The Invitation to Become a Leader
Kathryn Gundersen is deeply committed to education and international exchange, and has spent past years working on projects that promote cross-cultural learning. She graduated with a degree in English and Psychology from Harvard University, where she was President of the Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP), an academic exchange program between Harvard and nine elite universities across Asia, and a seminar teacher for the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (HSYLC), a leadership conference in Beijing attended by high school students from all over China.
Additionally, Kathryn has assisted in teaching Harvard courses on the American education system and worked as an English literacy tutor for primary school students in Steenberg, Western Cape, South Africa. Currently Kathryn teaches an enterprise education curriculum in Beijing public schools with the Flourish Project, equipping students with the skills they need to create, collaborate, and innovate as global citizens in the 21st century.
Steven Kunis is a director and producer who uses theater, opera, and performance art as tools to promote education and cultural exchange. A recent graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience from Harvard University, Steven is now a graduate student in Cognitive Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where is the Executive Director of the Oxford Revue, Oxford’s premiere comedy troupe.
Over the past several years, Steven has used theatrical training as a way to help students improve their skills in English, leadership, and public speaking, most recently at the Uniwise Bilingual School in Dongguan, China, as well as at the SUMMER IN JAPAN Institute (Oita, Japan), the Wingsharers Leadership Conference (Seoul, South Korea), and the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (Beijing).
While at Harvard, Steven worked as an independent researcher studying the relationship between student mindset and academic achievement at the Laboratory for Youth Mental Health, and he organized an arts education scheme as Producer for the Lowell House Opera, the oldest opera company in New England.
Currently at Oxford, Steven is studying the effects of theater, dance, and music on group creativity, cooperation, and identity, hoping to understand how live performance in the 21st century might encourage unity in our increasingly diverse global society.
Matthew Silberman is an editor at the Korea JoongAng Daily, an English-language newspaper in Seoul and a partner organization to Princeton in Asia, a yearlong fellowship for college graduates. In 2017, he graduated with honors from Princeton University, majoring in philosophy. While in school, Matthew spent two years mentoring first- and second-year students, providing emotional and academic support as well as organizing group bonding activities.
Matthew also led Humans of Princeton with the support of Dalai Lama Fellows, creating a live storytelling event where campus employees, administrators, and students gained public speaking skills and performed onstage. In addition to Korea, he has studied and worked in China and Argentina. Matthew is thrilled to be teaching at AEBS Academy Summer Camp, and looks forward to meeting his students in Taiwan and hearing their stories.
Catherine Zhang is a senior at Harvard College studying Psychology and Educational Studies and originally from outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She served as the President of the Harvard undergraduate student body from 2017-2018, and was elected to represent the Class of 2019 as the First Class Marshal, or Class President. She has traveled to over 20 different countries, competed nationally in public speaking, and performed twice in Carnegie Music Hall as a concert pianist. During her time at Harvard, she served as a peer advisor to first-year students, and planned several large conferences, including Harvard Model United Nations and the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations Conference (in Hong Kong and Australia too). She received the Coca-Cola Scholar Foundation Scholarship in 2015, chosen as the Pennsylvania delegate to the United States Senate Youth Program, and served as the Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania of 2015.
Catherine is passionate about education and pursuing equity and co-founded a program with her professor that allows Harvard undergraduates to explore various opportunities in education. She spent this past summer traveling around the United States learning about educational systems, and she plans to teach after graduation. In her free time, Catherine enjoys hip-hop dancing, running, reading, spending time with friends and family, and eating. She is so excited to spend time with you all, and cannot wait to see you soon!"
Laura Sky Herman is a senior at Harvard University pursuing a joint concentration in Theater, Dance, and Media and Sociology with a secondary in History of Art and Architecture. She grew up sunny Miami, Florida and fell in love with performing at an early age. Since, she has worked as a professional actress, dancer, singer, director, and choreographer across the United States and internationally. Favorite credits include dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, singing at Carnegie Hall, and performing the role of Polly Baker New London Barn Playhouse’s production of Crazy for You, for which she won the Northeast Theater Conference’s award for Best Musical. This past summer she assistant directed Pulitzer Prize nominated composer Kate Soper’s new opera and performed with the legendary dance company Alvin Ailey. Most recently, she was one of the first women invited to join the cast of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, America’s oldest theater company, in nearly 200 years. Laura Sky is represented by Mallory Levy at DDO Artists Agency in NYC.
Outside of performing, Laura is a proud representative for Adams House on the Undergraduate Council, a member of the Harvard Art Museums student board, and works extensively with the non-profit Period, the world’s largest youth-run women’s health NGO. She is especially interested in storytelling and how narrative can be used to bring about social change.
Melia Henderson is a senior at Harvard College studying Computer Science. Growing up in Oakland, California, she has developed a passion for technology as well as social change. She took last year off from school to found a cyber security fellowship as well as an incubator for organizations focused on the issues of reentry. She has pitched her ideas to multibillion-dollar companies and spoke at hundred-person conferences in order to change people’s perspectives. She has taught leadership and public speaking in Korea as well as Brazil. During her time at Harvard, she has been heavily involved in Harvard National Model United Nations where she was director of the multi-hundred person Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM). She also sat on the business board as well as the administration board. Outside of Model UN, she was on the board of Politics of Race and Ethnicity and is currently on the board of Harvard Organization of Prison Education and Reform. Melia has received several awards for her academics as well as her displayed leadership including the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship, the A Better Chance Excellence Award and the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award.
Melia spent this past summer working with Digital Ventures (DV), a Boston Consulting Group subsidiary, creating a new technology for lawyers to manage their finances. Post-graduation, she plans on going back to BCG. In her free time, Melia enjoys hiking, reading, trying new foods, and meeting new people. She is so looking forward to meeting and spending time with all of you!
Alyssa Resar is from Baltimore, Maryland. She is currently a junior at Harvard University double majoring in Government and East Asian Studies. In addition to her academics, she is involved in Harvard's Institute of Politics and the organization Circle of Women, an international development NGO. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and spent last year at the National Taiwan University's International Chinese Language Program in Taipei, Taiwan.
Michael Bervell is a senior at Harvard College studying in philosophy and computer science. Michael is the founder of “Hugs for __”, an international student-run 501c3 non-profit operating in 6 countries. Because of his work, he won the 2015 National Caring Award alongside Pope Francis and Dikembe Mutombo.
Additionally, Michael is the founder of the Enchiridion Corporation, a consulting company which employs 20 Harvard students in the United States to work with international business clients. Michael is a board member of the Harvard Alumni Association, a member of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute, and an avid jazz drummer
Kira Brenner is passionate about education, cross-cultural exchange, and international relations. She graduated with a degree in Neurobiology on the Mind Brain Behavior honors track from Harvard University. During her time at Harvard, Kira served two years on the Executive Board for Harvard Model Congress, an organization that runs educational conferences, both in the United States and rotating countries abroad, for high school students, and also led a year-long public speaking mentorship program in public high schools in the Greater Boston area.
Currently, Kira teaches an enterprise education curriculum in Beijing public schools with the Flourish Project, equipping students with the skills they need to create, collaborate, and innovate as global citizens in the 21st century.
Lizzy Thomas aspires to be a practicing physician and an academic bioethicist. In addition to questions about the ethics of stem cell research and medicine, however, she is passionate about the power and importance of mentorship. This is a value that has been grown by her undergraduate educational experience at Harvard University, and her graduate one at Oxford University. At Harvard, she majored in stem cell biology and minored in moral and political philosophy, and was lucky to have exceptional mentors in both academic disciplines. At Oxford, she is currently studying practical ethics, and is gratified to be under the supportive tutelage of some world-leading thinkers in that area as she does research at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
At Harvard, Lizzy was deeply involved in freshman advising, serving as a Peer Advising Fellow her final three years of college and as one of the student leaders of that program during the last half of college. She helped redesign the freshman orientation program as the student member on an administrative committee her junior year. She gained more mentoring experience as a citizenship tutor through the Institute of Politics, working with a Harvard janitor for two years as he prepared for his citizenship test. He became an American citizen in January, 2016.
At Oxford, Lizzy is trying to figure out the strength of her interest in practical bioethics - namely whether it is an area she would like to work in professionally as an educator and medical doctor. Part of the draw toward that path is a desire to make seemingly complicated issues accessible to students. In the meantime, Lizzy is thrilled to get to work with the students of AEBS Academy, and hopes to empower and excite them in whatever their interests are.
Wynne Stagnaro is interested both in the small details of the brain and with how to communicate the science behind them to a broad range of people. She graduated with highest honors in Neurobiology on the Mind, Brain, Behavior track from Harvard University in May 2018.
During her bachelor’s program, she was a Peer Tutor Fellow with the Bureau of Study Council, tutoring other undergraduates in a variety of STEM courses. Additionally, she spent a summer working for Breakthrough Collaborative, a non-profit dedicated to helping first-generation college students get to and through undergraduate degrees, teaching chemistry and music to 12-14 year old students. Currently, she is working as a Research Technician in the Chiappe Lab at the Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, trying to figure out how sensory information is represented in the brain of the fruit fly.
Stephen Turban is a graduate of Harvard College, a business researcher, writer, and online influencer.
As a writer and researcher, Stephen's work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the Economist, the Washington Post, the BBC Business Review, the Atlantic, Freakonomics Radio, NPR, and has been cited by Hillary Clinton in speeches. His article on open offices was ranked the #13 most influential publication in 2018 by # of mentions on social media. Stephen also published a book in college, “Your Relationship GPA.”
Stephen graduated from Harvard College Magna Cum Laude with highest honors and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. During his college admission process, he was accepted by Harvard, Yale, Yale-NUS, & Wharton. At Harvard, Stephen concentrated in statistics. Before applying to Harvard, Stephen was a student at Jianguo Municipal High School in Taiwan. Stephen is fluent in Mandarin, Spanish, and speaks conversational Vietnamese. He regularly hosts events in Mandarin and Vietnamese.
After graduation, Stephen worked at McKinsey & Company in Beijing and Boston. During his time at McKinsey, Stephen worked with Fortune 500 companies across San Francisco, Boston, Beijing, and Shanghai. Primarily, his work focused on using machine learning to improve sales.
Currently, Stephen is helping create a new type of university in Vietnam, Fulbright University Vietnam. In his work, he works with the President and her team to create a development team and establish a Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Stephen is also an online influencer across China and Taiwan since 2016. He currently has over 200,000 followers across social media platforms, with more than 30 million combined views of his videos or videos he has appeared in. Stephen has also appeared on television in China, most recently on Hubei Television Station’s show《非正式会 谈》。
Having grown up in London, Kuala Lumpur and Houston, Ashri has witnessed the prevalence of sexual violence within vastly different societies. As a senior at Harvard College concentrating in Economics with a secondary focus in Global Health and Human Rights, she plans to use this knowledge to work on sexual violence prevention. Specifically, she hopes to introduce preventative norms early enough to create a generation of powerful, confident and informed citizens with the tools to fight sexual violence.
In the past, Ashri has founded and taught two school-based educational intervention programs for 12-to-14 year-olds that aim to change norms surrounding sexual violence in India and Kenya. The programs incorporate confidence building, public speaking, female hygiene, human rights, and career building. In Kisumu, she expanded this curriculum to include self-defense, bystander intervention, hero ideals and gender equality modules. As a Cheng Fellow, Ashri hopes to further her research in this space by exploring the impacts of prevention training in changing knowledge and norms surrounding sexual violence. Next year, she plans to pursue a Masters in Public Health at Cambridge University.