• Alana Jacobs
  • Alana Jacobs

    Country:  Australia

    I graduated from Penn in 2000, and spent the next four years working for Time Inc. in New York.  During that time I managed a number of consumer marketing sources of business for Sports Illustrated and other magazines, and in 2004 I jumped at the opportunity to transfer to the company’s UK office.  In London I became the Circulation Director for Time and Fortune magazines, responsible for the consumer marketing and retail businesses across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.  I was also fortunate to maintain a strong Penn connection by becoming UK Co-Chair of the Penn Alumni Interview Program, collaborating with an incredible group of Penn alumni based in the UK.  I really enjoyed working on global projects, and London was great on a personal level as it’s where I met my husband and had my two mixed-accent children.  We’re a family that loves to travel and likes adventure, and last year we moved Down Under to Sydney where I’m currently GM of Marketing & Operations for a technology startup.  Sydney is a beautiful city and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be living here – despite having to regularly dodge spiders and sharks. 

  • Read more about Alana Jacobs
  • Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss.  It’s my 4-year old’s current favorite so I’m reading it pretty much every day.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The crepe truck.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Take the Manly ferry to follow-up a morning on the beach with the Harbour Bridge Climb so that you can work up an appetite for Doyles in Watsons Bay.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Try new things and nurture curiosities that aren’t necessarily part of your academic path.  I tried to take advantage of living in a city where there were many opportunities to get involved in new things – such as interning at a Philadelphia radio station and working with Nike to teach 6-year olds how to swim.  It would have been great to explore more opportunities while I had the time and flexibility.  And eat more cheesesteaks because they’re pretty hard to come by when you move abroad!

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • When we moved to Sydney I decided to jump into the Ozzie beach culture and become a volunteer lifeguard.  My weekday job revolves around making financial impacts, but helping to keep the beaches safe on the weekends feels pretty good.  

    6. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Doing your best Rocky impression running up the steps of the Museum of Art.

  • Alejandro Billinghurst
  • Alejandro Billinghurst

    Country:  Argentina

    I am currently working as a Senior Associate at a boutique corporate firm, and also recently launched an artistic production studio called NNVL music (nnvlmusic.com).


    Penn has definitely been a turning point in my life and has opened my eyes in more ways than I could count, I met the most interesting people in the globe and I would go back there in a heart beat.

  • Read more about Alejandro Billinghurst
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah and the Spud series.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • I wish I could pin it down to one, but any game with the Warthogs and meet ups at Rosies.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Living in Buenos Aires, that is a hard question to answer. Being a sports fan, I'd recommend a jog in the lagos de palermo, going to a soccer game, visit "Tigre" and of course, an Asado at La Cabrera.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Ask more questions, enroll in more courses and make the best out of that year, that seems to fly by and will change you forever.

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Coaching U-15 rugby, teaching kids core values like teamwork, friendship and respect.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • I don't find inspiration in individuals per se, normal people that keep fighting through adversities and never give up, no matter what gets thrown at them inspire me.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Locust Walk, hands down.

    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?

      • International Business Transactions

    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?

      • I was part of the CSR Committee and member of the Penn Law Soccer team and Wharton Warthogs Rugby team.

    10. Where did you hangout off campus?

      • Our house at 2231 Fitzwater was a constant meeting place.

    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Aisle emergency row

  • Alexia Chiang
  • Alexia Chiang

    Country:  Hong Kong

    Current Global Engagement: My global engagement started at Penn when I chose international relations as my major. Before college, I was quite ignorant about world affairs. Our IR program gave me a solid foundation of knowledge to better understand the world, and a better appreciation for how history drives people in different countries to develop different politics and ideologies.

  • Read more about Alexia Chiang
  • Before moving overseas, I was a corporate attorney. In 2006, my husband and I accepted his company’s offer to relocate us to Shanghai because we wanted to witness first-hand China’s rapid economic growth and the resulting societal changes.  In Shanghai, I worked as an international business attorney, dealing mostly with foreign direct investments and international mergers and acquisitions. Foreigners often enter the Chinese business landscape with a lot of misconceptions. I really enjoyed being in a position to help them understand how the Chinese system actually works, and guiding them to sound solutions when there were conflicts in U.S. and Chinese laws or business practices.

    Two years ago I decided to try my hands at becoming an entrepreneur. I practiced law for more than a decade. I wanted to do more than just one thing in life. In May 2014, I launched my own brand of luxury perfumes (www.imzadifragrances.com) in Shanghai. Because of China’s cosmetics import restrictions, high-quality niche perfumes are not officially sold there. I will be one of the first to officially bring a niche perfume concept to China.

    I also love to travel and have been to 27 countries and 123 cities.

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • I love mysteries. Right now, I am reading a collection of short mystery stories titled “Mark Twain’s Medieval Romance and Other Classic Mystery Stories.” When I finish this, I plan to read “Some Nerves”, the new book by my C ’92 classmate Patty Chang Anker.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My freshmen year I lived on the ground floor of Hill House. I briefly dated a classmate who also lived there. When I asked him to go with me to the Hill House formal, he answered me yes by climbing over the fence around Hill House and answered me with “Of course I will” pieced together in gummy bears glued to my entire dorm room window. After that I think he went through some hard times. We were never close but the night before graduation, he told me he was going through some tough times as well. It’s been many years, but I always hoped that life turned out good and happy for him.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • If you’re going to Shanghai: (i) do not drink the tap water anywhere including restaurants and bars, (2) do not eat the street food, and (3) bring your own chopsticks and do not use the disposable chopsticks.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I loved how Penn has a large and diverse student body with people from all over the world. I met so many friends there and I love them all. But when we are young, it’s easy to be too self-centered and take people for granted. I would tell my younger self to take more time and do more to let people around me know how much I appreciated them, and to give everyone more attention and get to know them even better.
    5. Who inspires you?
      • Recently, world-renown violinist Vanessa Mae entered the Sochi Winter Olympics and competed at the Giant Slalom event. I thought it was absolutely inspiring that she seized the moment to do something entirely different from music. She was not in medal contention; she did this for her own experience and to push her own limits. Still, it was an amazing feat to qualify to compete at an Olympic event.
    6. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • The Midnight Econ Scream.
  • Amanda Bradford
  • Amanda Bradford

    Country:  United Arab Emirates

    Current Global Engagement:  Upon graduating from Penn's School of Arts & Sciences in 1999, I found myself drawn toward the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia where I felt I could make a difference. While many of my classmates headed to Wall Street, I was busy working in nonprofit consulting and development, while volunteering at a community center for recent immigrants. It was here that I developed a passion for teaching and working with non-native speakers of English. I then went on to pursue an M.A. TESOL degree from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and served in the Peace Corps in Mozambique where I taught English at a tiny pedagogical university. Having developed my Portuguese there, I was then pleased to accept a fellowship with the State Department in Brazil where I trained English teachers in the Amazon Region and developed my language skills. My commitment to education remains unwavering to this day and I'm now on the faculty of a federal university in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. Though physically far from Penn, I serve as an alumni interviewer as a way to give back to the university and provide guidance to young people at an important crossroads in their life.

  • Read more about Amanda Bradford
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle, by Daniel L. Everett.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The History of the Third Reich with Professor Thomas Childers, and The History of Ancient Rome with Professor Brent Shaw. I really got lost in both classes and thoroughly enjoyed learning from such fantastic teachers.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visit the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, especially around sunset. You also shouldn't miss the Liwa desert a few hours outside the city: endless rolling sand dunes and camels wandering among them. A spectacular sight.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • You don't have to decide what you are going to do for the rest of your life upon graduation. Just make a plan for a few years afterwards, and take it from there. Don't' stress, you will find your way. Keep enjoying this time and keep learning as much as you can.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Working one-on-one with students from cultures around the world. Helping them learn and grow in their understanding of themselves and of the world. As long as I am in the classroom, I know I am having a direct, tangible impact in the lives of others. I am grateful to have found a profession where I believe I can make a difference on a daily basis.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • People who are not afraid to go against the grain and people who commit their lives to helping others. If I were to choose an individual, it would be the director of the university where I taught in Mozambique. He has dedicated his life to the education of others in a place that many westerners are wary to go: a forgotten corner of Africa. As a result of his unwavering commitment, he has built a university from the ground up, providing greatly underserved Mozambicans with the opportunity at higher education. He's been there for nearly two decades now, having emigrated from Italy, and continuously gives of himself humbly and with an open heart.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Penn Relays was always an exciting time in Philadelphia and at Penn. I always enjoyed eating jerk chicken while watching the Jamaican sprinters zoom their way to victory around Franklin Field.
    8. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • The Third Reich - Professor Thomas Childers. I wasn't a history major and had no interest in Nazi Germany but I was told by friends that I had to take the class. So glad I listened because it was an incredible class. I never missed a lecture and found myself utterly transported by the content and the way Dr. Childers presented the material. I have even saved my handwritten lecture notes to this day, and also haven't had the heart to toss out the old "bulk pack" of additional readings either.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Penn Women's squash team and FLASH.
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Billybob's after a late night out in West Philly always hit the spot; hitting concerts at the Troc, First Unitarian Church, and the TLA.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Window. There's so much of the world to see!
  • Amy Finegold
  • Amy Finegold

    Country:  United Kingdom

    Amy Ruth Finegold graduated from Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2002 with a major in theatre arts.  She then taught in Manhatan and received her MSED in 2007 from Bank Street College in early childhood and special education.  In 2007, Amy Ruth re-located to London, where she revamped and became President of The Penn Club from 2008 to 2012.  This past year, she has started Amy Ruth’s Ltd, a gluten free healthy baking mix, which she sells to Whole Foods in the UK and various other health food stores in London and throughout the UK.  She also teaches master gluten free baking classes. She continues to serve in the Penn Alumni Interview Program and is an active member of the Penn Club.

  • Read more about Amy Finegold
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • I just downloaded “Gone Girl” on my Kindle, a great escape to help get my mind off the day, which is hectic with a young child and a new business.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My fondest memory would have to be in The Studio theatre in Annenberg. I always loved the rush and calmness I would feel just moments before I’d walk on stage. 

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Besides the obvious tourist attractions, I think the museums in London are incredible.  The Wallace Collection is a hidden gem.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I would have told myself to make a bigger effort to be more outgoing and meet more people.  There are so many talented people who study at Penn. 

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I produce and sell a gluten-free healthy baking mix.  I started it out of necessity.  I help a lot of people and children who can’t digest a piece of cake.  Watching a child allergic to many foods, yet able to eat an “amy ruth’s” muffin, is precious to me.  I also teach allergy friendly baking classes. I have a background in education, so I’ve always taken a lot of pleasure in helping and teaching.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • Women who are able to balance work life and family life inspire me.  I’m still learning how.  If I had to pick two celebrities, Meryl Streep and Giada DeLaurentis.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • The Red and the Blue.  It was sung at my wedding!

  • Benjamin Ben-David Bonetti
  • Benjamin Ben-David Bonetti

    Country:  Dominican Republic

    After graduating from Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences in 2008, I went back to the Dominican Republic and joined my family’s pharmaceutical business. I quickly learned that there was much to be done in the Dominican healthcare field, especially for the bottom tiers of the population. We began to find ways to make medicines reach more people at an affordable price, and decided to work with international generic pharmaceutical companies to benefit from their economies of scale. We also began to do medical missions and find key products unavailable to Dominicans and work with foundations to help fund the treatments. In 2012 I went to Wharton to do my MBA, and decided to go back to Dominican Republic to continue working in the healthcare field. I am now focused on catastrophic diseases and their treatments. Out of the office, I serve as a board member for Explore Dominican Republic, a foundation whose primary goal is to provide the basic needs for underprivileged children.  I am also co-president of the Penn & Wharton alumni club of the Dominican Republic and the contact person for the alumni here.

  • Read more about Benjamin Ben-David Bonetti
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Spring Fling; it was a great time for friends from all over the world to come visit Penn for a weekend of fun activities, concerts and parties.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Go to the Colonial Zone. It is considered the first city settled in the New World by Europeans. The area is filled with historic monuments like the first Cathedral in America, the Columbus family palace, the national Parthenon, plus many nice restaurants and bars.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Try new classes and activities out of your comfort zone. These are the true leadership developers and you’ll be surprised of what you learn about yourself.  

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Sourcing medicines for catastrophic diseases and working to get the government and/or insurance companies to cover these medicines under their subsidized programs.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • The president of the Dominican Pulmonary Artery Hypertension Foundation is an amazing woman that coping with a deadly condition that puts her in Intensive Care every month or two, has managed to get the Dominican government to provide free treatment to all people diagnosed with Pulmonary Artery Hypertension. She has also managed to organize all the patients in Latin America through chapters of this foundation and fights for the well-being of all people with this disease.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • My favorite Penn tradition is Hey Day. After years of hard work, officially becoming a senior is an awesome sensation. The red t-shirts, wooden canes and biting into your friends’ straw hats while marching through campus (sort of playing dodge ball), is something I’ll never forget.

  • Brian Gelzhiser
  • Brian Gelzhiser

    Country:  Norway

    Current Global Engagement: I graduated from of Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) in 2005, where I studied a mix of philosophy, urban studies, and art theory. Following this I completed a Master’s in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, UK, and have since worked in IT. I am now living and working in Oslo, Norway with a defense company. My interactions with our customer have reshaped my understanding of national defense issues to include a broader and more nuanced perspective.

    Being in Norway, I have tried to take advantage of Norway’s natural beauty, including conquering northern Europe’s tallest mountain Galdhøpiggen and doing a snow mobile trek across central Svalbard.

    Since 2010, I have also served in the Penn Alumni Interview Program, and am currently the Chairman of the Norway committee. This year we saw a huge spike in the level of applications from Norway, as a result of our commitment to spreading the word about Penn throughout Scandinavia.  I can’t think of a better way to spend some of my free time then to share my experiences with perspective students, and being the eyes and ears of Penn Admissions abroad!

  • Read more about Brian Gelzhiser
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • “The Conquest of Everest: Original Photographs from the Legendary First Ascent”, by George Lowe , and Huw Lewis-Jones.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Being a native Philadelphian, I can remember going to Penn Relays from the time I was a high school student. There is nothing better than seeing thousands people from all over country compete together in America’s oldest and largest track and field competition! 

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • All visitors must see Oslo’s natural beauty. The best way to appreciate this is by sea or high up on top of the Holmenkollen ski jump.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I would tell myself: “The harder you work at making and maintaining relationships, the more you will get out of life.”

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I have been extremely fortunate to have had numerous opportunities to study, travel, and work throughout the world, and have met many people with inspiring stories. Through this I have learned that to have impact on others, you must first let others impact you. Encourage others to share their stories with you, digest what they have told you, and then reciprocate to them how these stories have impacted you! 

    6. Who inspires you?

      • I am inspired by people who see possibilities where others do not.  I regularly look through the Ted Talks website, and have been recently inspired by Diana Nyad’s talk “Never, ever give up”. 

  • Bronwen Ewens
  • Bronwen Ewens

    Country:  Australia

    I graduated with an MPA (MGA) from the Fels Institute of Government and also took a couple of courses at Wharton.

    My master’s in public sector administration has been put to global use: I have worked for the French government in Sydney as a market/trade analyst, for the Japanese government in Paris (as part of Japan’s OECD delegation) and three Australian government agencies. I also have a JD and currently specialize in administrative law – my Penn education in the accountabilities, constraints, and operations of government is the gift that keeps on giving!

  • Read more about Bronwen Ewens
  • Through these jobs, I was commissioned to write the official report on the Sydney 2000 Olympics for the International Olympic Committee.  Later, through my OECD work in Paris, I gained insight into the role of intergovernmental organizations. This led me to join UN Online Volunteering, something I can recommend to anyone. My global engagements through this organization are with a small children’s rights NGO in Switzerland and with the Hanoi Centre for Research and Applied Sciences in Gender  - Family – Women and Adolescents, for whom I edited the book Light in the Alley, in which Vietnamese women who have escaped domestic abuse relate their stories.

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • My undergraduate degree is in literature and I have long list that I’m only too willing to share. Perhaps the book that has most influenced me most is Albert Camus’s The Plague. It’s an allegory of World War Two and of resistance to human cruelty. At the same time, it shows the value of solidarity and of “giving people chances”.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The people – both teachers and classmates. I made lifelong friends among fellow students and caught up with Fels teaching legend Ed DeSeve when he visited Melbourne a couple of years ago. The opportunity to meet people from all over the world, to share, learn and laugh together in a spirit of inquiry and mutual respect was unique and life-changing.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • I nominate the Royal Botanic Gardens. Very close to the city, you have 94 acres featuring more than 10,000 floral species, as well as lawns and lakes. It’s a haven of beauty and peace. And it’s free, which is a relief in such an expensive country as Australia.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I would say ‘jump right in’! Meet as many people as possible, make the most of every opportunity and don’t be shy or intimidated by the fact that it’s a large and prestigious Ivy League university. People are welcoming and warm. It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the world and about yourself, to broaden your horizons as you never have before and, perhaps, never will again.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact? 
      • Probably my volunteer work, some of which I mentioned above. Apart from that, I strove to be a good ambassador for Australia while at Penn. It annoys me that Australians are often stereotyped by other nationalities as uncultured beer-guzzlers and worse, racists. The stereotype doesn’t fit me and I hope I helped some folks realize that individuals are not national clichés. In return, Penn allowed me to meet a huge variety of people who I otherwise would never have met, which made me lose a few clichéd ways of thinking of my own.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • I lost my mother when I was an undergraduate, before I went to Penn. She inspired and inculcated in me the love of learning and curiosity about the world that form the very bedrock of my character.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • The food trucks!
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • At Fels, Government with Jim Spady and James Humes’s Public Communications. At Wharton, Marketing Management with Arvind Rangaswamy. I became fascinated by brand management and this sparked my love of intellectual property law, as the two go hand-in-hand.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • I was so busy exploring the cultural wealth of Philadelphia, acquiring knowledge and socialising with friends that I wasn’t really involved in student groups. There were about 50 of us at Fels, and we formed our own social group. Fels really provided me with a ready-made social life.
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • South Street, Fairmount Park for hiking and biking, the Ritz theatres in Society Hill.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • I will graciously leave the aisle seat to those over 5’4” and occupy the window seat for the views. The chance to look down on the world and marvel at it trumps practicality every time.
  • Daniel Oviedo
  • Daniel Oviedo

    Country:  Paraguay

    Current Global Engagement:  Currently I am working for the U.S. State Department in Asuncion, Paraguay. I work mostly on commercial issues but on the side I am also engaged in an agribusiness as well. If anyone is looking for guidance on how to navigate this South American country for business or would like some basic site-seeing tips, feel free to get in touch: http://www.danieloviedo.com/.

  • Read more about Daniel Oviedo
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself" by Michael A. Singer.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Study nights at Van Pelt Library.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Doing the "technical tour" of the Itaipu Dam is amazing. This dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual energy generation. Fun facts: The volume of excavation of earth and rock in Itaipu is 8.5 times greater than that of the Channel Tunnel and the volume of concrete is 15 times greater.  The iron and steel used would allow for the construction of 380 Eiffel Towers. Although not in Paraguayan territory, being in Paraguay you really don't want to miss the Iguazu falls which is about 40 miles away from the Itaipu Dam.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Spend more time getting to know more people.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I organize trade missions and help individual U.S. companies do business in Paraguay. There are so many opportunities in this relatively unexplored country that with just a little help, U.S. companies and the people that represent them have been doing very well. I am also on the board of an organization that provides overseas scholarships for mid-level managers. The impact of these programs may not be as dramatic but one can feel a greater impact on a personal level.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Lee Iacocca
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Alumni Weekend
    8. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • Monica McGrath
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Wharton Latin American Student Association (WHALASA).
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Distrito
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Aisle
  • Deika Morrison
  • Deika Morrison

    Country:  Jamaica

    I have been President of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Jamaica since 2008.  We try to keep the community – whether they live in Jamaica or are of Jamaican descent living elsewhere - engaged and informed through gatherings, email and social media.  Annually, we have a December get together and in the last few years we have expanded the gathering to include graduates of all Ivy League schools.  In 2010, I led an initiative for the Rotary Clubs of Jamaica to break a Guinness World Record for the Most Books Donated To Charity in Seven Days.  With the help of individuals, business and organizations all over the world – including Penn Regional Clubs – books came into Jamaica from every continent.  We smashed the original record of 242,624 books and set a new record of 657,061 books. 

  • Read more about Deika Morrison
  • My charity, Do Good Jamaica, has as its major project Crayons Count – to support early childhood education by increasing awareness of the importance of early childhood education and providing a standard set of recommended learning materials to every pre-school in Jamaica. Annually we assist approximately 2,500 early childhood institutions with about 130,000 children aged 3- 6.  In three successful years we have provided every early childhood institution in Jamaica with crayons, books, balls, puzzles, paper, blocks, manipulatives, puppets, scissors, glue sticks, paint, paintbrushes, play dough every year.  We have expanded into teacher training with our own state of the art mobile classroom, The Crayons Count Learning Lorry, and are looking forward to more expansion in this fourth upcoming year.  I am confident that my endeavors will continue to involve the Penn Network.

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Leaving Microsoft To Change The World by John Wood.  I am re-reading it actually.  It’s an inspiring story of the drive to transform education globally and the accomplishments of Room To Read.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Too many to count!  From professors and administrators who I became friends with and remain in contact with, to the campus itself, to Penn traditions, to my involvement in a wide variety of clubs, to my classes and classmates – lots of fond memories.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • I live in Kingston, Jamaica but I would have to speak about all of Jamaica.  Jamaica has something for everyone – beautiful beaches, the salubrious cool hills and countryside, incredible music and culture and of course, world-class food.  You absolutely must have Red Stripe Beer, Blue Mountain Coffee, rum, a patty and jerk chicken.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I enjoyed all that I did – and it was a lot.  But there was much more to do - many once in a lifetime opportunities available at Penn.  For example, I wish I had done a semester abroad under the Penn umbrella to expand my global exposure and understanding.  However, as a Management and Technology student I thought my schedule would not allow.  Looking back, I think I could have done so with greater creativity.    

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I have been fortunate to initiate and successfully execute projects that impact a lot of people, especially children.  The Guinness World Record Book Drive was a global collaborative project that led to the donation of hundreds of thousands of books to the island-wide library system in Jamaica in every community.  Now with my early childhood education campaign, Crayons Count is tackling education problems at the most important time of a child’s life and the foundation of learning – and we are doing so on a national level – again in every community - and now expanding regionally. 

    6. Who inspires you?

      • The late Nelson Mandela.  A man of exemplary grace who achieved all that he did in the face of immense opposition and personal hardship.  Known worldwide for his role in ending apartheid, he was admired globally as an elder statesman for advancing education, health and philanthropy, for example.  I firmly believe what he said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.  Words that I live by. 

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • If I had to choose one tradition I think it would be Hey Day.  That transition from junior year to senior year in an all day party walking around campus in a sea of fellow students wearing red shirts, foam hats and carrying canes remains forever etched in my memory.

  • Duilio Baltodano
  • Duilio Baltodano

    Country: Nicaragua

    Current Global Engagement: I come from a proud Penn family of four generations – my grandfather, Moises (M‘1893), graduated from the Penn School of Medicine , my father, Duilio (W’39), graduated from Wharton , and now my four children have each graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences.

    I graduated from Wharton (W’70) and obtained my MBA from the INCAE School of Business in Nicaragua. I have devoted my life to growing my family’s coffee business as well as fostering my own initiatives in the cattle and agribusiness technology sector.  I am passionate about nature and driving innovation in the agricultural sector and I am an avid fan of outdoor adventures including water and downhill skiing, horseback riding, and hiking.

  • Read more about Duilio Baltodano
  • Amongst the highlights of my career are: transforming barren rural Nicaraguan lands into a productive and sustainable fields which produces premium coffee; applying new genetic best practices for grass-fed cattle to produce high quality meat; conceptualizing and developing a software program that improves on the manual approach of capturing and processing the necessary information to manage a firm through the use of web-based technologies and leverage of human resources available in the rural sector; and importing as well as distributing innovative agricultural machinery and resources.

    My belief in the impact that technology can have on the management of a farm has lead me to one of my most recent and proudest philanthropic efforts – “Seeds for Progress”, a non-profit foundation developed by our companies’ valuable partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, is changing the traditional paradigm of elementary education in coffee communities to drastically improve its quality. After two years of implementing and monitoring the Semillas Digitales Program (in English, Digital Seeds) we have seen remarkable results in our pilot schools, for example, that 50% of our first grade students achieved the international standard to read 40 words per minute versus the Nicaraguan national average of 18%. We firmly believe that by changing the traditional paradigm of teaching and learning along with properly integrating basic internet technology, we can transform the quality of education for underprivileged children in rural Nicaragua and develop a successful model of education that can be replicated in rural communities anywhere. The goal of Semillas Digitales is sustainable community and educational development that leverages the funds of knowledge and resources of each community as a conduit for sustainable educational innovation.

    I have a served as a Penn interviewer for candidates from Nicaragua since 1990 and seek to continuously strengthen and maintain my ties to the Penn community. My and my company’s partnership with PennGSE has been a vibrant part of our company’s development of our CSR division.


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • The Cathedral of the Sea

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Being part of the Penn swim team and hanging out with friends at Smokey Joes. 

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visit the beautiful colonial city Granada and the islands in Lake Nicaragua - the only lake with fresh water sharks! 

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Take more classes in the humanities to explore other interests outside my business education. 

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • 1) ARA- potential to drastically improve management efficiency & intelligence in the agricultural sector.

        2) Seeds for progress - As a driving force behind “Seeds for Progress” & an active board member, I am helping improve the educational system available to students in rural communities which in turn can significantly improve people’s lives and the opportunities available to them. 

    6. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Spring Fling! 

    7. What student group did you participate in when you were at Penn?

      • I was part of the Penn swim team. 

  • Eduardo Calvo
  • Eduardo Calvo

    Country:  Chile

    Current Global Engagement:  Before getting to Penn, I worked in a public school and in a private college in the south of Chile. I spent four years teaching courses in the area of Sociology and Philosophy of the Education. I also worked as a professional training supervisor for teachers where I had the opportunity to work with more than 30 educational institutions across different regions and social status of the country. In 2013, I won a national scholarship from the Government of Chile which permitted me to come to Penn and pursue my master degree in Education. Currently, besides finishing up my coursework, I am working on the development of a social start-up called “Apollonian Project” which aims to promote artists’ works and, at the same time, provide art education for schools in the inner city. This organization seeks to make an impact from the world of art, above all from disciplines such as painting and photography. Re-appraising and re-constructing the foundational tenets of education, from a theoretical and concrete perspective, is my goal.

  • Read more about Eduardo Calvo
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • I would recommend “Meditation, the first and last freedom” by Osho. For those interesting in mindfulness and above all in meditation, this book approaches what meditation is and its many variations as maybe no other book has done so far. Osho explains wonderfully not only a great array of techniques, but he also goes beyond the mere practice trying to touch the very essence of meditation.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • In general, the community of Penn. Especially, the local and international students I had the luck to know and become friends. Penn Campus and all its resources are great, but it was the people I met who made my experience something to remember.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • First of all, if you love nature and amazing landscapes, you must come to Villarrica. Particularly, I would invite you to climb to the top of Villarrica Volcano. It is an unforgettable experience (it requires being in good shape, though), where you can enjoy the view of the different lakes and volcanoes around besides the chance to see lava coming out of the crater!
    4. Who inspires you?
      • I am inspired by many people who make great efforts for their self-improvement and devote all their capacity to bring out their best. In that sense, it inspires me the journeys different persons (or me) have done to overcome adversity and be better human beings. When driven by will and determination, it fuels me to see where people can start and where they can end up.
    5. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • I used to hang out in different places in Center City. During my one and a half year in Philly, I was not able to visit most of the nice places I was told to go, however, I really liked to go out in that area.
    6. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Aisle.
  • Feride Cicekoglu
  • Feride Cicekoglu

    Country:  Turkey

    Current Global Engagement: I started out as an architect and I became a story-teller after four years as a political prisoner during the military junta of 1980 in Turkey. The stint in prison gave me the hint of my global engagement as a screenwriter. I started by writing a novella about a kid I knew in prison. I adapted this to screen as my my first script and the film, "Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite" received the audience Prize in Cannes Film Festival (1989). My second screenplay (written in collaboration with the director) "Journey to Hope" won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in the USA (1991). Now I teach screenwriting in İstanbul, and I also continue to write scripts, sometimes collaborating with my former students. "Seaburners" (Melisa Onel, 2013) was screened in Berlin Film Festival recently.

  • Read more about Feride Cicekoglu
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Frans de Waal's Our Inner Ape. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The films we used to see on Locust Walk.. All the black and white classics.. Hitchcock and Bergman.. among many others.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • A boat trip along Bosphorus and a day the Prince Islands. Fish, meze (like tapas) and raki.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I should have had more fun, I should have spent less time in my library carrel.
    5. What have you done, or are doing now, that you believe has the most impact?
      • I teach and I write. I try to reach out. Both in space and in time.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Great filmmakers... Seeing the films of great filmmakers in great cities, again and again, like seeing Woody Allen's Blue Jasmin in Brooklyn and in Manhattan and comparing the audience reactions.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • The Bookstore. I still love going there and remember myself as I was a graduate student in the mid-1970's.
    8. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Not a chance! As a fan my favorite is an easy choice: a Mask & Wig show in their home on South Quince Street (which also happens to be one of my favorite streets in Philadelphia).
    9. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Yehudi Cohen's Anthropology classes.
    10. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Turkish Student Organisation
    11. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Turkish Student Organisation
  • Fungayi Kapungu
  • Fungayi Kapungu

    Country: South Africa

    Current Global Engagement:  I graduated from the College of Arts Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and moved to South Africa after completing my MBA at Harvard Business School in 2005.  I am extremely passionate about African business, culture, history, and empowerment. I enjoy international travel as I value the beauty of diversity in the world. My career goal/objective is to have PNL, business/strategic management, and people management responsibilities for a firm based and invested in Africa whose business model, revenue, and operating profit is primarily generated in Africa. 

  • Read more about Fungayi Kapungu
  • I currently lead strategy and execution of ConvaTec for South Africa and all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  I previously led strategic management at Becton Dickinson of the Diagnostics business segment for Sub-Saharan Africa and oversaw country-specific business strategies and initiatives for 45 countries in Africa.  I am currently the primary contact for the Penn Club of South Africa and serve as the direct contact between the university and alumni living in South Africa.

    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Hey Day and Penn Relays…..great times, great people, great food and drink!!!  And the amazing parties!!!  Can I go back to college?
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visit the Apartheid Museum and spend some time in a real township like Alexandra or Diepsloot to experience the reality of most South Africans.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I wish I traveled more and participated in a study abroad program.  I now love to travel and appreciate the beauty of the diversity in the world while realizing how connected we all are due to technology and social media.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I am building and driving new business models for medical technology platforms across Sub-Saharan Africa which is a region that is in desperate need of high-quality healthcare solutions.  More importantly, I am fully dedicating my time, energy, intellectual capacity, and general management ability to Sub-Saharan Africa.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • My parents for instilling my work ethic, love of Africa, and passion for diversity of culture, thought, experience, and environment.
  • Gina Salapata
  • Gina Salapata

    Country:  New Zealand

    Current Global Engagement:  Growing up in Greece, I was surrounded by antiquities. I still remember my thrill at touching ancient stones and pottery sherds lying around; the thought that these were made by human hands thousands of years ago gave me goose bumps! No wonder then that as a teenager my two job preferences related to classics: a classics teacher or an archaeologist. As it turned out, I managed to combine the two. After finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Athens, I continued my studies at Penn where I received my MA and PhD in Classical Archaeology. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in my chosen field and surrounded by excellent and supportive professors and fellow students. Penn has helped me built my future on ruins (so to speak!). Since 1995 I have been teaching Classical Studies at Massey University in New Zealand but my research interests in Greek archaeology ensure that I visit my native country relatively frequently.

  • Read more about Gina Salapata
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • “Le Petit Prince” by A. de Saint-Exupéry and “The Alchemist” by P. Coelho.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Helping run a day of ancient Olympic Games at the University Museum and making friends from various nations; my time at Penn was my first multicultural experience that broadened my horizons. As for my sweetest memory, it was definitely Cinnabon!
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Walking or cycling along the river and in the beautiful Esplanade gardens.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Take a wider selection of elective courses outside my main field.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Through teaching I strive to pass on my excitement about the ancient world, which despite levels of continuity, was very different from our culture. So I want my students to become aware of and sensitive to human diversity over time and space and expand their intellectual horizons. When some people hear of my Greek heritage and field of study, they wonder whether my skills wouldn’t be more relevant and useful in Greece. My reply is that I feel I make a much more valuable contribution by teaching Classical Studies here in New Zealand than by preaching to the already converted Greeks.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • People who stick to their plans despite adversities, and several of my mature students are among them.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • I have always loved the beautiful old campus buildings, including the University Museum.
    8. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • I enjoyed seminars in ancient history with A.J. Graham and in Greek archaeology with K. DeVries, sadly both of them gone now.
    9. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • In the Old City.
    10. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Window on short flights and aisle on long hauls, so that I can get up and move.
  • Helen Castro-Limcaoco
  • Helen Castro-Limcaoco

    Country:  Philippines

    Current Global Engagement:  After graduating from Penn and The Wharton School in 1987 with an MA in International Relations and an MBA Major in Finance, I worked with Citibank Manila’s Investment Banking Group for 3 years, and for half of those years, I was in equity sales handling foreign institutional clients. I met my husband, TG, at Wharton, and we married in late 1989. I later moved from Manila to Singapore where TG joined the derivatives desk of JP Morgan in 1992, and I co-founded an arts event management enterprise. We moved back to Manila in 1995.

  • Read more about Helen Castro-Limcaoco
  • I’ve been a Master Franchisee in the Philippines since 1995 of The Little Gym, and the Co-Master Franchisee in Singapore since 2003. The Little Gym, a franchise offering programs that enhance children’s growth and development, was founded in Bellevue, Washington and is celebrating 20 years of continuing operation.  There are more than 300 The Little Gym centers open in more than 30 different countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia including the Middle East, weekly serving more than 120,000 children. In operating five centers in 2 countries, we directly impact the lives of 4000 different children who enroll in our programs every year. As one of the franchise system’s first international owners, I had the opportunity to be the business operations consultant of the franchise owners of Kobe and Bangkok from 2000 to 2004. As a new business owner during the 1996 Asian financial crisis, I was tapped in 2011 to speak to some of the problems of American and Canadian franchise owners in their business recovery efforts during the post 2008 economic crisis, as well as to address the European franchise owners on my experience with stepping back from day-to-day operations and what the still-important but different role for the owner becomes once they’ve hired professional managers. Managers who have worked with me have been recruited to manage franchise units in Singapore, Seattle, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, and as a business operations consultant of The Little Gym Europe based in Brussels.  I still actively attend The Little Gym’s annual franchise owners’ conventions in the United States and biennial conventions in Europe.

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • There’s a refreshing new perspective to be gained by reading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery at least once every 10 years in one’s life.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Enjoying the restaurants around the city with my friends; running to WaWa for a sandwich and a drink; buying a hoagie; watching Wharton Follies, and the special performances at Annenberg Center.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • In Manila, take a carriage ride and hire a tour guide to go around Intramuros, the Walled City built by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Religious art are abundant at the Museum of the San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Outside Manila, stay at a beach-front villa at the luxurious El Nido Resort’s Pangulasian Island and charter an outrigger to go island hopping around Bacuit Bay, and kayak during low-tide to the Hidden Beach.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • What I should have done: Audition for the Wharton Follies, regardless of the chances of a call-back. What I did right: Ask to be exempted from classes I already passed as an undergrad so that I could take as many electives as possible under the MBA program.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact? 
      • Our business involves children, and it’s humbling to understand how important it is to always find ways to teach them effectively.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • TG, Patricia, Regina and Andres Limcaoco. (full disclosure: These are my husband and three children, respectively. I am their talent manager.)
    7. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Marketing Strategy class of Prof. Jerry (Yoram) Wind, and any Finance class of Prof Jeremy Siegel.
    8. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Wharton Asia; International Relations Graduate Students Association.
    9. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Anywhere they sold delicious Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
    10. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Bulkhead seat, Aisle
  • Jan Rusch
  • Jan Rusch

    Country:  Chile

    Current Global Engagement:  After attending AMP61 at Wharton I believe my responsibility lies with volunteer work, I find it a challenge in helping people develop their lives. Four years ago I was invited to be part of the board of a non-profit organization named Fundación Gantz (www.gantz.cl). The mission of Fundación Gantz it to provide integral treatment of poor children with cleft lip and palate. This treatment includes many specialists like surgery, dentist, psychology, etc. and all with only one objective: Allow the children to smile and being fully integrated in our society. I’m really proud what we have achieved and we as foundation have multiple challenges and one of them is to have a sustainable financial situation in order to continue the path set four years ago.

  • Read more about Jan Rusch
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • The Art of War, Sun Tzu. Great book on strategy and how to prepare yourself and your organization for new challenges.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The multicultural conversation and to have the chance to interact with people from different origins and sharing life experiences, how we see our world and the challenges we have to face. I recall a great, long and inspiring conversation at the fifth floor of the Steinberger Center, “the bar”.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Well, Santiago is the entry point to Chile and from Santiago, you can go the north of Chile enjoying the driest dessert of the world with beautiful landscapes, especially during spring time when the dessert is carpeted with flowers. Also from Santiago driving less two hours you can be at great vineyards tasting complex wines. Or can fly to the very south of Chile and enjoy the Patagonia. Santiago is the start and end of an unforgettable experience.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Enjoy it as much as possible and be in contact with all your classmates, these people will be your friends around the world.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact? 
      • As I mentioned before, my work at Fundacion Gantz will make a difference for many disadvantaged children.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • My wife and daughters.
    7. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • It’s hard to say which I prefer the most. In my opinion, all professors/classes provide knowledge and value is the combination of all. I have a special interest in innovation and strategic planning, but those topics have no value without the other topics like finance, leadership, operations, etc.
    8. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Just with my AMP 61 classmates, we had too much to learn from each other.
    9. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • walking the city...great bars, beautiful murals, great people.
    10. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • It depends on the type of aircraft, space at coach is so limited…the best option is exit seats and in those case I prefer aisle.
  • Jeraldine Jean So
  • Jeraldine Jean So
    • Country: Taipei, Taiwan

      Current Global Engagement: Jerri, C'93, W'93, is a senior English docent at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, which is ranked as one of the top 10 museums in the world.  As an English docent, Jerri interacts with visitors coming from different parts of the world wanting to understand and learn a little bit about the Chinese culture and art.  The guests that she has taken around the museum range from the regular tours to government dignitaries like former ambassadors from the US and other countries, former US President Bill Clinton, our University President Amy Gutmann and art groups like the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  

  • Read more about Jeraldine Jean So
  • She has been a docent for 10 years after going through a very rigorous training program and now helps with the training of new incoming volunteers.    When she is not volunteering at the museum, she opened the first cupcake shop in Taiwan in 2004 Ginjer (a combination of her sister Ginni and her name Jerri) whose cupcakes has frequently been served at many Penn Alumni events in Taipei.  As an alumnus of Penn, she is also co-chair for the Admissions Interview Committee in interviewing high school students applying to the University of Pennsylvania.

    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • ​The Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  It is such a great book in provoking thought and reflecting on how you can view problems or difficulties that you face in life both career development and relationships.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The fondest memory at Penn was during my sophomore year and I was VP of Chinese Students Association (CSA). We needed to raise funds and I proposed to have an on campus Valentines’ Day rose sale and have the roses delivered on the eve of Valentines’ Day.  Since Valentines’ falls on Feb 14 and not quite spring, we had to set up a booth on Locust walk to sell roses.  Everyone took shifts sitting at our booth under freezing conditions.  On the morning of Valentines, we drove to Wissahickon to pick up the roses from the supplier, de-thorn the roses, wrap them up, and send them out.  It was a long day, but everyone working on it had so much fun.  Of course, the funds raised were significant as well.  We had the most fun bonding with each other during the process of selling, packaging, and delivering the roses.  Since the first rose sale in 1991, the fund raising event has continued as a CSA tradition.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • National Palace Museum is definitely a must see when in Taipei.  There are a lot of visitors who come to Taipei specifically for the special exhibits hosted by the museum.  In fact, the museum is ranked top 10 in the world and number one in Asia.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I should have taken more personal interest classes at Penn than worrying about classes to help get my career started.  I took a few personal interest classes like music appreciation, opera appreciation and psychology.  I really should have continued to take Art History and other similar subjects.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Being an English docent at the National Palace Museum.    I give English tours to visitors at the museum both through the regularly scheduled tours and special VIP guests of the different government branches.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • My mom.  She is very well-educated and received her Master’s degree from NYU Organic Chemistry.  She is very determined and sets a very good example about how to be a western chic woman on the outside and Chinese woman with traditional Chinese values on the inside.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition? 
      • Senior Week’s Walnut Street Walk -- Stopping at every bar getting drinks and catching up with different people whom I do not see very often.   It was the chatting and catching up that was more memorable than the drinking.
    8. What student performance group(s) did you participated in when you were at Penn?
      • I did not seem to have time to participate in any of the performance groups. 
  • Kristine Lee King
  • Kristine Lee King

    Country: Trinidad and Tobago

    Current Global Engagement: My name is Kristine Lee King, C'93, and I am from the island of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I have been a member of the Penn Alumni Interview Program for the past ten years, and have been in the position of Chair of our local committee for the past two years. It has truly been an honour to serve as a Penn Ambassador in this capacity as my love and loyalty for this fine institution was founded during my four wonderful years there which has remained indellibly printed in my being. In my opinion, having the opportunity to interview and play a part in the selection process is an opportunity to ensure that we continue to get only the best students enrolled at our Alma Mater.  In this light, I remain committed to my duties of the Alumni Interview Program and ultimately to the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Read more about Kristine Lee King
  • Q & A

    1. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • ​I don’t have only one fondest memory of Penn simply because, in my opinion, my four years in the city of brotherly love created an impression that truly formed me as an adult. You have to understand that coming from a Caribbean island where I attended an all girls Catholic school; to the multicultural, dynamic college society that is Penn was really a life changing experience. Penn is where I grew up, learned to take care of myself, be responsible and ultimately become the young adult that left Penn in 1993.  A totally different and positively changed girl that entered in 1989.

    2. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visitors must be sure to experience our Carnival – the most exciting, creative and vibrant show in the World!

    3. ​Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I wish I had joined many more clubs. This is something I would advise any incoming Penn Student – get involved and give back! My involvement with the Caribbean American Students’ Association, the John Morgan Pre Health Society and the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project allowed me to become truly involved in the university’s community.

  • Kyle Farley
  • Kyle Farley

    Country:  Singapore

    Profile Submitted Fall 2012

    Current Global Engagement: Kyle Farley graduated from Penn with a Ph.D. in History in 2006. While at Penn he worked as a Graduate Associate in both Hill and Gregory College Houses, co-founded Poor Richard’s Walking Tours, served as the chair of GAPSA, and co-wrote the proposal for the Graduate Student Center. With training as a colonial American historian, global engagement seemed unlikely.  After graduation he served for five years as the Dean of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University. He then moved to his wife’s home city of  Sydney, Australia to work for an education group with several thousand international students from seventy-five countries. He is now moving to Singapore to serve as the inaugural Dean of Students at Yale-NUS College. 

  • Read more about Kyle Farley
  • I always appreciated how global Penn was, but while at Penn that was largely limited to bringing the world to Penn. Now living abroad I am excited to see what Penn brings to the world. Fortunately Penn alumni in Singapore are very active and I’ve already received emails about interviewing applicants. 

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • I just finished Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, seeing the world of Henry VIII through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. Now I am moving on to a few histories of Singapore. I need to understand my new home!
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • I have too many but I’ll stick to the bookends. The first day I met with the other twelve incoming History PhD students and our professors, I felt very excited and very lucky to be there. My last day, at graduation, I was struck by just how fortunate I was to have so many opportunities I would not have had at any other school. To sum up my feelings about Penn with one word: gratitude.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • I’m currently splitting my time between Sydney and Singapore. Sydney is a stunning city defined by the water. Visitors should take a ferry under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and into Circular Quay, passing the infamous Opera House. A ten-minute walk takes you into the Botanic Gardens, with paths taking you out onto Macquarie Street, past some of the oldest buildings in the country, and into the beautiful Hyde Park. In Singapore visitors should go hiking in MacRitchie Reserve’s Tree Top Walk, eat anything and everything at the Maxwell Hawker Centre, and then have a drink and survey the skyline from the top of the Marina Bay Sands. You will see three very different Singapores, and you can do all three in a long afternoon!
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I took advantage of nearly every opportunity I could at Penn—taking courses far outside my specialty, working in residence with undergrads, organizing massive parties for GAPSA, working in public history, serving as a TA for six different courses, teaching my own classes, and occasionally even hitting the archives. Thus my advice to myself: finish your dissertation faster! For my fellow grad students, I would tell them to look far beyond their department and take advantage of the opportunities such a global university like Penn can offer.
    5. What have you done, or are doing now, that you believe has the most impact?
      • I believe that will be serving as the Dean of Students at Yale-NUS College. We are creating a new university for the 21st century, bringing a global liberal arts curriculum and a true residential college model to Asia. To be there at the inception ensures I will have an impact that will last long after I have moved on.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Honestly, my students, especially those who confront and overcome crises with far more grace and strength of character than I possessed at their age. In addition, Bruce Kuklick and Mike Zuckerman, my primary advisors who were and are my models as scholars, teachers, and citizens. I still see them every time I return to Philadelphia.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • The end of the third quarter of a football game at Franklin Field (as Penn wins the Ivy title), raising (and throwing) “a toast to dear old Penn.”
    8. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Not a chance! As a fan my favorite is an easy choice: a Mask & Whig show in their home on South Quince Street (which also happens to be one of my favorite streets in Philadelphia).
  • Lauren Nijkerk-Bogen
  • Lauren Nijkerk-Bogen

    Country:  Belgium

  • Read more about Lauren Nijkerk-Bogen
  • Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • I am rereading “The Assault” a novel by Dutch author, Harry Mulisch. The story begins with the murder of a collaborator at the end of the Second World War and the Nazi retaliation against an innocent family. The novel explores the life of the 12 year old son, who is the only member of the family to survive. It is through chance encounters that he finally learns the truth about this episode.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • I loved my years at Penn. I met a fantastic group of intelligent and motivated people-most of my good friends to this day are people who I met at Penn- including my husband!

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • You must visit the Grand Place in the daytime and the evening.  It is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.                                                                                      

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Take as many different types of classes as possible. It is the only time in your life when you will have this opportunity. The top professors at Penn will open up so many new ideas and worlds that it will only make you into a more interesting person. It will also introduce you to different people who have different interests. 

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I have just returned from Miyagi Prefecture in Northern Japan.  This is the area that was hardest hit by the Great Eastern Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Last year 32 Japanese teens came to Belgium, as a way to meet other local high school students, learn English, and to try to help them look for a way forward in their lives.  For most of the participants, this was their first time on an airplane! The program was such a success, that next summer, I am now organizing for a group of Belgian teens to go there. 

    6. Who inspires you?​

      • There are so many people who inspire me. Anyone who has faced adversity and who can jump over this and find a way forward in life- is inspirational.  

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Singing the red and the blue song- we made the band at our wedding play this song because there were so many Penn grads with us!

  • Loretta Evans
  • Loretta Evans

    Country: People’s Republic of China

    Current Global Engagement: Dr. Loretta Evans graduated from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1995 with a degree in Executive Engineering (ExMSE), now called the Executive Master's in Technology Management (EMTM). After leaving Penn, she spent eight years working as an Engineering Manager for Verizon and completed her doctorate degree in Engineering Management at The George Washington University. In 2004, she moved to China to teach Software Engineering and Data and Computer Communications at Soochow University in Suzhou, China. For Loretta, sharing what she knows about Beijing when friends visit and giving them an insider’s view is the best part of living abroad. Loretta is also a member of Penn’s Trustee’s Council of Pennsylvania Women (TCPW).

  • Read more about Loretta Evans
  • Currently, Loretta is involved in a startup called Xycletime, Inc. USA (Cycletime China), where she is working to build a new infrastructure for processing and modeling seismic data for oil and gas firms around the world.  Building an international team of professional scientists has been a great pleasure for Loretta.  The business is challenging, exciting and growing rapidly with a separate office located in Houston, Texas.


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • A very old paperback with yellow pages of Alex Haley’s Roots that I found in my grandmother’s house.
    2. What’s your fondest memory of Penn?

      • My fondest memory is my first day of classes and meeting the fellow students who I would become great friends with.  I still think of that first day and the confidence I gained from that day forward.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?

      • It’s difficult to pick just one thing in a great city like Beijing, but I think everyone must visit The Great Wall. My Chinese friends here in Beijing used to tell me the old saying, Bu dao chang cheng fei hao han (不到长城非好汉), meaning, “If you have not been to the Great Wall, you are not a real man”.  The vast work done by man over such a long period of time with such basic tools is so inspiring.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?

      • I would tell myself to keep an open mind about career and life choices.  I was focused on putting what I learned to use at a large corporation, which I did when I left Penn and went to work for Verizon for more than eight years after spending a summer doing research in South Korea.  Now, I’m working in a startup that I founded with partners in the United States and China.  I have no regrets since I learned so much while working in big corporations; however, that learning came from being in the right place at the right time. 

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?

      • I am spending more time with people in the early part of their careers.  I am really listening to them, encouraging them to prepare themselves for anything, and take chances that will give them the greatest opportunities to grow. 

    6. Who inspires you?

      • Jeremy Lin, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Hillary Clinton, Toni Morrison, and a great friend that fought and survived cancer with the best attitude anyone could ever imagine.

    7. What’s your favorite Penn tradition?

      • I most enjoy the singing of the Penn & Blue.  It just brings back fond memories of my aunt singing it with such loud enthusiasm at Penn events when I was a teenager.

  • Lucy S. Cook
  • Lucy S. Cook

    Country: Vancouver, Canada

    Current Global Engagement:  Lucy has over 15 years of experience in international communications and public relations.  She has worked and lived abroad and now resides in Vancouver, Canada.  She currently works as a Communications Consultant and heads the Penn Alumni Interview Program Committee for BC and Alberta.  In addition to her professional work, Lucy is busy starting up an organic garlic farm.  

    In the last 10 years, Lucy has been working for start-up technology companies and was the Communications Manager for BCNET where she was responsible for the organization’s rebranding.  

  • Read more about Lucy S. Cook
  • Prior to Vancouver, Lucy worked at the World Bank in Washington, DC.  During her time at the Bank, she traveled to East Asia and the Pacific region frequently and was posted to East Timor as part of the assessment team after the country’s independence.  Before the Bank, Lucy worked for the Yomiuri Shimbun, the world’s largest daily newspaper, as a reporter covering the US State Department and the US Defense Department.

    Lucy received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and her Masters of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University in 1997.  She is a proud mother of two children, Olivia and Maxwell, and is married to Dr. Richard C. Cook, cardiac surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital.


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • I am currently reading Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall because I am addicted to historical fiction books.  I love how they stretch our imaginations.  But since I am almost finished it, Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance is also on my night table.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My fondest memory of Penn was studying in Furness for the first time and taking in the atmosphere of the campus.  I really felt that I was at home in my new school.  But what I miss the most are: the Palladium, Billy Bob’s cheese steaks and Allegro’s pizza.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Vancouver is a great city for the active person who likes to sail or kayak in the ocean or ski or hike in the mountains.  We have it all here, outdoor activities, excellent cuisine, wonderful shopping and fun things to do if you are with your family or traveling alone.  But for sure the must-does are: Granville Island, Stanley Park, the Aquarium, Science World, the Museum of Anthropology and eating sushi and/or dimsum.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I would have taken the time to meet more international students and participate in the international events and resources Penn has to offer.  In today’s global environment it helps to understand people from other cultures and backgrounds and to network abroad.  I regret not having learned more languages as well.

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I think my time in East Timor had the most impact on the international scene because I was there at a time when the country had just declared its independence from Indonesia and needed assistance from developed countries.  My job was to see that the world fully understood what was going on in the new country and how their aid money would help.  I was also involved on the ground with the East Timorese and helping them understand the assistance projects that were being implemented.

        But now here in Vancouver, my focus has shifted.  I have come to realize the importance of organic food and I am trying to make a difference in the way we all grow, source and promote our food.  What we eat not only affects us as individuals but also our environment, which in turn, affects us all.

    6. Who inspires you?
      • Madeleine Albright is one of the women that inspire me to do great things with my life.  She was the first woman to be appointed the US Secretary of State and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this year.  She has accomplished so much in her life and I really look up to her because she is tenacious, yet sophisticated.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Definitely throwing toast onto Franklin Field and sitting in the horseshoe while watching the game.

  • Malvika Khatri
  • Malvika Khatri

    Country:  India

    I am currently working as a Supervising Producer at Disney India Studios – the Indian subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. My role involves production of local Hindi movies (Bollywood) in India under the Disney umbrella and ensuring that these films get a wide global release. Additionally, in my role as the President of the Penn Club of Mumbai and the Events Chair for the Wharton Club of India, I have had the opportunity towork with and ideate on alumni engagement initiatives with Penn students and alumni groups across the globe. Most recently, in December 2014 we hosted the Wharton Global Immersion Program students at our Disney India office and had them interact with our senior management.

  • Read more about Malvika Khatri
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Maximum City by Suketu Mehta – a fascinating insider’s look into the city of Mumbai.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Walking down Locust Walk amidst a sea of incredibly charged students remains my strongest and fondest memory. However, my most memorable Penn experience was participating in the Penn in Cannes summer program in 2007 with a group of 30 other students led by Prof. Phillipe Met and Nicola Gentili. This program ignited my passion for world cinema and I made some great friends on that trip.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visitors to my city (Mumbai), must take a walk down Marine Drive during sunset – it’s the ultimate seaside promenade with a buzzing atmosphere and beautiful views of the city skyline. The walk should end with indulging some tangy ‘bhel-puri’(street food) at Chowpatty Beach.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Back at Penn, I would have advised myself to have done a Study Abroad semester in a foreign country and to have taken more classes outside of my major requirements.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Currently I am working with the Penn Club of Mumbai committee on a mentorship program connecting senior Penn alumni in our region with young Penn alumni and current students. I believe this will be an initiative that will have a tremendously positive impact on the young Penn alumni community in India.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • The people of Mumbai always have and continue to inspire me – they have a ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude and are renowned for their entrepreneurial spirit of ‘jugaad’ – an Indian colloquial term that refers to finding innovative solutions to any problem.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Spring Flinging in the Quad!
    8. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • Professor Larry Robbins(theater arts), Professor Stefan Frank (cinema studies), and Professor Nelson Gayton (marketing).
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Wharton Women, SPEC Film Society, and the Wharton India Economic Forum planning committee.
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Most of my time off campus was spent exploring restaurants in Center City and Old City. Our most favored weekend spot was the Spanish tapas joint - Amada, in Old City.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Window, always.
  • Mariam Georges
  • Mariam Georges

    Country:  Egypt

    Current Global Engagement: After graduating from Penn Engineering in 2011, I joined my family’s Cosmetics and Hotel Supplies business in Cairo. Leading Business Development at Mamiba Co. allowed me to interact with teams around the world and gain exposure to different markets. I enjoy design and innovation in all aspects of work and find it very rewarding to see a new product being launched after a long development process- the latest project was a new spa & skincare products brand.

  • Read more about Mariam Georges
  • I was fortunate to volunteer for over 6 months as a consultant for the Egyptian government, which gave me new insights into development and renewable energy. Most recently, I started a new nonprofit organization in the field of education and active learning, Challenge 4 Change LTD, with the aim of supporting high school students to solve the most compelling problems in their local communities. We give students training, mentorship, access to real life cases, and connect them with other students halfway across the globe to exchange ideas and learn from one another. Being part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem has been an incredibly inspiring experience for me. I love living in Cairo and enjoy coming back to Penn whenever I get the chance.

    Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it has a lot of great life lessons. I read it as a child and keep coming back to it. I also like C.S. Lewis’s books.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • I have so many fond memories of Penn. I definitely smile at the thought of the all-nighters spent with my engineering friends working on problem sets and ordering insomnia cookies to help us get through the work. I remember we also used to go snowball fighting past midnight around the Ben Franklin Statue on College Green.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Aside from the classic must see- the pyramids- I would say, visitors must see old Cairo, the architecture there is remarkable, the old market is beautiful, especially at night. Cairo is a very special city with a mix of old and new in every corner.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Focus and do one thing at a time.

    5. What have you done, or are doing now, that you believe has the most impact?
      • I believe in young people’s ability to change the world and hope that the new social venture I’m working on, Challenge 4 Change, will be a source of inspiration and positive impact on many students, starting in the US and Egypt and spreading to the rest of the world.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Doers, people who make things happen. It’s hard to choose one person, but someone I really admire is Carl Djerassi. He was one-of-a-kind scientist with huge contributions in over 900 publications - as a part time faculty member at Stanford- while being involved in industry as president of Syntex Research. I admire him not only as a outstanding scientist, but as a person who had a rough start in life as a refugee, as someone who has fought cancer, and as a very busy person who hasn’t given up his human side, being a philanthropist, a writer, a poet and an art enthusiast who founded the Djerassi Resident Artists Program after his artist daughter’s death. He was simply an example of brilliance, intellectual curiosity, and indefatigable determination.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Two actually, Hey Day in junior year and Feb Club in senior year.
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Quite a few. I loved Introduction to Nanoscale Functional Materials with Dr. Ritesh Agarwal, Dr. David Pope’s Materials Science Engineering classes, Physics with Dr. Myriam Cvetic. I also loved all entrepreneurship classes with Dr. Tom Cassel and Dr. Jeffrey Babin.

    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Technology Entrepreneurship Club, Art club and Nanotea.

    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • I loved running on Schuylkill River Trail and stopping at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rittenhouse square was also one of my favorite spots in Philly.

  • Dr. Marzie Taheri Sangani
  • Dr. Marzie Taheri Sangani

    Country:  Iran

    Current Global Engagement:  Dr. Marzie Taheri Sanjani is an economist at International Monetary Fund. Her research focuses on interaction between financial cycle and real business cycle. She extensively worked on the role of external finance premium in explaining business cycle, macroeconomic stabilization and shocks transmission. She demonstrates that financial risk and credit can affect the potential output, in particular in the economies that experience asset price booms and busts. Selected by Iran’s National Elites Foundation, Marzie studied Physics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, between 2003 to 2004. She received her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering from University of Tehran in 2007. In 2009, she obtained a MSc from Department of Electrical and System Engineering at University of Pennsylvania. She received her MRes, MPhil and Ph.D. in economics from London Business School, between 2009 to 2013. Besides economics research and policy, Marzie is also interested in Psychology and Literature. She is a professional runner and enjoys traveling.

  • Read more about Dr. Marzie Taheri Sangani
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Gaarcia Marquez, Albert Camus' The Stranger, The Plague and The Fall, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, Metamorphosis by Kafka, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and Her Eyes by Bozorg Alavi.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Studying in Van Pelt facing a beautiful view of the fall trees from the windows. 

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Eating traditional street food in the middle of Tehran Bazar.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Enjoy everything that the school offers you! Attend different events, be a member of different clubs, make as many friends as possible.

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Moving away from self-centered views toward a global mind-set, with philanthropic and social considerations.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • My dream-self ! My dream-self is a moving target; it is a dynamic entity that is always growing and progressing in many ways!

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Spring break

    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Applied Algebraic Topology by Robert Ghrist.

    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • Graduate student club! Woman in engineering club.

    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • New Deck, Penn bookstore

    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Window

  • Navin Valrani
  • Navin Valrani

    Country: United Arab Emirates

    Current Global Engagement: Navin M. Valrani, W’93, is a family man, an avid cricketer, and someone who loves being at work everyday.  He recently graduated with a MBA from the London Business School and heads up Al Shirawi FM, the premier Facilities Management Service Provider in UAE and a member of the family conglomerate Al Shirawi Group. 

  • Read more about Navin Valrani
  • Al Shirawi started in 1971 as a trading and contracting company and has now diversified to include a whole cross-section of products, services and industries, from steel and metal fabrication, to engineering and food products.  The group has diverse and global relationships, which include British Steel Corporation, Tata Iron and Steel Company, Sumitomo Corporation, Nippon Steel, Inchon Klockner & Co. (Germany), and Highveld Steel & Vanadium Corp (South Africa).

    Some of Navin’s fondest memories are at Penn.  The American culture that he experienced was warm and welcoming.  His Wharton concentration was entrepreneurial management which was an ideal choice to better prepare him for joining the family business.  He represents the University of Pennsylvania serving as the Penn Alumni Interview Program chairperson in the UAE.  He is also the incoming president of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Emirates Chapter.


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?

      • Corporate Turnaround: Managing Companies in Distress.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?

      • Partying in the Quad during Hey Day. It was surreal, although Spring Fling on the College Green was very special.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?

      • Dubai is truly a remarkable city and has managed to place itself on the world map in a very short space of time.  There are several things that every visitor must do here but if you had to pick one then go on top of the world’s tallest building: The Burj Khalifa – you are truly on top of the world!

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?

      • Cherish every moment that you are there.  These times don’t come back but the friends you make in college will be some of your best friends ever.

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?

      • I now head up 8 companies that employ 3,500 people.  I come into work everyday knowing that I can make a difference to the lives of 3,500 families.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • My father.  Although retired, he still has a tremendous amount of passion for business.  His  never-ending drive is contagious.  In Dubai we are lucky to have a host of successful entrepreneurs, each one has a story that is inspirational and that drives me to want to do better for the city and its people.

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • The toast throwing at Franklin Field.  It is truly a remarkable sight.

    8. What student performance group(s) did you participated in when you were at Penn?

      • None.  Being a foreign student I just enjoyed every moment of the positive culture at Penn.

    9. What was your favorite event during Feb-Club?

      • There was no Feb-club when I graduated in 1993.  We partied like every month was our last full month at Penn.

  • Robert Wood
  • Robert Wood

    Country: Southern India

    Although I am based in Australia, I am currently in Kochi in Kerala in Southern India. At the moment I am working on a new book of essays that explores my family connection to this place. After I graduated from Penn in 2008, I lived and worked in a number of different cities - Paris, Berlin, New Delhi. When I returned to Australia my world had grown and shrunk at the same time. I had seen more, so my view of the world was greater, but it was easier to travel, so it seemed more interconnected. Since that time, I have volunteered with refugee organisations, been to expert conferences and taken holidays in a diverse range of locations. One thing my engagement with the world has taught me is that we can travel without leaving our home. This not only means we can imagine the world a little differently, but also that our neighbours are as strange and exotic as anything we can find on the other side of the world.

  • Read more about Robert Wood
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • I have trouble recommending a single book because I hold so many very close to my heart, but one book that I think deserves a wider audience is David Unaipon's 'Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines'. Written in 1930, it is a classic to my mind because of how it combines story with philosophy. That we can learn from these moral lessons is something that anyone can take away with them no matter where they are today.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My fondest memory of Penn is the day that I arrived. I had taken Amtrak from New York and they said 'Next stop, Philadelphia!' I stood up and organised my bags. When I looked out the window I saw a small, run down city. I thought to myself, 'Is this it? Is this why I have come from the other side of the world?' I waited and waited but the train did not stop. When it did eventually grind to a halt I came out in 30th Street Station and was wowed. When I made my way to campus and saw Locust Walk, I knew immediately that I had made the right decision. Only some time later did I realise that on the train I had been looking at Camden!
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • There are so many wonderful things to do in Melbourne. For sports lovers, you can see a game of Australian Football at our coliseum - the MCG; for foodies there is so much to choose from - at the top end there is Attic, in the middle there is the Builder's Arms, and then there is Huxtaburger for the cheap seats; if you like a drink you can grab whiskey all over the city, a beer in a historic pub, or coffee everywhere; if you like shopping I would recommend Gertrude Street; and if you like museums go to the Heide. But, one thing I love to do is visit Collected Works, which is a poetry only bookstore - run down and falling to bits but always with a few great gems.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • The best time of year for me was autumn. I would say, savour that time, savour how the light is thick and the trees are red and brown. I would say, enjoy the momentum of being back in school. I would say, get things done before Thanksgiving when you do down to the farm. I would say, find someone to cuddle up with for the winter. I would say, drink more tea and walk the grounds of Penn in the afternoon.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I am a poet. I know that my poetry is an artistic and ethical contribution to the world. That I can teach through my writing in ways that don't seem obvious at first. We need people to keep making, to solve problems together, to make an impact in ways that are surprising and fun. To me, my poetry does that precisely because I love working with words and I love sharing that with people.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • I am inspired by people everywhere. In India, where there is so much cruelty and so many barriers to equality, I am inspired by the resilient every people - the man on the street, the woman labouring, the waiter, the driver, the small businessman. 400m people here do not know where their next meal is coming from. That is what it is to live a bare and difficult life. Those are the people that keep me going, those are the people that I work for.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • I loved the Penn Relays. I love sport and I love competition. I would love it when the big circus comes to town. I love knowing that Usain Bolt ran there, that I could do laps where so many greats have been. I remember sitting in the stands watching people give it their best shot and I felt so attached to the spectacle and the place that I cherished it forever. Sharing it with friends really made me happy that I went to Penn in the first place.
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • I had so many wonderful classes and professors at Penn. There were people who really left a mark on me - Kathy Peiss, Kevin Platt, Randall Collins, Paul Guyer, Steve Hahn, Tom Sugrue. But perhaps most importantly, it was Charles Bernstein. I took his class 'Experimental Writing' and learned so much - about how to write, about how to read, about how to be. I also met the closest friend I have made at Penn, who now works on public health in the Congo. He was someone who I will always be thankful for meeting and without Charles that would not have been possible.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • I was active in a number of reading groups - post-colonial, nineteenth century American history, queer literature. But I also founded with friends Penn Against War, which sought to end American involvement in Afghanistan. What it also meant was lobbying for transparency on Penn's endowment investments to make sure they were being made ethically. In other words, how can the university make its money work for a society we can all be proud of - solar, environmental protection, the arts.
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • I lived in West Philadelphia the whole time I was at Penn. I used to go to Mariposa for my shopping, to Koch's for lunch, to Saad's for tea. Every evening I would have a couple of beers at Fiume. But I loved exploring the city. Philadelphia was the first real city I lived in. I used to play poker once a week and invariably we would find ourselves at some ungodly hour down at Pat's eating cheesesteaks. I used to go there for brunch at Sabrina's and to buy cheese at Di Bruno brothers. Then I loved the Ritz cinema and going to the Kimmel Centre. Every Wednesday, I would make dinner with Kevin Platt at his apartment in city centre. So, I go to know the city with its cracks and crevices and wrote my own stories about that place also.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Always the aisle, no matter if it is bus, train, plane. I want to be the guy you have to ask to let you pass rather than me stepping over you as you fall asleep. I never sleep when I travel. I find it a good time to get work done. That is why I love flying between Sydney and LA. That is 14 hours of pure work time.
  • Sebastian Sal
  • Sebastian Sal

    Current Global Engagement: Currently, I am working at Sal & Morchio – Attorneys at Law (www.sal-morchio.com.ar). Sal & Morchio is a "boutique" Law Firm - internationally recognized - specialized in Business Crimes. Our cases are among the most important in the country. Some of them involved international financial situations. It was because of my knowledge in Anti-Corruption Laws that I was contacted to create the International Association of Anticorruption Authorities (IAACA) in 2005. I am still working for the IAACA as a Spanish Speaking Coordinator. This position has allowed me to create an incredible network of contacts of Anti-Corruption Authorities all over the world. Besides, In 2010 I was appointed by the Argentinean Government as Governmental Expert for the UNCAC Review Mechanism. Recently, I was convoked to participate at a panel of an "in situ" visit of the OECD members in order to explain the situation of the anti -bribery laws in Argentina. I have been a Professor of Corporate Law (since 1990) and Business Crime (since 2005) at the Business School of the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

  • Read more about Sebastian Sal
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Many, but if I have to chose one I would say "Fiesta" by Ernest Hemingway.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Everything, the best time of my life!!!
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visitors to Argentina should eat a real "asado" (a kind barbecue).
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I think that the most important thing is that I am doing now is to teach at the University of Buenos Aires. It allows me to be in contact with students who are eager to learn and grow. Besides, I consider that my anti-corruption work help, little by little, to change the minds of the people.
    5. Who inspires you?
      • People who are open minded.
    6. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • The farewell ceremony, with the bag- pipers
    7. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • For me it was Criminal Law, with Mr. Morse, a genious.
    8. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • The Black Cat and White Dog.
    9. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • It depends.  If it is travel to a place that I do not know, I prefer window.  If not, aisle.
  • Sesto E Vecchi
  • Sesto E Vecchi

    Country:  Vietnam

    Background:  Sesto practices law in Vietnam where he has lived for 30 years.  His law firm, Russin & Vecchi, works in developing and middle income countries and has several offices in Asia.


    He went to Vietnam as a lawyer with the US Navy, and stayed when his Navy term ended.  He practiced law in Vietnam during the war from 1966 until 1975 when his office closed.  His firm reopened its office in 1993.  His firm’s practice is commercial and Russin & Vecchi represents many foreign companies in Vietnam.


    He has taught American contract law, American corporate law and legal English to members of the Vietnamese Bar Association.  He and a colleague have adapted a manual for journalists in Vietnam on important factors to keep in mind in order to report on domestic violence cases. 


    In addition to Vietnam, Sesto practiced for many years [8] in Thailand and many more [11] in New York.

  • Read more about Sesto E Vecchi
  • Sesto gave up serious tennis and took up golf in his 60’s.


    He and others have a small “Cigars and Poetry” group that reads (but doesn’t write) poetry over fine dining.  During 20 years it has mostly been a male club.  “It’s still a marvel to me how very quickly poetry peals away multiple outer layers and permits people to communicate at a very different, more intimate level.” 


    He is married to Camille who is from Vietnam.  They have two daughters, who live in the US--one is a medical doctor and the other is a lawyer.  They have six grandchildren.


    “I certainly love America”, says Vecchi, “but Vietnam is my home”. 


    I watch, with great interest, developments involving MOOC (massive online open courses).  Penn (a member of one such program, Coursera) and other great universities will need to be nimble in order to stay in the forefront of this fast moving development that opens up courses in the humanities and the sciences at a very affordable cost.  The book is still being written, of course, but it will bring great benefits to many students.  But today’s university life (and certainly the university experience I had) will change dramatically.


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • I’ve just finished reading a recent two-volume set by John McHugo, “A Concise History of the Arabs”, a glimpse of some very complex history and geography that brings us up to relatively recent events.  Following a 50 year pattern of alternatively reading fiction and non-fiction, I am now rereading two collections of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My life at Penn revolved around Sigma Chi Fraternity.  I lived in the house, made great friends there, and was an eager part of all its rituals (not just the secret ones); liverwurst, swiss cheese and onion on rye from Elrays, Sunday night with “Gunsmoke”, the house “exam files”, late winter afternoon crew practice on the Schuylkill, Skimmer Day.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • I live in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) but I speak here to both Saigon and Hanoi where I also spend time.  Saigon is full of movement.  Movement defines the place.  It’s the total energy of the city that is its attraction.  Your eyes are pulled from one thing to another: a knot of animated men drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, sitting on tiny stools; random sidewalk barbers; motorbikes hugely laden with families and unbelievable cargo; a street corner with a bicycle or shoe repairman, etc.  It is a chaotic, noisy and friendly place. 


        There are places with names like “The War Crimes Museum” or the Cu Chi (wartime, underground) tunnels and perhaps they have appeal to some.  I would prefer the commercial Vietnamese art galleries.  Vietnamese art is superb and the good galleries have a great variety of contemporary and classic Vietnamese art.


        You will also find great art galleries in Hanoi. Although the traffic is just as frantic, it is actually a more quiet city with wide, tree-lined streets and (still) many grand French colonial style buildings. Whole streets are turned into outdoor restaurants with beer and exotic foods that spring to life in the late afternoon and disappear by 9-10PM when the sidewalk reappears. With wide sidewalks, Hanoi is great for walking. There are more interesting organized sights too Museum of Natural History, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an old quarter, and several beautiful small lakes within the city.     

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • At Penn I met many people with very different backgrounds than I had.  This was hugely valuable, but there were many more people I missed.  I knew very few foreign students at Penn.  Certainly, if I returned, I would seek out more of them.  Of course, there are many more foreign students now than there were then.  I took as many courses as I could outside of Wharton--English, art, geography, and others.  I would do it again.  When I think of it, oddly, I had few female friends.  I certainly would change that too. 

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I have practiced law in developing countries (Vietnam and Thailand) for nearly 40 years.  I am a founder of our law firm that has specialized in practicing law in developing countries.  There is a great satisfaction working on issues that have never been faced, especially when you can bring to bear the experience and skills developed over many years.  I don’t refer just to grand projects, but there is satisfaction to deal even with small issues, to have a unique insight, to have a special way to look at a set of facts, to see a solution that may be common abroad, but unheard of locally.  There is much more.  It is a great experience to work with people eager to learn how others have solved problems.


        Vietnamese are wonderfully creative problem solvers.  There is an opportunity to learn how other people solve problems especially when resources or experience (or at least conventional resources/experience) are limited.

    6. Who inspires you?​

      • Certainly my Father.  He came to America from Italy as a boy, learned the barbering trade and made a life in a small town in upstate New York. He worked until he was 86, lived a healthy life to 100.  He was patriotic, joined the US Army in WWI, was a Rockefeller (moderate) Republican, voted consistently, attended church, and in every respect was determined to assume the responsibility of being an American.  With huge support from my Mother, he raised and sent three children to college.  He was an astute investor, and he and my Mother had a comfortable retirement.


        It’s not a remarkable story.  It’s a typical story for his generation of immigrants.  It’s a story that is repeated every day, even today.  My Father (and many like him) simply adopted the country.  He swore his allegiance totally to it, and he helped to define its middle class.  Despite the many absurdities of life in America and its many ills, there is also a magic that has been and continues to be created by many like my father, and I still believe in it.         

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Skimmer Day.

  • Sharon Udasin Shaniv
  • Sharon Udasin Shaniv

    Country:  Israel

    Current Global Engagement: After moving to Israel about five years ago and working initially as a freelance journalist, I began reporting for The Jerusalem Post in March 2010 – covering environment, energy, agriculture and transportation. Since then, the country has truly undergone a natural resource revolution, providing fascinating material for coverage on a daily basis, be it in the natural gas, solar energy or water sectors. I also enjoy the fact that while many of my stories do have political elements – as nearly all stories do – I am able to write about issues that are not solely focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although such coverage is of course crucial, so too is the economic and environmental development of the country.  Moving across the world has been both a challenging and highly rewarding process, and I feel truly grateful to have found such happiness and success in both my professional and personal lives. 

  • Read more about Sharon Udasin Shaniv
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • At Penn, my favorite books that I read and studied over the course of my English major were Vanity Fair and Lady Audley’s secret, entertaining and interesting works from the Victorian era. These days, as a forever Harry Potter fan, I am really enjoying the new JK Rowling (written as Robert Galbraith) detective series. 
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • While I have many specific fond memories, in general I really appreciate the togetherness of the students and particularly of the friends I made while at Penn. If you were studying at Van Pelt or Huntsman Hall at 2 a.m., there was always a close friend available to sip lukewarm coffee beside you.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Well, I live in a smaller city in Israel, called Rehovot – about 25 minutes south of Tel Aviv. In Rehovot, the must-see place is the Weizmann Institute of Science, a gorgeous international campus where scientists come from all over the world to pursue their research. But in Tel Aviv, the most must-see place in my eyes is the boardwalk along the beach, which stretches across nearly the entire western length of the city. There, residents and vacationers alike enjoy relaxation in the sun, gather at beachside cafes and play the ubiquitous Israeli racquetball sport “matkot” all day long.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • One strong piece of advice I would give myself would be to take some of the social pressures a bit more lightly. You don't need to attend every single party available to you. If you'd rather study for one weekend evening, or even simply relax, those people who really are your friends will remain your friends.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I hope that my reporting is having some impact, relaying news from Israel in English to the rest of the world. As I mentioned previously, I find great importance in the fact that my areas of coverage do not solely focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and instead allow me to explore an abundance of issues that have economic and environmental impacts both locally and internationally.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • In February, I was lucky enough to fly to Rwanda to cover the launch of an Israeli-American solar field on the campus of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, an hour outside the country’s capital. Meeting the village’s high school students, orphans from the Rwandan genocide, was truly inspiring. Their diligence and commitment to educating and improving themselves astounded me, and should be a model for children – rich or poor – around the world.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • I really enjoyed Hey Day, though more so as a junior than as a senior. It was fun to walk around the campus with all of your friends getting squirted with various condiments, reflecting on the three fun years you already shared together and the one you still had left at Penn.
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • My favorite course was probably a Jewish-French literature class I took my junior year with Prof. Maurice Samuels, though unfortunately a year later he moved to Yale University. In the English department, I also really enjoyed an Orwell and Hemingway class, as well as a travel literature class with Prof. David Espey.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • I worked at The Daily Pennsylvanian, and I was a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority (which I believe is no longer on campus).
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • I really enjoyed some of the restaurants both downtown and in Chinatown. My friends and I also spent time at most of the regular bars, near campus and downtown. In the non-nightlife category, I also enjoyed going running near the art museum and near the crew docks – always a beautiful view.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • I was a window girl for years, but these days, I prefer the aisle
  • Slava Kotov
  • Slava Kotov

    Country:  Russia

    I currently work for an independent exploration and production oil company focused on developing tight oil and unconventional reserves in Russia. Unconventional oil is currently on a forefront in energy sector, but Russia has to go a long way to catch up with leading global practices. As a corporate finance and investment professional I’m helping the company I work for to benefit as much as possible from transferring best global practices, technologies, and talent into Russia to help it become the leading Russian unconventional oil company. Oil and gas sector experienced a dramatic leap forward thanks to shale boom in the United States. Technologies, which to large extend were developed decades ago, combined with favorable investment environment, buildup of expertise and entrepreneurial environment with right incentives finally resulted into a significant value. My work focuses on identifying best practices, technologies and approaches and trying to adopt them to local environment, identifying and engaging investors, as well as working with the government on improving the incentives independent oil companies and investors have to invest capital into Russia oil ad gas sector.

  • Read more about Slava Kotov
  • Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. In my learning I most enjoy when theory and practice intersect and enhance each other. This book is a perfect collection of how human psychology, behavior, and decision-making intersects with economics and economic theory.

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • My fondest memory of Penn is, first and foremost, the community – my classmates, professors, staff, and everyone else who shapes the experience of every student. I believe that the scope of intellect, ambition, grit, and collaboration at Penn is what makes it one of the best schools in the world and one of its sustainable competitive advantages in evolving world of education and learning.

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Philadelphia is one of the most important places in US history. I recommend visiting and exploring the old city, together with refreshing the memory of what was happening in late 18th-19th centuries.

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • One thing I would recommend is stretching yourself to engage in as many groups and activities - professional, social, cultural, athletic.

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I believe in power of education and I try to promote it whenever possible.

    6. Who inspires you?

      • People who are not seeking easy solutions, but who are working hard towards a meaningful goal inspire me. Many of such people are entrepreneurs, thought leaders, educators.

    7. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?

      • Negotiations class taught by Stuart Diamond.

    8. Where did you hangout off campus?

      • Center City.

    9. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Window.

  • Taimur Awan
  • Taimur Awan

    Country:  United Arab Emirates

    Current Global Engagement:  Taimur, W’06, began his career as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan in New York. After five years in New York, Taimur got the entrepreneurial itch to transition from advising businesses to building them. He moved back to his hometown of Dubai to lead growth and strategy at a regional business services company. He most recently launched and operated a domestic logistics courier company which has subsequently successfully merged with a competitor to form one of the largest courier companies in the UAE. Taimur has also spent time as an operational consultant in Mozambique and received his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He serves as an alumni interviewer and is actively involved with Penn Club UAE.

  • Read more about Taimur Awan
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – an inspiring story that is worth reading more than once because it will mean different things to you at different points in your life.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • One of my fondest memories, although bittersweet, was waiting for my name to be called up on graduation day as I watched my classmates getting their diplomas. I remember enjoying seeing so many ear-to-ear smiles as they shook hands with the dean while receiving their diplomas – the reward for a four year journey that involved a lot of working hard and playing hard. The icing on the cake was the moment I received my diploma and had my own huge grin across my face.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • There are lots of things to do in Dubai. If I had to pick something a little less conventional, I would recommend camping in the desert. It’s great fun to set up a bonfire and appreciate the breeze at night.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • As much fun as I had living on a freshman floor in the high rises during my first year, I would recommend trying to get placed in the Quad as a freshman, even if it means writing an essay to get into one of the program floors.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I’m constantly looking at how to grow the business I work at so that we can employ more people. We hire a lot of recent graduates and providing them with a platform where they can gain experience, hone their skills and grow into more senior positions is rewarding.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • My parents.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Hey Day – I loved marching through campus with my classmates donning hats and canes as we celebrated our transition to officially becoming seniors.
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Negotiations – this class was my first exposure to psychology in a business context. Subsequent to my Negotiations class, I took as many behavioral classes as I could across various Wharton concentrations.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • SPEC, WQHS (student radio)
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Mostly South Street which has some great live music venues and quality cheesesteaks.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Aisle – I’ve successfully rehabilitated my knee from 4 separate anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgeries, so I always try to make sure I have easy access to the aisle to be able to walk around the plane, especially during long flights.
  • Tala Al Jabri
  • Tala Al Jabri
    Country: Saudi Arabia
     
    My work has focused on national sustainable growth strategy and job creation and capacity building of the local workforce in developing markets. In my work as a management consultant with Monitor Group, then Oliver Wyman, I was able to sere number of private and public sector clients across multiple industries in the Middle East and East Africa including oil&gas, agriculture, financial services, tourism and travel, and mega-events. In total, my project work has spanned 6 countries.
     
    I took a six month leave of absence from my management consulting job to work for the Ethiopian Agricultural transformation Agency out of Addis Ababa where I lead projects to support a transformation in the agricultural sector that would support a better livelihood for smallholder farmers. There, I lead the completion of Ethiopia's first agricultural mechanization sector, plotting key bottlenecks and developing interventions to circumvent them.
  • Read more about Tala Al Jabri
  • After working in management consulting for a few years, I moved to work for Dow Chemical in Saudi Arabia, my home country. There, I was Head of Government Strategy where I led a government strategy that enables Dow to become a key development partner for the government and where I was a relationship manager for Dow with key government stakeholders.
     
    In my downtime, I provide commentary on issues relating to economic development, culture and politics in the Arab World. I have been published in Khaleej Times and News Deeply.
     
    I am a fan of volunteering both at a local and an international level. My two fondest experiences include my work as a global shaper with the World Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia and an English Teacher for Project Hope, an NGO based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that supported refugees.

    Q & A

    1. What books would you recommend to others?
      • Why Nations Fail - Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
      • Islam and Human Rights - Wharton's own Ann Elizabeth Mayer
      • The Warren Buffet Way - Robert G. Hagstrom
      • Orientalism - Edward Said
      • Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Partaking in Wharton's pre-term Olympics where I had the chance to compete against different clusters in Soccer and tug of war!
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Have a swim in the Red Sea where we have a coral reef that is among the World's most biodiverse.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • There is an overwhelming number of activities to get involved in while at Penn, think ahead and prioritize what you want to do! (and yes, absolutely get involved in extra-curricula’s!)
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • I believe that the agricultural mechanization strategy which I played a leading role in developing will be able to impact the livelihoods of the nearly 70 MM smallholder farmers in Ethiopia who now do not have access to it.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • My mother is my biggest inspiration, she is a pioneer in Saudi Arabia, being the first woman in the country to create and run her own professional services company.
    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • Wharton in particular has a great tradition when it comes to their Welcome Weekend for newly admitted candidates. It was a great way to have fun and learn about the school!
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • I have many favourites! My most distinct is being taught "Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership" by Adam Grant.
    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • I took part in both professional, political and cultural clubs: Wharton Impact Investing Partners, Tech Club, FinTech club, Middle East & North Africa Club, Energy Club, Wharton Latin American Student Association, Cluster Council, Europa! Club, Penn Students for Justice in Palestine, Russian Club, Politics & Public Policy Club
    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • 2116 Chestnut, otherwise known as the unofficial Wharton dormitory.
    11. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • My many years working as a management consultant have biased me to always choose the aisle seat.
  • Venkatesh Saha
  • Venkatesh Saha

    Country:  Rwanda

    Background:  I graduated from Penn in 2002 with degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. On my return to India, I began my career with ICICI Bank, India’s largest private-sector financial institution, where worked both in investment banking and in microfinance. Subsequently, I joined Bain & Co., where I advised a number of Indian and international companies on strategic issues.

  • Read more about Venkatesh Saha
  • Most recently, I worked for the Office of Tony Blair – Africa Governance Initiative, where I was seconded to the government of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Based in Kigali, I served as the strategic advisor to the Hon. John Rwangombwa, Finance Minister. I worked on a number of key projects that included supporting the bid-process for the new Kigali International Airport, expanding public-private partnerships and other policy issues. Outside of work, I have an active interest in education and helped start a vocational training center in Mumbai catered to underprivileged youth.


    I returned to Penn in 2012 and have recently graduated with an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute. On campus, I continued to be involved in Africa by serving as the Teaching Assistant for a class entitled, ‘Conflict, Leadership and Change: Lessons from Rwanda’, taught jointly by Professors Katherine Klein (Vice Dean for Social Impact at Wharton) and Eric Kacou (WG ’04). I was excited to bring 60 of my peers to Africa and help them understand what makes Africa unique and in many ways, special. 


    Q & A

    1. What book are you reading now?
      • I am currently reading “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarianism in the 21st Century”, by Dr. James Orbinski, who received the Nobel Prize on behalf of Medecins Sans Frontieres, the organization that he was heading at the time (Doctors without borders).

        He writes about his experiences doing humanitarian work in the some of the world’s biggest crisis regions: Somalia, Darfur, Sudan, the Balkans and Rwanda. In his book, he raises poignant questions about the role and effectiveness of the UN and other multi-lateral agencies in resolving these crises. He also questions whether non-profits such as MSF should be strictly neutral while crimes against humanity are taking place.  These questions are even more relevant in light of what we see in Syria, Mali and elsewhere. 

    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • The friendships that I made: Penn brings together unique people from all over the world and I was incredibly privileged to meet some amazing people and build bonds that will certainly last a lifetime.

        On a separate note, I am always amazed by the Penn connections that I make all over the world. Recently I was hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the hike, I met Wharton and Nursing graduates, Anujeeta Kirupanathan and Carol Hanselman, who were spending a year in Burundi as Medical Directors of a medical training non-profit. Once we established that we all had spent four memorable years in Philadelphia, the rest of the hike was filled with trading stories from campus and the fun things we had done. 

    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • I most recently lived in Kigali, Rwanda. The genocide museum and memorial is a must-do for any visitor. It serves as a stark memory of the events of 1994 and a fitting tribute to all those people who lost their lives. Kigali is also the base to travel to the Virunga Mountains (on the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo), the only home to the last 700 odd mountain gorillas in the world. After a trek that can last anywhere between an hour to six hours, one can observe these gorillas at close range. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • I enjoyed my classes (well, most), but I also learnt a lot from the clubs and activities that I was involved with. For instance, I was fortunate to be the undergraduate chair of the Wharton India Economic Forum, the largest student-run conference on Indian issues. It was a lot of responsibility and it gave me the opportunity to learn more about my strengths and areas for improvement. Looking back, I wish I had the time to 1) be more involved and 2) attend more talks by the amazing speakers that visit campus every day.  

    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Over the last 3 years, I have been mentoring a young social entrepreneur by the name of Ramesh. At the age of 20, Ramesh started a non-profit, Aashansh, that works with homeless children in Mumbai through after-school programs. Starting with a group of children that met after school in an open field, Ramesh now supports over 30 kids across two locations in Mumbai. I have helped Ramesh with fundraising, identifying and hiring the right board members and planning for the future. While the impact in terms of the number of children is small, I am optimistic for Aashansh’s future.

    6. Who inspires you?​

      • First, my parents and my family. I have also been privileged to have had many amazing mentors along the way both at Penn and in my career and I am grateful for their support and guidance. 

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

      • Walnut Walk – it’s not just a Philadelphia tradition anymore, but is now becoming a mainstay of Penn alumni gatherings around the world. Most recently, the Penn Club of Mumbai headed by Ramanan Raghavendran and Radhika Gupta organized a ‘Walnut Walk’ in Mumbai for alumni and it was attended by hundreds of Penn alums in the region

  • Victor Taylor
  • Victor Taylor

    Country:  Argentina

    Current Global Engagement:Victor worked in the Pharmaceutical industry for 8 years. He specialized in marketing products for auto-immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis in Argentina, launching Abbott's blockbuster product to date. He later left the Corporate world to join family business in farming and financial investments. He has also taught Economics and Business for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at St. Andrew's Scots School in Buenos Aires for three years.

  • Read more about Victor Taylor
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Studying and playing cards in Houston Hall (although that cafeteria no longer exists, unfortunately!) Making friends from around the world.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • All visitors to Buenos Aires must have a home made grill or "asado".
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Try to make use of all the University has to offer. There is so much to do, that it is hard to keep track of. I would have done more sports, taken lessons, used the gym, participated in more clubs, etc.
    5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
      • Advocating for recycling in Argentina, which is very delayed from a global perspective.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Mahatma Gandhi.
    7. What was your favorite class and/or professor?
      • Philosophy of Space and Time, taught by Zoltan Domotor. This was not in my major, but an amazing breath of fresh air. With my friend Javier, we would not let professor Domotor go after class, and kept asking him questions!
    8. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Rittenhouse Square; Kaskey Park (behind the Quad, we used to call it "Bio-pond" or something like that); South Street; friends' houses in West Philly.
    9. When you travel do you prefer window or aisle?
      • Aisle; I can sometimes stretch at least ONE leg.
  • Yury Glazkov
  • Yury Glazkov

    Country:  Russia

    Current Global Engagement: Yury is a strategy consultant in Russia where he has lived for over 25 years. He is a part of Bain & Company and serves local and international companies that operate in countries of the former Soviet Union. The firm established its presence in the region in the early 1990-ies and currently has offices in Moscow, Russia and Kiev, Ukraine.    Originally from a Siberian city Novosibirsk in Russia, he moved to Kiev to join Bain & Company in 2008 and then came back to the firm’s Moscow office in 2014 after completing an MBA program in The Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.    He has been a generalist consultant and worked in a wide range of industries including agriculture, consumer goods, financial services, industrial goods, publishing, and transport.     Outside work he has been engaged in charity initiatives helping an orphanage for disabled children to get funding for rehabilitation equipment purchases and premises maintenance.    Yury is passionate about wine tasting and acts as a sommelier for his friends regularly organizing wine & cheese nights.    He enjoys playing soccer even though he started playing it at the age of 22 and doesn’t miss his firm’s corporate international soccer competition Bain World Cup.

  • Read more about Yury Glazkov
  • Q & A

    1. What book would you recommend to others?
      • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
    2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
      • Taking the 2nd place in Left Bank Bordeaux Cup, a wine tasting competition.
    3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
      • Visit the exhibition of the "Diamond fund" in Moscow Kremlin.
    4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
      • Life is short, time flies fast, be intense, carpe diem

    5. What have you done, or are doing now, that you believe has the most impact?
      • Turning around large old local enterprises that have Soviet Union heritage.
    6. Who inspires you?
      • Sherlock Holmes

    7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?
      • MBA Pub
    8. What were your favorite classes and/or professors?
      • Negotiations, Stuart Diamond

    9. What student groups did you participate in when you were at Penn?
      • PE&VC Club, Finance Club, Wine Club, Soccer Club

    10. Where did you hangout off campus?
      • Rittenhouse Square, Old City, Fairmount Park,  Schuylkill Banks

  • Global Activity Map
  • Global Activity Map
  • An interactive map that showcases global opportunities for students, global activities of faculty, and the global reach of our alumni.

Penn Alumni Travel

Penn Alumni Travel offers a wide variety of tours to destinations around the world. Trips provide a rich travel experience thanks to their educational character, unique access to special lectures with Penn faculty, and the camaraderie of like-minded intellectually curious travelers. To find out more, please visit the Penn Alumni Travel site.