Council of Governors

Each year, JSA members elect from among their peers a governor from each JSA state. That individual is responsible for planning conventions for their region, budgeting, appointed a cabinet of JSA delegates and developing strategic goals for the organization. A member of the Council of Governors also sits on the JSA Foundation board of directors.

Avinash Naidu

Pacific Northwest Governor, Chair

Avinash Naidu is a rising senior at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington and is the Pacific Northwest Governor for the 2019-2020 school year. Avinash Naidu is also serving as the Chair of the Council of Governors for the 2019-2020 school year. Avinash joined JSA in his sophomore year and his first convention was Winter Congress 2018. Avinash got very involved with campaigns and attended many chapter conventions as a sophomore. As a junior, Avinash served as Interlake’s Chapter Director of Publicity and the Pacific Northwest Assistant Director of Expansion. Avinash has also held a role as the head Democratic whip for Winter Congress 2019. This year Avinash hopes to revitalize expansion in the rural parts of the Pacific Northwest, specifically in Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon. Additionally, Avinash hopes to increase communal activism, strengthen the connection between chapters, and utilize numerous forms of publicity for JSA throughout the nation.

While Avinash did not join JSA at the start of his High School career, he quickly fell in love with the club and used it to fuel his passion for politics and activism. Avinash has always enjoyed politics, but it was JSA that gave him an avenue to express his beliefs and strengthen his opinions. Many of the people that Avinash has met due to JSA have forever changed his life and motivated him to do more as a member of society.

Outside of JSA, Avinash plays football as well as track and field and greatly enjoys both these sports. Avinash is the co-President and founder of his schools American Civil Liberties Union chapter and a member of his schools DECA chapter. This past year in the midterm elections Avinash volunteered and worked for several campaigns. Avinash also loves good music, spending time with friends, and good food.

Brian Carlos

Southeast Governor

Brian Carlos got his start in politics by becoming passionate about the issues addressed in his middle school civics class, and fell in love with the art of debate with JSA during his freshman year. In addition to serving as the Southeast Governor, Brian is the president of MAST Academy’s JSA chapter and has served as Director of Summer School and Lieutenant Governor. Outside JSA, he has shown his leadership merits through work on congressional and presidential campaigns as well as through Model UN, of which he is also the president of his school’s chapter. He credits much of the person he is today to JSA and the experiences affiliated to it, including Summer School at both Princeton and Georgetown and the 2018 Montezuma Leadership Summit. Brian is grateful to have the opportunity to make such a large impact with an organization that fights political apathy and help people find their own voice.

Tori Cord

Arizona Governor

Tori Cord is a rising senior at New School for the Arts and Academics in Tempe, Arizona and is the Arizona Governor for the 2019-2020 school year. Tori joined JSA in 2014 as a shy but ambitious 12 year old who found a hidden love for participating in debate. She spent two years in middle school becoming involved in her school's JSA chapter, and in her freshman year she joined Arizona Cabinet as an Expansion Agent. Tori became her school's Chapter President and was appointed Expansion Director in her sophomore year, and in her Junior year worked as the Fundraising Director and served again as Chapter President. She is an alumni of both JSA Summer School's at Princeton and Georgetown, to which she attributes her drive for politics. Tori's main focus for this year is to bring numerous new chapters and students to JSA.

Outside of JSA, Tori is a member of her school's dance company where she choreographs and performs for her community. Tori is also an active member in her synagogue, volunteering and teaching in the religious school. She also has played piano for 9 years and passionately believes Arizona has the best carne asada burritos.

Kavya Desikan

Northeast Governor

Kavya Desikan is a rising senior at Westford Academy in Westford, Massachusetts and is currently serving as the 2019-2020 Northeast State Governor. After joining her school's JSA chapter her freshman year, Kavya was taken under the wing of many of her chapter's upperclassmen who were serving on cabinet that year. Under the guidance of her fellow chapter members, Kavya became an ambitious JSAer, always excited to speak during any debate, be it as a main speaker or as a subsequent speaker. The summer after her freshman year, Kavya attended JSA Summer Programs at Georgetown University, studying Media and Politics, where she had the opportunity to learn more than just what is available at her own school. Energized, Kavya returned to JSA her sophomore year with new and excited energy. She later applied that year to become an NES Director of Debate on a whim, luckily getting the position and getting her first taste of leadership within the NES. After her sophomore year, Kavya returned to JSA Georgetown, this time studying International Relations in a class which opened her eyes to the subject that she hopes to pursue in college. In her junior year, Kavya was appointed Convention Coordinator, where she got to help out almost every department in the Northeast State cabinet, doing everything from helping to fundraise, to writing debates, to helping internal affairs reach out to chapter presidents. Now as governor, Kavya hopes to revitalize the NES with the rest of her elected officials and cabinet so that the NES can grow and strengthen.

The Junior State of America helped Kavya grow into herself after moving across the country towards the end of middle school, and enabled her to find her passions in debate, fall in love with what she hopes to be her major in college, and find friends who will last a lifetime. She has dedicated herself to the message of JSA, hoping to help promote democracy and activism in everything NES JSA does. Kavya believes that with JSA, the next generation can be a better educated and well-articulated group that will be able to secure democracy for many years to come.

When Kavya isn't collecting gavels at debates or running around the hotel at conventions, she can be found writing for her high school's publication The Ghostwriter as their Print Managing Editor, studying for class, or chatting with friends and family. Kavya's hobbies include reading copious editorials online, listening to R&B and rap music, and binge-watching VEEP and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Kavya is beyond excited to represent the Northeast on this year's Council of Governors and can't wait to start working with such an amazing group of governors!

Lucy Ding

Texas Governor

Lucy Ding is a senior at Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas and is the Texas Governor for the 2019-2020 school year. She joined JSA her freshman year and has attended every convention since. Last year, she served on Cabinet as the Director of Expansion of Texas JSA, as well as Chapter President at Bellaire High School. She used both of those positions to get the word out about JSA, grow the organization, and get more people to our amazing conventions. The year before, she worked on Cabinet as an Expansion Agent. Lucy also attended JSA Summer School at Princeton in the summer of 2019.

Lucy joined JSA for the debates, but stayed for the people. She believes that JSA provides a space to high school students that allows them to voice their thoughts and opinions, as well as develop leadership and critical thinking skills. Thus, her main focus this year as governor is connecting with the members of her state and bringing more people to JSA. Outside of JSA, Lucy spends her time teaching several karate classes, involving herself in local politics and voter registration, and drinking copious amounts of tea. She also works with her local UNICEF chapter and attends mixed media art classes.

Olivia Fox

Mid-Atlantic Governor

Olivia is a senior at Secaucus High School in Secaucus, New Jersey and is beyond ecstatic about the year ahead. After a challenging campaign season, she is thrilled to be serving as the 2019-2020 Mid-Atlantic State Governor. She previously served as the Mid-Atlantic State Lieutenant Governor, New Jersey Region Chief of Staff, and as a Chapter Internal Affairs Agent. With all of her experience and passion, Olivia is ready to take on the Mid-Atlantic and National JSA. In school, Olivia is serving as the Student Body Co-President and the President of her school’s volunteer group. She loves theater, having performed in her school musical for the last 5 years. Outside of school, Olivia spends time with friends and family, enjoying every moment of it. With high school soon coming to a close, she is excited to see what this last year holds. Olivia has invested herself in the Junior State of America and is honored to be working with such an incredible group of Governors. Her love for the organization has given her phenomenal friends, invaluable knowledge, and experiences that will last a lifetime. Olivia is thankful to all of those that helped her get to this point and is ready to make the most of what has been given to her!

Nicki Watt

Northern California Governor

Nicki Watt is a senior at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California. She first got involved in JSA by attending New Leaders in her sophomore year, where she discovered the amazing opportunities JSA offered her and decided to get involved. She has been lucky to serve as a GCR Senator, Lt. Governor's Chief of Staff, and Lt. Governor before becoming governor. She became interested in politics in middle school but did not know many other people who shared her passion until she joined JSA. Throughout her high school years, Nicki worked to grow her chapter and strengthen NorCal. She is proud of how the state has blossomed in the past years. While Nicki loves leading departments and debating, the thing she loves most about JSA is watching others find joy and passion for politics through chapter meetings, one-days, and conventions. To her, nothing is more important than making sure young people feel engaged and involved, and JSA is a perfect avenue for that.
Outside of JSA, Nicki is extremely active in her local community. She has been volunteering with many organizations in her hometown for years and finds happiness in bringing joy to others whenever she can. She is also a dedicated member of her school's theatre department, participating in over eight mainstage shows since her freshman year and taking years of training.
Nicki is so honored to serve as NorCal's governor, and hopes she will be able to constantly and effectively lead her state into a great year!

Litsa Kapsalis

Midwest Governor

Litsa (LEE-tsa) Kapsalis joined JSA in the beginning of her freshman year with a desire to address the issues facing society and to elevate her speaking skills. JSA did that for her and so much more by introducing her to a diverse community of welcoming individuals who all shared the same enthusiasm. In her sophomore year, Litsa was the Chapter President of Lake Forest High School JSA, part of Midwest Cabinet, working as a Debate Agent, and an FEC Agent. She was also the Midwest Bill Director for 2018 MidSoHio Winter Congress. Junior year, Litsa served another term as Chapter President, as part of National Cabinet as National Director of Debate, and on Midwest-ORV Winter Congress Cabinet as Convention Bill Director.

This year, Litsa is looking forward to bringing the Midwest closer together. She aims to improve connections between chapters and Cabinet, to provide the framework for chapters to become more involved and recognized within their communities, and to elevate debate engagement through delegate involvement in choosing resolutions.

Outside of JSA, Litsa participates in the Illinois Congressional Debate Association, Model United Nations, Math Team, and French Club. When she’s not practicing her Greek and French, she can be found managing a not-profit (, playing piano, volunteering, running, and biking.

Melinda Xia

Ohio River Valley Governor

Melinda first joined JSA my freshman year when attending her first meeting, and her first few conventions. Perhaps the most memorable memory she has from her first convention, Fall State, was when she made her debut on the JSApp and posted a tasteful meme that was enjoyed by many. In the following year, she had the pleasure of serving as a Director of Communications and Director of Expansion in the ORV, as well as Director of Summer School for Winter Congress Cabinet. This past year she had the honor of working with Chapter Presidents across her state when she served as NCD Mayor of the ORV. Although it may sound like she’s listing several “positions”, she truly remember each of these experiences as times in which she learned much from those she worked with. Her absolute favorite aspect of this multi-faceted organization - that she’s proud to call home - is that one is able to learn from each encounter they have with the delegates within it. The moments we share with at each meeting, convention, and summer gathering are ones she cherish deeply. She is grateful to have met so many delegates, leaders, and friends through JSA. she is grateful to represent the Ohio River Valley as our 2019-20 Governor, and am excited to see all that we accomplish this upcoming year within her state and within the Council of Governors!

Judy Zhang

Southern California Governor

Judy Zhang is a rising senior at Palisades Charter High School and will be serving as the 2019-2020 Southern California Governor. She also has the privilege to serve as the Board Representative to the Junior State of America Foundation. Initially, Judy fell in love with JSA after attending Fall State as a freshman, where she discovered the passion, level of civic engagement, and care that other high schoolers had for the world around them. It was the kindness she experienced from others coupled with the friends she made that has furthered her own care for this organization throughout the years.

Within her time in JSA, Judy has attended numerous JSA Summer Programs, her favorite being Georgetown where she studied Constitutional Law. She has previously been Chapter President and served on state cabinet as a Deputy Director of Debate her freshman year, Director of Moderators her sophomore year, and Director of Debate her junior year. This coming year in SoCal, Judy hopes to strengthen individual chapters, establish stronger regions, and diversify statewide convention activities to include more leadership opportunities for regular JSAers. Aside from JSA, Judy participates in Mock Trial, Moot Court, Journalism, and works at her local law firm. She loves any type of music, whether it be 80’s, R&B, or weird alternative/indie rock, and unabashedly binge-watches political TV dramas.