Dr. Rohit Chandra
Dr. Rohit Chandra is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Mass General Hospital’s Chelsea Healthcare Center where he works closely with immigrants and refugees populations. He is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where he teaches a monthly exam review session to 3rd-year medical students. He is president of the New England chapter of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association (psychiatrists of Indian origin), and co-chairs the Early Career Psychiatrist committee of AACAP, the largest organization for child and adolescent psychiatrists nationally. He has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MD from Boston University School of Medicine, and completed post-graduate training at Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is interested in the cultural identity development of Asian-American adolescents, values differences and intergenerational conflict within Asian families in America, and the impact of academic pressure on student mental health. He has given national talks on the challenges and opportunities inherent in social media.
Radhika is a product executive who has participated in 4 exits, two of which were companies she founded. She is currently an adviser to several startups in the Boston area. She started her career as co-founder of Lobby7, a venture-backed company that created an early version of Siri back in 2000 and was acquired by Scansoft/Nuance. She later worked at Avid, growing their broadcast business by building a product suite to address pain points of broadcasters worldwide as they were moving from tape to digital media. She then led strategy at the telecom startup, Starent Networks, later acquired by Cisco for $2.9B. She left Cisco to start Likelii to offer consumers “Pandora for wine”. Likelii was later acquired by Drync. Recently she led Product Management at Allant to build a SaaS product for TV advertising. Allant’s TV division was subsequently acquired by Acxiom. Too long ago to admit, Radhika graduated from MIT with an SB and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering, and speaks 9 languages. You can follow her on the Medium publication, Radical Product and on Twitter @radhikadutt.
Lida is an entrepreneur, educator, and leadership coach whose mission is to help people express themselves effectively and confidently in any language they choose. After struggling to learn English when she first moved to the US, Lida fell in love with language learning and teaching. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland with a BA in Latin and Ancient Greek, then earned her MS in data-driven education with a concentration in language teaching from Johns Hopkins University, the #1 ranked school of education in the US. After working in education policy for a number of years, Lida decided to take her passion for education directly into the classroom. As a Spanish teacher in Baltimore City she developed a uniquely effective method for helping students learn vocabulary. Today, Lida is the founder and CEO of ClassTracks, the fastest way to learn vocabulary online, where she manages a team of 6 employees and works with dozens of schools and business across the US.
Lida is a proud mom of baby Niko, who already knows 3 languages! Her hobbies include martial arts (she holds a black belt in KungFu and a national collegiate championship title) and traveling. She has lived in 5 countries and visited more than 30, crossing borders by plane, train, car, bus, boat, auto-rickshaw and even horse!
Dr. Edmund Adjapong
Dr. Edmund Adjapong, a native of the Bronx, NY, is an assistant professor in the Education Studies Department at Seton Hall University. Dr. Adjapong is also a faculty fellow at the Institute of Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and the author of #HipHopEd: The Compilation on Hip-Hop Education Volume 1. Dr. Adjapong holds a Ph.D. and three masters degrees in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University and received a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Africana Studies from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Dr. Adjapong holds a teacher certification in science secondary education and is a former is a middle school science pedagogue at a New York City public school in The Bronx. He is the co-founder and director of the Science Genius Program, a program that engages urban students in the sciences through Hip-Hop, and the director of The Science Genius Academy, a program that encourages and prepares students to pursue STEM careers while providing mentoring and support. Dr. Adjapong has appeared on media outlets such as Hot 97’s radio station and is a contributing writer for The Good Men Project, where he writes and speaks about issues of race, diversity, social justice and education.
As a graduate student, Dr. Adjapong was heavily involved in the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME) where he served as a Graduate Research Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a graduate fellow, Dr. Adjapong’s research focused on engaging black boys utilizing multimedia and evaluating educational programs that utilize Hip-Hop as a tool of engagement.
Edmund believes every student has the ability to learn and does so differently. He also believes that engaging urban youth with media–despite its unconventional method–is an effective way to educate. Edmund enjoys working with and mentoring youth, especially young men of color, as they are our future. His research interest includes issues of class, race, gender, privilege, diversity, youth programming and STEM education
Kim Le, CPA, CIA RARE
(Recovering Accountant Reluctant Entrepreneur
Kim came from very humble beginnings. She was born in Vietnam. In 1978, she, her mother and brother were among the “boat people” who escaped to a refugee camp in Malaysia where they lived under a plastic tarp. She supported herself through college and worked in public accounting with Arthur Andersen until the firm imploded in May 2002. At that time, Kim was eight months pregnant with her first child and had a professional identity crisis. In 2003, Kim took the entrepreneurial plunge while five months pregnant with her second child and founded A2Q2 to help two friends get their work visas.
A2Q2 is a Special Ops team of CPAs specializing in data analytics, NetSuite & accounting processes, and internal controls & SOX compliance. Its clients included Silicon Valley high growth and public companies including Airbnb, Stanford University and Verifone.
National Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award – Financial Executives Intl (2017)
Female CEO of the Year- California by Corporate Vision Magazine (2016)
California Society of CPAs Women to Watch Trailblazer (2015)
100 Most Influential Women by Silicon Valley Business Journal (2013)
President’s Award by Ascend Leadership (2012, 2013)
Board of Directors of MidPen Housing (midpen-housing.org)
President of the Silicon Valley Directors’ Exchange (2018) (svdx.org)
Speaker on advancing leadership for women and people of color
In her spare time, she crashes motorcycles, gets roughed up in kickboxing and runs Tough Mudder events.
Helen Adeyinka Adeosun
Helen is passionate about caregiving and the impact that the right caregiver can have on families. As an educator and workplace trainer, she has had a career in driving outcomes for adult learners and finding meaningful ways for them to engage in learning.
She has worked with Teach for America, Boston Public Schools, and Pearson Education as well as a number of companies focused on caregiving issues. Care Academy was born out of her own first-hand knowledge and experience as a caregiver and she hopes that Care Academy is a place to continuously learn and share. She holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in Politics and Arabic Studies, an EdM. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Education Policy and Management.
Radhika is excited to share how she has cultivated her passions and strengths to build a fulfilling career that aligns with her values and purpose. She works at Dasra, a nonprofit organization whose name means enlightened giving in Sanskrit. Dasra accelerates social change in India by creating a system for more effective philanthropy in partnership with donors, social sector organizations, and the government.
Radhika launched Dasra's US presence in 2014. In this role, she builds partnerships, raises funds for the Indian social sector, and disseminates knowledge about social innovation and philanthropy in India—reframing India as place that the international community can give to and learn from. She is particularly motivated to increase attention and funding towards empowering girls and women. Prior to this role, Radhika worked at Dasra’s headquarters in Mumbai, influencing Indian philanthropists to take action on traditionally less popular issues such as domestic violence and child marriage.
Before pursuing a career in the social sector, Radhika worked at AllianceBernstein and led the young professionals fundraising committee for Sakhi for South Asian Women, an anti-domestic violence nonprofit in the New York area. Radhika has a B.A. from Wellesley College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and is a StartingBloc Social Innovation fellow. She looks forward to meeting and learning from all of the inspiring and knowledgeable women at SPEAK.
Carolina is a Managing Director at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank and Head of the Law Firm Group, providing personal wealth advice, planning and solutions to Partners at top law firms. Carolina, whose past roles include building the Latin America High Net Worth business and leading Asset & Wealth Management’s global strategy for developing Advisor talent, is featured on Fortune’s 2017 and 2018 “50 Most Powerful Latinas in Business” list, as compiled by the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA.)
She began her career with J.P. Morgan in 1996 at the Investment Bank, focusing on Mergers and Acquisitions and Debt Capital Markets. She obtained her Bachelor’s in finance and investments at Babson College, and her Master's in the History of Art and Design at the Pratt Institute. Her thesis, "The Chase Manhattan Bank: A Legacy of Art in the Workplace," chronicles the history of David Rockefeller’s vision and drive in building what is today the JPMorgan Chase corporate art collection.
Carolina is an avid supporter of Groundswell, a youth, community and arts-driven social justice organization, and of ProMujer, whose mission is to empower underserved Latin American women to realize their full potential. She lives in New York City with her husband Jay.
Martha Ramos is a motivational speaker, success coach, and consultant. She helps her clients gain the clarity and confidence needed to take their careers to the next level, leading them to have more purpose, freedom, and joy in their lives. Having overcome life-altering setbacks of her own, she’s dedicated to providing tools and resources to help others elevate their success. Currently, she’s on the Board of Advisors for LIT: College Tour and is a Program Director for The 4A’s 2019 Advanced Advertising Studies, NY chapter. She spent over 12 years as an Advertising executive, helping Fortune 500 companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kraft, Ameriprise Financial, Unilever, and Mary Kay develop and implement award-winning campaigns. Martha holds an M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from New York University and a B.B.A. in Advertising and Marketing from Baruch College.
Connect with Martha:
Hiba Sharief serves as Vice President of Information Technology at Oportun, a financial technology company with the mission of providing affordable loans that help people with little or no credit history establish credit and build a better future. Oportun uses advanced data analytics and technology to score the “unscorable” and offers responsible, affordable, credit-building loans to individuals with limited credit history. Hiba graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York. She was recently honored with the recognition of Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 in 2017.
Hiba has a diverse personal and professional background with technology and leadership experience across various industries, and in more than 20 countries around the globe. As the daughter of a career diplomat, she had lived in four countries and spoken three languages fluently before the age of 8. Hiba moved to the U.S. from her home country of Sudan in late 1995 to pursue her university education. She has since had a very exciting career fueled by a passion for learning, growth and innovation. After spending time in various leadership roles at Lehman Brothers and Accenture in New York, Hiba spent two years in Dubai building EMC’s consulting arm in Europe South, Middle East and Africa. She is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area and highly committed to shaping future generations and changing the ratio of women in technology and leadership.
Dr. Laura Burgos
After completing an AmeriCorps teaching fellowship, Laura Burgos spent over a decade serving public school students in Brooklyn, New York as a teacher and school leader. Laura’s desire to broaden her understanding of urban school models led her to serve as a principal within a national charter school network. This experience allowed her to address achievement barriers across the country. Most recently, Laura directed expanded learning time programs in public middle schools, launching a writing mentorship program between senior students and business professionals. Laura is currently a Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the 2017 recipient of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Meade Fellowship, an initiative connecting leaders with education policymakers in Washington, D.C. Laura will complete the final year of her doctoral program as a resident at the University of Washington’s Center for Education Leadership.
Originally from Hong Kong, Karmen Leung left home in 2007 when she was 16 to continue her education and pursue a career in the U.S. Moving to a foreign country alone as a teenager was not at all easy. She struggled through homesickness, SATs, AP exams and college applications, while trying to fit in, make new friends, and switching to English as a primary language, but she persevered. From choosing then changing her majors in college, to switching internships and career paths to follow her dreams and ambitions, Karmen took on more challenges and made multiple leaps of faith along the way.
Now an IBM global sales executive for international markets, Karmen oversees the company’s analytics cloud business across Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. She is also the co-founder of Women in Big Data, a non-profit organization that champions the success of females in tech careers. Founded 2 years ago, WiBD now has 2500+ members to date. https://www.womeninbigdata.org
Rather than letting the connotations of being an “immigrant”, “millennial," and “female in tech” confine who she can be and what she can do, she has been actively working to redefine all these labels – Swiftly navigating through the corporate-tech world, passionately advocating for diversity and gender parity in the industry, while lifting, encouraging, and mentoring others along the way. One of her current passion projects is “EVOLVE”, a diversity initiative that focuses on providing a community of support for U.S. immigrant/1stgeneration students and professionals who are or aspire to be in the tech field. She is excited to be partnering with SPEAK as a mentor, and is honored to be chosen as a speaker to share her experience and touch more lives.
Dr. Mariam Durrani
Dr. Mariam Durrani is an assistant professor of anthropology at Hamilton College. Her research focuses bridges the anthropology of Muslim youth, feminist approaches to transnationalism and migration studies, studies of gender, and critical visuality in classrooms and in the media. She recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship in education at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, she completed her joint PhD program in anthropology and education at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Dr. Durrani has been teaching college students since 2004 and strongly believes in providing appropriate resources and emotional support to first generation immigrant youth as they embark on their educational and professional journeys.
Originally from Upstate New York, Priyanka Mara is a practicing architect in San Francisco. For the past 11 years, she has worked on a variety of project types all over the world from retail to institutional to residential. Past projects include a house for a structural engineer, a Digital Arts facility at UC Santa Cruz, and many of Apple’s flagship retails stores, her favorite at London’s Covent Garden. She has had the opportunity not only to work with incredibly talented architects but also to collaborate with renowned structural engineers, lighting consultants, landscape architects, builders, furniture makers, along with a variety of interesting clients.
Priyanka graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelors of Architecture. She had the opportunity to do a semester abroad in Italy which proved to be incredibly influential on both her growth as an architect along with her growth as an individual. Her passions within architecture lay in a variety of scales from creating the “big picture” to understanding and designing the nuances of space, light, and human interaction. She enjoys problem solving in creative ways and providing elegant solutions to complex issues. As she continues her career as an architect, Priyanka looks forward to learning through the lens of different projects, teams, and experiences.
Dr. Christine Tsai
Dr. Christine Tsai grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as the daughter of two Taiwanese immigrant parents. She attended Harvard University for college majoring in Biochemistry, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons for medical school and Oregon Health & Science University for her residency in internal medicine. She is currently Assistant Professor and Attending Physician in Hospital Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. Her primary interest is in medical education as well as quality and safety in healthcare systems. She is an active member of the admissions committee, a medical student faculty advisor, and teaches throughout the medical school years in the classroom and on the inpatient wards. In addition, she is interested in patient safety and efficiency in hospital systems.
While she always had a knack for math and science, what she truly loves about medicine is the art and “soft skills” associated with the field. The depth of human interaction in helping people through times of illness and recovery through accuracy in diagnosis, clarity in counseling, and effective treatments is immensely rewarding. At the same time, it can be filled will tremendous stress, anxiety, and sadness, so developing resilience and achieving balance is essential to having a rewarding career. She also considered careers in teaching, consulting, and the corporate world and is interested in supporting girls who are interested in medicine, but also supporting those who do not want to become doctors. She has benefited from the guidance of many mentors and advisors throughout her life and hopes to pass along some of her wisdom through SPEAK Mentorship. She believes strongly in helping young women learn tips and tricks for attaining their goals such as interview skills, how to dress for success, and how to present yourself in a positive and authentic way. She is excited for the opportunity to engage with girls through SPEAK Mentorship about their futures and dreams.
After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2007, with a major in Psychology and a minor in English Literature, Camila Villanueva traveled to Argentina as a Fulbright fellow, where she fell in love with teaching. She received her Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University in 2012, and currently teaches high school Spanish at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.
Like many of her generation, Camila is the daughter of immigrants. Growing up was therefore a constant learning process, and it wasn’t until high school that the feeling of belonging neither nor there became a source of strength, providing the potential to develop and grow. In Argentina, hearing her students discuss their ambitions, thoughts, and goals showed her that for today’s youth, incorporating aspects of cultural identity into their academic lives contributes to a stronger sense of self. Now back at her high school alma matter, she recently developed La nueva generación, anAdvanced Spanish Seminar that addresses issues of social justice through introspection, with a focus on developing empathy and self-awareness. To her, the classroom will always be about forming connections, and helping students identify and harness what they’re passionate about to establish themselves in whatever career they choose.
Krupa Jani is a physician-scientist in training. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at Princeton University, where she studies epigenetics in rare pediatric cancers. She is also earning her M.D. at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School through the joint Rutgers University-Princeton University M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from The College of New Jersey, where she studied biology, physics, and cognitive science. Along the way, she participated in study abroad programs at the University of Oxford in the U.K. and at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Krupa plans to have a career investigating and understanding diseases in order to create new or better treatments for patients. She is passionate about addressing disparities of many types, ranging from health disparities in minority and marginalized populations to gender equality in STEM and medicine fields. She enjoys hiking and live music, and always appreciates a good pun.
Jasmine Wahi is a Curator, Activist, and the Founder and Co-Director of Project For Empty Space. Her practice predominantly focuses on issues of female empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multipositional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism.
In 2010, after spending several years in the commercial gallery world, Ms. Wahi Co-Founded Project For Empty Space, a not-for-profit nomadic organization that creates multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change through the support of both artists and communities. In 2013, Ms. Wahi began a long-term partnership in Newark, NJ, with Rebecca Jampol of Solo(s) Project House, to create a series of pop-up exhibitions under the moniker ‘Gateway Project Spaces.’ In 2015, Ms. Wahi and Ms. Jampol revamped their space into a mixed use space that housed both Project For Empty Space and a plethora of commercial artist studios. This ‘third space’ endeavor has since become a community for multi-disciplinary artists and a space for social discourse, activism, and change.
In addition to her other work, Ms. Wahi is also on faculty at the School of Visual Arts: MFA Fine Arts, where she focuses on Intersectional Feminism and Art Praxis.
She is a former board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) and instructor for the Girls Educational Mentoring Services (GEMS) group. She has also co-organized numerous interventions and happenings as part of her social activist work.
Ms. Wahi’s curatorial work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Vogue India, Hyperallergic, Whitewall Magazine, ArtNet, and ArtNews to name a few. She’s been a guest lecturer at numerous institutions; including, Twitter, CREATIVE TIME, and the Sotheby’s Institute.
Ms. Wahi received her undergraduate degree in Art History and South Asian studies from New York University, and attended the Institute of Fine Art. Her initial focus was on South and East Asian contemporary art.
Aileen Tejeda was born and raised in the South Bronx and discovered her passion for education during her four years as a teacher and softball coach at her alma mater, Aquinas High School. She received her BA from Georgetown University in English with a minor in Theology and Theater and her Ed.M from the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is proud of being a first generation college graduate and was most inspired by the strong women in her family, schools, and education organizations where she has worked. Aileen was the HS Assessment Coaching Manager at KIPP Foundation and Dean of Students at UNO Charter School Network in Chicago. Currently, Aileen is a the Assistant Professor of Practice at Relay Graduate School of Education in NYC, working hard to teach teachers!
Aileen is driven by social justice, learning from and empowering young women, and the intersection of of technology and education in service of urban communities. She is excited to partner with SPEAK to connect with smart young women who are on the path to college. Aileen continues to benefit from a strong female community and hopes to share and cultivate that strength with young women.
Cynthia Petti, Director of Operations the 280 Group, LLC and Director of Marketing Lean In Latinas
Cynthia has over 14 years of management experience in various industries including product management/marketing, telecommunications, and construction. She is a native Californian, first generation born of Mexican immigrant parents. As the Director of Operations at the 280 Group, she is the driving force behind logistics, finance process development, system automation, and operational efficiency. She has expert and first-hand knowledge in human resources, finance and business operations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Monterey Bay in Human Communications. Cynthia is a volunteer in many causes including community improvement as the Director of Marketing for Lean in Latinas. The mission of Lean In Latinas is to provide a platform of encouragement and support for Latinas in the workplace to achieve higher levels of performance. Discussions provide confidence building, idea exchange, and inspiration. Founder, of Lean In Marketing Circle to lead the way in Marketing for Lean In Latinas to engage in marketing to build skills to use and elevate professional marketing and women’s personal brand. Cynthia is first generation born from Mexican immigrant parents and value’s her roots, community and works to give through her philanthropic commitment as Board Member at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley (HFSV). HFSV is dedicated to inspiring community philanthropy and engaging people to invest in the educational achievement, leadership development, research and convening and engaging the Hispanic community to improve the quality of life for Latinos and the Silicon Valley region. She enjoys family, community involvement and the outdoors.
Rebecca Gross is the Founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit organization called Student Driven Solutions that provides financial literacy and business skills education to Malawian girls in secondary school and school dropouts. She received a Bachelors Degree in Economics and a Certificate in African Studies from Georgetown University. While living in Malawi, Rebecca has also worked at UNC Project conducting qualitative research on HIV couple disclosure and has served as a Global Health Corps fellow with the Malawian Ministry of Health. She is particularly interested in the intersection of girls’ education and economic development on the continent of Africa.
Dr. Nancy Gutierrez
Dr. Nancy B. Gutierrez currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for the New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA)—an organization dedicated to preparing and supporting current and aspiring school and system-level leaders, particularly in our most underserved and under resourced communities.
Nancy’s previous work and commitment to the empowerment of under-resourced communities came from experiencing the low expectations placed on the children in her disenfranchised Latino neighborhood. Already personally committed to social justice, Nancy returned to her home community to teach, later founding and serving as the principal of Renaissance Academy, which remains the highest performing middle school in the district and a California Distinguished School. Nancy then accepted the opportunity to lead the lowest performing middle school in the district, located only two blocks from her childhood home. Nancy is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program where during her tenure she served as a Teaching Fellow for Harvard’s School Leadership Program, a mentor for Harvard’s Latino Leadership Initiative, and as co-chair for Harvard’s Alumni of Color Conference. Before joining NYCLA, Nancy served as the executive director of advanced leadership strategy for the New York City Department of Education where she launched, designed, and facilitated a leadership institute for current and aspiring school district leaders that led to superintendent certification.
Nancy was named the UC Davis Rising Star and Association of California School Administrator’s Region 8 Middle School Principal of the Year in 2010 and the Harvard Ed.L.D. Class Marshal in 2013. Nancy is a graduate of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Superintendents Leadership Academy, sits on the national board for the Coalition of Essential Schools, and serves as faculty for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Urban School Leaders & School Turnaround Leaders Institutes.
Neha Pathak is an intellectual property lawyer currently practicing in Minneapolis, MN. She completed her JD from Marquette University Law School. While in law school, she served as the Comments editor for Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review and the Vice President of the Marquette Intellectual Property Law Society. She also received the Frank C. DeGuire Award for Best Published Student Comment. Additionally, she has worked under the guidance of Hon. Jane Carroll at the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and as a research assistant for Prof. Kali Murray on an amicus brief focused on gene patentabilty.
The foundation of Neha's career in intellectual property law was based in her training as an electrical engineer from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is also trained in two different styles of Indian classical dance and founded her own dance school. She devotes her weekends to teaching children about Indian philosophy and self-development. As a multi-talented individual, Neha believes every woman should have a versatile set of skills and is determined to empower young women interested in any field.
Dr. Yagna Pathak
Dr. Yagna Pathak spent her formative years in Dubai, UAE and Chicago, IL. Her childhood curiosity and knack for problem-solving led her to pursue Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her passion for developing new technologies and unearthing the mysteries of the brain resulted in a masters degree at Cornell University and a PhD at Marquette University.
Currently, she is a postdoctoral research scientist in Neurological Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center where she focuses on imaging and neurostimulation paradigms. She feels strongly about the role of women in advancing STEM and is determined to educate the younger cohort on the value of pursuing a career that is aligned with their interests and aptitude.
She is also serving as the Programs Manager for SPEAK Mentorship and is always excited to work with new ambassadors and mentees as they journey from high-school to college.
Dr. Preeti Thyparampil
Dr. Preeti Thyparampil graduated from New York University with a BA in biology and psychology before completing medical school at Columbia University. She then completed residency in ophthalmology and fellowship in oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. She is currently a faculty physician and assistant professor in ophthalmology at Northwestern University. "I wouldn't say I always knew I wanted to be a doctor but it was always on my radar. I often visited both of my parents at work, my mother in the hospital and my father in an office, and I knew from a young age that I preferred a setting like a hospital, where you are moving, and constantly doing and seeing different things, over an office setting. In high school my favorite subjects were the biological sciences and the humanities and I felt these interests went along with a potential career in medicine. I entered college as a premed but kept an open mind, doing summer jobs in fields such as public health to explore whether those areas might be a better fit for me. In the end, I found the hospital setting to be the most stimulating. I chose ophthalmology because of it's balance as a surgical and medical field, because of the immediate gratification that comes from caring for people's vision and because I knew that it would be a field that would be more flexible for family life in the future. Residency training was rigorous, and very demanding mentally and physically. Each step of medical training is more difficult than the previous one but also more rewarding. Just recently, 15 years after I graduated high school, I started my first real job, as an attending physician at a university hospital. I'm excited for the adventures ahead - having my own patients, teaching residents and medical students, and for the adventures with my family. I love that my job excites me and scares me at the same time, and that pushes me to keep learning every day."
Dr. Connie Chung
Dr. Connie Chung is the CSE-TAY case manager at MISSSEY. She graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in human development and psychology. She has extensive experience working with homeless young people, specializing in sexual violence and traumatic disorder in displaced female youth. As a research associate and consultant, Dr. Chung provided policy recommendations on behavioral health in substance abusing transient populations. She has also worked with Masai tribeswomen and AIDS orphans in Kenya and Tanzania, Africa. She is concurrently earning her Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and works as a part-time lecturer at a college while at MISSSEY.
Dr. Asha Nair
Dr. Asha Nair is a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. She graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2005 and completed her M.D at Albany Medical College through the combined B.S./M.D program. She completed pediatric residency training in NJ, pediatric cardiology fellowship in D.C, as well as a year of subspecialty fellowship in cardiac intensive care at Boston Children’s Hospital.
It was a love of science and a desire to help others that initially led her to pursue a career in medicine. Throughout medical training, pediatric cardiac intensive care stood out as the ideal field as it provided the challenge of caring for some of the most medically and surgically complex patients. Experiences both in and out of the hospital setting, including a medical mission to Uganda, and helping to create an educational module for trainees in Malawi, have reinforced the importance of collaboration and mentorship. She plans to continue her career as an academic clinician, which affords the opportunity to mentor medical students and trainees, and participate in innovative research.
Tracie Jones is the Student Engagement Advisor in the Office of Student Affairs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She graduated cum Laude from the Harvard University Extension School with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts (ALB), concentrating in Social Sciences, and holds a Master’s of Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University. She serves on the board of the Harvard Extension Alumni Association as the Vice President of Recruitment and Development.
Social justice and educational access for all is a motto that she strives to live by. Tracie was the Vessel Operations Coordinator for the tall ship Amistad, during its Atlantic Freedom Tour. In her role, Tracie was responsible for boat logistics and dockside events at various ports of call in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. She also provided student support for the Sankofa Study Abroad program for UCONN students. Her experience working with Amistad America and the Children’s Defense Fund inspired Tracie to create Adventure Girlz, a non-profit that provides young women with an outlet to move, talk, mentor and lead on issues involving social justice. Through Adventure Girlz Tracie strives to provide young women with opportunities to gain skills in leadership, public speaking, community engagement, team building and most of all, travel and adventure as they develop a network of friendships and a sisterhood that will last a lifetime. Visit adventuregirlz!
Dr. Susan Philipose
Susan Philipose, MD, Tufts University School of Medicine and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. A very informative talk by Dr. Susan Philipose titled
Finding Your Path To Success
"Another major thing you have to remember is that, once you get an interview, you have to spend an hour talking with this person. What are you going to talk about?"
Be vocal about your accomplishments and let others know that you deserve the benefits or rewards for your hard work. Studies show, girls and women do not speak up about their accomplishments as often as men do. This is a shame. We contribute greatly to work environments and deserve the same level of reward as men get. Always know your worth!
Here more about what Susan Philipose recommends.
Dr. Monique Anderson
Stanford University, BA in Human Biology. Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholars Program. Thesis: Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus I (HTLV-I) and the immune response involved in the neuroinflammatory disease HTLV-I associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis with a goal of graduating in May 2017 with her MD/PhD. A very informative talk by Monique Anderson titled
Straight Out of Brooklyn: The Path Less Traveled
"I applied as an MD. I did that because even though I knew I loved research, I was a little bit afraid of asking for more. I didn't think that I could actually do a PhD..."
Often, we are uncertain of our path and that makes us uncertain of our potential of success. It is important to remember that whatever your path, never undermine your own potential and be sure to ask others for advice, assistance, or favors if you believe it will help you pursue your goals.
Find out how Monique Anderson ended up pursuing an MD/PhD path.
Ting Pen is a co-founder of the personal finance website ValuePenguin.com. She graduated from Georgetown University with a background in Accounting and Finance. Before ValuePenguin, she was a financial analyst at Citigroup evaluating corporate mergers & acquisitions. "Whatever your choice or level of comfort just give your options careful thought, think through the risks and opportunities, ask for help, and have a back up plan."
Some of the best advice we've heard when considering your career options. Have a plan, make sure to stay informed, and, just in case, have a back up plan. Pursuing your passion doesn't mean you cannot be successful. Understand your goals, priorities, and develop a plan to ensure good financial management.
Erin Zaikis is the founder of Sundara Fund.
"Passion and Leadership go hand in hand."
We agree. Erin Zaikis is full of passion and, therefore, makes a wonderful leader. When you are truly passionate and believe in what you do, you will naturally lead others to create the same change as you. We are so inspired by the talk Erin Zaikis gave on leadership for our first Speaker Series webinar.