JSAZ 2017-18 Cabinet

Governor 

Yesenia Montes is the Arizona State Governor. She joined JSA the start of her sophomore year after a long time of contemplation and an indecisive eagerness. Little did she know how much this organization would mean to her. Yesenia considers it a privilege to see many students positively affected by JSA, whether it’s being able to passionately debate an issue and voice their opinion, develop leadership skills, or find a place to call home; JSA has played a crucial role in developing young individuals into civically sharpened minds who are ready to make change happen.

Yesenia has previously held the position of Deputy Convention Coordinator, is a Georgetown Summer School Alumna, and actively participates in many more JSA sponsored programs. She dedicates her time and energy to the powerhouse known as JSAZ. However, when Yesenia isn’t working with JSA, she can be found enjoying an afternoon with friends or finding herself in a bidding war on Ebay for, yet, another pocket U.S Constitution.

Lieutenant Governor 

Marina Martinez joined JSA her sophomore year of high school. Since her first convention, she made politics and public speaking a great part of her life and was so inspired by conventions and the work in her Rincon-University High School chapter that she decided to become a deputy Convention Coordinator her sophomore year, and continue as Convention Coordinator her junior year. She decided to run for the position of Lieutenant Governor because she saw an opportunity for an even stronger state, and currently operates under that title. Outside of JSA, Marina loves dogs, coffee, art, foreign policy, history, and travel. JSA went hand in hand with many of her existing interests, and she wishes to continue to impact JSAZ through her love for learning more about the world and serving the people around her.

Chief of Staff

Jessica Kohler joined JSA her sophomore year due to the constant promotion her school’s chapter put out. Her first meeting consisted of her taking the initiative and being a subsequent speaker for a debate. The drive and dedication of the students of JSA pushed her to speak out more, to take on leadership roles, and to find a true passion. As the current Chief of Staff, she hopes to continue having a strong JSAZ while also expanding and improving on what it already consists of. In her free time, Jessica enjoys playing softball, baking, sketching and listening to music.

Director of Activism 

Taha Ben Abdallah was introduced to JSA in March of his freshman year, one month before Spring Congress 2016. After attending, he felt such a passion for JSA that he became Rincon’s Chapter Secretary, followed by the Chapter President. As he became more involved in the statewide process of JSA, he decided to interview for Cabinet, and was chosen as the JSAZ Director of Activism. His goals for the year are to expand the JSA name outside of our community through activism campaigns, which will in turn expand JSA throughout the state of Arizona. Taha has such an indescribable passion for JSA and it’s his #1 priority for everyone to be able to experience the same passion he does.

Director of Technology

Tatyana Johnson joined Cibola High School JSA her freshman year. At first she wasn’t very interested in politics, but through attending all conventions and many chapter meetings, Tatyana realized she wanted and needed to do more. This prompted her to run for Historian of her chapter and join cabinet as a Logistics Agent her sophomore year. Her knowledge and love of social media and photo/video editing drove her to become Director of Technology for the 2017-18 school year. Outside of JSA Tatyana participates in National Honors Society and her school’s theater department. To her, JSA means leadership, growth, and family. She can’t wait to be part of JSA’s individual chapter and state growth.

Convention Coordinator

Tessa DeConcini has loved politics all her life. She was raised in an extremely opinionated and politically active family, and had to learn to debate in order to be heard in conversations. In addition to her upbringing, Tessa has been an actress for many years. So, when she discovered JSA at the beginning of Freshman year, she immediately knew that it was the perfect place for her. Since then, she’s worked extremely hard to be a leader in her chapter and state. She was accepted as a 2016-2017 mid-year cabinet pick and spent the rest of that year as a Deputy Convention Coordinator, working with Yesenia Montes and Marina Martinez, who are now the Governor and Lieutenant Governor respectively. She is the Convention Coordinator and President of her chapter this year and looks forward to extending her love of JSA.

Convention Photographer 

William Temple is a young photographer, entrepreneur and JSA enthusiast. He is a sophomore attending University High School, he became interested in JSA right from the moment he heard about it. He began to participate in school meetings and was very active in debates and discussion within JSA. William participated in JSA for two semesters attending the conventions, that he could, with enthusiasm. JSA as a community encouraged William to grow as a learner, a speaker, and a photographer. He now works as convention photographer and is enthralled to help JSA grow as a community.

press secretary 

Eric Brock, a senior from Thunderbird High School, is currently serving as the Arizona Press Secretary. He recently became an alumni of the JSA Princeton University Summer School class of 2017 where he studied honors international relations. Brock is the founder and current President of Thunderbird High School’s JSA chapter. When not involved in JSA, Brock works as a robotics teacher for small children. Moreover, Brock recently testified before the house education committee at the Arizona Legislature regarding SB1384.

CIA Director 

Dakota Jacques is the current Director of CIA, he was introduced to JSA in early 2016 after he suffered a concussion playing football. He saw the posters hanging up around his school and decided to give it a try. JSA has given Dakota a chance to let himself branch out and realize his own dormant potential; he, in turn, hopes to inspire his agents to realize their own. His JSA career thus far has culminated in, 6 best speaker gavels won, established expansion contact with two schools, a 100% spring Congress attendance rate for his chapters as a CIA agent, and creating a map of JSAZ to help more efficiently recruit and distribute agents. He currently attends University High School in Tucson Arizona.

CIA Agent 

Fernando Sosa has been in JSA since the first semester of his sophomore year. In joining JSA, he found the purpose of high school that he could not find anywhere else.  In JSA Fernando found a family where his voice could be heard. Fernando’s first convention was Fall State, 2016. It was an experience that changed his life. After Fall State, he began to dedicate more time to JSA. He participated in fundraisers and volunteered in community events. By Spring Congress he realized that he wanted to be more involved in JSA, and he thought the best way of doing that would be to join cabinet. This year Fernando is a CIA agent. 

Cia agent 

Joshua Valenzuela joined the Rincon-University High School JSA his Sophomore year and immediately fell in love with it. Joshua has been very outspoken and active in his first year, having spoken multiple times at Fall State as well as writing and presenting a bill for Spring Congress. Back home, he continues to help his chapter and others through volunteering, fundraising, and participation in JSA. Outside of JSA, Joshua is an avid actor who has taken part in multiple School Theater productions and continues to perform with the Rincon-University High Cast of Thousands. As CIA Agent, he hopes to not only uphold his position but also work alongside the Cabinet in an effort to expand JSA’s influence in Arizona and improve JSAZ.

CIA Agent 

Karen’s interest in JSA started with a simple morning announcement. Joining her freshman year, she knew nothing about debating; the adventure it would take her on was unbelievable. Karen went from going to a few concession sales, to now being vice president of the Kofa Chapter. Being in this organization let her express all her ideas and feelings towards topics that aren’t usually talked about in school. JSA has now become a big part of her life, and she plans to take to her role as a Yuma CIA agent seriously. Karen looks forward to using her position to strengthen chapters all around Arizona.

CIA Agent

Barrett Yueh joined JSA as a junior after her government teacher noted her enthusiasm for political activism and invited her to a meeting. Although apprehensive at first, she began attending meetings with a friend and was reminded frequently by the senior members of her chapter that she would be one of a few members remaining in the 2017-2018 school year and keeping the chapter alive was up to her. With only a few months of experience in JSA but excited to recruit a fresh group of underclassmen to the chapter, Barrett took on the position of vice president of the Desert Mountain High School chapter and applied for JSAZ cabinet for the upcoming school year. As a CIA agent this year, she hopes to instill interest in political science and activism in other high school students the same way these values were ingrained in her. Outside of JSA, Barrett can usually be found rewatching Designated Survivor for the twelfth time or trying to learn yet another language. She is also an avid member of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, member of the “studyblr” community, and IB Diploma Programme candidate.

Expansion Director

Tori Cord started JSA at the age of twelve and has not stopped loving it since. JSA is her life, and she is super excited to be this year’s Expansion Director! Tori lives in Tempe, where she attends New School for the Arts and Academics. There she studies dance and piano and spends all her time making sure her chapter has an unforgettable experience of JSA. She had the best summer of her life while attending JSA summer school at Princeton University, and this year she hopes to “expand” her amazing JSA experiences to the public by spreading JSA to many schools around Arizona. When she’s not busy with JSA, Tori spends her time at dive practice, going to NFTY events, and dancing with her school’s company!

Expansion Agent

Grace Menna is a rising junior at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her first experience with JSA was at the JSA Georgetown Summer Program in 2017 which left her inspired to start making a change in her community. As someone who was constantly upset by student apathy at her school or by adults unaware of student potential, she fell in love with JSA because it is student run and is committed to youth civic engagement. This year Grace hopes to spread JSA throughout the Phoenix Valley as an expansion agent and to inspire more students to become interested in civics. Outside of JSA, Grace is active in Veterans Heritage Project, Girls Who Code, and National Honors Society, serves as a HerCampus ambassador, runs Track and Field, watches 80’s movies, reads avidly, and enjoys being an extreme coffee aficionado.

Expansion Agent 

Jameson Nowlan has always been someone to speak up whether it be during a heated soccer match as she calls her teammate’s name for pass, on stage as she performs in one of her school’s drama productions or, since her sophomore year in high school, in a JSA thought talk or debate. Jameson has always freely shared her opinion, spoke confidently about intense topics and debated controversial issues, but after teachers began silencing her during the 2016 election season, JSA became her outlet. Quickly, she attended her first convention, joined mid-year cabinet as an expansion agent, and this year hopes to continue her hard work in spreading JSA further in Arizona. She hopes to reach kids who are looking for an outlet to discuss what they believe in, just as she was before she found JSA. Jameson is currently the expansion agent in Tucson and Public Relations Officer for her chapter and cannot wait to help more kids find their voice in Arizona through JSA.

Expansion Agent

Selia discovered JSA in her 8th-grade History class at her new school and has been a member for a year and a half. JSA has helped Selia improve her public speaking skills and helped her learn more about the political world. Through JSA she has become further educated on a range of political topics. This year Selia is excited to become more involved in JSA activities, such as her position as an expansion agent, and successfully pass a bill at Spring Congress.

Expansion / logistics Agent

Henry was introduced to JSA by a friend at the beginning of his freshman year and has not missed a meeting since. He had never been part of such a program that allowed an open forum for intelligent conversation with so many varying opinions and ideas. This is his first year in the JSAZ Cabinet as an Expansion/Logistics Agent and has high expectations in what he and his colleagues will accomplish over the next year. Outside of JSA, Henry plays the cello in Rincon University High School’s Concert Orchestra and participates in the Boy Scouts of America.

Expansion / logistics Agent

MaKenzie Jones was first introduced to JSA simply by having a friend tell her about it. She has been greatly impacted by it and what it stands for; it has taught her to voice her opinion and be confident in what she thinks. Since first joining halfway through her freshman year, she has attended events, been elected Treasurer of her chapter, helped with fundraisers, and has gratefully achieved the position of an expansion/logistics agent. She hopes to help her chapter fundraise more and do well in her new Cabinet position by making sure things run smoothly. Outside of JSA, she enjoys reading and is involved with other academically-based programs, such as Academic Decathlon and Military Youth of the Year.

Co-Director of fundraising

Gabi is a Fundraising Co-Director this year on Cabinet. Gabi has been involved with JSA for five years now. She first found her love for JSA in the eighth grade. She’s been a cabinet member for four years, along with being the fundraising chairman, chapter secretary, and now the chapter president at Wickenburg High School. She hopes to get more people involved in JSA so they can experience the same love and passion for the organization. She plays multiple sports such as cross country, basketball, and track. By doing those sports, ahe has been able apply some of those skills like taking initiative, dedication, motivation, and leadership to her position on cabinet and within her chapter.

Co-Director of fundraising

Joshua joined JSA during his sophomore year and instantly grew an unyielding passion and devotion for JSA. JSA has taught him to be active in local, state, and national issues and he hopes to inspire others to do the same. He aims to continue making conventions affordable through his work as Co-Director of Fundraising for this year and is excited to aid JSAZ in any and every way possible. Joshua is the Kofa High School Secretary, a straight A and AP student, and enjoys reading historical and political books.

Fundraising Agent 

Freya Abraham heard about JSA  two months after school started her freshman year, and quickly contacted the chapter advisor, who turned out to be her brother’s history teacher. JSA became the place where she could discover what was impacting her world, and provided a safe space where she could share her ideas without feeling like a bother, while learning about why she believed what she did. JSA opened up a whole new world of civic engagement – something Freya had always been interested in, but never had the opportunity to pursue. When chapter elections came up, she desperately wanted to be more involved, so she ran, will be serving this year as Maricopa JSA’s Secretary. Over the summer, Freya attended Montezuma Leadership Summit and returned with an even bigger wealth of knowledge and inner fire to aid JSAZ as a Fundraising Agent; through serving as the backbone of what JSA does, she aims to help more students experience the opportunity she was given. Outside of JSA, Freya enjoys performing, writing, or reading, and is involved in her church, DECA chapter, and Link Crew;  she has a passion for all things beautiful, good, and fluffy, particularly small animals.

Fundraising Agent

As Prescilla entered high school last year for the first time, she knew that she wanted to try something different. When she heard about JSA, she knew she had to attend. As the year went on, Prescilla became more involved within the club..Fall State was where her love for JSA would increase. Before that, she would just put her opinion in if they called on her. She would only go to help out because community service. But after those days of interacting with other students who had similar or even different ideas, changed how she saw JSA at Kofa. It had a massive impact on her life. Due to this, later in the year she decided to apply for cabinet. As of now, she is a Fundraising Agent on Cabinet for JSAZ. Prescilla hopes to help her local chapter and all of JSA Arizona through her position.

Director of Debate

Katie Compton has been part of JSA for four years. Serving as her chapter’s secretary for one year and president for two. She has served on cabinet for 3 years as an Expansion Agent and Director of Expansion. She is also a graduate from JSA Arizona’s Summer Institute and Montezuma Summit Alumna. This year Katie will be serving JSAZ as it’s Director of Debate. Katie found JSA to be a place of professionalism, intellect, maturity, and collaboration while amongst peers and hopes to continue to foster such an environment as Director of Debate. She has not only gained experience from her time on cabinet, but also life-long friendships which she will cherish for years to come. Katie hopes to make her last year her best one yet.

Deputy Director of Debate

Patrick Flint is a senior at Maricopa High School. He heard of JSA because his AP Government teacher would advertise it and give extra credit to go to the events, which would make him realize how much he loved the program to soon join it. JSA has helped bring Patrick out of his shell leading him to want to take a position within it, which is why he applied for Deputy Director of Debate. This year he hopes to keep debate topics interesting and aligned with current day politics. Outside of JSA Patrick yoyos, plays video games, is in National Honors Society, and is in Link Crew at his school.

Director of summer school 

Angela Nachampassak joined JSA her freshman year of high school in hopes of pursuing her dreams of becoming an international diplomat, but now her purpose of actively participating in JSA has meant so much more than that. She loves being able to meet amazing, intellectual individuals who love to talk about politics. Her sophomore year, she became the treasurer of the Rincon/University chapter and an expansion agent under JSAZ Cabinet. She recently attended JSA Georgetown Summer School and utterly fell in love with the unique experience involving the speaker days, political classes, college life, and establishing friendships with people from not only around the country, but as well as around the world. She wants others to take advantage of this opportunity as well and now holds the position of Director of Summer School. Outside of JSA, Angela is involved in volunteering for her local library, being a karate student, swimming, and baking; additionally, she is an alumna of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Association. To continue and strengthen her love for civic engagement, Angela volunteers for local congressional campaigns. She looks forward in serving as JSAZ’s Director of Summer School in another successful year of JSAZ!