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Meet the Board of Directors 

Our Board of Directors lead our 8 core teams and sub-commitee, composed of over 2,000 organizers around the globe!
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Samir Chowdhury

Founder and Chairman 

Samir Chowdhury is an internationally acclaimed environmentalist and social entrepreneur at Stanford University. Samir is the 2021 Gen-Z Leader in Energy & Sustainability, a Leaders in Energy nonprofit Hall of Famer, and one of The Conversationalist’s 2021 LIST Honorees. Famous for coining empathy models of change, he’s lectured at the Harvard Institute of Politics, Stanford School of Medicine, Commonwealth Club, and global climate events. He’s worked alongside the Biden Administration, UNEP Executive Director, and EPA Administrator and has his work featured in CNN, The Teen Magazine, and The Stanford Daily. Learn more about Samir here.



 Co-Founder & Managing Director

Vihaan is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, in Alexandria, Virginia. He is an active member of his school's Model United Nations and Ethics Bowl teams where he has developed a passion for speaking and learning about current events. He also co-founded an initiative called Speak to Empower (STEP), which helps young students learn about public speaking. He is also Editor in Chief for Lenses, a platform where teens voice their opinions through journalism and articles written by teens for teens. As Operations Director for YCAT, he is able to be a change maker and advocate for climate reform while also working to foster a environmentally aware teen population.   



Executive Director

Max is a senior at McLean High School and will be attending Yale University next year. He became passionate about climate activism through his involvement in Scouting, where he is an Eagle Scout with Bronze and Gold palms. Additionally, Max is involved in environmental and social advocacy through his school, community, and more broadly through YCAT. He hopes to spread the climate movement throughout the world and make activism accessible for people of all ages.

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Co-Founder & Managing Director

Odessa Zhang is a senior at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. For the past 2 years, she has served as the Management and Communications Director, leading lobbying efforts, children’s picture book creation, facilitating partnerships, and more. Outside of her work for the climate movement, she is the co-founder of the Speak to Empower initiative dedicated to cultivating oratory and leadership skills in marginalized communities. Odessa is also a member of her school's National Model United Nations Team and volunteer speaker for the American Association of University Women.

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Victoria Wang


Victoria is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. She is on her school’s varsity volleyball team and policy debate team. In addition to joining YCAT, Victoria has explored her passion for aquatic ecology through participating in invasive species removal, stream monitoring, trash pickup events, and performing research. During her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, and watching cdramas. She is always up to giving book or show recs! Victoria was drawn to YCAT for its youth-led advocacy and intersectional initiatives and is excited to be a part of this movement for change.

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Lavanya Lakhmani

Social Media

Lavanya is a junior at Charter Oak High School, CA. She is an avid reader, an enthusiastic hiker, and she loves to play basketball. In her free time, Lavanya also volunteers for several humanitarian clubs and feminist organisations. She is incredibly passionate about climate justice; her passion was evoked when she witnessed the drought and wildfires in California. One of her biggest goals is to empower youth and urge global restoration.

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Nehal is a junior at Central Jersey College Prep Charter School in NJ. She is the founder of the Ted-Ed Student Talk Club, her school's FBLA club, and is the State Treasurer of the Leo Multiple District 16 Cabinet. Nehal is also part of the NJ High School Democrats Legislative and Advocacy Committee where she specializes in mental health research and legislation. Nehal is currently pursuing her BA in Kathak and enjoys watching The West Wing in her free time. As Finance Director, she hopes to encourage other youth advocates to fundraise to raise awareness about issues that are important to them.

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Catherine is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She is active in her school’s competitive Biology Olympiad, Public Forum Debate, and computer science teams, having garnered national success in all of them. Her passion in the sciences has led her to conduct award-winning research and to organize educational STEM outreach events for youths. As a firm believer in the power of social action, she enjoys regularly volunteering for various causes, including environmental justice, tutoring, and political engagement. Through YCAT, she wishes to spread awareness about a diverse range of climate-related topics, especially those that are undercovered in today’s media.


Alyssa-Leigh Alcantara

Climate Education

Alyssa-Leigh is a junior at Arizona State University Preparatory where she is an active member of student government and NHS. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and graphic design. Her main interests are environmental science, dermatology, and teaching. In the future, Alyssa wants to work as a dermatologist while researching the connection between the environment and human health. She discovered her passion for this through studying the medical implications of carbon pollution for her final project freshman year. That experience led Alyssa to deeply value the role of education in increasing environmental awareness. As the director of Climate Extracurricular Education (CEE), Alyssa hopes to provide kids with similar opportunities and sources of inspiration.

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Simrin Chowdhury


Simrin is a junior at McLean High School. She has worked in numerous congressional campaigns and is an avid believer that youth belong in the political scene. She has done policy and social justice work under multiple nonprofits and organizations, and is now founding her own nonprofit to bring more marginalized women into advocacy and policy. As YCAT’s policy director, she hopes to drive change in the climate policy space and make a real impact on our environment.

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Global Affairs

Ava is a senior in high school from New York. She is the founder of Youth Climate Save New York which focuses on the relationship between animal agriculture and climate change. Ava is passionate about the relationship between the environment and human health, more specifically how environmental toxicants contribute to neurodegeneration. In her free time, Ava enjoys playing the bass guitar and curling. As Global Affairs Co-Director, Ava hopes to increase youth involvement in the climate movement around the world.

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Sarah is a junior at South Brunswick High School in New Jersey. She is an active member of her school's Mock Trial Team and student government where she developed her passion for public speaking and advocacy. She is also a member of the women's choir at her school and loves to sing in her free time. She has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and enjoys community service and volunteering. As the Onboarding Director, she hopes to create a friendly and encouraging environment for all members of YCAT.

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