committee members

2020-2021 term councillors and executives

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Ricky Liu

Chair

Ricky is 20 years old and a third-year Physiology student at the University of Alberta. He currently serves as the Chair of the CEYC after previous terms as the Chair of Health and Wellness and Project Team Lead. Ricky is passionate about inspiring advancements in the field of youth mental and physical health through policy and projects. He seeks to inspire civic engagement among Edmonton’s youth and to empower them to strive for positive change. Throughout his past terms, Ricky has championed information reports on youth addictions and the opioid crisis as well as several projects focused on youth mental and physical health. He is a research student in the Department of Ob/Gyn at the University of Alberta, where he studies cardiovascular physiology from the perspective of women’s and children’s health. Outside of CEYC, he enjoys being outdoors, mountain biking, and binging Netflix shows. His favourite part of being on CEYC is seeing the impassioned and visionary members participate in fruitful and impactful discussions to bring about social change.

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Anuj Krishnan

Vice-Chair

Anuj is 16 years old and a first-generation Indo-Canadian. This is his third year on CEYC, having been elected as the youngest Vice-Chair in municipal advisory board history. Anuj also served as the Vice-Chair of the Engagement & Outreach subcommittee last term, spearheading the School Visits Initiative as well as working on consultation with the Mayor’s Office on the City Plan. He is currently in Grade 11 at Old Scona Academic, but in the fall will head to United World College Adriatic in Italy on the basis of a provincial scholarship. Outside of CEYC, Anuj provides public speaking education to underprivileged communities as part of the non-profit SpeechDojo and works with Alberta Health Services to provide mental health training as a Community Helper in his high school. He loves this city and the people and always tries to find opportunities for self-improvement while providing others with the skills and resources to be leaders in their own right. His favourite part of the council is seeing the growth of his members and how his contributions can fit into the bigger picture of youth empowerment.

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Cherry Chen

Committee Member | Chair of Projects

Cherry, currently in her second year on the City of Edmonton Youth Council, serves as Projects Chair and oversees the largest subcommittee including all of the ongoing initiatives in the community. She employs her responsibility as an executive member to push for accessibility, approachability, and meaningful quality of life improvements for all members of council. She is 22 and studying French and Spanish as well as pursuing a Certificate in Translation Studies at the University of Alberta. She also speaks Mandarin and is slowly learning Japanese; she has a love for all things linguistic! Outside her role as the Chair of the Projects Subcommittee, Cherry works with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate helping to advocate for children in government care. As a first-generation Taiwanese immigrant, she cares deeply about making sure youth are civically engaged and have a voice in changes that affect them, especially regarding cultural connections and linguistic representation. In her free time she enjoys fashion, video games, and old-school snail mail. What she loves most about being part of CEYC has to be the amazingly bright and sweet volunteers of all ages she has gotten to know!

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Robyn Taylor

Committee Member Chair of Policy

Robyn Taylor is a third-year Economics student at the University of Alberta who is passionate about social sustainability, especially in African, Caribbean, and Black communities. Her interests lie in exploring how economic policy and public policy promote long-term community development in racialized communities. This is Robyn’s third year on the City of Edmonton Youth Council, where she currently serves as the Chair of the Policy Subcommittee. She has previously served as the Chair of the Social Equity Subcommittee. She champions the role that policy work plays in youth civic engagement and the importance of effecting tangible change in the city. Her favourite part about CEYC is having the opportunity to support and mentor youth who are interested in creating meaningful social change. She has always made it her goal to be an active member of her community, and to give back wherever she can. In her spare time, Robyn enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and being outside!

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Anwi Patel

Executive Member Chair of Internal

Anwi is 16 and a first-generation Indo-Canadian. In her second year on CEYC, she currently serves as the Chair of the Internal Subcommittee. Last term she served on the Social Equity subcommittee - one of her most prominent contributions was a memorandum written to City Council regarding CEYC's support for the Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw. She is currently pursuing an International Baccalaureate Diploma at McNally Composite High School. Outside of CEYC, she is a founding member of the Tigers WorldWide Club at school, expressing a passion for current events and spreading awareness for education. Anwi always strives to improve the lives of those around her, whether it be her family, people on CEYC, or those at school. She believes it is important to empower those around her at all times to do what their heart desires – something that is her favourite part of CEYC. In the future Anwi hopes to continue her passion to be a support system and empowering individuals by going into education and being a highschool teacher one day. One of her favourite pastimes recently is picking dandelions from the ground and giving a bouquet of them to her teachers to brighten up their classrooms!

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Eric Yan

Executive Member | Vice-Chair of Projects

Eric is an 18-year-old student of Immunology and Infection at the University of Alberta. Impassioned by the sciences, he applies the knowledge gained in an academic setting to his work on the Youth Council whenever possible. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Projects Subcommittee in his third year of CEYC. Outside his role of Vice-Chair, Eric fiercely enjoys reading about psychology, watching horror movies, hitting the gym, and playing guitar. As well, he is an avid fan of various podcasts and the diverse insights they offer. In terms of more formal interests, Eric is a thorough advocate of engagement in the sciences. Recently, he has worked to promote the IgNITE Medical Case Competition with the goal of encouraging prospective youth to join the incredible field of research. His favourite part of CEYC is how accessible and passionate the community is; the various Youth Council members have genuinely inspired and impacted him.

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Heather Mark

Executive Member | Vice-Chair of Policy

Heather is currently the oldest member of the Youth Council at 24 years old. This term is her first and last on CEYC. During this term, she is serving as the Vice-Chair of the Policy Subcommittee. Her favourite part of being on the council is mentoring youth to achieve ambitious goals while overseeing initiatives that address food insecurity and community safety. Most recently, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a certificate in translation. During her degree, she founded an academic journal, served as Treasurer of her honour society, and studied internationally. Now her path has led her to work with the Town of Hinton in municipal administration where one of her roles is to oversee the Hinton Youth Advisory Committee (HYAC). Being so fortunate as to live by the mountains, Heather takes advantage of being outdoors, going on peaceful walks, and mountain biking. She is passionate about equity-seeking initiatives, addressing colonialism in Canada, and challenging the status quo.

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Ryan Jacques

Committee Member

Ryan is a fourth-year computing science student at the University of Alberta. This is his second year serving on the City of Edmonton Youth Council and he is involved with the Projects Subcommittee leading the Photo & Essay Contest Initiative. He is an avid curler and skip of the UofA Golden Bears varsity team, playing at the competitive junior level since 2013 and representing Alberta three times. Ryan is also an accomplished piano player and enjoys writing songs in his spare time. He is always looking to give back to the community that raised him, including volunteering with the UofA Undergraduate Association of Computing Science as President, running coding workshops through TeamUP Science, and connecting students with volunteer opportunities as VP Community Outreach on the UofA Athletics Board. Ryan volunteers with CEYC because he sees it as an excellent opportunity to foster positive change in Edmonton and encourage others to do the same. His favourite part of CEYC is seeing passionate youth in action and making a real difference in our city. We all have unique ideas, perspectives, and skills that we bring to the table, which makes the whole of CEYC greater than the sum of its parts.

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Reetu Arvikar

Committee Member

Reetu is 14 and this is her first year on CEYC. Working on the Projects Subcommittee, she leads the Environmental Awareness Webinar Initiative and is a member of the Youth Tackling COVID-19 Initiative. Reetu attends Aurora Academic Charter School and in the fall will be studying at Old Scona Academic. Appointed at 13, Reetu is the youngest Voting Committee Member in the history of Youth Council. She is deeply grateful for this opportunity and wishes to continue work in the future that increases opportunities for, inspires, and supports youth. She admires the wide age range on CEYC that allows for a spectrum of voices to be heard and acknowledged. Outside of Youth Council, Reetu has volunteered for the Student Council at her school as well as the Festival of Trees. She recently volunteered for Kickstand to support the MoreGoodDays program. Music is a significant part of Reetu’s life- from her pride in her Indian heritage, she has been learning Hindustani classical singing since age 5. She has performed and won multiple times in the World Ethno Music category of the Kiwanis Music Festival. Reetu also has exposure to Western Classical singing and enjoys playing the Tabla and the Drums.

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Pram Thennakoonwela

Committee Member

Pram is 18 years old and attends the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a Biology major and Psychology minor. This is her first term on CEYC and she currently works on initiatives from both the Internal Subcommittee and Projects Subcommittee. This term she took part in organizing a webinar targeted towards providing resources and information regarding youth mental health, vaccines, and media misinformation during a pandemic with the Projects Subcommittee. She is also leading the Demographic Survey Response Initiative, where she is working on a three-stage program to help engage youth voices that are underrepresented in local government- including but not limited to: Indigenous youth, youth part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, youth who identify as having a disability, and youth of low socioeconomic status. Her favourite part of the Youth Council is getting to interact with all the other members who are passionate about the city and getting to watch them carry out amazing initiatives.

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Sarah Freeman

Committee Member

Sarah is a 17-year-old student at Strathcona High School. This is her first term serving on CEYC, where she is a member of the Internal Subcommittee. Sarah leads the School Visits Initiative as well as organizes team bonding events to facilitate connections within CEYC. Her first year on Youth Council has been illuminating in many ways, but she is particularly appreciative to have had the opportunity to hear the diverse perspectives of other members, as well as confront her own internal biases through programs like GBA+ training. What she likes most about CEYC is the diversity in experiences it exposes to her. Sarah is passionate about addressing societal biases to make a more equitable city for all. In fact, she will be furthering this interest this summer through an internship with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education, where she will be assisting with research involving colonial influences on high school science curriculum. In her free time, Sarah enjoys getting outside in nature, whether it be biking, canoeing, or scuba diving! In the winters, she is an avid skier, and whenever she’s not in the mountains she works as a ski instructor, sharing her love of the outdoors.

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Irshad Sayed

Committee Member

Irshad is an 18-year-old student attending Grade 12 at Tempo School. In his first term on CEYC, Irshad has worked on initiatives in the Projects Subcommittee, including research into drinking water contamination and city park cleanup. He is highly appreciative of the immense variety of people and opportunities his time on the City of Edmonton Youth Council has exposed him to. Outside of CEYC, Irshad is an engaged member of his school community, having sat on the Tempo Student Council. Additionally, he leads his school’s branch of UNICEF Canada, where he works to raise funds for a variety of aid programs operating across the globe. In the fall, he is looking to attend the University of Alberta, pursuing a BSc in Immunology and Infection. Irshad looks forward to more terms on CEYC, hoping it will allow him to bring his passions for physical health and wellness to the forefront of his work.

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Achyutha Reddy Surukanti

Committee Member

Achyutha is a 15-year-old who is currently serving her second term on CEYC, and her first one as a voting committee member. As a first-generation Indian immigrant, she moved to Edmonton when she was 6 and has called it home ever since. Over time she has learned the importance of civic engagement and has become passionate about advocating for the needs of youth. She now attends Old Scona Academic High School as a Grade 10 student and enjoys getting involved in various clubs and events. She is an external communications director for Students’ Union, designing promotions and engaging the student body in school events. She is also a SET leader on the student engagement team, which helps students integrate into the school community and prepare for their futures. Achyutha serves under the Projects Subcommittee of CEYC, and co-leads the Paths for People Taskforce- working towards creating safer and more vibrant streets. She is also part of initiatives such as the Youth Tackling COVID-19 Initiative, Scholarships and Volunteering Opportunities Initiative, and the City Cleanup Initiative. More than anything else, she enjoys watching the projects she is a part of come to fruition and have an impact on youth in Edmonton.

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Irmen Dhami

Committee Member

Irmen is an Accounting student at MacEwan University who is looking forward to taking the next step in being involved with the community and to promote initiatives to support the well-being of the youth. Having previously worked as a Green Shack leader with the City of Edmonton, Irmen learned what it is like to be at the heart of different communities. Irmen’s goal is to achieve the necessary skills and experience during his degree, as well as after he graduates, to not only become a successful CPA, but to make meaningful connections along the way and to be involved in other activities not limited to accounting. Irmen is involved with the Environmental Awareness Webinar and the City Cleanup Initiative within the projects subcommittee branch. This is his first year on CEYC. His favourite part of being on the council is seeing all the cool ideas turn into successful projects. In his free time, Irmen enjoys watching and playing basketball.

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Quynh Anh Nguyen

Committee Member

Quynh Anh is a 16-year-old student at Old Scona Academic High School. This year is her first term serving on the City of Edmonton Youth Council, but it is her second term working in the Youth Council community after serving last year as a Youth-At-Large. This year she is working under the Internal Subcommittee on the creation of detailed policies that help provide structure and clarity regarding CEYC procedures and guide Executive members on how to navigate situations ethically. Quynh Anh is also working on an ambitious multi-year project continuing from the previous term through the Vaping Information Social Media Campaign. Her favourite part of Youth Council is being able to collaborate with other youth on projects that provide positive future change to Edmonton. In her spare time, Quynh Anh often enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well as keeping updated with all her favourite TV shows.

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Zaharadeen Jimoh

Committee Member

Zaharadeen Jimoh is 20 years old and is in his last year of pursuing a Bachelors of Science with a Biology Major and a Sociology minor. This is his first term on the City of Edmonton Youth Council. With a special focus and passion on scholarships, he has had the opportunity to partake in the Scholarships and Volunteering Opportunities Initiative and assist in the CEYC website revamp. Coming from a volunteering background in a primarily religious community, Zaharadeen enjoys interacting and working with youth from all across the city with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets very much different from his. His favourite part of CEYC would have to be getting to learn from the variety of other youth on the council. For the last two years, Zaharadeen has developed a special focus on prototyping aquaponic growth modalities and building an in-house regenerative farming system to bring to market. When not working on CEYC assignments, studying, or working, he can often be found writing high-impact research papers, working on fMRI modalities at the University of Alberta Hospital, or busy working out in the gym (socially-distanced) or at home.

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Kasey Enokson

Committee Member

Kasey is currently in her fifth year on the Council and is very excited to continue the municipal work that has played such a crucial role in fostering her passion for volunteering and youth education. Last year she had the opportunity to serve as the Executive Vice-Chair for the City of Edmonton Youth Council. Kasey is now a member of the Policy subcommittee and doing work on important multi-term undertakings such as the Mental Health Information Report Initiative. She was born and raised in Edmonton and is extremely proud to call such an amazing city home. Kasey is currently in her fourth year of Education at the University of Alberta. She is completing a major in English and a minor in Social Studies. Her favourite part of being part of the council is getting to work with such an awesome group of youth. She hopes to continue meeting amazing youth even after leaving the CEYC through her career in education.

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Manujitha Herath

Committee Member

Manu is a four-term member of the City of Edmonton Youth Council, having served as both a Youth-At-Large and Youth Councillor. In previous terms, she has served as Lead for the CEYC Awards in addition to taking part in other initiatives within the Engagement and Outreach subcommittee. Recently, Manu has shifted her focus onto social media and hopes to continue her work in expanding the council’s digital relationship with youth in the city. She loves municipal politics and civic engagement, and her favourite part of CEYC is helping to empower Edmonton’s youth to be more directly involved in the city they call home. Outside of Youth Council, Manu is a fourth-year Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Alberta where she is majoring in Sociology with a minor in History; she is a proud member of Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity where she currently serves as the Vice-President of Member Education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, playing with her cat, and embroidering while falling into Wikipedia rabbit holes at 2 am.

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Lakshmi Peddi

Committee Member

Lakshmi is a 15-year-old Grade 9 student who is currently studying at Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour School. This is her second term on the City of Edmonton Youth Council and she is currently serving under the Projects Subcommittee as an initiative lead for the Scholarships and Volunteering Opportunities Initiative and also works on the City Cleanup Initiative. Lakshmi’s favourite part about being on Youth Council is meeting new people who also share the same passion for helping others and working together towards a better future for all. Outside of her work on CEYC, Lakshmi has also successfully started an after-school Homework Helpers club to socially and academically support the elementary and junior high students of her school. Other volunteering work she has done includes serving on the Student Leadership Board at her school as well as being elected by her peers to work as a Community Helpers member. She has a deep passion for vocal and instrumental music and has studied Hindustani, Western, and Carnatic classical music while also being a piano and flute player. Lakshmi hopes to continue with her passion for the musical arts in the years to come while also becoming more involved in her community!

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Fajr Khaliqdina

Committee Member

Fajr is 23 years old and this is her first term serving on the Youth Council. During her term on CEYC, she was involved in leading a project targeted towards addressing the physical and mental health challenges of youth during the pandemic and providing them with the necessary tools and resources in order to empower them to navigate through these difficult times. Her favourite part about serving on the Youth Council is getting to interact and work with like-minded youth in the community to bring about positive change in the beautiful city they call home. Recently, Fajr graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Psychology. For the last eight years, she has been involved with an organization that aims to improve the social communication skills of young individuals diagnosed with Autism and other social pragmatic delays. Alongside this, Fajr has made it her goal to be an active member of the community, and to give back through various opportunities. In her free time, she loves to dance, do yoga, and spend time with her family and friends.

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Avanideep Ladhar

Committee Member

Avani is 23 years old, and this is her first and last term serving on CEYC. During her time, she served on the Policy subcommittee and helped support the blog team. Her favourite part of being on Youth Council is learning about what youth are passionate about and their vision for our city in the future.  She is wrapping up her degree from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies with a Community Service Learning certificate. Outside of CEYC, Avani is the Program Coordinator for the Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP), the country's largest youth-led restorative justice organization. She also serves on the Board for the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights and helps advocate for human rights cases at the provincial level. Her favourite thing to do in the city is visit local shops and restaurants and enjoy the river valley with her dog SoHo. She is passionate about advocating for child and youth voices, being represented at critical decision-making points within the criminal justice and child welfare system.