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Palo Alto Youth Council

Become and advocate for your community 

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The Palo Alto Youth Council (PAYC) is a group of 15-20 highly dedicated high school students who serve as youth ambassadors to the City Council. Their purpose is to foster communications and connections between teens and the greater Palo Alto community. To achieve its mission statement, PAYC is actively engaged in the community and identifies and addresses the key concerns that teenagers face.

Some of the programs PAYC has implemented in recent years include the 'Escaping Vaping', 'College Admissions after COVID', 'Finals Study Cram Slam', 'Palopalooza', as well as teen surveys and community service events. The PAYC is a great opportunity for high school students to conduct themselves as professionals and grants them the freedom to take on active leadership roles.


To become a member of the Palo Alto Youth Council, submit a completed application via online form. Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled with enthusiastic and eligible candidates. Applicants will be required to attend an interview with the nominating committee. Applications, including a letter of recommendation and video, will be accepted NO LATER than Friday, August 19, 2022, at 11:59 pm. Please note that the application must be complete in order to be considered for membership. 

Returning members are exempt from providing a Letter of Recommendation, and their previous term's contribution will be used instead.

PAYC meets Tuesdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Mitchell Park Community Center. For questions or more information, please contact

Staff Liaison:

Chris Penaranda -

Meet The Team


My name is Julia Zeitlin, and I am a junior at Castilleja. I am so excited to address the issues of climate change and youth mental health as the President of the PAYC for the 2022-23 school year. I love playing tennis and walking my two dogs!

Julia Zeitlin

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My name is Paul! I am a senior at Crystal Springs Uplands School. In my free time, I love to read sci-fi books, work on Data Science projects, and play squash. I am excited to create meaningful impact for our community through the PAYC this year!

Paul Cherian
Vice President

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My name is Olivia Chiang and I am a sophomore at The Nueva School. I look forward to serving as the  Palo Alto Youth Council’s secretary this year. I am passionate about bridging political divides, bonding the Palo Alto community, and providing education resources. I also enjoy dancing, public forum debate, and Mongolian barbecue. 

Kayley Spencer

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My name is Natya Chandrasekar and I am a sophomore at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. I am so excited to be a Public Informations Officer on the Palo Alto Youth Council for the 2022-2023 year. I can't wait to contribute to positive change in Palo Alto! In my free time, I love singing, playing tennis, and spending time with family and friends. 

Natya Chandrasekar
Public Information Officer

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Hi! My name is Olivia Chiang and I am a junior at The Nueva School. I am serving as a Palo Alto Youth Council public information officer. This year, I am excited to work closely with the City Council to address mental health concerns, bridge political divides, boost civic engagement, and encourage Palo Alto community bonding. I am also passionate about music, public forum debate, and Mongolian barbeque. I look forward to a great year. 

Olivia Chiang
Public Information Officer

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My name is Natalie Goler and I'm a Sophomore at Castilleja in Palo Alto. This is my second year as a member of the Palo Alto Youth Council, and I'm excited to continue planning fun events. In my spare time, I love to go on runs, and watch Parks and Rec.

Natalie Goler

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My name is Jillian and I’m a junior at Castilleja. I’m so excited to be on PAYC this year and work on issues relating to civil engagement! In my free time I love to horseback ride and bake. 

Jillian Ascher

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Hi! I’m Simone Batra, and I’m a new member of the PAYC! I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful community assisting other teens. In my time on the council, I will to forge a relationship between schools and our organization, promoting outreach and raising awareness of important issues teens face today!

Simone Batra

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Hi, I'm Connor, a sophomore at Ocean Grove Charter School.  This is my first year at PAYC, and I'm really excited to be making an impact and spreading love across Palo Alto!  In my free time, I love to play the violin, study competitive chemistry, and play soccer.

Connor Chin

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My name is Monica Sidana and I am a senior at Castilleja School. This year, I hope to strengthen the relationship between local government and the teen community. In my free time, I enjoy watching Warriors and Giants games and spending time with friends and family.

Monica Sidana

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Hello, I’m Matthew Lee, a junior at Woodside Priory School. I’m thrilled to be a part of the PAYC this year, and most excited to help tackle teen mental health issues. 

Matthew Lee

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My name is Jade Rothbaum, and I'm a freshman at Palo Alto Senior High School. I look forward to working on bringing social emotional learning programs specifically addressing the impact of the pandemic on the teens of Palo Alto.

Jade Rothbaum

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My name is Amelia Yuan, and I'm a freshman at Castilleja School. I'm so excited to be a member of the PAYC for the 2022-2023 year and help enact change for teens in Palo Alto. In my free time, I love reading, baking, and spending time in the pool playing water polo or swimming.

Amelia Yuan

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My name is Joshua Kao and I am a sophomore at Palo Alto High School. I'm passionate about bringing  change to a more inclusive, understanding, bonded, and warm community in Palo Alto. In my free time I like to play basketball, play guitar, and meditate!

Joshua Kao

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My name is Mallika Patel. I am a Sophomore at Castilleja high school, and I have lived in Palo Alto my whole life. I am truly delighted to be a part of the Palo Alto youth council this year. I can't wait to make an impact through fun social events, youth/city bonding, engaging discussions, and more. In my free time, I enjoy playing club soccer, debating, and exploring new local restaurants all while hanging out with friends and family. 

Mallika Patel

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My name is Anthony Ho and I am a junior at Gunn High School. I am so excited to serve as the Palo Alto Youth Council's liaison this year and look forward to contributing to our community. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, playing piano, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family!

Anthony Ho


My name is Leo Fiedel, and I'm a freshman at Gunn High School. I'm excited to be a part of the Palo Alto Youth Council and look forward to addressing pressing issues in our community! In my free time, I like to read, explore, and relax with friends.

Leo Fidel

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Hi! My name is Siyona Dhingra and I'm a sophomore at Gunn High School. I'm super excited to help address all the concerns and challenges that the Palo Alto teen community faces. I'm looking forward to a great and productive year with PAYC. During my free time, I enjoy reading, singing, playing volleyball, and hanging out with my dog, Oscar!

Siyona Dhingra

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Hi, I'm Melinda Huang and I am a sophomore at Gunn High School. I am super excited to work on PAYC events that addresses issues affecting teens and build community between the City Council and youth in Palo Alto. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball, baking and travelling. 

Melinda Huang

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Hi! I'm Toni Minion and I'm a Junior at Gunn. I'm super excited to get engaged and make an impact in my community through PAYC this year! 

Toni Minion



Keerath Pujji



Anika Raffle

2022 2023 PAYC MEMBERS

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