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Meet the 2023 Youth Steering Committee
Lauren Nessralla is a 20 year old political science student at UMass Boston from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Lauren is passionate about policy change, with a particular interest in the area of economic justice where she sees the most potential for solving systemic issues across sectors. She holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition and is an activist for animal rights, spearheading a successful ban on fur products in her hometown as a college freshman. She continues to be involved in local government as a Plymouth Town Meeting Member–seeing youth voices as an essential component to solving problems. In her free time, Lauren enjoys activities with family and friends, visiting new places, and reading.
Jasmine Hsieh is a rising Senior from San Diego and is passionate about atopic dermatitis research/advocacy, animal rights, and environmental sustainability. Jasmine has taken initiative through being an ambassador and participating in Virtual Hill Day for the National Eczema Association, speaking as a patient advocate for Leo Pharma and Connect for Children, converting to an anti-inflammatory plant based lifestyle and creating pro-vegan awareness projects. Jasmine pushes for non-dairy diets to improve symptoms of inflammatory diseases the atopic dermatitis patients experience. Furthermore, Jasmine stands up for minimizing unnecessary pain and suffering in the meat industry, seeking ways to advocate for plant based diets within her community. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys playing violin, skateboarding, making cards, and hiking.
Myla Leung is a rising junior from the Washington D.C. area. From climbing trees to enrolling in her local Girl Scouts troop, Myla has always had a strong interest in environmental science and sustainability. She is an intern for her county’s Green New Deal internship and has both testified and lobbied for key legislation such as the EmPOWER Maryland Bill, a bill that focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By founding the Climate Health Education Initiative, she started two afterschool programs and has engaged hundreds of students in environmental education. Myla is extremely passionate about the intersection between health and the environment and plans to pursue a career in the health field. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, painting, and baking.
Willow Traylor is a rising senior in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. She plans on studying environmental science and is extremely passionate about nutrition, art history, environmental justice, and graphic design. She is currently the social media officer of her high school’s baking club and a member of the environmental conservation club, political awareness club, and Black student union. She is also a part of the Frisco Public Library’s volunteering team. She enjoys drawing, baking, and dancing.
Michael Christensen is an 18 year old Senior in San Diego, California. As an Eagle Scout and a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has a passion to serve others, feed people all over the world and protect our environment. Michael is eager to find solutions to help others in underdeveloped areas of the world where food is the most scarce and difficult to produce. He joined the Youth Steering Committee due to his belief that food sovereignty is vital to build community welfare through climate friendly, sustainable food systems and to contribute to projects helping communities nationwide. He is passionate about fighting food insecurity and food inequity, using nutrient dense food to improve health and fighting climate change. Locally, Michael is working with vegan chefs to produce and implement more plant based, nutrient-dense entrees for his school district food nutrition team. Michael looks for needs in his community and ways to help and serve others daily. He enjoys playing Tuba and competing on his High School Water Polo and Swim teams.
Ahmad Huda is a senior at the High School for Math Science and Engineering, and a rising freshman attending Hunter College where he will major in chemistry and pre-med. As a former Mount Sinai research lab intern, seeing how animals are used for the purposes of science founded a strong passion for fighting for animal rights and to stopping animal cruelty. In his freetime, he enjoys playing volleyball, soccer, reading and enjoying nature.
Maya Miller is an 18-year-old rising freshman who will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall with the intended major Environmental Studies. She was involved in her high school’s Environmental Defense Club where she talked to numerous environmental specialists and helped initiate a composting program in the school cafeteria to reduce food waste. She also attended the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to get a better understanding of the national strategy to improve the well-being of Americans. Maya is working at the Red Wiggler Community Farm, an inclusive space to nourish others. She hopes to become an environmental changemaker who helps better the state of our planet. She likes to draw, write, and take photos of nature!
Nitya Jakka is a rising senior from the suburbs of Chicago. As a passionate social and environmental activist, she strives to create change through innovation. Nitya has worked with her school’s food service providers to introduce more plant based options and has mentored student led businesses that aim to enable a more sustainable future. Through the Youth Steering Committee, she is excited to learn more about environmental policy and changemaking. Nitya plans to major in engineering management systems with a concentration in sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys baking and reading.
Jazmin Tapia is a senior at Cal State Long Beach majoring in Psychology. She is a fierce advocate for mental health and health equity and hopes to continue her advocacy after graduation through non-profit work. Being a first generation Latinx college student who has had her own struggles and experiences with homelessness, mental health, and family member’s addictions, Jazmin’s extremely passionate about helping and advocating for others who have experienced similar. She hopes to one day run her own non-profit that works closely with individuals who are experiencing homelessness and connects to them low-cost long-term housing, mental health resources, and nutrition services. In her free time Jazmin enjoys spending time with her 3 dogs, doing puzzles, and finding new music artists or genres.
Marielle Williamson is a rising freshman at Duke University’s campus in China, where she will major in public policy/international relations and minor in Spanish. There, she hopes to become quadrilingual and learn how to tackle animal rights issues from a legislative-oriented perspective. In 2022, Marielle founded her high school’s animal rights club and won the Vegan Teens are the Future scholarship. She is currently working on a free speech lawsuit with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine against the USDA. Marielle hopes to eventually pursue law school, with the ultimate goal of working on international policy change towards a plant based food system in her career.
Angelique Baker is a 19-year-old senior at CUNY Queens College majoring in Psychology and minoring in Cities and Social Medicine. She hopes to pursue an advanced degree in Occupational Therapy. Angelique has been vegan for 4 years and is passionate about raising awareness about the importance of plant-based options for all– especially for the youth. Her Urban Studies focused minor has highlighted the impacts of pollution on the health of disadvantaged people and the environment. She desires to promote dialogue and take action surrounding these issues. Angelique tutors 1st graders struggling with their reading progress and has previously interned at Techie Youth. She also volunteers at her school’s vegetable garden and pantry and enjoys traveling, thrill-seeking, and perfecting vegan recipes in her free time.
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