DES MOINES — Kate Dressel, 17, of Waukee, has been named Executive Director of the Iowa Student Learning Institute for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

The Iowa Student Learning Institute (IowaSLI) is a non-profit organization led by students, for students, that is based in the Metro area of Des Moines. For seven years, IowaSLI has hosted student leadership events for K-12 students from across Iowa and has held lobby days at the Capitol.

A rising senior at Waukee High School, Dressel also serves on the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council. She hopes to continue the work of previous IowaSLI leadership, pushing for a state mandate to require student representatives on school boards across Iowa. “The only way to ensure that school is a positive learning environment is by giving students a voice. As students, we deserve to be represented in today’s education system,” says Dressel.

Dressel will serve alongside Deputy Director Architha Bommena, 16, of Waukee. Bommena was recently recognized for her perfect score of 36 on the ACT and while she is dedicated to academics, her true passion lies in helping others. That is why she started a club at her school to empower other students. “Through the club LEAD that I founded and through IowaSLI, I hope to work towards the goal of helping other students realize that they have a voice that deserves to be heard.”

Dressel and Bommena will direct IowaSLI events and programs that give students the opportunity to leverage their platforms and voice concerns for issues that directly impact their school environment, contributing to the mission of creating an engaging educational space for Iowa’s youth.

On November 9th, they will be hosting the annual RISE conference at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center that brings together hundreds of students, educators, and business leaders from across the state to learn from event speakers and participate in leadership activities. “As a participant of RISE in 2018, I was able to see the power of student voice first-hand and connect with others who were just as passionate about these issues as I was. It was a truly empowering experience and that’s why I’m excited to lead it this year, inspiring as many students as possible in the process,” states Dressel.

To get involved or learn more about IowaSLI’s work, visit their website at