Alyssa Mandula is a passionate, nonviolent activist. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, majoring in peace, justice and conflict studies and philosophy, and minoring in LGBTQ studies. Alyssa was born and raised in the conservative town of Bloomington, Illinois, where she started her high school’s Gay_Straight Alliance and ran The Central Illinois Safe School Alliance. She has worked as a national ambassador for The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, on the Youth Advisory Council for the The Trevor Project, and as a peer educator for Planned Parenthood.
At DePaul, Alyssa was deeply wrapped up in the LGBTQ community and the university’s queer group, Spectrum. In her short career as an activist, Alyssa has met incredible people and faced challenges that have made her even more passionate about equality. However, nothing motivates her more than her older sister, Holly, who has been a mentor, a sister and her best friend. Alyssa plans to make a career out of fighting for educational equality for trans* and genderqueer youth. She envisions a world where the gender binary is not the only way society knows how to look at and accept gender, and she is making that happen by educating her peers and challenging gender norms.