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Fellows' Bios

Spring 2009 Fellows

Ashish Agrawal

ASHISH AGRAWAL is completing a combined 5 year residency-fellowship program in anesthesiology with a fellowship in critical care medicineat the University of California at San Francisco,.

Ashish was born in the US to Indian immigrants who continue to send money to family in India for their schooling; a practice he contends introduced him to the ethic of service. His parents are naturalized citizens, and his mother resides in Fremont, CA.

Ashish graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 2008 in biochemical sciences. He graduated from UCSF Medical School with an MD with Distinction for a thesis project on the use of novel biomarkers for predicting the onset of acute respiratory distress syndrome. His thesis project was turned into a first-author publication in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the highest impact journal in critical care medicine. As part of graduation, he was nominated by classmates as one of the three finalists for the gold-headed cane award, an award given to the person who most represents the qualities of a true physician. He was also a Regents Scholar.

At Harvard, Ashish led and expanded two volunteer programs, one which provided support for low-income hospital patients and the other of which trained CPR and First Aid instructors. He founded a UCSF chapter of Crisis Health Initiative to sponsor American public health study for physicians from developing countries. He has extensive research experience at Harvard and UCSF, and recent work at the Gladstone Institute at UCSF netted him co-authorship of several papers, abstracts, and his name on two patent applications. 

Ashish plans to pursue a career as a physician/scientist and a clinical researcher. 


Chitra Akileswaran

CHITRA AKILESWARAN is currently in her third year of residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Chitra was born in Portland, OR to parents who emigrated from India and are naturalized citizens. They now live in Seattle, WA.

Chitra completed her MD and MBA degrees at Harvard in 2011. She received a BA in Community Health, magna cum laude, from Brown University.

It was at Brown that Chitra got her start undertaking community-based work on global health inequities. She has since studied female migrants as a Fulbright Grantee to South Africa, traveled to the Dominican Republic to address the needs of Haitian batey communities, and collaborated with a private bank in south India to create a maternity financing product for rural women.  

Chitra is most recently involved with operations improvement projects on labor and delivery units at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda and at UCSF.  She looks forward to a career that combines her clinical and business backgrounds to design high value care innovations towards better maternal outcomes.


Ronald Wakim Alfa

RONALD WAKIM ALFA  is completing the MSTP (Medical Science Training Program) at Stanford University, where he will receive both MD and PhD degrees.

Ronald was born into a family of refugees from Lebanon.

Beginning at a Los Angeles community college, Ronald received his BSc, summa cum laude, in animal physiology and neurosciences from the University of California at San Diego; he also received an MA in History of Medicine from the University of London, where he was supported by the Welcome Trust.

A subsequent essay Ronald wrote on the origins of the placebo effect received the William Osler Medal in 2008 by the American Association of the History of Medicine. He intends a career as a physician/scientist where his emphasis will be on applications alongside discovery.


Carel Alé

CAREL ALÉ is an Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP  in Los Angeles.

Carel was born in Mexico City to Mexican and Cuban parents and then moved to southern California when she was a young girl. Her family lives in Anaheim, CA.

Carel received coterminous BA and MA in Latin American studies from UCLA, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude. She then completed her JD at Yale Law School.

At UCLA, she founded and was president of the university's Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter, organized volunteer tutors at Jordan High School in Watts and was active in the campus Darfur Action Committee. Among other activities at Yale, she contributed to the writing of an amicus brief for a Louisiana death row inmate. 

Carel's research and thesis focused on the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of the Mexican Revolution and its manifestations within the governance of the Partído Revolucionario Institucional. She has also done extensive work on Caribbean female migration. Shel interned at the California Lieutenant Governor's office and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund where she headed a national research initiative addressing issues of higher education for undocumented students. 


Sa'ed Atshan

SA’ED ATSHAN is a joint Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University where he is a National Science Foundation Fellow. 


Sa’ed was born to a Palestinian refugee family and was raised in the Occupied Territories.

Sa'ed received an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008. He received his BA at Swarthmore College in 2006 and he completed high school at the Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker institution which has been in the West Bank for over a century.

Sa'ed has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the UN High Commission on Refugees, Human Rights Watch, Seeds of Peace, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai. Sa'ed is a member of Al-Qaws, an organization promoting LGBTQ rights for Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories. He is also a Lecturer in Peace and Justice Studies at Tufts University and he will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies this Fall.


Gene Berdichevsky

GENE MICHAEL BERDICHEVSKY is the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies. Funded by two silicon valley VCs, Sila Nano is a chemicals and materials company making next generation Li-ion battery materials. 

Born in Sevastopol, Ukraine Gene came to the US at age 9 via Murmansk and St. Petersburg. He and his parents are naturalized citizens; his parents reside in Richmond, VA.

Gene received his bachelor's in engineering, with distinction, from Stanford University, where he, among many activities, participated in the Stanford Solar Car Project. The student designed vehicle completed a 2,300 mile race between Chicago and Los Angeles. He also holds a MS in engineering from Stanford. 

In 2004 Gene joined Tesla Motors, a start-up electric car company, to develop the battery system, eventually serving as technical lead. When Tesla Roadster successfully launched into mass production, he returned to an interdisciplinary engineering master's at Stanford. Following his MS, Gene joined a Sutter Hill Ventures as an EIR (entrepreneur in residence) and a year later in August 2011 founded and is now the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies. 


Sava Berhane

SAVA BERHANÉ is the associate director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. She is also the director of Gearing Up, a conference at Bentley for women in the first decade of their professional careers.

Sava earned her JD from Yale Law School and graduated from Mount Holyoke College with honors. Since then, Sava has served on the Mount Holyoke Board of Trustees, worked in two corporate divisions of General Electric Company, and served as the head of finance and operations for one of the nation’s leading creative writing centers. She has been named a John Kenneth Galbraith Scholar of Inequality and Social Policy by Harvard Kennedy School and a Ford Foundation Research Scholar. Sava is passionate about the intersection of business and government, particularly aligning corporate strategies for success with corporate ethics and citizenship. She is also an active member of her community, coordinating financial literacy workshops and mentoring low-income children. Her articles on women and business can be found in Fast Company magazine. 

Sava was born to parents who emigrated from Ethiopia and are now naturalized citizens. Her family resides in Boston, MA, and Columbus, Ohio.


Tarun Chhabra

TARUN CHHABRA is a speechwriter for the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Tarun was born in the US to parents who emigrated from India and are now naturalized citizens. They reside in Shreveport, Louisiana

Tarun earned a JD with honors from Harvard Law School, a MPhil in international relations from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a BA with honors and distinction from Stanford University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  Tarun also was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia, where he studied at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO).

Tarun has been a Non-Resident Fellow in the Brookings Institution's Project on International Order and Strategy, and a Graduate Fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.  Tarun also worked on the staff of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's High-level Panel for UN reform; in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General; and as a consultant-advisor to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.


Michael Chiu

MICHAEL CHIU is the Co-Founder and CEO of Medigram, in San Francisco.

Michael was born in La Jolla, CA. His parents emigrated from Taiwan and Hong Kong. They are now naturalized citizens and reside in Cambridge, MA.

A graduate of Harvard University, Michael earned an AB in biology, magna cum laude, in 2005. He completed his MD at Stanford School of Medicine. 

 In college, his activities ranged from editing the Harvard Crimson to mobilizing the Asian-American community. He directed the Chinatown Citizenship Program, where Harvard student-tutors prepared immigrants for the US citizenship exam.

Prior to medical school, Michael worked in China for three years, first with the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and subsequently with the China Development Bank. Funded by two Harvard public service fellowships, he created several health care initiatives including an early HIV detection program for infants. 

Michael intends to pursue a career as a physician/global health advocate, improving the quality of care provided to the underprivileged.


Dania Daye

DANIA DAYE is a candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's MD/PhD program, she is pursuing bioengineering for her PhD with an emphasis on imaging sciences.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Dania came to the US when she was sixteen. Her parents, both naturalized citizens, reside in Orlando, FL.

A graduate of Rice University, Dania majored in bioengineering and graduated magna cum laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa. She is a Howard Hughes Fellow. At Rice she was active as EMS Operations Lieutenant, where she supervised twenty-two EMT's and secured for the campus the donation of 20 defibrillators. She is currently working on a patent for a technique she developed for non-invasive quantification of hepatic collagen concentration in liver fibrosis.

Dania will pursue a career as a physician-scientist-engineer. 


Adel Elsohly


ADEL ELSOHLY is a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. In 2014, he was awarded a highly competitive Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program postdoctoral fellowship to use novel biomolecular materials to study signaling networks important in breast cancer progression. He completed a PhD in chemistry at Columbia University as a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellow in 2012.

Adel was born in Oxford, MS, the child of parents who emigrated from Egypt, are now naturalized citizens and live in Oxford, MS.

Adel completed his BS in pharmaceutical sciences and mathematics with election to Phi Beta Kappa and his MS in chemistry at the University of Mississippi. He held the Barry M. Goldwater scholarship.

Based on his research during college and later at Columbia, Adel has first-author publications in the Journal of American Chemical Society and the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry. At both the University of Mississippi and Columbia, he has been an active member of the Muslim-American community.

Adel was awarded a 2011 Roche Excellence in Chemistry prize for his graduate research.He has secured a postdoctoral research appointment at UC Berkeley where he will be exploring biomaterials research.

Adel intends a career in drug discovery and development, where his research will focus on chemotherapeutic agents


Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune

AYIRINI FONSECA-SABUNE currently works for the ACLU in New York. 

Rini was born in the US to a family where her father emigrated from Uganda and her mother from Guyana. Her parents, both naturalized citizens, live in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

Rini received her BA cum laude, with high honors in social studies, at Harvard University. 

As an undergraduate,  Rini served as president of Phillips Brooks House Association, a student run nonprofit public service organization.

After graduation, she worked with incarcerated women on Rikers Island, NY and with the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board investigating police misconduct. After a year teaching in Uganda as a Rockefeller Fellow, she spent two years as a member of the New York City Teaching Fellows program, where she taught twelfth grade in Brooklyn. She then worked supporting the community health training program in a rural district of Rwanda with Partners in Health.

Rini believes that effective education reform must be based in the courtroom as well as the classroom. Therefore, she will be attending Harvard Law School next year. 


Shantanu Gaur

SHANTANU GAUR is a medical student at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Allurion Technologies.

Shantanu was raised by Indian immigrants to Canada and later western Pennsylvania. He and his family are naturalized US citizens, residing in Canonsburg, PA.

Shantanu completed  his A.B. in Biology from Harvard University, where he graduated summa cum laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa. His basic science research in college has been published in Human Molecular Genetics and Cancer Cell. In addition to his studies, he made  time to found the Harvard Undergraduate Research Symposium and to jump-start the Harvard Cricket Club.  As a medical student, he co-founded Allurion Technologies, a start-up developing a novel medical device for the treatment of obesity.

Shantanu plans a career as a physician-entrepreneur, bringing solutions to unmet clinical needs to market.


Anja Havedal- Ipp

ANJA HAVEDAL-IPP is an Associate n the Global Disputes practice at Jones Day in New York. 

Anja first came to the United States as an exchange student at UC Berkeley. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012, but maintains strong ties with Poland and Sweden. She lives in New York with her husband, who is also an immigrant, and their two young children.

Anja graduated in 2011 with a JD from Columbia University School of Law and an LLM in International Criminal Law from University of Amsterdam. She holds a bachelor's degree in East and Central European studies from Lund University, Sweden.

Anja's pro bono practice includes providing legislative advice to governments of developing countries through the Public International Law and Policy Group and representing low-income clients in family, housing and immigration court proceedings. 

Anja clerked in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, served as an articles editor with the Human Rights Law Review, and participated in the environmental law clinic. Anja previously spent several years working in the field of foreign aid, including two years with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit in Kabul, and four years at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. She is now an associate of Jones Day, where she represents clients in U.S. and cross-border litigation and arbitration.


Maribel Hernández

MARIBEL HERNÁNDEZ is a commerical litigator with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in New York and MALDEF Fellow. 

Born in Mexico, she and her family came to Texas when she was 13. Her family members are naturalized citizens and reside in Houston, TX.

Maribel completed a JD/MPA at New York University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. 

During school, Maribel was an articles editor of the NYU Law Review and a member of the Immigrant Rights Clinic. . Majoring in Social Studies, she graduated magna cum from Harvard University, where she held a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellowship and a Goldman Sachs scholarship for excellence. At Harvard, she was active in addressing issues of importance to Latino/a students, serving as president of the local chapter of RAZA and Concilio Latino.

After graduation Maribel taught in Marseilles, France and later interned with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Mozambique and the Clinton Foundation. 

Maribel recently finished clerking in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before working as a Fried Frank/ MALDEF Fellow in New York City where she has represented individuals in immigration detention, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the US government in the Arizona v. United States case, and joined a group that is increasing representation of people in immigration detention. 


Andres Idarraga

ANDRES IDARRAGA is currently an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.   

Andres was born in Medellin, Colombia and joined his father in Pawtucket, Rhode IsIand when he was 6.

Andres received his JD from Yale Law School in 2011 and his AB from Brown University in 2008, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a Rose Writing Fellow.

While at Brown, Andres worked on the Rhode Island Right to Vote campaign, which was successful in ending felony disenfranchisement in Rhode Island. As a result of that work, he testified in Congress in support of the Democracy Restoration Act of 2009, which would end felony disenfranchisement in federal elections. 

At Yale, Andres served as student director of the Education Adequacy Clinic. In March 2010, the clinic won a major victory in the Connecticut Supreme Court that established a right to an adequate education under the state constitution for all Connecticut schoolchildren. He also co-founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at Yale Law School, which sends law students to New Haven area high schools to teach a year-long course in Constitutional Law. Andres interned at the American Civil Liberties Union, Florida Legal Services, and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee while at Yale.

In 2012, Andres co-founded the Transcending Through Education Foundation.  The Foundation provides scholarships and other support services to people in prison and transitioning out of prison who will be pursuing a higher education.  


Alex Iftimie

ALEX IFTIMIE is an Attorney at the US Department of Justice, in Washington, DC. Prior to joining DOJ he clerked for the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 

Originally from Romania, he came to the US when he was 12. He is a naturalized citizen and his family resides in southern California.

Alex completed his JD at Yale Law School.  He received his BA in international relations at the University of Southern California, graduating summa cum laudewith election to Phi Beta Kappa. 

At Yale he was elected Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of International Law and worked in the Civil Liberties and National Security Clinic. During his law school summers, Alex worked at the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice.

While growing up in Romania and listening to Radio Free Europe's "Youth Reports," he became convinced of the importance of debate to civil society. Before entering law school, he worked on the Obama campaign, first as a field organizer in Nevada and Arizona, then as an early vote director and finally as the campaign's get-out-the-vote director in Nebraska.


Janine Joseph

JANINE JOSEPH is developing a career as a poet and teacher. To this end, she is a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Houston.

Janine was born in metro Manila, Philippines and came to the US with her family when she was eight. She is a green card holder.

Janine completed her MFA in poetry at New York University and her BA in creative writing, summa cum laude with upper division honors, from the University of California at Riverside. 

Janine was also a finalist for the 2013 OSU/The Journal Award for Poetry and the 2012 Alice James Books Beatrice Hawley Award. Her poems are forthcoming from or have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Asian American Literary Review, Best New Poets 2011, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere.  She was also commissioned to write a libretto, entitled “From My Mother’s Mother,” for the Houston Grand Opera’s “Song of Houston: East + West” series.

A poetry editor for Gulf Coast, Janine also is a Kundiman fellow and contributing editor for Tongue: A Journal of Writing and Art.  Janine has taught creative writing, literature, and composition at the University of Houston, as well as with Writers in the Schools, Community~Word Project, and the Starworks Foundation.  A recipient of an Inprint/Barthelme Fellowship in Poetry, a Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center Fellowship for Collaboration Among the Arts, and a Brazos Bookstore/Academy of American Poets prize.


Sina Kian

SINA KIAN recently completed a clerkship at the Supreme Court working for Chief Justice John Roberts.

Sina was born in Iran in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war; his family immigrated to the US where they all became naturalized citizens.

Sina completed his JD at Stanford Law School. He received his BA in History at the University of Virginia. 

At the University of Virginia, Sina received the Dabney Prize for the Outstanding Thesis in U.S. History and the Bunn Prize for the Outstanding Essay in Business and Economic History. At Stanford, he was Senior Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review and published a student note about the 11th Amendment. He has also published an article in the N.Y.U. Law Review about the relationship between the Constitution and the common law.

Sina enjoys backpacking, cooking, fiction, and writing.


Hana Lee

HANA LEE is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago joining a research group that studies plant-pathogen interactions. In particular, Hana is interested in investigating how the genetic background of a host plant may affect the profile of microbial communities that infect it.

Hana was born in Korea. She and her family are naturalized citizens; they reside in Rego Park, NY.

Having first received her bachelor's with High Honors in biochemical sciences from Harvard University, Hana completed her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Hana’s interests range widely from blogging on literature to kendo. She has situated her research at the intersection of several fields, including genetics, genomics, cell biology, engineering, and statistics, and she is interested in the intersection between genetics, genomics and statistics, as well as the broader question of how biological systems are optimized to survive in a changing environment.

Hana plans a career as a researcher in molecular and cell biology.


Sina Kevin Nazemi

SINA KEVIN NAZEMI is the CoFounder of Oscar. He is based in New York. 

Kevin was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the US with his parents when he was five. They are all naturalized citizens; his parents live near Seattle, WA.

Kevin completed a joint MBA/MPP program offered by the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Business School. He completed his undergraduate work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At MIT, Kevin was a class president and spoke at commencement. He also served as Head Senate Page in Washington.

Kevin went from MIT  to Microsoft Corporation for five years. He began as an Associate Product Marketing Manager, won seven promotions in four years, and became -- as Director of US Channel, Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management - the youngest director at Microsoft.

 Kevin sees a career for himself in easing world inequalities through business and technical developments.


Marianna Ofosu

MARIANNA OFOSU is currently a law clerk on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for the Hon. Barrington D. Parker, and will join Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as a corporate associate in the Fall of 2013.

Marianna  was born in Poland to a Polish mother and Ghanaian father. She came to America at 11 and became a naturalized citizen when she was 18.

Marianna received her BA in Classics from Howard University, where she graduated summa cum laude with election as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa. As a Rhodes Scholar, she earned an MPhil in development studies at Oxford University, where she wrote her dissertation on the connections between ethnicity and economic largesse in the electoral process during the 2004 elections in Ghana. 

Marianna attended Yale Law School, where she was the Co-President of the Yale Law & Business Society and senior editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation.  Prior to law school, Marianna worked with government leaders in West Africa on private sector development and economic policy issues: as a managing director of GoodWorks International Ghana and as chief of staff and policy analyst for the African Center for Economic Transformation, a nonprofit economic policy research and advisory organization. In that role, she drafted Liberia's aid strategy, proposed Ghana's aid policy and co-authored a major study on Chinese investment into and trade with African countries.


Edward Pham

EDWARD PHAM is currently a MD candidate at Stanford University.

Edward came to the US from Vietnam with his family at age 16. They are naturalized citizens and live in Orange County, CA.

Edward received his undergraduate degree in bioengineering from UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude, top of his class, with election to both Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He attended UCLA on a Gates Millennium scholarship.

Having conducted research on targeted cancer drug delivery since his freshman year, Edward has co-authored two publications and a pending patent. In his senior year, he also developed a laboratory tumor model that more closely resembles real tumors which allows for more efficient cancer therapeutics screening. The research team is now preparing two other publications and patents. 

Edward plans a career as a clinician educator and a biomedical researcher. 


Sharmeen Premjee

SHARMEEN PREMJEE works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the global HIV/AIDS Program, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Sharmeen was born in Southern California to parents who emigrated from Pakistan and are now naturalized citizens. They reside in Birmingham, AL.

Sharmeen attended Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. Graduating from Yale University in 2002 with distinction in two majors, she was honored at graduation for her profound social and academic contributions to the Yale/New Haven community. She attended Yale as a Gates Millennium Scholar. On a Fulbright, she did a certificate at the School of Oriental And African Studies in London.

Since graduation Sharmeen has worked with Human Rights Watch, the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and since 2006 in the Los Angeles Mayor's office in an effort to reduce gang participation and warfare in the City. 


Yaniv Segal

YANIV SEGAL intends a career as a musician and conductor. Already at Vassar College, where he earned his BA in music, he began to assemble musicians to play as an ensemble. After graduating from Vassar, Yaniv put the same skills to work creating a New York music cooperative, the Chelsea Symphony. By allowing members to train as soloists and conductors in exchange for playing regularly in the orchestra, the Chelsea Orchestra (now in its third full season) has managed to perform some twenty concerts per season, free of charge, at a consistently high level. Now, as a first-year MM candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor he is continuing to pursue his goal. Yaniv is 27, born in New York to parents who emigrated from Poland and Israel. His parents are naturalized citizens and reside in Yonkers, NY.


Sushma Sheth

SUSHMA SHETH is an Organizational Strategy and Human Capital Development consultant at Accenture, in Washington, DC. 

Born in Miami, she is the daughter of immigrants from India. They are naturalized citizens and reside in Miami, FL.

Sushma completed her MBA/MPA at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.A 2001 graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in development studies, she was a director of programs for the Miami Workers Center. 

She was recently selected for Harvard Square to the Oval Office: A Political Campaign Practicum which is a non-partisan initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program that provides a select group of Harvard students with the training and support they need to ascend in the electoral process at the local, state and national levels.

Sushma worked as a Teaching Assistant to Ronald Heifetz, Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership and co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School. Known for his seminal work during the past two decades on the practice and teaching of leadership, his research focuses on how to build adaptive capacity in societies, businesses, and nonprofits. Sheth supported the instruction of his signature course: Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change.

At Brown University, Sushma helped develop grassroots leaders as well as build coalitions around such issues as affordable housing and economic development. Since 2007, she has also been active in building a national coalition of similar organizations, Right to the City Alliance. 


Tomasz Stryjewski


Tommy was born in Krakow, Poland and came with his family to the US when he was two. His family resides in Baton Rouge, L, they are all naturalized citizens.

Tommy plans a career in medicine and public health with a focus on blindness.

A dual MD/MPP student at Harvard University, he completed his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at Louisiana State University.

Among many forms of recognition, he was named to the All-USA College Academic First Team by USA Today. Between spending summers in Poland and growing a deeper understanding of health disparities in Louisiana, he served as an Emergency First Responder and logged 952 hours, including working in hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Rita. He also served in a leprosy hospital and several years in an organization recovering corneas for transplantation.


Roberto Valladares

ROBERTO VALLADARES plans to have a career in academic surgery. To prepare for this, he is a medical student at Stanford University. 

Roberto was born in Santa Monica, CA, to a family that had emigrated from Guatemala. His parents are naturalized citizens and reside in Simi Valley, CA.

Roberto received a BS summa cum laude in chemistry and biology from Westmont College. Roberto began his educational career as an auto mechanic, taking community college classes on the side. These courses led him to Westmont College, where his passion for medicine and scientific research grew. 

At Westmont, teaching, research producing publications, and help in editing a textbook in general chemistry were his experiences. He also served as a translator for a free clinic in Westminster, CA and in a cataract surgery clinic in Mexico. 


Jane Vaynman

JANE VAYNMAN is a Ph.D. student in government at Harvard University.

Jane  was born in Kiev, Ukraine and immigrated to the US with her family in 1989. She and her parents are naturalized US citizens; her family resides in Foster City, CA.

At Stanford University, Jane earned her BA with distinction in international relations and minored in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

After Stanford, Jane  took a job at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, where she contributed to a number of books and reports on nuclear security. Her work experience in DC also includes positions at the Center for American Progress and Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Prior to her graduate studies, Jane worked at the Carnegie Moscow Center as a Fulbright Fellow and conducted independent research on Russian nonproliferation policy. In 2008, she contributed to the foreign policy advisory group for the Barack Obama presidential campaign. 

Jane plans a career as a scholar and policy expert in the field of international politics. 


Previn Warren


PREVIN WARREN is completing a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Merrick Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit. In mid 2013 Previn will join Jenner & Block LLP as an associate. 

Previn was born in California to parents who emigrated from India. Both parents are naturalized US citizens and they reside in Huntington Beach, CA.

Previn graduated from Harvard Law School in June 2011. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he majored in social studies, graduating magna cum laude, earning election to Phi Beta Kappa, and receiving a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship. His honors thesis on the philosophy of Habermas and Peirce received the prestigious Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.He completed law school with magna cum laude honors, as well as the Sears Prize for the highest grades in his second year of law school.

While an undergraduate, Previn co-founded a student advocacy group championing progressive causes and co-edited a book about youth civic engagement after 9/11. For five years, he also played bass guitar in a Brooklyn-based rock trio, The States.

Before attending Harvard Law School, Previn has worked with indigent criminal defendants while at the Federal Defenders and articulated economic development and poverty policy as an adviser with the Mayor's Office in New York City. Following Law school, Previn served as Advisor to Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Previn lives with his wife and son in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC. 


Risheng Xu

RISHENG XU is a MD/Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins University. 

Born in China, he joined his parents in the US in 1989. They are naturalized citizens and reside in Houston, TX.

Risheng completed his bachelor's, magna cum laude, and master's in chemistry at Harvard University.

While at Harvard Risheng published ten articles, a number of them first-authored, within such journals as Organic Letters, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Journal of Neurosurgery, and Neurosurgery. While he hopes to pursue academic medicine, his other interests have led to his work as a news executive for The Harvard Crimson, his commitment as a five-semester teaching fellow and election as an Award Peer Tutor, as well as his piano performances as a winner of national and international piano competitions during high school. 

At Johns Hopkins, Risheng has received the Franklin Paine Mall Award for the highest academic standing . He helped found and coordinate the volunteer division of Johns Hopkins' Emergency Department HIV Counseling Program, which screened more than 8,000 patients last year.