Meet the 2019 Delegates!

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Grace Doleshel

Grace is a 17 year old high school senior who is very passionate about environmental advocacy. She has been involved in conservation for four years, starting as a youth volunteer for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA). As a senior zoo guide for PDZA, Grace oversees multiple conservation projects including fundraisers for endangered species and a plastic free lifestyle initiative, mentors other youth volunteers, and educates the general public on conservation issues in the wild.  She has represented PDZA as a youth speaker at many events including at the University of Washington, the Puget Sound Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and the Washington State Capitol.

She has also lobbied for and helped pass various environmental bills including a ban on single use plastic bags and straws, a 100% renewable energy bill, and a bill to enhance wildlife trafficking laws in the state of Washington.  Grace is also a member of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council as well as the advocacy coordinator for the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit where she works to connect youth from around the country and involve them in political based ocean advocacy.  Grace will be attending Oregon State University in the fall as an environmental policy and sustainability major and hopes to continue to help amplify young voices within important conservation movements.

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Jackie Noval

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Noval is a Senior and she will graduate from South Broward High School (Hollywood, Florida) where she is president and co-founder of C.O.R.A.L. (Conserving Our Reefs at Artificial Levels) Club. Jacquelyn has partnered with Coral Restoration Foundation to pursue coral restoration through a $50,000 Disney grant with C.O.R.A.L. Club. Through this grant, her C.O.R.A.L. members will become Scuba-Certified with the Girl Scouts of S.E. Florida and hold a PADI coral restoration certification. Additionally, the grant will fund travel to educational ocean/environment summits in several states to discuss climate change with students and legislators nationally.

Jacquelyn is also the president of Mu Alpha Theta, a Math Honor Society, and a Cambridge International AICE Merit Scholar and Diploma recipient. Jacquelyn is a presenter at the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and Youth Climate Summit, advocating for the protection of coral reefs through education, conservation and presentation. Jacquelyn is also an active member of the City of Hollywood's Environmental Sustainability Committee (Green Team), where she partners with city officials and local legislators to ensure the city is utilizing its natural resources efficiently and sustainably. She has participated in many environmental summits and festivals where she holds a booth for C.O.R.A.L. and engages the community in hands-on educational activities: Environmental Art Seas Festival (2018 & 2019), Heal the Planet (2018 & 2019), Art Sea Festival Miami (2018), Broward County Youth Climate Summit (2019), Miami’s Youth Climate Summit (2019), and Reef Futures 2018 Science Symposium.


Victoria Martens

Victoria is a conservation leader from Illinois who believes in the importance of inland action for coastal communities. She is part of her school’s environmental club, for which she plans to run for president next year. In this club, Victoria, along with other environmentally motivated students, works every year to advance conservation initiatives at her school and plans an annual earth field trip to educate local elementary students about the environment. Victoria helped create elementary school curriculum aimed at educating children about bees and pollinators. Victoria is also creating her school’s first science-focused club. Victoria cares deeply about the environment, and has assisted her local college’s environmental center in a population count of mussels along a riverbank, while occasionally volunteering at the center.  She’s also been working with this center to document local bird species and is working to create a spot for local birdwatchers to document their findings. Victoria was a winner of a grant (accessed through the group Griptape) to pursue projects in the field of sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Her passion for conservation has led her to conduct an independent conservation study with her school, which she has been working on for several months.


Apurva Iyengar

Apurva Iyengar is a junior at Montgomery High School in New Jersey. Having spent most of her life, prior to moving to New Jersey, living in Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan, she has a profound appreciation for how interdependent the health of Earth’s water systems are, inspiring her passion for both marine and freshwater conservation. In addition to interning with a political organization in nearby Somerset County and teaching part-time at a local art institution, The Art Academy of Hillsborough, Apurva serves as the Outreach Officer for the Princeton chapter of the environmental advocacy non-profit Sunrise Movement. With support from Sunrise, she is also currently leading a campaign to petition the Montgomery Township Committee to support the federal Green New Deal and implement a plan to address climate change at a community level. This coming fall, Apurva is planning the launch of a student initiative against the excessive use of disposable plastic at her high school, advocating instead for more sustainable alternatives such as paper-based and bioplastic products, as well as a more widespread recycling program. She hopes to spread this initiative to nearby schools and raise greater awareness of this issue in the future. In her spare time, Apurva is a member of both academic and artistic National Honor Societies at her school, as well as Editor of her high school’s annually published Literary Magazine and an accomplished Indian Classical dancer.

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Akhila Bandlora

Akhila Bandlora, a rising senior, is an environmental activist from Phoenix, Arizona. Growing up in a landlocked state, it was difficult for her to understand the magnitude and severity of ocean pollution given her lack of educational exposure to it. However, after doing extensive research on ocean policy and issues for her poetry submission to fromthebowseat’s art and writing competition, she finally grasped our oceans’ devastating state of affairs. In 2018, Akhila won fromthebowseat’s gold award for poetry, and officially began her environmental activism. Her work includes helping organize Arizona’s Youth Climate Strike, serving as a Creative Writing Finalist for the Genius Olympiad, and joining Earthecho International’s Ambassadorship Program. Additionally, Akhila’s delved deeper into environmental justice, realizing how the pursuit of environmental rights is often synonymous with social and racial justice. Further, she believes one of the most effective ways young people can get involved in their community and amplify their activism is through art. To this end, she co-founded and currently co-runs Creative Youth of Arizona, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities and community to creatively motivated teens in Arizona. Likewise, she co-launched Phoenix’s Youth Laureate Poet Laureate Program, in which one teen will serve as a literary ambassador for Phoenix. Although Akhila hasn’t had access to the ocean in a physical sense, she acknowledges the collective and geographically indiscriminate action necessary to stop its destruction.


Bryant Jew

Bryant Jew is a 4th year Marine Biology major and Science Education minor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Bryant has always been passionate about the ocean, and his work in ocean conservation began with volunteering in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Teen Conservation Leaders program. As both an employee and volunteer at the aquarium, Bryant worked to share his love of the ocean and gained a strong passion for conservation work. This led him to help maintain his high school’s Student Environmental Action Society. When he got to college, he knew he wanted to continue environmental activism, and joined the Student Sustainability Collective (SSC). As an intern for the SSC, Bryant worked on the plastic water bottle ban campaign, and UCSD’s Fossil Free UC campaign, working to help the UC Board of Regents divest the UC System’s endowment from fossil fuel corporations. As a Director the following year, he helped collaborate with local environmental groups to bring community choice energy to San Diego, putting energy decisions in the hands of San Diegans, and helping the city to achieve the goals outlined in its Climate Action Plan. In addition, he helped lead that year’s San Diego People’s Climate March, working with SD As Director of Energy and Waste, Bryant has worked to establish a composting program at UCSD’s dining halls which is expanding to 7 more dining locations on campus.


Rachel Fink

Rachel Fink, a seventeen-year-old activist from Baltimore, uses and encourages the voices of young people across her city to speak up about many social and environmental justice issues. Over the past three years, working in the National Aquarium’s “Aquarium On Wheels” program, Rachel has taken part in initiatives to teach science lessons in after-school programs in middle schools throughout Baltimore, perform conservation-themed plays to children in Public Libraries, and facilitate youth conferences and summits, like YOCS, MAYA, and UCAN. Along with this, as a fellow of the Baltimore Youth Film Arts program, Rachel has created many independent short-films and documentaries, focusing mainly on climate change and social justice. Rachel believes that our greatest weapon is the ability to communicate, and strives to strengthen this capability through acquisition of new languages, filmmaking, debate, and writing. Most recently winning The Baldwin Prize for a paper on sexism in schools, Rachel works tirelessly to improve her ability to share ideas and experiences with greater audiences, in the hopes of inspiring grand social change. In her free time, Rachel trains as an aerial dancer, and paints with her dad.