2021-2022 YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD
Meet The Board
The effort to lower the voting age to 16 must be guided by the very young people it aims to enfranchise, and energy among this population is crucial to moving the cause forward. The Youth Advisory Board ensures the voices of young people are at the front and center as this campaign gains momentum. The board is comprised of young people who have worked or are currently working to lower the voting age in their respective cities. Board members provide crucial input to the national campaign, engage other young people in the cause, and work to elevate youth voices. Meet the current members below, organized alphabetically by first name.
Palo Alto, CA
Aanika is from Redwood City in California. She was born in the United States but soon moved to India. She lived there for roughly 9 years before moving to Singapore. She was there for around 5 years and finally returned to California. She’s currently a junior in High School and got involved when she first moved to Palo Alto High School. She got more involved with the issue after taking interest in it during club day. She’s helped to plan some events and promote the movement in the Palo Alto community.
Aanna is a high school student in the Portland Oregon area focused on advocating for the youth community. After getting closely involved in her local Vote16 campaign through the local organization NextUp, Aanna pursued VOTE16USA to help the broader campaign through a national lens. She hopes that she can help her local campaign in Oregon by incorporating the insight of youth around the nation and using her strengths to be a unique addition to the team. Additionally Aanna is an avid hiker, skier, soccer player, and cook.
San Francisco, CA
Adrianna is a high school senior from San Francisco. She serves on the San Francisco Youth Commission as the District 7 commissioner and is on the Civic Engagement Committee where she has worked on Vote16 SF during the 2020 election. She is also an advocate for education equity for young people through founding San Francisco Communities who Help Advance the New Generation of Education, or SF CHANGE, an organization dedicated to teaching workshops on topics not covered in the standard school curriculum, including Youth Civic Engagement. For fun, she loves waking up early and listening to new podcasts!
Angelina is a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School in the International Baccalaureate Program. After working as a Democracy Summer Fellow in 2021, she joined Vote16USA to continue fighting to protect America’s democracy. Her hope for Vote16USA is to build grassroots momentum in Maryland and push for more city councils to change their voting laws. Aside from voting rights, Angelina is passionate about making schools more environmentally sustainable and participating in her school’s debate team.
Anjali is a junior in high school from Branchburg, New Jersey. She started to get involved with Vote16 before her sophomore year after winning Vote16USA’s Multimedia Contest. As Vote16 continues to surround her with other driven, civically engaged teens, she has grown to be more and more passionate about pursuing youth rights and other civil justice movements. When she is not working with Vote16NJ, she runs a fun non-profit, Metamorphic Mentoring, that facilitates free virtual mentoring between older teens and younger kids. In her free time, she loves shopping, singing, and, of course, watching way too much Netflix. She looks forward to seeing what is in store for Vote16 this year!
Charlotte is a sixteen-year-old from Brookline Massachusetts. She began her work with Vote16 by speaking at Brookline’s town council. As a result of this meeting, Brookline submitted a home-rule petition to lower their voting age to 16. Now, Charlotte is the Massachusetts March For Our Lives Vote16 Director. Through March For Our Lives, Charlotte advocates for reforming gun laws to end gun violence and emphasizes the connection between Vote16 and March For Our Lives.
Elijah is a high school student from Northampton, MA. He is the Interim Co-Chair of the Northampton Youth Commission, and in this capacity he works towards a cleaner environment, better education, and more inclusionary housing policy in his community. Through the Youth Commission, he also helps lead Vote16 Northampton, which successfully passed Vote16 through the municipal process and is now focusing their advocacy on convincing the Massachusetts state legislature to allow Northampton to enact Vote16. Elijah is also an avid follower of politics and a proud progressive Democrat. He has volunteered for numerous progressive campaigns including Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s, and worked as a field organizing fellow on the Ed Markey campaign. In his free time, he enjoys listening to podcasts, going on walks, and playing basketball.
Frances is a senior at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, CA. She is very passionate about the Vote16 project, and believes strongly in its message. In her spare time, she enjoys training her dog. She will also tell fun facts about the movie Dolphin Tail to anyone who will listen.
Grace Leslie Nitcheu
Grace is a current senior from Houston, Texas. She hopes, and is excited to be able to recruit members within her community and support campaigns throughout the country. She is passionate and active in gun violence prevention, gender equality, and healthcare equity related activism and advocacy. Outside of school and activism, she plays volleyball and the violin.
Kashish Bastola is a high school student from McKinney, Texas. He is a first generation Nepalese-American who traces his advocacy to gun violence and police violence prevention as a member of the Team ENOUGH Executive Council, climate justice as a member of the Sunrise Movement and through his participation in the 400 mile “Generation on Fire” march, and education equity and justice through his local work to fight for ethnic studies courses and equitable behavior management practices in his school district as well as through Student Voice. As a public education advocate, Kashish believes student voices must be the driving force behind all legislation affecting students and is very excited to work with Vote16USA members nationwide to fight for voting rights for young people and strengthen our democracy at all levels. In his free time, you can find Kashish at his local flea market or on a Zoom call strategizing a direct action.
Kathryn is a Senior at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City. She is currently looking to apply to college as a Political Science major, and hopes to go to law school later in life. Kathryns ultimate goal is to become a Senator, and to help laws such as a lower voting age get passed.
New York, NY
Mariana Melzer is currently a senior in the Applied Math major at Brooklyn Tech in NYC. She is very passionate about animal rights and has worked on various campaigns around the city. Mariana first became interested in politics and international relations because of Model UN and aims to further study this in college, along with how politics and applied math interact. Due to her engagement in local politics, it became increasingly aware to her how important it is to lower the voting age, which is why she got involved with Vote16. She is excited to serve on the Youth Advisory Board and help spread awareness on the voting age issue. Outside of activism, Mariana loves sing, dance, and hang out with her friends and adorable dog.
Mollie is a senior in high school from Oregon! As the daughter of an immigrant, she is extremely passionate about democracy and believes this generation should be able to have a voice in shaping the future of our country. Through Vote16, Mollie hopes to amplify marginalized voices as well as help youth understand how they can create the meaningful change they dream of. Outside of Vote16, Mollie is passionate about gun violence prevention, uplifting youth voices, learning about activism organizing, and talking about the Middle East on her account Voice of MENA.
New York, NY
Samiha is from New York, and very excited to be apart of Vote16! She first heard about this through another program (YPC) also actively working to lower the voting age. To her, being able to express political beliefs, opinions, and ideas is important, and she believes no matter what age, as long as you have the correct information, you should be allowed to partake in political decisions. Besides all that, some of her favorite things to do are watch horror movies and listen to music!
Upper Marlboro, MD
Trinity is a 17-year-old girl residing in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She became involved in Vote16 by seeing youth leaders playing an instrumental role in social change. She witnessed youth participation by seeing how many children came to her voter registration desk to preregister to vote and young children speaking to their congressional leaders. Her goal/hope for Vote16 is to establish a safe, equitable community where people can learn from each other and create meaningful change. Besides lowering the voting age, she also cares about: No Poverty, Gender Equality, and Reduced Inequalities.
She is also a Founder/Host of a podcast, State Lead for Voters of Tomorrow, and an Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Maryland Highschool Democrats. One fun fact about her is that she loves baking!
Menlo Park, CA
Vikram is a senior at Menlo School in Atherton, California, and the campaign director of Vote16 SMC, a Vote16 chapter based in San Mateo County. Vikram’s passion for politics began during the 2020 election, during which he volunteered with many political campaigns and ran voter registration campaigns. Inspired by local Vote16 efforts close by in San Francisco and Oakland, Vikram decided to start Vote16 SMC to empower youth to have a voice in local politics. Vikram also runs hurdles for his school’s varsity track & field team, and enjoys playing jazz piano and reading dystopian fiction in his free time.