Alexandra Ivanov, Director of Expansion
Alexandra Ivanov is a senior at Pilibos Armenian School in Los Angeles. She hopped onto the JSA Bandwagon at her school as a sophomore, only to become the Chapter President at the end of that very year. With little to no experience, and passion for the organization as her only propellant, she was able to bring fifty members to the first convention in which she lead her chapter. By the end of the year, Alexandra had doubled that number, with 104 members – a third of her high school – who attended at least one convention that year. She lead the largest delegation at Spring State, sending two buses filled with a total of seventy-one underclassmen from LA to Irvine! With that said, it is no surprise she will be leading the 2017-18 Southern California JSA Expansion Department.
When she is not standing on top of a chair, trying to project her voice in a room filled with 70+ students on Wednesdays during lunch, or somehow convincing a freshman who hasn’t the slightest clue what JSA stands for to come to next week’s meeting then commit to the upcoming convention, you can find her daydreaming about her (provisionally) hypothetical Manhattan apartment. Or trying to learn Daenerys Targaryen’s full title, of course!
Miss Ivanov is incredibly humbled to be serving as your Director of Expansion, and is beyond excited to see what the ambitious group of Statespeople she has the pleasure to work alongside will accomplish this year…especially her Expansion team!
Leonardo Soto, Director of Outreach Chapter Development
Leonardo Soto, or just Leo, is a senior at Alliance Alice M. Baxter College-Ready High School in San Pedro. He has been apart of the JSA organization all of his high school career and even had the great opportunity to start a chapter at his school. JSA has changed his life for the better. It has provided him with the opportunities that a person in his financial and social situations would never would have dreamed of having.
Leo’s journey in JSA has taken him to Stanford and Princeton to take on challenging courses and live the college life for several weeks. He now plans to take the next steps in making a positive impact not only for himself and his peers at school, but as Director of Outreach Chapter Development, where he plans to make new chapters feel welcomed and part of the JSA SoCal family.
Anna Vovk, Deputy Director of Expansion (Santa Barbara)
Anna Vovk first became involved in JSA three years ago during her freshman year at San Marcos High School. After going to her first Fall State convention, she quickly fell in love with the organization because of its kind people and accepting environment, and the opportunity it gave her to become politically engaged.
Since then, Anna has attended seven overnight conventions and countless one days all over Southern California, served on last year’s cabinet as Deputy Director of Expansion, and has been elected as her school’s chapter president. This year, Anna looks forward to reaching new heights in the Expansion Department, as well as growing her chapter and helping her school become politically engaged.
Outside of JSA, Anna is an Executive Director for her school’s newspaper, a volunteer at her local hospital and Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and president of her Youth in Government delegation. Nowadays, she can be found stressing out over school, making awkward jokes, and talking to her grandma on Skype.
Megan Hedges, Deputy Director of Expansion (Ventura)
Megan Hedges is a junior at Westlake High School in Ventura County, California, where she joined JSA shortly before Winter Congress of her sophomore year. Megan was introduced to JSA by a friend who knew of her love for law and politics, and she fell in love with it at her first convention. She attended the Institute on California Leadership & Politics at UC Davis this past summer, which only strengthened her love for JSA. Now the Junior State feels like a second home to her, and she is dedicated to expanding the Junior State as far as possible in the hopes that it will change other people’s lives in the same way it changed hers.
Outside of JSA, Megan is a member of her school’s varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, and is the coach of the Westlake girls’ elementary school lacrosse team. She is also a member of the Vista Robles chapter of National Charity League, where she primarily volunteers at Shelter Hope and the Conejo Schools Foundation. Megan spends her free time going out with friends, practicing lacrosse, tutoring her fellow students in math, and discussing politics with anyone willing to listen.
Adam Al-Nihmy, Deputy Director of Expansion (North Los Angeles)
Adam Al-Nihmy, your SoCal JSA Deputy Director of Expansion, is currently a senior at Glendale High School in Glendale, California. After his first Fall State during his freshman year, Adam found a passion in civil duty, debate, and activism, hallmarks of JSA that would completely transform his experiences as an individual from then on.
In the three, going on four, years of being an active member of the organization, Adam has attended a total of 9 conventions, as well as a plethora of ‘One-Days’ and other JSA related events. Having a deep interest in the cultivation of not only each Chapter, but rather JSA as a larger entity, Adam ventured into Junior State leadership positions, such as the one he currently holds.
Aside his contributions to JSA, Adam likes to spend time playing his saxophone or bass drum as well as swimming and often playing water polo in his school team. He can also be found at NHS club meetings or in the ASB room, volunteering at NYLF: Medical, and interning at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles or his local law firm.
Wendy Figueroa, Deputy Director of Expansion (East Los Angeles)
Wendy Figueroa is a junior at Alliance Dr.Olga Mohan High School. She has formed part of JSA since her freshman year when a poster that read “We want you! For JSA”, which was displayed on a classroom wall, caught her attention. She decided to attend a meeting and fell in love with the positive, heated yet respectful and professional environment that JSA offers. JSA gave her a platform where she can continue to enhance her knowledge on politics as well as broaden her perception towards different aspects.
Since then, Wendy has had the opportunity to attend three overnight conventions, two one days, as well as Stanford Summer School, the Gene A. Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics, and the Montezuma Leadership Summit, which helped her expand her knowledge on JSA not only statewide, but nationwide. Having served as the Mohan chapter historian, she looks forward to taking the Southern California Junior State to greater heights through expanding it. She is excited to promote JSA and its values in the hopes that other young adults, like herself, develop a love for advocating for their beliefs through debates and thought talks.
Outside of JSA, Wendy participates in Mohan’s Associated Student Body(ASB), soccer team, and cheer team. She loves to dance, write, listen to music (mostly pop, trap, rap, and indie), and spend time with her family/friends and pets.
Dahlia Michael, Deputy Director of Expansion (West Los Angeles)
Dahlia Michael is a junior at Santa Monica High School and has been a member of JSA since her freshman year. She began her love affair with discussing politics and social justice about a year before this and knew that she wanted to join JSA from the moment she heard about it. She most appreciates the platform JSA gives students and the leadership skills she and many others have developed through this organization.
Since joining, Dahlia has attended five overnight conventions. She is currently Santa Monica High’s chapter secretary for her second year and is serving as Deputy Director of Expansion for her second year in cabinet, as well. She is truly looking forward to playing her role in the growth of the Southern California State.
Outside of JSA, Dahlia participates in Santa Monica High School’s Associated Student Body, Black Student Union, and community service delegation. She is an avid reader and 90s R&B enthusiast that can be found taking photographs in her free time.
Raj Vora, Deputy Director of Expansion (South Los Angeles)
Raj Vora is a junior at Whitney High School and is in his 2nd year of JSA. He enjoys learning and understanding the multiple different perspectives of each person within JSA. He hopes to spread the same knowledge and excitement that he feels at each convention to as many schools while he is Deputy Director of Expansion. He wants to spread the experience to every single high schooler in the nation.
During his time in JSA, Raj has attended 3 overnight conventions and multiple one day conventions. He now serves on the cabinet within his local chapter and plans to spread the hype of JSA to entice his friends and classmates to attend JSA conventions. His goal is for everyone to join the JSA Family.
Outside of JSA, Raj partakes in clubs like Model United Nations, Ping Pong Club, and Mock Trial. He also is a Lakers Basketball Fan and loves collecting sneakers, especially Yeezys.
Isabella Guerrero, Deputy Director of Expansion (North Orange County)
Isabella Guerrero is a senior at Sunny Hills High School. She joined JSA her freshmen year after a senior on her water polo team convinced her to sign up at club rush. She loved the idea of being able to voice her opinion and share ideas with her peers. She has since attended 7 overnight conventions and a handful of one days, served as a chapter president, and is very excited to spend her senior year on the SER cabinet. When she’s not talking about and participating in JSA, she plays water polo and swims, volunteers with Giving Children Hope, and most importantly watches conspiracy theory documentaries about the Kennedy family.
Isabella Yang, Deputy Director of Expansion (South Orange County)
Isabelle (Seo Jeong) Yang is a senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School. Drawn by JSA’s vibrant energy and admiration for curiosity, Isabelle has been a apart of the JSA family since sophomore year. After attending her first Fall State, she was certain that this was the place for her to not only express her political passions but immerse herself with people just as interested. JSA provides a second home where she can be a leader while engage with others all throughout.
Isabelle has been able to work closely within her school to help foster JSA to flourish by discussing in meetings, attending conferences, and participating at conventions. Having previously served as the Director of Debate for her region, she is ready to take on the upcoming year’s worth of commitment in Expansion.
When she is not working on something JSA-related, you can find Isabelle at her local tennis courts in the evenings. She enjoys to spend her free time drawing and is always looking for new, creative ways to express herself.
Ali Gutierrez, Deputy Director of Expansion (Inland Empire)
Ali Gutierrez is a senior at the Orange County School of the Arts in the Musical Theater Conservatory. In her first JSA meeting, Ali was absolutely terrified of the new people and ideas that surrounded her, but her passion for JSA was evident from that day her sophomore year. Since then, Ali has attended every convention and meeting she could and that same passion continues to grow with each new JSA experience. Last year Ali served on SoCal JSA State Cabinet as a Chapter Coordinator and is looking forward to using the skills she learned in that position to help grow her JSA state in the expansion department this year.
Outside of JSA, Ali loves photography, going to Disneyland (her favorite place), and spending time with her family and friends. She also trains in Musical Theater both in and out of school, and is intrigued with the idea of politics & art and how the two go hand in hand. When not performing in “commercial” theater, she uses her theatrical skills to spread awareness of current events both in and out of our country.
Oliver Eccleston, Deputy Director of Expansion (San Diego)
Oliver Eccleston is a senior at John Burroughs High School. A member for four years, he has spent a majority of his High School career doing JSA things. Having come for the politics and stayed for the debates, Oliver now spends more time worrying and preparing for conventions and debates than sleeping.
Disregarding his lack of sleep, Oliver really does enjoy JSA and considers them a part of his life. Because of this, he dreads May. May means graduation and no more JSA. He currently serves as the John Burroughs Chapter President, having held the positions of Deputy-Director of Expansion in West LA, Vice-President of Internal Affairs, and Director of Marketing.
Outside of JSA, Oliver serves as an intern to State Senator Anthony Portantino, Secretary of his High School Site Council, and Captain of Business on his community FRC team. Oliver would do other stuff, but he has no free time.