Rachel Kaganoff Stern
She is the former Co-Chair of the Women’s Political Committee, a Los Angeles-based political action committee that raises money for Democratic women candidates for office. She was a long-time member of the Board of Planned Parenthood’s Advocacy Project, as well as on the board of the Planned Parenthood Volunteer Guild.
Rachel spent 15 years as an Associate Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. She worked across a number of research areas including health care, civil justice, and national security policy. Her primary responsibilities were to design and implement case studies. Her final project at RAND was a two-year study evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the programs used to compensate losses resulting from the September 11 Terrorist Attacks (*Compensation for Losses from the 9/11 Attacks, *RAND 2004). Prior to working at RAND Rachel spent two years working as a researcher at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D.C. Rachel graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University and has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.
She is married to Eric. H. Stern (Berkeley ’87) and the mother of Henri and Jonah Stern (19 & 17). Rachel was a member of JSA from 1978 to 1982, serving on State Cabinet in a number of positions, and as Chapter President at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. She attended Summer School at U.C. Davis in 1980, and attended the first Washington D.C. Summer School in 1981. She worked as a Resident Advisor for the Junior State at UC Davis, Stanford and Georgetown, and in 2014 she served as Interim Program Director for the Southern California region.
Both of her children have been avid participants in the Junior State. Her eldest son Henri Stern, served as the Angeles Region Mayor and the Director of Debate for Southern California Junior State. Henri attended JSA Summer School at Princeton, Stanford, Georgetown, and JSA’s Diplomat Program in Beijing, China. Henri is now a sophomore at Stanford University. Jonah Stern is very active in JSA as well, and has spent the last three years serving on the Southern California JSA Cabinet. He is Co-President of the Buckley School JSA Chapter.
Gabriel is an alumnus (Class of 99’) of the Claremont JSA chapter from Claremont California and re-engaged with the Junior State in 2012 as a volunteer teaching debate workshops at the Northern California Fall State. Shortly before being asked to join the board in 2015 he lead a group of JSA students in the design, building, and launch of JSA’s first ever mobile application for conferences. He is passionate about fostering a spirit of activism and volunteerism within the community.
Gabriel currently lives in Orange County with his wife and three children.
Shayna Mittler Van Hoften
Shayna credits JSA with providing the foundation upon which she has built her entire career advising public agencies and public officials, as well as private entities with government-related interests. Shayna enjoyed four active years in JSA including terms as Chapter President, Golden Gate Region Vice Mayor and Northern State Chief of Staff, as well as recognition as Northern State Statesperson of the Year in 1993. She attended and then worked at the JSA Summer Schools at Yale and Georgetown. Shayna earned her B.A. in Public Policy/Politics from Pomona College and then worked in political and policy communications in Washington D.C. before returning home to California to attend U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Boalt Hall School of Law, where she earned an M.P.P. and J.D.