The Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board supports the Steve Fund’s programs, initiatives, and outreach efforts nationwide. Youth Advisory Board members promote the importance of education about mental health and emotional well-being and help young people of color access resources on college and university campuses and within their respective communities. They advise on all Steve Fund efforts; help maximize the Fund’s impact among young people of color; help create innovative strategy; and connect their peers to mental health resources. Youth Advisory Board member serve as ambassadors and leaders. In partnership, they work with one another to create, implement, launch, and engage.

You can read more about the Youth Advisory Board in the PDF packet to the right.

The application period for joining theYouth Advisory Board is currently closed. Please check back in August 2016 for opportunities to apply in the Fall.

Youth Advisory Board
Roles & Responsibilities Packet

Download as PDF file

Meet the Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board

Jonea Ahouissoussi

Jonea Ahouissoussi

Jonea Ahouissoussi
University of Virginia, 2017

Jonea Ahouissoussi is a senior at the University of Virginia, majoring in Women Gender and Sexuality and minoring in Sociology. She has grown up in Benin, located in West Africa and is deeply interested in how mental health issues relate to the African communities. She has seen how issues surrounding mental health are often a taboo topic in African communities. She hopes to learn more about how mental health issues relate to people of color and especially within the African community. This year Jonea became the Co-Student Director of Project Rise, an initiative focused on helping African-American students with social, personal, and academic issues, ultimately aiming to improve mental health. Jonea is also the founder of Success at SEA, an intervention created under Project Rise, focused on providing students with social, emotional, and academic support during their transition from college to post-graduation. Jonea is excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Fund to raise awareness of mental health related issues and continue making a difference.

Stephen Berkemeier

Stephen Berkemeier

Stephen Berkemeier
University of Michigan, 2017

Stephen Berkemeier is a Senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in psychology. He is passionate about mental health research, and has been a member of the Gender and Health Research Lab and the University of Michigan school of social work for nearly three years. Stephen has been with the Steve fund for over a year and has helped lead the social media outreach for the fund during this time, as well as assist with numerous other projects. He is excited to continue his work with the Steve Fund, and is striving to contribute to the development of new programs and initiatives for changing the academic climate surrounding students of color.

Sonia Doshi

Sonia Doshi

Sonia Doshi
University of Michigan, 2016

“Leadership to me is empowering others to make an impact. It’s having a voice for a group of people or a cause and fostering an environment that allows those people to grow and have their own voices. It’s about thinking creatively about a problem and creating energy around its solution.”

Sonia Doshi is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Information, focusing in User Experience Design. Beginning this Fall 2016, Sonia will be attending Stanford University to receive her Masters of Education in the Learning, Design, and Technology program. While at Michigan, she worked as a Research Study Coordinator for a mental health research team and led several advocacy initiatives for college student mental health. For this work, she received the Jed Foundation’s 2015 Student Voice of Mental Health award. Because of her academic interests, Sonia is particularly drawn to the Steve Fund’s emphasis on the empowerment of young students of color and the advocacy of their mental health through technology. As a woman of color and incoming graduate student, she is incredibly excited about being on the Youth Advisory Board to continue to create change in mental health, now in a new student community and through an important lens of diversity.

Yasmine Edge

Yasmine Edge

Yasmine Edge
Agnes Scott College, 2017

“Leadership to me is being told no many times and still finding the courage to do what you’ve been trying to anyways.”

Yasmine Edge is currently a junior at Agnes Scott College, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Women’s Studies. Being a student of color who has a mental disorder and seeing the need for healing spaces for students of color which counter the stigma of mental disorders for people of color at her college, she founded the Scotties of Color: Healing Circle. While this circle has been very beneficial to the participants at Agnes Scott, it is important to create this type of space on other college campuses as well. That’s where Yasmine comes in.

Jeulani Gahiji

Jeulani Gahiji

Jeulani Gahiji
Northern Michigan University, 2016

“A leader is someone who can mold and encourage their followers to put their best foot forward at all times and also be that example that people need to see.”
Jeulani (Lani) Gahiji is a senior studying Entrepreneurship at Northern Michigan University. What interests her most about joining the YAB is the fact that she will be doing work to help people overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. Education on mental illness is imperative in the process for helping all who may be affected by it. Historically, many families of color do not provide the support necessary for people living with mental illness and her hope is that the work she will do encourages more people of color to be accepting and aid in the promotion of mental health and well-being within our communities.

Eileen Kao

Eileen Kao

Eileen Kao
Boston College, 2018

“To face everything alone doesn’t always mean you’re strong—it is okay to find strength in others.”

News article by Eileen Kao: But Wait, Asians Don’t Get Depression

Eileen Kao is currently a sophomore at Boston College studying English and minoring in American Studies and Medical Humanities. Her inspiration for joining the Steve Fund lies in the passion that she has for students who struggle with mental health since she believes that no one should be afraid of reaching out to others in order to conquer their mental health problems. She believes that if everyone had a strong support system beginning at a young age that this will lead to a stronger and healthier population which is why she is excited to be able to be part of the Advisory Board.

Seher Raza

Seher Raza

Seher Raza
University of Virginia, 2017

Seher Raza is a senior at the University of Virginia, majoring in Psychology. She is currently in the Distinguished Majors Program, developing her own research study in the Social Psychology Wilson Lab to learn more about mental thought processes. Seher became passionate about mental health at a very young age after coming face-to-face with a variety of mental health illnesses that run in her family. She recalls that it was hard to understand these mental health issues when it wasn’t talked about in her family and terms such as “depression” were constantly denied. As a kid she made some juvenile attempts to provide others with support such as writing a “positive thinking” guide accompanied with crayon-pictures and then creating her own advice column on the Internet. Since then, she has had the opportunity to become a part of various established mental health initiatives at college, most notably becoming the Co-Student Direction of Project Rise, an organization aimed specifically at providing African-American students with mental health-related interventions. Through Project Rise, Seher created her own intervention called Write Direction that focuses on aiding students mentally and academically through focused writing activities.

Ultimately, Seher hopes to work in a counseling-related career to continue providing support to individuals in the domain of mental health. She is passionate about how mental health relates to people of color and defeating negative stereotypes that are associated with mental health such as the ones she has witnessed in her own South Asian, Pakistani, household. Using her personal experiences as a drive, Seher is excited to provide a lasting impact through working with the Youth Advisory Fund.

Tamara Simpson

Tamara Simpson

Tamara Simpson
Yale University, 2018

“It’s ok, to not be ok. You are loved.”

Tamara Simpson is a rising Junior at Yale University. Growing up in an African American household, mental illness was treated as a taboo subject and rarely addressed, leading her to doubt it’s significance and validity. However, it wasn’t until she took an introductory psychology class freshman year, an eye-opening experience, that she realized the importance and dangers of mental illness. This ultimately inspired her to major in psychology in order to become more educated. The Steve Fund particularly peaked her interest because she knows first hand what it is like to grow up in a minority household that devalues mental illness and has always feared for those who were/are in the same situation, who actually struggle with a disorder. With the help of the Steve Fund she hope to help educated and give resources to those minority communities with the hope of changing mental health stigma.

Alexandra Leavitt

Alexandra Leavitt

Alexandra Leavitt
Calhoun School, 2016

Alexandra Leavitt is a rising senior at the Calhoun School in Manhattan, New York. At Calhoun, Alexandra has organized and facilitated discussions about racial discrimination in New York City high schools, sexual assault on college campuses, and gender identity. She is excited to support the Steve Fund as it promotes the mental health and emotional support students of color deserve. She hopes that her work with the Steve Fund will create more opportunities for students of color everywhere. Additionally, Alexandra wants to provide a high school perspective.

Alejandra Vaca

Alejandra Vaca

Alejandra Vaca
San Francisco State University, 2016

“In essence, I feel that leadership opportunities provide individuals the tools to contribute to their communities, as well as the tools to enhance their own self-worth, resilience, and efficacy.”

Alejandra Vaca graduated from San Francisco State University in May 2016 with a B.S. in Health Education. What greatly inspires her about the Steve Fund is the organization’s mission to promote the mental health and well-being of students of color–while empowering these same students with the leadership tools needed to make positive social change in their community. As a first-generation college student with Mexican-American roots, she is excited and honored to provide my perspective the Youth Advisory Board. She hopes to serve as a positive agent of change in the mental health community.

Jillian Woodard

Jillian Woodard

Jillian Woodard
Spelman College, 2018

“Your struggle does not define you!”

Jillian Woodard is a rising junior at Spelman College in Atlanta. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics with a double minor in Spanish and Management & Organization as she desires to work in the field of marketing. Jillian is very passionate about issues of mental health in the African – American community as she assists in several events on her campus to raise funds for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). In particular, Jillian is drawn to the Steve Fund because of its close connection to her family. She was inspired by the Rose family for using their own traumatic moment to help raise awareness and assist others. Jillian is very excited to be joining the YAB where her passions for helping youth, serving her community, and raising mental health awareness can all be combined.

Steve Fund Youth Advisory Board Leaders

Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams
Chair, Youth Advisory Board

Alexandra Williams is a senior at Yale University majoring in political science with a concentration in urban studies. She serves as the National Youth Adviser of the Steve Fund and oversees the development and activities of the Youth Advisory Board and directs other youth engagement initiatives. Having worked with the Steve Fund for nearly two years, Alex has witnessed it’s massive growth in capacity and impact under the Rose family leadership and is constantly inspired by the organization’s commitment to supporting the mental and emotional well being of students of color. She is excited to work with the Youth Advisory Board to create meaningful programs that will reshape the institutional landscape of mental health services and support available at colleges, universities, and society at large for young people of color.

Jason Bell Rose

Jason Bell Rose

Jason Bell Rose
Co-Chair, Youth Advisory Board

Jason Bell Rose, co-chair, Youth Advisory Board, is the brother of Stephen C. Rose and a freshman at Harvard University. Jason is passionate about advocating for quality mental-health awareness and services within the community of young people of color.  Jason focuses on communications for the Fund, bringing forward the voices of students, conference attendees, and participating scholars.

Matthew Branch

Matthew Branch

Matthew Branch
Advisor

Matthew Branch is an Educator and Arts Administrator with a passion for social justice and a strong interest in community building. He is currently serving as Coordinator for Student Activities and Orientation at Brown University, where he advises and advocates for over one hundred student groups and is a key member of the planning committee for undergraduate Orientation. Matt is passionate about supporting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students on university campuses and is committed to creating equity for students who hold marginalized identities. Issues of mental health and emotional wellness for young people of color are extremely personal for Matt as a cousin of Steve Rose. He is honored to be able to join the Rose family and The Steve Fund as they promote the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.