Founder & President
Hi, my name is Jonathan Artal! I’m a senior at Stanford, where I study neurobiology to better understand what it means to live with a developmental disability. My younger brother, Ethan, has been my kindest supporter and greatest teacher; his life with Down syndrome has taught me the beauty in embracing our differences and the meaning in building a world that supports and empowers those who feel alone. My experiences growing up by Ethan’s side inspired me to create this organization I’m so proud of—one that facilitates inclusion for students with special needs and helps those without special needs develop understanding across differences. I feel humbled to be a part of a team that’s championing people like my brother, and I’m thrilled that By Your Side will help countless more students for years to come.
Senior Vice President
My name is Madison Heller and I'm a first-year at the University of Chicago. I joined BYS as a freshman in high school, where I became inspired by the program's ability to share the mutual benefits, love, and sheer joy of engaging with diverse peers. I quickly joined the program's leadership and am excited to be guiding BYS through our research and expansion efforts. Separately, I've served as a teacher’s assistant in my high school's special education class for the past three years, developing a profound respect for the students and a deep understanding of the obstacles they face. I've also created a program at my high school that develops on-ramps for students interested in special education to pursue similar experiences as I did. I am involved with my family’s citrus business, enjoy dance, and have a twin brother named John.
Co-Founder & Media Director
My name is Jackson Stewart, I am a senior at Babson College, and I am from Beverly Hills, California. I am a member of the Men’s Varsity Tennis Team, an acapella singing group, Greek life, and a health organization on campus. I have been Interested in special education from a very young age, and I will continue to be passionate about special education for the foreseeable future.
Hi, I’m Britney Shirian, a student at UC San Diego! Joining By Your Side was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am proud of the supportive and safe community BYS has created, promoting friendships rooted in kindness and leaving a positive impact on all members. I previously served as co-president of Beverly Hills High School’s BYS, and am an older sister to Israel and Sienna.
Outreach Ambassador for the Northeast
My name is Jamie Kim and I’m a senior at Princeton University. While pursuing a degree in Anthropology on the premedical track, I am a member of the women’s varsity water polo team, a peer tutor, and a mentor for first generation, low income high school seniors. I am excited to help expand the scope of BYS in more schools across the nation and witness the power this program has to steer the conversation about mental health and disability awareness among today’s adolescents.
Outreach Ambassador for the Midwest
Hi, my name is Gabe Kaplan and I’m a freshman at Carleton College. As a high school senior, I began expanding BYS to the Midwest, starting at St. Louis Park High School in Minnesota. I first learned about BYS through my brother and I know it’s going to be an incredible experience for all those involved. Outside of By Your Side, I like spending time with friends, playing with my dog, and working on various political campaigns in my state.
Outreach Ambassador for Northern California
Hi, my name is Axel and I’m a sophomore at College Prep in Oakland, CA. I've participated in By Your Side since my freshman year, and I've really enjoyed the program and the opportunities it creates for friendship and connection. Outside of school, I enjoy playing tennis and cooking. I look forward to continuing to create these opportunities for connection at my school and at others.
Outreach Ambassador for Southern California
Hey all, my name is Ariel Dardashti and I am starting my second year as a By Your Side ambassador. I started By Your Side at the high school I attended, PALI, because the cause was dear to my heart as I have been battling my own medical condition known as ectodermal dysplasia my whole life. Even though I juggle a lot, I always make time for By Your Side because the feeling you get from interacting with our students is unmatched. By Your Side has opened my eyes to how diverse our school system truly is and has made me realize how we as a whole can better serve our communities. I want to continue to serve this group for long after high school as I look forward to a bright future for this community.
Ambassador for Frostig School
My name is Sophie Cohanim and I am 19 years old. I love caring and playing with ALL animals especially my puppy Leo. One of my favorite hobbies is horseback riding. Also, I love listening to music, going to plays, playing tennis and hanging out with my friends.
I really enjoy this opportunity to connect with new friends through By Your Side.
Outreach Ambassador for Beverly Hills Unified School District, President of Beverly Hills High School BYS
My name is Leia Gluckman and I am a senior at Beverly Hills High School. I joined By Your Side during my sophomore year and soon found myself heartened by the community that we had fostered. My passion lies in making pre-professional opportunities more accessible for neurodiverse individuals. I am now working alongside my school district's administration as we explore implementing a Diversity & Inclusion model across our district. Outside of By Your Side I serve as a youth delegate to UN Women’s Generation Equality and as a NextGen board member to a local teen homeless shelter. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is rooted in connectivity and positive impact.