Analaura Amezquita, Director of Development
Analaura Amezquita is a current senior at Whittier High School. Her involvement in JSA started her sophomore year, where she realized that to have relevant opinions in today’s society, she needed to be politically aware. The Junior State has given her countless opportunities, and overall has made her into a person that values and respects each and every opinion, no matter how different it may be from her own.
She attended the JSA Summer School at Stanford University where she became a permanent moderator for her section. Due to her magnificent experience there, and her passion for JSA’s mission, she decided to become more involved in the organization. Last year, she was a Chapter Coordinator, and this year is the Chapter President of her school as well as the Co-Director of Development. She looks forward to leading the department with Olivia Rybus, and is sure that together they will work tirelessly to ensure everyone has the opportunity to attend JSA regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Outside of JSA, she’s involved in her school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) as the second year president. When she has free time, she enjoys reading, writing, running, and listening to any type of music.
She’s thrilled and honored to serve in this year’s cabinet one last time, and is positive that this will be the best year the Junior State has ever seen by far.
Olivia Rybus, Director of Development
Olivia Rybus is a senior at Orange County School of the Arts. She joined JSA at the beginning of her sophomore year as she was immediately inspired by the intense passion and dedication of this organization’s community. She currently serves as the Vice President for her OCSA chapter. Olivia feels that JSA gives young people an incredible outlet to share their ideas and opinions. Outside of JSA, she loves being involved in various service projects, Girl Scouts, student leadership, musical theater, eating sushi and spending time with friends. She could not be more ecstatic to serve her second year on SoCal JSA cabinet!
Casey Curtis, Assistant Director of Development
Casey Curtis is a junior at Palisades Charter High School. Since joining JSA at the start of her freshman year, she has become very involved in the organization. She was initially drawn to JSA by a friend who encouraged her to go to Spring State, and has since fallen in love with everything JSA has to offer. Since joining, Casey has served as vice president of her chapter, and fundraising agent, been to 4 overnight conventions, and attended summer school at Princeton. She is currently serving as treasurer of her chapter and is excited to be Assistant Director of Development for the new year! In her free time, Casey can be found studying, shopping, snapchatting, adopting her friends’ mannerisms, and eating immense amounts of sushi.
Yeslie Barrios, Director of Summer School
Yeslie Barrios is a rising Junior at Dr.Olga Mohan High School. She has been part of JSA since freshman year, when introduced to JSA by her advisor, Ms.Richmond; she was quickly astonished how JSA allowed individuals to express their opinions regardless of being a minority and coming from a different background. It was unbelievable yet fascinating for her to see that her generation truly cares about the current issues in our society. Yeslie immediately fell in love with the JSA atmosphere because it believes in student potential; she believes everyone has the potential to contribute to society. One she fell immediately in love with JSA, she wanted to become more involved, so she ran for fundraiser director of 2016-2017 school year and was elected; moreover, she was elected as secretary for 2017-2018 school year. Since then, Yeslie has attended 4 overnight conventions, the Gene A. Burd Institute on L.A. Media and Politics in 2016, as well as Stanford Summer School in 2017, which helped her become more open-minded of other foreign issues notwithstanding U.S political issues. She looks forward as Director of Summer school to provide other intellectuals with an insight of the unique opportunity that comes within the impeccable experience of attending summer school. Outside of JSA, Yeslie participates in ASB, and she does community service hours at her church. These days you can find her playing the guitar or watching Riverdale.
Jingwen Ni, Director of Merchandise
Jingwen Ni is a junior at Santa Monica High School. She was initially introduced by her friends in her freshman year but soon came to love the program after attending Winter Congress. Since then she has been able to participate in multiple conventions where she can converse with JSAers from Socal about current events. Jingwen credits JSA with her newfound interest in political activism and love for debate.
Outside of JSA, Jingwen participates in many art programs, in and out of school, and is the Sports Editor for the school newspaper, The Samohi. In her free time, Jingwen enjoys capturing the precious moments of life through her camera lens or brush, listening to her 2000’s Spotify playlist and binge-watching The Office and Parks and Recreation for the thousandth time. She also enjoys spending hours at Color Me Mine but due to her tight schedule this year, she is unable to be there as often as she would like.
Alexa Kushner, Deputy Director of Development
Alexa Kushner is a senior at Orange County School of the Arts. She began her JSA journey in the beginning of her sophomore year and is so grateful for all of the opportunities that this organization has given her. This past summer she attended the summer institute at UCLA where she was able to learn more about media as well as the intricacies of state and local politics. Outside of JSA, Alexa is very involved in the theater community, where she performs and volunteers at locals theaters. However when she has free time she enjoys going to the movies with friends and watching funny youtube videos. Alexa is thrilled and looks forward to a great year in JSA!
Ariel Frig-Levinson, Deputy Director of Development
Ariel Frig-Levinson is a senior at Milken Community High School, and this year will be his 2 years in JSA, and first on cabinet. He was first introduced to JSA by alum Saba Amid and fell in love with the diversity, passion, and ambitions of the students and the organization. Ariel has had the opportunity to attend two conventions and looks forward to playing a bigger role in the organization on a statewide level this year. Outside of JSA, Ariel can be found at La Scala, eating his favorite chop salad, volunteering at his lab or hanging out with friends.
Elliot Hyon, Deputy Director of Development
Elliott Hyon is a junior at Cleveland High School. Since this is his first year serving on cabinet, he is ecstatic at the opportunity to be more involved within JSA. He came into the organization during his sophomore year and quickly became enraptured with the message of fighting apathy. Political engagement became a pivotal goal of his and he strives to always be an informed citizen.
Although he has not been in JSA for a long time, he has been involved in many enterprises. Chief among these was Georgetown Summer School, which gave him a key look into the world of college and taught him how to pull off consecutive all-nighters. He was able to meet people from numerous regions of the United States and is now aware of the different perspectives that characterize people’s experiences.
When he is not working for JSA, Elliott enjoys reading fantasy novels and binge watching Game of Thrones. He is devoted to his Yorkie, Saranghee, as well as his K-pop idols.
Amina Ghorob, Deputy Director of Development
Amina Ghorob is a sophomore at Westlake High School. She has been involved with JSA, since the first day of school, and absolutely fell in love with it. Since it is in Amina’s interest for working in politics, she loves how everyone can speak in a discussion, engage in activism, and create in unity.
Outside of JSA, Amina is very involved in her community. She has her own skincare company NatNatNatural for three successful years, is the president of YEACal organization, and is the teen advisor for Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks. In her free time, Amina is most likely playing her drums or piano, trying to invent or create something new to make her life easier, or watching her shows on Netflix.
Shayna Gerard, Deputy Director of Development
Shayna Gerard is a sophomore Junior Stateswomen from John Burroughs High School where she serves as the Director of Fundraising for the second year in a row. She initially joined because she wanted to exercise her public speaking and leadership skills in an effective way to encourage people to see both sides of debates. JSA has helped her realize her love for fundraising as she served as Regional Deputy of Development her freshman year.
Shayna has attended numerous One Days, all three conventions, and the California Leadership Institute at UC Davis. On a typical day, when she isn’t working on JSA initiatives, she can be found listening to her self-made playlist consisting of indie rock music and classic musical theater songs, working with several organizations through National Charity League, playing volleyball, randomly bursting out into song and dance or playing her piano, and doing yoga in the park with her fellow statesmen. She is extremely thankful for all of the friendships she has made and looks forward to making more in JSA.
Melissa Beining, Deputy Director of Development
Melissa Beining is a junior at Sunny Hills High School. She joined JSA at the beginning of the year after a friend who knew of her love of politics and interest in law strongly recommended it and had the opportunity to attend Fall State. At the convention, she absolutely fell in love with JSA and all it stands for as well as the passion and diversity its members demonstrate and was deeply inspired to become more involved.
Although she has not been a member for very long, the forum JSA provides young individuals to share their opinion in a civil, intellectual environment was an astonishing and welcome discovery for Melissa that invigorated her desire to contribute to the success of Junior State. She is humbled by the opportunity to serve on cabinet and can not wait to dedicate her full capacity towards helping a larger number of students from various backgrounds participate in this important organization.
Outside of JSA, Melissa plays for her school varsity volleyball team, is a Girl Scout, an avid reader, Secretary of the World Wildlife Fund at her school, a volunteer at her church, and loves to go get boba with her friends. Most days you can find her doing homework, playing volleyball, listening to her playlists on Spotify and snapchatting, or getting Starbucks at Disneyland.
Nareh Aghakhanian, Deputy Director of Development
Nareh Aghakhanian is a sophomore at Pillbos Armenian school and is the Director of Fundraising and Events at Pilibos’s JSA chapter. She joined JSA freshman year because of her interest in politics and humanities. When she isn’t spreading her love for JSA she is playing volleyball, being a scout troop leader and hanging out with her friends. Nareh is an energetic and positive person who loves making new friends and engaging with others. She laughs at everything, so feel free to share your memes and puns with her.