Team Bios

National Officers

Olivia Becker, Director of Outreach and Engagement

Olivia Becker is a junior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City who serves as Next Gen’s Director of Outreach and Engagement. She joined this vibrant organization with the mission of bringing young people from opposite ends of the political spectrum together to listen to each other and deliberate, building mutual respect and empathy in the process. Her involvement in NGP, starting as a Civic Fellow, has furthered her understanding that the diverse youth voice of today should be heard, amplified, and valued in our modern political landscape. Beyond NGP, Olivia is committed to shaping the communities she is a part of. She is a leader of her Model United Nations team and a managing editor of her school’s newspaper, where she hopes to present all sides of a story and circulate the truth. She is also the vice-chairwoman of the Park Avenue Synagogue Food Pantry, an intern for Congressman Max Rose (NY-11), and a member of the Seeds of Peace network. Olivia is excited for the coming year at Next Gen Politics, and is devoted to spreading its pedagogy, consequently minimizing the hyper-partisanship present in society.

 

Avalon Zborovsky Fenster, Director of Equity and Inclusion 

Avalon Zborovsky Fenster is a 17 year old first-generation Jewish American and a rising senior at the Stony Brook School in Long Island, NY who is the founder of Next Gen’s Women’s Caucus and serves as Next Gen’s Director of Equity and Inclusion.  She is also the National Media and Communications Strategist for March for our Lives, prior to which she was Co-Founder and Lead Organizer of March For Our Lives Long Island and the New York State Liaison. She is a strong advocate for violence prevention, gun reform, and moral justice in our national and community leaders. Avalon has worked on both local and federal campaigns, and is a known voice in her community for civic engagement, especially among youth. She is also a speaker on issues of youth leadership and political empowerment, speaking with organizations such as the LGBT Network, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Long Island, and various other community organizations. Avalon looks forward to this new year at Next Gen Politics, and is more committed than ever to uplift and empower the intersectional youth voice that truly makes this country the global power that it is.

 

Zane Kleinberg, Director of Technology

Zane Kleinberg is a junior at the Fieldston School in New York. He has founded multiple tech focused companies; some which have over 20 thousand active users, and others which license software to various companies. He began working with tech and coding when he was 7. Zane has been an active member of NGP since late 2018. He is an active voice when advocating for the benefits of technology; specifically commenting on the intersection between technology and politics. Zane hopes to expand NGPs social networking and outreach, while simultaneously reworking all aspects of its web presence.

 

Alexandra Madaras, Director of Publications and NGP Blog Editor in Chief

Alexandra Madaras is a senior at Mason High School in Cincinnati, Ohio who is passionate about the youth voice in politics. The contrast between her Romanian upbringing and her suburban American surroundings has helped her explore what politics really means to the life of each individual. She believes in a closeness of politics to the humanity that should drive us all (and would love it if every lawmaker had to pass a compassion test.) She joined Next Generation Politics in July of 2018 with a hope to motivate others to get into politics through her writing. Her journey from contributor, to editor, to Editor in Chief and National Director of Publications has opened her eyes to the power of a student-led organization driven by civic duty, creativity, and the value of challenging each other. She hopes to lead NGP Blog to further empower the youth voice, dissolve preconceptions surrounding ideological labels, and present the authentic thoughts of Generation Z to as many willing readers as possible. Outside of NGP, she works for her local Democratic Party, plays piano, and organizes peer language-learning at her school. 

 

Brianna Taylor, Member at Large

Brianna Taylor is a 17 year old first generation Barbadian-American and a senior at Friends Academy from Long Island, New York. Since 2016 Briann a has been a passionate advocate for gun control legislation, criminal justice reform, and women’s reproductive rights and safety. Brianna joined the NGP family as National Political Director of the Political Committee in NGP’s Women Caucus. Along with her work with Next Gen Politics, Brianna is the President of her school’s Diversity Committee, a member of the March for Our Lives Long Island Executive Board, a United Nations intern, a Girls’ Leadership Worldwide Alumni (2017) and a 2017 Harvard University Youth Advisory Board member. She has worked closely with state assemblywomen, legislators in Nassau County, along with organizations like  Planned Parenthood and the Bahai International Community. Brianna is honored to be a part of such a strong coalition of young people.

 

Caroline Zhu, Director of Partnerships 

Caroline Zhu is a sophomore attending Syosset High School in Long Island, New York. She is a ten-time gold key winner of Scholastic’s renowned Art and Writing Contest and has had her artwork toured internationally including places like France, Kenya, the United Nations, among others. A passionate writer, her additional experience in writing includes writing for Canvas Literary Journal and composing poetry in her free time. Her time as an intern for her local District Attorney had piqued her interest in politics, and now she is involved with multiple nonprofit organizations advocating for issues such as gender equality and climate change. In addition to being a disoriented contender in today’s hypercompetitive high school environment, she enjoys engaging in a wide variety of extracurriculars in order to find her so-called “passion” — although she is starting to doubt its existence.

 

National Officers Emerita

Sachi Madan

Sachi Madan recently graduated from high school in Seattle and is starting college at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She has lived in five countries, and often finds that the unique experience with each culture has sparked her interest in politics. High school brought her many opportunities to pursue her interest in politics and leadership: She was an active participant on the debate team, an intern with WA State Senator Manka Dhingra, the founder of a mental health campaign across her school district, a Link Crew leader, a participant of DECA, an architect of the Walkout against Gun Violence at her school, and a leader of the Students Organised Against Racism in her school district. Sachi served as a National Officer for Next Gen Politics in 2018-19. Her passion for social issues within politics and giving everyone a voice is what drives her interest in Next Gen. 

 

Nick Sawicki

Nick Sawicki recently graduated from Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA and is starting college at Brown University in Providence, RI this fall. He served as the editor-in-chief of NGP Blog for the past three years and enjoyed posting articles that further Generation Z’s voice. Outside of politics, he spent a lot of time leading Shady Side’s Science Olympiad team as a captain and competed at invitationals across the nation. He is passionate about neuroscience and public health and plans to follow a pre-med track in college.

 

Gracie Ayres-Doyle

Grace Ayres-Doyle recently graduated from Wood River High School in Hailey, Idaho and is starting college at Fordham in New York City this fall. She began working with NGP in 2017-18 as the Idaho state director and served as a National Officer in 2018-19. She has loved seeing such passion for civic engagement among youth because of the organization. Gracie was the public forum captain of her debate team and worked as a fellow for a state legislature campaign. She is a strong believer in youth voice and sat on the district school board as the representative for her high school. 

 

Staff

Sanda Balaban

Sanda is passionate about helping young people connect their interests and beliefs with how they can make a difference, at and beyond the ballot box, and is thrilled to serve as the adult ally for YVote and Next Generation Politics, aiming to help equip the leaders of tomorrow for their roles and responsibilities as citizens shaping a more just world. 

Sanda has held leadership roles in education and youth development for over 20 years, in the public sector at the New York City Department of Education, in education philanthropy at the Ford Foundation and Goldman Sachs Foundation, in nonprofits including Facing History and Ourselves, the Boston Private Industry Council, and The Teachers Network, and in the classroom teaching high school humanities in New York City and Boston. 

Sanda is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

 

Lead Fellows

Alex Aznavoorian

Alex is a Junior at Baruch College Campus High School. He enjoys football, boxing, and politics. He would like to pursue a career in politics as a member of government, with his goal to be elected president of the United States. This is his second year involved with Next Gen Politics and he is looking forward to a continuation of all the great conversations started last year.

 

Marc Spenzer Bauzon 

Marc Spenzer Bauzon is a 17-year-old senior from NEST+m High School. Before joining NGP, he had refrained from politics because of a stigma of dirtiness that he accredited to it. Regardless of his sentiments then, it’s become apparent to him of just how important it is that people are aware of not just the impact of politics, but also the role that each of us play in it. Much of what drew him to Next Generation Politics was the opportunity to engage with others on the issues in our current interconnected world. With time, he’s grown to understand what comes with being aware of these inner machinations in our society, and it’s incentivized him to pursue the opportunity of civic engagement as best he can. 

 

Makieda McKenzie 

Makieda is a junior at Poly Prep Country Day school with a passion for civic outreach and engagement. She is a Prep for Prep student. She lived the first 6 years of her life in Jamaica before moving to America. Her involvement in Next Generation Politics has further promoted her yearn to do something that helps people in ways larger than on an individual basis. She hopes to become a lawyer. She joined Next Gen hoping to learn more and further broaden her horizons on the political/ social issues that catch her attention. Going beyond simply civic outreach, she has an interest in public policy and spent her summer doing a public policy internship at the Department of Health where she learned about immigration health and completed her summer with a project based around the immigration processes and the role that social media plays in the establishment of policies.

 

Olivia Becker

Olivia is a junior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. She joined this vibrant organization with the mission of bringing young people from opposite ends of the political spectrum together to listen to each other and deliberate, building mutual respect and empathy in the process. Her involvement in Next Gen, starting as a Civic Fellow, has furthered her understanding that the diverse youth voice of today should be heard, amplified, and valued in our modern political landscape. Beyond Next Gen, Olivia is committed to shaping the communities she is a part of. She is a leader of her Model United Nations team and a managing editor of her school’s newspaper, where she hopes to present all sides of a story and circulate the truth. She is also the vice-chair of the Park Avenue Synagogue Food Pantry, an intern for Congressman Max Rose (NY-11), and a member of the Seeds of Peace network. Olivia is devoted to spreading Next Gen’s pedagogy, consequently minimizing the hyper-partisanship present in society.

 

Sara Chough 

Sara is a senior at The Spence School who is passionate about civic engagement and discussion. She initially joined Next Generation Politics’ Civic Forums because of her desire to explore opinions that differed from her own and those of her peers at school. As co-captain of the Debate Team and an avid member of Model Congress, Sara hopes to increase the amount of political discussion that takes place in her school community. In addition to the Forums, Sara  also enjoys recording for Next Generation Politics’ podcast series. Her passion for immigration policy in particular has led her to intern at Open Door, a program that offers English classes to Hispanic immigrants and their families so that they can better integrate into American society.

 

Julianna Davis

Julianna is a High School Senior of School of the Future High School. She is involved with many in-school clubs, such as African American and Latino culture club, GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance), and Model UN. She participated as a Civic Fellow last year and is so excited to be a Lead Fellow this year. Some of her other hobbies include volleyball, reading, and Creative Writing. 

 

Charlotte Kabelac 

Charlotte is a Senior at The Dwight School in New York who started off with youth politics in Germany. In her hometown, she was a member of her city and state student council where she aimed to empassion young people to take action in politics and give them a voice. Her second goal–to start and maintain a constant discussion about civic issues in schools– is what brought her to Next Generation Politics when she moved to New York in her Junior Year. In her high school, she tries to encourage discussions through the Current Events Club and student-led debates. Being a Civic Fellow has helped her to understand the civic issues of a different country and new perspectives as the program is designed to bring different voices to the table. As a participant in Model United Nations and Model European Parliament (the European wide equivalent), she is passionate about International Relations and International Law. Next Generation Politics enables her to develop her interests as well as being engaged in local politics. 

 

Abryana Kevelier-Williams

Abryana is a senior at the Spence School. She joined NextGen in her sophomore year as a Civic Fellow. With intent of bringing students from both public and private schools together in political deliberation, Abryana left every conversation with respect, understanding, and openness to all students of all political backgrounds. Abryana’s involvement in Next Gen shaped her mindset regarding how to participate as well as facilitate these conversations. Next Gen has taught her that the voices of today’s generation are of the utmost importance. As our world is ever-changing, so do the views of our generation on how to best adapt, and even change our world for good. Outside of Next Gen, Abryana takes every opportunity to build up the voices in her community. She is a dedicated member of LET’S, her school’s mental-health awareness club, and a volunteer teachers assistant at her local youth clinic, where she hopes to validate the voices of all the youth she encounters. Abryana is elated for the 2019-2020 year at NextGen Politics, and will always do her best to navigate through heavily charged conversations with understanding and acceptance.

 

Anna Krantz

Anna is a student and a dancer, currently enrolled as a junior at Baruch College Campus High School in New York City.  She was a Civic Fellow during the 2018-2019 school year and her passion for the issues discussed and presented there inspired her to become a Lead Fellow at NGP. She hopes to major in criminal justice in college as well as continue research around women’s rights. Her women’s rights work has included interviewing lawyers representing survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. She hopes to continue helping and encouraging her generation’s involvement in the political and social issues that matter to them. 

 

Talia Marash 

Talia is a junior at Poly Prep Country Day School. She has been involved in Next Generation Politics for the past two years. In addition to being involved in Civic Forum, she works at her school to put in place policies surrounding service trips and fundraising, and leads conversations on difficult issues in the community. Her passions include women’s rights, voter rights, and finance. She spent her summer studying the Israel-Palestine conflict with the New York Times. She continues her education on one of the facets of the conflict through UNHCR studying the impact of block-chain technology in place of cash or debit cards when it comes to benefitting women and their family within the refugee camps in Jordan. As a Lead Fellow, Talia hopes to continue allowing students of all backgrounds to have educational, productive conversations in a setting that encourages diversity of opinion.

 

Adam Neville

Adam is a 17-year-old queer latino firebrand based in NYC. He’s been an outspoken activist in cooperation with YVote, a teen health advocate and community health researcher in affiliation with Mount Sinai, and an equity leader with the NYC DOE’s Equity Initiative. Adam is a senior at Baruch College Campus High School, where he founded the Baruch Next Gen Politics chapter. In addition to Next Gen, Adam has been involved with the Black and Latino Student Union, Sexual Education and Rape Culture Awareness Club, Environmentalism Club, and been published in the Baruch literary magazine. When Adam is not engaged in activism work or politics, he reads, writes, styles, and appreciates music.

 

Zarvon Rejaee

Zarvon is a 16 year old Persian-American senior at NEST+M on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Taking a strong influence in politics from his father, Zarvon began to lobby for issues such as gun control and climate awareness in his school before he was encouraged to join Next Gen by last year’s  Lead Fellow, Lila Podgainy. Being one half of the debate duo that won the open forum division of New York City in 2018, Zarvon’s debate skills and fearlessness when it comes to asking tough and controversial questions allows him to navigate the truth in discussions with various leaders. This year he plans to get Next Gen more active in fighting against climate change as well as contributing to the podcast. Besides politics, Zarvon enjoys playing soccer and basketball, camping, buying clothes, and photography. He plans to study political science in college and one day be elected to Congress.

 

Tamar Samuel Jr

Tamar is a senior and the first Student Body President at School of the Future High School. He has been involved with NGP for two years. Joining the organization has allowed him to listen to other students’ opinions on both sides of the political spectrum and gain further knowledge about political and social issues that impact our society. In addition to NGP, he is a United States Marshal Explorer where he works with law enforcement officials and learns different skills, hands-on training tactics, and many other great experiences. In the fall, Tamar will be attending St. Francis College majoring in criminal justice and sociology. After he graduates from college, he intends on going to graduate school to continue his education and pursue a career in law enforcement or the Department of Justice.

 

Anita Eson-Benjamin

Anita Eson-Benjamin is a 17-year old senior attending Harvest Collegiate High School. She enjoys expressing her creativity through theater, song, and dance. Her interest in politics sparked during the 2016 Presidential race. Seeing the world take such a dramatic shift in tolerance for each other promoted her to digging deeper into why our political beliefs are the way that they are. In school, she’s an opinionated voice actively pushing for social reform that reflects a world where every person is treated with the humanity that’s inherent to them.

 

Podcast Team

Inica Kotasthane

Inica Kotasthane is a fifteen year-old sophomore who attends Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, New Jersey. Kotasthane is the Politics and World News Editor in her school newspaper, The Arrowhead, Secretary of her school’s FBLA, and remains active in speech and debate. Her latest writing accomplishments include winning first place essay at the YVote Competition held by the League of Women Voters’ Greater New Brunswick Area Chapter in 2018 and receiving national honors from the Scholastic Art and Writing Program in poetry. Kotasthane plans on pursuing her interests in Political Science and Writing through journalism or policy making, and hopes to continue to raise awareness and change for social issues affecting the world today.

 

Julianna Davis

Julianna is a high school senior at School of the Future High School. She is involved with many in-school clubs, such as African American and Latino culture club, GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance), and Model UN. She participated as a Civic Fellow last year and is so excited to be a Lead Fellow and podcaster this year. Some of her other hobbies include volleyball, reading, and creative writing. 

 

Olivia Becker

Olivia Becker is a junior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City who serves as Next Gen’s Director of Outreach and Engagement. She joined this vibrant organization with the mission of bringing young people from opposite ends of the political spectrum together to listen to each other and deliberate, building mutual respect and empathy in the process. Her involvement in NGP, starting as a Civic Fellow, has furthered her understanding that the diverse youth voice of today should be heard, amplified, and valued in our modern political landscape. Beyond NGP, Olivia is committed to shaping the communities she is a part of. She is a leader of her Model United Nations team and a managing editor of her school’s newspaper, where she hopes to present all sides of a story and circulate the truth. She is also the vice-chairwoman of the Park Avenue Synagogue Food Pantry, an intern for Congressman Max Rose (NY-11), and a member of the Seeds of Peace network. Olivia is excited for the coming year at Next Gen Politics, and is devoted to spreading its pedagogy, consequently minimizing the hyper-partisanship present in society.

 

Clara Medina

Clara Medina is a sophomore at NEST+m High School in New York City. She joined NGP hoping to find a space to voice her opinions as well as to hear new perspectives that might differ from her own. She now participates in forums as a Civic Fellow and edits NGP’s The Round Table podcasts. Her goal is to increase youth engagement in politics and to emphasize the need for political discourse. Beyond NGP, Clara is an active member in her school’s theater community and is passionate about acting and filmmaking. She also works to break the divides within her school and give back to her community.

 

Srihita Adabala

Srihita Adabala is a junior at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee. Since a young age, she has had a passion for climate activism and educating the public on today’s social issues. Since many of these issues affect future generations, Srihita believes that it is important to increase civic engagement among younger people as they have the power to demand change. As well as writing for NGP, she writes for The Borgen Project and various local publications. Outside of writing, Srihita is involved with the Sunrise Movement, an active member of her Speech and Debate team, produces music, and works at a macaron bakery.

 

Riya Mehta

Riya Mehta is a high school senior in New Jersey. She is extremely passionate about politics and youth engagement and hopes to pursue a future career in either international relations or political science. She has been immersed in debate and Model United Nations for all of my high school career, which has encouraged her enthusiasm for policy. She is also a youth ambassador for a foundation that brings empowerment to young women in rural India, and the founder of the bipartisan politics club at her school, where discourse on civic issues between Democrats and Republicans is fostered. Recently, she collaborated with an Assemblyman in her district to put forth a bill in the state assembly and senate floor that would mandate voter registration and the provision of civics information for all high school seniors statewide. This summer, she interned for the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice in NYC, doing research on foreign human rights and the role the US plays on the global stage. Next Gen Polites encompasses all of her passions and interests, and she is excited to be a part of such a great organization!

 

Jade Tyra 

Jade Tyra is a 16-year-old queer activist and journalist from Maui, Hawaii who is currently living in Oklahoma. She works with a multitude of activist organizations in order to be involved with the change that she is passionate about. She is a media director and founding member of the NGP women’s caucus. Jade is also a writer for Next Gen Politics, focusing her writing primarily on social justice issues and climate change mitigation. Climate change is an issue that Jade works to overcome in multiple aspects of her activism. She is an Oklahoma Climate Strike Ambassador and social media manager.  Jade is additionally the founder and chief writer of Keep Growing OK, a collective of writers raising awareness about mental health issues.

 

Sara Chough

Sara is a senior at The Spence School who is passionate about civic engagement and discussion. She initially joined Next Generation Politics’ Civic Forums because of her desire to explore opinions that differed from her own and those of her peers at school. As co-captain of the Debate Team and an avid member of Model Congress, Sara hopes to increase the amount of political discussion that takes place in her school community. In addition to the Forums, Sara also enjoys recording for Next Generation Politics’ podcast series. Her passion for immigration policy in particular has led her to intern at Open Door, a program that offers English classes to Hispanic immigrants and their families so that they can better integrate into American society.

 

Social Media Team

Marc Spenzer Bauzon 

Marc is a 17-year-old rising senior from NEST+m High School. Before joining NGP, he had refrained from politics because of a stigma of dirtiness that he accredited to it. Regardless of his sentiments then, it’s become apparent to him of just how important it is that people are aware of not just the impact of politics, but also the role that each of us play in it. Much of what drew him to Next Generation Politics was the opportunity to engage with others on the issues in our current interconnected world. With time, he’s grown to understand what comes with being aware of these inner machinations in our society, and it’s incentivized him to pursue the opportunity of civic engagement as best he could. He looks forward to the opportunities ahead to share what he has come to see.

 

Dawn Motley 

Dawn is 19 years old and a sophomore at the University of Arizona, majoring in Public Management and Policy with a minor in Public Relations.  Dawn hopes to help amplify the voices of young people through involvement with Next Generation Politics Social Media Team!

 

Riya Mehta

Riya Mehta is a senior in New Jersey. She is extremely passionate about politics and youth engagement and hopes to pursue a future career in either international relations or political science. She has been immersed in debate and Model United Nations for all of my high school career, which has encouraged her enthusiasm for policy. She is also a youth ambassador for a foundation that brings empowerment to young women in rural India, and the founder of the bipartisan politics club at her school, where discourse on civic issues between Democrats and Republicans is fostered. Recently, she collaborated with an Assemblyman in her district to put forth a bill in the state assembly and senate floor that would mandate voter registration and the provision of civics information for all high school seniors statewide. This summer, she interned for the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice in NYC, doing research on foreign human rights and the role the US plays on the global stage. Next Gen Polites encompasses all of her passions and interests, and she is excited to be a part of such a great organization!

 

Adam Neville

Adam is a 17-year-old queer latino firebrand based in NYC. He’s been an outspoken activist in cooperation with YVote, a teen health advocate and community health researcher in affiliation with Mount Sinai, and an equity leader with the NYC DOE’s Equity Initiative. Adam is a senior at Baruch College Campus High School, where he founded the Baruch Next Gen Politics chapter. In addition to Next Gen, Adam has been involved with the Black and Latino Student Union, Sexual Education and Rape Culture Awareness Club, Environmentalism Club, and been published in the Baruch literary magazine. When Adam is not engaged in activism work or politics, he reads, writes, styles, and appreciates music.

 

Blog Team

Alina Nodrat, Science and Technology Editor

Alina Nodrat is a student in the Class of 2022 that currently attends Hicksville High School. Alina’s love for writing, politics, and science has truly shaped her life. She leads many different clubs and organizations both in and out of school. Alina intends to go to college and major in Biology on a Pre-Med track and minor in Political Science. Throughout her childhood, Alina grasped onto the environment around her and started asking questions at a young age. Now, Alina uses this ability to her advantage, looking for answers and writing it down in hopes that others will gain their own understanding is what she stands for. Alina tends to write about health and cultural related news and dabbles in other areas as well to broaden the knowledge of those around her. Her ability to work alongside anyone she meets has proven to be important and has led to strong relationships with all those around her.

 

Sidharth Sood, Economics & Business Contributor

Sidharth Sood is a 17-year-old entrepreneur, inventor, public speaker, and the Founder & CEO of Curiosity, a private space exploration company that works with multi-billion dollar aerospace companies and major universities. He’s appeared on various media outlets and was chosen by the United States Patent & Trademark office to give a speech at Earthx 2019, one of the largest innovation conferences in the nation. He also worked with the U.S. military for his last company, Arise, which created smart energy harvesting footwear. He enjoys writing and sharing his opinions on business-related issues which is why he recently became a Senior Writer & Chief Editor of Business Affairs at the Independent Post.

 

Bennett Brown, Trump Presidency and 2020 Election Contributor

Bennett Brown is a sophomore majoring in philosophy and political science at the University of Mississippi.  He previously served as the NGP state director of Mississippi and as a chapter leader.  His first attraction and genuine interest in politics came following the 2012 midterms and Bernie Sanders shortly after.  Always ready for a new discussion, Bennett competed in Lincoln Douglas and policy debate throughout high school and continues to compete at the university level as captain of the Mississippi policy team.  His research and interest areas include elections, domestic politics, metaphysics, science, and technology.  His hobbies include fish keeping, table tennis and going to the park.

 

Azam Lalani, Congress & Supreme Court and Social Justice Contributor

Azam is a sophomore at Syosset High School in Long Island, New York. He hopes to make his impact on the world through community engagement and service. He serves as the Secretary for his school’s Relief Club, the Youth Lead for volunteering at his mosque and he volunteers at Nassau University Medical Center. He hopes to expand his reach/voice through writing for NextGenPolitics as well as working in the youth-led Cleaner Oceans Institute. His participation in clubs such as Political Science Club and Model Congress have opened his eyes as to how he can enact change through politics. His other interests include public speaking – becoming an international finalist in DECA – biology – being named a USA Biology Olympiad Semifinalist – and science research. In his free time he will do nothing but play table tennis, but he could be found watching a nature documentary or reading a book.

 

Lauren Kirkpatrick, Social Justice Contributor

Lauren is known for her powerful speeches in school about equality and inclusion. She is passionate to level the playing field for those with an inherent disadvantage from age, race, ability, belief, and gender. Additionally, her curiosity for foreign perspectives is what drives her to push herself over her limits to learn. Being a woman of color in the society that we live in today has truly forced Lauren to value the perspectives of the unheard, whether such a viewpoint aligns with her way of thinking or not. She works hard and her work ethic is next to none. Moreover, she expresses her creativity through her music and slam poetry. Typically, she tends to overthink ideas, hence, this overthought bio.

 

Sam Husemann, Congress & Supreme Court Contributor

Sam is currently a junior in high school with a focus on politics and social studies. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books, checking up on the news, and discussing recent news events. He likes reading and thinking about politics, regardless of if it’s about Congress, a state legislature, or even just the town council! One of his favorite things is to offer his opinions and analysis of national events, including the likely outcomes of congressional negotiations. Although he mainly focuses on United States politics, he’s always interested in events throughout the rest of the world!  He is bilingual in English and Spanish and enjoys reading in either.

 

Todd Lu, International and Economics Contributor

Todd Lu was originally born in Taiwan and became a contributor for Next Generation Politics in January of 2019, six years after relocating to the United States.

His work as a member of the NGP team regularly include detailed policy analysis and commentary across a wide set of issues ranging from health care to higher education.Outside of his work with NGP, Todd is an active member of his school’s drama club, an IB Diploma Candidate, and formerly the president of his sophomore class.In addition to his published pieces in the NGP blog, Todd’s written work also include multiple pieces published through Medium, an online publishing platform, and through Crossing, a Taiwanese newsmagazine with a focus on international perspectives.

 

Molly May, Social Justice and 2020 Election Contributor

Molly is a rising junior in high school on Long Island, New York. Over the past year, Molly has discovered a passion for politics through the process of the upcoming presidential election. She has found inspiration through social activism and women’s rights to pursue political science in college. She hopes that she can combine this with her love of writing in order to educate others and share her interests. Molly is a member of the Next Generation Politics Women’s Caucus Action Committee, the National Youth Assembly of Pete for America Policy Committee, and a member of her school’s Equity Team. In her free time, Molly enjoys spending time with friends and family, dancing, exploring New York City, and trying to make the world a better place.

 

Riya Mehta, 2020 Election Editor 

Riya Mehta is a senior from New Jersey. She is extremely passionate about politics and youth engagement and hopes to pursue a future career in either international relations or political science. She has been immersed in debate and Model United Nations for all of high school, which has encouraged her enthusiasm for policy. She is also a youth ambassador for a foundation that empowers young women in rural India and is the founder of the bipartisan politics club at her school. Recently, she coordinated with an Assemblyman in her district to put forth a bill that would mandate voter registration and the provision of civics information for all high school seniors statewide. Currently, she is interning for the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice in NYC, doing research on foreign human rights and the role of the US on the global stage. 

 

Alexandra Madaras, Editor in Chief

Alexandra Madaras is a senior at Mason High School in Cincinnati, Ohio who is passionate about the youth voice in politics. The contrast between her Romanian upbringing and her suburban American surroundings has helped her explore what politics really means to the life of each individual. She believes in a closeness of politics to the humanity that should drive us all (and would love it if every lawmaker had to pass a compassion test). She joined Next Generation Politics in July of 2018 with a hope to motivate others to get into politics through her writing. Her journey from contributor, to editor, to Editor in Chief has opened her eyes to the power of a student-led organization driven by civic duty, creativity, and the value of challenging each other. Outside of NGP, she works for her local Democratic Party, plays piano, and organizes peer language-learning at her school. 

 

Jay Pade, Culture & Entertainment Editor

Jay Pade is a 19 year old university student from Princeton, New Jersey. When not watching a movie, he’s reading a book or watching the news. Jay enjoys reflecting on how entertainment reflects society and how society reflects on entertainment. His favorite movie is Band of Outsiders, and he can usually be found in some libraries pursuing the Watchmen comic.

 

Srihita Adabala, 2020 Election and Environment Contributor

Srihita Adabala is a junior at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee. Since a young age, she has had a passion for climate activism and educating the public on today’s social issues. Since many of these issues affect future generations, Srihita believes that it is important to increase civic engagement among younger people as they have the power to demand change. As well as writing for NGP, she writes for The Borgen Project and various local publications. Outside of writing, Srihita is involved with the Sunrise Movement, an active member of her Speech and Debate team, produces music, and works at a macaron bakery.

 

Inica Kotasthane, Trump Presidency and 2020 Election Contributor 

Inica Kotasthane is a fifteen year-old writer who attends Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, New Jersey. Kotasthane is the Politics and World News Editor in her school newspaper, The Arrowhead, Secretary of her school’s FBLA, and remains active in speech and debate, having participated in events at Michigan State University and UPenn. Her latest writing accomplishments include winning first place essay at the YVote Competition held by the League of Women Voters’ Greater New Brunswick Area Chapter in 2018 and receiving national honors from the Scholastic Art and Writing Program in poetry. Kotasthane plans on pursuing her interests in Political Science and Writing through journalism or policy making, and hopes to continue to raise awareness and change for social issues affecting the world today.

 

Andrew Zeng, Environment and Science Contributor Andrew is a rising eighth-grader at Shadyside Academy, and some of his hobbies are hockey, reading, and tennis. He has played hockey for over 5 years and plans to continue. He is passionate about writing and hopes that his writing can have an impact on the world. He likes to write about environmental and global issues because he feels like most issues can be solved.  As well as writing for NGP, he participates in his school’s Science Olympiad program as well as being a part of multiple robotics teams both inside and outside of school. He also plays the trombone and loves listening to music.

 

Caroline Zhu, Social Justice Editor 

Caroline Zhu is a sophomore attending Syosset High School in Long Island, New York. She is a ten-time gold key winner of Scholastic’s renowned Art and Writing Contest and has had her artwork toured internationally including places like France, Kenya, the United Nations, among others. A passionate writer, her additional experience in writing includes writing for Canvas Literary Journal and composing poetry in her free time. Her time as an intern for her local District Attorney had piqued her interest in politics, and now she is involved with multiple nonprofit organizations advocating for issues such as gender equality and climate change. In addition to being a disoriented contender in today’s hypercompetitive high school environment, she enjoys engaging in a wide variety of extracurriculars in order to find her so-called “passion” — although she is starting to doubt its existence.

 

Sneha Mokkala, Economics & Business Contributor 

Sneha Mokkala is a junior at Clear Lake High School in Houston, Texas. She is passionate about exploring the intersection of economics and social justice through the lens of public policy, and she is also an advocate for climate action, women’s rights, and gun control. She is the Speech Captain of her school’s Speech and Debate team, where she enjoys delving into policy issues almost every weekend at tournaments. When she saw the need for a platform to share ideas and foster community within her school, she founded a TEDx club, which has since organized two TEDx conferences. She also participates in Business Professionals of America and National Honor Society. In her free time, she loves to sing and write her own songs.

 

Marsela Doko, 2020 Election and Trump Presidency Contributor

Marsela Doko is a 17-year-old Albanian-American who goes to Baruch College Campus High School. She loves being an activist and standing up for people’s rights. She is most passionate about undocumented immigrant rights because they are often treated worse than criminals by the government and are neglected. She looks forward to hearing from young people about their thoughts.

 

Jade Tyra, Social Justice and Environment Contributor

Jade Tyra is a young queer activist and aspiring journalist from Maui, Hawaii who is currently living in Oklahoma. She works with a multitude of activism organizations in order to be involved with the change that she is passionate about.  She is a media director and founding member of the NGP women’s caucus. Jade is also a writer for both Next Gen Politics and Keep Growing OK. She focuses her writing on social change and climate justice.  Climate change is an issue that Jade works to overcome in multiple aspects of her activism. She is an OK Climate Strike Ambassador and also helps to manage the social media page for the Oklahoma Climate Strike. Jade hopes to grow as a journalist through traveling the world and telling the stories of those making change in their communities.

 

Kimmie Kardam

Kimmie Kardam is an 18-year-old Ghanaian-American from Atlanta, GA, who is passionate about social justice and technology—and how those two fields relate. She’s involved with her school’s Black Student Alliance and March For Our Lives Chapter, and she contributes articles to Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s global platform for youth. Kimmie is passionate about using writing to shine a light on youth activists who are harnessing the power of technology to affect change.