My name is Akul Gupta, majoring in Biomedical Science at the University of South Florida. I have been working on improving health literacy and upward mobility for refugees and rural communities through legislative action and grassroots organizing. As a co-founder of TeleCatalyst, I lead a team researching diseases and medicinal herbs in Tanzania to build an app that improves health literacy for rural populations. We have conducted cross-sectional surveys in Africa and collaborated with Dr. Wilfred Ngwa’s lab at Harvard University to build an evidence-based phytomedicine database that positively impacts longevity.
Additionally, I co-founded the 3As Global Disability Initiative to assess education for refugees with disabilities in multiple camps across Pakistan. I was invited as a delegate to the United Nations Transforming Education Summit in Fall 2022 and have a UN report in progress with UNHCR. I am also a co-founder of CardiacLife Foundation, which funds heart surgery cases for children in rural areas across Vietnam through collaboration with MEMO and VinaCapital Foundation.
Moreover, I founded the International Rural Education Project and Philanthropy Accurately Construing Experience, both aimed at improving access to education and humanitarian aid in underserved communities. Currently, I am the Director of National Policy at Generation Up, spearheading a federal bill to mandate fully insured student health plans at universities.
My experiences have given me a deep appreciation for the importance of access to quality healthcare, education, and financial resources for underserved communities. Looking ahead, I am eager to continue working towards a more equitable and just world and am grateful for the opportunities I have had to make a positive impact so far.
Anh Nguyen Tran
Anh Nguyen Tran is a Ph.D. student with the Sociology Department at the University of California, Merced, where she studies inequality, political extremism, and social movements. She is currently serving as a graduate student researcher for a project on gender and racial bias in student evaluations of teaching. Before she became a graduate student, Anh was passionate about civic engagement and served in undergraduate leadership positions with IGNITE at UCLA and BruinsVote. Anh is also an alumnus of the 2020 California Young Advocates program and continues to be interested in advocating for universal healthcare, affordable housing, and student loan forgiveness.
Clementina Jose attends the Hunter Silberman School of Social Work, where she is pursuing a Masters in Social Work (MSW) at 21. Clementina is currently a second-year student and has a concentration in clinical practice with individuals and families. Clementina has a deep passion for catering to underserved populations and showing that it is possible to be a success story in the midst of strife due to her own experiences.
Her short-term goal is to continue to advocate within the K-12 sector, as a Dean of students in the near future. Thereafter, she hopes to become a principal and later a superintendent within the NYC public school system. Her goal as an administrator would be to answer many questions relating to black and brown communities and shining light on other diverse groups. Clementina is also dedicated to increasing access to culturally-informed mental health care for underserved youth and adolescents. She currently works with various organizations, which are focused on eliminating student hunger, providing access to school-based mental health services for youth, and providing new books and school supplies to elementary-aged children. Clementina hopes to become a dynamic mover and shaker in social work and education.
Esme Ledezma is a senior pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Mexican American studies at the University of Houston. Ledezma started her journey in public policy in 2018, watching her mother and sister help unionize their workplace and joining multiple local advocacy groups like March For Our Lives shortly after. In 2021, at the height of the pandemic, Ledezma worked in the Texas Young Advocates Program with Young Invincibles, advocating for multiple bills during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. She later would climb the ranks to be part of the Texas Youth Advisory Board and be the Gulf Coast Organizing Coordinator. Currently, she is working as a legislative aide for Texas State Representative Armando Walle’s office for Texas’ 88th Legislative Session. When not working or studying, Esme enjoys concerts and reading classic literature.
My name is Evan Quaintance, I am a graduating senior at Howard University majoring in Political Science with a double major in Philosophy and Legal Communications. As I transition into my post-grad plans I plan to continue work to advocate for unique means for us to share ideas and bring to fruition our reimagining of the world. I specialize in Social Justice policy with a concentration on the way it affects our national infrastructure and transportation systems. I am also very interested in political coalition building to achieve necessary but daunting tasks.
Hello! My name is Juno, and I’ve always believed in working toward progress through advocacy, namely for systemic representation of marginalized communities. I believe it is our duty as Americans to uplift voices that have been silenced, and civic engagement allows me to do so. Having faced my share of discrimination as a queer person of color, my mission is to create and expand socioeconomic opportunities for underserved groups in the U.S.
Kaitlyn is a rising Freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder planning to study psychology and public health as she prepares for medical school. She has long been passionate about civic engagement and social change, especially regarding mental healthcare and higher education equality. She has presented at national conferences and panels on the importance of political engagement and overcoming barriers as a young adult to create legislative change. From co-authoring the Teen Lifestyle Medicine Handbook to being interviewed by news stations on mental health topics, regularly testifying on state bills, and joining organizations to grassroots lobby at the Colorado state capitol, Kaitlyn believes that young people in today’s society need to be a part of the decisions that directly impact us. She plans to be a consistent, life-long advocate striving to create tangible change through impassioned advocacy.
Larmaya Kilgore also known to the universe as “CeCe” , understands the connection between policy influence and systemic change. Her background includes the City of Las Vegas, Nevada US Senate Office under the direction of Senator Reid; the Department of Juvenile Justice Services; City of Las Vegas Municipal Courts, Alternative Sentencing & Education Department, Clark County-Department of Family Services, Las Vegas Library District, Southern Nevada’s leading workforce development agency, Nevada Partners, and more recently, project management in the government sector. As a first-generation college student, who experienced socioeconomic barriers, she has been determined to work closely with multiple levels of government and policy experts to dismantle discriminatory systems of education, mass incarceration, voter suppression, and public health. As an alumnus of the Young Advocates Fall 2022 cohort, CeCe is excited to return to the Young Invincibles family to continue developing programs and policies that educate marginalized communities and combat unjust systems.
Hi, my name is Marisa Beltran, a daughter of immigrants, from Pueblo, Colorado. I am currently studying for my Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Colorado State University.
I am an alumni member with the Young Invincibles Colorado Young Advocates Program, and was also part of the incredible CO Staff for 2.5 years.
I work in a fellowship with the National Center for Youth Law, advocating on various youth justice items like raising the age of children getting arrested, which is currently up to 12 years old.
I have been an advocate since I was 8 years old when I first experienced discrimination against myself and my family, and knew things needed to change. My goal is to be an Executive Director of an advocacy, and self-efficacy program that promotes health, and teaches how to create policy change.
In my free time I enjoy reading, working out, and spending time with my family!
My name is Nazrin Nahar. I was raised in Bangladesh and moved to the United States in 2019. I am currently a Freshman at Baruch College majoring in International Business. Ever since I moved to the States, I have had new experiences and gained perspective on struggles that seem to be particular to the BIPOC community. My culture and ethnicity are a big part of my identity, so I feel passionate about the struggles that affect the South Asian community. I hope to be able to become a voice for the underpaid and overexploited workers in Bangladesh, and to be that person for them, I joined the YI, hoping to learn advocacy skills and be able to speak and stand up for my community. I believe advocacy is a skill that is important in a person’s personal and professional life to be able to stand up for yourself and others, which is why I am looking forward to the knowledge and experience I will gain from being in the Young Advocates Program.
Hello! My name is Raine Yung. Having earned an Associate of Fine Arts from Harold Washington College, I plan to transfer to a four-year art institution to study film and fine art. My practice emphasizes video and performance art alongside photography, installation, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Informed by my childhood trauma, my work explores consumption, artifice, and identity.
My advocacy journey began with Young Invincibles at the beginning of 2021. At the time, I didn’t understand what it meant to advocate for myself, let alone for others and the world around me—but now I do. I am passionate about civic engagement, mental health, and the environment. As a National Youth Advisory Board member, I hope to find the bridge between art and advocacy and incorporate environmental efforts into YI’s mission.