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 on the achievement gap and food insecurity. Through these projects, 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 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.
Lakshmi Meenakshi Immaneni
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lakshmi Meenakshi Immaneni, whose friends know her as Meenu, is 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 experiences. 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. 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, and has a passion for service and activism. She began Youth United Making An Impact, a group for youths to learn about issues in the 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: “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.”
New York University
Solomon Stovall-Ceja is a graduate of High Tech High Media Arts, located in San Diego, CA. He currently studies political science and business at New York University. 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 looks forward to NYLC helping him enhance his leadership and connections with other youth around the country and globe.
University of Minnesota
Satish Uppaluri graduated from Eden Prairie High School. Several 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 youths. 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.