Meet the Core Team
Mukilan (he/him) is a senior at Hunter College High School. He joined YVote in the Summer 2021 Changemaker's Institute in the climate justice action group. Since then, he has worked on projects such as the NYC Youth Agenda focusing on the environment and civic education policy recommendations. He also has worked this year to craft and conduct workshops with Community Board members across the city to address youth participation on community boards. Thanks to YVote, he attended the National History Academy in the Summer of 2022, a four-week residential history program based outside of Washington DC. Mukilan has been a facilitator for YVote since the inaugural Democracy Camp in the summer of 2022. He is interested in politics, economics, and history, and hopes to pursue law beyond high school.
Katie's (she/her) passion for youth civic participation stems from her years spent as a high school social studies teacher, especially teaching Government during the 2016 election. She earned her undergraduate degree in Social Studies Secondary Education at Butler University and her master’s degree in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. A pandemic-related postponement of her NYC move allowed her to work for her county’s local election board during the 2020 election, experiencing election processes and voting from a new perspective. Since moving to New York, Katie has worked in communications, development, and strategy for multiple non-profits including America’s Promise Alliance and Chalkbeat. In her free time, Katie enjoys visiting new-to-her movie theaters and spending time with her dog, Wally.
LaTroya Lovell (she/her) is a writer and researcher from Harlem, New York. She graduated summa Cum Laude from The New School, with a major in literature with a psychology/gender studies concentration. She is currently a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies, in the Youth Studies Master program. She has 10 years of experience working with youth of all ages in New York City through various youth engagement organizations, public, and private schools. Most of her writing falls into the brackets of poetry, personal narrative, and critical essay; focusing on race issues, black voice & black experience, gender and sexuality issues, sociological critique, and literary review. Outside of writing, LaTroya is passionate about research, with a special focus on qualitative participatory initiatives. She is an advocate for civic engagement, restorative justice; and the social and economic restructuring of minority communities through research that supports and creates actionable systematic change.
Hi, my name is Liana Reyes (she/her), and I’m a senior at Energy Tech High School I would like to pursue a major in STEM, hopefully on a pre-med track. I’m passionate about advocating for racial inequities in the healthcare system and want to be a part of future discoveries in sciences that I can serve back to my community. I’m happy to be one of the co-facilitators this year, as it gives me the opportunity to help other high schoolers find their voice in advocacy. This program has taught me how I can be an advocate in school but also in non-traditional environments, like scientific laboratories. Even though I’m not eligible to vote yet, through YVote, I know I will be fully prepared and informed to cast my ballot this upcoming election!
Elisa (she/her/ella) is dedicated to community organizing and is committed to doing her part in protecting and improving democracy. Elisa most recently worked in community engagement for NYC Kids RISE but has experience in impact investing and electoral research as well. Elisa's previous work has amplified her passion for raising the voices of underserved communities, particularly youth and Latinx folks. She studied at Macaulay Honors College at John Jay College of Criminal Justice- graduating summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Economics in 2021. Her undergraduate studies allowed her to explore electoral politics in the US, specifically through her capstone project on Partisan Realignment Theory and the involvement of grassroots organizations. In her free time, Elisa loves exploring her (new) neighborhood with her dog Cyrus and trying new restaurants.
Sanda (she/her) is passionate about helping young people understand their individual and collective power, at and beyond the ballot box. In response to the complex times we're living in, the vulnerability of democracy being demonstrated, and the desire to support young people in being on the front lines of change, she co-founded and directs cross-partisan youth civic engagement venture YVote/ Next Generation Politics, aiming to equip leaders of tomorrow for their roles and responsibilities as citizens shaping a more just world. Sanda has held leadership roles in education and youth development for over 25 years, in the public sector at the New York City Department of Education, in education philanthropy at the Ford Foundation and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and in nonprofits including Facing History and Ourselves, the Boston Private Industry Council, and The Teachers Network. Sanda is proud to serve on the founding Board of Directors of Generation Vote and The Hope Reichbach Memorial Fund and on the National Reader Advisory Board for Chalkbeat. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Chris-Ann Barnett (she/her) graduated cum laude from New York University with a B.A. in Politics and Sociology and is a founding member of YVote. She is passionate about the intersections of identity, advocacy, and political engagement and approaches political engagement from a people-first ideology. During her undergraduate career she completed research on the social interactions of Black students attending predominantly white institutions which became her thesis “Racial Socialization and Spatial Awareness in Black Students”. Her research and passions have informed how she approaches activism and organizing as she emphasizes the need for minority voices and representation across all industries.