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Youth Advisory Council

The Keep America Beautiful® National Youth Advisory Council provides a unique opportunity for high school students from diverse backgrounds across the nation to participate in a service-learning and leadership development program.

Youth Advisory Council

The Keep America Beautiful® National Youth Advisory Council provides a unique opportunity for high school students from diverse backgrounds across the nation to participate in a service-learning and leadership development program. Keep America Beautiful selects  students to contribute to and inform Keep America Beautiful on programs, while acting as ambassadors and leaders for youth service in their communities.

2019-2020 Youth Advisory Council

Nathan Lissy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Nathan, a junior at East Chapel Hill High School, is serving his second term on the YAC. He is impassioned about spreading awareness for and reducing air pollution to make local communities more livable. He was a founding member of his middle school environmental club, which worked to increase awareness for air pollution caused by idling cars. His program received award recognition from the Chapel Hill and Clean Air Carolina. In his free time, Nathan volunteers for the ReCYCLEry, a nonprofit organization that provides community members with affordable and environmentally friendly transportation (bikes). Nathan is also a licensed Private Pilot and wants to work with fellow pilots to find ways to make the aviation industry more sustainable. Aside from environmental work, he serves as an officer on his church youth council and plays high school baseball.

Ayusha Gautam, Stamford, Connecticut: Ayusha is a senior from the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering. She dedicates her time and effort to contributing to the community and challenging herself at school. After having seen the suffering and extinctions caused by climate change, she promotes sustainable living and an overall positive attitude toward helping improve the environment. As the President of Interact Club, which stands for International Impact, the VP for Science Honors Society, and the Youth Group Leader at her volunteer organization, she is focused on creating positive impact.

Ashley Lin, Vancouver, Washington: Ashley, a student at Union High School, is on a mission to reimagine education through cross-cultural collaboration and edtech. She believes that sustainable solutions to today’s critical issues, such as climate change and food insecurity, will only be reached through circulating environmental awareness within her community. After serving as a U.S. Youth Ambassador to Uruguay, Ashley founded Project Exchange (myprojectexchange.com), a youth-led, 501c3 nonprofit increasing cross-cultural digital learning
experiences for middle and high school students around the globe. Currently, Project Exchange is working on a Virtual Field Trip series to spread the importance of ecological and community restoration for environmental justice!

Megan McFadden, Naperville, Illinois: Meg, a senior at Naperville Central High School, is president and founder of Girl Up Naperville, on the executive board of her school’s Rotary Interact Club, French Club, and Illinois Global Scholar Club. In addition, she volunteers with various other organizations. Megan looks forward to making the Earth a more beautiful and protected home for everyone by being on the Keep America Beautiful National Youth Advisory Council.

Cooper Carrico, Mendenhall, Mississippi: Cooper is a student at Simpson County Academy where he is Junior Class President, a member of the Student Council, Honor Society, and the ACT 25+ Club. Cooper is also a member of the school’s track and tennis teams. He is working to make his community litter free. He has coordinated workdays at a local park to remove debris and trash from the 15-acre park. He is also working with the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Magee to develop an Adopt-an-Area program where local organizations can adopt an area of town to keep it free of trash and to maintain any existing flower beds. His involvement in the Mayor’s Youth Council involves developing a program where council members will educate elementary students about the importance of litter prevention and keeping the town litter free.

Madison Bell, Somerville, Tennessee: Maddie, a senior, attends Fayette Academy where she is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Performing Arts, and the garden co-chair of the Ecology Club. Maddie is committed to serving her community by participating in numerous service projects with her school’s Ecology Club ranging from volunteering at the local food pantry to educating elementary students about recycling. Maddie also has a passion for working with children and adults with special needs and has volunteered at Camp Able, a summer camp for children with special needs every summer since her freshman year. She is delighted to work on a community garden with the help of YAC, and is excited to serve on the Council again this year.

Jordan Mallis, Stamford, Connecticut: Jordan is a junior from the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering High School in Stamford, Connecticut. Jordan is a varsity member of her high school girls swim team and has an internship at her local ocean education and awareness organization, called SoundGeneration at Sound Waters. She is also a mentor
and on the board of Live Girl, a Connecticut-based female empowerment group. Jordan has a great interest in preserving what is beautiful about the environment as well as recycling. She also loves learning about marine life and the ocean.

Alison Trezek, Lithia, Florida: Alison, a senior at Newsome High School, is the co-president of the Surfrider Foundation Lithia Chapter. She is passionate about the environment and frequently participates and organizes coastal cleanups on Florida’s west coast. She has interned with Keep Pinellas Beautiful and currently serves on the Keep Florida Beautiful Youth Advisory Council for the second year. Alison is dedicated to keeping our waters and coastlines free of trash as well as advocating against the use of single-use plastics. She is excited to join the national Youth Advisory Council for the opportunity to work with peers from across the nation, gaining knowledge and support through it.

Sam Burg, Fort Myers Beach, Florida: Sam, a senior at Fort Myers High, has a passion for the coastal marine environment she has grown up with. She has participated in over 400 hours of community service, showing her drive to help improve the Lee County area and beyond. Her love of free diving and paddle boarding exposed her, first hand, to the degradation in surrounding natural environments and inspired her to join environmental activism groups in her area. as well as initiating educational programs for elementary school children about littering and marine plastic pollution. She hopes to major in Environmental Policy to continue researching and improving the world around her.

Ben Solomon, Sarasota, Florida: Ben is a junior at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota, Florida. He is involved in the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Advisory Board as well as the Keep Florida Beautiful Youth Advisory Council, and is the Vice President of his school’s Go Green Club. Ben is a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout rank in his local troop. He’s also involved in many clubs at his school, such as Model United Nations and Technology Student Association. His hobbies include skateboarding, camping, gaming, and collecting sneakers. He is most interested in litter containment and prevention, and has participated in many cleanups. He’s also embarked on a project to make waste receptacles for a local nonprofit organization.

Shannon Dougherty, Cape Coral, Florida: Shannon, an avid kayaker, fostered a passion for the environment by interacting with Florida’s coastal waters. An outbreak of blue-green algae, however, made her acutely aware of the fragility of our environment and intensified her concerns for conservation. Shannon is Vice Chairman of Keep Lee County Beautiful’s Youth Advisory Council. As co-chairman of the Council’s Global Youth Service Day 2019, she helped coordinate a countywide multi-project event at Lover’s Key State Park, which involved over 90 volunteers. Shannon participates in Cape Coral’s Adopt-A-Road program, is a leader in her school’s recycling program, and is a member of her high school’s Global Studies Club. She is President of Cape Coral High School’s Executive Board of Student Government and serves on the City of Cape Coral’s Youth Council. In addition, Shannon is a seven-time Carson Scholar.

Kaeli Nguyen, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Kaeli, a junior, attends Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Oklahoma City. As a senator of her school’s chapter of National Honor Society, a member of the robotics team, President of Math Club, and former Secretary of the Environmental Club, Kaeli tries to involve herself with her school community as much as possible. Her passion for the environment stemmed from her older sister introducing her to a documentary on the ocean’s rising temperatures and its detrimental effects on the planet. Since then, she has been an advocate for raising awareness about the earth’s climate crisis. She is a member of OKC Beautiful and Friends of Martin Nature Park teen board, where students learn how to sustain and care for the environment. In her free time, Kaeli loves to read, play the piano, and hit golf balls with friends.

Jäeger Griswold, Central Lake, Michigan: Jäeger, a junior, is currently Vice President on Student Council, an active member of S.A.F.E. in Northern Michigan, Youth Advisory Leadership Council, the National Honors Society, and is a NRECA Youth Tour alumni. He is a recipient of the Youth Service of America’s Everyday Young Hero Award for his annual volunteer service project that sponsors the “Great Lakes Burn Camp,” raising funds to bring child burn victims help through attending fun and healing camps. Jäeger is committed to serving his community by volunteering for a variety of service projects dedicated to enriching the lives of his community members ranging from youth education on drug-free lifestyles and the importance of recycling, to participating in seasonal city cleanups. Surrounded by Northern Michigan’s beautiful waterways and woodlands inspires Jäeger to be enthusiastic about our natural environment and honored to participate with the Youth Advisory Council.

Alex Henson, Cape Coral, Florida: Growing up camping, boating, and fishing on the coastal waters of Southwest Florida, Alex’s outdoor experiences have motivated her to become an engaged conservation activist who strives to protect endangered seas and fragile eco-systems. Alex proudly serves as the 2019-2020 Chairwoman of Keep Florida Beautiful’s Youth Advisory Council, as the 2019-2020 Chairwoman of Keep Lee County Beautiful’s Youth Advisory Council, as a second-term member of the Keep America Beautiful Youth Advisory Council, and a 2019-2021 member of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council. She is also a five-time Carson Scholar, former Student Government President, previous 4-H Club Secretary, NFMHS Environmental Club President, and Rotary Youth Leadership Award recipient. Inspired and energized by participating in the last five Youth Ocean Conservation Summits at Mote Marine Laboratory, Alex founded her own public outreach program to help educate and captivate others. Alex’s grant winning program, “Project L.E.A.D.,” aims to mobilize a network of local youth to create positive environmental solutions. Today’s students are tomorrows heroes, and with essential conservation education, Alex enlightens future leaders, while broadening youth sustainability awareness.

Kiara Royer, New York, New York: Kiara, a senior, is excited to connect her interests in art and writing with her love for the outdoors to help preserve the environment. Having lived in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and New York City, she is passionate about keeping cities clean and encouraging urban spaces to remain as environmentally sustainable as possible. Kiara is a school
ambassador, a senior editor for ECO2, her school’s environmental issues magazine, and a founder of a service learning initiative that partners with environmental action groups in the Bronx to allow students the opportunity to actively volunteer in the local area.

Amos Zelasney, Columbus, Nebraska: Amos, a senior, is very involved in his school and local community. Amos volunteers for several causes including special needs individuals and the environment. He plans to continue his education at Wayne State and major in Botany because of his love for plants and fascination of how they start and grow. He believes our future is in desperate need of clean, green, and beautiful places; that’s why he is joining the Youth Advisory Council. He seeks to help make an impact and change.

Maximus Moquin, Ponte Vedra, Florida: Maximus is a junior at Ponte Vedra High School and the founding Co-President of the Beaches Go Green Club. He was recently admitted to The Island School in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas, which is a rigorous, environmentally-focused, international program that focuses on leadership, sustainability, and community. Maximus has always been passionate about marine biology and has maintained multiple saltwater aquariums as a hobby. He also enjoys fishing, travelling, spending time with friends, and playing lacrosse.