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About Us

Young American Policy Advocates (YAPA) is a student driven organization that empowers young Americans to help improve policies that affect them and help people around them through in-depth research and advocacy.


Although many high school students understand how the federal government operates on a basic level, students often don’t know how the local and state level governments work; however, we believe that focusing on the local level of government is the most important because they affect the daily lives of all people. 

We seek to connect young Americans with local policymakers to help them learn first-hand what it takes to make better policies. We also seek to connect young Americans with local nonprofits and community leaders to help them learn first-hand how to advocate for better policies.

​We are non-partisan. We wish to educate young Americans to embrace diverse cultures and diverse points of views.

Our Leadership Team


About Liang

Liang is a changemaker. She advocated for parents on school issues and eventually brought a change in leadership in Cupertino Union School District to be more open to parents’ and teachers’ concerns. Through grassroots campaigning, she motivated citizens to take charge of the course of Cupertino’s future though initiatives, referenda and elections. Liang earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Princeton University and taught in Iowa State University for 4 years. After moving to Silicon Valley, her work focused on optimizing compilers for hardware accelerators for central processing units in mobile phones and computers. Recently, she advises companies on technical trends for internet-of-things, maker movement, and artificial intelligence for education products.

Liang-Fang Chao

Cupertino Council Memeber

About Sophia

Sophia Kao is a social entrepreneur and Board Trustee for Saratoga Union School District. She held various engineering and management positions for High Tech companies before discovering her passion for youth development and education innovation. She is a leader and advocate for learning innovation with a focus on 21st-century skills, and has been building and serving on various education startups and community non-profit organizations for the past two decades. She co-founded YAPA to promote civic education and engagement for the next generation.

Sophia Kao

SUSD Board Member

About Allen

Allen Su is a first year student at UCLA who is studying Economics and Public Affairs. He works with political campaigns and debates competitively. Allen co-founded YAPA because he wanted to educate high schoolers about local government. Despite the fact that local government affects our daily lives and play a major role in implementing most state and federal decisions, not enough people teach about how local governments function. Allen hopes to engage younger generations to solve problems and advocate for themselves and for other people.

Allen Su

UCLA Undergraduate

Student Officers

Bennie Chang


Nelson Mu


Henry Shi

Vice President of PR

Andrew Lu

Vice President of Programs

Advisors, Speakers, and Guests

  • Ro Khanna: US Congressman

  • John Pimental: Entrepreneur, Founder of Common Sense Party

  • Henry Yin: President, APAPA Bay Area Region

  • Albert Wang: Chairman, APAPA Bay Area Region

  • Eleanor Yick: Former President, League of Women Voter Southwest Santa Clara Valley

  • Charles Liu: President, Citizens for Better Community (CBC)

  • Cheryl Cook-Kallio: National board member for the Center for Civic Education, Pleasanton formal mayor

  • Gilbert Wong: Cupertino former mayor, Trustee Foothill-De Anza Community College

  • Jerry Liu: Trustee of Cupertino School board

  • Nancy Smith: Sunnyvale City Council

  • Michael Goldman: Sunnyvale City Council

  • Peter Kuo: Vice-Chair, CA Republican Party

  • Michael Tsai: Trustee, Milpitas School board

  • Felix Wu: Campaign strategist

  • George Yang: Chair, Menlo Park Sister City Committee 

  • Hung Wei: formal board member, Fremont Union High School District

  • Susan Landry: Campbell Vice Mayor

  • Rahul Vasanth: Cupertino Library Commissioner, delegate of Santa Clara County Democratic Party

  • Ava Chiao: high school teacher, delegate in teacher’s union. 

  • Ruhua You: mechanical engineer manager, for renewable energy, Fremont High PTA, board of Silicon Valley Chinese Association

  • Eugene Bradley: founder, Silicon Valley Transit User Group

  • Liana Crabtree: Chair, Cupertino Library Commission

Teaching Fellows

  • Allen Su: UCLA student

  • Brian Gao: Monta Vista High School Senior

  • Iris Zhao: Columbia University student 

  • Felix Wu: Campaign Strategist

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