GEN puts girls and young women at the center of the organization. The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is an important component of this practice. YAB members are young women ages 15-24 who give feedback about GEN’s programs and ensure their relevance to girls in grades 3 – 12 through directly contributing to projects and volunteerism. Each YAB member has previous experience with GEN’s programming, ranging from participating in clubGEN when they were in middle school to serving as a high school mentor.
If you would like to learn more about GEN’s YAB, please contact the staff liaison Brittany Yelverton through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victoria is a junior at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA where she is majoring in American Studies with a minor in Teacher Education. Victoria has both volunteered as a clubGEN high school volunteer and worked as a AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate for GEN. She is excited to be a part of a team that contributes to dialogues about the issues that young girls face today and the ways in which GEN can support girls throughout their teenage years. Victoria is passionate about education, and is inspired by the work of John Dewey. “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think—rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.” ~ John Dewey
Georgia Hernandez, Vice President
Georgia is a senior at Ann Richards, a girl empowerment and leadership based school. She is a member of the City of Austin Youth Council and serves as the Student Body V.P. at Ann Richards. Georgia is also the Colorguard Captain, a member of the Foundation of Education for Young Women, and an active member of her church. She has been involved in GEN since 6th grade when she was in clubGEN and in high school she began volunteering. In particular, Georgia was the emcee of the 2014 We Are Girls Conference.
Garima Singh, Historian
Garima is 16 and a junior at Westwood High School. She has been interested in helping girls be the best they can be since she was very little. When she heard about GEN, she signed up to volunteer immediately! Garima also started a Girls Who Code Club at her school, sponsored by Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that works to reduce the gender gap in technology fields. As a member of the GEN Youth Advisory Board, Garima hopes to continue her efforts to reduce the gender gap in STEM fields and help girls realize their voice and grow into the strong young women they are. Aside from empowering girls, Garima is fatally obsessed with Harry Potter, British TV (mostly Doctor Who and Sherlock), and old Bollywood movies. She loves to read absolutely anything and will join Westwood’s dance team, the Sundancers, next year.
Arlette Flores, Secretary
Arlette is a currently a junior at & Founding Member of East Austin College Prep. She is the President of the Youth Advisory Board there and is very thankful for her school and the many opportunities it has provided. Arlette loves to travel and her education is the top priority in her life. After high school, she plans to study Architecture and Photo Communications in college. Arlette also enjoys volunteering, volleyball, writing, and creating photography/digital art. She is very close with her grandparents, and says they are the reason behind her hard work, so one day she can be able to provide for them and herself. Arlette has been involved GEN ever since she was introduced by a service learning teacher years ago. She has attended workshops and the conference with GEN, as well as volunteered in the office. She feels that women and girls need to ditch the gender stereotypes and create their own world of freedom and happiness. As once Mary Shelley said “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.”
Alina studies East Asian media and culture at the University of Texas at Austin where she is a Sophomore. Between classes and adventuring with friends, Alina can happily spend hours wandering around the city. On and off-campus, she has the privilege of learning from visionaries with feet to their passion. Books, food, and music sustain her sanity. Any person who shares these three things with others is a friend to her. For two years, Alina has volunteered as the on-site photographer for GEN’s We Are Girls Conference, capturing all the special moments of the event.
Lauren Caton, Member
Lauren Caton is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin studying Nutrition and Neurobiology. After undergoing her own trials as an adolescent, she has committed her life to empowering and inspiring confidence in youth. These experiences led her to found her student organization GirlAdvocates!, a mentoring and service non-profit, which now has two collegiate chapters in Texas and the Eating Disorders Mentoring Program on campus. She hopes to gain insight into program development through her work with the Youth Advisory Board. After graduation she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in non-profit management and work with at-risk youth in the field of mental health.
Grace Yu, Member
Grace is a rising junior at Westwood High School. She loves working with children and has been a regular volunteer for her church’s AWANA and VBS programs. She takes advantage of most of her long breaks to travel and photograph, because different cultures and perspectives inspire her. Having traveled to more than twenty different countries, she had seen with her own eyes the stark contrast in roles women play all over the world. During her free time, she enjoys reading fiction, watching dramas, and swimming. After high school, Grace plans to study social entrepreneurship (business with a social impact) and work to address gender and ethnic stereotypes. With GEN, she hopes to help young women learn to love themselves and realize their full potential!
Maya Coplin, Member
Maya is currently a senior at McCallum High School and will soon be applying for college. She enjoys working on her school newspaper, The Shield, where she is the photo editor. She is also involved in the photography program at her high school. Besides photography, her hobbies include being outside, specifically at the lake or beach, listening to music and going to concerts with friends. Maya enjoys volunteering with her school’s National Honor Society and Key Club as well as with Gen Austin’s Club Gen program and summer camps. Maya, through the youth advisory board, is excited to be part of a strong community of diverse young women where she can help young girls build confidence and a positive self-image.
Noelle Rivera, Member
Noelle Rivera is a senior in the International Baccalaureate Program at Westwood High School. Her life revolves around her family and friends and she is committed to making a better future for them, especially for the young girls in her life. Noelle plays the alto saxophone in her school’s marching band and is the secretary for the Spanish Honor Society. Her hobbies include playing the guitar, volunteering, and watching notoriously bad movies with her friends. Noelle believes that women are absolutely perfect the way they are and should never feel that they are limited by their gender. She is excited to work with other women to help create a better future for women. As comedienne Sarah Silverman once said, “The worst thing that can happen to people who don’t want women to be strong is that we help each other and become a force.”
Kathleen Hu, Member
Kathleen Hu is a senior at McNeil High School. She is an active member of the DECA business club and seeks to raise the awareness of inequality in the workplace. Besides participating in DECA, Kathleen manages the website for the McNeil Mu Alpha Theta club and is the vice president of the French National Honor Society. Using her experiences, she hopes to help girls and learn from others. Outside of school, her hobbies are drawing, trying new activities with her friends, and playing the piano or the ukelele.
June Alvarado, Member
June is a senior at Austin High School. She is the Online Editor-in-Chief for The Maroon newspaper and also the Social Media Manager, Public Relations Coordinator, and Volunteering Coordinator for the Austin High Latino Partnership — two of the organizations she cares about the most. June is a very academically inclined student and tries to be involved as much as possible within her school.
She also cares a lot about social issues, particularly concerning those of race and sexism. She is a proud feminist and aspires to someday become a successful journalist and be able to write about social justice for a well-known newspapers and magazines, such as TIME Magazine and The New York Times.
When she is not at school or working, June likes to read and write for fun. Currently, she is working on a news package/documentary series concerning undocumented students and their road to college as an overarching project throughout the entire 2015-2016 school year for The Maroon.
For fun, June is an avid movie-goer and practically lives at the movie theater. Also, despite her name being June, she was not born in June. She was born in May.
Finally, June hopes to be able to inspire the younger generation of girls to be more confident and follow their dreams.
Rose Miller, Member
Rose is a senior at Hendrickson High School, where she has participated in numerous extracurricular activities including marching band, martial arts, and National Honor Society. She is also the co-founder and president of her school’s chapter of GirlAdvocates!, a girl empowerment organization inspired by the work of Lauren Caton at UT Austin. An avid learner and bibliophile, she wants to go into the feild of Linguistics and aspires to be a polyglot. Rose is passionate about empowering herself and those around her to be everything they can be, without allowing stereotypes and the expectations of others to get in the way. She is proud to be a part of YAB and Girls Empowerment Network, so that she may do what she can to help the lives of girls everywhere.
Hannah Steffan, Member
Hannah is a junior at St. Edward’s University where she is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. Hannah first became involved with Girls Empowerment Network as a High School clubGEN Leader when she was a junior at McCallum High School and continued as a club leader through her senior year. Throughout college she has maintained involvement with Girls Empowerment Network by volunteering at clubGEN, the We Are Girls Conference, and helping out in the office. Her involvement with Girls Empowerment Network, combined with her own personal struggles as an adolescent, resulted in her becoming passionate about issues regarding girls and women, especially body image, eating disorders, and how the media plays a role in those issues. Hannah does her best to make her voice heard on these issues by using social media to empower other women. Other than female empowerment, Hannah is a lover of cats, sunflowers, and 1950s culture. She also loves children and enjoys her jobs as a nanny, babysitter, and Nursery Coordinator at a local church. She is excited about being a member of the Youth Advisory Board and working alongside other strong young women who are passionate about improving the lives of girls and women.
Madeline Cuba, Member
Madeline Cuba is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin studying Neuroscience with the pursuit of one day attending medical school in Texas and becoming a psychiatrist. When she’s not reading (often Harry Potter) or developing her photography skills, she can be found rocking out at a favorite band’s concert. Characters like Hermione Granger, a strong girl, inspired Madeline through her own trying experiences growing up and cultivated her ever-growing passion for girl’s empowerment. The tedium of working in labs and studying in biology is compensated by giving back to the community through programs like Pathfinder, which she was honored to help facilitate. After working with such phenomenal women, she is eager to continue doing her part to support all girls and instill confidence in the female community. The versatility of women makes for unique, beautiful individuals and Madeline can’t wait to help more girls discover just how much they have to offer!