Meet the Council

FEMA Youth Preparedness Council members represent all ten FEMA regions and a range of backgrounds and interests. They have been leaders in their communities’ preparedness and continue to make a difference as teams working on projects relating to financial preparedness, citizen responder programs, and youth preparedness education.

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Maryam Choudhury

Region I

Connecticut
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Maryam Choudhury
15
Connecticut
Region I

Maryam is a rising junior at Windsor High School in Windsor, CT. Maryam has a strong passion for helping others and a drive for positive change. During her second term as Builder's Club president in her school, she co-organized the “Dollars for Ballers” free throw contest in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is also a member of the Windsor High School Action Club, which takes action on issues of social justice and discrimination within the community. In response to the widespread use of offensive language in her school, she co-led the “You Could've Said, but Instead You Said” campaign to educate her peers on using less offensive word choices. The Action Club made and distributed posters showing examples of inappropriate language that had been identified at their school. They have now moved to assembly of a ‘Kindness Rocks Garden’ and other school events. During her time on the YPC, Maryam would like to create a disaster toolkit app that works offline. The app would be specialized to the user’s local area and would prompt users to prepare for disasters relevant to them. It would also have articles on preparedness subjects, such as "How to Build your Own Disaster Supply Kit" and "How to Stay Safe when Power Lines are Down". Other features include a calendar with reminders on when to practice emergency drills, and informative videos that provide an interactive, fun way of informing people of all ages how to stay safe in emergency situations.

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Katerina Corr

Region II

New York
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Katerina Corr
15
New York
Region II

Katerina is a rising junior at Stuyvesant High School in New York, NY. She has a strong motivation to get involved in political and community issues. In 2016, she began a two-year partnership with New York City Council Members Ben Kallos and Danny Dromm to draft a law that advanced Gender and Sexuality Alliances in all New York City middle and high schools. Katerina testified twice at City Council and co-led her school’s Manhattan Student Leadership Council. Katerina will be entering her third term as Caucus President at her school and will be volunteering with the American Red Cross as an International Humanitarian Law Youth Action Campaign Coordinator.

During her time on the YPC, Katerina would like to start a required program for educating teachers in preparedness actions, so that they can teach their students to be better prepared for natural and manmade disasters. The program would provide information on how to prepare disaster kits and show students how they can promote disaster preparedness within their own families and communities. Her vision is to see this program grow to the point that students give back to their communities by taking part in disaster preparedness activities.

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Maxwell Hahn

Region III

Pennsylvania
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Maxwell Hahn
17
Pennsylvania
Region III

Maxwell is a rising senior at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School in Mechanicsburg, PA. He developed a personal commitment to emergency management and meteorology after witnessing the destruction to his community caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He currently serves as a member of Cumberland County’s Youth Advisory Board. This board educates local secondary school students about drug and alcohol abuse prevention. Maxwell also led the public outreach for a fundraiser to support the Cheery Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, which raised thousands of dollars in donations. Finally, Maxwell exercises leadership in his community within Boy Scout Troop 190, Trinity Lutheran Church, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, and many other volunteer organizations.

During his time on the YPC, Maxwell would like to build a stronger national education program for youth to learn about emergency preparedness and FEMA operations. He also hopes to launch a county-level youth organization to monitor, support, and educate others about disaster preparedness.

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Mackenzie Hinson

Region IV

North Carolina
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Mackenzie Hinson
14
North Carolina
Region IV

Mackenzie is a junior in high school who owns and operates her own “Make A Difference” Food Pantry and its six outreach sites. "Make A Difference" serves over 6,800 people monthly in Wayne, Sampson, Duplin, and Johnston Counties in North Carolina. The pantry is used to educate people on disaster preparedness, healthy living, and volunteerism. She is also a member of Jordan’s Chapel 4-H, a Wayne County Skillathon team member, a prosecutor for Wayne County Teen Court, a clerk for the NC Youth Legislative Assembly, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council, appointed by Governor Cooper to be NC’s Spokeskid for Volunteerism, a member of Artistic Dance Academy, a member of the Hydrant Youth Group, and is a Special Olympics Volunteer.

During her time on the YPC, Mackenzie would like to develop a “Back to Basics: Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Students Helping Students” educational program. The program would educate people on how to efficiently and effectively help their neighbors during an emergency, since one’s neighbors are usually the first on the scene. Some skills that would be taught in the program are water safety, first aid, and assessing and responding to injuries. With regard to students, it would teach how to respond and react to protect themselves and others during events such as an active shooter incident and other disasters. On a larger scale she would like to develop a “Safety in Numbers” social media campaign to educate others in how to be proactive in protecting themselves and others during an emergency, and how doing this together increases the chances of success.

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Jordan Lin

Region IV

Georgia
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Jordan Lin
16
Georgia
Region IV

Jordan is a junior at Lakeside High School in Decatur, Georgia. He is the founder and content creator for a YouTube channel which educates the public about life safety equipment through video tests and tutorials. During his school’s emergency protocol update, he personally developed a new fire safety protocol and related signage for the school’s building. In addition to maintaining his school’s preparedness, he serves as the Head Sound Technician for the school’s theater program. He hopes to apply the technological and interpersonal skills that he has learned from this experience to the field of emergency preparedness.

During his time on the YPC, Jordan would like to implement greater education on school security. He also hopes to better integrate the needs of non-native English speakers into safety planning. This initiative will promote internationally recognized symbols in emergency preparedness plans and products

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Megan Wright

Region IV

Georgia
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Megan Wright
16
Georgia
Region IV

Megan is a rising junior at Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Georgia. She is a leading proponent of the National Stop the Bleed campaign in her community. She has improved her school’s preparedness by advocating for bleeding control courses, placing emergency kits in strategic locations, and designing emergency maps for her school’s building. She also speaks with local civic organizations to inform and inspire citizens to participate in the initiative. In addition to this campaign, Megan is active in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organization and has held multiple lead roles in community theater performances.

During her time on the YPC, Megan would like to produce instructional materials to teach primary school children how to respond to emergencies. She intends to engage public, private, and non-profit stakeholders to distribute these resources on a national level. She hopes that this effort will challenge the misconception that children are too young to be involved in emergency preparedness.

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Banan Garada

Region V

Illinois
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Banan Garada
16
Illinois
Region V

Banan is a rising junior at Urbana High School in Urbana, Illinois. She was a key participant in the Illinois Preparedness Initiative (MyPI). In this program, she became Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)-certified, excelled in a disaster simulation, and conducted public outreach to educate families in her community about preparedness. She also observed EMTs handling real-life emergencies, which furthered her understanding of the emotional and physical pressures of disasters. As a member of her school’s Student Senate, she organizes fundraising and public outreach events for underrepresented groups around the world. She also participates in cross-country, soccer, and taekwondo.

During her time on the YPC, Banan would like to use technology to raise awareness for emergency preparedness among youth. She hopes to develop an interactive game that demonstrates the importance of and best practices in emergency preparedness. She also plans to introduce an annual preparedness event to raise awareness in her community.

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Hannah Schultz

Region V

Michigan
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Hannah Schultz
17
Michigan
Region V

Hannah is a rising senior at Marine City High School in Marine City, MI. She is a member of the St. Clair County Youth Readiness Council. She recently organized a project to provide comfort kits for traumatized children displaced from their homes. She also created a winter car safety video that listed and discussed all the materials to keep in your car during winter. In addition, she talked to younger children about fire safety and the proper steps to take if there is a fire. Finally, she is planning a CPR and First Aid training class for her council and other teens, ages thirteen through eighteen. The overall goal of the training is to inform teens on what to do until a first responder arrives at the scene.

During her time on the YPC, Hannah would like to teach teens what to do in an emergency until first responders arrive on the scene. As part of her project, she and her fellow YPC members would learn the basic procedures and techniques for properly responding to different scenarios (heart attack, gunshot wounds, etc.) and create videos that can be used nationwide.

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Wyatt Reed

Region VI

Arkansas
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Wyatt Reed
16
Arkansas
Region VI

Wyatt Reed is a rising junior at Crowley’s Ridge Academy in Paragould, Arkansas. He gained knowledge of the value of emergency preparedness through his family’s planning and response to natural disasters in Arkansas. He serves as the Co-Chair on Greene County’s Youth Preparedness Council and Arkansas’ Youth Preparedness Council, where he won Arkansas’ 2019 Individual and Community Preparedness Award. Wyatt is also a member of FEMA Region VI’s Youth Preparedness Council. In these roles, he promoted a Student Tools for Emergency Preparedness (STEP) initiative in local schools and currently plans to start a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in his school. While not participating in emergency preparedness efforts, he is involved in varsity sports, Future Business Leaders of America, and helping lead services at Churches of Christ in his area.

During his time on the YPC, Wyatt would like to supply and train more schools to handle mass casualty incidents. He envisions building a program that includes aspects of Stop the Bleed and CERT but is tailored toward teachers and their specific needs. He also intends to develop a curriculum to build awareness about threats and hazards specific to his region.

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Camden Larsen

Region VIII

North Dakota
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Camden Larsen
17
North Dakota
Region VIII

Camden is a rising junior at Red River Senior High School in Grand Forks, ND. He is a member of his local Boy Scouts of America troop and contributed greatly to the National Youth Leadership Training. He is a key participant in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) SKYWARN Storm Spotters and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) to fulfill NOAA’s most essential volunteer missions: “to observe, forecast, and warn for the protection of life and property.” Camden is a member of the Grand Forks County Community Emergency Response Team and works with its Logistics Committee. Finally, Camden is the youth commissioner for the Grand Forks Youth Commission, a collective coalition of youth and their adult mentors working together to enhance the lives of Grand Forks’ youth.

During his time on the YPC, Camden would like to draft legislation to incentivize people to take first aid classes and work towards having first aid training taught at an early age.

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Sibi Raja

Region VIII

Colorado
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Sibi Raja
15
Colorado
Region VIII

Sibi is a rising junior at Jefferson Academy in Broomfield, Colorado. He is an active member of Region VIII’s Youth Preparedness Council. Sibi’s experience demonstrates his investment to a whole community approach to emergency preparedness. He holds an Amateur Extra radio license and often presents to local civic organizations about the intersection between radio communications and emergency preparedness. He is the Vice President of his school’s student body, founder of his school’s Knowledge Bowl, and member of the Student Health Advisory Council. In this last role, he spearheaded a campaign to reduce stress among faculty, staff, and students using data-driven analysis and public outreach. In his community, He also serves as the Lieutenant Governor in his Key Club District and Teen Court Attorney for the Lakewood Municipal Court. Sibi is active in Taekwondo, his local library’s teen advisory board, debate functions, and volunteer events.

During his time on the YPC, Sibi would like to promote emergency preparedness initiatives that cater to groups disproportionately affected by disasters. These groups include the elderly, animal owners, and people with access and functional needs. He also hopes to create a YouTube channel for FEMA Region VIII with general and area-specific information about emergency management. This channel would be comprised of videos targeting both youth and older populations.

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Roberto (RJ) Cárdenas

Region IX

California
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Roberto (RJ) Cárdenas
17
California
Region IX

Roberto (RJ) is a Senior at Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, CA. RJ is active in his school, his local community, and his region. He is a Vista Murrieta High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Officer, and currently holds the rank of Captain. He is also an active member of school government, holding a position in both Associated Student Body and Senate. RJ is also Temecula Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained and is a Teen CERT member. Finally, he is heavily involved in youth preparedness as a member of the FEMA Region IX YPC.

During his time on the national YPC, RJ would like to expand the FEMA Region IX Youth Emergency Preparedness Program (YEPP) to the national level. The YEPP is a one-day program including speakers, hands-on scenarios, and training that provides a unique take on disaster preparedness by involving students in what occurs during an emergency on a leadership level. The goal of the program is to educate youth on emergency preparedness and all-hazardous events such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, fires, terrorism, and relevant other disasters.

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Grace Harris

Region IX

California
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Grace Harris
18
California
Region IX

Grace is a freshman student at the University of Portland in Oregon. She is currently pursuing a dual major in Nursing and Spanish. She looks forward to a career in emergency response through life flight nursing. She serves as the Assistant PIO for the Sacramento Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) by maintaining an active YouTube channel where she posts videos to promote CERT. Grace also volunteers as a medic for local scout groups where her leadership and dedication to serving others has blossomed.

During her time on the YPC, Grace has served as a National Advisor for Regional Youth Preparedness Councils in both FEMA Region VIII and IX. She also participated in the Youth Preparedness Team under the guidance of FEMA to promote youth preparedness through materials such as Ready2Help and Prepare with Pedro. She now serves as the leader of this team as one of the council’s cochairs.

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Hsin Ya (Jessie) Huang

Region X

Oregon
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Hsin Ya (Jessie) Huang
16
Oregon
Region X

Hsin Ya is a rising junior at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon. She is the Red Cross Club President in her school and expanded the club from 4 to over 30 active members within a year. Hsin Ya organized a Home Fire Campaign event series to install home fire alarms and train homeowners about hazards. She also serves on the American Red Cross’ First Aid Service Team. As an Attorney in Mock Trial, she excels in debate and public speaking. She credits her success to her ability to build trust and respect between parties through clear communication. In addition to these activities, she is active on her school’s lacrosse team.

During her time on the YPC, Hsin Ya would like to supply classrooms across the United States with disaster kits. She was inspired to pursue this goal after witnessing the devastating impact of disasters in her birth country of Taiwan. She also plans to operate emergency preparedness awareness booths at community events like football games and marathons.

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Madeline Ortiz

Region X

Alaska
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Madeline Ortiz
13
Alaska
Region X

Madeline completed her eighth-grade year at Academy Charter School in Palmer, Alaska. In November 2018, a catastrophic 7.1 earthquake and its aftershocks affected her and her community. This event shifted her thinking about the importance of emergency preparedness. In her community, Madeline helped to organize the programming, public outreach, and grant funding for the Last Frontier Honor Flight. This program provided Alaskan war veterans with travel and accommodations to visit monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. She also volunteers in Alaska’s State Fair each year. Given the large audience attracted to this event, Madeline plans on collaborating with stakeholders to use the event as a platform to build awareness about emergency preparedness in the future. She is active in her local town hall meetings, cross-country team, and other outdoor activities.

During her time on the YPC, Madeline would like to provide representation for Alaskans. She believes that this representation is vital given that Alaska is the largest U.S. state with the most coastline and seismic activity. On a national level, she hopes to create a forum for different jurisdictions to share best practices in emergency preparedness. On a local level, Madeline also hopes to build awareness in schools across Alaska for pre-existing state and national preparedness programs.