OUR 2019 STAFF

Melissa Hrinya | Department President

I am the current Department President for the American Legion Auxiliary. I love that the ALA not helps veterans of all ages and eras but also our Children & Youth. I am down-to-earth and enjoy having fun!

Mary Ellen Switzer | KGS Chairman

I'm a twenty five year member of ALA, Past Dept. President (2014-2015), I have held all but 1 State office, District President, many chairmanships at State and local level. I was either a counselor or staff member of KGS for 13 yrs. I am proud to be your Chairman this year.

Betty Casey | KGS Director

Betty Casey, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 48 since 1995, is excited to return to KGS as Director once again this year. Betty Casey has held various offices throughout her time as an ALA member, and began Montgomery County’s Girls State Luncheon tradition. She loves to volunteer, and works with both her church and the Auxiliary to serve God and Country. Her most memorable KGS moment was the day she witnessed the citizen that her Unit had sponsored, an incredible intelligent yet painfully shy young lady, stand up at a party nomination meeting to run for office in her party’s state primaries. Betty was so proud of her courage for stepping outside the box. Betty is a licensed cosmetologist, wife, and mother of one amazing son, and cannot wait to welcome this year’s citizens to KGS 2018.

Kathy Foor | Assistant Director

Kathy Foor, a member at Unit 445,  first joined the American Legion Auxiliary in 1972 as a Junior member. She has chaired many committees and held numerous offices at the Unit, Council, District, and Department levels. She is especially proud of the fact that she is a 3rd generation District President, and that she has worked with the Poppy program for over 40 years.  Kathy has served KGS for over a decade, in almost every role that she could have filled. She is currently working as a LPN, and is excited to return to KGS in 2018.

Claire Meakem | Dean

Claire Meakem is from Pittsburgh, PA and is one of our Vice Deans at KGS 2019. At KGS 2018, she served as a senior counselor of McKay City. She loves getting to know people and helping them push themselves out of their comfort zones. In her free time, Claire loves to participate in on campus activities at Cornell University (Go Big Red!) like the Empathy Assistance, Referral Service, Cornell Political Union, and Tri Delta. She cannot wait for KGS 2019!

Taylor Harris | Vice Dean

Taylor Harris is about to graduate Penn State University with a major in Elementary Education. At school, Taylor takes pride in being a Penn State Lion Ambassador, being the Recruitment & Involvement Overall for Relay For Life, being a member of a sorority and service fraternity, and being involved with Penn State Homecoming and THON. She was a citizen of Barteld City in 2014, a Junior Counselor for Scott City in 2015, and a Senior Counselor for KGS 2017 and 2018. She is excited to return once again, and cannot wait to get back to Ship and lead another group of young women!

Liz McLaughlin | Vice Dean

Liz McLaughlin is from Philadelphia, PA and is one of our Vice Deans at KGS 2019. At KGS 2018, she served as a senior counselor of Ross City. She loves helping people find their passion and being a mentor for younger girls. In her spare time, Liz loves to get involved at La Salle University through the Mock Trial Association, The Collegian, Honors Council, and intramural volleyball. She also loves to explore the City of Brotherly Love. She's so excited to see what's in store for KGS 2019!

Brenda Williams | Health Care Specialist

Brenda has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary James G. Zimmerman Unit 340 in Duncannon, PA for 45 years. She comes from a 100% American Legion Family, and is proud of her family’s rich history of service to our country dating back to the Revolutionary War. Brenda has served as Secretary, Historian, Treasurer and President of her Unit as well as serving in many chairmanships. She currently serves as Historian of the Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata and Perry County Council. In the Department/State level she has been privileged to serve as Historian, Chaplain and District President. In her first Department Chairmanship, she served as central vice chairman of KGS, and has returned in many roles including Senior Counselor and “Nurse” (what is now the Health Care Specialist). Her favorite memory of KGS was when a group of young men from Keystone Boy State crashed KGS’ talent show and serenaded Kathy Foor who was the KGS Chairman. A box of tissues was soon obliterated with her tears. It was that same year when KGS and KBS had a joint venture and" Abraham Lincoln" paid a visit.

Cathy Olker | State Business Manager

Cathy is a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 922 in which she has held every office except Secretary and Sergeant at Arms. In the American Legion Auxiliary, she has chaired numerous committees including, Education, Keystone Girls State, and Membership. She is a member of American Legion Auxiliary 4-County Council (Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton) having served as Vice-President, Treasurer and Sergeant at Arms.  She currently serves on the finance committee of Council. For six years Cathy has served as District President of the American Legion Auxiliary, Partner of Northampton Salon 182 of the 8 & 40. Cathy has worked as a Legal Assistant for the past 43 years, and has also held part-time jobs including working for a bankruptcy attorney and being the club steward of the Home Association at her American Legion Post.. She currently serves as secretary-treasurer of the Home Association.

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Sierra Nagy | Junior Counselor

Sierra will be a college freshmen majoring in Political Science with a minor in Pre-Law due to her love for all things civics. She greatly enjoyed her experience at KGS in 2018, and she can’t wait to be a Junior Counselor this year!

Hrinya City

Mackenzie Greiner | Senior Counselor

Mackenzie Greiner is from Abington, PA , which is about a 40 min ride from Philadelphia. She attends Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, studying General Business with a co-major of Business Analytics. She attended Keystone Girls State in 2017 as citizen and became Lieutenant Governor. She returned the following year as a Junior Counselor and is returning again, June 2019, as a Senior Counselor. I’m excited the lead another wonderful group of young women who are passionate about our country and learning about our government. Girls State is a special experience for all the girls that attend. I’m beyond excited to return this summer.

Hrinya City

Sharon Evans | Mentor

Sharon has been an American Legion Auxiliary member for approximately 35 years and has served on all levels in offices, including Unit, Council , Department as chairman and officer in Department of Pennsylvania.

Hrinya City

Kayla Davidson | Junior Counselor

Kayla Davidson is excited to be part of KGS 2019 after being a citizen in McKay city in 2018. She’s a 2019 graduate from Neshaminy High School and plans to attend Penn State for a dual major in Political Science and Psychology. She currently is part of the school marching band and interns for her Sate Representative Frank Farry. As a citizen last year, she found her calling in writing bills and discovered that she wants to be in the state senate some day. She plans to encourage young women to be the best person they can be and make sure every girl enjoys their time at girls state because there’s nothing else like it!

Peterson City

Kelsey Foor | Senior Counselor

I am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 445.  I was a citizen at KGS in 2012 and came back as a Jr counselor for 2 years and Sr counselor for 2 as well. Originally from Shanksville, PA, but have since moved to Cincinnati, OH to pursue my career with WESCO. I am an Indiana University of Pennsylvania Alumni with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance.  Some fun facts about me, I played rugby in college, love to kayak & be outdoors, and I’m obsessed with my pup Huckleberry. Cannot wait to see what KGS 2019 has in store!!!

Peterson City

Janice "JJ" Boyer | Mentor

36 year member of the American Legion Auxiliary. I have held many offices at the unit, council, and department levels. I have been a senior counselor or mentor for KGS since 2015. I currently work for Cigna Medical and have been married to husband Robert for 43 years. I have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. All members of the Legion Family.

Peterson City

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White COunty

Mercedes Sanoja-Suarez | Junior Counselor

Mercedes is going to the University of Pittsburgh for computer science and hopefully specializing in cyber security. She loves mock trial, soccer, and hanging out with friends. You can count on her to always have a joke handy ready to lighten the mood. Being KGS 2018’s Auditor General was the best experience and she looks forward to another round of KGS this year.

Reinhard City

Clarke Johnson | Senior Counselor

My name is Clarke Johnson! I’m 18 years old and a senior at Wissahickon High School in Ambler, PA. Last year, I attended KGS and won the position of Governor! I’m excited to make a return to the program.

Reinhard City

Pat Carnes | Mentor

​Pat has been an American Legion Auxiliary member for the past 32 years for ALA Unit 594, previously serving as as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Membership Chair. She has served as District President, Department Public Relations Chair, and Legislative Chair, as well as her current Central Section Vice President role. Outside of ALA, Pat has also had the honor of being the Legislative Chair for the South Central Organization of Nurse Leaders. Pat has been a counselor for Keystone Girls State for the last three years, has made many wonderful memories since then, and is ecstatic about returning for another year!

Reinhard City

Abby Daniels | Junior Counselor

Abby is a class of 2019 graduate of Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, PA. She served as President of the Student Council and Environmental Club and also a member of the National Honor Society, Captain of the Girls Basketball Team and an ambassador for the National Society of High School Scholars. At KGS 2018, Abby was a member of the Federalist party and was elected Lieutenant Governor. She is interested in the field of Federal Government and plans to pursue a college degree in Government or Political Science. She hopes to lead the incoming class of Keystone citizens to have the same memorable experience she had last summer.

Krumrine City

Nicole Bobovich | Senior Counselor

Nicole is an easy going and fun loving person who hopes to study applied mathematics and political science in college. She enjoys playing tennis, competing for mock trial, and reading any good book. She is really excited for KGS 2019 and cannot wait for the week to begin.

Krumrine City

Sandi Miller | Mentor

I have been a member of ALA Unit 444 for 33 years and held all offices except treasurer(currently president).

In Centre, Lycoming, Clinton Council I have held all offices and currently hold secretary/treasurer and also District

President. Past Department offices I held were Chaplain and Central Vice President. I'm a Partner in Salon 180-

Northumberland of the 8 & 40. I'm also secretary/treasurer of my bowling league and on the BOD of the local bowling association. My husband and I have been married for 53 years and have 3 grandchildren and 2 great grands. Looking forward to attending KGS as mentor of Krumrine City.

Krumrine City

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Blue COunty

Casey Kavanaugh | Junior Counselor

My name is Casey Kavanaugh. I attended Girl's State last year and had a great time. I learned a lot about the area of law but more importantly, girls state was an opportunity for me to meet so many other girls that are interested in ROTC and the academies just like I was. KGS helped me to be more confident and gain information about others wishes to pursue careers in the military. I was awarded a 4 year Type 2 scholarship for the Air Force for ROTC and I will be attending Texas A&M University in the Fall of 2019 studying aerospace engineering. :)

Heald City

Aubree Naurus | Senior Counselor

Aubree is a class of 2019 graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School located in Harrisburg, PA. Throughout her high school years, she has been a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America Club, Christian Service Club, and other various activities. She has played varsity tennis as well as track & field all four years of high school. In her free time, she likes to work as a student volunteer at Pinnacle Hospital and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. At KGS 2018, Aubree was elected to be a Supreme Court Justice. Her future plans consist of attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to study biomedical engineering on a pre-med track as well as obtaining a business minor. She will be playing tennis in college and looks forward to the new chapter in her life. She is excited to counsel the KGS 2019 girls and make sure that they have a great experience.

Heald City

Esther Geter | Mentor

Esther is eligible for membership  in the American Legion Auxiliary through her brother who served in the Army during the Korean War.  She has been a member of American Defenders Auxiliary Unit 968 for 24 years and has held every office in the unit and various chairmanships. Esther is a proud active member of Grace United Methodist Church in Philadelphia.  She sings on two choirs, a past President of the United Methodist Women, Vice President of the Trustee Board and a member of the Grace Day Care Board.  She is also honored to hold the office of President of the East District United Methodist Women, of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.  Esther is the proud mother of three daughters, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  She was employed by the City of Philadelphia for 38 years and retired in 2005. She is also a retired Shop Steward from Local 696, District Council 33 AFL/CIO.

Heald City

Kaya Rogers | Junior Counselor

Kaya Rogers has attended Upper Perkiomen High School for four years and plans to graduate on June 7, 2019. With the hopes of either attending Georgetown University or Pennsylvania State University, she will be majoring in Neuroscience and follow the Pre-Medicine track. Eventually, she plans to serve as a trauma surgeon in the Army. Throughout high school Kaya has participated in many extracurricular activities where she has held several leadership positions. Those positions include Senior Drum Major for the Marching Band, National Honors Society President, Student Council Secretary, Student Representative on UPSD School Board, Academy Scholars Tutor and Senior Co-Chair for Mini-THON. Some of her most notable accomplishments include achieving more than 100 hours of community service at a local hospital and hosting a Mini-THON event that raised over $17,000 for the Four Diamonds Foundation. Also, she trains Taekwon-Do at a local Do-jang and has earned her second degree black belt. Kaya had the amazing opportunity to attend Keystone Girls State in 2018 and was the Nationalist Party Governor Nominee, Nationalist Party Minority Leader in Legislature, President of Chamber of Commerce for Kelly City, and was a Girls Nation Finalist. She is excited to return as a Junior Counselor for Beister City and can not wait to have another amazing experience at Keystone Girls State! Go Nationalists!