Aariya Gopal (she/her) is a 12th grader at Verona Area High School. She has been a part of the Verona Area School District for her entire K-12 education and is proud to represent it, along with other Dane County youth, during her participation in the Youth Governance Program.
Aariya will be serving on the Dane County Food Council this coming year.
Some activities that have inspired Aariya to apply for this program and participate in the policy-making process are Model United Nations, Debate, and Forensics. She’s seen a simulation of how a county board works through the American Legion Auxiliary’s Badger Girls State Program. Additionally, the volunteer organizations she’s a part of – Medicine Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere (MEDLIFE), Red Cross, and NextGen America – has taught her the importance of solving root causes of issues and how anyone can positively impact a community at home or abroad. When she’s not busy with school and activities, she relaxes by hanging out with loved ones, meeting new people, playing or listening to music of many types, watching TV shows, and biking around my neighborhood.
Aariya is thrilled to join the Youth Governance Program because she will understand local issues better, positively impact my community, gain real-world experience working in government, and learn from her mentors and peers.
Arya will serve on the UW Extension Committee. She is in her Junior year of High School at Middleton High. In the past, Arya has been a volunteer for the Middleton Youth Center, helping middle schoolers with day-to-day activities in the summer and has volunteered for the Middleton Public Library as well.
Currently, she is the founder and president of a club called the Student Muslim Group, dedicated to increasing our school’s awareness regarding the needs of the Muslim community to ensure their educational success. Arya is also an equity senator of MHS’s Student Senate, and has recently started her internship for the office of Representative Baldeh of the 48th Assembly District.
Some of Arya’s personal interests include hanging out with her friends, traveling, snow skiing and reading. If given any opportunity to learn more about anything pertaining to law or neuro-science, she is very much expanding her interest in those areas as well!
Christine Negovani is a youth representative on the Public Works and Transportation Committee. She is a senior in high school and is on track to earn her Associate’s Degree in Science, Math, and Technology by the time she graduates as part of her dual-enrollment at Madison College.
Among other things, Christine has served two years as part of the UW-Madison Extension committee By Youth For Youth, has helped to plan the 2022 Dane County High School Climate Action Conference, and is a member of the Dane County Youth Environmental Committee. She is passionate about climate activism and sustainability, and she currently plans to double major in Environmental Science and English. In her extra time, she loves to write and enjoys journaling, reading, singing, being outside, and listening to music.
Though she doesn’t get to go as often as she’d like, she treasures visits to her family in Albania, and hopes to go more often in the future.
Connor Lee Chavez Vance
Connor will be serving as the YGP Representative on the Personnel & Finance Committee. He is a Senior at Madison West High School.
Some of Connor’s experiences include being the owner of a sneaker resale business, an active member in West High School Investment Club, and a former business intern at NeuGen, LLC.
In his free time, Connor enjoys working at his part-time job, managing his fantasy football team, and all things Milwaukee Bucks!
Dima Llanos is a senior at Middleton High School. Dima will be a Youth Representative on the Library Board for the 2023-2024 term.
Dima has a passion for community outreach & bureaucracy, which has led her to take on lots of roles that help her express these passions. She’s been part of her high school’s UN Girl Up Club for two years, and has been elected to the student government organization at her school since sophomore year. Along with that, she is a head delegate at her high school’s Model United Nations delegation, where she’s traveled around the country to compete with her teammates.
Outside of school, Dima plays soccer year round for a club team and her high school team. She also loves traveling, collecting vinyl, & going to concerts.
Hannah is part of the Dane County Food Council and is a Junior at Middleton High School.
Hannah is the leader of SAGE and Mock Trial. She also participates in Math Team and Philomusica, works part time at Willy Street Coop and swims for the Middleton High School Girls Team.
In her free time Hannah enjoys reading and listening to Mitski. She also loves hanging out with friends when she has time!
Josh is a senior at Middleton High School and is serving a second term on YGP. This time, as a Youth Representative on the Environmental, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Committee.
Some of Josh’s experience include being a part of the Dane County Board Personnel and Finance Committee, United Nations Ocean Decade YAC, Ballotpedia Researcher, Youth Climate Action Team Policy Committee, Youth in Policy Fellow, and Citizens for Civic Education.
Josh’s personal hobbies include skiing, hiking, and reading.
Kate will serve on the UW-Extension Committee. She is a Senior at Middleton High School
Kate runs an internationally recognized mental health campaign, is part of the board for NCAT (a local tutoring Nonprofit), and also is involved in her school community through things like Student Council, NHS, and our MHS Ambassador Program.
Kate is super passionate about environmental sustainability, so she spends a lot of time volunteering with organizations that support that initiative. In her other free time she likes to run, cook, and make ceramics!
Olivia is a Junior at Edgewood High School. She will be serving as a Youth Representative on the Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee.
Her interests include participating in speech and debate, playing the piano, and crafting collages and pottery. Additionally, she dedicates her time to volunteer work, continually seeking ways to improve her community. Notably, Olivia served as a BYFY member during the 2022-2023 school year and later as an intern, co-editing the Dane County Youth Assessment Survey over the summer.
Pragnya Vella is a Junior at Sun Prairie West High School. She is very excited to serve as a youth representative on the Health and Human Needs Committee!
Pragnya is a passionate advocate for human and immigration rights, fighting to establish legislation for underrepresented immigrant groups. She is dedicated to advocating for the well-being of our community’s members and ensuring their voices are heard in matters of public policy and social welfare. In addition to her position on the committee, she also serves as the Vice Chair of the Sun Prairie Youth and Family Commission and is one of two representatives on the City of Sun Prairie’s Business Improvement District Board. At her high school, she is the founder and President of a social justice club called Envision. She is also a part of FBLA, Mock Trial, Forensics, Student Council, DECA, Leaders of the Pack, HOSA, and the varsity tennis team. She hopes to make a meaningful impact in the community and effectively represent the interests of youth.
Simon is currently a Junior at Stoughton High School. He will be serving on the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee.
In school, Simon is a part of the Student Council, where he serves as his school district’s student representative to the school board. Additionally, Simon is the associate editor-in-chief for Stoughton High School’s award-winning student-run newspaper.
Outside of school, Simon enjoys spending time with friends and being active outdoors.
Sofia is a Senior in High School at Waunakee with a large passion for government and politics. With leading her mock trial team and attending various citizenship workshops, Sofia is eager to further her knowledge this year on the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee.
Sofia is a returning YGP Representative. In the previous term, she served on the Health and Human Needs committee as well as participating in the YGP group project. With that group project, she gained a larger understanding of what it means to be a child facing homelessness and the struggles to break the school to prison pipeline. Throughout the experience she became even more enamored with the process of making change and hoped to continue that into her professional life outside of YGP.
In her personal life, Sofia enjoys a variety of outdoor activities ranging from kayaking and paddle boarding to running with her track and cross country team during the fall and spring months. Overall her goal with YGP is to meet more of her peers interested in the world of government and start to use my voice in the local government sphere.
Steve Hoang, a sophomore at McFarland High School, has been appointed to the Park Commission Committee where he will be mentored by Supervisor Ripp. Steve’s deep interests lie in history, government, and international organizations. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is an active volunteer at the Madison Children’s Museum, McFarland Youth Hockey, and Second Harvest Food Bank. Outside of his volunteer work, Steve is a skilled hockey player in the goalie position, a soccer player (midfielder), and an accomplished young pianist.
Sydney is a Senior at Vel Phillips Memorial High School. She will be on the Dane County Library board Committee.
During her free time, Sydney enjoys dancing, baking, reading, and wandering around Dane County with her friends. She is a member of her school’s Varsity dance team and also involved in volunteer, math and business clubs.
Vidhi is a Senior at Middleton High School. Vidhi will serve as a YGP Representative on the Health and Human Needs Committee.
Vidhi works at UW Credit Union as an intern teller. She has also hosted marketing events at the High School for UW Credit Union. Vidhi is the Vice President of Social Media for Middleton DECA, and an officer for Middleton Investment Club. She has mentored students who are interested in finance and banking. Vidhi has been part of the American Legion Auxiliary Badger Girls State as a City Clerk.
Besides all of this, Vidhi loves reading about historic events and a lot of finance books. She also loves cooking and traveling!
Xavier Davis serves on the Public Works and Transportation committee and he is a Senior at McFarland High school.
Xavier attended Badger Boys State in the summer of 2023, as well as the Rotary Ethics symposium in the spring. He was also a member of Model United Nations, and volunteers at Habitat for Humanity.
Xavier is a Drum Major of his High School. He is in the school jazz bands as well as a student band through the Madison Music Foundry called the Blue Dyes.