Gabriel Avalos, Director of Expansion
Gabriel Avalos is a junior at Whitney High School, and is in his second year of JSA. He enjoys the positive and exciting atmosphere that JSA provides, and looks forward to recruiting new JSA chapters as he serves as the Director of Expansion.
Although Gabriel is relatively new to JSA, he is very passionate about the organization and its mission. He is excited about taking up a leadership role within JSA and is looking forward to meeting other students who share his same passion for JSA.
Outside of JSA, Gabriel is an active member of a variety of clubs and organizations, including: Association of Latin American Students, Model United Nations, Mock Trial, and Prom Club. He enjoys following politics, listening to music and attending concerts, and is a big Dodger fan.
Kimberly Nunez, Director of Urban Development
Kimberly Nunez is a senior at Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School. She believes self expression and student empowerment are vital components to contributing and becoming an active voice amongst society. With her charisma, driveness to strive for the better, and her ambitions, Kimberly has fostered an exceptional leader within herself.
When exposed to JSA during the summer of 2015 at Stanford University, she became easily intrigued with the program’s core values. The comfort in being in an environment where every student is tolerated to share their beliefs in a public setting with no hesitation, being able to a part of a community where every single voice is taken into consideration, captivated her. JSA has not only broadened her perception towards certain aspects but challenged her to grow as a student.
Although coming from an urban school exposed to little to no opportunities amongst her surroundings, Kimberly knew she must introduce many the utter importance of student activism and what it is to “Be The People” by introducing the JSA chapter at her school. She enjoys giving back to her community by being a volunteer at the LA Animal Shelter and her local food bank while being greatly involved within her school through joining the yearbook committee, the Nuclear Nonproliferation club, the STOKED program, and Students Run LA (S.R.L.
Thomas Martinez, Deputy Director of Expansion (San Diego)
Thomas Martinez, a junior at Orange County School of the Arts, has been a resolute member of JSA since the beginning of his freshman year. He found a second home in JSA and desired to participate in the organization on a macro level. Thomas is known to always strive for positions of leadership, which is evident in his membership of OCSA’s leadership class. His interest in JSA and his drive for leadership are what made him desire to apply for cabinet; where he now serves as a Deputy Director of Expansion. Other than school and JSA, Thomas participates in Boy Scouts as an Eagle Scout as well as in the volunteer program at his local hospital. He is ecstatic about the fact that he now has the opportunity to play a larger role in the JSA community
Matthew McGinnis, Deputy Director of Expansion (Orange County)
Matthew McGinnis is a senior at Orange Lutheran High School. The first JSA event that he attended was Winter Congress of his sophomore year, where he quickly developed a passion for the organization. His feelings of ardor have only grown over the last two years, as JSA has allowed him to grow his passion for speech, debate, and politics among a community of students with united interests.
During his time in JSA, Matthew has attended five overnight conventions, and has served as an assembly member for Orange Lutheran’s chapter. He will be serving as Orange Lutheran’s chapter president during the 2016‐2017 year, and he looks forward to furthering his passion for JSA while helping the organization reach new heights.
Outside of JSA, Matthew is involved in multiple service projects and volunteer organizations, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is a member of the STEM and business academies at Orange Lutheran. He also enjoys rock climbing and spending time with his pets, friends, and family.
Antonio Murillo, Deputy Director of Expansion (San Bernadino)
Antonio Murillo is a junior at Servite High School. Quickly following Fall State 2014, his first JSA event, Antonio fell in love with the organization. From the welcoming environment to the challenging debates, JSA became not only a club for Antonio, but also a lifestyle. Through JSA, Antonio has found many colleagues who have encouraged him to grow to be the caring, involved person he is proud to call himself today.
Since he first joined the club, Antonio has attended six conventions and the Gene Burd Institute at UCLA. Through these JSA experiences, Antonio has found a welcoming home where opportunities are at every corner. After serving as the Officer of Recruitment for his school’s JSA chapter, he is both excited and prepared to serve on the JSA Cabinet.
Outside of JSA, Antonio loves being around his family and friends and is involved with his school’s theatre program, honor society, the International Thespian Society, and Academic Decathlon.
Lucia Rios, Deputy Director of Expansion (East Los Angeles)
Lucia Rios is a senior at Downey High School. She has been a part of her JSA chapter since freshman year, but it’s wasn’t until her junior year that she attended Fall State and fell in love with JSA. Meeting new people and experiencing the rush of thought talks and debates was what lead her to apply for a position on the Souther California JSA board.
Oliver Eccleston is a junior at John Burroughs High School, and has been a member of JSA for about two years. Pushed forward by a love for his “new found family”, Oliver has been dedicated to helping JSA ever since being introduced to it.
Although having never served on Cabinet, Oliver has served as his Chapter’s Director of Marketing and was elected Chapter Vice‐President for the current year. He hopes that he will be able to successfully expand JSA and bring the amazing experiences that he has had in JSA to the multitude of schools and students without JSA Chapters.
Damian Davila, Deputy Director of Expansion (South Los Angeles)
Damian Davila is a senior at Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School. After being introduced to JSA through the Stanford Summer School program the summer of his sophomore year, he quickly realized that JSA was an organization he’d want to be apart of for years to come. The welcoming environment that his peers had toward different views, and the mission JSA had for its members is what Damian admired and loved the most about the program.
Since his first JSA experience at Summer School, Damian has started, and become the President, of his school’s JSA chapter, gone to two of the state conventions, participated in the ‘Fight Apathy” campaign, held his first position in cabinet as a chapter coordinator, and Princeton Summer School. All of these experiences have continually strengthened and deepened his passion for the Junior Statesmen of America.
Outside of JSA, Damian is the Vice President of his school’s ASB class, a player on his school’s Volleyball team, and enjoys spending time with his friends,family, and his many pets. He is also a writer, having submitted a few of his works to the LA Times and other local Journalistic news groups, and aspires to become a Journalist.
Maria Zamora, Deputy Director of Expansion (Ventura)
Maria has been involved in JSA since her freshman year and is proud to have been a part of this program for 4 years. She has attended 9 conventions, is a UC Davis Institute 2015 graduate, as well as a Georgetown Summer School 2016 graduate. She is proud to have served on Southern California JSA Cabinet for three years, the past two on regional cabinet and this year on state cabinet. On the chapter level, she had two terms as assembly member and will serve as Carpinteria High School’s JSA chapter president this year.
When Maria isn’t doing anything JSA related she likes volunteering at different nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, working at the Carpinteria Public Library, playing on the Carpinteria High School Girls Varsity Tennis team, reading and going on YouTube. She can’t wait to serve on state cabinet this year as well as see Southern California JSA thrive under Governor Wittekind’s leadership.
Anna Vovk, Deputy Director of Expansion (Santa Barbara)
Anna Vovk is the Deputy Director of Expansion for Santa Barbara. She is a first generation immigrant from Kiev, Ukraine and currently attends San Marcos High School where she dedicates most of her time to her studies, being an editor for her school newspaper and playing tennis for her school’s team.
She was first introduced to JSA during her freshman year where she instantly fell in love with the organization’s freedom of expression and support that it provides for its members. It is her first year on Cabinet and she is very excited and fervent to serve as one of its members, so that she can help expand JSA and help everyone experience the caring and nurturing environment of JSA that she has.