Venture for America is excited to introduce the second class of Venture for America Fellows. Out of the hundreds of applicants, these individuals stood out based on intellectual ability, accomplishment, demonstrated leadership and initiative, communication and interpersonal skills, and mission-orientation.
Class of 2013 Fellows
University of Virginia
Adam is studying Global Development and French at the University of Virginia, where he is a Jefferson Scholar. Originally from San Francisco, Adam has pursued his global interests in college by studying abroad in Paris and interning at Global Health Strategies, a media and communications strategy consulting firm in New York City. Outside of the classroom at UVA, Adam spends his time serving as an investigation coordinator in UVA’s honor system, volunteering as a teaching assistant in ESL classes, coaching YMCA basketball, and leading Alternative Spring Break trips. His other interests include baseball, acting, road trips, and skiing.
Washington University in St. Louis
Adam is a senior majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in biophysics at Washington University in St. Louis. During his sophomore year, Adam started an iPhone repair service for students and residents in the St. Louis area. He is also an owner and CEO of an on-campus business called Wash-U-Wash and an active member of the Student Entrepreneurial Program. During his freshman and sophomore years, Adam was awarded Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships at Brookhaven National Laboratory where he undertook research in medical imaging. Adam spent last summer in Brazil and was an intern for a Brazilian commodity brokerage firm. He shadowed the managing director, learning about the Brazilian commodity and futures markets, helping to cultivate relations with new clients and interacting with international hedge funds. Currently, Adam is a teaching assistant for Quantitative Physiology and a Brotherhood Development Director for his fraternity. In his free time, Adam loves to travel, scuba dive, play soccer and is an avid Manchester United fan.
At Cornell Alex studied History with a focus on International Relations and the Cold War, but he did most of his learning in the various business he was a part of and as a leader in the storied Cornell Greek system. He worked on the business team of the Cornell Daily Sun; was Operations Manager for Ithaca’s largest full service shipping and storage company, Big Red Shipping and Storage; and continues to work as the Business Manager for the Cornellian yearbook. As the Vice President of Recruitment for the Interfraternity Council Alex worked to promote the positive values and lessons of Greek life in the face of growing national criticism. When he isn’t working, you can find Alex in the gym, on the basketball court, or relaxing at his second home overlooking Cayuga Lake, Sigma Pi.
Alex is majoring in Mathematics and Economics at Middlebury College. He spent two summers creating sustainable fishing models at the Caltech Department of Economics, and he currently interns with a startup incubator called the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies. When Alex isn’t meeting with entrepreneurs, he’s working on Jiminy, his project that produces cricket-infused energy bars that give children the protein and iron they need. Each bar purchased helps fund cricket farms in Kenya that give these same critical nutrients to children that need them dearly. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing volleyball and soccer, and on the weekends, some know him as DJ Beawulf.
Alex is studying math-econ at Wesleyan University. Alex spent a summer in rural Honduras at a startup microfinance organization, where he became passionate about social enterprise. At Wesleyan, Alex has started several initiatives to bring social enterprise to campus, consulted for local social enterprises through his role as co-director of the Wesleyan Consulting Group, and talks about social enterprise all the time. In his spare time, Alex enjoys eating and sitting in the sun.
University of North Carolina
Alex is a senior at the University of North Carolina studying Environmental Science and minoring in Marine Science. A Cary native, she discovered her passion for sustainability through her interactions with local decision-makers in the field and her fascination with the endless connections between human actions and natural processes. In addition to participating in multiple research experiences, including an honors thesis in bacterial ecology and a month-long research cruise, she is interested in social issues, conducting outreach for a poverty eradication organization and chairing an environmental justice organization. Last summer, she developed a youth education program for a community that has lived for decades with a municipal landfill in its backyard with the goal of developing the next generation of scientists and community activists. As a four-term Sustainability Office intern, she helps manage the office’s outreach and events and loves to network with student and departmental leaders. Her other interests include SCUBA diving, spontaneous road trips, reading long novels, and sewing her own clothes.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ali will graduate from MIT this year with dual undergraduate and master’s degrees in City Planning. Though she was born, raised, and educated in the Boston area, her wanderlust and curiosity have taken her across the country and around the globe to study urban problems and solutions. Throughout college, she has worked with a large governmental organization in Mexico City, a small non-profit in New Orleans, and multiple research groups at MIT. She has had the opportunity to study abroad in India, Senegal, and Argentina through a comparative studies program, participate in workshop and studio classes in China and Singapore, and implement sustainable development projects in Tanzania. She has returned from these opportunities with a passion for improving cities here in the US and a strong conviction that these improvements are often best made by passionate people, from the ground up.
St. Lawrence University
Alli is a senior and currently studies Creative Writing and Rhetoric at St. Lawrence University in Northern New York. She is a self-described “student government geek,” having served as the organization’s student life chair, and eventually vice president. She’s interned for a healthy eating initiative for kids, a hospitality start-up in Brooklyn, and in her university’s communications office, where she worked extensively on clients relations, event-planning, and marketing. Prior to her junior year, Alli cycled across country with Bike & Build, raising money and awareness for affordable housing. This inspired her to be involved in the movement to create more employment opportunities, especially in lower-income cities. When she’s not snowboarding or riding her bike around town, Alli enjoys meeting new people, cooking for friends, and all other things adventure.
Andrew is a senior at Dartmouth College. He grew up in New London, New Hampshire, and went to high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. He is currently studying Engineering modified with Studio Art and minoring in Computer Science, and he will graduate in June. When he is not busy playing golf for the varsity team, he can be found in the project lab, the computer lab, or grilling burgers with friends outside of his fraternity (Beta Alpha Omega) where he just finished his term as Vice President. He has empathy for users with real world needs and a passion for constructing elegant solutions. His interests include product design, industrial design, mobile applications, user experience design, and photography. He hopes to one day start his own golf putter and apparel company.
University of Notre Dame
Anh-Ton is an IT Management Major with a Minor in French at the University of Notre Dame. A Houston native, he has always been fascinated by technology, culture and expression. Anh-Ton has had a variety of internships working in the Consulting and Entertainment industry. Last summer he interned in Los Angeles for AEG helping them launch the LA Food and Wine Festival, and Participant Media running digital campaigns for their movies and website. In his free time, he loves to cook, write, and competes for the ND rugby team.
Astrid grew up in Larchmont, New York, and graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 where she majored in Physics and minored in Chinese. When she was not playing for the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, memorizing Chinese characters or giving tours to prospective students, Astrid could be found fulfilling her duties as president of “YouPower”: a bike-room she began on campus that produces electricity. She loves the project because it combines her passions for athletics and energy awareness, and convinced her that she wants to run her own business. After graduating, she decided to stay at Middlebury for a year to support and recruit for MiddCORE, an amazing summer course on entrepreneurship and innovation. An avid soccer player, runner, cycler and hiker, Astrid is also fond of word games, riddles and puzzles.
Avery is a senior at Brown University where he studies English, focusing on American literature. He is a jack of many trades, having interned in advertising, finance, publishing, film, and recently at Sir Kensington’s, a ketchup startup. At Brown he edits Paper & Pixel, the school’s only photography magazine. Avery has also taught sex-ed at a Providence public school, and contributed his writing and photography to a handful of campus publications. He grew up in New York City but took a semester off of school to live in Portland, OR and brew beer. He enjoys making all kinds of things, playing tennis, and cycling.
Ben is a senior at Princeton University studying mostly Chinese in the East Asian Studies department. He made some extra cash in high school selling candy and flipping old guitars on eBay, and he’s been hooked on entrepreneurship ever since. His summers have been spent splitting time between picking up language skills in China and making things happen for a handful of start-ups on both coasts. In his spare time, he likes to shoot pool and dream about waves.
Washington University in St. Louis
Ben is a senior Economics student at Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from Nashville, TN, Ben has a strong interest in economic redevelopment and spent the summer of 2012 working at the largest community development financial institution in Tennessee where he performed lead qualification on the company’s energy efficiency loan program and assisted in preparing financial analyses for small businesses. After founding a microfinance oriented student group at WashU, Ben led a team of like-minded entrepreneurial students to Honduras in January 2013 to help capitalize a community bank and lead workshops to improve financial literacy. In his free time, Ben enjoys cooking, photography, and competing in physical endurance competitions, such as the Tough Mudder.
University of Michigan
Brennan is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Engineering, where he studied Engineering Physics. He recently returned from two years in Kenya with the Peace Corps, where he taught physics and chemistry in a small secondary school on Lake Victoria. During his college years he was involved in research on micro-scale power generation, cyborg insects, and lithium battery recycling. Brennan lead a student team that traveled to Guatemala to design and build foot powered water pumps. He was also a member of the Michigan Marching Band, where he played trumpet. Brennan’s other interests include running, singing, pedagogy, and how technology can bring positive change to the lives of people around the world.
Washington University in St. Louis
Brian is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis where he is studying Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, Classics, and Creative Writing. He grew up in Rhode Island and spent his summers working as the lead editor for Application Boot Camp, a premier college admissions consultancy, and as an educator at the Farm School, a sustainable agriculture program. In addition to studying abroad in Athens, Greece and at the University of Oxford, Brian has worked as a research assistant in three psychology labs, has conducted a study on infants’ social preferences, and has authored an Ancient Greek exercise manual. Some of his interests include basketball, fonts, writing, and meeting new people.
Charlie is a senior at Georgetown University, where he is double majoring in Finance and International Business and minoring in Theology. Charlie also studied strategy and finance at the University of Oxford in the summer of 2011. At Georgetown, Charlie has been involved with the club tennis team, as well as Hilltop Consultants, a student group that does pro bono consulting projects for non-profit clients throughout the United States. Charlie has had internships in consulting, internet marketing, finance and sales. He also had the chance to work for Senator Maria Cantwell on Capitol Hill. He grew up in South Seattle, where he experienced how the entrepreneurial spirit can transform a community. Charlie enjoys running, biking, hiking and open water rowing in the Pacific Northwest. With the help of VFA, Charlie aspires to learn about urban development and revitalization while developing his business and leadership skills.
University of Pennsylvania
Chris is a senior at University of Pennsylvania where he is studying Urban Studies and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He grew up in Minnesota and New York, and spent his summer working for Credit Suisse on the Sales and Trading Floor. Chris has started several ventures at Penn, such as PennCycle, Penn’s first bike share, and the UPenn Memory Team, which competes in the USA Memory Championship. He has also served on the Undergraduate Assembly, performed with Onda Latina dance troupe, chaired the United Minorities Council, and is part of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. Some of his interests include salsa dancing, memory training, blogging, and meeting new people.
Chris Cusack is a senior at Duke University studying public policy and economics, though he has spent most of his collegiate career writing about sports in the office of The Chronicle, Duke’s independent daily student newspaper, where he served as sports editor. He most recently interned in Northern Ireland at Lisburn People’s Support Project, a community organization that aims to revitalize the local economy through microenterprise, where he helped write business plans and compile an oral history database of individual experiences during The Troubles. His interest in entrepreneurship, though, started as an intern at FindTheBest.com, a comparison search engine startup based in his hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif. In his free time, he enjoys pick-up basketball, playing the guitar, and following the San Francisco Giants.
Chris is a senior at Williams College and native of western Maine, believes that education and entrepreneurship are vital tools for empowering people to transform themselves and the communities that they care about. As a result he is interested in the potential for technology to make education fun, (almost) free, and effective. In 2011 Chris interned at an economic policy research institute in Cape Town, South Africa, where he helped develop the design plans for a multi-year initiative to promote savings and education amongst government child grant recipients. After returning to the United States he worked in LinkedIn’s sales operations, where he learned the ins and outs of using data to drive decisions in a global, rapidly expanding business. His interests include playing poker, watching movies and stand-up comedy, writing fiction, and spending time with friends.
Claire is a senior studying Social Studies at Harvard University. Though she always envisioned that she would study English and eventually become a writer, Claire fell in love with politics after a six month gig working as a community organizer for a New Hampshire congressional campaign in 2010. Since then, she has developed an internship program for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and produced materials and social media content for Rootstrikers, an organization that seeks to combat political corruption caused by special interest money. At Harvard, Claire invests most of her time in various public service organizations, though she also works as a tour guide, leads backpacking trips for freshmen, and is a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity. Claire enjoys spoken word poetry, making/listening to music, adventuring, and doing anything outdoors.
Clara is studying Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a focus on Technology and Security at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC. Originally from Portland, Oregon she spent two years of high school in China with most classes in Mandarin. She has been involved with student government throughout her time at Georgetown and served this last year as student body president. Additionally, she and a few other students founded the Social Innovation and Public Service Fund in 2012, which finances student-led socially oriented initiatives. Her favorite way to enjoy being outside at Georgetown is with Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee; especially since hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting are hard to come by at Georgetown.
David is a senior at Cornell University where he is studying Industrial Labor Relations. Before beginning his collegiate career, he took at gap year and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Jerusalem, Israel to strengthen his foreign language skills. At college, David became enthralled with entrepreneurship, which led him to launch the Cornell branch of The Odyssey newspaper. The next summer he worked for Gust, an online platform to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors. David grew up in New York City, which afforded him the opportunity to eat and cook delicious foods–a primary passion of his. Despite his distance from the mountains, he also loves to ski.
Eleanor graduated with honors in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and International Affairs. A passionate problem-solver, Eleanor spent most of her college summers working in Tanzania and South Africa where she learned from slum dwellers about the art and struggle of providing microfinance and organizing for better public services, access to loans, and political voice. Curious about the unintended consequences of grant-based funding, she interviewed non-profits across Malawi for her senior thesis to understand how they accessed funding and its effect on their relationship with government. On campus, she spearheaded the creation of “The Real Food Co-op”, a student communal cooking and dining cooperative, founded “Lotus Cafe”, a weekly wine-and-tea-filled dialogue for students to discuss personal and community issues, and partnered with fellow students to incite a campus-wide mental health movement. After graduation, she co-authored paper that develops a framework for understanding how different types of technology-enabled networks can be harnessed for international development. She then became a research associate at the Rockefeller Foundation. She loves capoeira, trying new foods, and good conversation.
Born in Washington, DC, Eli moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he was eleven years old. He attended R.J. Reynolds High School and was elected class president for three consecutive years. Currently a senior economics major at Haverford College, he has played on the varsity basketball team every year. Eli’s senior thesis investigates the relationship between athletic motivation and labor market outcomes, measured by income and employment status. Eli recognized his passion for entrepreneurship this past summer while working for Brad Aronson, a successful young businessman who hired Eli to use SEO and social media campaigns to drive traffic to his startup blog, bradaronson.com. Eli’s immersion into the Philadelphia startup community led him to attend a Hackathon event where he competed on a team of entrepreneurs to develop a business and win seed money. His growing interest in entrepreneurship led him to work for an education startup (LLESSInc) and an innovative basketball-specific apparel startup (POINT3). Eli is also a mentor for Startup Corps, teaching high school students about entrepreneurship and coaching them as they develop their own businesses. He recently began working with two of his friends to develop an iPhone application and looks forward to developing more innovative endeavors as a Fellow.
University of Notre Dame
Eric is a senior at the University of Notre Dame, where he is studying Entrepreneurship. Originally from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Eric discovered his love for Entrepreneurship while working for a start-up in High School and through a pre-college entrepreneurship program at the University of Maryland. Eric has expressed his passion for technology by working with a web design and development business for the past seven years. Through internships and professional experience, Eric has also been given the opportunity to influence and understand how products are created giving him an understanding of the importance of User Experience Design in a start-up or any business. He also enjoys playing squash, playing video games, and coming up with (hopefully) world changing start-up concepts.
University of Virginia
The son of a nurse and mechanical engineer, Eric looked to combine the two fields by studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. There he is designing a device to treat intractable epilepsy, collaborating with the Department of Neurology. While spending last summer diving head first into this project, he went to some of UVA’s Darden School of Business incubator luncheons and realized nurturing young technologies and ideas was his passion. An avid Virginia sports fan and budding outdoorsman, Eric cherishes time spent tweaking his jump shot, snowboarding, and recently, climbing boulders in Joshua Tree.
University of Texas
Evan studies at The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas, where he majors in Finance. A Long Island, New York native, Evan first became interested in Entrepreneurship in high school, when he founded and co-hosted the online sports radio talk show, “Sports Heaven With Mark and Evan.” Some of Evan’s past summer internships have been with Marquis Jet Partners, Tequila Avion, and Goldman Sachs. Evan has spent his last two years of college interning for Raptor Accelerator, a venture capital firm, where Evan became embedded in the Austin startup community. Some of Evan’s interests are traveling, playing and watching sports, and spending time with family and friends.
Fiona O’Leary Sloan
Washington University in St. Louis
Fiona will graduate in May 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Anthropology, Creative Writing, & Public Health. Passionate about women’s issues and social change, she developed a non-profit advocacy campaign for sexual abuse survivors as an intern with Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, and later went on to coach a basketball team in rural India, engage in STI/HIV prevention outreach work with Project ARK in St. Louis, intern with the World Health Organization in Fiji, teach sexual education courses in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and work in the public diplomacy of global hunger with the U.S. Department of State in Rome, Italy. She competes nationally as a spoken word poet with WU-Slam and loves nothing more than a great conversation that spills into the wee hours. She enjoys spending time abroad, having lived a year each in Brazil and Italy, and is fluent in Brazilian Portuguese and Italian.
Frank graduated from Yale University, majoring in Psychology. He is passionate for all types of learning and exploring, and has extensive interests in graphic design, 3D printing, and backpacking across continents. Frank is a member of Sigma Chi, and serves on the National Alumni Relations Committee. Born and raised in LA, he hopes to retire in a beach house one day.
Franklin is a senior at Morehouse College with an Economics concentration. His interest in entrepreneurship began during his participation in the LEAD program at Dartmouth College in 2008 where he was exposed to numerous enthusiastic entrepreneurs. While an avid cello player and a guitarist for a number of Georgia bands, Franklin found time to join his school debate team who went on to secure three consecutive state titles, and recently a national title.
Giuseppe grew up in Milan, Italy, and moved to the United States to attend Duke University. Now a senior, he studies Biology and Political Science, and divides his time on campus between working in a developmental biology lab, playing the violin in the Duke Symphony Orchestra, and the occasional golf or soccer tournament. He developed an interest in entrepreneurship during the summer of 2012, when he worked as a marketing intern at Wiredset, an internet startup in New York City. Keen to explore new and different cultures, he has travelled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, and the Middle East, and has studied abroad in South Africa.
Jack is a senior at Duke University where he is a letterman and scholarship member of the varsity football team and a member of Duke’s Program for Entrepreneurs. His passion for entrepreneurship started with lemonade stands as a child in Atlanta, furthered with the creation of a highlight film company for aspiring college athletes in high school, and then grew into creating and operating a textbook buyback business for student-athletes while at Duke. Jack enjoys exercising, watching movies, cooking and spending as much time as he can with his family.
Jacob is majoring in the College of Social Studies, an interdisciplinary program in History, Government, Economics and Social Theory, at Wesleyan University. Jacob spent the past two summers studying post-conflict business development in East Africa, which has given him a profound appreciation for the link between businesses and the communities they operate in. At Wesleyan, Jacob helped establish and build an entirely student run cafe that has proved to be immensely popular on campus. In his free moments, Jacob enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, fishing, gypsy jazz guitar, a good barbecue, and is looking forward to finishing his private pilot’s license sometime in the near future.
Jenna is studying political science and human rights at Barnard College, where she is an Athena Leadership Scholar. She has held internships ranging from political outreach for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a local nonprofit, to communications for Women’s World Banking, a global microfinance network. A native New Yorker, Jenna has studied abroad in Uganda, Rwanda, and Paris, helping her to develop a passion for cities and their diverse personalities. Jenna is a former professional-level ballet dancer, a cheese addict, and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Theta.
Jim is studying Finance and International Studies at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. A native of Indianapolis, Jim has grown up studying, training, and eventually teaching martial arts in his local community. Throughout college he has worked on a collaborative research project at the IU School of Medicine, spent a semester as an intern at Merrill Lynch, and studied abroad in England at the University of Oxford. Though he’d originally planned to pursue a career in Investment Banking, he discovered his passion for startups after receiving university funding and support to develop a software venture on campus. In his free time, Jim enjoys dabbling in graphic design, having deep conversations, and expanding his appreciation for music and literature.
John is a senior at Amherst College, where he studies economics and political science. A captain of the men’s ultimate frisbee team and founder of a lampoon newspaper, John also has a passion for meteorology, which he has followed by interning at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and trading weather commodities. He enjoys things that happen outside, such as skiing, hiking, and thunderstorms, in addition to things that make him laugh. He also believes strongly in VFA’s social mission to revitalize American cities through entrepreneurship.
University of Chicago
Johnny was born in Taiwan before moving to Belize with his family at the age of four and a half. Through his experiences in Belize, he became interested in public health, how it affects rural communities, and how health researchers communicate their findings to the public. Fascinated by storytelling, Johnny has been working on a documentary about LGBTQ minorities and their empowerment, and hopes to finish the film before he graduates. Currently, Johnny studies Visual Arts at the University of Chicago and enjoys fencing, photography, filmmaking, technical learning, conversations, cycling, and cheesecakes.
Kate is studying economics and entrepreneurship at Gonzaga University, where she is a member of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Her childhood hiking mountains in the Seattle area drew her attention early to sustainability issues. She has since spent a year lobbying for environmental education in DC and biked across the country to study national energy concerns. Recently she led a delegation representing US Youth to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar through SustainUS. After Kate spent a semester with a “micro-consignment” startup in Nicaragua, she became passionate about social enterprise and the private sector as a solution to address societal ills while creating jobs. Kate enjoys exploring new trails, countries, street food and microbrews.
Kate is a senior at Vanderbilt University majoring in Human and Organizational Development and French and the Creative Arts. Having aspired to be everything from a Food Network star to a travel photographer, she could not be more excited to join VFA and channel the inner entrepreneur that she has always dreamed to be. Spending her past two summers interning at Ernst & Young and Warner Music Group, her Vanderbilt days have involved everything from writing for the student newspaper to being social chair of her sorority to co-founding a company, HeyBazaar, which serves as a unique classifieds website for members of the Vanderbilt community. With a love for photography, you can often find her people watching in coffee shops or roaming the streets capturing photos to add to her portfolio. In her free time, she enjoys sampling at Whole Foods, kickboxing, and reading music blogs.
Kavan is a senior at Vassar College, where he is majoring in computer science and has explored cognitive science, philosophy and physics. He spent the past two summers researching motion-planning algorithms and multi-robot communication at Vassar and at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Ever since delving into computer science and learning about the rapid advances in industrial robotics, he has wondered at the possibilities of commercial robotics, particularly in the realm of robotic prosthetics and sensory devices for physical and sensory impairment. He hopes to help impel a universally accessible bionic future. Kavan is also an avid frisbee thrower (and catcher), weightlifter, singer, electronic music listener, outdoorsman, and eater of Indian food.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Kwaku Osei earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Honor’s College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Thereafter he joined Deloitte Consulting where he focused on technology, business process reengineering, strategic change and communications. In addition, he founded the Deloitte Entrepreneurship Community, a Deloitte community of practice focused on entrepreneurship as well as innovation that seeks to produce thought leadership and more successful entrepreneurial activity through a multi-faceted approach. Prior to joining Deloitte, Kwaku started 4 businesses in various industries; he hopes to use his increasingly growing experience and education to develop many more in the future.
Case Western Reserve University
Malavika is finishing her master’s in Neurobiology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She graduated from CWRU in 2011 with a major in Biology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. In college, Malavika enjoyed the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland, work as an editor for her school’s literary magazine and do various design projects including CWRU’s St. Gobain Material Design Competition where her team placed first. All this solidified her love for product innovation and working in interdisciplinary groups. In her free time she enjoys reading anything that is in front of her, blogging about food, and flying kites.
University of Colorado
Matt is a Web Developer and Finance Major (Class of 2013) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During his time in school, Matt traveled through western Europe, studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and spent time in Israel. When not traveling, Matt spends his time learning to code, cofounding StudentJumpStart to connect campus entrepreneurs across disciplines, and create the first online accelerator. When not doing freelance wed design and development work for Colorado businesses, Matt likes to ski, play guitar, and swim.
Matt Fish double majored in Economics as well as Law and Society at Oberlin College. Matt has always shown interest in entrepreneurship. Following an internship with Detroit Venture Partners, Matt started his own company helping local businesses promote their services to the surrounding community. Matt has spent the last two years working closely with the startup Hired My Way performing a variety of roles in market research and financial modeling. When Matt isn’t working he can be found participating in a variety of athletic activities. After winning a state championship in baseball during his high school years, Matt went on to play two years on Oberlin’s baseball team.
Maxwell is a senior at Boston College, studying in the Carroll School of Management with a concentration in Information Systems. He is a native of Southern California where he was fortunate to spend the majority of his life outdoors, especially on the baseball fields. After moving east for college and embracing the differences in climate, culture, and history, Maxwell is constantly seeking new life experiences. He believes that the value of these experiences lives in the more nuanced perspective with which one sees the world, work, and life everyday. His time in college has been one of self-discovery, where he cultivated his belief in the power of entrepreneurship, environmentally sustainable initiatives, and the importance of informed conversations on the problems facing society. Through his experience working at start-up companies and at home with his family, Max has found the most fulfillment from work in the development of an idea from inception to realization. His free time is spent listening to and discovering music, reading, playing pick-up games of any sport, practicing yoga and exploring.
Mehves graduated from Brown University, double majoring in Engineering and Economics. She grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. Throughout her summers, Mehves worked in variety of industries such as an FX Trader in Deutsche and as a media analyst in Dick Clarck Productions. Her interest in entrepreneurship peaked in freshman year summer when she opened a bakery in Chepkanga, Kenya from scratch. At her senior year Mehves got interested in start-ups and worked on two business plans, one which won the RI Elevator Pitch Competition’12 and the other attracted great attention after a VC presentation. With the help of VFA, Mehves aspires to build her own knowledge of how to work in a start-up, going beyond convention and add valuable skills to a start up with her strong communication and presentation skills along with her passion.
University of Pittsburgh
Cincinnati-native Mike Cunningham (@mikejcunn) is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Bioengineering. He has never had a dull moment at Pitt, playing three years of club volleyball, singing in four a cappella groups on campus, and also completing two years of research in regenerative medicine. He also has completed internships in auto accident reconstruction, business marketing, and oncology research. In his spare time, he plays in two acoustic duos, Bailey Park and Mike & Danny, helps run the Music Engineering Lab (MEL) at the Swanson School of Engineering, and enjoys supporting live and local music. He loves trying and cooking new foods, being outdoors, and meeting new people.
Washington and Lee University
Mike (@mwil20), a Baltimore native, is a senior at Washington and Lee University where he is majoring in Mathematics and Business Administration. He developed an interest in Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship when he interned at a venture capital firm the summer after his Sophomore year. After an internship at JP Morgan the next summer, he decided to return to entrepreneurship and was drawn to VFA. At W&L, Mike has played basketball for two seasons, served as treasurer of his fraternity, and served as a student consultant for local businesses. His interests include playing basketball, watching the Ravens, listening to soul music (especially Mo-town), and (watching) standup comedy.
Moss is a senior at Brown University, where he is studying both public policy and entrepreneurship. Moss spent the summer of 2012 in Cape Town conducting research for Brown’s Global Entrepreneurship Initiative on the intersection of healthcare and mobile technology. In 2011, he investigated access to social services while studying abroad in Denmark. A strong advocate of sustainability, he has worked for a green consulting firm and a renewable energy trade magazine. His interests include film, political commentary, and ultimate frisbee.
University of Oklahoma
Oliver is an Industrial Engineering and Economics major at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. He realized he wanted to pursue entrepreneurship from his intern experience at the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth, where he helped developed a scalable method to provide clean drinking water in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia and led research for commercializing a fatty acid production process. He also worked in venture capital at the Oklahoma Life Science Fund. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, experimenting with cooking, and following/playing basketball.
Johns Hopkins University
Paige Boehmcke is a senior at Johns Hopkins University studying Materials Science & Engineering. Paige started her academic career at the University of Alabama, where she was lucky enough to contribute to a published paper her sophomore year. Paige was especially inspired by working with the HERO revitalization program in Greensboro, Alabama. After transferring to Johns Hopkins, Paige joined the cross country team, and she is now one of 57 proud owners of a 2012 Division III Cross Country National Championship ring. During the past year, Paige has spent time characterizing a new drug at Bristol-Myers Squibb, completing her senior design project, and helping new student groups grow through her involvement with Senior Leadership Consultants.
Patrick graduated from Rice University in 2010 with a degree in History and Policy Studies. He traveled to Brazil in 2011 on a Fulbright scholarship to study waste-picker cooperatives and stayed there afterward to help build a start-up social enterprise in the sector. At Rice, Patrick served as president of the Student Association and founded the Rice Endowment for Sustainable Energy Technology, which sponsors energy initiatives across campus. He studied abroad in Bolivia in 2008, where he researched the use of solar energy in rural development. He also performed field research in Nicaragua for his senior thesis on U.S. foreign aid programs in the country. Patrick’s interests include piano, foreign languages, marathon running, college sports, current events, and hiking. He provides regular commentary about waste-picker issues and economic development in Brazil on his blog, “Patrick Talks Trash”.
Peter is a senior studying International Economics and Film at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has worked in the NYC Parks Department’s Marketing office, directed Public Relations for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, and performed financial research at a NYC hedge fund. Most recently, Peter helped lead fundraising and communications efforts for Team Middlebury in the Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, DC. On campus, Peter is the captain of the Men’s Water Polo team and a Head Chef for Dolci, Middlebury’s student restaurant. Peter has also studied in Argentina at Universidad Torcuato diTella in Buenos Aires.
Johns Hopkins University
Peter is a Chinese-born American entrepreneur. His most recent venture is Froots & Co., a fruit subscription service for young adults. Peter loves the passion that motivates entrepreneurs and enjoys good company. He loves to try new things, wants to change the world, and really likes poached eggs. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management and is finishing up his Masters in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.
Peter is a Political Science major at Yale University. A Maryland native, Peter spent last summer at a Washington, D.C. education startup spearheading the development of the non-profit branch of the organization. The prior summer, he worked in the office of Congressman Steny Hoyer on Capitol Hill completing legislative research and managing correspondence with constituents. At Yale, Peter is a member of the varsity lacrosse team and a passionate contributor to numerous charitable activities and student outreach programs, one of which he manages. He looks forward to continuing his sporting and community service interests long after graduation. Some of Peter’s other interests include boating, fishing, and cooking.
Rachel is a senior at Duke University studying Spanish and Policy Journalism/Media Studies. Rachel’s entrepreneurial interests were first kindled when she started a cookie company with her sister in high school. Since then, she has cultivated her business sense by interning in diverse work environments including a PR firm in NYC, a magazine in Durham, North Carolina, and a naval shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. Outside of the classroom, Rachel is an indoor cycling instructor and volunteers with Girls on the Run, a program that teaches 8 to 13 year-old girls life skills through running. She could not be more excited about gearing up with VFA.
University of Chicago
Rachel is a Midwest native majoring in Geography at the University of Chicago. She is interested in the intersection of cities and entrepreneurship, and her favorite activity in any city is to explore. Rachel was a True Entrepreneur Corps Fellow in 2012, working as a marketing intern at Metamarkets in San Francisco. Rachel was also on one of the winning teams in Chicago Startup Weekend in 2011. Rachel is an active member of the literary community and founded the Anthology of Chicago, a project that aims to collect poems and stories that evoke the spirit of Chicago’s many neighborhoods. She also co-founded and runs a lit blog (Banango Lit) and a lit journal (Banango Street), and writes poetry when she has a minute.
Case Western Reserve University
Sam will graduate in May 2013 from Case Western Reserve University majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and History and Philosophy of Science. In between quite a lot of coursework, He found time to get involved with the Engineering Honor Society, and has been involved heavily in his fraternity, serving in numerous positions from Corresponding Secretary to Vice President. Additionally, he participated in two Cooperative Education internships, where he got out of the classroom and was able to tackle some real world problems. Sam enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee when he can and is an avid sailor. He’s excited to be a part of the 2013 class of Venture for America.
University of California Santa Barbara
Sean attempts to study Political Science while attending university at UC Santa Barbara, but inevitably spent most of his time rock climbing, cliff jumping, and fencing. Sean also serves in the United States Marine Corps Reserves as a Civil Affairs Advisor with 1st Civil Affairs Group in Camp Pendleton, California. He has supported the establishment of medical and dental clinics in Gonaives, Haiti; the rebuilding of an inuit village near Bethel, Alaska; and attended the Finnish Defence Forces crisis management course in Tuusula, Finland. Most recently, Sean supported economic and governance development initiatives in Helmand Province, Afghanistan while working with the civil-military Provincial Reconstruction Team to increase societal capacity and stability. Sean is passionate about economic development and has seen first hand how business ventures can change the fabric of a society, he hopes to apply the skill sets he learned abroad to tackling problems here at home. When not galavanting around the world, Sean enjoys making short films and embarrassing himself while trying to perform standup comedy.
Shilpi (@_shilpikumar) aspires to be a game-changer. After hearing Andrew Yang speak at the DNC, she decided to pursue entrepreneurship and couldn’t be more excited to join VFA. At Duke, Shilpi has taken an interdisciplinary approach to studying human decision-making, with a focus on neuroscience and economics — but really spent most of her time over-committing to student organizations and creating life-long friendships. She has worked for a social media firm in Paris, a blog advertising startup in Durham, and the UN Women office in Reykjavik. Most recently, Shilpi was an advertising operations summer intern at LinkedIn. Shilpi is passionate about revitalizing American cities, bolstering corporate social responsibility, and creating substantive leadership opportunities for women.
Stella hails from eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended High Point High School where she served as the Student Body President. Stella is now a graduating senior at Dartmouth College. She studies Women’s and Gender Studies and Mathematical Social Sciences. With a passion for gender issues and social equity, Stella developed initiatives to address gender issues in the Congo and at Dartmouth College. She has worked with start-up non-profits such as Falling Whistles and Global Grassroots, interned at the Center for Women and Gender, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. Stella believes in the power of entrepreneurship to drive social change. She has a passion for fashion and is looking forward to running her own (affordable) fashion empire in the future. Her ultimate goal is to be trailblazer in the business world and empower young women of all backgrounds to pursue their dreams.
North Carolina State University
Steven left Sterling Heights, Michigan to attend North Carolina State University as a Park Scholar, where he studies Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. During his freshman year, Steven founded Triangle Youth Leadership Services, a youth leadership development organization dedicated to empowering and motivating high school students to create change within their communities. Through NC State’s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, Steven also started a telemedical company that efficiently connects emergency physicians to specialists and was recently named a StartingBloc Fellow. Steven spent semesters abroad in Istanbul and Cape Town and summers with ExxonMobil and an Army research center, and credits these experiences with inspiring him to revitalize Metro Detroit. Throughout his four years at NC State, he has also performed as part of the 350-member marching band.
Taylor grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho and graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a degree in Economics. During high school, he was an internationally-competitive nordic skier and owned and operated his own window washing operation to finance athletic endeavors. At Middlebury, he was an active member in the residential life community serving as both a First Year Counselor and a Residential Advisor for Student Employees. He was also a varsity member of the Cross Country Skiing and Cross Country Running teams for the College. During this past year he worked as a business analyst at C&S Wholesale Grocers. His other interests include Hiking, Biking, swimming, cliff-jumping, building snow forts and eating great food.
Tom (@tomlynam) is a senior at Yale University where he is pursuing a double major in German and environmental engineering. He hails from Alexandria, Virginia, where in 2009 he graduated salutatorian from T.C. Williams High School (of “Remember the Titans” fame). Tom has held several part time jobs on campus, including managing digital media for Open Yale Courses and writing content for the Yale Sports Publicity Department. He is a member of the Yale heavyweight crew team, and also plays the alto saxophone in a pops orchestra on campus. Tom holds dual citizenship with the U.S. and Ireland and competed for the Irish National Team at the 2012 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and the 2012 World University Rowing Championships.
Tiffany (@ytiffa88) is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in Finance and Accounting and minored in Chinese and Asian Studies. Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Tiffany moved to New York City after graduation to work first as an investment banking analyst and then as a campus recruiter at Goldman Sachs. Tiffany has started several initiatives, including Whitman Idol (charity singing competition), Diversability (disability awareness organization), and The Taiwan Necklace Project (fundraiser). She is affiliated with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), Lime Connect, and Global Youth Connect (GYC). Some of her interests include traveling, catching up with friends, trying new things, making an impact, and “leaning in.”
Wesley is a senior at Princeton University majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Astrophysical Sciences. A longtime multidisciplinarian, he found his interest in entrepreneurship while working on a hybrid wind-solar power module for disaster relief settings. Wesley has firsthand knowledge working for small companies, most recently at Acadia Mountain Guides during the summer of 2012, and is excited to learn more about how to run a successful start-up. In his free time, Wesley enjoys rock climbing, both indoors and outdoors, and if asked, he will gladly tell you why space exploration is a human imperative or about the latest Wikipedia article he has read.
Yousef (@yfJanajri) graduated from Lehigh University in 2011 with an Integrated Business and Engineering degree with a focus in Industrial Engineering and Finance. A generalist at heart, Yousef has assumed various roles ranging from product development at a mobile app startup to business development at Ctrip.com, China’s leading online travel site. More recently, Yousef spent his time as a valuation and business modeling analyst at Ernst & Young performing financial due diligence for mergers & acquisitions. Having spent a summer in Rwanda, Africa helping to expand a family business into a new market, he came to realize his true passion for entrepreneurship. When he’s not busy globetrotting you can find him reading up on the latest tech trends, snowboarding, or exploring new life hacks.
Zoe is a senior at Brown University, where she studies Architectural Studies with an urban planning focus. She takes courses in the Political Science, Urban Studies, Public Policy and Public Health departments because she’s interested in how cities tick, change and thrive. She has engaged heavily with the city of Providence throughout her time at Brown, working to grow the local chapter of the non-profit Health Leads and leading a team of undergraduates studying health disparities in Providence. She spent a semester abroad travelling between Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam to study urban planning and governance in nations with developing economies. Zoe’s hobbies include reading, creative writing and cooking.
Zubin is a senior at Georgetown University, where he is majoring in Government and minoring in Chinese and Business. Zubin’s parents are originally from Hong Kong and Iran, but he considers himself a proud Texan. While at Georgetown, Zubin has studied abroad in China and Spain, where he discovered his love of languages. He also worked for the Corp, which is the largest completely student-run business in the US, and was president of Compass Strategy Advisors, which is an organization that promotes social entrepreneurship by helping students start social businesses. Zubin was also actively involved in welcoming new students to campus as a New Student Orientation leader and also helped lead a freshman retreat program called ESCAPE. His other interests include basketball, Hip-Hop dancing, and parkour.