November 19, 2018
By: Jason Rodney, Former Senior Youth Coordinator

Meet the YEA! MN Core for 2018-19!

YEA! MNYEA! MN is led by a group of students called the Core, with support from Climate Generation staff. We’re excited to introduce our 2018–2019 Core!

With over 400 students across Minnesota in the YEA! MN Network, the Core is tasked with nurturing this community, training new leaders, and coordinating action. They meet several times a month, manage a budget, and guide the vision of YEA! MN.

Each year new Core members are invited to join as other folks graduate or leave. If you are interested in joining the Core, contact

Meet the fantastic teens on the Core this year!

Keriann Cooper (Policy Intern)
Sophomore, Roosevelt High School

Keriann loves animals and is concerned for the effect climate change will have on them and their ecosystems. She felt the need to take action, so this year she joined the Core to become more engaged in preventing climate change and to improve her leadership skills. Keriann is excited to see how youth are changing Minnesota and to participate in the movement for renewable energy and environmental sustainability. Right now she is trying to establish a green team at her school. Keriann also loves hiking, camping, and spending time outside.

Maddy Fernands

Maddy Fernands
Sophomore, Edina High School

Maddy has always been curious about environmental action, politics, and activism, and has been increasingly involved since Middle School. Maddy is currently on the City of Edina’s Energy and Environment Commission as a Junior Commissioner, as well as a leader of her school’s environmental club, Project Earth. Maddy recently become much more involved with YEA! MN, MN Can’t Wait, and many other statewide youth-led environmental organizations, and is anticipating that within the next few years we will be able to accomplish a lot. Outside of environmentalism Maddy enjoys Model UN, speech, and being outdoors.

Lia Harel
Senior, Hopkins High School

Lia is currently involved in a number of organizations and campaigns that take interdisciplinary approaches at combating climate change. Lia is the president of her high school’s Earth Club and leads efforts to educate the student body about climate change and coordinates volunteer events addressing some of these issues. She is one of the youth petitioners who is asking the state to take a market-based approach at reducing emissions through a cap and trade program, and she is a member of iMatter and is working in both her city and state to pass more aggressive climate policies in reference to the “MN Can’t Wait” movement. Outside of environmental activism, Lia loves to bike, travel, and make ceramic artwork.

Beria Haugen

Beria Haugen
Senior, Central High School

Beria is very passionate about climate justice and is dedicated to doing her part to preserve our planet, while protecting the lives of people most affected by climate change. She recently joined the YEA! MN core and is very excited about taking action with them. She is also co-leading St. Paul iMatter, a policy based environmental group made up of high schoolers in St. Paul. As well as being involved in multiple other environmental clubs, she’s an active member of the Turkish community in Minnesota and does traditional Turkish folk dance. For fun, she participates in the swim team at her high school, enjoys spending time with friends and taking care of her many plants.

Isra Hirsi

Isra Hirsi
Sophomore, South High School

Isra is very passionate about ending climate change. She has noticed how climate change has affected her and her communities. She joined YEA!MN last month, is apart of iMatter Minneapolis, and is a member of her schools green team. Isra spends her free time endulging in activism and spending time with her family. She hopes to continue fighting for marginalized communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

Anna Grace Hottinger
Sophomore, Shoreview

Anna Grace is very passionate about climate justice and the ways people are affected. She enjoys being in the outdoors and going camping. She is very active in outdoor activities such as climbing, backpacking, running, and snowboarding. Anna Grace joined YEA! MN last year after she heard them speak at a leadership event. She then got very interested in the ways that climate change will affect people, through physical, social, and economic factors. She currently is involved with iMatter to create a more eco-friendly and sustainable city, as well as a climate club she runs in her city, and MN Can’t Wait. Outside of her YEA! MN actions, Anna Grace does lots of research on national parks and monuments. She also does lots of advocacy for community composting. Anna Grace hopes to make a change in her community and area to make a sustainable world and communities.

Marco Hunt
Senior, Breck School

Marco has always been interested in climate change and had an opportunity to hone this interest over the past year+ working at Dream of Wild Health, volunteering at YEA! MN, and the Sunrise Movement. Being a leader in Sunrise, his school’s environmental club, and YEA! MN, he is excited to implement the skills he’s learned in facilitation and organizing roles. He is looking forward to working with more organizations and learning how to organize bigger actions.

Shaza Hussein
Senior, Rosemount High School

Whether it be by gaining awareness, leading sustainability-related projects, protesting, workshops or policy promotion, she recognizes the importance of community-based youth groups that will stand up to climate change and its perpetrators.

Sophia Manolis
Senior, Minneapolis South High School

Sophia is extremely passionate about environmental justice and has dedicated herself to making a difference in the world. She joined YEA! MN in 2016 and since then has started working with many different climate organizations, specifically against the Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline. She one of 13 Youth Climate Intervenors who presented evidence to a judge to stop Line 3 from being built. She loves collaborating with other people in her work and helping others get involved. This year, she hopes to broaden her involvement with more social justice organizations and continue to make connections and take action within the environmental justice movement. Outside of activism, Sophia is a competitive swimmer, an editor for her school newspaper, and an outdoor enthusiast.

Sofia Valdes
Junior, Saint Anthony Village High School

Recently discovering her place in the climate justice movement, Sofia has been inundated with potential-filled opportunities from different organizations across the Twin Cities, and is excited for a promising year to come! After a trip to Northern Shore of Minnesota when she was 10, she fell in love with nature and all of its bounties. She began a Green Team in her high school this year, and leads it with two of her peers. Interested in activism, she joined YEA! MN in 2018, and is also associated with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light and iMatter. She loves live music, biking and traveling.

Deja Woods (Social Media & Communications Intern)
Freshman, Cristo Rey High School

Deja loves to let her voice be heard. She is a big football and basketball fan. Her favorite color is yellow because she’s a bright and intelligent person. She is down to seek new things and share it on social media. Deja   stands up for what she thinks is right. She heard about Climate Generation from the Youth Climate Kickoff. She is involved in the ICC club at her school which is basically an environmental club. Some of her hobbies are watching football, watching basketball, coloring, and traveling.