YOU GO GIRL OKLAHOMA

What is YouGoGirl OK? A nonpartisan platform for Oklahoma advocacy that aims to showcase what #OklahomaWomenDo. With curated content and events that keep you up to date on Oklahoma politics, we hope you’ll get invested in YouGoGirl OK by following our social media handles, or joining our team.

Email: yougogirloklahoma@gmail.com

Phone: (405) 355-8408

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Co-Founder

Kathryn McConnell

Since 2017

     During founder Kathryn McConnell’s junior year of high school, she was a representative on the OKC Youth Council, an intern on the “Hillary For America” campaign in Oklahoma, and a youth representative for the Women’s March on Washington. Because of her involvement in
these campaigns, and her support for feminist movements in Oklahoma, those individuals with opposing viewpoints began to harass her and her friends online, and at school. After the administration at her high school refused to help, the idea for YouGoGirl Oklahoma was created - as a safe place for girls to express their views, and to support each other. It wasn’t until she attended Oklahoma Girls State that summer, was elected as one of two representatives to attend the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation Program in Washington D.C., and met co-founder Milley VanSant, that she felt she truly had the support she needed to embark on this endeavor.

     Currently, Kathryn is attending Rutgers University, as a leadership scholar in the Douglass Women’s College, where she is a member of the Douglass Governing Council, Rutgers University Student Assembly, Rutgers Piano and Opera Performance Consortium, the Women in STEM Coalition, and the Freshman Leadership Scholars Program. She is double-majoring in Public Health and Economics, with a minor in Global and International  Studies, on a Pre-Medicine, Pre-Law Track. With this background, Kathryn hopes to attend both medical and law school, in order to serve women and girls overseas and in the United States- through medicine, advocacy, and policy, before running for national office in Oklahoma, to serve her larger community.

Director of Operations

Matthew Salcido

Since 2018

       YouGoGirl OK’s Director of Operations, Kristen Nguyen, is a young entrepreneur with ambitions in the medical field. She graduated from Norman North High School, winning most school spirit, and continues her education at the University of Oklahoma in the Biology Pre-Med program, with minors in Entrepreneurship, as well as Health and Exercise Science. Kristen is a member of Sooner Society and a leader at both LoveWorks and Vien Minh, the Moore chapter of the Vietnamese Buddhist Youth Association, in addition to being an alumna of OU's High School Leadership Conference (2017). In 2016, she started her own photography and videography business, Kristen Nguyen Photography. Kristen served as lead content creator at Norman North, as well as attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for film. She hopes someday to become an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine, chasing that dream by gaining experience currently as a medical assistant. 

       Kristen served as on of YouGoGirl OK's Outreach Coordinator during its founding, and owes her membership largely to Reverend Lorie Walker and her powerful speech during the 2017 session of Oklahoma Girls State, where she served as Lieutenant Governor (2017), as well as Junior Counselor (2018). She strives to “continue the fire that we found in (that) speech”, and further empower women across our state and around the world.

Co-Founder

Melissa VanSant

Since 2017

     Melissa VanSant has consistently used her gifts and talents to support the betterment of youth in the community, through both advocacy and philanthropy. During her time at Casady High School, where she graduated one of the top students in her class, she worked to found the organization, TrueU Official, where she empowered disadvantaged and displaced youth to find mindfulness, serenity, and strength through yoga, self-care, and self actualization. Milley is currently a freshman at NYU, where she is studying Spanish, Journalism, Political Theory, and Cultural Anthropology, as a student in their Washington D.C. satellite campus program. 

     Milley joined YouGoGirl, as a cofounder with Kate McConnell, after meeting her through various friends and circumstances. Milley felt as though the women of Oklahoma deserved better than they were getting, and after experiencing her own versions of harassment and sexism in school, decided to be part of the movement to bring about community, and resources for all young individuals in Oklahoma. 

Co-Executive Director

Tahirah Naidu

Since 2017

       Formerly one of YouGoGirl Oklahoma’s Outreach Coordinator, Tahirah Naidu now serves as Co-Executive Director. An Oklahoma City native, Tahirah currently attends the University of Oklahoma as a freshman majoring in Biology Pre-Medicine and minoring in Pre-Health Social Sciences. Though one of her goals is to become an orthopedic surgeon, she also hopes to continue to be a leader in her community. Tahirah participated in Oklahoma Girls State and Youth Leadership Oklahoma in 2017, developing relationships with motivated students from across the state. The following year, she was named Miss Oklahoma City Teen USA and was a semifinalist in Miss Oklahoma Teen USA. She remains committed to excellence in leadership today as a member of several campus organizations, including President’s Leadership Class, OU Emerging Leaders, and Campus Activities Council.

       Though Tahirah participates in a plethora of extracurricular activities, she always finds time for YouGoGirl Oklahoma. She is dedicated to providing a platform on which young women can educate themselves on social and political issues in their community, as well as connect with others who share their views. “Connecting with empowered women who want to achieve the same goal has given me another family of women who will always support and lift me up through everything.”

Operations Director

Rebecca Yanez

Since 2018

Vice President of Outreach

Lead Writing Editor

Hannah Ondak

Since 2017

Katie Beltz

Since 2018

    Rebecca Yanez (preferred pronouns are she/her and they/them) is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who is currently majoring in Political Science with a concentration in campaign management (and potentially Women & Gender Studies) on a pre-law track. Rebecca hopes to someday become a reproductive rights lawyer and run for office in the future. Rebecca is best known as a community organizer and has worked with several organizations. Prominent positions she currently holds are as follows; Chair of March For Our Lives OKC, State Board member for Youth Climate Strike, Executive Vice President of College Caucus for Young Democrats of America, College Caucus vice chair for Young Democrats of Oklahoma, Chair of Young Democrats of Oklahoma’s Women’s Caucus, Eighteenx18 Oklahoman Delegate, Affirmative Action chair for CD-4, and Operations Director and Content Creator for You Go Girl Oklahoma. Civic engagement, Climate Change, Gender/Racial Equity, and Gun Violence Prevention are all extremely important issues to Rebecca.

     When Rebecca is not reading up on feminist literature, writing articles with coffee in hand, ranting about MLMs,at the Capitol  interning for Senator Boren, doing non profit work, or making online content, she can be seen spending time with her friends and family (including Coco, Rebecca’s beloved puppy). 

       Vice President of Outreach Hannah Ondak is a junior at Edmond Santa Fe High School and eager to make an impact with YouGoGirl. She has achieved a great deal with her school’s rowing team, and hopes to go into medicine, possibly majoring in pre-med or psychology.

       While Hannah is one of YouGoGirl’s younger board members, she cares deeply about her mission and believes wholeheartedly that this organization is what Oklahoma’s young people need. “I think that this provides a fantastic starting platform for something great to happen and for younger people to learn about their government”, says Hannah, and “YouGoGirl to me is a way for me to express and experiment how I want to impact the world”.

        Katie Beltz is the Lead Writing Director for You Go Girl Oklahoma. In the fall, she will be a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, with an intended major of journalism. She also plans to minor in political science and go to law school. She is currently the vice chair for the Young Democrats of Oklahoma Women’s Caucus, State Director for NGP Women’s Caucus, and a passionate advocate for her fellow Oklahomans.  She loves all things civics related and always keeps voter registration forms on hand to register people at any time. Katie has worked with Youth Climate Strike Oklahoma and March for Our Lives OKC as well as participated in many other organizations. She has worked as a campaign intern for State Senator Mary Boren and is currently working in her office.

        Katie spends most of her time reading feminist theory, writing articles, or editing them and usually in local coffee shops. Katie joined YGG first as a political writer and now as part of the executive team in order to support youth journalists and creators. As a part of YGG, she plans to elevate the voices of young, progressive women and make political issues easily accessible to Oklahoma youth.

Lead Art Editor

Taryn McLaughlin

Since 2018

     Formerly a team contributor, Taryn McLaughlin is now YouGoGirl OK’s Lead Art Editor. Taryn is in her first year at Willams College in Massachusetts, where she majors in chemistry and studio art. She achieves great things in both the visual art and political worlds. She was the recipient of an OSAI Quartz Scholarship, the Oklahoma State Fair Judges Art Choice Award, and the state winner of the VFW Auxiliary’s American Patriotic Art Contest. Taryn was a senator and reporter at Girls State and on Superintendent Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council, as well as a tennis state finalist. She dreams of joining Doctors Without Borders. To stay politically active, Taryn hopes to advocate through her art and pursue a second career in the Senate.

      When asked why she chose to join YouGoGirl Oklahoma, Taryn said, “When I was desperate to speak out, art was my voice, I want other artists who hunger to protest. I believe our mission is to empower young girls so that they may have the strength and confidence to go forth into the world unafraid of themselves. To promote talent, push boundaries, and give young girls an avenue to speak their truth. Surrounded by advocates equally motivated to change the world, I am challenged to my fullest potential without the fear of judgement. Female empowerment is such a pressing issue and I believe our generation has the power to universalize equality through the arts and writing.”

Operations Assistant

Alysha Siddiqi

Since 2018

Vice President of Outreach

Writing Editor

Hannah Ondak

Since 2017

Max Salcido

Since 2017

       YouGoGirl Oklahoma’s Operations Assistant is Alysha Siddiqi, a senior at Edmond North High School and former team writer. While not working for YouGoGirl OK, Alysha is busy serving as president of her school’s Key Club chapter and captain of the girls varsity swim team, as well as debating in public forum. She is also an alum of both Girls State and Girls Nation and a volunteer at OU Medical Center. Alysha hopes to go to college to major in psychology and minor government.

        Alysha was recruited by her former junior counselors Kate McConnell (founder) and Kristen Nguyen (Director of Operations) at the 2018 session of Girls State. She says that YGG is a project necessary for inducing “positive strides in Oklahoma today. Giving individuals a platform to express themselves is imperative towards achieving an empowered and educated youth.”

       Vice President of Outreach Hannah Ondak is a junior at Edmond Santa Fe High School and eager to make an impact with YouGoGirl. She has achieved a great deal with her school’s rowing team, and hopes to go into medicine, possibly majoring in pre-med or psychology.

       While Hannah is one of YouGoGirl’s younger board members, she cares deeply about her mission and believes wholeheartedly that this organization is what Oklahoma’s young people need. “I think that this provides a fantastic starting platform for something great to happen and for younger people to learn about their government”, says Hannah, and “YouGoGirl to me is a way for me to express and experiment how I want to impact the world”.

       YouGoGirl’s writing editor is Max Salcido. He is currently attending Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City, majoring in Philosophy and International Law and minoring in Spanish. The goal is to become a pro-bono immigration lawyer, as well as serve the queer community by presiding in congress and hopefully, one day, the presidency. Max has served as an Oklahoma Youth Poet Ambassador and is a nationally recognized congressional debater. He has also spoken at the Oklahoma March for Our Lives and the Oklahoma We Won’t Be Erased Rally for Trans Rights, in addition to speaking on international public radio.

       Our writing editor says he joined the team because “there is a disconnect between radical and even mainstream feminism and the queer community. Body-centric feminism, ‘pussy hats’, and period-focused revolution often overlook the trans and gender-nonconforming struggle. As someone who identifies as LGB(TQ), I want to help bridge the gap between my body and the movement for equality.”

Art Editor

Taryn McLaughlin

Since 2018

     Formerly a team contributor, Taryn McLaughlin is now YouGoGirl OK’s Art Editor. A senior at Carl Albert High School, Taryn achieves great things in both the visual art and political worlds. She was the recipient of an OSAI Quartz Scholarship, the Oklahoma State Fair Judges Art Choice Award, and the state winner of the VFW Auxiliary’s American Patriotic Art Contest. Taryn was a senator and reporter at Girls State and on Superintendent Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. She dreams of joining Doctors Without Borders as an anesthesiologist.

      When asked why she chose to join YouGoGirl Oklahoma, Taryn said, “When I was desperate to speak out, art was my voice. I believe our mission is to empower young girls so that they may have the strength and confidence to go forth into the world unafraid to be themselves. Our generation has the power to universalize equality through art and writing.”