Executive Team

Board of Directors

Leadership at Civic Onward is comprised of passionate, youth leaders that seek to bring political education through discourse. The team has exceptional experience in Gen Z politics and hopes to bring civic education onward.


Dylan Vergara (he/him)

Founder and Executive Director

Dylan Vergara is a Senior at Chaminade College Preparatory that hopes to study Political Science in college. On top of his work at Civic Onward, he was the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Unlock the Grid, a national advocacy organization dedicated to bipartisanship, and is currently the Board Chairperson of the Coalition at the Institute for Youth in Policy. He is also the Director of Community at Our National Conversation where he spearheads all College, High School, and Action Network Initiatives. Additionally, he is the Chief Intern for the Shelter and Infrastructure team in the Solve LA Homelessness Project. At Civic Onward, as the Executive Director, he manages the day to day operations of the organization and establishes partnerships with other organizations. Dylan likes to research education policy and is interested in systematic issues of oppression.

Elias Chane (he/him)

Executive Advisor

Elias (Eli) Chane is a current senior at Menlo-Atherton High School in the San Francisco Bay Area. Aside from his position at Civic Onward, he is a member of a Congressional Student Advisory Board, a member of the Jewish Student Union Leadership Institute, and an intern for a Political Action Committee called Innovators for Democracy. In the 2020 election, he was a Youth Activist Campaign Coordinator with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo's reelection campaign, and an intern for Innovators of Biden, a DNC based group supporting then candidate Biden's Presidential Campaign. As an advisor, he provides support and advice wherever it is needed.

Emile Shah (she/her)

Associate Executive Director of Innovation and Strategy

Emile Shah is a junior at Martin Luther King High School. She hopes to study International Relations in college. She is also the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships at Generation Up, where she advocates for educational opportunities and equality for all students. As the Innovation and Strategy Director at Civic Onward, she assists in managing the day to day operations of the organization, as well as working on new projects and ideas for the team. Emile is also interested in education and school system reform, along with international politics.

Antonio Mejia-Hernandez (he/him)

Associate Executive Director of Outreach and Finance

Antonio Mejia is a Senior at Chaminade College Preparatory who hopes to study international relations and foreign affairs in college. Along with working at Civic Onward, he has spent many years in competitive swimming and doing speeches under the categories of extemporaneous and impromptu. Coming to the US at the age of 6 from Mexico pushes him to maintain his culture alive by either by tutoring for Spanish classes or serving as secretary for the Hispanic Honors Society at school. Along with political/government interests also came the want to learn about finance an issues with modern economies. As Executive Director of Finance, he helps in organizing the department to establish and maintain the financial matters with the IRS. Antonio invests much of his time studying historical events and important figures in hopes to be better educated for any decisions in policymaking in the future.

Education Development

This department is primarily focused on creating an unbiased, loose curriculum that encourages open-minded discussions among our youth.

Emma Sellin (she/her)

Director of Educational Development

Emma Sellin is a senior at Chaminade College Preparatory. At school, she is a leader in the robotics team and became interested in politics through it, when her team participated in the 2021 FIRST National Advocacy Conference, meeting with congressmen and congresswomen to advocate for S.T.E.M. education. Emma is interested in studying engineering and pursuing patent law, and enjoys analyzing and discussing controversial issues. She is also passionate about issues of sustainability and diversity in S.T.E.M, particularly the gender gap.

Content Creation

This department is focused on creating effective and unique designs for our posts, material, events, and other content. They also handle the general branding and look of the organization. This department also researches and produces nonpartisan content and opinion pieces for our newsletters and Instagram posts.

Natalie Dionisio (she/her)

Vice President of Content Creation

Natalie Dionisio is currently a senior enrolled at Chaminade College Preparatory that hopes to study Political Science and Philosophy in college. In addition to her work at Civic Onward she is also the Head of Instagram at Unlock The Grid and an ambassador for Women In Politics. Outside of politics, Natalie also works as a youth tutor for Bored of Boredom, a non-profit student-run organization dedicated to obtaining education equality around the world. At Civic Onward, as the Director of Creation Cooperation, she manages a small team to create and release content reflective of the organization's values of bipartisanship and discourse. She hopes to make a career out of her passion for discourse and knows Civic Onward can be a source of change in our country for years to come.

Rojienne Groves (she/her)

Director of Marketing

Rojienne is a Senior at Chaminade College Preparatory that hopes to study Journalism in college. On top of her work at Civic Onward, she was the stand-in Social Media Director and member at Unlock the Grid, a national advocacy organization dedicated to bipartisanship. She also has experience with the Biden-Harris, Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff Campaigns, dedicating her junior year in high school to calling and texting voters to educate them on the importance and value of voting. At Civic Onward, as the Director of Marketing, she manages members of her team to create educational posts that inform young students, and generations to come, of important issues in our society. Rojienne is most interested in spreading social justice reform through bipartisanship as well as giving voice to the unheard

Ashley Morrow (she/her)

Director of Publishing

Ashley Morrow is a current sophomore at Viewpoint School in Southern California with a desire to study Public Policy and Political Science in college. She has worked with several political organizations, such as the Northwest Progressive Institute, as an Event Coordinator, and the youth organization Unlock the Grid as a Program Coordinator. As an intern for two progressive campaigns, she has gained experience conducting donor research, leading volunteers in voter contact efforts, and mobilizing others to create meaningful change in government. As the Director of Publishing at Civic Onward, Ashley works to develop articles, policy briefs and newsletters based on current political issues. Outside of politics, Ashley loves to run track and field and lobby for important bills and issues in her community.


This department handles our partnerships and organizes our campaigns. They work with all departments in Civic Onward and reach out to other organizations to further our goal.

Folakemi Elekolusi (she/her)

Director of Campaigns

Folakemi Elekolusi is a Junior at Harmony School of Innovation that aspires to pursue political science in college. In addition to her work as the Campaign Director at Civic Onward, she is the Chief Executive Officer of Unlock the Grid, a national advocacy organization dedicated to systemic bipartisan solutions. She serves on her Mayor's Youth Council where she represents young people all across her city. In addition, she was the Chief Innovation Officer at the Youth Passion Project, and works with Cosmos Championship as an Associate Director of the Americas. At Civic Onward, she is in charge of generating all ideas for Civic Onward online and curricular Campaigns.

Marlowe Jefferson (she/her)

Director of Partnerships

Marlowe Jefferson is a current freshman at Chaminade College Preparatory. As the director of partnerships at Civic Onward she spends her time reaching out to other organizations and forming relationships to help expand and spread our message. In addition to working with Civic Onward Marlowe participated in her school lacrosse team as the Junior Varsity captain, the school musical, and student council. In the future Marlowe hopes to study international relations and work for the United Nations.

Human Resources

This department handles internal tasks and recruitment for the organization. They coordinate with other directors to hold interviews and they also handle any internal problems that may arise.

Azarine Rushenas (she/her)

Director of Recruitment

Azarine Rushenas is a Senior at Chaminade College Preparatory who specializes in marketing and recruitment. In addition, Azarine is a member of the West Hills Neighborhood Youth Council Board, youth advocate for OCCares, a non-profit dedicated in social entrepreneurship, a student leader ambassador on school campus, and a social media representative for the performing arts department. Moreover, she has a compassion in advocating for an equal opportunity across the school board, with efforts to a musical education. As the Director of Recruitment, Azarine promotes the services and opportunities Civic Onward brings, as well as assists in strengthening the community within the organization as a whole.

Finance and Legal

This department keeps track of our finances and any legal registration. They are in charge of company outreach, grant writing, budget coordination, and fundraising.

Regina O'Brien (she/her)

Director of Finance and Legal

Regina O'Brien is a freshman at the University of North Dakota. She is studying Norwegian, International Studies, and History, with hopes for a Political Science minor and certificates in Classics and International Relations & National Security. In addition to her work at Civic Onward, she previously was the Associate Director of Grants and Company Outreach at Unlock the Grid, a bipartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to youth civic and political engagement. She currently is an active member of the UND College Republicans and enjoys pursuing her education and scholarships for the foreign affairs sector. At Civic Onward, she manages the day to day operations of the Finance Department, helping us to be fiscally responsible, while also ensuring legal maintenance and compliance. Regina likes to research other cultures, plants and their evolution, as well as the less discussed international topics related to War History and International Politics, while aspiring to be a diplomatic worker for the United States Government.


This department is in charge of all tech duties and IT management throughout the entire organization.

Ria Babaria (she/her)

Director of Technology

Ria Babaria is a junior at Riverside STEM High School that hopes to study Political Science in college. Including her work at Civic Onward, she is also the president of Riverside Unified School Districts GENup, an advocacy organization dedicated to including student voices in education. She is also the Director of Campaigns for GENup National, looking to create new initiatives for all chapters across the nation. She is an activist for Women's Rights as the Outreach Director of Women's Journey Foundation and a GEM leader for AYWIS, Alliance for Young Women in Science. She also is a member of her high school ASB, YDSA, Red Cross, and Speech and Debate team. As the Director of Technology, she works on developing the website and all tech matters for Civic Onward. She is passionate about creating an equitable and diverse education system that is accessible and inclusive for all students.