Cohort 11 Students

  • Anna Nelizza Baliza
    •  Anna is the Director of Student Personnel Services, Medical University Registrar, and Chief-of-Staff to the Chancellor of the UPH – Dr. Jose G. Tamayo Medical University.  The UPH-DJGTMU is a member of the University of Perpetual Help System JONELTA, a university system with 20,000 students enrolled in six campus locations on the island clusters of Luzon and Visayas in the Philippines.  In this role, Arni is responsible for academic-support services, student-support services, and non-academic administrative support for the Medical University.  Arni is an advocate of true student-centered education and believes that student success is a measure of hers.  Prior to joining the university in 2006, Ms. Tamayo Baliza was entrusted with leadership roles in operations, training and development, quality assurance, and project management for international business process outsourcing corporations, and change management for an international financial institution.  Arni earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Santo Tomas and her EMBA from the Asian Institute of Management.
  • Cymone Davis
    • Cymone is the CEO of Black Towns Municipal Management and former Town Manager of Tullahassee, OK. She is also the School Founder of Kingdom Come International. Originally from Kansas City, MO, Cymone moved to Tulsa, OK through the Tulsa Remote program in June 2020. Soon after, she was voted in as Tullahassee’s first Town Manager. Tullahassee is the oldest, surviving all-black town in Oklahoma; within a short timeframe, Cymone helped the town gain national attention and make U.S. History. With the help of a Boston-based organization called Next Leadership Development, Cymone Davis also created the nation’s first-ever GIS interactive mapping tool of U.S. Black Townships and Settlements. Cymone has recently been featured in national news like The Washington Post, Fast Company, NPR, and local news such as The Black Wall Street Times and The Oklahoma Eagle. Cymone Davis has a Master’s Degree in Telecommunication Media Studies/Africana Studies from Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree in Education with a TESL Concentration/International Advocacy and Leadership Certificate from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Since 2018, Cymone has also been on a mission to build a black boarding school, Kingdom Come International, in the historic all-black town of Tullahassee, OK.
  • Johnny Din
    • Johnny is the Chief Executive Officer of Cycamore Capital, a vertically-integrated real estate investment and development platform based in New York City. Prior to founding Cycamore, he was a Principal at Clarett International, a division of The Clarett Group focusing on cross-border real estate transactions. Previously, he was at Silverpeak Real Estate Partners and OUE Ltd. Johnny began his career in the Investment Banking Division of Lehman Brothers, where he advised fortune 500 companies and private equity clients on M&A and financing efforts. Johnny graduated honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Riordan MBA Fellow from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He holds a Certificate in Hotel Operations from New York University and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from Columbia University, where he was the President of the MSRED Student Council, a Pension Real Estate Association Scholar, a Wells Fargo GDS Scholar, a William Kinne Fellow, and a recipient of the Scholastic Performance Award given to the top 3 graduates. Johnny was named a Committee of 100 Next Generation Leader, a Crain’s New York Business Rising Star in Real Estate, a Connect Media Next Generation Honoree, and a NYREJ Executive of the Month. He is currently a Board Member of UCLA REAG, MBAofNY Scholarship Foundation, AREAA Manhattan, and Career Day USA. Johnny is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation; New York University, Schack Institute of Real Estate; and Fordham University, Real Estate Institute.
  • Shuai (Frank) Fu
    • Frank is a teacher of fine art programs and curriculum designer for art universities and high schools and several education corporations in China. He also helped build the Universal Studio in Beijing as an associate art production director during the pandemic. Frank is also a translator for academic lectures and documents. Frank earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from California State University Long Beach.
  • Ramla Javed
    •  Ramla is the Human Resources Division Manager at the County of San Mateo and Founder and President of JB Professional Development Resources, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing career development services to individuals in underprivileged communities. Through her work and nonprofit, she has helped numerous job seekers achieve their career goals and find meaningful employment with their desired organizations. Prior to joining the County, Ramla spent over 20 years working in the private sector with her most recent role at Samsung Electronics in South Korea where she spent close to three years developing and implementing human capital strategies for employees in 52 markets across the globe. Ramla holds a Masters degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Shaheena Khan
    • Shahenna is the Founder and Executive Director of Equity Cares, a recently launched non-profit dedicated to tackling systemic inequities that have resulted in poor education, healthcare, and generational poverty within urban communities. She and her partners amplify the voices of marginalized children and families and facilitate opportunities to remove inequities within high-needs schools and affected communities. She has served in various roles and leadership capacities in public education and philanthropy, including Director of Education Strategy and Ventures, Chief of Academics and Equity, and School Principal. Shaheena has a unique understanding of issues that often impact children and families within urban communities. Combining her experience and acumen with problem-solving and a commitment to listening and collaborating with stakeholders, she has created growth and opportunities for children, families, and organizations seeking to change social determinants and transform communities. Shaheena is certified in nonprofit leadership from the Harvard Kennedy Business School, is a certified teacher in Illinois, and is a certified school administrator in Illinois and Ohio. She holds a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science from Aurora University.
  • Maralina Milazzo
    • Maralina is the Director of Student Success at the Monterey County Office of Education, specializing in coaching continuous and strategic improvement with schools and districts. Maralina has been an educator for over 20 years as a teacher, instructional coach, Vice Principal, and Principal across the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has been a professional development coach for teachers in Japan and South Korea and has audited assessments for CDE. She has been a mentor teacher, and seminar speaker has served on WASC committees and worked as an administrator of induction programs. Ms. Milazzo holds a Master’s degree in Urban High School Leadership, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and is credentialed in both administration and teaching at all levels K-12. She believes in the power of collaborative communities and building partnerships to create capacity for successful, equitable student outcomes. She enjoys SCUBA diving, travel, fostering animals, and adventure.
  • Rebecca Ortiz Bodensteiner
    • Rebecca is a full-time Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry in the Department of Geriatrics, Special Needs, and Behavioral Sciences at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. She works in the Special Patients Clinic, teaches an online graduate course, and serves on two advisory boards at the dental school. Ortiz Bodensteiner holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education. She completed the Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice from the University of the Pacific- Treating People with Complex Physical, Medical, or Psychological Needs and Patients in Underserved Communities. She has a license to practice dental hygiene and over 23 years of private practice ownership and experience providing clinical care, business strategy, recruiting and training dental clinicians, and organizational strategies for day-to-day operations, and created public oral health messages and advocacy for the community. She taught High School Biology and Chemistry as an interim teacher in 2016 for Tulare County Office of Education. In 2019, Ortiz Bodensteiner became credentialed as volunteer faculty for USC Dental Mobile Clinic providing dental care to underserved communites both urban and rural, delighted to return to the organization she represented as an undergraduate student. Recent faculty and education presentations at Herman Ostrow include Dental Anxiety as a Barrier to Dental Service Utilization, Pedagogical Practices in Dental Education to Prepare and Develop Excellent Clinicians, and recently, Cuidado Bucal Para Adolescentes y Adultos Jóvenes Con Cáncer​ for the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program AYA at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Additionally, she founded Fight On Rentals in 2018, and currently owns and operates the student housing, working with graduate and doctoral students attending the USC Health Science Campus. Her research interests are dental education pedagogy, human-centered thinking systems, patient-centered care, and reducing the global oral health care burden.
  • John Roberts
    • John is the Co-Founder of Impact Hub Accra — one of the most active co-working spaces in Sub-Saharan Africa. After spending years working to solve the last-mile gap for online educational resources (OER → MOOCs) in the region, he finally gained traction in the market with the co-working business model — creating a sustainable access point for potential learners. This innovation was derived by working closely with entrepreneurially minded Ghanaians, Nigerians, Malians, Burkinabé, fellow Americans, as well as many other individuals from around the world — who formed the foundation of the community, including the co-founding team. John also co-founded Mosabi, PBC, a social enterprise aimed at providing business education and access to capital (microfinance loans) to emerging market micro-entrepreneurs. Now back in California, where he is from, John is working to apply the lessons learned from his many years abroad to the US context. His most recent effort is through the non-profit, “Business to Impact” (b2i.org). John holds an MPP from the National University of Singapore, an MBA from Babson, a BA from the American University of Paris, and a “Grand Diplôme” from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.
  • Ellen Rose
    • Ellen is the Executive Director of Texas Tech University-Costa Rica (TTU-CR), a public-private partnership and the country’s first U.S. degree-granting institution of higher education. Prior to working at TTU-CR, Ms. Rose founded and managed Costa Rica’s first educational consulting company, Einstein Prep and Learning, a venture which assists individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and educational institutions throughout Latin America in a variety of educational endeavors. She also conducted educational consulting for the U.S. Embassies in both Mozambique (2012-2013) and Cabo Verde (2015-2016) and served as the acting Education-USA Advisor in Mozambique. Ms. Rose has run international fellowship selection committees, including both the J. William Fulbright Scholarship and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program in Mozambique; CRUSA STAARS in Costa Rica; and Wellesley in Costa Rica. Before relocating to Central America, Ms. Rose worked in a variety of academic and administrative positions at both Barnard College and Columbia University. She holds a Master in Public Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs; a Master of Philosophy in Communications from Columbia University’s School of Journalism; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Art History from Barnard College, where she graduated with honors. Ms. Rose was a Media Fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a J. William Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica.
  • Julian Sesma
    • Julian is currently a California School Counselor at Chula Vista Elementary School District in San Diego County, supporting 700+ students at multiple sites. By 2013, Julian had engaged in service trips to Haiti that transformed the course of his life and strengthened his ability to “love his neighbor.” These trips set him on a path of international service and ministry that would eventually take him to over 30 countries in the next three years. The four countries that have had the biggest impact on him are Haiti, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq, where the desire to support children in conflict regions, war zones, and other humanitarian crises began. Following his 2013 graduation from Georgetown University with a dual major in Biology and Theology, he began a 2015 Teach For America teaching assignment, which led to a mental health program specialist role in early childhood with Neighborhood House Association. In 2020, he received his master’s degree at the University of San Diego, after completing the school-based, clinical counseling program. He went on to participate in the 15th Cohort of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma in 2021, a global training program offering a cultural and scientific learning experience addressing the needs of traumatized persons and communities worldwide. His professional dream is to develop tailored, school-based, mental health supports for children in conflict and war zones. Julian continues to give back to his San Diego border community by supporting basic needs distribution efforts. In his leisure time, he loves to play soccer, participate in outdoor activities, play acoustic guitar, enjoy global cuisine, and travel to places new and old. Favorite Quote: “What we do in life, echoes in eternity” -Gladiator
  • Syafiq Shahul
    • Syafiq is the Head of Programmes and Faculty Member in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at PSB Academy. PSB Academy is Singapore’s leading private education institution with an estimated 12,000 student enrolments, spanning across the jewel city campus and STEM campus. Syafiq was conferred the Best Academia and Industry Collaboration Award in 2022 and Best Lecturer Award in 2020 by PSB Academy. Aside from his responsibilities in programme leadership and teaching, Syafiq contributes as a Co-Chairman of the Module Assessment Board at PSB Academy, which represents the academy of est. 12,000 students from 5 schools. He also concurrently helm the role of Regional Programme Coordinator (Engineering) at PSB partner campuses in Asia region, Lecturer and Final Year Project Supervisor at Coventry University (UK) and Faculty Adviser to The Institution of Engineers Singapore – PSB Academy partnerships. He is also an elected Council Member at The Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES). IES is a national society of engineers that work closely with the government on engineering matters and national infrastructures. He helms the role of Group Deputy Chairman (International Relations, Professional Developments and Professional Engagements and Publications), Member of Management Committee of IES Academy and Chairman of Young Engineers Committee & Student Chapters Committee. He also sits in the Youth Talent Development Working Group at The Federation of Engineering in Asia Pacific (FEIAP) and the School Advisory Committee at the Ministry of Education (MOE) School. Syafiq sits in Singapore’s government People’s Action Party (PAP) Policy Forum Council, where he works closely with government leaders on education and other related policies. He also contributes as a member of the Northeast District Committee, where he works closely with the District Mayor. He is currently a Global Executive Ed.D candidate at The University of Southern California.  Syafiq graduated with a Master of Education in Learning Sciences and Technologies from Nanyang Technological University, Master of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Roehampton London, Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (Upper Second Class Honors) from Coventry University. He also attained his Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education from National Institute of Education Singapore (NIE) and Executive Certificate in Engineering Leadership from Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He completed the high-level design thinking teaching and learning at Stanford University, Palo Alto Campus and Executive Finance from Harvard Business School.
  • Madina Telmanova
    • Madina has been working in the field of higher education administration for more than 11 years. Currently, Madina is the Director of Strategic Planning and Experience Sharing Department at Nazarbayev University (NU). NU is Kazakhstan’s flagship university established in strategic partnership with some of the world’s top universities (e.g., University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, University of Cambridge, etc.) and operating on the principles of autonomy and academic freedom enshrined in the special law for the first time in the CIS region. Prior to the Strategic Planning and Experience Sharing, she led the Department of International Cooperation, Career and Advising Center, and Office of International Students and Scholars Services, and held a position of advisor in the Transformation Office. In these different roles, Madina coordinated NU’s internationalization efforts, managed international partnerships and alumni relations, provided career development services to students, and logistics support to international faculty and students. Madina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philology from Kazakh Ablay khan University of International Relations and World Languages and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the University of Warwick.
  • Nara Topp
    •  Nara is currently a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. In this role, she works within the foundation to support thriving children, working families and equitable communities. Topp focuses on the foundation’s work in advancing racial justice with early childhood education nationally. Prior to joining the foundation, Topp served on the Child Development Services team at Minnesota Department of Human Services where she worked on initiatives to increase quality and access to child care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Lawrence University and a Master of Arts in public affairs from the University of Minnesota.
  • Haibo (Richard) Wang
    • Richard is the Partner and COO of GEC Academy, the leading Project-based Learning Program provider in China, which serves more than 20,000 students per year. Before joining GEC, Richard worked as the Vice President and COO of a U.S based education company, leading an international team of more than 300 staff. Richard earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Queensland in Australia.  
  • Lu (Stella) Wang
    • Stella is currently working as the Head of Admission and Marketing in Suzhou Dulwich International High School, which is one of the Dulwich College International family of schools, being made up of approximately 750 students from age 14 to age 19, with over six different nationalities represented in our diverse student body. With over 15 years of experience in global education and consultancy, Stella has helped over 500 students being admitted to Top 100 World Universities in QS Ranking, connecting multi-dimensional educational resources from governments, educational institutions, schools, and companies. Before in Dulwich, Stella acted as the Deputy Director in Jiangsu Ahead Education Group, which is a comprehensive educational academic programs as well as providing overseas study consulting. Before 2019, Stella was assigned to be the General Manager of Suzhou Branch, Beijing Wanjia Cultural Exchange Co Ltd, to provide consultancy and training programs for students who are chasing academic development in overseas prestigious universities.  Stella graduated with her bachelors in English Linguistics in 2007 and earned her Master degree in Business Management in Renmin University of China.
  • Jeanne Wardford
    • Jeanne is a program officer for Family Economic Security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.  In this role as a Family Economic Security team member, Jeanne is responsible for advancing employment equity business enterprise development-focused policies, practices, strategies, and opportunities for positive systemic change within communities aimed at creating conditions in which children can develop, learn and grow. She works closely with staff to ensure integration and coordination of efforts. Jeanne has dedicated her life to working for the betterment of individuals in the public and private sectors.  Over the last two decades, she has held several progressive leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.  Her interest has always been working to develop young people and the communities in which they live.  Throughout her career, she has been recognized for her ability to get to the root of the problem and recommend fair, equitable, and oftentimes innovative solutions to age-old problems.  She is known for her vigorous national policy work and advocacy for children and families. Prior to joining the foundation in 2015, Jeanne was director for National Partnerships at NeighborWorks America in Washington, D.C. In this role, she built strategic collaborations with public and private investors and secured resources for implementing a national asset development program, including financial education, literacy, coaching, and community development strategy. She has also worked in community development, fund development, and evaluation consulting for TaylarMade Consulting, Inc., where she worked with public, private, and academic sectors and their funding partners. Jeanne’s leadership in support of education, racial equity, and economic development is reflected not only in her day-to-day activities but also in her membership on a variety of boards, including Detroit Public Library Foundation, Center for Community Progress, Warrior Women, A project of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, National Women’s Business Council, Bowie State University Dean’s Advisory Council and FAMU School of Allied Health Advisory Board. Jeanne earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and her Masters in Education from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Nancy Williams
    • Nancy is a Director of Professional Learning for Savvas Learning Company, engaged in the work of designing professional development provided to teachers, district leadership, and Savvas specialists. Her work highlights diversity, inclusion, and equitable practices, as well as effective teaching practices that engage students in science and math practices. She is also founder and president of Fortified Education Consulting. Her mission is to open doors and windows to STEM experiences and careers, and to continue to have a long-lasting positive impact on education by improving learning opportunities and outcomes for all students no matter their background. She graduated with her BS in Elementary Education from Ohio University and MS in Special Education from Baldwin Wallace University but started her teaching career working with NASA’s Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aeronautics Academy (S.E.M.A.A.) and envisioned being “the Black Mrs. Frizzle” from the Magic School Bus. As a classroom teacher, Nancy loved keeping her elementary students engaged in science and math projects. From creating worm compost bins and water filtration systems, she has always enjoyed the wonder in students’ eyes as they learned something new. She left the classroom to join Pearson Education as a math specialist and coached teachers across the nation, helping them engage highly effective instructional practices. She also serves on the board of directors for The Foundation of Student Opportunity (FSO).
  • Zhuyun (Julie) Xia
    • Julie is the Senior Vice-president and Head of the Research&Development Department of Cherid Animation&Education Group. Cherid is a NEEQ-listed company in China dedicated to providing high-quality educational resources and solutions for children aged between 0 and 7, as well as practical teacher training and parenting services. The Children’s Character Cultivation Approach proposed by Cherid was certified by the Chinese Society of Education in 2016 for its innovative integration of Chinese culture and early childhood education. As a result, over 5,000 Preschools/kindergartens have adopted the curriculum designed by Cherid around China. Before joining Cherid, Julie was the cofounder of Youshi Koudai, an internet platform providing teaching resources and PD services for preschool/kindergarten teachers. There are 3.5 million preschool/kindergarten teachers in China, 90% using the Youshi Koudai App and following its WeChat account. Julie was also the formal Executive Vice Dean of the School of Preschool Education, Shandong Yingcai University. Julie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Beijing Normal University, Beijing, and her Master’s Degree from East China Normal University, Shanghai.
  • Yunkui Zhang
    •  Yunkui is the Principal of Dalian Royal International School and the Founding Principal of Chengdu Royal Foreign Language School, engaged in every aspect of the operation and development at both schools. Yunkui’s other role is to assist the president of Dalian Jiahui Education Development Group in managing the large-scale company, duties including but not limited to providing suggestions over transition and organizational development, analyzing and doing research on governmental policies, designing and supervising PD programs of teachers and administrative staff. Yunkui has dedicated himself to the education sector and his expertise lies in the division of K-12 education, especially in international K-12 education. He started in the teaching position and was appointed to various leadership roles at Beijing Royal School, a K-12 international school affiliated to Beijing Fazheng Industry Group. In 2014, he became the CEO of Beijing Jingcheng International Education Services Ltd and Vice Executive President of Fazheng International Education Investment Ltd. Yunkui was responsible for the projects of Royal Branch Schools Development and successfully accomplished three projects such as the Chengdu Royal Branch School Project. He also served as the CEO of two education services companies in Chengdu. Yunkui earned his Master’s degree in Operational Research from the University of Edinburgh.
  • Huaijun (Henry) Zhou
    • Henry is the Co-founder of Red Fire Capital based in Irvine, California. His investment focuses on university students’ start-ups that provide services in vocational training and employment by Artificial Intelligent and Blockchain technology. Since 2015, Red fire has invested in 11 start-up companies with other investors in America and China. Such as Greedy is a Chinese company based in Beijing, which provides AI training courses for university students. Intiva is a startup in Austin, TX, built a platform to provide Physician continuing education by Blockchain technology. Brix provides China computer engineers to match the American company demand by AI technology in Irvine, CA. Red Fire’s mission is to help university students get employment successfully through investing in start-ups. Henry worked as a computer engineer and vocational training manager for thirty years in Beijing. In 2013, he immigrated to the US with his family and started his new adventure. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Beihang University in Beijing, and his MBA from the University of California, Irvine.