Margarita Arango (She/Her/Hers)
Margarita Arango is 18 years old and from Rockford, IL. She is a first-year Public Policy major at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is one of the vice presidents of the Student Advocacy Coalition at UIC. Margarita is very excited to become involved with YI because she wants to gain more advocacy experience and is passionate about the issues that YI seeks to address. Margarita enjoys taking dance classes and hanging out with her friends in her free time.
Temi Akande (She/hers)
Temi Akande holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A lover of all things progressive politics and content, Temi prides herself in advocating for all marginalized communities, especially Black women. She thoroughly enjoys working in places of impact where she can make a difference. You can typically find Temi brunching at one of the finest restaurants in Chicago or the Garfield Park Conservatory, enjoying nature.
Jasmine Alarcon (She/Her)
Jasmine Alarcon is a 19-year-old college student in her second year at Wilbur Wright College. Her next step after graduation is to transfer to Harper College to enroll in a Medical Diagnostic Sonography program to help her achieve her dream of becoming a Medical Diagnostic Sonographer. Jasmine loves the outdoors and always has a blast going to the beach, botanical gardens, parks, and conservatories. She also really enjoys bike riding, hiking, and swimming. Jasmine is excited to join YI and looks forward to learning more about advocating for higher education, health care, workforce/finances, and civic engagement.
Toni Alexandria Smertene (She/Her/Hers)
Toni Smertene is a 22-year-old Illinois resident. She is attending the University of Illinois Chicago and pursuing a degree in Political Science and Criminology, Law, and Justice. She is the first person in her immediate family to attend college. She is involved in several UIC organizations, such as co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and MIXED (Multiethnic Individual ‘Xperiences Explored through Dialogue). Toni joined Young Invincibles to become more involved in local politics and advocate for issues affecting Chicago residents daily. In her free time, Toni likes to take photos of Chicago and post them on her Instagram!
Alec Reyes (He/Him/His)
Alec Reyes is a 24-year-old Elmwood Park, Illinois resident just outside of the Chicagoland area. He graduated from DePaul University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Computers specializing in Game Design. He has worked a few odd jobs here and there over the past few months until discovering this program. He hopes to utilize his creativity to learn more about YI’s approach to tackling our community’s issues. In his spare time, he likes to do artwork and find ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Nayeli Jimenez (She/Her)
Nayeli Jimenez is 21 years old, born and raised in Chicago, specifically the southwest side Little Village neighborhood. She attended and graduated from UIC in December 2022 with a degree in Latin American and Latino Studies, a minor in Sociology, and Spanish for Professions. She was the first-generation student in her family to graduate and is pursuing a Master’s in Social Work. She has always been interested in activism and social justice and was able to begin this transition during high school. She decided to join YI to gain experience in policy work and confidence in discussing political issues formally and seriously. She enjoys reading and writing (mostly poetry) and spending time with her family and pet friends in her free time.
Gabriel Rebolledo (He/Him)
Gabriel Rebolledo is an 18-year-old resident of Chicago, where he was born and raised. After attending Intrinsic Schools Belmont Campus, he started taking classes at Wilbur Wright College. He is pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering and transferring to the Illinois Institute of Technology in two years. He was the first person in his family to attend college. He joined YI to improve his communication skills and leave his comfort zone. He enjoys playing video games with his friends and coding in his spare time.
Khushbu Patel (She/Her/Hers)
Khushbu Patel is a 20-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Health Information Management. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school. Khushbu is a first-generation college student and would be the first in her family to become an attorney. She joined YI to better her understanding of policies and learn to become an advocate for young individuals. She is passionate about access to healthcare and reducing healthcare disparities. In her free time, she enjoys baking and reading!
“Yarimah” Iniguez (She/He/They)
Jesus ” Yarimah” Iniguez ( She/He/They) is a Transgender Latinx artist from Chicago. They hold a Bachelor’s degree in Art+Design from Columbia College Chicago. They have collaborated with the Center for Black Music Research, Haitian American Museum of Chicago, and The University of Notre Dame. They serve as a Community Advisory Board Member for Brown University’s School of Public Health.
Mia Smith (She/Her)
Mia Smith is currently attending Eastern Illinois University as a 2nd-year sophomore. She is majoring in Health Administration and minoring in Business Administration. She is from St.Louis County but has lived in several states. She is heavily involved in her college and is a self-proclaimed overachiever. Her favorite thing to do in her free time is to make tik toks and beat the algorithm each day.
Valerie Bonds (She/Her)
Valerie is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). She is studying public policy with a minor in civic analytics. After graduating, she wishes to continue to organize and advocate for changes in America’s prison and justice system. Valerie enjoys being in nature during her free time, whether walking in the park with her daughter or sitting by the water.