Emma Sanchez, Chair
Emma is a third year at the University of Florida majoring in International Studies. She first attended the summit as a freshman and it has played a huge role in her college experience ever since. Each summit has been a fantastic experience to meet new people and learn more about a particular issue affecting our state. It kickstarted her interest in civic engagement and public service. Emma believes what makes the summit so meaningful is that by having students from all different backgrounds around the state convene to share their stories and perspectives, it brings us closer together and gets us outside of our own heads to better listen and understand each other to improve our community.
Belle LaMontagne, Co-Chair
Hannah Townley, Director of Research
Hannah Townley is a third-year Political Science and English major, with minors in Latin American Studies and African Studies, at the University of Florida. She first attended FOF in 2019 and has been a member of the research team for the organizing committee ever since. She keeps coming back to FOF each year because it is a truly unique experience in how it teaches students about issues and shows us how to think critically about public policy drafting, analysis, and implementation. As Director of Research, she has learned so much. Her team has spent this past year exploring issues of public health, and can’t wait for attendees to engage with the policymaking and research process as well.
Leanne Dumeny, Research Team
Leanne Dumeny is an MD/PhD student at the University of Florida in the Genetics and Genomics program. Through her research, she wants to improve cardiovascular outcomes and generate high-quality, affordable, and accessible care. She is passionate about using policy development, strategy and operations, and implementation of personalized medicine to prevent disease and improve clinical care and public health. She applied to attend the 2020 Future of Florida Summit because she wanted to learn more about policy development and implementation so that she could make a greater impact in her work to improve health through research and public health policy. Leanne had such a great experience at FOF that she wanted to come back to help even more students experience how to develop and influence policy in their own disciplines.
Madison Gore, Research Team
Madison Gore is a junior at the University of Florida, studying political science, history, public leadership and Holocaust studies. This is Madison’s third year participating in FOF, and her second on the research committee. Madison loves FOF due to the connections she has been able to make, and the skills that she has gained from learning about policy.
Michelle Komisarchik, Research Team
Michelle Komisarchik is a junior at the University of Florida studying Political Science and Criminology with a Minor in Economics. She is from Miami, FL, and is interested in the intersection of law and socioeconomics. I attribute this passion to the culturally and economically diverse community I was raised in. She thinks FoF is an amazing event because it provides a space for students of various backgrounds and experiences to learn from each other and enact change. In her free time, she loves to spend time at the beach and in nature.
Kelsey Witmeier, Director of Outreach
Kelsey is the current director for the Outreach Committee with the 2020-2021 Future of Florida Conference. She is a student at the University of Florida completing both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Kelsey has a passion for mental health and parity within the health system to encompass a holistic view of health. She is also interested in reducing health disparities and making holistic care accessible. Outside of her involvement with FOF, Kelsey interns with the American Red Cross and works as a Community Health Associate at Flagler Health.
Jaylen Darling, Outreach Team
Jaylen is a junior from Palm Beach Country, Florida, studying public policy and social entrepreneurship with a minor in Chinese via the interdisciplinary social sciences program at Florida State University. On campus, Jaylen serves as the Director of Policy Analysis for the Torchlight Campus Policy Center where he works with his team to strengthen democracy amongst students at FSU. He also works part-time as an Impact Analysis Assistant at Domi Station and is a Criminal Justice Policy Intern for the Florida Police Institute. Jaylen joined the Organizing Committee for the Future of Florida Summit to provide students with the tools they need to develop critical skills like public speaking and policy formulation, and to foster a productive atmosphere of collaboration in which students feel empowered to use their voices to better the future of Florida.
Aniqa Ahmed, Outreach Team
Aniqa Ahmed is a second-year student at the University of Florida studying political science and planning to double major in public health. Aniqa has a special interest in the FOF Summit this year as it combines both of her academic interests. On campus, Aniqa serves as the co-director of Assembly for Action, is an active volunteer in the Gainesville community, and is involved with the Bob Graham Center. She has experience organizing conferences and summits for students and loved doing so for the FOF Summit this year. She loves how FOF facilitates an opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds to come together and make a tangible impact in areas that interest them.
Mia Lewis, Outreach Team
Mia Lewis is a junior at Florida State University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a minor in Urban Planning at Florida State University. At the university, she is a research assistant studying the accessibility of parks and green space for children with disabilities and is involved in the student government association senate. She loves being involved in FOF because it gives students the incredible opportunity to write policies they are truly passionate about, network, and learn about new topics.
Sarah White, Outreach Team
Sarah White is a senior in the nursing program at the University of Florida. She is originally from Chicago, IL, and plans to return to the city upon graduation. She chose to get involved in FOF because she saw it as an opportunity to use her voice in a positive light advocating for policy changes that will directly affect her future profession. She loves how this program allows students to come together from diverse backgrounds to make real change to an issue they see in our current health care system. Sarah is honored to be able to share her personal experience working in the hospital in hopes of creating solutions that will give her patients the most patient centered care our system can offer. She is excited to see the legacy FOF will make this year and appreciates that she is able to be a part of the change.
Jessica Martinez, Director of Public Relations
Jessica Martinez is a third-year Political Science and Public Relations major at the University of Florida. After having such an amazing experience as a participant in the 2019 Future of Florida Summit, she jumped at the chance to join the organizing committee this year. She loves that FOF gives students an opportunity to not only discuss challenges Florida is facing today but also brainstorm solutions. She is certain that this year’s participants will also be able to experience an educational and transformational FOF, even if it looks a little different. On campus, Jessica is also a Bob Graham Center for Public Service student fellow, a cabinet member of the Hispanic Student Association’s Office of Political Affairs and an assistant director of Engage Florida, a “think and do” tank at the University of Florida.
Emma Towler, Public Relations Team
Emma Towler is a second-year political science major at the University of Florida. She is from Jacksonville, FL. Emma got involved with FOF because she was looking for an experience that would challenge her and help her become more informed about major issues facing Florida. Emma loves how FOF brings student leaders together and creates an environment that encourages change. On campus, Emma is involved with Student Government, Keystone Florida in Florida Blue Key Divisions, Bob Graham Center Student Fellows, Pi Beta Phi, and Campus Diplomats.
Nicholas Lahera, Public Relations Team
Nicholas Lahera is a third-year student at UF working towards a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science as well as a master’s degree in Economics. He began participating in FOF his freshman year and it was one of the best decisions he has made. He got involved in FOF not knowing what he was signing up for but was intrigued by the concept of having some of the brightest minds in the state of Florida come together to create a policy that could impact their lives. FOF had an extraordinary impact on his outlook of this world and he is beyond excited to introduce this year’s participants to a program he admires.
Nikolas Bindi, Public Relations Team
Nikolas Bindi is a 4th-year mathematics and philosophy major. Last year, he was a participant at the Future of Florida Summit. Attending the summit was one of the most fulfilling experiences of his college career. He was able to learn from guest speakers, meet passionate individuals from around the state, and work on drafting a policy proposal that might one day be implemented. Following being an attendee, he knew he wanted to be involved planning the next Future of Florida Summit so he could help other students have the same amazing experience that he did, and help more students learn about and pursue a subject that matters to them