See the innovative projects our youth winners initiated for the 2021 Competition and the Adult Ambassadors guiding them on their journeys!
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CATEGORY
Addressing community issues through local organizations and nonprofits.
Youth Empowerment: Space for Youth
Camille Reynaud is the Executive Director of Teens In Public Service. She joined TIPS in 2018 and brings over 7 years of business development and corporate partnerships experience to her role. She previously lived and worked in London, as Senior Business Development Manager for Drinkaware, an alcohol awareness non-profit, and Head of Event Partnerships at JustGiving, the UK’s largest online fundraising platform.
Sanika Datar is a rising sophomore at Inglemoor High School, Kirkland. A rational mindset, meticulous organizational skills, and a caring attitude have been the key differentiators for Sanika. She grew up camping and spending time outdoors with her family. She shows empathy and looks to positively impact our community in the simplest forms. She is a recipient of the Presidential Point Of Light, an award-winning writer, researcher, Founder of Space For Youth non-profit organization, and a Sustainability Ambassador from Kirkland, WA. She is the National recipient of the 2021 Angela STEM Award and has recently been nominated as a National Community Ambassador. She is a TEDx speaker & has co-authored a book that is published on Amazon. Being a Carson Scholar & Davidson Young Scholar, she is also one among 15 students in the U.S. to have received the International Young Achiever nomination. Her motto: “Leave this world a little better than you found it."
Pre-College Medical Experience: SimuMed
Robert Clauser has extensive experience in the corporate, startup, and nonprofit worlds, having been a founder as well as a C-suite leader. He is coming out of the quarantunnel having built resiliency programs for social impact organizations, expanded the reach of the NYC Media Lab, and launched an education foundation. He has had a Residency with TED, including having given a Talk on philanthropy and social impact. He is a frequent participant and writer on areas of social impact and innovation, as with the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago.
Caitlin Nolasco & Sierra Magallona
Caitlin Nolasco is a sophomore student at Miriam College, Philippines. Her drive and curiosity has always been something she’s treasured dearly. You might find her dabbling in graphic design every now and then if she isn’t practicing piano pieces (she doesn’t practice daily…but she tries to). She believes that there should be easier opportunities for ideas to be heard and acknowledged properly. Although an aspiring medical student, she isn’t exactly sure if that’s the path she is willing to take. There aren’t a lot of accessible ways to make a decision like that in the Philippines. Finding out about Leaders of Today, she immediately put one of her ideas she thought was best to propose and pursue for the benefit of others too. The SimuMed program offers new windows for people who find themselves unsure of taking the path in Medicine.
Sierra R. Magallona is a sophomore at Mayfield Montessori Academy, Philippines active in STEM, musical theater, film, and journalism. She revels in bringing people together and starting exciting new experiences—both of which drive her inquisitiveness and strong ambition. All these interests piqued her yearning to start SimuMed, especially as to how exciting the opportunity of participating in a program such as this is for anyone her age. Participating in a program that introduces one to the thrilling possibilities of medicine and assistance towards career choice is a brand new type of program her country would be introduced to, so it is a joy for her to expect to see this project help young aspiring Filipino doctors pursue their dreams. Outside of these endeavors, Sierra enjoys screenwriting, studying random topics, watching musicals, and playing video games.
CIVIC LEADERSHIP CATEGORY
Improving the community through policy change and advocacy.
College & Career Readiness: Ready Together
Jessica has been a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice since 2014. At the Civil Rights Division, Jessica investigates and litigates cases to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Jessica previously worked at the American Civil Liberties Union at the Immigrants’ Rights Project and at Children’s Rights, where she litigated class action lawsuits on behalf of children in foster care. Jessica clerked for the Hon. Jon Phipps McCalla of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Tennessee. Jessica studied International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from Cornell Law School in 2005. Before law school, Jessica ran mentoring programs at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a non-profit organization providing academic enrichment to New York City students of color.
Melisa Shafiee is an ambitious and dedicated senior at Bellevue High School with a passion for mental health advocacy. Melisa cultivated this passion in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, where she became interested in youth mental health after noticing herself and her peers experience challenges. Since then, Melisa has extensively researched the science of the brain to learn more about the topic, and it served as an inspiration for her Leaders of Today project idea. She is always looking for ways to amplify youth needs and advocate for others, and she aspires to pursue advocacy professionally by becoming a lawyer. Melisa is grateful for organizations like Leaders of Today that uplift youth voices by connecting them with opportunities to make meaningful change in their community. In her free time, Melisa enjoys practicing her makeup skills, playing the piano, and watching Netflix.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION CATEGORY
Youth Involvement Opportunities Application
Katherine brings over 15 years of experience building infrastructure, programs, and resources to support nonprofits working toward educational equity. She has been with SPIN for six years, recruited after she completed her work as founding Director of both the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition and Global Washington. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the Evans School at the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts from Reed College in Portland, OR.
Yanheng (Clarence) Guo is a junior at Interlake High School with a heavy interest in public policy and sociology. He is a very passionate member of his school’s debate team, DECA, and Yearbook Club. Yanheng functions through life under the framework of giving back to the community – offer services to others, participate in activism groups to support any worthy cause. Meeting new people, creative writing, and chasing dreams are only some of his many favorite past times. He also enjoys photography as it lets him eternalize a treasured memory. Here is a quote he lives by: “Appreciate the little things around you like a scenic sunset or a well-rounded tree, and you’ll appreciate life”
Thank you to all our participants!
Yanheng (Clarence) Guo
Owen Zhang is a junior at Interlake High School in Bellevue Washington, who is especially passionate about mathematics, programming, and uses these skills to engage with the public world. He has always thrived off of his undying motivation for everything, demonstrated by his participation in various activities in his community. Owen wants to share all of the resources that he has been so lucky to have with others and see a future where everyone is able to pursue their passions freely. When he found out about Leaders of Today with his classmate Yanheng, he knew it would be a creative space for them to further their journeys as scholars and community members. "A circle is always a circle, no matter how small it becomes."