journalist and film-maker at the news bureau “Girl Be Heard” at Kosovalive and GlobalGirl Media. There, she has produced numerous articles and short documentaries about different topics related to feminism, gender equality, taboo topics, and more. Two of the short documentaries which were directed by Vesa won forth and fifth place prizes at the Youth Film Fest held in Prishtina. Her most successful documentary is “Does Virginity Matter?” (forth place prize) where she discussed how women in Kosovo face difficulties during their lives pertaining to whether or not they are virgins. She is also an intern at PEN-KBB (Peers Educators Network – Be a Man Club) where she gives workshops and helps youngsters address different stereotypes, difficulties in their lives, and a lack of awareness about violence. She also gives free English courses for the young men in the club. Aside from giving numerous workshops on different topics, working, and helping Kosovo overcome different situations, Vesa is a passionate animal lover; likes sports; is a huge fan of art, literature and culture; and is a strong supporter of women rights and empowerment.
Ryland Rich, a sophomore in high school in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is inspired to break down stereotypes that hold people back from becoming their best selves. In her work with the Model United Nations and Girl Up, Ryland has worked to find innovative ways to address both external and internal discrimination and oppression. She realizes the power of the media and sees how it can constrict people’s sense of self or open their minds to new possibilities. She is eager to engage in projects and initiatives with the Global Youth Advisory that will change the way people view themselves and the world.