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Fellows' Bios

Spring 2000 Fellows

Alice Chen-Plotkin

ALICE CHEN-PLOTKIN is a neuroscientist and neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Alice was born in Taipei, Taiwan; her family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, when she was five.  

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate and English literature major at Harvard University, Alice was the Radcliffe Orator and wrote a collection of original poetry for her senior thesis.  She then began her scientific training as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where she earned an MSc in Biology.  She subsequently returned to Harvard for medical school and neurology training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

Since 2010, Alice has been an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.  A physician-scientist, she runs a research group studying neurodegeneration and sees patients with neurodegenerative disorders.  She has won the American Academy of Neurology-ALS Association Clinician-Scientist Development Award, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists, and a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinician Scientist Development Award.  Although her career trajectory has been unusual, she believes that it is informed by a longstanding interest in human behavior. 

Alice is married to Joshua Plotkin, has one son and a daughter. 


Andrei Cherny

ANDREI CHERNY is a business strategy consultant in Arizona. 

Andrei was born in Los Angeles, California to parents who had emigrated from Czechoslovakia three years earlier.

Andrei graduated with honors from Harvard College and from the University of California Berkeley Law School in 2003. 

Andrei is formerly an Arizona Assistant Attorney General, the Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, and a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Center for American Progress.  He worked in the Clinton White House as a senior advisor to Vice President Al Gore, was the lead negotiator and chief drafter of the 2000 Democratic Party platform, a senior policy advisor and director of speechwriting for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and served as a part-time advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.   

Andrei has written frequently on global economic policy, politics, and history for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Investor’s Business Daily and appeared as a commentator on many television news programs including ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS’s The Early Show,The Colbert Report,and The O’Reilly Factor.  He has served as the founding editor ofBlueprint: Ideas for a New Century and his book The Next Deal, became one of the top-selling political books of 2001.  is co-founder and President of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas—America’s most widely read and influential progressive idea journal.

Andrei lives in Phoenix with his wife Stephanie Fleishmann, son, and daughter. 


Vinh Quoc Chung

DR. VINH QUOC CHUNG is a Dermatologist/Mohs surgeon at Vanguard Dermatology and Skin Cancer Specialists in Colorado.

Vinh was born to Chinese parents in Vietnam. When he was four, his parents and seven siblings fled Vietnam by boat, were attacked by Thai pirates and drifted for 10 days without food. His family eventually was resettled in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Vinh received his BA degree in biology from Harvard University. He has worked extensively among Vietnamese youth in the Boston area and served as a relief volunteer in China in 1996. Under a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship he received an MA degree in theology at the University of Edinburgh. He entered Harvard Medical School in 1999. During the 2001-2002 academic year, he researched herbal medicine at the University of Sydney as a Fulbright fellow. Vinh graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2004 and completed a Mohs and Procedural Dermatology Fellowship at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. 

Vinh and his wife have two sons.


Adnan Derti

ADNAN DERTI is a Research Investigator in translational oncology at Novartis inBoston.

Born in Brussels, Belgium to parents who were both refugees from Albania, he came to the United States when he was 14 years old. His family now lives in Geneseo, New York.

Adnan holds a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from Boston University. After an undergraduate education at Rochester Institute of Technology, Adnan became intellectually excited by computer programming related to medical biology as an employee of Chiron Diagnostics. Returning part-time to graduate study at Case Western Reserve University, he received a perfect GPA en route to a MS in biomedical engineering in 1997. 

Adnan worked in a bioinformatics lab at Harvard Medical School, focusing specifically on alternative types of gene splicing in humans. Two labs at Cold Spring Harbor and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute are conducting experiments to test his predictions. He directed a volunteer tutoring program for Kosovar refugee youth, and serves on the advisory board of Rochester Institute of Technology's BS and MS programs in bioinformatics. He was a postdoctoral research fellow in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He continued his research on the human genome as a senior research scientist at the Merck Research Laboratories in Boston

Adnan is married to Flurije Morina.


Tamar Friedmann

TAMAR FRIEDMANN is a Research Associate of particle physics theory at the University of Rochester in New York

Tamar was born in Jerusalem. When she was 13 years old, Tamar moved to Princeton, New Jersey.

Tamar received her BA in mathematics, from Princeton University and was named a University Scholar. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Theoretical Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

By the time she was nine, Tamar had won first prize among violinists at Guildhall School's Lutine Competition in London. Four years later she had won the Israel-wide Hlavin Competition for all instruments and had performed widely throughout the country. At the Juilliard School, she graduated from the pre-College Division and received the certificate in violin from the College Division.

Tamar has been invited to write a book based on her research in particle physics.


Luis Diego Garcia

LUIS DIEGO GARCIA works as a Partner in research and operations for Google Ventures, Google's venture capital arm.

Luis was born in Guatemala and transplanted to the suburbs of Washington, DC at age seven. He has crossed the globe and the academic spectrum since becoming a Soros fellow.

Luis holds an MS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard University. He received his BS in mechanical engineering at Princeton University. 

Luis's accomplishments in orchestral percussion earned him a space in Evelyn Glennie's atelier during his final semester at Princeton University, and he has continued to expand his musical background through exposure to the rhythms of capoeira in Brazil and to the traditional instrumentation of China. At the same time, his research with Stanford University's Microfluidics Laboratory led to a technical publication and a master's degree in mechanical engineering. In his second year as a Soros fellow, he brought his technical experience to the management science and engineering graduate program at Stanford University. In 2003, Luis and a friend developed the business plan for a microfluidics start-up company and were finalists in Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Challenge. During August 2003, Luis taught math and reading at the primary school level through Project Mosaic Guatemala, a nonprofit volunteer resource center in Antigua, Guatemala. 

Luis has worked as management consultant with Swander Pace & Co and worked on the International Product Team at Google as a business product manager. After graduating Harvard Business School, Luis joined Google Ventures.


Sumeet Garg


Sumeet was born in Rochester. His parents, who emigrated from India, live in Pittsford, New York.

Sumeet received his MD from Harvard University in 2004. He received an AB degree in biology from Harvard University, where he researched in a Boston Children's Hospital lab, served as a clinical research intern on a children's ward in a Rochester, New York hospital, and wrote articles on nutritional aspects of pediatric AIDS.

Sumeet spent the 2002-2003 academic year away from Harvard Medical School as a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow at University of Pennsylvania and conducted clinical research on tumors of the spine and spinal cord in children at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He completed his orthopedic residency at Washintgon University in St. Louis and pediatric orthopaedics and scoliosis at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. 

Sumeet is a member of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, Scoliosis Research Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Chest Wall and Spine Deformity Study Group, Fox Severe Pediatric Spine Deformity Study Group, and Minimize Implants, Maximize Outcomes Study Group.  He has presented scientific research at multiple international scientific meetings and regularly publishes peer-reviewed research in the field of orthopaedics and spinal surgery.

Sumeet has been on faculty as assistant professor of orthopaedics at the University of Colorado since 2010 and also a staff pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Children's Hospital Colorado since 2010.  His clinical focus is on treatment of spinal deformity in children and adolescents.  His research focuses on these same clinical topics with special emphasis on early onset scoliosis (prior to the age of six).  

Sumeet is married to Molly Lahlein Garg and has two children.  Molly has an active family photography business (www.mollygargphotography.com).  He and his family live in Denver, Colorado.


Jamila Marjani Hall

JAMILA MARJANI HALL is a Senior Associate at Jones Day LLP in Atlanta. 

Jamila was born in New York City and grew up in New Hempstead, New York.  She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Jamila pursued government and politics at the University of Maryland at College Park, from where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and had the honor of giving the commencement address at the College of Behavioral Sciences at the May 2000 graduation. Jamila earned a JD from Columbia University, where she received a human rights fellowship to work on civil rights cases in Greenville, Mississippi during the summer of 2001. She was an active member of the law school community serving as a member of the Student Senate, an executive board member of the Black Law Students Association, and a volunteer Mock Trial coach for a high school in the Bronx. In addition, she was a senior editor of The Columbia Law Review.  

From 2007 to 2011, Jamila served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuting violent and economic crimes.  In Jamila's last jury trial, she secured multiple guilty verdicts in a telemarketing fraud case related to a $25 million fraudulent nationwide credit card interest rate reduction scheme.

Jamila is a member of the Women's Solidarity Society, a fundraising arm of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights dedicated to establishing programming addressing issues affecting women and children.  In January 2012, she rejoined the Atlanta office of Jones Day as a Senior Associate in the Corporate Criminal Investigation and Trial Practice sections.  Jamila also serves as an attorney on the federal Criminal Justice Panel, providing criminal defense services to indigent defendants. 


Sanaz Hariri

SANAZ HARIRI is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Sanaz Hariri MD, a professional corporation.

Sanaz was two years old when her family fled Iran for the California Bay Area, where they now live.

Sanaz graduated from Stanford Medical School in 2003 after completing her BA at Harvard. 

Sanaz was initially interested in ballet, training at the London Royal Academy of Dance and dancing with the Harvard Radcliffe Ballet Company, but Sanaz later shifted her attention to the health care and educational needs of disadvantaged children.

As a Harvard University undergraduate Sanaz was ticket co-chair of an event that raised close to $100,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Sanaz interned with Senator Feinstein on health care economics and with Massachusetts Governor Cellucci on regulatory economics. She completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital as a Harris Hip Fellow, followed by a sports medicine and athroscopy fellowships at Stanford University.


Neil Hattangadi

NEIL HATTANGADI is currently Vice President and General Manager of Peripheral Vascular at Volcano Corporation,  a medical device company and is based in San Diego. 

Neil's parents came to this country from Mumbai, India. He was born in Philadelphia, but spent most of his childhood in Saudi Arabia.

Neil graduated summa cum laude  from Duke University in 1999 with degrees in biomedical engineering, economics, and chemistry. Winner of a Rhodes Scholarship, he received an MSc in Computer Science at Oxford University in 2001. He earned his MD magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School and the MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program, where he was a research fellow at the MIT/Whitehead Genome Center.

Neil was a consultant at McKinsey and Company, then ran a drug development group as Vice President of Molecular Programs at FoxHollow Technologies (and then ev3 Inc., following their acquisition of FoxHollow). He also worked as a healthcare investor specializing in the medical technology and healthcare services sectors.


Ayana Haviv

AYANA SHIRA HAVIV is an accomplished singer and composer.

Ayana was born in Jerusalem. Her mother is the child of Holocaust survivors; her father was the first Jew from Yemen to receive a medical degree in Israel. Conscientious objectors to the Lebanon war, her parents brought her to the United States and eventually settled in West Hills, California.

A summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley in comparative literature, she was Valedictorian of her department. She also has a MA in cultural anthropology from University of California at Los Angeles.

At Berkeley she was a principal organizer of a joint Jewish-Arab peace demonstration and a memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, a mediator between Jewish and Arab student organizations. 

Ayana sings with the Los Angeles Opera Chorus, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, an indie/alternative band called Nest, and on many film and television soundtracks. In 2007 she won a Grammy as part of the 12-member chorus Cappella, which won for Best Small Ensemble Performance for the baroque Mexican choral album "Padilla: Sun of Justice." 

Ayana has sung on many movie soundtracks inlcuding, Avatar, 2010, and The Vampire's Assistant; albums, including Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment and three children's albums for Walt Disney Records. Meanwhile, she continues to sing regularly with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Los Angeles Opera, most recently as a solist in Handel's Messiah with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She continues her work toward Israeli-Palestinian peace with both Los Angeles-based and international organizations.

Amid her musical career, Ayan and her husband, Ivan, have found joy in the birth of a new girl.


Joseph Hennawi

JOSEPH F. HENNAWI is a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. 

Joseph was born in Salinas, California to parents who had emigrated from Egypt six years earlier.

Joseph began his college career at Hartnell Community College in Salinas, transferring after two years to Stanford University, from which he received both BS and MS degrees in physics in 2000. He then entered a PhD program in physics at Princeton University, which he completed in 2004.

Joseph's research focuses on the history and evolution of the Universe. An advocate of sharing important scientific ideas with the public, he organized a "Traveling Physics Show" that promoted enthusiasm for science among high school students and hopes to serve as an ambassador of science to wider audiences. He was awarded a Hubble Fellowship, the most prestigious postdoctoral research award in astronomy, and is spending the three-year tenure of the fellowship at University of California at Berkeley where he is an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow. 

Recently, Joseph was awarded one of the most prestigious academic prizes in Germany for a young researcher, the Sofja Kovavlevskaja award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Read the press release here: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/dossier-kovalevskaja-award.html


Miguel Walter Hilario


Miguel is a member of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe in Peru's Amazon basin, where he was born in a canoe on the Ucayali River. Growing up fishing for piranha and hunting monkeys and armadillos, he canoed three days down the river to attend school. T

he first member of his tribe to leave the rain forest, he studied in Lima, then came to a Christian college in Texas, and, settling in Petaluma, California, attended Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University, graduating in 1999. He spent his junior year at Oxford University under a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. Committed to finding a viable solution to the exploitation that he believes threatens the survival of Amazonian Indians, he received his MA in Latin American studies in 2001 and his Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University.

Miguel then worked as a representative of the Council of Ministers and president of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples delegated by President Alejandro Toledo of Peru. This is the highest office in the executive branch to debate and implement public policies for indigenous peoples of Peru. Miguel now works with the Inter-American Development Bank in the Office of Evaluation and Oversight. He has two children.


Vanitha Janakiraman Mohta

VANITHA JANAKIRAMAN MOHTA is a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente in the Bay Area. She also works on projects related to quality and safety in maternity care, also at Kaiser Permanente.

Vanitha was born in South Bend, Indiana, to parents who had emigrated from South India.

Class president and valedictorian of her high school, Vanitha received her BA in religion from Columbia University. She graduated from Harvard Medical School in the spring of 2002 and began a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

Vanitha extended her junior year of high school in Valparaiso, Chile to work in obstetrics and gynecology at a local hospital. Following graduation, she worked for six months to help start health centers in six villages in rural south India. At Harvard Medical School, Vanitha did research on lead levels and organized supplementary nutritional education among pregnant women with the Mexico City Department of Public Health. Vanitha also returned to rural South India and trained in a hospital in order to better understand the status of women's health in the developing world.

Vanitha has done research on the prevalence of diabetes and birth defects among women who live in toxic waste sites. Vanitha was an assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. She then worked as a fellow in maternal fetal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Vanitha and her husband, Vivek Mohta have two daughters.


Do Kim

DO KIM is principal attorney at his own law firm in Los Angeles.

Do was born in Korea and came to the United States three years later. His home is in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, California, where he was sensitized to gang life and tensions between African and Korean Americans growing up.

Do majored in Afro-American studies at Harvard University. Returning to graduate study in 1999, he completed a JD at UCLA School of Law, receiving specializations from the Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies in 2002. 

Do became a mediator for the Black-Korean Alliance. Then in the wake of the Los Angeles Riots founded the Korea American Youth Leadership Program, as well as founded the Multiethnic Youth Leadership Collaborative. He is also a co-founder of the Gang Awareness Project, which provides job training, leadership development, community organizing, and mentorship. 

Do clerked for US District Court Judge Robert Tagasuki in Los Angeles. He is currently also the board president for The K.W. Lee center for Leadership, which focuses on youth leadership in Koreatown.


Min Ho Kim

MIN HO KIM currently works at BlackRock, Inc., an investment management firm, as an acquisitions director and portfolio manager in their Alternative- real estate group based out of San Francisco

Min is of Korean decent, his father immigrated to the United States during the Korean War. His family lives in Seattle, Washington.

Min graduated with a joint degree from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. Min received his BA in economics and ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley. During college, Min was a varsity member of the national champions Cal Rugby team. He was also active in immigrant-focused voter registration drives.

Early in his career, Min led an efffort to introduce new telecommunications products througout Latin America and worked for a Hong Kong based venture capital firm focused in China and India. After graduate studies, Min worked as a consultant with McKinsey and Company in Seoul, Korea. For the past nine years, Min has worked for BlackRock, Inc


Vikram Sheel Kumar

VIKRAM SHEEL KUMAR is an engineer, physician and entrepreneur. 

Vikram grew up in Jamestown, New York, before he moved to New Delhi, India at the age of 10.

Vikram attended the Indian Institute of Technology, and later received a BS in industrial engineering and operations research from Columbia University's School of Applied Sciences. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2004 and completed his residency in clinical pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

As founder and CEO of DiMagi Inc., Vikram continues to work in the development of technology to help curb the rise of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Vikram serves on the board of advisors of two nonprofit organizations: Global Emerging Technology Institute and Public Action for Arts and Entertainment. He was also named to the 2004 TR100 list of the world's top 100 young researchers published by Technology Review Magazine. Vikram also held a post as Adjunct Research Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He is co-founder of Doctor Kares Hospital in India, the country's largest pain relief network.


Shizuo Kuwahara

SHIZUO KUWAHARAis currently music director of the Symphony Orchestra August, in Georgia.

Shizuo was born and raised in Yokkaichi, Japan, moved to United States at the age of 10.

Shizuo received a bachelor of music degree in music education and saxophone performance from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Effron. At Eastman School of Music, he founded and conducted the Guild Orchestral Society, a volunteer student orchestra that now has 86 members and an extensive performance schedule. He attended Yale University with full scholarship, and earned a master's of music degree and The Eleazar de Carvalho Prize. At Yale University, he studied with Maestro Lawrence Leighton Smith and was an assistant conductor of Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale University, Yale Symphony, Yale Opera and New Music New Haven.

Prior to his current appointments, he was an assistant professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the American University. He was also associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra as an American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting FellowHis guest appearances include the Chattanooga Symphony, Musica Nova in Rochester, New York, and the Society for New Music in Syracuse, New York. He has toured with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. In 2008, he conducted numerous orchestras in Japan and Europe including debut at Japan Philharmonic, Yomiuri Tokyo Symphony, Century Orchestra Osaka, Ozawa Jyuku Orchestra, Philharmonia Slaska (Poland) and Augusta Symphony. This year, he will make debut performances with Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Museum Symphony, German Radio Symphony and Philharmonishen Gesellshaft der Uklaine Kiew.

Shizuo is married to Keiko Nagayosh.


Ha Yan Lee

HA YAN LEE is the North American Economist/Strategist at Caterpillar in Peoria, IL.

Ha Yan was born and lived in Busan, South Korea, until she was 13 years old when her family moved to California.

Five years later, Ha Yan entered University of California at Berkeley, from which she graduated with a BA in economics. She earned her Ph.D. in economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focused on the relationship between economic growth and openness and its policy implications for institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Ha Yan worked for two years on the semi-annual US budget forecast, the Economic Reports of the President, and related projects as a senior research assistant with the Council of Economic Advisors. Most recently, she has worked on the relationship between inflation and unemployment in light of sustained growth in the 1990s as a research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a leading international think tank, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a resident dean at Harvard University, and previously worked as an economist of Citadel Investment Group, LLC. 


Mia Ching Lee

MIA CHING LEE is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore.

Mia was born in Newport Beach, California. Her mother was of Korean descent, her father was of Chinese and Brazilian descent. At various points in time, she was the principal caretaker of her four younger sisters.

Mia attended Orange Coast College and then graduated from University of California at Irvine. Her thesis on Anne Frank was awarded the prize for outstanding research in history. She holds a PhD in history and an MPA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Her dissertation focused on the emergence of a grassroots democratic culture in post-World War II Germany, and the political and social trends that connected this grassroots culture to postwar Europe. Mia has also spent time in Toronto, Canada, where she researched sub-cultural groups and the avant-garde in postwar Germany.

Mia's recent publications include"Gruppe Spur: Art as a Revolutionary Medium during the Cold War", in Between the Avant Garde and the Everyday: Subversive Politics in Europe, 1958-2008 (2011) and "GDR Monuments in Reunified Germany", in Memorialisation in Germany since 1945 (2010). She is in the process of finishing her first book, which deals with art and political movements in postwar Germany; the working title is Art and Politics in West Germany: The Origins of 1968

Mia is married to Rachid Bendacha and they have a son.


Neysun Mahboubi

NEYSUN MAHBOUBI is a Research Scholar for the University of Pennsylvania Center for the study of contemporary China. He is a also a visiting lecturer of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. 

Neysun is a 1997 graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in politics, learned Chinese, and won the highest departmental prize for his senior thesis on Chinese administrative law. He also served as class president and Honor Committee chair. He completed his JD at Columbia Law School

Following graduation from Princeton, Neysun spent a year as a legal assistant for an American law firm in Beijing . Then as a law student, Neysun conducted further legal research in China on grants from Columbia University and Yale University, as well as interned in New York with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and in Washington at the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser.

After graduating from Columbia University in 2001, Neysun clerked for the Hon. Douglas P. Woodlock of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He then served as a trial attorney for the Federal Programs Branch of the US Department of Justice. He has also been a Fellow in the Program on Law Teaching at Columbia Law School, and has been a tutor-in-law and a Fellow of the China Law Center at Yale Law School. As well as a visiting assistant professor at University of Connecticut School of Law, teaching Adminstrative and Comparative Law


Tatiana Roesler Martins

TATIANA ROESLER MARTINS is an Associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell.  

Tatiana was born in Recife, Brazil, to parents whose forebears had come from Denmark, Germany, and Portugal. Her family moved to San Diego when she was six and eventually settled in Chatham, New Jersey. 

Tatiana received her JD from Yale law school after completing her BA at the University of California in Berkeley. 

The 1998 Valedictorian of the Political Science Department at the University of California at Berkeley, she served as a semester intern and as a summer research assistant at the Brookings Institution under auspices of the Washington Program. Her prize-winning honors thesis compared immigration politics in four US states. At Yale Law School,  she was a member of the Yale Journal of Law & Humanities and the Latino Law Students Association. While at Yale University, she summered at the US Attorney Office in Manhattan, and at Davis, Polk & Wardwell, a New York law firm. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Denise L. Cote of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and has now returned to Davis, Polk & Wardwell as a litigation associate. 

Following graduation, she worked for one year as a trial preparation assistant in the office of Manhattan's District Attorney and then as a research associate at the Brennan Center for Justice of New York University Law School. In 2010, she served for seven months as a volunteer at the International Organization for Migration in Maputo, Mozambique.  In 2012, she joined the US Department of Justice.


Richard Mora

RICHARD MORA is an assistant professor of sociology at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Richard is the son of Mexican immigrants. He was born and spent his childhood in Los Angeles, California.

Richard graduated magna cum laude in sociology from Harvard University. His senior honors thesis focused on how Mexican-American mothers who lost children in gang-related homicides were transformed by the experience. In June 2000, he received an MA in education with teaching certification in social studies and sociology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He holds a PhD in sociology and social policy from Harvard University.

Returning regularly to his neighborhood to promote the importance of education, Richard had the honor of speaking at the June 2001 graduation ceremony of Nightingale Middle School, of which he is an alumnus. 


Ngoc Thi Phan

NGOC THI PHAN is a physician in obstetrics and gynecology at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.

Ngoc was born in DaNang, Vietnam. Though her mother and father had no formal education they joined the exodus of "boat people" in 1980. Robbed by Thai pirates and left adrift, they were eventually resettled in New Orleans and then settled in San Diego.

Valedictorian of her inner city high school, where she played varsity badminton and tennis and was editor of the literary magazine, she went on to earn her BS degree summa cum laude in neurobiology, physiology and behavior from the University of California at Davis. Ngoc received her MD & PhD from the Harvard and MIT HST Program. 

Ngoc spent the summer of 2000 examining the role of peer education in HIV prevention in Vietnam in collaboration with the CDC and the National AIDS Bureau of Vietnam. She spent a year of research on HIV pathogenesis at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a Howard Hughes fellow and was a resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California San Francisco. 

Ngoc currently serves as the site director for UCSF medical students who rotate through Kaiser San Francisco. She won teaching awards from both UCSF medical students and Kaiser residents in 2011.


Eugene Podkaminer

EUGENE L. PODKAMINER is currently Vice President of Capital Markets Research for Callan Associates, an institutional investment management consultancy in San Francisco. 

Eugene was born in Odessa, Ukraine. As a child, he immigrated with his family as refugees to the San Francisco Bay Area, where they now make their home.  

Eugene is a three-year summa cum laude graduate in economics from University of San Francisco. He graduated from the MBA program at the Yale School of Management in 2001. While in business school he was on the five-member team that won first place at the 2001 National Venture Capital Investment Competition.   

Eugene worked for nearly a decade with Barclays Global Investors. As a Senior Strategist in the Client Advisory Group he advised some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated pension plans, non-profits, sovereign wealth funds, and governments in the areas of strategic asset allocation, liability driven investing, manager structure optimization, and risk budgeting.  As Chief Strategist of Barclays’ CIO-outsourcing platform Eugene executed CIO-level functions for corporate pension plans and endowments.  

In addition to his current role assisting clients with their strategic investment planning, Eugene is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.  He recently published a primer on risk factors titled "Risk Factors as Building Blocks for Portfolio Diversification - The Chemistry of Asset Allocation." 

Eugene and his wife, Erica Carmel, have three children and reside in California.


Sophie Shao

SOPHIE SHAO is a prominent soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. She currently teaches cello at Vassar College, the Bard Conservatory, and Princeton University.

Sophie is a native of New York City. 

At thirteen, Sophie enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she continued studying cello with David Soyer. She continued her studies at Yale University with Aldo Parisot, graduating with a BA in religious studies from Yale University. In May of 2001, Sophie received her MM from the Yale School of Music.

Sophie has received top prizes at the 2001 Rostropovich International Violoncello Competition, a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, and the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, at such venues as the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie, Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, and Merkin Halls in New York, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Ford Centre in Toronto, and Rice University in Houston. In great demand as a chamber musician, she has collaborated with members of the Beaux Arts Trio, the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion, Cleveland String Quartets, and has performed with such distinguished artists as Gary Graffman, David Shifrin, Jaime Laredo, Midori, Andre Previn, Eugene Istomin, Paquito D'Rivera, Andras Schiff, Claude Frank, and Christoph Eschenbach. Sophie began studying piano at the age of five with her mother. 



Christopher Shen

CHRISTOPHER TIMOTHY SHEN is now a principal at Essex Woodlands Healthcare Ventures in Palo Alto, CA. 

Christopher's parents came to this country via Taiwan from Shanghai, China, before settling in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was born. 

Christopher received his MBA from Stanford University in 2002. He obtained his MD degree at the Stanford School of Medicine, earned an MSE in biomechanical engineering from the Stanford School of Engineering, and received his BS in biological sciences from Stanford University in 1995. 

Interested in product design since he was an undergraduate, Christopher has specialized in the invention of medical devices. Following his first year in medical school, he worked in Japan for Pfizer's Strategic Innovation Group, developing new orthopedic devices specifically for the Japanese patient population. Christopher subsequently held the position of senior design engineer at Guidant Corporation's Neurovascular Venture, an internal start-up, where he invented a new method to treat acute ischemic stroke, which became the first product that the company brought to market to treat neurovascular disease. He co-developed and teaches in the Stanford Biomedical Technology Innovation Program. Christopher is Consulting Professor of Medicine at Stanford and Executive Director (US) of the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Program, a six-year commitment to develop medical technology innovation in Asia.

Christopher has several patents in process in the fields of interventional neuroradiology, interventional cardiology, and vascular surgery. He is co-author of eight articles and conference papers in peer-reviewed journals.


Phuong Tran

PHUONG TRAN works for the UN humanitarian news agency, IRIN, in Bangkok,Thailand.

Phuong was born in Weatherford, Texas, months after her parents were able to flee from Vietnam. Her family subsequently settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.

Phuong received her BA from Georgetown University, and an MA from Columbia University. 

The trials of her own family and those of relatives who escaped only after years in labor camps contributed to Phuong's decision to work as a case manager for Indochinese refugee families in Washington, DC, and to found a Vietnamese Refugee Assistance project that promotes food sector small business entrepreneurship among women. Phuong used study abroad programs to promote small business among Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic and to write a guide to reproductive health problems among minorities in Vietnam. 

After attending Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she now balances her experience in the nonprofit world and her writing pursuits. Represented by International Creative Management Talent Agency in New York City, she is marketing a narrative non-fiction account of the different Vietnamese refugees waves: 1975 exiles, Amerasians, boat refugees and former political prisoners. Phuong is a former freelancer with Osgood Files on CBS Radioin New York and radio correspondent in Dakar, Senegal for Voice of America News' Central and West African Bureau.


Corinne Ulmann

Corinne Ulmann is a Brooklyn-based artist who works through a range of scales and media, from intimate artworks to large-scale public projects, with an emphasis on painting.  

Corrine received an MA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BFA in Painting and BS in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.  

After completing her undergraduate degrees, Corrine worked for one year as an engineer for Procter & Gamble in paper products research and has a patent in the area of paper towel design.  She has received awards and grants from the Dallas Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.  

Corinne is a former design project manager at Maya Lin Studio and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three years. She is a 2012 Fellow in Painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Currently, Corrine's work is featured on a 6,500 square-foot mural in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan. 


Robert Wayne Yeh

ROBERT WAYNE YEH is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an interventional cardiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital where he specializes in the invasive treatment of coronary artery disease. 

Robert was born and raised in West Los Angeles. His parents fled China for Taiwan at the time of the revolution and eventually settled in the United States.

Robert is a graduate in human biology from Stanford University, A British Marshall Scholar, he received an MS degree in health policy, planning and financing jointly from the London School of Economics and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MBA from Oxford University.  He graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and cardiology fellowship at University of California at San Francisco. 

Robert co-directed a comprehensive summer science program for disadvantaged high school students and, during a summer on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, developed a public health education program for indigenous communities. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of cardiovascular epidemiology, technology utilization and comparative effectiveness research.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Yeh%20RW[Author]).

Robert currently serves as the Medical Director of Trial Design at the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, and is an affiliated faculty member of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy.