Eunice Park, Speaker Pro-Tempore
Eunice Park is both humbled and delighted to serve as this year’s SoCal JSA Speaker Pro-Tempore. This will be her third year on cabinet, and fourth year in JSA. JSA has been incredibly influential throughout her high school experience. With student led activism opportunities and passionate debates, JSA has motivated Eunice to advocate for social and political causes, and has given her the chance to meet a community of inspiring high schoolers. As Speaker Pro-Tempore, she hopes to create a supportive, accessible, and energizing environment that allows to SoCal JSA to embody the motto “Be the People.” She truly loves this organization that has empowered her, and will work her hardest to give back to a community that has given her so much.
Andrew Hwang, Director of Youth Advisory Boards
Andrew is a senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School where he serves as the current Chapter Vice President. Last year Andrew had the honor and privilege of serving JSA as Deputy Director of Expansion for Greater SER, and now he is beyond grateful and ecstatic to enter his second year in JSA Cabinet as Director of Youth Advisory Boards.
Andrew first became involved in JSA during his sophomore year, and immediately fell in love with JSA’s energetic and welcoming environment. Since then, Andrew has constantly been inspired by such a diverse, talented, impassioned and driven group of individuals, all of whom motivate him to be his very best.
Currently serving as a member on an Assemblyman’s Youth Advisory Board as well as an intern of an Advocacy Team at a local nonprofit, Andrew hopes, with these experiences, to help more JSAers to become civically engaged in all levels of government, voice the opinions of youth, lobby for youth interests, and push and propose meaningful legislation.
Outside of JSA, Andrew is a competitive swimmer. During his free time, Andrew enjoys playing piano or improvising jazz on Alto Sax. Andrew is also an aspiring standup comedian.
Christine Almadjian, Director of Youth Advisory Board
Christine Almadjian is a junior at Rose and Alex Pilibos High School. She was introduced to JSA the beginning of her sophomore year by beloved friends. She became absolutely mesmerized by the incredible opportunities JSA was able to present, like those of civic engagement, voicing various strengths, and becoming one with the empowered youth.
Since then, Christine has engaged herself with various aspects JSA beholds, like having the opportunity to attend five conventions, as well as over four one days. She became an active participant with promoting vigorous aspects of involvement and continued to configure as “one with the voice” herself by becoming an intern for the UN Women USNC chapter, the Lebanese Consulate, and the Kibagare Academy Foundation. Having built effective experiences with leadership and strength within herself has made her look forward to contributing leadership, effort, and passion within the Southern California Junior State as Director of Youth Advisory Boards.
Outside of JSA, Christine is a part of Model UN, her internships, and varsity water polo. When it comes to her personal life, she can be found studying for the torturous SAT, taking interesting college courses, singing, and creating delicious Lebanese Armenian desserts.
Julia Van Der Colff, Director of Political Activism
Julia van der Colff is a senior at West Ranch High School. Joining JSA in her sophomore year, she fell in love with the organization and all it has to offer, and most recently attended the UC Davis Institute on California Politics and Leadership. She is positively ecstatic to work with such an amazing and passionate group of students, and cannot wait to see what the year will bring.
Outside of JSA, Julia works on local campaigns, serves as a juror for the Santa Clarita and Los Angeles Teen Court, and in school, is involved with several different clubs, service organizations and teams, including Young Americans for Freedom, stock market team, and NHS. On any given day, you’ll probably find her playing tennis on her school’s varsity team or obsessively watching Criminal Minds.
Sarah Saboorian, Director of Political Activism
Sarah Saboorian is a senior at Sage Hill School. Her passion for JSA developed after her first event during her sophomore year, where she was able to engage in political discourse and meet a wide variety of people. This transformative experience enabled Sarah to cultivate her interests in government and legislature, allowing her to further develop as a student and a citizen. Since then, Sarah has attended numerous overnight conventions and has had the honor of serving as Sage Hill chapter president and the state Director of Youth Advisory Boards.
Outside of JSA, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends and is heavily involved in her school’s Model United Nations, debate, and mock trial teams. She is also an avid piano player and member of the investment club and volunteers as a peer tutor within her school.
Zachary Gaber, Director of Political Activism
Zachary Gaber is a senior at Corona del Mar High School. Having realized the power of JSA to bring together individuals of different backgrounds and opinions, Zachary became inspired to plan and lead JSA activism initiatives in order to benefit both JSA members and the Southern California community. He wants all JSA members to know that “A change in thought can lead to a change in action.” Zachary wants to make each and every JSA member’s voice heard and believes that he can achieve that through engaging all JSA members in political activism. Zachary is excited to have a role in establishing the next generation of politically active citizens and to be a Director of Political Activism this year! Outside of JSA, Zachary enjoys expressing himself through creative writing and helping his community through community service.
Areni Chorbajian, Director of Political Activism
Areni Chorbajian is a junior at Pilibos Armenian School and she has been a part of JSA since her freshman year. She continues to enjoy it because of the wonderful opportunities that are offered; JSA has substantially increased her interest in politics and has shed light on the possibilities of youth engagement specifically. Areni has attended numerous overnight conventions and one days, which have built her passion for JSA. On her free time, Areni looks forward to reading, watching documentaries, and playing on her school’s volleyball team. She is an active leader of her Armenian Boy Scouts troop and also works to advance the goals of a free, independent, and united Armenia. She also volunteers her time helping out her local hospital and working with Greenpeace. Areni is excited to be more involved in JSA this upcoming year!
Ariana Kretz, Director of Political Activism
Ariana Kretz is a sophomore at John Burroughs High School. She first became involved with JSA at the beginning of her freshman year and became hooked after speaking in her first chapter debate. Since then, Ariana has been able to attend three overnight conventions and the UCLA Gene Burd Summer Institute where she was opened up to a world full of diverse views and passions. This is Ariana’s second time serving on cabinet, and is honored to be working with the advocacy department this year as her passion lies in activism. She hopes to increase students’ opportunities to make real change in their communities through the Junior State by connecting them to other non-profit activism groups and their local officials. Outside of JSA, you can find Ariana onstage with the Burroughs drama department, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and selling cookies as a Girl Scout. In her free time, Ariana enjoys binge-watching Gilmore Girls, playing ukulele, and spending time with her friends.y
Katherine Matsukawa, Director of Political Activism
Katherine is a junior at Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School and has been a part of JSA since her sophomore year. When she participated in her first left-right-center debate, she was initially intimidated by everyone else who seemed to have their arguments brilliantly and logically thought out. However, her peers’ encouragement not only motivated her to speak that one time, but also to keep coming back to meetings and attend her first convention, Spring State. She was entranced by the way that hundreds of people her age educated themselves on certain topics not because they had to, but because they wanted to be aware, active members of society.
She believes that now more than ever, people in our neighborhoods, country, and around the world need us- whether it be to provide health services, or citizenship classes, or affordable housing. She had always had a concern for those that society has marginalized, but she discovered that JSA was the way to advocate for them and encourage others to do the same.
Outside of JSA, she plays cello for the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra and a string quintet, tutors, plays basketball and leads a homeless outreach group at her church. In her free time you can find her playing ukulele, bonding with her ferocious 17 year old cat, watching Impractical Jokers, and practicing driving with her fearless mom in the passenger seat.
Juan Miguel Malana, Director of Assembly Outreach
Juan Miguel, or JM, as his friends know him, is a senior at University Preparatory. Since joining the Junior State as a freshman, he has attended many overnight conventions, as well as a few one days. Last year, he was proud to serve as the Chapter President for UniPrep, and will be continuing his service in the coming year. JM uses the drive and passion for politics that he gained during his time with the Junior State to push for increased social and political awareness at his school. Last year, he successfully hosted his chapter’s very first one day, centered on none other than the environment, his greatest passion. Besides ranting about the undeniable facts of climate change and the threats of human activity to the planet, he is known to spend countless hours watching movies and documentaries covering topics ranging from food to covered-up government conspiracies about the existence of aliens.
Saahil Iyer, Director of Assembly Outreach
Saahil Iyer is a senior at Whitney High School who has been a part of JSA since his freshman year after signing up during Club Rush. He quickly fell in love with the debate setting, the activism, and the opportunity that JSA gives to students who want to speak their mind.
Since his first Fall State, he has attended 6 other overnight conventions and has served on the Whitney Chapter Cabinet this past year as Director of Logistics and Assemblyman. Now as one of the Directors of Assembly Outreach, he hopes to encourage JSA members to not only get involved in their communities, but to get involved within JSA through the Assembly.
Outside of JSA, Saahil is a part of Whitney’s Mock Trial team and participates in community service. He can often be found watching movies, poring over his college applications, and taking care of his little brother.
Jaden Gerard, Director of Assembly Outreach
Jaden, a rising sophomore at John Burroughs High School, joined JSA because of the engaging environment and political discussion that could only be found at JSA functions. Inspired by other Statesmen, Jaden attended many one days, every convention, the Gene Burd Institute on Media and Politics at UCLA, and the California Institute on Leadership and Politics at UC Davis. Jaden is thrilled to have the opportunity to inspire others as her fellow Statesmen inspired her. Outside of JSA, Jaden participates in Teen Court and National Charity League; these organizations have taught her how to help those in need and always give people a second chance to empower themselves to do better. In her free time, Jaden enjoys reading Shakespeare, fiction, biographies about politicians, and Harry Potter. She also loves to spend her weekends hanging out with friends, listening to music, and binging movie marathons.