Southwest Guilford High School
A senior at Southwest Guilford High School in High Point, North Carolina, Erin is actively involved with the Guilford County Schools’ Service-Learning Youth Council where she is part of the Executive Board. This has allowed her to complete service projects with regard to the Achievement Gap and Food Insecurity. Through this she has been able to see the impact youth voice can have on a community.
At her school she is involved in many clubs including Service-Learning Ambassadors, HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), and BETA Club. Through her variety of service she was inspired to start her own service-learning project in partnership with an elementary school. This allowed high school students to mentor younger students in an effort to combat the achievement gap. She believes that Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” is important for today’s youth to help foster community engagement. While on the YAC she hopes to bring attention to the importance of youth voice and participate in service projects she is passionate about.
Beza Gebremariam graduated from Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, and is currently a first year at Duke University. During her time at Overland she served a variety of leadership positions including Student Body President, President of Math Honor Society, Captain of Speech and Debate, and Vice President of National Honor Society. At Duke she is a Robertson Scholar and plans to study Public Policy. In her spare time she enjoys reading (she’s open to any book recommendations), photography, and hiking. Being the first in her family to go to college, she understands the importance of education and is excited to work with NYLC to advocate for education equity through service learning.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In 2002, Connor Kirkpatrick’s family started Shining Hope Farms, a non-profit organization that serves children and adults with disabilities through hippotherapy. Because of the program he developed a passion for youth advocacy and engagement. He has been honored to serve as the co-chair of the Human Sexuality Committee for the North Carolina Youth Legislative Assembly, an ambassador and junior staff member for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference, a member of the Leadership Institute, and a missionary in Cambodia working with orphans.
His philosophy is that the simple things in life make a big impact: a smile, a conversation, a “Have a great day!” As Kid President puts it, “If you want to make the world more awesome, be awesome; treat everybody like it’s their birthday.”
He hopes to add valuable insight and experience as a member of Youth Advisory Council and is incredibly excited to work with his fellow YAC members to serve, learn, and change the world.
Lakshmi Meenakshi Immaneni
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lakshmi Meenakshi Immaneni, whose friends know her as Meenu, is currently a rising freshman at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the inaugural class of 2016 graduates from The STEM Early College at NC A&T. She is honored to be serving as a member of the 2016-2018 NYLC Youth Advisory Council.
She believes literacy is the greatest gift someone can receive because of its ability to unlock potential. Three years ago, she and a friend started a small program known as the Interactive Learning Club, or ILC. Its aim was to provide students with a fun, interactive, and worthwhile STEM learning experience. Their program was implemented in a small, parochial K-8th grade school in Greensboro and has been active ever since. In addition to this program, she also helped organize an annual STEM day event as Secretary of her school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Just like ILC, its goal was to help underrepresented minorities explore the STEM fields through various activities. Both of these programs are still thriving to this day, but now their focus is on extending these projects even further. As an organizer, advocate, and STEM enthusiast she could not be any prouder.
She is a huge fan of service-learning. Since being formally introduced to the concept, she has been engaged in a countless number of school and community projects. She has served as Vice President of Guilford County Schools’ Service Learning Youth Council, President of her schools’ Service Learning Ambassador Team, and Secretary of her school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Giving back to the school and community that has helped her was a humbling and worthwhile experience.
In her free time, she enjoys baking, volunteering, painting, and chatting with friends. Her philosophy in life is that you always get back what you give. So litter the world with smiles, happiness, compassion, and always extend a helping hand to those in need. Actions speak louder than words in most instances, so even the tiniest of gestures can have a huge impact.
Morris County School of Technology
Ananya Singh is a freshman at Morris County School of Technology, in NJ, with a passion for service and activism. She began Youth United Making An Impact, a group for youth to learn about issues in our world, and take action. While participating and organizing service learning projects, she has recognized the impact that people can make. Her inspiration to take on bigger projects and more effective campaigns has only been growing, and she is constantly planning and organizing events, meetings, and actions. Some achievements that she has accomplished include being awarded with the Morris County Superintendent’s Leadership Award, being a part of the National Junior Honor Society, being recognized by Greenpeace as a lead activist and volunteer in the spotlight. Her goal as part of the YAC is to learn and grow as a leader, and effectively develop service learning and education equity. Serving on the YAC is an experience she is extremely honored to have, and she is excited to collaborate with an amazing organization and insightful members.
Aside from service, she enjoys expressing creativity through hand lettering, writing, and dance. Her personal mission statement is as follows, “I will strive to bring happiness and compassion to those around me, make positive choices that are good for me and the environment, act fearlessly and dedicatedly, and reach out of my comfort zone to improve the world.”
High Tech High Media Arts
Solomon Stovall-Ceja is a senior at High Tech High Media Arts, located in San Diego, CA. Solomon aspires to study political science and business in college. He wishes to use his skills to create and participate in grassroots movements across the globe. Solomon was inspired by radical leaders like Malcolm X, John Lewis, MLK, etc. to become a more vocal leader in his community. Because of this, Solomon has proven to be a champion for service-learning through his work with Real World Scholars, a non-profit aimed to provide entrepreneurial learning in STEM classes for all age groups. Solomon has also shown his leadership capabilities through activism work for black rights. He is a co-leader of the black student advocacy club, called Umoja. Solomon has also shown his commitment to social change by participating in marches, protests, and educational meetings with leaders in his community in order to create a more safe and equal society. He also loves to have fun too! Solomon enjoys playing board games with friends and family. He also goes to a laser tag site where he competes as part of a club. Lastly, Solomon loves watching TV shows and movies, especially when there’s popcorn to be eaten. He is excited to begin a new chapter of his life with NYLC and YAC for the next 2 years. He looks forward to NYLC helping him enhance his leadership and connections with other youth around the country and globe.
Colorado State University, Fort Collins
A champion for youth in her community and the state of Colorado, Sheridan Sumouske has organized many service-learning projects and collaborated with several non-profit organizations including LiveWell Colorado, Kids on Bikes of Colorado Springs, and United Way of Pueblo County. She has been professionally trained in leadership development from The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, and is on the 2014 Girl’s Leadership Council. As a collective group, she had the opportunity to grant $20,000 to non-profit organizations working to prevent girls from dropping out of school or working to support girls in entering careers that support their economic security.
As the hometown of four Medal of Honor recipients, Sheridan’s hometown of Pueblo is known as the “Home of Heroes.” Charles Patrick Murray, Jr., Medal of Honor Recipient once said, “It is America’s youth on which the future of our great nation depends. We should encourage them to take full advantage of every opportunity to become productive citizens through character building, education, and training.” Since age 10, Sheridan has developed an understanding of philanthropy and believes that young people are uniquely suited to solve problems through service. To her, philanthropy is doing something to make problem-solving impact and improve the lives of others in a beneficial way.
“As a 2016-2018 Youth Advisory Council member, I hope to gain personal growth and develop new leadership skills that will make an impact on the next generation of youth so they can reach their full potential. I look forward to doing all we can together, to shape a better tomorrow for our great Nation.” – Sheridan C. Sumouske
Eden Prairie High School
Satish Uppaluri is a senior at Eden Prairie High School. Two years ago, he and a few friends created a program at school called the Tutor Run Academic Center of Excellence (TRACE), which focuses on serving his peers with any academic help they might need. He is also the current President of the Partners in Health chapter at his school. By engaging in meaningful discussion and advocacy during the club meetings, he has begun to see more global issues and ways to combat them. Through his work with TRACE and Partners in Health, he has become an advocate of education locally and internationally.
He also participates in a number of other activities at school and independently such as the Youth in Government club, piano, table tennis, and Quizbowl. He spends his spare time relaxing with friends and reading.
As a member of the 2016-18 YAC, he hopes to engage in more service-learning projects and give thoughtful insight so that he and his fellow YAC members can make a difference in the world.
North Gwinnett High School
Ricky Yoo is a Junior at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia. Ever since his introduction to service-leadership, he has had a passion for positive progress. Time and time again, Ricky always looks to help and engage the youth. He is involved in many leadership oriented clubs and organizations both in his community and his school such as the North Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Freshmen Mentoring Team, Relay for Life Advisory Board, Model Atlanta Regional Commission, Suwanee Youth Leaders, Smile Society, and many more. As a part of NYLC YAC, he plans to fervently work to spread leadership education and to facilitate positive change. He hopes to learn as much as he can on the YAC and utilize his skills to provide insight into the intricate social issues of today. When he finds time to relax, he enjoys reading nonfiction books and going to the gym.