The Iowa Student Learning Institute (IowaSLI) was founded in the spring of 2013 by high school students Ian Coon and Jack Hostager after being inspired by their experiences at EdCampIowa. The organization is led by a group of Iowa high school students and supported by a board of passionate educators. IowaSLI is dedicated to revolutionizing student voice in Iowa's K-12 education system. Through events and online networking, the organization will bring together students, educators, and community leaders from all over Iowa to improve education by empowering students with a voice.
The structure of IowaSLI demands that students are the stakeholders that operate the organization through committees of marketing, event planning, fundraising, and visioning. Students are hands-on gaining soft skill experience from being a part of the IowaSLI student leadership team.
The government says IowaSLI needs an adult or two involved so we follow the law. Adults play a key role on the Board of Directors, Visionary team and spread sparsely through the three committees as facilitators that can share advice, connections, and step in if redirection is ever needed.
Our passionate team of students and educators work to ensure every
student's voice is heard.
Board of Directors
Jaden Deal (He, Him, His) serves as the current President of IowaSLI for the 2018-19 school year. Jaden is a current senior at Norwalk High School and has been advocating on the behalf of students by working with his local school board, the Iowa Legislature and Student Voice. Jaden’s commitment to giving students a voice is also reflected in his involvement on youth boards and committees.
To better educate youth around the country, Jaden is also helping in the creation of a curriculum focused on civic power with Citizen University’s Youth Power Program. In early 2018, Jaden worked with his school board to pass a policy allowing student representatives on the board. One of Jaden’s current projects is focused on a statewide mandate for student representatives on school boards.
Jaden is excited to empower other students around the state and help them find their own voices. When he isn’t working for his peers, Jaden enjoys playing trumpet in his school’s band, travelling to see friends and going to political events.
Rohan Gupta (He, Him, His) serves as the current Director of Operations and Human Resources. Rohan is a current freshman at Iowa State University, studying Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering. Rohan has made it his goal to be a leader in his community and to promote the concept of student voice by meeting with influential leaders such as Apple CEO, Tim Cook.
Rohan is excited to spread the ideas of the student voice movement and to empower students to speak up for what they believe in. He’s excited to connect with other student leaders at his school and from around the nation. When Rohan isn’t dedicating his time to IowaSLI, you’ll often find him watching Marvel movies, eating Taquitos, hanging out with friends, and attending social action events.
Ana Eagan (She, Her, Hers) is currently serving as the Vice President of IowaSLI for the 2018-19 school year. Ana is a Senior at Norwalk High School and will also serve as the Senior Class President. Her experiences in Student Council and aspirations to become a future teacher have inspired her involvement in the Student Voice movement.
In her high school career, Ana has advocated for students in Student Council through a Student Relations Committee. This committee’s work focused on communication between students and administration in her school. Ana has also spoken at rallies at her school, using her voice to advocate for different issues that are important to her and others.
Ana is thrilled to be working with some amazing Student Leaders this year to further spread the Student Voice Movement across Iowa. When she’s not advocating for her peers, Ana enjoys performing in the Norwalk Color Guard, playing her flute, and playing tennis with friends.
Hannah Hoth (She, Her, Hers) is serving as the Events Manager and is a Senior Advisor for the Iowa Student Learning Institute team. As a current Junior at the University of Northern Iowa and 2016 alumni of Waukee High School, Hannah is not only looking to share the idea of student voice with younger students but also students at the post-secondary level as well. Hannah has been with the organization from the start of 2012 and looks forward every year to see how the organization grows.
With the goals of spreading student voice to students, Hannah has a passion for doing this through the events that IowaSLI puts on annually. These events have led her to meet some influential people like Mary Beth Tinker, past and current Governors of Iowa, Ivanka Trump, and many more. Her work has also sent her to Facebook HQ to the Connecting Communities of Courage conference and the Youth Activation Summit. In the upcoming year, her goals will be no different as she encourages as many students and educators as possible to join the movement.
When Hannah is not working on IowaSLI projects, she is hanging out with friends and family, boating, traveling the world and working as a Part-Time Student at John Deere. Being in college has allowed Hannah to bring a different view and perspective to the organization. Hannah can't wait to see the progress this next school year brings.
Megan Ford (She, Her, Hers) is currently serving as the Power of Voice Director for IowaSLI for the 2018-19 school year. Megan is a junior at Saydel High School in Des Moines. She hopes to teach students from all across Iowa not only the power of their voice, but the importance of it.
To spread the importance of student voice, Megan works with students across many locations and organizations. Teaching students the power of their voice has been one of the most rewarding experiences of Megan’s high school career and she hopes to continue doing so throughout the remainder of her high school career. In the future, Megan plans to attend a four year university and major in political science.
Besides teaching students the power of their voice, Megan participates in many other activities such as band, mock trial, robotics, and 4-H.
Contact Jaden at
Contact Rohan at
Contact Ana at
Contact Hannah at
Contact Megan at
Samantha Davis (She, Her, Hers) serves as the executive editor of IowaSLI for the year of 2018-19 school year. Sami is currently a sophomore at the University Of Northern Iowa studying criminology.
Before joining the team as our Executive Editor, Sami had been involved with IowaSLI for the past four years. She came to the RISE conference every year, learning how to educate others about hard to talk about topics, such as sexual assault and suicide awareness. Sami has written articles for her school's newspaper and is an active part of several on-campus organizations such as MHS (Mental Health Society), Big Brother/Sister and the Volunteer Club. Sami graduated from the Army National Guard basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) with honors and was enlisted for two years before returning to Iowa to attend college.
Sami is passionate about reaching out to others and letting them know that they have a voice. Some of her favorite things to do outside of IowaSLI is swim, spend time with friends and family, and binge watch Netflix.
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Elicia Hoth (She, Her, Hers) will be the Director of Development for the IowaSLI team. Elicia is a current senior at Waukee High School and is searching for where she would like to continue her education. As her final year in high school comes to a close, Elicia is excited to promote student voice to her peers, as she believes it's never too late to make an impact in school.
Throughout her high school career, Elicia has been involved with volleyball, soccer, track team, the silver cord program, and IowaSLI. She has found a passion in helping others find their voice through whatever their passion is. As the Director of Development, Elicia will help raise funds and bring new opportunities to the IowaSLI team.
When she's not studying or volunteering in her local community, Elicia likes to watch Netflix, boat, hang out with friends and draw. Elicia is excited to create new experiences for students and witness the growth that IowaSLI is bound for.
Contact Elicia at
Kate Dressel (She, Her, Hers) serves as the Director of Communications for IowaSLI for the 2018-19 school year. Kate is a current Junior at Waukee High School and Waukee APEX Associate. She hopes to use her role in the organization to advocate for all youth who feel their voices have been ignored.
Throughout her life, Kate has been inspired to be a leader in the student voice movement; from speaking at school board meetings in middle school to creating a petition to allow tag at recess in third grade, she has always been passionate about empowering the voices of those unheard. Recognizing the importance of student voices, Kate is active in promoting safety in schools and plans to coordinate student action against gun violence in Iowa.
When she isn’t advocating for her peers, Kate can be found participating in speech team, model UN, or campaigning for her favorite electoral candidates. In her limited free time, she enjoys reading, rock climbing, and playing with her two dogs, Libby and Nugget.