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Meet the 2024 Youth Steering Committee

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Eshtolae Ribera, 14
Colorado

Eshtolae, a sophomore in high school, is an Indigenous activist committed to addressing food justice and access to healthy, plant-forward foods. Actively involved in various organizations such as the Spirit of the Sun, Colorado Circles for Change, Native American Council and Healing Collective, and Ch'il Indigenous Foods, she advocates for Native rights and strives to empower her Indigenous community. Furthermore, Eshtolae has ventured into entrepreneurship by establishing a Native jewelry business through which she connects with her cultural heritage and reclaims her traditional practices. She also enjoys videography, writing, editing, and engaging with multiple art forms.

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Kathleen, 14
New York
Kathleen has a strong interest in food policy and inclusivity. She firmly believes that all students should have access to familiar and culturally appropriate lunch options. Motivated by the diverse student body at her school, particularly migrants, Kathleen has identified a gap in the current lunch program. The absence of plant-forward options excludes many students, resulting in them skipping lunch altogether. Eager to bridge this gap and empower herself as an advocate, Kathleen is determined to acquire leadership skills and deepen her understanding of policy. Her previous experience collaborating with a global team on the Junior Academy Challenge concerning circular textiles shows her ability to effectively work in a cross-cultural environment and address complex issues.
Ahana Srivastava, 16
North Carolina

Ahana is a dedicated activist advocating for factory farm reforms, a plant-forward food system, and animal rights. She leads her school’s environmental club and serves as an ambassador for The Climate Initiative. As Co-president of the Triangle Climate Lobbying Team, Ahana has extensive experience in lobbying and promoting climate legislation. She is also an accomplished writer, winning first place in the Environmental Protection Agency’s contests for her essays on water conservation and septic system environmental implications. In the future, she aims to make a greater impact on the climate movement through research, policy, and fieldwork. In her free time, she enjoys sand volleyball, gardening, dancing, and cooking new recipes.

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Rayanna Robinson, 16
New York
Rayanna is deeply passionate about sustainability and climate action. She serves as Events Coordinator for her school's environmental club and participates in avian research, studying the impact of climate change on bird migratory patterns in New York. Over the past three years, she has been actively engaged in the environmental policy and conservation biology field both within and outside of school. Rayanna is also a participant in the Urban Barcoding Research Program, the New York Youth Ocean Advocate Internship Program, and her school's Debate Team. She spends her free time going to the beach, learning languages, and engaging in creative activities.
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Aarush Goyal, 16
New Jersey

Aarush, motivated by his awareness of the treatment of animals and factory farming, aims to advocate for a plant-forward food system in high schools and universities nationwide. As a member of the Plant Powered Youth Steering Committee, he looks forward to engaging with policymakers and deepening his understanding of environmental issues and solutions, particularly in the context of food systems. In his free time, Aarush enjoys playing basketball, reading books, and trying out new foods. Aarush recently completed his first marathon, is passionate about tutoring others, and hopes to complete a degree in Computer Science in the future.

Noah Gonzalez, 16
Nevada
Noah is passionate about transforming the food system, firmly believing in the positive impacts of plant-forward nutrition, especially in schools. His commitment to a more sustainable future led him to join the Plant Powered Youth Steering Committee. As a teacher's education student, Noah understands the impact school food has on students and their abilities to succeed academically. That's why he advocates for a shift towards healthier, climate-friendly foods in schools.Outside of his studies, Noah enjoys volunteering at animal sanctuaries, cooking plant-based meals, and spending time outdoors.
Emely Hernandez, 17
California 

Emely, an environmentalist and incoming freshman at California State University, Long Beach, will be studying Environmental Science and Policies. She aspires to become a Chief Sustainability Officer, focusing on addressing the climate crisis through science, policies, and business.

As someone who comes from a line of hereditary diabetes, she understands the necessity for balanced and nutritious meals. This fuels her passion for policy work to provide these meals for everyone. Her dedication to equity and advocacy is evident through her Environmental Justice Internship with UC Irvine and her initiative to establish her high school's first Student Union.  For these reasons, Emely is eager to work with the Youth Steering Committee to create a meaningful difference in public school food.

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Danica Sun, 17
Illinois

Danica, an incoming freshman at Stanford University, plans to major in Computer Science and minor in Earth Systems. She intends to utilize technology and policy as tools for addressing climate solutions. With extensive political advocacy and community organizing experience, she has led initiatives such as Fridays For Future Chicago, The Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter, and her high school environmental club. Danica also represented her community as a delegate at COP28. Currently, she is involved in passing a Climate Education Bill in Illinois and advancing Chicago's lawsuit against six Big Oil corporations. Having personally faced challenges accessing plant-based foods in schools, Danica is determined to ensure that such barriers never hinder anyone from following their values.

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Cheyenne Klapper, 18
Virginia
Cheyenne, a incoming freshman at the University of Virginia, will major in Political & Social Thought in order to pursue a career in public policy. She eagerly anticipates collaborating with the Plant Powered Youth Steering Committee to address food injustices, end industrial animal agriculture, and advocate for a more humane world. Previously, Cheyenne volunteered for a Congressional Plant-Based Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) Campaign and engaged with political and military leaders to emphasize the importance of offering plant-forward options for military personnel. Additionally, she serves as a legal intern for the Center for Youth and Family Advocacy, where she contributes to restorative and preventative measures for at-risk youth. In her leisure time, Cheyenne trains for weightlifting competitions, cooks delicious plant-based meals, reads philosophy books, and works as a personal trainer.
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Anusha Kumar, 19
Illinois
Anusha (she/her), a sophomore at Northwestern University, is majoring in Social Policy and Environmental Policy and Culture. At Northwestern, Anusha’s love for her community draws her to Fossil Free Northwestern, Students Organizing for Labor Rights, and The Jasmine Collective, where she collaborates with fellow students to address South Asian social justice issues. Through her work, Anusha aspires to build solidarity across movements while honoring the legacies of the Black, Brown, and Indigenous activists who have come before her. Recently, she co-authored a petition with Students Organizing for Labor Rights addressing the mistreatment of dining hall workers and organized a student walkout in solidarity with them. Anusha hopes that the Youth Steering Committee will be an opportunity to build collective power and dismantle systems of harm while supporting her passion for advancing food justice in communities of color. 
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Morgan Greenlaw, 19
California
Morgan born and raised in California and now a rising sophomore at New York University studying Biochemistry, has been passionate about advocating for a plant-forward food system since elementary school. She successfully campaigned for daily plant-forward options at her high school and is currently working to increase plant-forward defaults at NYU. Recently, she co-organized a Plant-Based Food Festival on campus. Additionally, she interned for Balanced, focusing on their campaign to include fiber in USDA School Meal requirements and creating educational content about the National School Lunch Program. Recently, Morgan was a panelist at The Animal & Vegan Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, making short films, and running.
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Guadalupe Gomez, 20
Illinois

Guadalupe, a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is pursuing a degree in Intradisciplinary Psychology. Passionate about improving children's well-being, she aims to address the lack of plant-forward options she experienced in high school. Guadalupe is also eager to explore ways to share environmental information with her community in an accessible manner. Additionally, she volunteers for UIUC's Volunteer Illini Projects (VIP), contributing to community justice, sustainability, daycare, hunger, and houselessness initiatives. In her free time, Guadalupe enjoys reading books, discovering new music, watching thought-provoking movies, and exploring restaurants.

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Jaida Johnson, 21
Texas

Jaida, a rising senior at Trinity University, is pursuing a double major in International Studies with a concentration in diplomacy and Studio Art. With a passion for humanitarian issues, she aims to forge a career in either a humanitarian-focused non-governmental organization (NGO) or international policy.

At her university, Jaida is involved in T.E.A.C.H, an education club, and Intersect, a food insecurity awareness and outreach club. She believes that access to food shouldn't be hindered by income or status. Jaida is excited to collaborate with the Plant Powered Youth Steering Committee to enhance the availability of plant-powered options in public schools. Her involvement with various nonprofits has fueled her desire to delve deeper into policy work, and she looks forward to continuing her learning and contributing in this field. In her free time, you can catch her binge-watching horror movies, experimenting with screen printing new designs, or reading a thriller.

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Zenee Theophille, 21
Georgia

Zenee graduated from Kennesaw State University in May 2023 with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and minors in Sociology and Criminology. With aspirations to attend Law School in the fall of 2025, she is deeply passionate about advocating for changes within the food system. Motivated by a desire to enact laws and policies benefiting the environment, Zenee seeks to pursue a career in Environmental and Human Rights law. Through her work with the Borgen Project, she has developed a strong understanding of advocacy strategies, effective communication techniques, and the importance of grassroots mobilization in driving positive change. In her free time, Zenee enjoys video editing and composting, nurturing both her creative and environmental interests.

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