Research Team

Amanuel Bahru

Amanuel Bahru

Research Assistant

Amanuel Bahru is originally from Ethiopia and currently resides in the state of North Dakota. He obtained his bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of North Dakota and a master's degree in public health from the same university. Some of his hobbies include soccer, tennis and art. Amanuel believes that the most important issues facing the US youth today include gun violence, alcohol and drug abuse.

Fatima Javed

Fatima Javed

Research Assistant

Fatima Javed is currently a senior at CUNY Hunter College in New York. She will graduate in May 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology. Fatima is on the pre-medical track and planning on applying to medical schools after taking a Gap year. Some of her interests are reading, going on long walks and spending time with friends and family. Fatima believes that a pressing issue that needs to be talked about regarding youth is mental health and student loans.

Jessica Dearing

Jessica Dearing

Research Assistant

Jessica is a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Statistics. She is passionate about mental health, research, and neuropsychology. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Jessica enjoys doing arts and crafts, trying new foods, and walking her dogs. She hopes to inspire her generation and generations after to continue making positive change in the world.

Kenzie Shelstad

Kenzie Shelstad

Research Assistant

Kenzie is an undergraduate at the University of Missouri pursuing an international studies bachelors degree. With her passion of sociology and criminal justice, Kenzie hopes to bring awareness to multiple social issues, such as human rights and poverty. In the future, Kenzie plans on pursuing a master degree in international development and continuing her social justice work through nonprofits. Her interests include reading, listening to podcasts, and traveling.

Sophia Peterson

Sophia Peterson

Research Assistant

Sophia Peterson joined USYF as a rising senior at Swarthmore College studying Political Sociology. Basically, she studies how the government impacts people in their day to day lives and how people engage with politics. She is particularly passionate about community engagement, labor and gender issues, and how these areas intersect. In her free time, she enjoys reading of all sorts, admiring art, and imagining the future.

Emily Eames

Emily Eames

Research Assistant

Emily Eames graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Mary Washington. She is currently studying for her master’s in economics at George Mason University. Emily has been working with kids and young adults for over a decade as a caregiver and teacher. She wants to help give a voice to young people because the decisions we make now will affect their future. The topics she is most passionate about are education and healthcare. Her hobbies include writing poetry, spending time with her pets, and listening to her favorite band, The Strokes.

Grace Marie Rose Brock

Grace Marie Rose Brock

Research Assistant

Grace is currently a senior at Syracuse University pursuing a bachelor's degree in Political Science. She is also an NCAA Division 1 cross country and track athlete. Grace is passionate about improving access to affordable healthcare and combatting the climate crisis. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and cycling.

Kaitlin Nguyen

Kaitlin Nguyen

Research Associate

Kaitlin Nguyen is a recent graduate at the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a current Legal Assistant planning to attend law school in 2023. She hopes to pursue a career in the human rights and environmental sectors. Her interests include reading, cooking, volunteering, petting dogs, and exploring cities. She encourages youth and everyone of all ages to learn about the myriad of ways to participate in various political and community channels.

Lauren Winkleblack

Lauren Winkleblack

Research Assistant

Lauren's youth activism work throughout Connecticut and the broader United States has fostered her passion for involving fellow youth in social justice issues and movements. She is a junior at Barnard College pursuing a double major in human rights and literature, hoping to go on to receive a Ph.D. in sociology. Lauren is a strong advocate of the rights of juveniles within the criminal justice system, reforming policing in America, gun control, and improving access to affordable education. She enjoys reading, watercolor painting, and paddleboarding.