VFA Class of 2014

Introducing… our third class of Venture for America Fellows! These individuals were selected for their leadership, intellect, experience, startup savvy, and more. We’ll continue to add even more aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the spring, so check back for updates!

Ada Sierraalta

Johns Hopkins University ’14
Major: Engineering Management
Master: Engineering Management

Ada is currently working on a master’s in Engineering Management at Johns Hopkins. She has been part of several design teams working on everything from prosthetic devices to embedded electronics. Her interest in entrepreneurship was sparked while exploring the business side of product development as an intern in Hopkins Tech Transfer. Outside of the lab, she likes volleyball and yoga and looks forward to reading the end of A Song of Ice and Fire.

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Aldo Avanzini

Columbia University ’14
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Aldo graduated from Columbia University with a degree in mechanical engineering. With a passion for design and innovation, Aldo has developed a drone system for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in addition to a high precision delta robot. Interning as a consult at both Accenture and Booz Allen, Aldo has learned business development when it comes to emerging technology. When not sketching up a new idea, you can find Aldo enjoying great conversation over food.

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Alex Yamamoto

Boston University ‘14
Major: Marketing and Finance
Minor: Psychology

Alex is studying Marketing and Finance at Boston University’s School of Management with a minor in Psychology. After having internships at corporations like Micron Technology and Under Armour, he hopes that a startup culture an provide the fast-paced, fulfilling, and fun work environment that he desires. Working at Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics startup in Boston provided exactly that, where he transformed social data into engaging content on the company blog. At Boston University, he has held many leadership roles within the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, as well as serving as a Career Peer mentor for younger students. His interests include the poetics of rap music, online education platforms, and playing pick-up basketball.

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Alexa Wilcox

Macalester College ’13
Major: International Studies and Geography

Alexa graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, with a dual degree in International Studies and Geography. Passionate about social ventures and poverty alleviation, Alexa interned at USAID as a Congressional and Events/Protocol Intern in Washington D.C., worked for the startup FINNEGANS, a social venture which produces high quality beer, as an entrepreneurship/GIS intern in Minneapolis, won a grant of $7,500 for the international non-profit Rising Minds and then served as the Summer Regional Director for the organization in Guatemala. Recently, she completed a fellowship with Accion International, working with a for-profit bank in Guatemala. In her free time, Alexa enjoys rock climbing, boxing, playing soccer, learning Mayan languages, and exploring new cities.

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Alexander Baca

Washington & Lee University ’14
Major: Computer Science
Minors: Chemistry, Engineering, and Business

Alex (@Toivikki) will graduate from Washington & Lee University with a major in Computer Science and concentrations in Chemistry, Engineering, and Business. At W&L, he founded and led both the Club Swimming Team and a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Alex also founded SOS4Cancer, a DC based non profit organization determined to improve the lives of teens and children fighting cancer through the efforts of their peers. For the past two summers, he has explored different fields in computer science ranging from emotion recognition to distributed cyber security. His passion for entrepreneurship allowed him to participate in the 2014 National Student Advertising Competition. Most recently, Alex consulted on the development of new markets for SourceFuse, a digital product development​ startup based in Florida. Alex ​is an accomplished violist, violinist, and singer; an avid outdoorsman and swimmer; and a formidable board game opponent.

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Andrew Foley

Johns Hopkins University ’14
Major:French and Music
Master: Music

Andrew graduated from Johns Hopkins University where he earned a Master’s in Music and also pursued doctoral coursework. Prior to coming to JHU, Andrew completed undergraduate degrees in both French and Music from Oberlin College where he was a recipient of the Conservatory Deans Talent Grant, outreach member for LOCHOS linguistic outreach, and principal flutist of the Oberlin Orchestra. Andrew completed studies abroad in Paris at La Sorbonne, Nice, and Quebec.

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Andrew Jones

University of Virginia ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Andrew is studying biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia, where he gained experience in undergraduate research and device design. After a bit of soul searching, Andrew discovered his true passion for agriculture and sustainability during his third year and has since shifted his focus from medical school to agriculture. He spent the following summer interning on a permaculture and biodynamic farm in Accomac, VA, where his passion only deepened. Upon returning for his final year, Andrew decided to pursue a capstone project that merged his newfound interest with biomedical engineering, while also solving a large real world problem. His research assessed the effectiveness of treating human waste with black soldier fly larvae for use in developing countries around the world. Andrew’s ultimate career goal is to own and operate his own diversified alternative farm by 2020. In his spare time, Andrew spends his free time cooking, reading, homebrewing, working on personal projects and spending time outdoors.

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Ari Fine

Cornell University ‘14
Major: College Scholar Program

Ari graduated from the College Scholar program at Cornell, where he designed his own major focusing on the intersection of psychology, finance and the art market. During college, he held a variety of campus-wide leadership roles, including running the Cornell Entrepreneurship Organization and spearheading the group’s elevator pitch competition. Ari’s experiences outside the classroom have provided him with both a broad understanding of financial markets and large corporations, as well as hands on exposure to the day-to-day challenges facing small businesses. Ari’s prior work experiences have included consulting with South African entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged communities in helping them grow and develop their small businesses and serving as an investment-banking intern at a global bank. Notwithstanding his New England roots, Ari is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

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Armando Ochoa

University of Florida ’13
Major: Finance

Armando will graduate from the University of Florida with a major in Finance and three summers of experience on Wall Street. After an eye-opening semester abroad in Prague where he gained new perspectives and developed a sense of adventure, he returned to New York to work on the leveraged buyout of Dell and received a full time investment banking offer. He had a last minute change of heart and chose instead to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and a lifelong adventure in changing the world. Armando is the author of a popular finance internship guide and enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, and stepping outside of his comfort zone.

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Austin Blouin

University of Georgia ’14
Major: Economics

Austin is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he studied Mass Media Arts, Economics, and International Business. He took full advantage of his four years in Athens, Georgia – the southern charm and artistic spirit of the Classic City pushed him to develop his passion for storytelling. He aspires to live, tell, and hear important stories – honest stories, hidden stories, stories that inspire innovation and growth.

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Austin Mertz

Brown University ’14
Major: Economics

Originally hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Austin is studying Economics at Brown University. Seeking to apply his education in meaningful ways, he has contributed to research studies on economic development as well as high-impact entrepreneurship. He first gained hands-on start-up experience working as a financial coach for a microfinance fund in Providence, Rhode Island. In his spare time, Austin is an avid backpacker, ultimate frisbee player, Philadelphia sports fan, and lover of all things trivia-related.

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Austin Rhoads

Elon University ’14
Major: Marketing and International Business
Minor: Spanish

Austin will graduate from Elon University with a dual major in Marketing and International Business and a minor in Spanish. An accomplished musician and founder of three small businesses, Austin is passionate about learning and solving complex problems. At Elon, he led the Model United Nations Society and served as the Co-Director of the inaugural Elon International Career Conference. Austin spent two semesters studying and working in Seville, Spain, where he conducted research on the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Southern Europe. In his free time, Austin enjoys photography, skiing, traveling, and playing the drums.

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Avery Hairston

Cornell University ’14
Major: Art History

Avery will graduate from Cornell University with a degree in Art History. While his academic career was rooted in the humanities, he gained a variety of business experiences outside of the classroom. Before starting college, he founded an environmental non-profit in his hometown of New York City. The charity, RelightNY, received both local and national attention and gave Avery invaluable lessons in brand management and business development. Over the past three summers, Avery has worked for companies ranging from international firms to early-stage startups. In 2011, he interned for Alloy in branded content. The following year, Avery worked as an account planner at JWT, a global ad agency, where he helped clients engage their millennial audience. This past summer, Avery pursued his passion for filmmaking, working part-time as a video production assistant for VICE on HBO. The very same summer, Avery worked in content creation at Tapestry, a start-up app company out of the New York based tech incubator, Betaworks. While he is not honing his creative and marketing skills on the job, Avery enjoys playing piano and basketball.

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Ben Platta

Northwestern University ’14
Major: Mathematics and Economics

Ben is a Midwestern man who recently finished up at Northwestern University where he studied Math and Economics. During his time at NU, he worked at the student union as a manager, played club soccer, worked for a software startup in Chicago and directed a tech student group focused on civically responsible solutions and empowering others with technology. He thinks the time is ripe for positive and impactful startups and he’s excited to be joining a like-minded community at VFA.

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Ben Snowdon

Duke University ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering

Ben is currently pursuing a dual major in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. The same passion for building things that lead him to study engineering now brings his focus to entrepreneurship. Ben has experience working for medical device and semiconductor companies. He serves as President of the Engineering World Health Club at Duke, where he organizes efforts to repair and develop medical equipment for low-resource settings. He also leads a team of students providing pro-bono consulting services for non-profits and startups as part of Duke Community Consulting. Ben has a penchant for outdoor activities, particularly hiking and skiing.

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Ben Xue

Columbia University ’14
Major: Economics and Psychology

Ben graduated from Columbia University, where he double majored in Economics and Psychology. He has internship experience in marketing and has also worked extensively with creating innovative solutions in the digital space. With an analytics and creative background, Ben hopes to break into the advertising industry. He has a passion for problem solving in areas ranging from large scale event planning, animation, mitigating climate change to youth leadership development.

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Brendan Rice

University of Wisconsin – Madison ’14
Major: Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Brendan is studying Marketing & Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, his interest in entrepreneurship began in high school when he co-founded a landscaping business called “Two Guys and a Rake”. During his time at college he earned the Stoiber Entrepreneur Scholarship, allowing him to work at a local startup company specializing in educational game development. As President of the University’s Student Business Incubator, he was passionate about supporting student businesses and growing the entrepreneurial community at the University of Wisconsin. In his spare time he can be found snowboarding around the mountains of Colorado, backpacking in the wilderness, and traveling the world.

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Brian Schwartz

Northeastern University ’14
Major: International Business and Finance
Minor: International Affairs

Brian will graduate from Northeastern University with a degree in International Business, concentrating in Finance with a minor in International Affairs. Through Northeastern’s Co-op Program, Brian completed three six month stints at companies in the investment technology, biotech, and cloud consulting industries. From his home outside Seattle, Brian’s journey has included school in Boston, photography and art history classes in Venice, a full year of studying and working abroad in Dublin, and finally working in New York City. While on campus Brian was involved in intramural sports, Entrepreneur’s Club, and he served as the Vice President of Finance for his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Brian’s burgeoning passion for entrepreneurship led him to participate in the Husky Startup Challenge, winning Audience Favorite at Demo Day. Growing up in the Northwest has left him with an appreciation for the outdoors and he continues to enjoy photography, soccer, and discovering new music.

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Camille Seyler

Middlebury College ’14
Major: Economics
Minor: Environmental Studies and Spanish

Camille will graduate from Middlebury College with a degree in Economics and minors in Environmental Studies and Spanish. While at Middlebury, she participated in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Her team competed twice, building two 100% solar powered homes and placing in the top three for communications both times. She continued exploring sustainability and communications with summer internships in Buenos Aires and New Orleans where she researched climate change.

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Carolyn Jones

Northwestern University ’13
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Carolyn grew up hiking, rock climbing, and white water kayaking with her sisters in the mountains of East Tennessee. She will graduate from Northwestern University in 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. During her time at Northwestern, she reconstructed and rejuvenated the school’s Baja car racing team as project manager in the Society of Automotive Engineers and worked as an instructor in the Mechanical Engineering prototyping lab. She also worked as a full-time RA for a year in the student residence halls, and spent a summer in France improving her fluency in French through immersion in the local culture. Throughout college she was a devoted member of the sailing team and competed throughout the Midwest. In her free time she enjoys dance, and studio art with a focus in drawing. She loves traveling, and exploring, creating new things, and fixing old ones.

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Catherine Gans

Vanderbilt University ’14
Major: French and Political Science

Catherine will graduate from Vanderbilt University with a degree in French and Political Science. In the summer of 2011, she traveled to India, a trip that inspired a love of travel and passion for social change that would lead her all across Europe, Bali, Northern India, and Israel. At Vanderbilt, she edited the literary magazine, mentored college-age students with intellectual disabilities, and worked as a campus ambassador for BRAC. She was also lucky to become a part of the Nashville yoga community, writing content for yoga outreach organizations like Small World Yoga and the Africa Yoga Project and teaching classes at Vanderbilt and a local studio.

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Charlie Molthrop

Duke University ’14
Major: Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Charlie hails from Duke University where he caught the alternative energy bug, eventually switching into Duke’s School of Engineering to better understand how to solve energy challenges. His interest in hands-on learning has led him to various endeavors including scrambling through local crawlspaces and climbing a 50ft plastic bubble of pig-produced biogas. Charlie’s knack for creativity spills over into his other endeavors which include writing and performing sketch and stand-up comedy.

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Chip Koziara III

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ’14
Major: Business Studies – Entrepreneurial Studies and Finance

Chip grew up in a small town in northern Michigan and is graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is passionate about revitalizing cities and spent the past year working with the State of Michigan’s economic development arm to attract real estate development to cities across the state. Over the past four years, Chip spent a summer as a product management intern for an early-stage startup in NYC, co-founded a student organization that hosts annual benefit concerts with popular artists, served as a student government representative, and spent countless hours striving to make the perfect cup of coffee.

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Chisom Uche

Washington University at St. Louis ’14
Major: Psychology
Minor: Legal Studies and Entrepreneurship

Chisom will graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Psychology and minors in Legal Studies and Entrepreneurship. He found his passion for entrepreneurship when he spent his sophomore summer working as a marketing intern at Off Campus Media, a local startup in St. Louis. At Off Campus Media, he worked on the national rollout of their social media application, Bonfyre. During his senior year, he worked as a marketing and communications intern for the St. Louis Surge, a women’s semi-professional basketball team. Chisom is an avid basketball player and, during his leisure time, he enjoys watching movies and playing sports.

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Christian Britto

Duke University ’14
Major: Economics

Christian is studying at Duke University where he majored Economics and was a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. His interest in entrepreneurship really started after freshmen year when he got the opportunity to intern at a startup in San Francisco and has continued as he has gotten more involved in the vibrant startup community around Durham, NC. Christian is passionate about helping revitalize American cities and is thrilled to be joining VFA.

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Christopher Holter

Brown University ’13
Major: Computer Science

Chris graduated from Brown University with a degree in Computer Science. Chris has always been interested in entrepreneurship, starting a moped resale business in high school, interning for a tech startup in Silicon Valley, and working with a local non-profit startup his senior year at Brown. While at Brown, Chris was a four-year starter on the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and served as co-captain his senior year. After graduation, Chris joined an IT consulting firm back in his hometown of Baltimore. Having worked on both sides of the spectrum, Chris is now sure that the startup scene is where he belongs. In his free time, Chris enjoys finding new music, traveling, and eating great food.

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Clare O’Brien

University of Chicago ’11
Major: English Language & Literature and French

Clare works in marketing at Stik, an online reviews startup in Detroit that’s bringing word-of-mouth online for service professionals. As an undergrad at UChicago, Clare studied English and French and worked at the Chicago Booth entrepreneurship center organizing business launch competitions. When she’s not writing content for the Stik site, planning marketing collateral, or managing the design team, Clare likes walking outside and practicing French. Clare is also decent at doing headstands.

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Dan Klemmer

Boston College ’14
Major: English
Minor: Economics

Dan hails from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and is studying English and Economics at Boston College. A proud Eagle while on the Heights, Dan captained the Men’s Lacrosse team and led a service-immersion trip to Nicaragua. Dan’s entrepreneurial foundation stems from The Odd Job Service, a company he started with his best buddy from back home. The company, whose tag-line is “Tall, Dark, and Hands-On,” did everything from landscaping to moving, and showed substantial growth over three summers by expanding to 5 employees and working for over 300 clients. While The Odd Job Service has defined a large piece of his work experience, Dan also enjoys the pursuit of knowledge and cultivation of beliefs in and outside of the classroom. Dan is always looking to push his boundaries and live in the tension of life, particularly fueled by the search for the magis, campfires, slideshows, handstands and good conversation.

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Danny Allen

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ’14
Major: Business Administration and Political Science
Minor: Environmental Studies

Danny is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business Administration and Political Science, and minoring in Environmental Studies. Born and raised in Greensboro, NC, his academic pursuits focus on the intersection of business, government, and environmental sustainability, with particular interest in transportation and how we interact with the built environment. During his time at UNC, Danny co-founded Tar Heel Bikes, UNC’s bike-sharing program, and currently leads its student steering committee. He also developed content and marketing strategy for g-bit.com, a start-up market research website for green business. In his free time, you can find Danny riding his bike around town, reading, watching movies, playing tennis, or Wikipedia-bingeing.

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Danny Garfield

Brown University ’13
Major: Economics

Danny will graduate from Brown University, where he studied Economics while taking full advantage of the school’s “open curriculum,” enrolling in courses from Theater Arts to Africana Studies to Engineering. Continuing with that spirit of experimentation and adventure, he took a semester off from school to travel through Morocco and Europe. Danny became interested in technology and design after interning at Warby Parker Eyewear. He followed that experience by joining an academic web design project at Brown and by leading an effort to revamp video production at Brown’s daily newspaper. In his spare time you might find Danny rocking out on the drums, playing basketball in the gym, or more recently, building coffee tables in the wood shop.

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Dillon Myers

Washington & Lee University ’14
Major: Business Administration and Mandarin Chinese

Dillon, a native of Boston, will graduate from Washington and Lee University with majors in Business Administration and Mandarin Chinese. Dillon spent this past summer at the financial technology startup Dwolla, where he worked directly with the executive team and gained experience in business development, product management and marketing strategy. At Washington and Lee, Dillon leads three different student organizations and is a nationally ranked decathlete in Track & Field. He has also founded his own social media consulting company to help small businesses reach students in his college town. His interests include philosophy, pick-up basketball and finding hidden gem restaurants.

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Dimitri Fautsch

Northwestern University ’14
Major: Learning and Organizational Change

Dimitri is currently a Learning and Organizational Change major at Northwestern University. He spent the past summer as Product Manager for FindTheBest, a tech start-up based in Santa Barbara, CA. He teaches health workshops at Chicago public high schools and is researching the existence of the ‘hot-hand’ in basketball. He spent a semester abroad in Madrid studying Spanish voting patterns and demonstrations. In his free time, Dimitri enjoys reading Grantland, discovering new music, and searching for new stickers for his laptop.

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Drake Berglund

Occidental College ’14
Major: Economics

Drake will graduate from Occidental College in 2014 with a degree in Economics. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden and has grown up in New York and Cape Town, South Africa. One of Drake’s biggest passions is soccer. He played varsity soccer for Occidental and is an enormous Djurgardens IF fan. In school, Drake was a member of Blyth Fund, a student-run investment arm of the college’s endowment. Drake recently began a Food Recovery Network chapter to help bring excess food to local organizations.

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Dylan Gordon

Franklin & Marshall College ’14
Major: Business and Spanish

Dylan will graduate from Franklin & Marshall College, where he’s a double major in Business and Spanish. At F&M, he directed an annual campus-wide philanthropic initiative and wrote sports editorials for the college newspaper. He spent the past two summers interning for the Miami Dolphins and National Basketball Association, working extensively on marketing partnerships. Dylan holds a New Jersey real estate license and is interested in flipping houses in the near future. In his free time, he can be found playing tennis on the local courts, watching ABC’s Shark Tank, or searching for the perfect Taylor ham and egg breakfast sandwich.

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Dylan Spencer

Auburn University ’14
Major: International Business
Minor: Spanish

Dylan graduated from Auburn University with an International Business major and Spanish minor. He played basketball for four years and also served as an Undergraduate Assistant Coach. After interning for an investment bank, he discovered two things: he hates working on Wall Street, and he wants to make a legitimate difference in the world. Dylan loves good music festivals, believes in the private sector’s ability to advance the common good, and is (sometimes extremely) passionate about Auburn football.

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Eddie Wharton

George Washington University ’14
Major: Finance and Information Systems

Eddie is studying Finance at the George Washington University. After a summer internship in Israel with venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners, he realized he liked technology and startups. He started to formally study tech at GW, but decided to leave school without finishing his last semester to get some practical coding and selling experience. Before starting with VFA, Eddie made and sold software to booking agents in the music industry. He has also managed DJ’s, been an Associate at the White House and worked as an analyst at an investment bank.

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Elizabeth Nicholas

Tulane University ’14
Major: Public Health
Minor: French and Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Elizabeth is currently finishing her degree in Public Health at Tulane University with minors in French and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. Originally hailing from central Pennsylvania, she was attracted to NOLA by the arts scene, and its role in urban revitalization. Elizabeth has spent a large portion of her time off-campus working with local entrepreneurs, with a strong focus in project development and public relations. She recently interned with Matter Inc., a B-corps product design firm where she researched the issue of endemic violence in New Orleans. While an integral member of campus programming for the entirety of her time at Tulane, Elizabeth currently serves as the co-president of Large Concerts. Her love of New Orleans is rivaled only by her love of travel, having spent a semester in Morocco and backpacking through Northern Africa and Europe. She spends her free time watching videos of astronauts doing everyday tasks in zero-gravity.

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Emily Bowe

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ‘14
Major: Environmental Science

Emily will graduate with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2014. After a summer spent working alongside the urban designers in New York City’s Department of City Planning, she found her passion for cities, design, and policy that led her to serve on the Transportation Board and the economic development board of directors in Chapel Hill. Additional classwork in urban planning and a summer in Louisville, Kentucky working on adaptive reuse of old buildings has made Emily interested in all things in urban development. She is never far from her camera and has served as a photographer and multimedia producer for various groups at UNC, most recently producing video for TEDxUNC. In her spare time, Emily loves to read, run, cheer on the Tar Heels, and make videos and is always in search of good Tex-Mex when away from her home state of Texas.

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Emily Jorgens

Duke University ‘14
Major: Economics and Biological Systems

Emily is a San Francisco native, graduating with honors from Duke University with a BS in Economics and Biological Systems. Her summer internships range from an eHealth internship at the United Nations in Geneva, to leading an AIDS research team for Duke’s Global Health Institute. Her energy focus blossomed while working on Sony Pictures’ sustainability team in LA where she also enjoyed pre-work surfing with her team at dawn. Having traveled to 40+ countries, she brings a fresh global perspective to social and environmental issues. Emily is a green energy advocate and is currently working on two energy-related senior projects: a thesis on land lease economics for hydraulic fracturing and consulting for a Durham energy-reduction nonprofit. Emily brings contagious enthusiasm to her interests and work, and is an avid foodie, tennis player and scuba diver.

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Emily Tseng

Princeton University ’14
Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Minor: Global Health and Health Policy

Emily (@emtseng) will graduate from Princeton University, where she studies disease ecology and public health, but mostly spends her time managing The Daily Princetonian, running daily operations and dreaming up new ways to tell stories with her campus newspaper. She spent two summers making audio and video productions with Doctors Without Borders and one summer making maps with a tuberculosis research unit in Vietnam. Raised in Nashville, she’s passionate about women’s issues and social change, journalism and creative content. She likes weird science, ultimate frisbee, overthinking TV shows and exploring cities.

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Eric Mott

Case Western Reserve University ’11, ’12
Major: Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Masters: Engineering & Management

Eric graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2012 with a Master of Engineering & Management following his BS in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering (CWRU ’11). His greatest accomplishment to date has been the founding of Dance Marathon at CWRU (now SpartanThon) in 2009, a student ran organization that raises money for hospitalized children. He currently leads a tissue engineering lab at The Ohio State University and develops 3D-printed implants and bioreactors for cranial reconstruction.

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Evan Maclin

Cornell University ’14
Major: Applied Economics & Management

Evan will be graduating from Cornell University where he studied business with a specialization in entrepreneurship. Evan has held positions on the executive boards of three of Cornell’s largest student organizations along with his role as a student director on the alumni board of his college. Professionally, he spent the last two summers at Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division, and co-founded a contact-sharing app called OneTapp. He enjoys surfing, snowboarding, and playing football.

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Fabian Bock

Stanford University ’14
Major: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Minor: Economics

Fabian Bock is graduating from Stanford University with a major in environmental science and a minor in economics. He has been hooked on entrepreneurship since high school, when he founded computer programs in two rural South African schools. Over his time at Stanford, Fabian has especially enjoyed the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, working for a variety of startups and co-founding a talent recruitment platform with friends. Fabian is active in a number of sustainability groups on campus and is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, Stanford’s co-ed business fraternity. His favorite sports include soccer, kitesurfing, and brainstorming.

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Forrest Miller

Columbia University ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minor: Mechanical Engineering

Forrest is studying Biomedical Engineering at Columbia and has done research in neurology, electrophysiology, and orthopedics. His passion is designing smart devices that work with the body’s natural systems to solve medical problems. After his sophomore year he worked for a summer building integrated audiovisual education systems for rural schools in developing countries, an experience that ignited his passion for startups. Hailing from Vermont, he enjoys hockey, skiing, and playing guitar.

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Gabe Cunningham

Harvard University ’13
Major: Social Studies

Gabe graduated from Harvard University, concentrating in Social Studies. He has interned in the private, public, and social sectors for Citi’s investment banking and public finance divisions, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and Be The Change, Inc., during their launch of the Opportunity Nation campaign. He has also analyzed Big Data from the City of Boston as part of the Boston Area Research Initiative. Gabe is a three-time captain of the Harvard Rugby team, wrote his senior thesis on urban and suburban poverty, and once competed on a Japanese game show in Tokyo.

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Galen Foote

Georgetown University ’14
Major: Government and English

Galen will graduate from Georgetown University as a double major in Government and English. During his time at Georgetown he has interned in the marketing and member services departments for the university’s student-run credit union. Galen has a background in politics, marketing, and communications, and over this past summer interned for Portland, an international political communications firm. He is Vice President of Georgetown’s club baseball team, enjoys writing, directing, and editing films, as well as playing pick up basketball.

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Hadley Stein

Georgetown University ’14
Major: Government
Minor: Spanish and Justice & Peace Studies

Hadley will graduate from Georgetown University with a degree in Government and minors in Spanish and Justice, and Peace Studies. Before coming to college, Hadley spent a year working in the South Bronx with City Year New York where she saw first hand the need to create jobs in inner city communities. During college, Hadley worked for Students of Georgetown, Inc., the nation’s largest student-run company, and served as both the Vice Chair of its Philanthropy Board and as Director of Operations for one of the company’s coffee shops. She also worked as a Senior Consultant with Hilltop Consultants, which provides student-led consulting teams to non-profit organizations. While Hadley’s summer work experience included a stint as a management consulting intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers and time as a content creator for an e-commerce start up, she confesses to thinking fondly of her summer working on a dude ranch in Montana. Hadley enjoys traveling, hiking and cooking, and is always up for a competitive game of Scrabble, and time in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine.

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Harrison Tan

NYU Abu Dhabi ’14
Major: Economics

Harrison is a Bay Area native that found himself on the other side of the globe as part of NYU Abu Dhabi’s inaugural class. Aside from his studies in Economics and History, he enjoys reading for leisure, adventures in nature and abroad, and playing capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian fusion of martial arts and dance. His first internship at a fledgling startup sparked an entrepreneurial spirit in him. And last summer, he decided to pair his passion for entrepreneurship with his fascination with technology by going to a web development bootcamp in SF. This entrepreneurial spirit and hacker mentality have already come in handy. At his first hackathon, his team created a SMS-driven service helping small businesses in the MENA region establish a web presence. He also recently wrote a web crawler to collect a dataset from Airbnb for his ongoing senior thesis on the sharing economy.

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Hetali Lodaya

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ’14
Major: Chemistry and Public Policy

Hetali is a Public Policy and Chemistry major at UNC, and wants to spend the rest of her life helping people understand why science matters to them. All credit for her interest in entrepreneurship and strong attraction to VFA’s mission-driven model goes to four years in Nourish-UNC, a student group that allowed her to start a business and understand the power inherent in communities. She spent summers teaching 9th grade science in Philly with Breakthrough Collaborative, working at USAID through the Washington Leadership Program, and reporting for STEMwire at Reese News Lab. These experiences, along with giving campus tours, dancing with UNC Bhangra Elite and serving on the Young Jains of America board, rounded out four years of building both sides of her brain and perfecting the art of getting to class just barely on time. Hetali loves sci-fi/fantasy literature, sunshine and eating local, and live-tweets (@HetaliLodaya) whenever the occasion calls for it.

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Jack Riker

Duke University ’14
Major: History
Minor: Economics

Jack is an energetic go-getter who has a knack for trying to create the next big thing. His history and economics coursework may have laid the wireframes for success, but his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked while working in business development at SquadUP in New York City. While at Duke, Jack tried his best to leave his mark as he worked with administrators to develop key school policies. Serving as the President of the Interfraternity Council, Jack was also tasked with the job of making sure that the Greek system was all on the same page. Outside of his work for Greek life, Jack enjoys fundraising, playing tennis, and watching scary movies. He couldn’t be more excited to become a VFA Fellow!

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Jackson Morton

Duke University ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Jackson recently graduated with a Biomedical Engineering major from Duke University, where he gained experience designing and developing medical devices and did research on protein formulations. During the last four winters Jackson has been a Krzyzewskiville resident and passionate Duke basketball fan. Since 2002, he has spent his summers at Camp Sea Gull, a sailing-oriented camp on the Pamlico Sound, where he has served as an Assistant Sailing Director for the past two summers. His enthusiasm for sailing also led him to assume a leadership role on the Duke Sailing Team during the school year and to go sailing as often as possible while at home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Jacob Robinson

Duke University ’14
Major: Public Policy Studies

At the beginning of his junior year in high school, Jacob Robinson told his father he wanted to get a job. Jacob’s dad told him that he had to start his own business. That’s where Jacob’s interest in entrepreneurship began, and he has been working as a disc jockey ever since. Jacob will graduate from Duke University where is studying public policy. He explored different aspects of public service through internships as a teacher in the Mississippi Delta, volunteer at a microfinance bank in Guatemala, and researcher and fact-checker at Cable News Network (CNN). Jacob believes Venture for America will allow him grow as an entrepreneur, while continuing to work in public service.

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Jennifer Galamba

Barnard College ’12
Major: Psychology

Jennifer is a graduate of Barnard College in New York City, where she studied Psychology. A passionate explorer of how individuals and communities develop, Jennifer has served as a Research Coordinator at the University of Chicago since 2012. In addition to her current projects that explore how children make food decisions, she previously developed a touchscreen game that assesses math reasoning. Through her career in operations, data analysis, and management in academic settings, she discovered a passion for social venture. After years exploring questions of how to promote social good, she looks forward to becoming part of the answer. Her other interests include biking, traveling, and trying new foods.

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Jeremy Holtzman

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ’14
Major: Business and Economics

Jeremy is studying Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina, with an emphasis on consulting and finance. He has always been passionate about starting his own successful business, and has co-founded one and worked for another. His long-term goal is to start an educational technology company, and wants to learn the necessary steps to help him get there. Jeremy enjoys playing soccer and basketball during his free time, and is a huge Miami Dolphins fan.”

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Jessica Smith

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ’14
Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Geography

Jessica will graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is studying Environmental Science with a minor in Geography. Jessica is interested in environmental justice and how social inequality manifests itself spatially, as well as the relationship between innovation and cities. Jessica worked for the social innovation incubator at UNC since her junior year, which is where her interest in entrepreneurship began. Jessica has also traveled extensively throughout South East Asia and contributed to an independent research paper assessing the sustainability of the electrification system on a small Thai island. When she has free time, Jessica enjoys developing her amateur photography skills and learning new skills (salsa dancing and glass-blowing are her next pursuits). Jessica looks for any excuse to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

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Joan Thompson

Middlebury College ’14
Major: English & American Literatures

Joan will graduate with a degree in English & American Literatures from Middlebury College where she has worked in a variety of roles with Middlebury’s Programs on Creativity & Innovation in the Liberal Arts. A multimedia production enthusiast, Joan has served as an assistant producer for the NYRBlit podcast, as a photographer for Middlebury’s Fellowship in Narrative Journalism, as a member of the winning team for the 2013 “Sleepless in Burlington” 48-Hour film competition, and as a director of her own short films. One of Joan’s favorite projects is organizing and co-hosting a monthly event in Middlebury called “Dinner with Strangers”. Joan is a big fan of public radio, cooking, eating fruit, crafts, big dogs, and leisurely biking.

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Joe Morrison

Davidson College ’14
Major: Religion

Joe is a senior Religion major at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is the founder of Pax Backpacks, a social venture that supports after school programming for low-income middle school students through the sale of a signature line of American-made daypacks. As part of Pax’s social mission, Joe teaches an expanded learning day apprenticeship called “How to Start a Business,” in which he guides a class of sixth graders as they choose a product, build a brand, and launch a company over the course of nine weeks. He is also a Bonner Scholar at Davidson, completing 140 hours of service each semester.

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Johanna Flato

Yale University ’14
Major: Studio Art and Humanities

Johanna double majors in Studio Art and Humanities at Yale University. A Texan at the core, she is nonetheless an avid traveler always eager to engage new cities. Most recently she worked as a social innovation intern for Laboratorio para la Ciudad, a new government think tank in Mexico City. This experience on the forefront of creative civic problem-solving inspired her to seek out comparably innovative and socially-responsible entrepreneurial projects after graduation, leading her to Venture for America. At Yale, Johanna has served as Head Student Guide and a Student Curator at the Yale Center for British Art, Graphics and Design Editor at the Yale Herald, and Chief Administrative Officer of Kappa Alpha Theta. She spends her free time sculpting, drawing, and painting and is currently exploring what constitutes as landscape, nature, and land art.

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Jolene Gurevich

CUNY Macaulay Honors College ’14
Major: Finance and Investments

Jolene will graduate with Honors from the CUNY Macaulay Honors College with a BBA in Finance and Investments. She spent a year in Beijing studying Mandarin and the ethnic anthropology of Chinese minorities and spent her college summers interning at a law firm, hedge fund and investment bank. Before college, Jolene was a professional Latin ballroom dancer and traveled internationally with her partner for competitions and showcases. She loves fantasy fiction, hiking and hot yoga.

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Jonathan Galpern

University of Texas ’13
Major: Finance

Jonathan graduated with a degree in Finance from The University of Texas in 2013. He has been drawn to entrepreneurship since his semester abroad in Barcelona, where he ate all the tapas known to man. Jonathan kicked off his career with Raptor Accelerator, a venture capital firm, and immersed himself in Austin’s startup community and engaged in business development for the Roma soccer club. Aside from being a full-time foodie, Jonathan loves reading, yoga, vinyl records, and Spurs basketball.

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Julia Anaya

Northwestern University ’14
Major: Communications and International Studies

Julia will graduate from Northwestern University, where she is studying Communications and International Studies. During her time in school, she’s traveled to Cuba, studied abroad in Lima, Peru, and led Northwestern’s premier hip hop dance company. Julia became interested in entrepreneurship through her internships at Groupon and Google, where she helped developed marketing and communication strategies for small businesses and social enterprises across the country. These experiences solidified her interest in pursuing her own entrepreneurial path, and she is excited to further develop her business and leadership skills as a VFA fellow. In her free time, you can find Julia talking to herself in Spanish, reading feminist blogs, or playing bananagrams.

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Julie Bock

University of Oklahoma ’14
Major: Industrial Engineering

Julie is studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She discovered her passion for entrepreneurship through her internships at Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth working to get OU developed technologies to market. After guiding the leading radar manufacturer toward applications in the offshore oil market, she lead a team to develop a licensing and commercialization plan for an infrared detector to be used in medical and military defense. Julie also helped foster the volunteer efforts of over 5,000 OU students and faculty to help local non-profits and community organizations. In her free time she enjoys exercising, spending time with friends and family, and trying new restaurants.

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Karyn Vilbig

University of Norte Dame ’14
Major: Sociology

Karyn spent last year doing a year of service with an AmeriCorps group called City Year where she worked full-time to get high school students back on track to graduate. She has returned to the University of Notre Dame as a senior and will be graduating with honors in May. She currently works as the Marketing and Communications intern with Downtown South Bend and helped to plan the TEDx University of Notre Dame event. In her free time, Karyn enjoys hiking, gardening and cooking.

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Kate Murray

Boston College ’14
Major: International Studies
Minor: Chinese

Kate is a proud Boston College eagle who hails from Detroit, Michigan. An International Studies and Chinese major, she spends half of her time at BC in the library memorizing Chinese characters and writing her thesis, and the other half actively involved in student government, training for and running the Boston Marathon, and leading the club that she founded–the Random Acts of Kindness Club. Kate caught the entrepreneurship fever during her summer at Detroit Venture Partners. There, she worked with early-stage tech startups and began her role as the managing editor for the Detroit-based EduTech company called Ginkgotree. When she’s not giving free hugs for the Random Acts of Kindness Club, Kate can be found playing lacrosse, baking apple pies, or cheering embarrassingly loud at BC sporting events.

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Katherine Robinson

Johns Hopkins University ’14
Major: International Studies and Sociology
Minor: Economics

Katherine grew up in Snohomish, WA, a small town near Seattle, and moved to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University. At JHU, she is majoring in International Studies and Sociology. Since June 2012, she has interned at the Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance in Baltimore, where she coordinates educational workshops for refugees, assists refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, and immigrants with casework and family reunification, and does online and in-person outreach. Based on her experience working with refugees, she co-founded the Baltimore Refugee Community Cooperative, a mental wellness initiative for Bhutanese refugees in Baltimore. On campus, Katherine is the President of the JHU microfinance club Social Investment Outreach, a Senior Leadership Consultant, a Blue Key Society admissions tour guide, and a Resident Advisor. In her spare time, Katherine loves photography, traveling, meeting new people, and trying new restaurants and recipes.

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Kathleen Coyle

Vanderbilt University ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minor: Corporate Strategy and Engineering Management

Kathleen is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she majored in Engineering Science and completed minors in Corporate Strategy and Engineering Management. Originally from the Northeast, she has loved exploring Nashville and is excited about getting involved in a new city. Kathleen has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a research intern at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab. She also held a position as a research intern at Dartmouth College.

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Kathryn Lawhon

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill ’14
Major: Economics
Minor: Entrepreneurship

Kathryn will graduate with a degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has heavily researched issues of human trafficking domestically and abroad. After working with a Nepali organization in 2013 that empowers at risk women and children, she hopes to apply the principles of entrepreneurship to effectively fight against the widespread issue of human trafficking. She loves to travel and has spent time studying abroad in London where she was able to visit various countries in continental Europe. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys cooking, writing, playing and watching sports, and spending time outdoors.

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Keith Porter

University of Michigan ’13
Masters degree: Industrial and Operations Engineering
Major: Computer Engineering

Keith is pursuing a masters degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan, having received his bachelors in Computer Engineering there in 2013. During the latter half of his college time, Keith co-founded A2B Bikeshare, a successful transportation startup that builds and operates high-tech bicycle sharing systems for cities. Keith has also held three IT related internships at GE and Boeing (2x) in which he was able to showcase his entrepreneurial skills. Beyond his deep focus on engineering and business, Keith has worked extensively on leadership and cultural awareness programs for his 120 student honors society, pioneering curriculum and events, and both leading and participating in volunteer trips to China, Thailand, and Honduras. Keith enjoys technology, national parks, and traveling – especially getting lost.

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Kelly Payne

Yale University ’14
Major: Global Affairs and Political Science

Kelly majors in Global Affairs and Political Science at Yale University. She has spent her summers interning at a conflict resolution NGO in Israel, working at an international relations think tank in Argentina, and interning at her senator’s office in Washington, D.C. She is passionate about women’s leadership development, and founded an organization at Yale that promotes global women’s rights. She enjoys traveling, competitive ski racing, and supporting the Bulldogs as a member of the cheerleading team.

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Kevin Suh

Columbia University ’14
Major: Financial Economics
Minor: Business Management

Kevin will graduate from Columbia in 2014, and is majoring in Financial Economics with a concentration in Business Management. He spent his junior summer interning for a technology consulting firm in Singapore, where he enjoyed visiting Asia for the first time since he was in middle school. Although he was originally interested in the financial services industry, Kevin discovered the excitement of entrepreneurship after interning for a local startup in Washington, and couldn’t look back. During his free time, Kevin is an avid basketball player and fan, and loves other sports like football, golf and bowling as well.

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Labib Rahman

Johns Hopkins ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Labib graduated from Johns Hopkins where he studied Biomedical Engineering. In his junior year at Hopkins he co-founded Medella Medical to quickly and cheaply build healthcare IT solutions for the Johns Hopkins community. Last summer, Labib and Medella Medical partnered with JHPIEGO to build an Android application to help midwives and doctors in the developing world better adhere to safe childbirth standards. At Hopkins, when he wasn’t working on problem sets, he was busy driving up and down I-95 each weekend for debate tournaments or working in a code editor with Java or Sass to build great user interfaces for the web and Android. In his free time Labib can be found playing squash, following Arsenal in the English Premier League, or catching a film at the local arthouse theatre.

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Lauren Kase

University of Michigan ’14
Major: Organizational Psychology

Lauren will graduate from University of Michigan where she is majoring in Organizational Psychology. Her love of learning and entrepreneurial spirit led her to dabble in different aspects of business during her college summers, interning in diverse work environments including a private placement firm, boutique PR agency, and a financial services startup. Lauren’s Michigan days were kept busy with everything from her business fraternity, to conducting research, to leading the attendee experience team for TEDxUofM. A foodie hailing from San Francisco, she is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur who loves being active outdoors, skiing, biking, and hiking. Lauren could not be more excited to join the VFA family and have the opportunity impact the outcome of a young company.

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Leigh Sevin

Georgetown University ’14
Major: American Studies
Minor: Economics

Leigh will graduate from Georgetown University with a degree in American Studies and a minor in Economics. While at Georgetown, Leigh has worked for the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, where she was head of its philanthropy department. Leigh became interested in entrepreneurship while working for a startup in New York that helped bring gen-Y female professionals together to offer better networking opportunities and career advancement. She has a background in marketing, advertising, and business development.

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Lena Kelly

Washington University in St. Louis ’14
Major: Spanish and International Studies
Minor: Psychology

Lena will graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in Spanish and International Studies, a concentration in Sustainable Development, and a minor in Psychology. She benefited greatly from her summer experiences at Google, Epson, and Answers.com. After publishing an undergraduate research journal and serving as president of her sorority, she spent six months living in Chile where she was able to further commit to her passion for social justice. Above all else, Lena loves to backpack, play basketball and go on spontaneous adventures with friends.

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Louisa Lee

Williams College ’14
Major: Art History

Louisa will graduate this June with a degree in Art History from Williams College. While in the Berkshires, she co-led All Campus Entertainment, the main student-run programming organization, where she enjoyed the challenges of managing the campus’s demands, a large general membership and the fickle needs of professional performers. She also co-led the Junior Advisor system at Williams, working closely with students and administrators to identify, train, and lead a class of JAs that works to reinvent the Williams culture with each incoming class. The same passion she has invested in the community at Williams has led her to pursue entrepreneurship and its potential to build and rebuild communities. She and a team of five Williams students recently developed an iPad application to aid a local charter school’s teacher evaluation process. During her summers, her work has centered around marketing and development work for non-profits, where she enjoyed the challenges and rewards of developing relationships between people and worthy causes. In her spare time Louisa loves trail running, feeding her coffee addiction, and anything that can keep her outside.

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Luis Gallardo

Harvard University ’14
Major: Government

Luis will graduate from Harvard with a concentration in government. During his time in college, Luis has been very active in both the Harvard College Consulting Group and the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Most recently, Luis has helped develop WallflowerFood, a lifestyle brand that makes people feel good through music, merchandise, events, and technology. Over his past three summers, he has dabbled in investment banking, teaching, and non-profit think tanks. Additionally, Luis thoroughly enjoys the outdoors, whether it be surfing in Costa Rica, hiking in Big Sur, or camping in Joshua Tree.

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Lynsey Chediak

Claremont McKenna College ’14
Major: History and Leadership

Lynsey will graduate from Claremont McKenna College, where she is studying History, with an Economic Trends concentration, and Leadership. While living abroad in Argentina during her junior year working with a local NGO and representatives from the IMF, Lynsey became particularly interested in tracing economic historical trends relating to changes in the flow of capital and the spread of technological innovations. Prior to that, she assisted the California Governor’s Office in its attempts to coordinate the efforts of the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in advancing developments in alternative energy sources throughout the state. She also gained exposure to the policy hub of Washington, DC, where she assisted a lobbying firm in the international trade arena. Lynsey co-founded and helped establish two social entrepreneurial startups focused on leveraging and increasing the engagement of her local community, including the first student-run microfinance institution in California. She is excited to witness the expanding intersection of the private sector and economic community development as a VFA Fellow. In her free time, Lynsey enjoys classic formula one racing and debating policy effectiveness, preferably at the same time.

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Matthew Nicholas

University of Michigan ’14
Major: Industrial and Operations Engineering
Minor: International Engineering

Matthew is a senior at the University of Michigan, completing a degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering and the Program in Entrepreneurship. He’s been hooked on startups since starting a news service in high school, and worked for the Great Lakes VC firm RPM Ventures while in college. Driven by a thirst for new challenges, he’s backpacked through China and Switzerland, and ran the Detroit Marathon. In his spare time, he loves coding, rock-climbing, and everything in-between.

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Michael Tantum

Wake Forest University ’14
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry, Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise

Michael will graduate from Wake Forest University with a degree in Biology and minors in Chemistry, Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise. His thirst for knowledge, serving others, and perpetual curiosity led him to internships in a plethora of healthcare atmospheres—learning first-hand about the problems of modern medicine. Michael’s entrepreneurial spirit was sparked during his junior year when he co-founded a cleantech venture called Sun Tape. Michael has kept active at Wake Forest by partaking in Molecular Biology research, serving as the University Innovation Fellow, assisting a nascent Boy Scout troop in the local community, and acting as the Executive Director of TEDxWakeForestU. A mad scientist at heart, Michael enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle, reading political thriller novels, burning grilled cheese sandwiches and attempting to expand his social dance knowledge.

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Michael Tucker

Emory University ’14
Major: Business

Michael is studying strategy and management consulting at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He has spent the past three summers successfully managing his own odd-jobs business in his hometown of Baltimore. Furthermore, he spent the previous two summers interning in commercial real estate development, and on Capitol Hill as an intern for U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. Michael is an avid traveler, and enjoys fishing, playing golf, and the outdoors.

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Mitch Rubin

Duke University ’14
Major: Political Science
Minor: Markets & Management Studies

Mitch attends Duke University, where he is majoring in Political Science and earning a certificate in Markets and Management Studies. Most of his professional experience is in the marketing industry, as he recently interned at MRY developing branding and digital content strategy for major clients. His entrepreneurial drive has led him to establish a Peer Coaching program within his fraternity, and create the first marketing committee for his student group “duARTS.” Mitch has always been a team-player, from singing a cappella in high school to playing pickup basketball any chance he can get. He also enjoys golfing, skiing, and reading fiction.

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Mike Patterson

University of Pennsylvania ’14
Major: Computer Science

Mike will graduate with a Computer Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After an edtech trek, he discovered his desire to develop new educational technologies to help fix the broken system. Having traveled to numerous hackathons around the country, he has coded everything from PHP Glass apps to Android security apps. Beyond writing code, he scribes a sci-fi series, reads ravenously, dances decently, and figures out physics. Read more at his website mikepatt.org

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Molly Adair

College of William and Mary ’14
Major: Art and Art History
Minor: Marketing

Molly attends The College of William & Mary, where she studies studio art and marketing. She is especially interested in the intersection of the two and the relation to visual communication. Molly has gravitated towards various communications offices over the years, having interned at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and currently works as a graphic designer at the W&M Alumni Association. When not in the studio, you can find Molly training for a half marathon, playing lacrosse, or crafting.

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Muhga Eltigani

University of Pennsylvania ’14
Major: International Relations, Religious Studies and African Studies

Muhga will graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a triple major in International Relations, Religious Studies and African Studies. She has spend two years working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency on various projects ranging from analyzing asbestos levels in water for 48 states to locating potential locations to build gardens in Philadelphia. Muhga was the social media manager for the start up, 1DocWay during its incubator stage under DreamIt ventures. The following year, she worked as international development consultant with the new firm, ILC Africa, in Accra, Ghana. Muhga also used her creative skills to design company profiles during her summer internship with Good Company Ventures. Her future plans involve giving back to her hometown, Philadelphia, by creating jobs for her community. Muhga enjoys interfaith discussions, jogging, traveling and eating frozen yogurt.

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Nancy DaSilva

Northwestern University ’14
Major: Art History

Nancy (@CountDaSilva) will graduate from Northwestern University with a degree in Art History. A New York native, her first summer jobs were in the education departments of the New-York Historical Society at The Frick Collection. During her time at the Frick, she designed a new smartphone app audio guide, opening her eyes to the potential of technology to innovate every industry. Following her interest in tech, she interned at Girls Who Code, a national non-profit that teaches underserved high school girls how to computer code. She hopes to parlay her previous experiences into an exciting career in technology through VFA. In her free time Nancy enjoys leading backpacking trips, traveling throughout Southeast Asia, cooking Turkish food and collecting backpacks.

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Natalie Akers

Yale University ’14
Major: American Studies — Sustainability

Natalie aspires to be an environmental entrepreneur. She is graduating from Yale University with a degree in American Studies, in which she concentrated on Sustainability in the economic, social, and agricultural spheres. Although Natalie identifies strongly with her small hometown in Western Massachusetts, she is serious about exploring and bolstering communities across the States. In the past four years, Natalie spent time pursuing her interest in urban landscapes and architecture at Rockwell Group design firm in New York; generating content for a main street ecommerce app, Main&Me; designing and teaching a STEM curriculum to New Haven middle-schoolers; and most recently building a biofuels initiative in the sustainability division of Wisconsin’s Organic Valley. When Natalie isn’t leading hiking trips or energizing her club soccer team, you can find her skiing, sketching, or playing jazz piano.

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Nate Rattner

Northwestern University ’14
Major: Journalism

Nate grew up in New Rochelle, New York, and is currently working on a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. On campus, he produces a magazine for the school’s Fitness & Recreation Department, is part of a consulting club, helped to create a university-wide “college awareness” day for local high schoolers, and spends time working with an independent record label. Nate has interned in a variety of different fields, including publishing, health care, and digital media, and spent a semester studying abroad in Copenhagen. In his free time, he enjoys reading, being outdoors, and playing pickup basketball.

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Nazli Danis

Barnard College ’14
Major: Architecture and Art History

Nazli is a senior at Barnard College, double majoring in Art History and Architecture. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, she will nevertheless miss her “only in New York” moments. At Barnard, she currently serves as Vice President at the Architecture Society and as Senior Advisor and Designer at the student-run startup Athena Digital Design. Through her internships in Istanbul, at the Brooklyn Museum and at Brant Publishing, Nazli gained experience working in various industries such as advertising, publishing and the arts. Nazli first got interested in entrepreneurship after realizing its potential to bypass bureaucracy and serve as a tool for social justice. She hopes to one day channel her entrepreneurial skills towards revitalizing the public education system in Turkey. Her interests include contemporary art, documentary photography, modern literature and sailing. To learn more about Nazli and see her work, visit nazlidanis.com.

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Patrick Leonard

Harvard University ’14
Major: Government

Patrick is a senior at Harvard University graduating in May with a degree in Social Studies and a Focus Field of Contemporary European Nationalism and Supranationalism. Academically, his work includes cartography, computer programming, European history, economics, and political science. Professionally, his work has spanned marketing, law, and microfinance. After spending a semester at the University of St Andrews, Patrick completed his thesis on the upcoming Scottish Independence referendum.

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Paul de Konkoly Thege

Williams College ’14
Major: Environmental Geoscience

Paul is studying Environmental Geoscience at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. He is writing a paleoceanography thesis, the subject of which is using radiocarbon to reconstruct ocean circulation in the Bering Sea over the past 20,000 years. He has marketed for CBS Interactive Media Group, the downtown NY music venue Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, and local Williamstown music festival Billstock. A strong interest in urban environmental planning led him learn GIS, which he has used to pursue independent projects like a roof reflectivity analysis of Manhattan for former employer White Roof Project and a parking utilization study and development strategy for the City of North Adams, MA. Paul is passionate about climate change and hopes someday to professionally communicate climate science to nontechnical audiences. He plays guitar and bass, and is generally obsessed with music. He also loves to cook, make jewelry, play soccer and experience and study everything natural (which includes humanity and its creations).

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Ranjani Sridhara

Duke University ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hailing from Chicago, Ranjani is studying Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. She realized her passion for entrepreneurship in a course on the business strategies of technology-based startups. Through an international nonprofit, she is creating a multilingual online training resource covering hospital technology and management for developing world healthcare technicians. She also interned at Siemens Healthcare, contributing to the overhaul of their medical imaging equipment marketing strategy. In her free time, Ranjani tutors elementary school students in Durham Public Schools. On game day, you can find her coordinating undergraduate admissions for the Duke Men’s Basketball team, often covered in blue paint. Her interests include sports, yoga, traveling, and finding great new restaurants wherever she goes.

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Robert Palacios

Oberlin College ’13
Major: Political Science and Latin American Studies

Robert is originally from El Paso, Texas, and graduated from Oberlin College with majors in Politics and Latin American Studies. He has interned at a Latin American policy think tank, a financial services startup, and most recently at Monitor Deloitte consulting, performing financial analysis and conducting research for a non-profit client. At Oberlin, Robert has been involved with the Latino student organization, a student-run consulting firm, and worked as an advisor in the Career Center. He spent a semester studying abroad in Bolivia, which included a solo trip through the Bolivian rainforest to research the coca industry in that country. Robert has played clarinet with the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra, and enjoys playing music, reading fiction, and traveling the world.

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Russell Suskind

Syracuse University ’14
Major: Entrepreneurship and Economics

Russell will graduate from Syracuse University with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Economics. While at Syracuse, Russell captained the hockey team, leading the program to its first ever National Championship berth. As a student, Russell founded UpGradeMe LLC, a phone application designed to provide users with an opportunity to upgrade their seat during any ticketed event. Additionally, Russell is an active investor in Beyond Zero, a company focused on freezing liquor into ice cubes.

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Sanath Sambamoorthi

Rutgers University ’14
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Sanath is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major from Rutgers University. A born and raised New Jersey native with immigrant parents, he has spent his time building and cultivating organizations from scratch, such as Rutgers Weightlifting, and Sigma Pi, Gamma Eta chapter, developing a love of entrepreneurship and coffee along the way. In his wild habitat, he can typically be found reading, playing sports, or meditating in picturesque environments.

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Sean Rowland

Loyola University, New Orleans ’14
Major: Economics and Finance

Sean is pursuing a degree in Economics and Finance at Loyola University, New Orleans, and has fallen in love with the Crescent City after leaving his hometown in beautiful central Kentucky. He has been an active leader on his campus and has served as both a member of student government and as President of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. During his time at Loyola, he also helped co-found an entrepreneur association open to members of Loyola’s student body. By immersing himself into the New Orleans start-up scene, Sean has secured several important roles with early-stage companies in the city. During his senior year, he helped grow and develop Holomua Life Learning, a social non-profit working to alleviate financial illiteracy in New Orleans, and interned with 52businesses. Beginning March 2014, the 52businesses team will start a new business every week for a year and will work to show the accessibility of entrepreneurship and demystify the process of pursuing a business venture. Sean enjoys spending his free time exploring urban centers and trying a variety of culinary establishments.

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Sean Wen

University of Texas – Austin ’12
Major: Psychology

Sean graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT Austin, Sean became very involved with a program called 3-Day Startup, further stoking his entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating, Sean became a full-time analyst at Goldman Sachs. Realizing that this did not satisfy his passion, he ventured out and found VFA. When not working, Sean loves playing basketball, going backpacking, attending music festivals and filling his head with countless rap lyrics.

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Seth Forsgren

Princeton ’14
Major: Environmental Geoscience

Seth is a senior at Princeton University in the Molecular Biology department and the Global Health and Health Policy program. He will graduate with a Bachelors of the Arts degree in 2014. His senior thesis explores the mitigation strategies and countermeasures that would mitigate a reintroduction of the variola virus. Seth cofounded the nonprofit A Tu Lado, which coordinates and leads emergency medical systems in Venezuela and Bolivia. He carries his love of music, sport, and art across the globe.

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Seun Oyewole

Georgetown University ’14
Major: International Affairs – Regional & Comparative Studies

Seun has come to realize the importance of culture in any social setting, and he strives to understand its impact on interactions amongst peers and between communities. With such an interest, Seun has made it practice to seek solutions through personal projects for different cultural voids in communities that he has been a part of. He has built and sustained theINcrowd, his own online publication, that explored subcultural interests in urban millennial communities, and brought a diverse crowd of movers and shakers together through concerts, meet and greets, and competitions. Beyond that, Seun spent his Junior and Senior year of college cultivating a mobile application known as We Are The Loop that served as a platform for DC area college students to venture and learn more about the Washingtonian capitol through a catalog of different events. On the professional end, he has acquired a developing skillset in business logistics and operations, account management, strategy and content creation through his extensive work with the now renowned Trillectro Music Festival and the digital strategy agency Prolific Interactive. Graduating from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University this spring, Seun intends to combine his interests in cross-cultural interaction, community building, and innovation in an effort to discover the best practices for developing social capital in different societies, domestic and abroad.

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Spencer Wolfe

Columbia University ’14
Major: History

Spencer Wolfe is a Columbia University graduate from Boulder, CO. His diverse intellectual interests and professional background reflect his eagerness to develop new skills. His varied work experience has informed an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving with an ability to work in a fast-paced and collaborative environment. Spencer’s interest in entrepreneurship culminated in co-founding two of his own companies, most recently Lion Textbooks in 2013. In his free time, Spencer enjoys rock climbing, dabbling in home brewing and looking at beautiful pieces of art.

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Stephen Rees

Northwestern University ’14
Major: American Studies and Legal Studies

Stephen has worked everywhere from U.S. Cellular Field as a seat vendor (a.k.a. “hot dog guy”) to Washington, D.C. as an investigator for the Public Defender Service. A member of Northwestern University’s Class of 2014, Stephen expects to graduate with honors as an American Studies and Legal Studies double-major. In January of 2011 Stephen founded Sherman Ave (sherman-ave.com), a Northwestern-oriented humor site that garnered over 2 million views and featured a staff of approximately 50 writers.

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Stephanie Johnson

University of Pennsylvania ’14
Major: Management
Minor: Psychology and South Asian Studies

Stephanie is studying Management at University of Pennsylvania: The Wharton School with minors in Psychology and South Asian Studies. She has done internships in a variety of business functions including equity research at a financial consulting firm, marketing and public relations at an e-commerce start-up in Philadelphia, market research and consulting for a firm in India, and product development at Macy’s Merchandising Group. Stephanie loves to travel and has been to China, Hong Kong, and Thailand, and lived in India for 4 months. Abroad is where she developed her passion for social entrepreneurship and she is inspired to utilize her business knowledge to make a difference in the world. Other interests include positive psychology and racial tolerance. She conducted experimental research on achievement and motivation at the Penn Positive Psychology Group. She was also the director of The Race Dialogue Project where she fostered discussion and ran events on topics of race, ethnicity, identity, and culture. Stephanie loves fashion, hip-hop music, dystopian novels, tennis, soccer, and dancing.

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Swad Komanduri

California Institute of Technology ’13
Major: Engineering & Applied Science – Computation & Neural Systems

Swad is a lifelong learner taking on the challenges of the world. From building robots in high school to replicating the flight of a bird at NextGen Aeronautics, he seeks out opportunities to solve tough problems and have an impact. After graduating from Caltech, where he spent his time decoding the computations of the human brain, he helped start ReMaterials, a cleantech social venture that transformed waste into robust and affordable shelter for rural and slum inhabitants of India currently living under hazardous and suboptimal roofs. In his downtime, he enjoys sports, travel, and the great outdoors.

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Taher Hassonjee

New York University ’14
Major: Politics
Minor: Social Entrepreneurship

Taher is a Politics major and Social Entrepreneurship minor at NYU. While at NYU, he founded the NYU Students for Political Action Committee, which operates as an advocate for student beliefs at the federal level. Taher also took a semester off from college to serve as the Deputy Finance Director for a U.S Congressional campaign in the Philadelphia suburbs. In this role, he worked to optimize the campaign’s outreach and fundraising efforts. Taher is also a die-hard Eagles fan.

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Timothy Morris

University of Virginia ’14
Major: Architecture
Minor: Global Sustainability and Urban & Environmental Planning

Originally from Peachtree City, Georgia, Timothy will graduate from the University of Virginia where he studied Architecture, Global Sustainability, and Urban & Environmental Planning. In 2012, his fascination with the intersection of design, the environment, and community vitality took him to Limpopo, South Africa, where he had the opportunity to work with Studio reCOVER, an initiative which embraces the humanitarian potential of cross-disciplinary research and design. Supplementing this experience with skills gleaned as a more traditional architecture intern, Timothy hopes to couple entrepreneurship and environmental design to leverage community development and revitalize post-industrial American cities. Outside of the architecture studio, he devoted much of his college career to Residence Life, Student Council, and his Honor Fraternity. In his free time, “T,” as he’s known by most, is a big fan of karaoke, trivia, graphic design, and geocaching.

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Tom Stern

Tulane University ’14
Major: Finance and Management

Tom is currently finishing his degree at Tulane University majoring in both Finance and Management. The owner of a tech startup that specializes in improving events,Tom enjoys designing innovative products that help improve existing products or experiences. Originally from Westchester New York Tom is an avid Knicks and Rangers fan who is also a Green Bay Packers superfan.

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Zach Kaufman

Washington University in St. Louis ’14
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Zach is a problem-solver who draws upon a diverse set of technical skills stemming from an interdisciplinary education in biomedical engineering and archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout his academic and early professional career, Zach has showcased his entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks. His summers have allowed for such distinct experiences as conducting archaeological fieldwork in Kazakhstan’s Dzhungar Mountains and working as a legal clerk in the Medical Division of the Illinois Office of the Attorney General. In the latter capacity, Zach’s responsibilities ranged from coordinating expert witness statements to providing council with analyses regarding the current scientific literature on Shaken Baby Syndrome. He has additionally demonstrated his propensity to take initiative via the co-founding of the Washington University Butter Churning Society, an organization centered on philanthropy and building a sense of community that is unlike any other student group in the nation. Zach’s personal time is split between working to grow his own startup venture, which has developed a mobile studying application that trains users to achieve optimal levels of brain activity when addressing academic tasks, following Chicago’s sports teams, discovering new music, and building meaningful relationships with bright and unique individuals, as he looks forward to doing with his peers in the VFA Class of 2014.

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