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.

Max Zhang

Midwest Governor, Chair


Max Zhang is a rising senior at Naperville North High School in Naperville, Illinois, and is the Midwest Governor for the 2018-2019 school year. Max joined Midwest Cabinet via the Midyear process in the freshman year. In sophomore year, Max worked as a Chapter Internal Affairs Agent for the Midwest, and as the SuperCabinet Deputy Director of Fundraising for MidSoHio Winter Congress. As a junior, Max served as Midwest Chief of Staff, his chapter’s Chapter President, and SuperCabinet Chief of Staff for Winter Congress. This year Max hopes to encourage a stronger push towards local political activism and involvement, improve chapter-level communication, and emphasize rural and urban expansion in the Midwest.

Max initially joined JSA after hearing about it during parent testimonials at a panel. Max fell in love with JSA at his very first Fall State in freshman year in the first convention block. Listening to a Thought Talk that proposed solutions to institutionalized racism, he found in JSA a group of articulate, awe-inspiring, and driven individuals committed to effecting real change in their communities. He would later come to find JSA as not only a vital entity in context with American politics but also as a legitimate community full of love, wisdom, kindness, and support.

Outside of JSA, Max works as a Community Pop Editor for Genius.com, does design work for his school literary magazine, and participates in a feminist discussion group. He loves Scandinavian pop music, slam poetry, and navy blue.

Mia Barkenaes


Mia first got involved with JSA as a freshman, nervously scouting the club fair and at the last minute decided to sign up for JSA. Little did I know, this organization would become my greatest passion, inspiring me to voice my opinions and become active in my community. In my time in JSA, Mia has served as a Chapter Internal Affairs Agent, PNW’s Director of Chapter Internal Affairs, and two-term Chapter President of the International School of Beaverton’s JSA chapter. In Winter 2018, she also had the pleasure of serving as a Winter Congress Democratic Whip.

Some of my goals for this year include increasing convention attendance, reinforcing Fight Apathy, and more efficiently publicizing PNW JSA on all platforms. Outside of JSA, I love hiking and playing badminton!

Dominic Beck

Texas Governor


Dominic joined JSA his freshman year. The amazing atmosphere at Fall and Spring State encouraged him to join cabinet the next year as Assistant Convention Coordinator in addition to running for Vice President of his own College Park chapter. This year, he was both the President of College Park and the Convention Coordinator in Texas Cabinet. His work in both those positions grew his love for JSA even more, and that’s why he decided to run for JSA Governor.

He is incredibly excited to start working to help make Texas and National JSA the best that it can be. His goals for this year include organizing a widespread voter registration drive, increasing contact with chapter presidents, and growing attendance at conventions. Working with the other elected officials to get this done is something that Dominic is looking forward to this year.

Outside of JSA, Dominic and his dad love watching movies together, especially science fiction. One of his favorite movies that he has seen recently is Looper. In addition, he likes to run, and he recently completed a half marathon in The Woodlands, Texas, where he lives. After high school, he wants to attend the Naval Academy.

Joshua Garay

Arizona


Joshua describes his JSA career has been an amazing ride. He was elected chapter secretary at Kofa High School at the end of my sophomore year. As secretary, he helped organize chapter events and his chapter while forming bonds with each and every one of his fellow chapter members. On the state level, he served as the Co-Fundraising Director, which allowed him to learn about JSA through a unique lens. His department worked closely with the state cabinet, local communities, and donors.

Joshua attended JSA Arizona Summer Institute, 2017 Montezuma Leadership Summit, and JSA Summer School at Georgetown University. JSA has been a huge part of my life. “When I joined, I not only found a place where I could discuss my interests in politics, but also a place where I could call home as I grew close to the diverse group of passionate high school students. JSA has taught me to be tolerant of differing views and how to listen to other perspectives to broaden my horizons. Outside of JSA, Joshua is an avid reader, chess enthusiast, and “The Office” fanatic. He also happens to love coffee.

Matthew Jenkins

Southeast


Matthew Jenkins is a rising senior in the IB Program at Land O’ Lakes High School in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. Matthew was first influenced to join JSA by the former Lieutenant Governor, Nana Kusi, after her incessant badgering for him to come and debate. Once he first joined, Matthew was awestruck by the political awareness and overall engagement of the statesmen, which he claims he was unaware of before joining JSA. Matthew’s first JSA convention was Fall State 2016, and his first debate was about Brexit at a one-day convention in his own high school. Matthew fell in love with JSA as soon as he joined, and knew it was something he wanted to further deepen his involvement in. Matthew first got more involved in JSA by becoming the Land O’ Lakes High School Chapter Agent for the 2017-2018 school year. From there, he attended the Montezuma Leadership Summit in Los Gatos, California during the summer of 2017. He was also an ambassador for Gell Inc., a company that aims to develop civic participation in American citizens, particularly the youth. From there, Matthew was appointed Chief of Staff of the Southeast State for the 2017-2018 school year, a role he says he absolutely loved. Two of Matthew’s main goals for the 2018-2019 school year are increasing involvement to the east coast of Florida, the panhandle, and the other 4 US states encompassed within the Southeast, as well as developing partnerships between the Southeast State and large corporations in order to increase the Southeast’s fundraising totals from the previous year’s $3,200. Matthew is currently a CoCP of the Land O’ Lakes High School Chapter, a role he intends on fulfilling with passion and dedication. Matthew maintains a very active life in leadership outside of JSA. He is the president of his school’s Spanish Honor Society chapter, a two-term secretary of his school’s HOSA chapter, and a member of his schools NHS, Relay for Life, and UNICEF chapters. On top of these duties, Matthew is a member of the Land O’ Lakes Varsity football team, track team, and baseball team. Outside of school and extracurriculars, one could easily find Matthew on the beach with his buddies, or out blowing through all his money on food. He loves rap music, girls, and his parents. Matthew prides himself on his humor and his empathy. One of Matthew’s proudest accomplishments was his development of a program to tutor local ESOL and special education students in his community.

Gene Kim

Ohio River Valley


Gene Kim joined JSA her sophomore year as a founding member of her chapter at Worthington Kilbourne High School. During a heated abortion debate at her first Fall State, she became so in awe of her passionate peers that she decided she wanted to be involved herself and hasn’t looked back since. She joined Cabinet as an Activism Specialist and has since served as Activism Director of the ORV and also the co-Activism Director for the 2018 MidSoHio Winter Congress. This year she hopes to increase inter-chapter communication and the involvement of statesmen in their communities beyond JSA. She also serves as the captain of her Science Olympiad team, Sergeant-at-Arms for her Student Council, and an active member of her youth group. She’s a collector of coins and currencies, a fan of trying random fruits, a Korean food enthusiast, a wanna-be poet, and the shortest of the governors.

Neha Nandiwada

Mid-Atlantic


Neha Nandiwada joined JSA in her freshman year, and, being accustomed to screaming matches in political discourse, was inspired by the respect and maturity shown by JSA delegates. Since then, Neha has grown more and more committed to the organization and the people who make it up, later becoming her chapter’s secretary, NJR CIA agent, and NJR Mayoral Chief of Staff. This year, Neha hopes to spread JSA’s message of respectful debate in this polarized political climate and create more bonds with JSA’s constituents in and beyond the Mid-Atlantic State. When she isn’t spamming her cabinet to fundraise, Neha loves to sing, research Russian history, experiment with makeup, and watch “Arrested Development.”

Oliver Soglin

Northern California


Oliver Soglin is a rising senior at Alameda High School in Alameda, California, and is the Northern California Governor for the 2018-2019 year. He has served in a variety of roles in the Northern California State, including Director of Expansion, East Bay Region Senator, and Fair Elections Committee Agent. He has also been involved on the chapter level as Alameda High School’s Chapter Vice President. Oliver also attended the JSA Summer School at Georgetown in 2017, taking Honors Constitutional Law.

Oliver first became involved in JSA after his sister introduced him to it in his freshman year of high school. After his first convention, Oliver was inspired by the intellect and passion of JSAers, and fell in love with the welcoming and exciting atmosphere of conventions. This year Oliver hopes to expand the Northern California State both numerically and geographically, and to improve the accessibility and approachability of Cabinet members and Elected Officials. He also aims to increase delegates’ involvements in their communities outside of JSA.

Outside of JSA, Oliver participates in Alameda High School’s drama program, plays soccer, and is passionate about local politics. He has participated in parcel tax campaigns, interned in the office of California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and is a student representative on a homework policy workgroup for the Alameda Unified School District.

Jenny Wang

Northeast


Jenny Wang is a rising senior at Cheshire High School and will be serving as the 2018-2019 Northeast Governor. Her JSA story began when she made the split-second decision to sign up for Winter Congress after hearing exemplary feedback from her friends about Fall State. Washington, D.C. seemed like a lucrative opportunity, and luckily she took advantage. Finding inspirational mentors in the upperclassmen present, Jenny realized the value in JSA and found the spark to continue.
As a sophomore, Jenny served as the Northeast State Director of Activism, coordinating a number of events in regards to homeless advocacy, self-expression, and constitutional rights education. For the past year, she has been serving as the Northeast State Convention Coordinator. This position has strengthened her leadership skills and enabled her to work more efficiently and effectively to make the Northeast State the best it can be. Additionally, she’s been exposed to the challenges that arise during JSA conventions and learned how to deal with them. She’s served as the Cheshire JSA Director of Expansion along with its Vice President. These positions have allowed her to get closer to and understand the needs of the members in her chapter.
Jenny hopes to improve Chapter Internal Affairs and encourage them to take on a more critical role. She also seeks to push expansion, especially in the NER region and increase overall attendance at each convention. Thirdly, she aims to establish effective streams of communication that allow the NES to move toward transparency and efficiency.
Outside of JSA, Jenny currently serves as her class treasurer, and plays volleyball and tennis for Cheshire High School. She loves traveling to new places and meeting people from many different backgrounds.

Katelin Zhou

Southern California


Katelin Zhou is a rising senior at Westlake High School and will be serving as the 2018-2019 Southern California Governor. In addition to serving on the National Council of Governors, Katelin will also be serving on the Board of Directors for the Junior State of America Foundation. Initially joining JSA as a freshman, she took up the responsibility of reviving her nearly-extinct chapter during her sophomore year. That same year, Katelin also applied for Cabinet and was selected to serve as a Deputy Director of Debate, where she learned more about the functions and inner workings of the Junior State on a deeper level. Attending Fall State in her sophomore year made her realize that JSA was a uniquely special club due to the value and social impact of the work of its student participants. This past year, she has been honored to serve as the Channel Islands Region Mayor in Southern California JSA, where she has been able to oversee a variety of regional-related affairs, from welcoming new chapters into JSA to planning various one day events.

This coming year, Katelin hopes to revitalize the expansion department, rebuild attendance numbers at state conventions, establish the brand recognition of JSA at a national level, and provide vital resources to aid chapters in their development. Outside of JSA, Katelin proudly supports pets of all kinds, plays cello, and is an avid fan of the show Friends.