STUDENT LEADERSHIP BOARD

The Student Leadership Board is a team of middle and high school program alumni that supports our efforts to learn from our students’ experiences, better support alumni civic leadership development, and elevate student voice in the democracy education field.

Student Leadership Board Members 2019-2020

The Board is currently comprised of 15 young people ages 15-19 who are Generation Citizen program alumni and represent each of GC’s regional program sites. Members dedicate two hours per week to Board activities and receive a stipend for their year of service.

Safiya Al-Samarrai
Lowell, Massachusetts
First Year College Student

Safiya Al-Samarrrai is 18 years old and a Freshman at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, MA. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017-2018 school year and. Her class worked on addressing Gun violence and Gun control. They worked on a House Bill 3610, often called a “red flag bill ” which would create the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). An EPRO  is a civil court order that empowers the families and law enforcement the ability to restrict the access of guns from people who pose a threat in our communities until further notice either temporarily or permanently. On the civics day in Boston, MA last year their class earned an award from Generation Citizen to become a class changemaker, and on July 3, 2018, the bill that they worked on passed into a Massachusetts government law by the senator of Massachusetts. After the semester was over, Safiya decided to join the Student Leadership Board again this year as a Social chair because she believed in herself that she can encourage more young people to create change in her community and the Student Leadership Board will help and support her as a young person to develop her leadership skills. Youth voice and leadership are important to her because she believes that youth and young people have the opportunity and responsibility to make a change in their community because they are the future and they have to make sure that their future is safe. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Safiya Al-Samarrai likes to spend time with her family and friends, and she likes to try and learn new things.

Hannah Bigbee
Norman, Oklahoma
Second Year College Student

Hannah Bigbee is a 19 year old sophomore studying Political Science at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. She was a Generation Citizen student in the spring of 2018. Her class chose to look into sexual education curriculum in the school district and raised awareness of the outdated standards across the state. After the semester was over, Hannah decided to join the SLB because she saw how big of an impact action civics can have on the participation of young people. She later applied to serve as the Board Chair because she wanted to help more young people build civic skills through the SLB. Promoting youth voice and leadership is important to Hannah because she knows that young people can substantially shape their communities given a few skills and an opportunity. When she isn’t participating with the SLB, Hannah likes to drink boba tea and get involved with student groups at the University of Oklahoma.

Erandi Bustamante
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
First Year College Student  

Erandi Bustamante is 19 years old and a recent graduate from Southeast High School as of May 2019. She is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Erandi began working with Generation Citizen in her last year of high school during which her class worked on providing more attractions in Oklahoma. Their mission was to continue once the school year finished. After the semester was over, Erandi decided to join because the Student Leadership Board because she wanted to build her confidence and leadership skills to continue her journey. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because youth can always make a difference if their put themselves to it. Outside from the SLB Erandi likes to play my instruments and loves to help in general! She is a hardworking student attending college at this time and hopes to be a surgeon.

Anthony Candelario
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
9th Grade 

Anthony Candelario is a 15 year old 9th grader from Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He was a Generation Citizen student in 2018 – 2019  school year during which his class worked on addressing sexual and substance abuse within the community and achieved a new health curriculum which would provide content on all sorts of behavior and responses to situations concerning sexual and substance abuse. After the semester was over, Anthony decided to join the Student Leadership Board because he saw an opportunity to change his city for the better. Youth voice and leadership is important to him because youth should be in control of what effects their day to day lives as much as adults When he isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Anthony likes to fix problems with his local schools and advocate for the C3center.

Alondra Cepeda
Providence, Rhode Island
12th Grade 

Alondra Cepeda is 18 years old and a 12th grader in Providence, Rhode Island. She has been working with Generation Citizen since her sophomore year of high school. In 2018 her class worked on addressing chronic absenteeism and how students, teachers and administrators can help students be on school every day on time. Her class has started a district wide movement and plan to keep working on helping students and spreading the importance of being at school everyday. After the semester was over, Alondra decided to join the Student Leadership Board because student voice is importance and are the future of the world. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because with voicing and leading comes change. With change comes a better future. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Alondra is getting involved in her community or getting her head stuck in a book.

Liana Gill
The Bronx, New York
12th Grade 

Liana Gill is 16 years old and a senior in high school in the Bronx, NY. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2018-2019 school year. Her class worked on addressing gang violence and how small businesses can be better equipped with the materials to aid possible acts of violence. After the semester was over Liana decided to join the Student Leadership Board in order to learn more about her community and why politics is so important to young people. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because young people are the future and need to be informed about what is happening in their backyards. When she isn’t participating with GC and SLB, Liana likes to hang out with friends, cuddle her dog, sleep, eat, watch Youtube, and manifest her success.

Ishrat Jahan
Brooklyn, New York
12th Grade 

Ishrat Jahan is 17 years old and a senior in Brooklyn, New York. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2018-2019 school year. Her class worked on addressing gentrification in regards to affordable housing and achieved passing a set of bills that they advocated for in the City Council, winning the Grassroots Change Award at Civics Day. After the semester was over, Ishrat decided to join the Student Leadership Board because she believes that youth civic engagement is a pivotal element of our ideal democracy. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Ishrat likes to read, binge watch shows, and explore her beloved city. 

Jahziel Leduna
Bastrop, Texas
11th Grade

Jahziel Leduna is 17 years old and a junior at Colorado River Collegiate Academy in Bastrop, Texas. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017 – 2018 school year. Her class worked on addressing the lack of recycling opportunities in Bastrop. Even the students who wanted to recycle could not because of limited services. The unwillingness and lack of participation also contributed to further harm to our environment. Therefore, the class concluded to work from the bottom up. Her Generation Citizen project was dubbed Team TREE: Transforming Recycling in Elementary Education.  They initiated an unambiguous recycling curriculum at a local elementary school. In order to most effectively teach the elementary students, they focused on fun and engaging activities with the end goal of them implementing these recycling methods in their home environment, as well as the school. After the semester was over, Jahziel decided to join the Student Leadership Board because not only does she aspire to advocate for minorities, such as herself, she wishes to be their voice. Despite today’s youth thinking that they do not have one, she will serve as a representative to the neglected and the overlooked. She desires to promote a multitude of programs surrounding social and political issues faced by our youth today–like the lack of employment opportunities, the effects of social networking, education disparity, peer pressure, and the engagement of youth in our democracy. That is why being part of the Generation Citizen Student Leadership Board is very important to her. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Jahziel likes to cook Filipino food, watch Korean dramas, and play video games and board games.

Jayden Lopez
The Bronx, New York
First Year College Student

Jayden Lopez is 18 years old and a Freshman at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, majoring in Political Science, but born and raised in The Bronx, NY. He was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017-2018 and 2018-19 school year. His class worked on addressing Gun Violence in Domestic Violence Situations in 2017 and Voting disparities among young people in New York in 2018. They achieved their goal during both semesters of having bills introduced and passed in the New York State Legislature. After the 2017-2018semester was over, Jayden to join the Student Leadership Board because he wanted to continue his advocacy work with a group of like-minded people from all across the country. He decided to rejoin the board in 2019 because he felt like his work with GC was far from over and wanted to help guide the next group of board members through their journey with advocacy and beyond. Youth voice and leadership is important to him because this generation contains the future leaders of the world and our voice should matter more than anybody else’s . When he isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Jayden likes to binge watch episodes of Veep and Succession, text his friends, and plan for law school and his career in law and in public service as a Federal Prosecutor and hopefully as the first hispanic US Senator from New York!

Fallon Manyika
Lowell, Massachusetts
First Year College Student 

Fallon Manyika is 18 years old and a freshman at Salem State University. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2016-2017 school year. Her class worked on addressing creating a mandatory opioid training for all student athletes and achieved getting an outside program to help with our efforts on combating the opioid crisis within our school. After the semester was over, Fallon decided to join the Student Leadership Board because she feels it’s important for youth voice to be elevated and wants to enrich her community’s young people to advocate for themselves. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because coming from a marginalized community it wasn’t the norm for young people to speak out on issues that affected them. She feels that youth voice and leadership are important skills to develop to be successful in the future. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Fallon likes to read and be involved with her college clubs and programs.

Zaeden Martinez
Austin, Texas
11th Grade 

Zaeden Martinez is 16 years old and an 11th Grader in Austin, Texas. He was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017-2018 school year. His class worked on addressing the lack of student’s voice in their school district and achieved raising awareness for the topic and getting the public to acknowledge the students as people with valid opinions. After the semester was over, Zaeden decided to join the Student Leadership Board because he felt that the SLB would be a good opportunity to make connections and continue working on his service project. Youth voice and leadership is important to him because he feels that many of today’s youth feel like they nobody cares about what they say and he wants to help get rid of that mentality. When he isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Zaeden likes to play sports and hang out with his friends!

Ezequiel Nunez
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
First year College Student 

Ezequiel Nunez is 18 years old and a freshman at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA. He was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017 – 2018 school year. His class worked on addressing stress on teens and time management. This project focused on bringing awareness about things that caused teens to be stressed, the effects of stress on their mental health and finally strategies to reduce stress. After the semester was over, Ezequiel decided to join the Student Leadership Board because he believed this was the best way he could support the youth voice of our nation. Youth voice and leadership is important to him because he has seen it change lives and make positive change in all communities he’s been a part of. When he isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Ezequiel likes to play the guitar and sing.

Sylvie Richards
Berkeley, California
10th Grade 

Sylvie Richards is 15 years old and a sophomore in Berkeley, California. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2017-2018 school year. Her class worked on addressing gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting and achieved their goal by introducing two gun control bills to the Mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf. They also won the GC systemic impact award. After the semester was over, Sylvie decided to join the Student Leadership Board because she wanted to further her change in the community and grow her leadership, public speaking, and advocacy skills. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because in today’s social and political climate, it is crucial that the youth perspective be heard. Youth participation in politics also gives us a say in both our present and future. When she isn’t participating in GC and the SLB, Sylvie likes to debate, watch Gilmore Girls, and eat good food with friends.

Mandy Situ
San Francisco, California
9th Grade 

Mandy Situ is currently 15 years old and a 9th grader in San Francisco, California. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2018-2019 school year. She decided to join the Student Leadership Board because of her strong belief that everybody in the country deserves to know their voice matters. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because too often are young people faced with the message that they do not matter, what they say and do doesn’t matter. But that is simply not true. It’s important for youth to push beyond that and make change in a world they are bound to inherit someday. They are the future. We are the future. When she isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, Mandy likes to read novels, participate in theatre tech and congressional debate, as well as walk through the fog that hovers over hilly San Francisco.

Trinity Wells
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
First Year College Student

Trinity is 19 years old and a freshman in college in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was a Generation Citizen student in the 2019-2020 school year. Her class worked on addressing the lack of sexual assault education within their state and achieved the support of several representatives while also creating inner-city bonds with people from multiple organizations. After the semester ended, Trinity decided to join the Student Leadership Board because she wanted to increase youth knowledge and activity within her city, and eventually make an impact on a state level. Youth voice and leadership is important to her because she firmly believes that we can be the change we want to see in our adulthood by starting now on a smaller scale. Learning communication skills are crucial at this age and can come to our advantage later in life. When Trinity isn’t participating with GC and the SLB, she likes to paint, knit, and play the ukulele

"Today's youth are taking charge of civic engagement and if we are invested, we can make America's future much brighter. What we do now will affect what happens in the future." Rebeca - Malden, Massachusetts

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