Meet the 2020 Civics and Conservation Summit Youth Delegates


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Amyaa Edwards-Davis, Utqiagvik

Hey, my name is Amyaa Edwards- Davis. I am from Utqiagvik, Alaska and my goal is to help make a difference in the world. Growing up I have always been told the importance of not following others but leading others. I believe it my duty to use my voice to enlighten those who have no idea the detrimental effects they contribute to climate change.

Katharine Zaczkowski (Kate), Tok

Hi my name is Kate Zaczkowski. I am a senior at Mt. Edgecumbe high school and my hometown is Tok. Some of my interests include welding, painting,writing, protecting and defending the environment and so much more.

Max Pyles, Kodiak

My name is Max Pyles, I attend Kodiak High School. My mom is from the village of Ouzinkie and my dad is from Utah. I want to advocate for people I know in small villages around the Kodiak Archipelago that have to deal with climate change and a myriad of issues who may not think they have a voice. I play Tennis and I enjoy going on hikes and swimming or kayaking in my free time. 

Zoe Okleasik, Nome

My name is Zoe Okleasik. My inupiaq name is Maniq. I am a junior at Nome-Beltz High School. I enjoy spending time with my family and picking berries.

Jude Gray, Wasilla

Hello! My name is Jude, I am originally from Gilman Illinois, but now I live in Wasilla, Alaska and I go to Wasilla High School. I love watching TV, playing with my dogs, and making new friends. I can’t wait for this year’s (2020) ayea summit. I am a part of the youth court in Wasilla and I love debating, which is why I’m sad they don’t have a debate team for wasilla. I like doing physical activities, I love talking about politics, my pets, my family and friends, and I love Alaska.

Mary Obruk, Shishmaref

I love basketball. I love snow. I love it because we can have fun playing and driving through it. I am also in 8th grade. My favorite subject in school is bicultural.

Lizzie Tran, Unalaska

My name is Lizzie Tran and I am from the small fishing community of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I have lived in Dutch Harbor my entire life and I am currently a Junior at Unalaska City High School. In my free time I enjoy volunteering at my local community center, reading, and participating in activities such as Teen Council, AYEA, volleyball, and NYO.

Matthew (Van) Kapsner, Bethel

My name is Matthew Kapsner but no one calls me that so please call me Van. I’m from Bethel Alaska and a junior here at BRHS. I do a lot of extra curricular activities such as student gov., broadcasting and media tingz, and multiple sports. Those are just things I do to pass the time and it helps me keep in touch with friends. But I’m in this fight against climate change for the future generations and the hope they are able to experience the Yup’ik culture the way I did.

Kaylee Lopez, Dillingham

My name is Kaylee Lopez and I’m from Dillingham, Alaska. I’m currently a junior at Dillingham High School. I am involved with student government and I’m the High school executive council Pubic Relations officer. I’m also a student athlete – I play basketball and volleyball. I have a passion for the environment and wildlife, which is why after high school I’m planning on working with wildlife and the environment. I love the outdoors and the beautiful scenery of different places especially in Alaska. I like to always stay busy and am always wanting to lend a helping hand.

Shaina Atcherian, Chevak

My name is Shaina Atcherian and I live in Chevak, Alaska. I am passionate about recycling, climate issues, arts & crafts, and lots of other stuff. The reason I applied for this AYEA summit is because I wanted to gather more knowledge on environmental topics to bring home and take some action with it, making everyone proud that I’m working on bettering our community’s well-being.

Ella Mayo-Kiely, Anchorage

I am a 16 year old student at Steller Secondary in Anchorage. I enjoy spending time outside, particularly doing things like skiing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, and backpacking. Because of these things, I have personally felt the effects of climate change leading me to be even more passionate about environmental issues.

Sophie Morin, Homer

Sophie Morin is a senior at Homer High School from Homer, AK. She spends her summers in China Poot Bay and up in the mountains exploring, camping, and backpacking. She enjoys painting, dancing, and performing and is planning to attend college for a degree in International Relations in the fall, but in the meantime, she aims to do everything she can to protect what makes Alaska so special.

Jade Dominique Balansag, Wrangell 

My name is Jade Balansag. I am a 17-year-old Junior at Wrangell High School. I run cross-country, play volleyball and basketball, and love to advocate for what I am passionate about. I also participate in student government, pep band, choir, and other things around the school. I believe that everyone can utilize their abilities to do the most for what they believe in.

Cody David, Kongiganak

My name is Cody David. I am a junior at Ayagina’ar Elitnaurvik in Kongiganak. I have lived here all my life. I like to be out hunting, fishing, and gathering on the Tundra. My family has lived this way all my life and I am proud to be a part of that tradition. I will graduate in 2021 and plan to go to college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I have two brothers and three sisters.

Ethan Sundown, Bethel

Hello everyone! I’m Ethan Sundown from Bethel, Alaska! I am 17 and in my junior year of high school at Bethel Regional. I am Israeli on my moms side, and Native Alaskan on my dads. I’m super into swimming, rock climbing, flying, and scuba diving. From my 7th Grade year all the way up until now, I have been heavily involved with student leadership and student government. Currently, I’m serving as the student body president at Bethel Regional High School and am on the varsity swim team.

Tegan Retzer, Seward

My name is Tegan Retzer, and I am a junior at Seward High School. Growing up in the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park, I came to love observing and exploring all the natural beauty our town has to offer. I spend my summers as a KEFJ park ranger, and I am a busy student during the school year. I take pride in my involvement with our local food pantry, library, and environmental group.

Dylan Chapell, Haines

I am Dylan Chapell, a senior at Haines High School. I organized the Haines Climate Strike and served as the representative of Southeast Alaska to the AASG Executive Board. I have lived in Alaska my whole life, and want to be sure to protect its natural beauty for generations to come.

Twila Strom, Fort Yukon

My name is Twila Strom I am a Gwich’in Native and the experience I have with the animals. Last year I went hunting. We saw a big tick on the side of the cow and I’ve never seen one that big. Some of the fish were dead floating down the river.

Lawton Skaling, Anchorage

My name is Lawton Skaling. I am a junior at Dimond High School, and was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. While taking an AP Environmental Science course as a sophomore, I realized the danger of our inaction against climate change, so began getting involved in clubs like National Ocean Sciences Bowl, along with adapting personal habits to mitigate my climate impact. After going to a climate strike in September, I decided to join AYEA, where I have the opportunity to organize rallies and gain a greater voice on the political stage, which I hope to further by attending this summit.

Olivia Davis, Soldotna

I love music and theatre (watching musicals and being in them). My favorite subject is history because I like to learn about the human experience and how far we have come. I also advocate for the reduction of plastics and packaging in my personal and school life. 

Kaihinjik Alexander, Fairbanks

Shoozhri’ Kaihinjik Alexander oozhii. Gwichyaa Zhee gwatsan ihłii gaa Tanan Gwich’ii. Shiiyeeghan naii goovoozhrii Edward ts’a’ Alisa Alexander, shahan Kona Morris oozhii. Shijuu tik shi’ii, goovoozhrii Ch’eelil, Shreevya, Vatsaiivee oozhii. Lathrop Geechooahtan Zhee gwizhit googwal’ee, senior ihłii.

Kaila Druck, Fort Yukon

I am Gwich’in/Dranjic Athabascan. I am 16 and I’m in 10th grade. I’ve lived in Fort Yukon my whole life and I’m observing what looks different. My hobbies are sewing, fishing, and traveling! I also enjoy basketball and volleyball.

Youth Trainers

James Vuong, Unalaska

I have been involved with AYEA in the past, I’ve been to two Youth Organizer Summits and two Civics Summits. I’ve also been involved with Unalaska’s AYEA chapter for the past three years and had a job as a Youth Litter Patrolman (I helped with recycling programs and pick up trash around town). I’m involved in Student Government, Teen Council, and foreign language club.

Peter Olanna, Brevig Mission

My name is Peter Olanna. I am from a small village, Brevig Mission population about little over 500. I am 17 years old and a junior in High School. My hobbies are playing Basketball, Volleyball, Skiing, Walking, Going to the gym and going out camping in the summer. Also I like to pick berries.

Eve Downing, Soldotna

I’m from Soldotna Alaska, and I’m in my senior year of high school. I participate in cross-country running, and skiing so I spend a large part of my time outdoors which has shown me the beauty of Alaska, and how much we need to preserve it. I am so excited to be around like-minded teens who cared about the environment. I look forward to meeting everyone at the summit!

Chiara Demientieff,  Bethel and Holy Cross

I am from Bethel and Holy Cross, Alaska. I’m a fish camp girl and village kid. I participate in many different sports, and I’m very involved in what goes on at my school. My family is so big that we have our own newsletter. I’ve been going to the Galena Interior Learning Academy for over three years now, and I hope to graduate there.

Cassidy Austin-Merlino, McCarthy

My name is Cassidy Austin~Merlino and I am a 17 year old from McCarthy, Alaska. I am passionate about exploring my watershed through whitewater rafting, backpacking, ice climbing, and much more, while creating art and music along the way! In recent years I have been working very closely with the Climate Strike Movement, doing work against the proposed Pebble Mine, and helping uplift the many diverse voices in my community. As a youth advocate for environmental justice and human rights, I feel an immense connection to the unique ecosystems around me, and hope to inspire others to speak up for what they believe in too!