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2015-2016 Council Members

Alex Bare

Alex Bare

Currently a student at the University of Iowa, Alex Bare graduated from North Scott High School in 2015. Throughout high school, he worked closely with historic/cultural affairs and LGBTQ issues. Among others, he worked with the Meskwaki Tribal Settlement to create an educational documentary and also interned at the German American Heritage Center in Davenport. In regards to LGBTQ rights, he spoke about gay victims of the Holocaust at the 2014 Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at the Tri-City Jewish Center, was invited to speak at Quad City Pride Fest, and organized a fundraiser for LGBTQ youth across the street from a Westboro Baptist Church protest. He was awarded a gold Matthew Shepard Scholarship for his work in 2015. He currently is a member of UIowa Mock Trial and will be studying abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia next year. 


Aastha Chandra

Aastha Chandra

Aastha Chandra is a junior at Cedar Falls High School, and is in her first year as a SIYAC member. Besides SIYAC, Aastha is involved in Teen Trust, a youth philanthropy organization that allocates $10,000 to nonprofits, and serves as co-director of Hotline, a local TV show. She's also an All-State singer and an avid feminist, and is working to become a pediatrician. In her spare time, she enjoys biology books, bad puns, and randomly breaking out into song. 



Tara Djukanovic

Tara Djukanovic is a Junior at Johnston High School. She is very involved in her high school’s speech and debate team(s) and is involved with several other school activities such as mock trial, National Honor Society, and science club. Outside of school she’s involved with The World Food Prize and Stand for the Silent, an anti-bullying organization. She enjoys baking, running, and coloring, as well as listening to mixtapes as loud as possible in the car. 


Andrew Dunn

Andrew Dunn is a Junior at Okoboji High School out of Milford, Iowa. Andrew is an avid competitor in Speech and Debate where he is considered by the IHSSA to be one of the best high school speakers in the state of Iowa. He also participates in Theater, Choir, FFA, and Key Club. Andrew has future plans to study Political Science and History with a grad school vision of studying Law. Andrew aspires to one day be an educator and to run for state legislature.


T.J. Foley

T.J. Foley is a junior at Valley High School in West Des Moines and is the Executive Chair of SIYAC. In addition to his responsibilities of SIYAC T.J. enjoys debate, mock trial, and is almost finished with his Eagle Scout Project. T.J. is also working with other members of SIYAC to establish youth advisory councils in foreign countries. When not doing schoolwork or working on SIYAC he enjoys watching Netflix, reading, and hanging out with friends.


Amiah Gooding

Amiah Gooding is a Senior at Davenport Central High School. She has been in the State of Iowa Youth Advisory council for one full term; this year is her second. She plans to go to college next year but she’s still deciding where. She hopes to be an engineer in the future. Her hobbies include volunteering whenever she can, and building things. 


Justin Hu

Justin Hu is a junior at Johnston High School. He is involved with many different school activities. He participates in mock trial, large group speech, Innovation show choir, and much more! He is extremely excited for the year ahead with the current legislative session, show choir season, and mock trial season in the future. He looks forward to advocating for legislation to help the youth of Iowa.


Nandini Jayaram

Nandini Jayaram is a sophomore at Pleasant Valley High School and is the Public Relations Chair of SIYAC. In addition to SIYAC, Nandini is actively involved in choir, drama, and the school newspaper. In her free time, Nandini composes poetry, some of which has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and loves to teach underprivileged children around the world. She plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in business, while remaining active in service and music.


Xiao Liu

Xiao Liu is a junior at Johnston High School. Her passions include law, history, and health. She loves Mock Trial, reading all sorts of literature and non-fiction, writing, Model United Nations, and playing tennis. Xiao wants to attend college either in California on somewhere on the East Coast and double major in legal studies and either history or American studies. She also wants to attend law school and pursue a career in law while also continuing to pursue health activism. 


Ethan Lowder

Ethan Lowder is in his second term as a SIYAC member and is a sophomore at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids. In addition to SIYAC, Ethan is active in mock trial, debate, cross country and soccer.  His volunteer experience includes serving as a mentor for Zach Johnson's Kids on Course University, collecting items for homeless shelters and Veteran's and he was awarded Governor Billy Ray's 2015 Youth Citizen of Character Award. Ethan is honored to serve as a member of SIYAC and to advocate for Iowa youth!


Jade Miller

Jade Miller is a junior at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. She is the Service Committee Chair of SIYAC.  At school she plays flute in concert band and is also a member of National Honor Society. Her past accomplishments include Best in Center at State Solo/Ensemble Festival, various awards in the Iowa Music Teachers Association piano competition, and being an AP Scholar. In her free time, Jade also participates in several volunteering opportunities. Jade wants to be a biochemist or geneticist in the future, but plans to keep music and civil service in the picture. 


Sruthi Palaniappan

Sruthi Palaniappan is a senior at Linn-Mar High School in Marion. She likes staying active in her school and community by participating in a multitude of activities. In addition to SIYAC, she is involved in FBLA, Orchestra, Save the Children, Show Choir, NHS, Student Council, Contest Speech, and Student Ambassadors. She enjoys advocating for youth issues and bettering the community through service. Sruthi’s favorite part of being involved in a variety of activities is meeting new people!


Danielle Reyes

Danielle (Dani) Reyes is serving her second year as the Human Rights Committee Chair of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council. She is 18 years old, a senior at Valley High School, and currently lives in Clive. This is her fourth year on SIYAC. She is a nationally competitive debater and is the president of the United Nations Girl Up club at her school. She’s planning on majoring in international relations, specializing in either security policy or diplomacy. She enjoys kickboxing, writing satire, drinking tea, and playing piano.


Alexis Rivett

Alexis Rivett is 17 years old. She attends Johnston High School in the Iowa metro, where she is currently half way through her junior year. In her free time, she enjoys participating in speech and debate. She loves researching global affairs. She appreciates and enjoys learning about domestic and foreign politics. During the summer and school holidays she goes to Toronto, Ontario where her father presides. The best part of Toronto for her is going to the theater, which she does often. Her favorite musical is the Phantom of the Opera. This is her first year being a part of SIYAC.


Mickey Sloat

Mickey Sloat is a junior at Davenport Central High School. She participates in Mock Trial, Dance Team, is the Vice President of her Thespian Charter and Drama Club, and Scholastic Bowl, as well as founding Don't Upstage Yourself and Long STEM Roses volunteer initiatives to benefit children in her community. She also volunteers at her local children's theatre teaching students that fall on the Autism Spectrum. She has competed in National History Day and has qualified for the National level 4 times, currently ranked 6th in the world. She is very politically active with her previous "Worth-less" initiative and is very excited to pursue many influential bills through SIYAC.


Katarina Walther

Katarina Walther, a senior at Cedar Falls High School, is honored to be serving her first term as a SIYAC member! Katarina is one of the founders and members of her high school's Sexuality and Gender Equality club, as well as an active participant in speech, primarily improv, and many of her school's theater productions. This winter, she collected personal hygiene products for those in homeless shelters. In addition to SIYAC, Katarina is part of Teen Trust, a youth philanthropy group with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, and was voted as Secretary of State at Iowa Girls State. 


Nina Yu

Nina Yu is currently a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids where she avidly participates in Happiness Inc Show Choir, Speech Team, and various musical and plays. She is proud to be a Thespian Officer for the Kennedy Drama Department, a dance captain for show choir, and a student director for one acts. Outside of school, she spends her time advocating for Diversity Inclusion through her platform “Diversity Advocacy: Embracing the Unique in Everyone” by speaking to the youth of Iowa as Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen, attending various cultural events, and sharing her story of becoming an Asian American beauty queen. In SIYAC, she dedicates her time in the Education Committee focusing on increasing the drop out age. But when she finally has that ounce of free time, she enjoys watching “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix” and baking desserts.


Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 216A.140.8.b, the above-named youth are appointed effective July 1, 2015.