Meet the Students!
Manalapan, NJ, United States
Ashley is a sophomore studying Communication and Consumer Psychology. She currently works as a Digital Media Specialist for a marketing firm called Target River. Her passions include photography, photo editing, cultural explorations, and helping others.
Manassas, VA, United States
Ben is a sophomore in the College studying PPE, with a minor in Computer Science. On campus, Ben is involved in Model UN as the Chief Financial Officer of ILMUNC, Penn’s Model UN Conference for high school students. He is also a member of MARS (Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault) as well as the VP of Education for the Penn Coffee Club, where he leads groups of coffee enthusiasts on a tasting tour of the coffee world. When he is not studying or talking about coffee, he is a passionate traveler and a dedicated reader.
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Emily Zhen is an undergraduate at Penn in the Vagelos Life Sciences and Management Program in the Class of 2018. She is studying biology, finance, and health care policy. Passionate about healthcare and social innovation, Emily is determined to help create a world where everyone has access to quality healthcare, regardless of where they live or their financial circumstances. At Penn, she started and leads a chapter of a national healthcare volunteering organization called StudentsCare; as part of the club, she helps run a hospital buddy program with child cancer patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, monthly Ronald McDonald House activities, and weekly high blood pressure screenings at a soup kitchen and the American Red Cross. On campus, she is involved in Social Impact Advisory Board and Turner Social Impact Society. Emily loves singing and playing music with friends, running in the city, and doing yoga and pilates in her free time.
Ypsilanti, MI, United States
Gabrielle Hickmon is a Masters degree student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education studying International Educational Development. She is from Michigan and attended Cornell University for her undergraduate studies. Gabrielle is passionate about women’s empowerment, literacy, travel experiences for students of color, and understanding the ideologies behind the rise of nationalism around the world. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys creating original content for the women’s empowerment blog she co-founded, The Reign XY. A writer, reader, politicker, and traveler, Gabrielle is excited about using her gifts in service of her vision and hopefully contributing positively to society in the process.
Pennsauken, NJ, United States
James is from the Philadelphia area and has had a lifelong relationship with science museums and social impact through education and design. He graduated as part of the final class of Ocean Engineers at MIT. He shifted his technical skills to community leadership and education as part of the Philadelphia museum network and now works in exhibition design. His multidisciplinary approach led him back to Penn’s IPD Master’s program where he seeks to build design and business sense and hopes to find forward and future thinking partners and industries where his skills can have the widest impact. James believes in a design philosophy that addresses the intractable human paradox of intuitive simplicity that reflects brilliant complexity.
Villanova, PA, United States
Jenny is a sophomore transfer student in the College of Arts and Sciences pursing a degree in Urban Studies with a minor in Spanish. Jenny’s studies have encouraged her to work with urban youth through programs such as Peer Health Exchange in Chicago where she taught basic health classes to ninth graders, as well as with CityStep which aims to mentor and empower city youth through dance and creative forms of self-expression. Jenny’s main passion in social impact work is creating greater understanding and appreciation of diversity to help mend the many divides in our world. She believes that art is a powerful tool in this work as well as meditation and yoga, which she has been most involved in recently. Because of her own profound experiences with these practices, Jenny became a certified yoga instructor in 2015, and has been using yoga and meditation to help others discover how through mindfulness, we can all live in a way that recognizes how our own lives affect the lives of others.
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Julie will be graduating from the School of Social Policy and Practice in May 2017 with an MSW. As a member of the PEARLS Fellowship she has focused on working in the area of mental health with military veterans. She hopes to make use of her own experiences in the military and as an organic farmer to some day create a therapeutic agricultural community that can help veterans find recovery from mental health and substance use challenges.
Atlanta, GA, United States
Kashish is a past social entrepreneur, scientist, and swimmer, but a current student and engineer. He is working in Venture Capital this summer, and is passionate about creating change in education and social business. On campus he can be seen leading various social impact organizations, riding a penny board, eating massive amounts, and doing computer science problem sets. He believes in mind over matter, and that we can accomplish anything with the right mentality. He loves talking about philosophy, psychology, and life, but wishes he read more (he does not read much).
Katie grew up in Philadelphia, Singapore, and Shanghai, a trichotomy that causes her budding identity crisis and chagrin whenever anyone asks her “Where are you from?” Not helping said crisis is her passion for confounding the line between engineering and design, a cause that she’ll fight for to the grave. In her free time she loves painting, drawing, and getting her hands dirty (literally) with pottery and aspiring to bake the perfect lemon cake. Oh, and she’s an expert parallel parker.
Baltimore, MD, United States
Kayvon Asemani is a junior at Wharton studying Management and Economics. He is the Founder and CEO of Kayvon Enterprises where he manages multiple brands, including Kayvon Music, Kayvon Fashion, Kayvon Technology, and Kayvon Impact. Under his most well-known brand, Kayvon Music, he has established a strong presence as a Hip Hop artist, being streamed over 200,000 times across YouTube and SoundCloud, garnering several press features from publications all over the country, and performing countless shows, including a performance at the United Nations. Under Kayvon Impact, Kayvon has implemented a college access program for thousands of students, worked with key investors to assess the effectiveness and scalability of impact investing in the world of education, and he teaches about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and music in West Philadelphia high schools. He is also developing an online platform to give access to high quality classroom instruction to people of all income levels, and he is helping build a boarding school for students living in the south side of Chicago. He is passionate about unity, equal access to education, and physical fitness.
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Lauren was born and raised in Ohio, surrounded by farmland, but has lived most of her adult life in large east coast cities. She received her undergraduate degree from American University, in Washington, DC in 2012. After graduation, Lauren worked for City Blossoms, a nonprofit that creates and sustains school and community gardens where she developed her love for urban green space and community based work. In 2014, she took a year off to bike tour and WWOOF through New Zealand. Since returning to the US, Lauren has worked on a small organic farm, a large vineyard, and a nonprofit urban farm. Lauren enjoys biking, cooking delicious food, growing heirloom hot peppers, and camping with her husband, Alex.
Southampton, PA, United States
Michael is a rising sophomore in the Roy and Diana Vagelos Life Sciences and Management program studying both biology and finance. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Michael hails from the suburbs of Philly. Michael is both an avid TV watcher and food enthusiast. He hopes to one day make his mother’s dream come true and attend medical school. Michael envisions entering the biopharmaceutical space from a social entrepreneurial angle.
Modesto, CA, United States
Pierson was born in San Diego, California and raised in Modesto, California. Growing up, he loved to play a variety of sports including basketball, tennis, cross country and track. He also loved music, and was part of two garage bands in high school, in which he played the bass guitar and drums. Contrary to popular belief about Californians, he actually loves the snow and winter weather, so he packed his bags and relocated to the East Coast to attend Penn. He is currently in Wharton pursuing concentrations in OIDD (Decision Processes) and Social Impact and Responsibility in order to learn how to use business strategy to help solve social issues in the world. He hopes to one day either start a nonprofit company, or a for profit enterprise with a mission towards creating social good.
Murrysville, PA, United States
Ramita Ravi is a senior at Penn studying Health & Societies and submatriculating into the Master of Public Health program at Perelman School of Medicine. After graduating in May, Ramita will spend a year dancing professionally in New York City before returning to complete her MPH. During her time as an undergrad, she was heavily involved in the performing arts as chair of the Dance Arts Council & chair and artistic director of Arts House Dance Company. She is excited to use her creative background to innovate public health through design thinking and entrepreneurship.
Port Jervis, NY, United States
Rhea Singh is a Class of 2017 Penn grad who is passionate about food justice and security in the lives of Americans and internationally. When she’s not advocating for healthy school lunches, you can find her in the kitchen making delicious vegan baked goods, or on the (usually makeshift) dance floor flexing her best moves.
Santa Rosa, CA, United States
Sarai Williams is in the graduate School of Design pursuing a dual degree in City & Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture. Residing from the beautiful west coast in Northern California, her career aspirations seek to explore the world. With the dream to participate in the redevelopment or development of post-conflict, post-disaster, and other troubled or neglected regions, Sarai would rather learn from communities in such regions and facilitate rather than prescribe solutions to desired living conditions. Sarai strongly believes that tools of design are more dynamic, accessible, and helpful than people may initially consider. She hopes to assist others in realizing the power of socially-engaged design, to encourage incrementally-expansive change in neglected communities worldwide.
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Sonali is a sophomore undergraduate in the College, intending to major in Economics and minor in Consumer Psychology. She has dual nationalities from Vietnam & India, and has lived in Vietnam for 18 years before studying at Penn. After participating in the Hult Prize @ Penn, she is trying to continue her app called Homenet. Homenet aims to facilitate effective communication between refugee resettlement agencies and refugees, as well as creating a strong social network for refugees & immigrants. In her leisure time, she enjoys dancing, playing the guitar, reading, volunteering and especially travelling to new exotic places.
Ellicott City, MD, United States
Tina is a junior at Penn studying Finance and Social Impact with a minor in Religious Studies. She grew up in Maryland with her parents, a younger sister, and her lovable cat. Tina is interested in the intersection of business and impact, and has worked in a social enterprise as well as at a microfinance firm in India. On campus, she is involved with Wharton Cohorts, Wharton China Business Society, and an Asian American focused discussion group called Sangam. In her free time, Tina loves running, cooking (especially experimenting with recipes), and seeing plays and musicals.
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Yasmina is a freshman at Penn and a candidate for a dual degree between Bioengineering and Political Science. She was born in a small village in the rural areas of Lebanon. She then moved to Paris for a couple of years before coming back to Beirut where she spent her high school years. Yasmina is really interested in programming and in entrepreneurship but she also has a great interest in literature and in theatre.