Alumni Ambassadors

With more than 10,000 alumni worldwide, CGI U relies on motivated volunteers to coordinate meaningful engagement opportunities for fellow alumni. Alumni Ambassadors will serve as representatives of CGI U and are committed to building stronger connections between CGI U alumni within different regions, focus areas, and affinity groups as well as support the on-going commitments of current and former CGI U students.

Alaska (U.S.)
Cari Dighton, Anchorage, AK

California (U.S.)
Kevin Ackerman, San Diego, CA
Ayomidamope Adebiyi, Los Angeles, CA
Cheryl Flanders, San Diego, CA
Vinny Johl, Yuba City, CA
Tyler Schmeckpeper, San Francisco, CA
Christine Yee, San Francisco, CA

Southwest (U.S.)
John Kester III, Phoenix, AZ
Osee Lieberman, Colorado

Texas (U.S.)
Maria-Luiza Popescu, Dallas, TX
Henry Keculah, Houston, TX

Great Lakes/Midwest (U.S.)
Jesse Abelson, Minneapolis, MN
William Deng, Aberdeen, SD
Esther Ngumbi, Urbana, IL
Candace Queen, Chicago, IL
Chana Wolfson, Cincinnati, OH

Southeast (U.S.)
Melissa Issa-Boube, Fayetteville, GA
D'Andre Jones, Fayetteville, AR
Abdelaziz Lawani, Lexington, KY
Richard Quaicoe, College Park, GA

Florida (U.S.)
Milka Derisma, Winter Park, FL
Hannah Ehrli, Orlando, FL
Melissa Rosario, Orlando, FL

Washington, D.C./Mid-Atlantic (U.S.)
Jared Brown, Washington, D.C.
Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Washington, D.C.

Boston/New England (U.S.)
Naramena McCray, Worcester, MA
Alexandra Tarzikhan, Boston, MA

New York Tri-State Area (U.S.)
Kwaku Akuffo Owoo, New York, NY
Surabhi Bajpai, New York, NY
Sheela Bowler, New York, NY
Meena Chandrasekar, New York, NY
Benjamin Conard, Setauket, NY
Frank Fredericks, Astoria, NY
Hetal Kharecha, Easton, PA
Jean Paul Laurent, New York, NY
Grace Ochieng, Syracuse, NY
Pauline Pratt, Brooklyn, NY
Oscar Romero, Astoria, NY
Nasir Uddin, Secaucus, NJ

Canada
Thaina Edma, Montreal, Canada
Daniel Kang, Montreal, Canada

Central America
Elizabeth Frank, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
SungHee Tark, Costa Rica

West Africa
Wilfred Elegba, Legon, Ghana

East Africa
Agnes Igoye, Kampala, Uganda
Daniel Muhwezi, Kigali, Rwanda
Amelia Phillips, Nairobi, Kenya

Europe
Kostapanos Miliaresis, Athens, Greece
Moctar Dembele, Delft, Netherlands

Middle East
Enas Nijm, Nazareth, Israel

South Asia
Parshu Aryal, Kathmandu, Nepal

East Asia
William Du, Hong Kong, China

Southeast Asia
Smile Indias, Manila, Philippines

 

 


Our Alumni Ambassadors visiting the Clinton Foundation New York City office in August 2018!

 

 


Jesse Abelson   

University of Minnesota, CGI U '17
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jesse is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Biology and Nutrition. He is the co-founder and CEO of Vetiver Solutions, an organization that works to decrease malnutrition and poverty in Haiti. His work in Haiti began in 2013 after traveling to volunteer as an EMT in a hospital for a week. The “vetiver crop,” is a plant known for its ability to significantly reduce soil erosion. Jesse works with farmers to harvest these plants and turn them into thread to be sold. They expect to ultimately increase partner farmers’ income by 25%. Jesse works full-time for Vetiver Solutions but plans to attend medical school in the future.


Kevin Ackerman  

Michigan State University, CGI U '17
San Diego, California

Kevin is a recent graduate of Michigan State University. As a 2017 CGI U student, Kevin’s commitment, “Beyond Horizons,” aimed to create an after-school program for low-income minorities to foster critical thinking and community-centric education for students in San Diego. As a San Diego native and current resident, he is excited to be back helping underserved communities combat local issues and even start their own businesses. He wants to make a difference in his local community and build meaningful networks that will grow and last for years to come.


Ayomidamope Adebiyi   

Miami Dade College, CGI U '15
Los Angeles, California

Ayomidamope Ruth Adebiyi is a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department at the West Los Angeles Medical Center in California. She is the Founder of Neonatal Incubators for Nigeria, an initiative that provides donated incubators to partnering teaching hospitals in Nigeria to help reduce preterm mortality rates. Ayomidamope is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a two-time recipient of the Presidential Service Volunteer Award for active participation in community projects. Ayomidamope is currently participating in community service learning programs by volunteering in schools, creating poster boards, and teaching about STDs, pregnancy prevention methods, and swimming safety. Every year, she is a mentor for the “Day in the Life of a Nurse” event for high school students who envision a career in the medical field.


Kwaku Akuffo Owoo 

Vanderbilt University, CGI U '13
New York, New York

Kwaku is a member of the emerging markets investor sales team at ICBC Standard Bank, which is a partnership between the largest Chinese bank and the largest lender by assets in Africa. Prior to joining ICBC Standard Bank, Kwaku interned in the Office of the President of Nigeria. He also took part in CGI U 2012 as part of the team, “Students for a Healthy Africa,” a student led non-profit. Kwaku is an alumni interviewer for Vanderbilt University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and a Young Patron for Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Kwaku is a proud citizen of Ghana and a lifelong Manchester United soccer fan.


Parshu Aryal

Tribhuwan University, CGI U '17
Kathmandu, Nepal

Parshu is passionate entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of OYA Opportunities, a start-up venture aiming to provide a common platform for the youth to share opportunities all around the globe. An intense believer in hard work, Parshu has been working for the betterment of women and youth of developing countries through her organization. With the help of 65 country representatives, she has expanded her business to more than 45 different countries and is connected to more than 1 million youth. She has participated in many global meetings, ranging from the Global Initiative Symposium Taiwan in 2016 (Taipei, Taiwan) to the Clinton Global Initiative University in 2017 (Northeastern University, Boston, USA). Previously, Parshu has worked as COO at E-waste Management and as Executive member at Quark Science R&D Centre.


Surabhi Bajpai

Columbia University, CGI U '16
New York, New York

Surabhi Bajpai graduated from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) with a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA), concentrating in Economic and Political Development (EPD). Surabhi currently works at EY as a management consultant. Prior to EY, she interned at the World Economic Forum in New York, assessing the feasibility of disruptive technologies for agricultural innovations, particularly for emerging economies in light of the multi-stakeholder NVA platform. During her time at SIPA, she explored cross comparisons between South Asia and Latin America, worked in Brazil, and interned with the UN working on the former UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge. Surabhi presented these findings during the SDSN Vatican Youth Symposium. Her ideal career revolves around issues of food security, nutrition, and community empowerment, with a focus on assessments, evaluations, and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Aside from work, Surabhi is a classical dancer, enjoys adventure sports, reading, and cooking.


Sheela Bowler

Emory University, CGI U '13
New York, New York

Sheela Bowler, MPH, MEd, is an entrepreneur that has devoted her life to building support networks that allow children to thrive in the families and communities they deserve. She has used her 10 years of child health-and-development experience to build holistic inventions combining physical and mental health, education and development, and protection systems in Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. Sheela has been named a “Global Leader for Young Children,” “Rotary Global Scholar,” and “Women Deliver Social Entrepreneur” for her work, ranging from founding an award-winning organization to consulting for UNICEF. Devoted to upstream prevention due to personal experience, Sheela serves as the Senior Advisor for Programs Strategy at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services in the Division of Child and Family Well-being. Within this role, Sheela is bringing trauma-informed, community-driven, and data-focused strategies to this new approach for primary prevention.


Jared Brown  

University of California, Berkeley, CGI U '15
Washington, D.C.

Jared Brown currently manages a $25 million national initiative designed to advance the study and application of principled entrepreneurship, innovation and the economic way of thinking at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In this capacity, Brown administers an online learning and digital communications platform, organizes experiential learning opportunities, and awards scholarships to 350 African-American undergraduate scholars representing more than 60 colleges and universities across the country. Previously, Brown graduated from the New Leaders Council (NLC) Institute, which trains emerging progressive political leaders in the areas of fundraising, new media, communications, and campaigns. He also served in various capacities at the U.S House of Representatives, the Obama White House, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He earned a Bachelor of Art with “High Distinction” in African American Studies from the University of Virginia and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, College Park.


Meena Chandrasekar  

Rutgers University, CGI U '15
New York, New York

Meena Chandrasekar works in finance at Barclays Investment Bank while pursuing her CGI U commitment to create a world without disease. Along with a team of four driven data scientists and software engineers, she is building an algorithm to serve as a second opinion for doctors everywhere. With the help of professors and academic institutions that are home to vast amounts of medical history data, Meena will be on her way to solving late and misdiagnosis. In her free time, she travels frequently around America, and to India and Malaysia. Meena also sings, writes, meditates, and reads The New Yorker on her way to the office. Previously, Meena worked for BankMobile, which is an online bank that democratizes banking by making it free, affordable, and accessible. She hopes to incorporate these values into her own company one day.


Benjamin Conard 

State University of New York at Geneseo, CGI U '16
Setauket, New York

Benjamin Conard was named one of 2016’s Top 10 Biggest Fairtrade Advocates in the World and #1 in the U.S. by Fairtrade International for his work in the fair-trade movement. His passion for fair-trade has taken him to the TEDx stage at his university and on-the-ground to fair-trade farms in Ecuador and artisan workshops in India. As a U.S. Ambassador for the 33rd Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, the U.S. Department of State awarded Ben “Fellow of the Month” in April 2017 for his commitment to entrepreneurship in Germany. During his time abroad, Ben was the German National Champion for the 2017 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.

Dedicated to great taste, consumer health, and sustainable sourcing, Ben founded Five North Chocolate, a certified LGBT Business Enterprise supporting cacao farmers around the world by creating deliciously nutritious chocolate snacks.


Moctar Dembele 

University of Lausanne, CGI U '17
Delft, Netherlands

Moctar is a young researcher pursuing a PhD in water resources and geosciences at the University of Lausanne. He is passionate about sustainable community building and holds a certificate in social sector leadership from Philanthropy University and University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He has launched and supported many entrepreneurial initiatives including “Light Up My Life” and “Faso Soap.” His leadership as well as the quality and originality of his ideas have been recognized by various organizations worldwide. In 2013, he won the first prize at the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) at University of California, Berkeley. He is member of several youth networks and dedicates his free time to mentoring young people. Creativity is his passion and solving new challenges is his favorite hobby, especially when they promote an equitable and sustainable society.


William Deng  

Northern State University, CGI U '13
Aberdeen, South Dakota

William Deng is the founder of Deng-Foundation. He was born and raised in South Sudan and was forced to work rather than attend school. Due to civil war and poor living conditions, William realized that he needed to escape to pursue his dream of receiving an education and living a stable life. William believes that God protected him throughout his long journey, helping him get to the United States at age 14 with only a third-grade education. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in International Business, a minor in Economics, and a master’s degree in Banking and Finance. He became the first person from his family and village to graduate from high school and college. William’s goal is to bring educational and healthcare infrastructures to South Sudan through the Deng-Foundation.


Milka Derisma 

University of Central Florida, CGI U '15
Winter Park, Florida

Milka is a graduate student at the University of Central Florida and the CEO of BYG Shift.  She started BYG Shift after experiencing hardship transferring from a two-year to a four-year university. BYG Shift is committed to helping students have an easier time with that same transition and giving them helpful tips on how to be successful transfer students afterwards. In addition to her company, she is a member of Toastmaster International Inc. and has received over 12 speaking awards. Milka is pursuing an Interpersonal Communications degree and is currently interning with the Orlando Utilities Commission. She has been a part of the UCF Speech Team and has served as the Campus Representative for CGI U for two years. When she isn’t studying, speaking, or running BYG Shift, Milka enjoys serving her community by volunteering and mentoring at-risk youth.


Cari Dighton  

University of Idaho, CGI U '10
Anchorage, Alaska

Cari is originally from a small town in Alaska, but has also lived, studied, and worked in Idaho, Texas, Ghana, and Spain over the past 10 years. Before holding her current position as Regional Communications Officer for the Alaska region of the American Red Cross, Cari was a foreign language assistant for the Spanish government’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Madrid, and as a communications and engagement manager for an early education initiative housed at the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. As an undergraduate student, Cari studied abroad in Accra, Ghana, returning a year later to intern for a daily newspaper in the country’s capital. Later, she gained full professional proficiency in Spanish while living in Madrid. Cari received a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and in Journalism from the University of Idaho, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.


William Du  

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, CGI U '17
Hong Kong, China

William is currently a Deputy Manager at New World Development, working with business development for real estate projects in Greater China. He holds strong interests in local youth engagement, public and foreign policy, entrepreneurship and innovation. He is the founding member and partnership director for Time Auction Limited, a Hong Kong charity and global network to connect youth to inspiring mentors while encouraging volunteerism. William obtained a bachelor’s degree with First-Class Honors from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a Master of Laws from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He completed an Executive Education Program from Tsinghua University and has also been educated at Harvard University and York University in Toronto. Last year, William attended the CGI U event in Boston as a student with his commitment on education and youth empowerment.


Thaina Edma  

Palm Beach Community College, CGI U '09
Montreal, Canada

Thaina was born and raised in Haiti until the age of 13, when she and her family relocated to the United States. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Trade, with a minor in Marketing from Florida Atlantic University, and a Master of Business Administration from Liberty University. Thaina has worked in the financial and information technology consulting industry for a combination of 7 years. Thaina attended CGI U in 2009, where she committed to focus on poverty alleviation, and she now serves as a CGI U Alumni Ambassador for Canada. She loves to read, enjoys writing poetry and, as of 2017, has become a published author.


Hannah Ehrli 

University of Central Florida, CGI U '13
Orlando, Florida

Dr. Hannah Ehrli leads a model demonstration program for Pre-K students with autism spectrum disorders on a high school campus. She is a scholar in the U.S. Department of Education Teach to Lead program and has presented in Eastern Europe; and currently is Vice Chair of the Haitian Center for Inclusive Education in Port-au-Prince. She is 2012 Teacher of the Year for the Council for Exceptional Children and has served as a Commitment Mentor for CGI U. Hannah was the 2015 Pegasus Award recipient from the University of Central Florida. She serves on the Florida State Advisory Committee for Exceptional Education and Division of International Special Education.


Wilfred Elegba

ETH Zurich, CGI U '17
Legon, Ghana

Wilfred Elegba studied nuclear agriculture at the University of Ghana and works as a scientist at the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) in Ghana.  He is passionate about improving food security, especially in the developing world through the application of biotechnology and other breeding strategies to produce better adapted crops. After 3 years of research, Wilfred moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich to pursue a PhD in Plant Science and Policy. Additionally, Wilfred loves working with young minds in interdisciplinary teams to help tackle everyday problems of society. This passion led him to coach, facilitate and guide student groups through the process of human-centered design thinking aimed at finding solutions to challenges in the food, water and manufacturing sectors.


Cheryl Flanders

University of California, San Diego, CGI U '11
San Diego, California

Cheryl Flanders is an entrepreneur dedicated to educating and enhancing her client’s well-being. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Sports Sciences at San Diego State University, Cheryl supplemented her degree with a license as a Certified Athletic Trainer. Coupled with her studies abroad in Chinese Tui Na, Cheryl opened her sports therapy and wellness practice to serve diverse clientele from Olympians to the elderly. After receiving her master’s degree at the University of California, San Diego, in Healthcare Leadership, Cheryl renewed her passion for supporting healthy communities by creating youth programs focused on building personal responsibility for healthy living. As a CGI U Commitment-maker, Mentor and Alumni Ambassador, Cheryl continues to dedicate herself to empower others in adopting proactive healthcare practices and globally sponsor wellness-based programs, so every individual may have the opportunity to live their optimal self.


Elizabeth Frank

University of Chicago, CGI U '16
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Elizabeth Frank graduated from the University of Chicago in June 2016, where she studied the history of science, global health, and biology. Elizabeth has helped to develop several public health start-ups, including one that uses SMS technology to expedite the receipt of social services in Chicago. In 2015, she worked in Ibadan, Nigeria on a clinical research study that assessed the impact of bioethanol clean cookstoves on health and household air pollution. Her research from that was published in Lancet Global Health and Environment International. Elizabeth currently lives in Guatemala, where in 2016, she co-founded the global health social enterprise, MealFlour, which teaches communities with high rates of malnutrition how to build and maintain mealworm farms to produce a protein-rich powder that can be incorporated into traditional foods.


Frank Fredericks

New York University, CGI U '08
Astoria, New York

Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, a global movement to end religious violence, and Mean Communications, a digital agency for social good. After graduating from New York University, Frank worked in the music industry, managing artists such as Lady Gaga. In 2008, he founded World Faith, which has expanded to 10 countries and mobilized 5,000 volunteers in over 300,000 hours of service. He is a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and is an alumnus of the Leading for Impact Fellowship at Oxford’s Skoll Centre, AMENDS at Stanford, IFYC Fellowship, Soliya Fellowship, Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, and YouthActionNet Fellowship. Frank was one of two Global Shaper Scholars at Oxford Said Business School for an MBA focused on Social Entrepreneurship. Frank resides in Astoria, Queens, New York with his wife, fervently reading, cooking, and playing guitar.


Agnes Igoye 

University of Minnesota, CGI U '11
Kampala, Uganda

Agnes is a 2018 Aspen New Voices Fellow and leads Uganda’s Immigration Training Academy and the Deputy National Coordinator for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons. She represents Uganda in several regional inter-governmental committees on migration, peace and security. Agnes is also a Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Commitment Mentor. In Uganda, she has built a center for human-trafficking survivors, trained over 2,000 law enforcement officers to counter human trafficking, and provided over 92,000 textbooks for education about vulnerable children. In 2017 Agnes was named to the CGI U Alumni Honor Roll and made the global list of 100 Vital Voices’ Most Exceptional Women. Agnes obtained a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and she received a Global Development and Social Justice Certification with a special session with President Jimmy Carter at Emory University.


Smile Indias  

Maryland Institute College of Art, CGI U '17
Manila, Philippines

Smile Indias is currently a T. Rowe Price Foundation Fellow, an Associate at the Center for Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and a Social Design Advisor to the Baltimore Police Department, working towards an inclusive implementation of the City of Baltimore Consent Decree. Before moving to the U.S., she served five years as a Senior Graphic Designer, eventually becoming the Creative Director, for the former Philippines President, Benigno S. Aquino llI, as part of his Strategic Communications Office. During that period, she worked on developing print and web materials that translate complicated government documents into digestible pieces of information for the public. Additionally, Smile was adjunct faculty member at Ateneo de Manila University for six years. Smile graduated cum laude and received a BFA in Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University; she received an MA in Social Design from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).


Melissa Issa-Boube    

Emory University, CGI U '17
Fayetteville, Georgia

Melissa Issa-Boube is a graduate of Emory University, where she double majored in neuroscience and French studies to make positive change in her parents’ home country of Niger. While at Emory, she taught herself how to sew, design, and make patterns, which led to the beginning of her African clothing line called Mena Mode. After her successful social media campaign about her new clothing line, she began an e-commerce business to sell her designs and clothing. It is Melissa’s ultimate goal to use the revenue generated from her fashion company to build a home economics school where more young girls can learn to sew and manage their own respective shops; thus, generating income to support their families.


Vinny Johl 

University of The Pacific, CGI U '10
Yuba City, California

Vinny Johl holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and management and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of the Pacific. She served as the Commissioner of Sustainability for the University of Pacific, where she also designed and taught courses on sustainability and a variety of other subjects. Vinny Johl is the Care Experience Practice Leader for Kaiser Permanente. In this role she focuses on getting all levels of staff to create the best experience for patients. Vinny is passionate about nonprofits, fundraising, community engagement, and creating sustainable programs. Vinny has experience creating new fundraising programs as well as managing programs that have been in existence for over 50 years. Vinny was also appointed as an Economic Development Commissioner for the City of Yuba City; she will serve in this role until December 31, 2020.


D'Andre Jones 

Arizona State University, CGI U '17
Fayetteville, Arkansas

D’Andre Jones is a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas and a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and dual-master’s degrees from Webster University in Management and Leadership and Human Resource Management. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University. He serves as Chairman of the Fayetteville Civil Rights Commission, Executive Board of Directors Urban League of Arkansas, President and Political Director of NWA Democratic Black Caucus, NWA MLK Council, and is the first African American to run for City Council in the city of Fayetteville. He was chosen to attend Emerging Leaders at Harvard University and has led inclusion and diversity efforts for the city of Fayetteville for the last four years.


Daniel Kang 

McGill University, CGI U '15
Montreal, Canada

Daniel Shin Un Kang is 23 years-old and passionate about achieving equity between people and building organizations. Professionally, he serves as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, while leading social impact efforts in their Montreal office. His experience includes venture capital and policy work at BDC Capital and strategy work at BCG and Korea Exchange Bank. Daniel received a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University with over 20 awards and has attended several universities around the world through exchanges and fellowships. Daniel’s grassroots effort, Remember the Elders, aims to address the 45% senior poverty rate in South Korea. He plans to find a solution to global senior poverty through policy, co-operation, and grassroots efforts in the pension and labor sphere. At home, Daniel serves as a founding member of an NGO, a pilot and civilian instructor, and he teaches about leadership, citizenship, and aviation at the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.


Henry Keculah 

University of Texas at Austin, CGI U '09
Houston, Texas

As the CEO of 4.0 Growth Productivity Accountability, LLC, Henry manages the day-to-day operations of the business. He designs the curriculum that shapes the numerous college readiness workshops that 4.0 GPA offers. He also specializes in creating content that enables students to improve their time management skills, outline goals, obtain NCAA eligibility if they desire to play sports, and help them get admitted to - and graduate from - a four-year university. Though students are his target demographic, Henry also conducts workshops geared towards teachers, corporations, and private organizations. He takes sincere pride in seeing a student get accepted to a four-year institution and obtain scholarship funding after working with 4.0 GPA, because he sees how he was able to impact young person’s life. Henry also gives motivational speeches across the United States to elementary, middle, high school and college students, as well as to sports camps participants.


John Kester III

University of Arkansas, CGI U '12
Phoenix, Arizona

John Kester III is a sustainability professional and conservation advocate with a depth of experience from working on action research and practical solutions to climate issues. Water and sanitation are two areas where John has advised previous mentees on successful Commitments to Action. These have included a water tower project in More Tomorrow, Belize, and a trash collection program in Bangladesh. John sees the direct impact that these efforts can have on communities by supporting safe access to essential resources and providing habitable living conditions for all. John holds a PhD in Environmental Dynamics from the University of Arkansas, an MA in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University, and a BA in Biology and Economics from Denison University. He currently works as a Division Manager of Advisory Services for Zoned Properties in Phoenix, Arizona.


Hetal Kharecha

Harvard University, CGI U '08
Easton, Pennsylvania

Hetal Kharecha has been a member of the CGI U community since its inaugural meeting in 2008. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and continued on to Harvard University for her post-graduate studies. She originally presented her Commitment to Action in 2008, the Vaccine Project. The project has established clinics in rural India, providing lifesaving medical procedures, mediations, and vaccinations to underserved rural populations. Hetal was selected to be a Commitment Mentor in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. She is currently working with trafficking survivors, law enforcement, colleagues, and her inspiring students to establish a new project to advocate for survivors and adapt increasingly progressive policy to action. Hetal is deeply honored for the esteemed privilege of working with the fraternity of global change makers at CGI U.


Jean Paul Laurent

Columbia University, CGI U '15
New York, New York

Jean Paul Laurent is the Founder and CEO of the Unspoken Smiles Foundation, a New York-based non-profit that promotes both long-term oral healthcare and economic security in the world’s most disadvantaged regions. Previously, Jean Paul served as a contributing writer at the Huffington Post covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and young global leaders. Jean Paul is an award-winning Social Entrepreneur, Oral Care Specialist, Author, and Philanthropist. He lives in New York and holds an executive master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration from NYC College of Technology, a Dental Hygiene degree from New York University’s College of Dentistry, and a Liberal Arts degree from Rockland Community College. For fun, you can often find him at a ballroom dance competition.


Abdelaziz Lawani  

University of Kentucky, CGI U '16
Lexington, Kentucky

Dr. Abdelaziz Lawani attended CGI U 2015 as a student while completing his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. He is an agricultural economist and a serial social entrepreneur who has developed several projects in the last five years that tackle global challenges. The social impact of his work has been recognized by numerous organizations, including the Clinton Foundation, and led him to be featured on the “35-Under-35 Young Innovators in Francophone Countries” list in 2016. Abdelaziz’s current work utilizes low-range drones to help with both biodiversity conservation and agriculture in Africa. Dr. Lawani was a Fulbright Scholar and a Norman Borlaug Fellow, and holds a master’s degree in Economics from North Carolina State University. He is originally from Benin Republic and began teaching Agribusiness at Eastern Kentucky University in 2018.


Osee Lieberman  

American Military University, CGI U '14
Colorado

Osee holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Accounting, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, and a Master of Arts in International Relations & Conflict Resolutions and Peacekeeping. Currently, Osee is pursuing a PhD in Political Science and Strategic Intelligence at the American Military University. Osee holds various professional certificates ranging from Community-based Transformation and Peace-building from St. Francis Xavier University, to Cultural Diplomacy, National Security & Global Risks from the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Germany. Osee has great interpersonal skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and is fluent in over ten languages. Throughout his recent occupations, Osee has been able to analyze foreign policies and articulate cultural, economic and social impacts of assigned programs and projects. Most recently, Osee has completed several community outreach projects, new business developments, strategic marketing, fundraising, and multi-sector partnership development duties across both public and private sector.


Naramena McCray 

Alabama A&M University, CGI U '10
Worcester, Massachusetts

Nara McCray is a Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Analyst. Originally from Alaska, she has traveled around the world, allowing her to expand her career goals and interests. She served as an Environment and Agriculture Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia, promoting sustainable farming techniques with side projects that encouraged both youth and gender empowerment. She also taught fellow volunteers how to use Geographic Information Systems. Aside from work, Nara enjoys experiencing foreign cultures and traditions, outdoor recreation, making maps, and sharing stories.


Kostapanos Miliaresis  

Athens University of Economics and Business, CGI U '14
Athens, Greece

Kostapanos Miliaressis is a young professional who is characterized by his passion for volunteering, working on events and projects, and entrepreneurship. He is enthusiastic and a multipotentialite, addicted to innovative ideas and traveling with a backpack on his shoulders. Having grown and matured from working with AIESEC and TEDx Events, along with his degree in Business Administration from Athens University of Economics and Business, Kostapanos aims to utilize his creativity and perseverance to change the world for the better. He is currently the General Manager and Co-founder of ethelon, an organization that promotes volunteering in the Greek society and creating an adequate framework for cooperation between volunteers, NGOs, and companies, aiming for a more active and equal society. Through his work at ethelon, he has received international recognition from the Ashoka Foundation as a Global Changemaker and featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, under the category of Social Entrepreneurs.


Daniel Muhwezi  

Michigan State University, CGI U '17
Kigali, Rwanda

Daniel Muhwezi is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar graduated with a master’s degree in Science in Community Sustainability from Michigan State University. At the age of 15, the civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo forced Daniel, his friends, and family to become refugees in Uganda; they have now spent over 23 years in the Kyangwali refugee settlement, Hoima, in western Uganda. In 2017, Daniel started Bunifu, a not for profit registered US 501(c) 3 charity. Bunifu is a Swahili word for “imaginative” or “innovation.” Bunifu seeks to curb extreme poverty and high unemployment in Africa. In 2005, Daniel also co-founded CIYOTA, providing access to education to refugee youth in Uganda. CIYOTA's founders have been recognized with many prestigious awards. He is social, kind, honest, and passionate about social entrepreneurship and transformative change. Daniel is happily married to Winfred Mbabazi and blessed with two beautiful daughters, Daniella and Destinee.


Esther Ngumbi  

Auburn University, CGI U '10
Urbana, Illinois

Dr. Esther Ngumbi, a native of Kwale County, Kenya, is a post-doctoral researcher with the Entomology Department at Auburn University. She is a Food Security Fellow with Aspen Institute New Voices and has published over 60 opinion pieces. Esther is a CGI U Commitment Mentor, and the founder of Spring Break Kenya, an organization that gets young Kenyan students involved with service, and Oyeska Greens, a startup that revolutionizes agriculture at the Dr. Ndumi Faulu Academy school in Kenya to ensure that every child receives a quality education. She was recognized as an extraordinary CGI U alumna and was a finalist for the President Clinton Global Hunger Leadership Award and was named one of the 100 powerful women who change the world by One World Action. Esther will continue to use her education and intellect to serve the needs of the hungry and poor.


Enas Nijm  

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, CGI U '17
Nazareth, Israel

Enas Nijm is 25 years-old and was born and raised in Nazareth. She studied accounting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, she developed an interest in volunteer work. After graduating, Enas continued his studies at the same university to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). During her CPA year, she applied for the Middle East Partnership Initiative and was accepted to participate in the program at Georgetown University. This 6-week program included leadership sessions, volunteer opportunities, human rights sessions, and economic and community development activities. Enas passed her CPA exams and started working as a senior tax associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Israel. She currently resides in Tel Aviv.


Grace Ochieng 

St. Lawrence University, CGI U '10
Syracuse, New York

Grace has a passion for working with women and girls on health empowerment issues. Her interest began during the summer of 2009 when she applied for and was awarded $10,000 from the Davis Projects for Peace, which are 100 awards given annually to fund peace-building projects worldwide. With the Davis award, Grace created a women’s business, involving sewing reusable menstrual pads with a secondary aim of increasing school attendance among young girls in the small, rural village of Lwala, in Migori County, Kenya. Her passion for addressing the third United Nations Millennium Development Goal, which is to promote gender equality and empower women, led to a CGI U Outstanding Commitment Award in the summer of 2010, as well as an honorary invitation to attend the 55th session of the Commission on the status of women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in the spring of 2011.


Ryan Ubuntu Olson 

Clinton School of Public Service, CGI U '10
Washington, D.C.

Ryan Ubuntu Olson has over a decade of experience in domestic and international policy advocacy related to human rights, health and gender, and sexual diversity. During the past five years Olson has worked for the USAID-funded Health Policy Projects, managing and implementing many activities. These include the development of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief gender and sexual diversity sensitization training for U.S. Missions in over 36 countries, as well as the creation of a policy advocacy guide for LGBTQIA advocates throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Olson received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University and his master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service. In 2010, he received a CGI U Outstanding Commitment award and in 2017, was named to the CGI U Inaugural Honor Roll. Olson’s motto in life is “What you do in life, echoes in eternity.”


Amelia Phillips   

University of California, Berkeley, CGI U '16
Nairobi, Kenya

Amelia is co-founder and executive director of the Somo Project. She conceived of Somo while working summers in a school in Kibera and launched operations and the initial training cohort while still a student at University of California, Berkeley.  After graduating with a concentration in development studies and global poverty, she moved to Nairobi full-time in 2016.  Her passion for justice and economic opportunity for under-resourced populations dates back to her youth advocating for women’s rights and participating in homeless relief missions on the streets of New York City.


Maria-Luiza Popescu  

University of Texas at Dallas, CGI U '10
Dallas, Texas

Maria-Luiza is a former CGI U Campus Representative and alumna of the 2010, 2011, and 2017 meetings, with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government with a minor in Business Administration, and a PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy. Her Commitment to Action was born from a pure passion for the culture of electronic dance music (EDM). From there, it turned into academic lectures exploring its socio-political milieus across the world, and in the process liaised with the most iconic figures in the EDM industry. Maria-Luiza merged her passion for politics and music in highly innovative ways, and in between public policy conferences and lobbying for an entrepreneurship-based immigration route in D.C., she frequents music festivals around the country. Maria-Luiza is featured in the acclaimed musician, Moby’s upcoming documentary, elaborating on the intersections between conscious music cultures and political involvement and the merits of music therapy.


Pauline Pratt

George Washington University, CGI U '17
Brooklyn, New York

Pauline is a conscious and compassionate person who is committed to improving women’s health in Africa. Pauline has thrived in organizational effectiveness, mobilizing for civil participation, and causes that ignite her passion. She calls attention to neglected maternal health complications, such as Fistula, and has conducted research to advance women’s health. Pauline started a project called “Babyphoria” in Sierra Leone, where pregnant and lactating mothers receive supportive and preventative services from health professionals. In the past six years, over 500 women have participated in workshops, parent education training, home visiting programs, and prenatal screening at a local health clinic. Pauline believes that every child deserves a healthy start and that begins with women. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies from Syracuse University, a Master of Public Administration from City University and a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University.


Richard Quaicoe

George Tech, CGI U '17
College Park, Georgia

Richard Quaicoe was born in Ghana in 1989 and he completed his primary education in the Ghana public school system. Growing up, he was fascinated with the concept of flight and how aircrafts fly. In 2004, Richard joined his father in the United States and attended Benjamin Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia. Richard went on to graduate from the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree. As a global citizen, Richard is highly concerned with the energy demand impact on the environment. He believes that by implementing energy policies and innovations in both the private and public sectors, people can wisely manage energy resources to help preserve the planet for generations to come.


Candace Queen 

University of Texas at Austin, CGI U '15
Chicago, Illinois

Candace is a multi-disciplinary art director, designer, and preservationist, who spends time in both Chicago and southeastern Texas. Over the course of her career, one thing has remained constant: her creativity brings positive impact in some form or fashion. Inspired by her time at the 2015 CGI U meeting and the commitment-makers that she connected with, Candace focuses on clients that generate impactful initiatives, brands that provide consumers with fulfilling experiences, and giving back to the communities they cater to. Additionally, Candace has an affinity for projects that relate to historical preservation of spaces and narratives, particularly in the scope of the African Diaspora. She was recognized as 1 of “100 People That Make Advertising Great” by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). Her work reflects her Creole roots in Port Arthur, TX, as well as her love for exploring new technology and hacking culture codes.


Oscar Romero

The New School, CGI U '17
Astoria, New York

Oscar Romero is an NYCx Fellow at the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO). He focuses on digital equity, participatory development, and smart city public policy. Before joining MOCTO, Oscar worked for The New School’s Digital Equity Laboratory, where he researched how broadband access and privacy protection policies affect vulnerable populations across New York City. He has designed experiential learning initiatives for large student communities (100,000+) in the U.S. and Latin America. Oscar holds a Master of International Affairs from The New School and a Bachelor of Science in International Studies from the University of Guadalajara. He is an active member of the Research Network on Autonomous Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently he is researching the inequality of “smart city interventions” across the U.S. and is interested in promoting dialogue and research on digital equity, cyber-geopolitics, IT public policy, and international cooperation.


Melissa Rosario 

University of Central Florida, CGI U '17
Orlando, Florida

Melissa Rosario was a 2017 CGI U student and recently a graduate student at the University of Central Florida, who studied Educational Leadership. She graduated in May 2018 with a master’s degree and plans to embark on her teaching career in the near future. Melissa's combined values of education, leadership, and service are constantly reflected in her Commitment to Action, where she has been developing a "Principals Leadership Council," at the elementary school where she works. Melissa believes that students are never too young to begin their leadership journey and hopes to prove this to the students who will be part of her program.


Tyler Schmeckpeper

University of California, Berkeley, CGI U '16
San Francisco, California

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Tyler Schmeckpeper received his undergraduate degree in Bioengineering from Oregon State University and his master’s degree in Translational Medicine from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently working as a consultant in the biotechnology and medical device industries, where he strives to help some of the industry’s leading companies and innovative start-ups create and develop their business to better serve physicians and patients. While at Berkeley, Tyler was part of a unique Commitment to Action to development a low-cost medical test to identify and prevent kidney transplant rejection much sooner than existing solutions, with application and significant cost savings here in the US as well as developing countries.


SungHee Tark

Earlham College, CGI U '16
Costa Rica

SungHee is a co-founder and program director of the non-profit and social venture, “Bean Voyage,” which provides training and market accessibility to smallholder female coffee producers to help produce specialty coffee, earn sustainable incomes, and drive their communities towards a sustainable future. Bean Voyage was the winner of the 2018 Facebook Social Enterprise Award, named one of the “50 Game-Changing Plans” by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Solution in 2017, and the 2017 Emma Watson Gender Equality Award. SungHee has also been a representative at conferences around the world. She graduated from Earlham College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2016. SungHee is pursuing a dual-MSc degree in Public Administration and Government from London School of Economics and Peking University. She believes that coffee is one tool to promote gender equality and sustainable development globally.


Alexandra Tarzikhan

Northeastern University, CGI U '17
Boston, Massachusetts

Alexandra Tarzikhan is both a JD and MPH student at Northeastern University School of Law and Tufts University School of Medicine. She left her hometown of Aleppo, Syria in 2011, right at the start of the war. In 2015, upon hearing about the magnitude of the refugee crisis, Alexandra felt the need to act. Last November, she volunteered in Lesvos, Greece for the third time and she has also visited several refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Back in Boston, Alexandra is helping resettled Syrian refugees. She knows that all the refugees she met while volunteering can succeed if only they had access to the opportunities that she has had. Moreover, Alexandra believes in leveraging oneself to empower others, which is why she started a social media page called “Meet A Refugee,” to raise awareness through the sharing of their stories.


Nasir Uddin 

Rutgers University, CGI U '10
Secaucus, New Jersey

Nasir has spent the last 11 years starting and running non-profit organizations that support a variety of topics, ranging from STEM enrichment for minorities in New Jersey to poverty alleviation projects internationally. Nasir was instrumental in transforming the model of em[POWER] Energy Group, an organization that merges renewable resource technology with co-operative development in developing countries. He has helped the organization raise significant amount of funds over the years, which resulted in a him being a presenter for Urban Slum Development at the 2015 CGI U event. Nasir is currently a Senior Core Team Leader for BD Medical, with accountability for the safe delivery of customized self-injection devices for pharmaceutical companies, from clinical trials to commercialization. Nasir received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and Business from Rutgers University.


Chana Wolfson  

University of Cincinnati, CGI U '08
Cincinnati, Ohio

Chana is a proud CGI U alumna. Since attending the program, she has participated in social justice initiatives that have included chairing the Tikun Olam (Repair the World) committee at her synagogue, the successful Preschool Promise campaign for a preschool in Hamilton County, Ohio, and the AMOS Project, an interdenominational, collaborative, social justice organization for local faith communities. Chana is also involved in Cincy FoodShare, a neighborhood program that provides low cost, healthy food to residents. She is excited to help expand the food program to include holistic health initiatives for local residents, including yoga and a drop-in community center. Chana currently works for a local library and has applied for a master's degree in Library and Information Science, so she can continue her professional career in this field.


Christine Yee  

Smith College, CGI U '17
San Francisco, California

Christine is an immigrant and the daughter of immigrants from China, New Zealand, and the U.S. She graduated from Smith College, with a BA in Economics and a minor in Statistical and Data Sciences. During her time at Smith and the London School of Economics, she was a driven student who was involved in Student Government and a Division III Tennis player. Her previous work experience includes co-founding Paysa Consulting, LLP, a venture enabling mobile money payments via fingerprint authentication in rural India, and working as an Operations Intern at LifeMoves, a non-profit working to break the cycle of homelessness in the Bay Area. Christine has also taught English to locals in China and Nicaragua. Currently, she is a San Francisco management consulting analyst at Accenture, focused on cloud infrastructure. Christine lives by the motto: have fun, love life, and work hard (in that order).