Students from California campuses were selected in Fall 2020 to participate in California Campus Compact’s Community Engagement Student Fellowship – Youth Voice Youth Vote (YVYV) program, a 4-month initiative specifically designed to support student leaders advancing service, service-learning and community engagement at California Campus Compact member campuses throughout the state. Selected students focus their service on some aspect of voter engagement (ie, voter registration, voter education, youth-centered candidate forums) and youth voice ( finding out what young people care about; providing opportunities for young people to be heard on issues, etc.)
Kylie Francisco is a third-year student studying Dance and Political Science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. Throughout her education, Kylie has been an active member of various clubs and organizations, most notably student government, which helped her find her passion for making student voices heard. After the Presidential Election of 2016, she developed a deep interest in civic engagement and empowering young people to vote which led her to pursue Political Science when she got to college. At LMU, Kylie serves as President of the Residence Hall Association which has given her the opportunity to advocate on behalf of her peers and promote positive change on campus. With this fellowship, she hopes to help students realize the magnitude of their voice and the volume it can create.
Gabriel Guptill is a graduating senior in Political Science at Sonoma State University. Throughout his studies, he has primarily focused on the international issue of Israel/Palestine and has been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Israel and the West Bank of Palestine twice to study and learn about the complex problems and international connections of the region. The son of a Nurse and a Public School Teacher, he hopes to use his education to become an educator and make the people in his community and the world more accepting of each other. He feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on the Youth Voice-Youth Vote Project especially in such an important election year, and would like to give a special thanks to Dr. David McCuan of Sonoma State University for being an exceptional educator and for giving Gabriel this opportunity.
Maya Lawton is a senior Philosophy major, History minor at the University of San Francisco (USF). Prior to joining USF, Maya gained valuable leadership and administrative experience through her community service work with the City of Davis, California. She has contributed to the USF Philosophy Department as both a faculty research assistant and the department’s office assistant from 2018 until present. In the fall of 2019, she completed a peer mentorship program in a USF transfer-year seminar where she successfully worked towards fostering a classroom learning environment of inclusion and academic growth. Currently, Maya is a McCarthy Fellow in the San Francisco program where she hopes to find a position that enables her to be a part of the city’s progress towards resolving the issue of homelessness and housing. In addition, she is a member of the USFVotes team where she is helping with voter engagement and education for the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Maya is interested in pursuing politics and law in graduate education and further developing her passion of social justice.
Arden Dressner Levy
Arden Dressner Levy is a senior at UCLA. She studies international development in an interdisciplinary social science program within UCLA’s International Institute. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but moved around the world several times as a child, including to Moscow, Russia. She has previously worked for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign as a field organizer in Iowa, as well as the New York Civil Liberties Union. Arden has been running BruinsVote, UCLA’s voter registration and census outreach initiatives, since 2018. She is the external co-chair of BruinsVote, meaning that her work touches every aspect of BruinsVote that an average student will encounter and engage with: social media, event presentations, public partnerships, class announcements, ambassadorship programs, and outward-facing communications for the vote coalition at UCLA, the nation’s second largest nonpartisan, university student vote coalition.
Vasundhara Mehta is a general practitioner from India and has also served as a medical officer in the Medical Corps of the Indian Armed Forces for five years. Currently, she is in her second year of the Master of Public Health Program at San Jose State University. Her future career goals align with her previous clinical background to provide equitable healthcare access and the comprehensive development of healthy communities. Over the past one year, in her role as the Vice President for the Students Demand Action- SJSU chapter, she has participated in voter registration drives on campus, conducted presentations virtually, and completed training provided by Everytown for Gun Safety and Gun Sense University On-line. In the coming semester, she hopes to raise awareness and recruit more youth voices as advocates to eradicate the menace of gun violence and build safe communities.
Raquel Morales is in her fourth year at California State University, Los Angeles, and her pronouns are she/her/ella. She is majoring in Public Health. She has been a part of various organizations on campus, but the ones closest to her heart are Pre-Health Dreamers and Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE). Both organizations advocate and empower the undocumented voices on campus, and as an undocumented student, it has allowed Raquel to believe the power we have with our voices. She is also a student lead on campus at the Dreamers Resource Center, where she works closely with the undocumented community to provide services and support on campus. Raquel has been able to plan out programming and workshops with her team to best support students towards their path with higher education. Although she still does not know where her path with public health will take her, Raquel hopes to one day continue to uplift voices and work to find opportunities and resources for her community by advocating for equality in health care.
Harneet Kaur Ranauta
Having completed her MD in India, Harneet is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Public Health Program at San José State University. Her career focus is to implement medical and public health knowledge to create healthy communities with a focus on community organizing. She is serving as a President/Group Lead to a newly recognized student organization called Students Demand Action SJSU. Over the last year, she organized and conducted various voter registration drives on campus using materials and training provided by Students Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Sense. She also facilitated various outreach events to create awareness around gun safety and used social media to call out to SJSU students to register to vote. This semester, she is looking forward to creating opportunities with other student leaders to call for action to vote using virtual platforms.
Sofia Sanchez is a sophomore at University of San Francisco where she majors in Politics while minoring in Legal Studies. As a rising sophomore Sofia is eager to expand her leadership skills through her involvement in many on-campus organizations such as: USF Votes, L.U.N.A (Latinx Undergrad Network of Activists), and is also a member of the Muscat Scholars Program. As a Mexican first- generation student, Sofia is passionate about voting and immigrant rights and hopes to pursue law school in hopes of creating tangible change within these issues. As a team member for USF Votes, this past year during the 2019 Election Primary Sofia spent her time before and in between classes tabling and registering students to vote. She is very excited to do more in her role as a fellow this year.
Christina Sargsyan is a third year psychobio major at UCLA. She joined CALPIRG’s New Voters Project which is a field based nonpartisan youth mobilization effort because she believes that there are so many populations in the United States that are disenfranchised, whether that be because they got their rights stripped away from them, because they never had them at all, or because their vote is being actively suppressed. So she wants to help make sure that anyone who does have the right to vote uses it–not only for themselves but for the communities they come from.
Wesley Smith is an undergraduate student at CSU, Chico. He was born in Sacramento, California. When he was two months old my family moved to Kigali, Rwanda, where he spent the next 15 years of his life before moving again to Redding, California for high school. While in high school, Wesley had the opportunity to volunteer for a city council campaign. He learned a lot about the electoral process and got to see democracy happening at a tangible level, but what struck him most was the lack of engagement of younger voters. People his age were either apathetic about politics or didn’t know how to get involved; either way, it has inspired Wesley to work since then to engage, educate, and empower fellow youth voters to make sure their voices are heard.