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Academic Year 2018-2019
Undergraduate Chair: James Goh, Singapore
Graduate Chair: David Socol, Spain
Vice Chair: Simisola Afolayan, Nigeria
James is a junior from Singapore, studying Economics and Statistics. Through ISAB, he hopes to make student life more enriching for all international students, through the organization of more social activities, more interactions between different cultural groups and raising awareness about the cultural diversity at Penn. In addition, he is also interested in economics, public policy, and international development, and is actively involved in numerous social impact consulting clubs at Penn, serving clients that range from Cambodia to Ghana.
David Uriel Socol de la Osa is an internationally trained lawyer. He has a dual degree in law and political science from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, having also attended the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas School of Law as an international student. He has experience both in the public and private sector - having contributed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain, both in central services and the Consulate General in New York; as well as firms like Baker & McKenzie. He was born in Spain, though he holds an Argentinian passport. His family migrated to Argentina during the Holocaust from the Slavic countries. He has competed in basketball at a high level, and is an avid musician. Here at Penn, David is on the board for Penn Law's International Human Rights Advocates, is an International Associate Editor for the Journal of International Law, and is the founder and president of the Mixed Martial Arts Club.
Simisola Afolayan is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Biology with a minor in ASL. She was born and raised in Kaduna, North West Nigeria. She is passionate about helping international students transition and adapt effectively to being in a fast-paced environment like Penn. It is a goal of hers to contribute to developing and publicizing strategies that would particularly aid African International students to adjust effectively and relatively quickly so they are proper equipped to catch what Penn throws at them. In her free time she likes to sing, listen to Bob Marley and dance to Afrobeat music.
Monique Arnold is a first year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine originally from Kingston, Jamaica. Prior to coming to PennMed, she worked for three years in economic and litigation consulting at the firm Cornerstone Research in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, she earned her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University. She is interested in global surgery, as well as innovative healthcare solutions and the business of healthcare, and thus am interested in PennHealthX and the Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (H-MET) and Academic Surery certificates at PennMed. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, shopping at boutiques and watching movies and documentaries. She is really passionate about ensuring there are adequate and transparent career and advanced degree opportunities for international students, and is very excited to collaborate with ISAB and ISSS this year!
Efe Ayhan is a sophomore in the School of Engineering and Applied Science majoring in Computer Science and Economics. He was born in Izmir, and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. His academic interests include machine learning, AI and big data. In his career he wants to focus on the applications of such technologies in medicine and decision making. His involvement in windsurfing allowed him to visit many countries in Europe and the Middle East for a variety of competitions, and through his volunteer work in South India, and research internship project in Aachen, Germany, he got to live in extended durations in different countries and experience different cultures. He loves learning about new cultures and is passionate about helping international students. On campus he is involved with ISAB and AIS, aiming to help international students find their new home in the US, at Penn, in any way he can.
Julia was born and raised in Malmö, Sweden with a Swedish mother and French father. She is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in PPE with a minor in Consumer Psychology. My hobbies include playing piano (started at the age of 3), cooking, painting and drawing. Before coming to Penn, she took a gap year and worked with multiple NGO's. She was also Head Coordinator for EducationUSA Student Corps in Scandinavia where she organized college fairs, provided one-on-one counseling with students looking to apply to US universities and handled the relations between high schools and US college representatives. She has also worked with the European Youth Parliament since 2012 and have met and discussed various political issues with delegates and officials from all over the world. She is looking forward to gathering all my experiences with international influences to help contribute to a positive and supportive environment for all international students at Penn!
Kim Fernandes is a second year doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development at the Graduate School of Education. Prior to coming to Penn, she worked with the Ministry of Rural Development (Government of India), the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Teach For India. She earned her Ed. M. in International Education Policy from Harvard's Graduate School of Education and her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Kim enjoys reading, writing, traveling and teaching, and is excited for the collaborations that ISAB will foster this year!
Gergely is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences planning to major in Economics. He was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, however, he also studied at a boarding school in Pittsburgh. Gergely has attended various international conferences (for debating and Model UN) so he has experienced the positive impact a strong international community has. He is committed to making sure that all international students at Penn are successful while having a great time. He would especially like to address issues that first generation low-income international students face. Outside of school, Gergely is passionate about all things water-sport related, having been a competitive kayaker himself. He also enjoys listening to all kinds of music from classical through pop to rap, and would never turn down a good Netflix marathon.
Handerson Mwandembo is a first-year MBA student at The Wharton School, majoring in Finance and Business Analytics. A native Swahili speaker, Handerson was born and raised in Kenya and has occasionally, had the experience of moving and settling in a new city. Prior to joining Wharton, he worked in Management Consulting across Africa and the UK, specializing in modelling and data analytics. Handerson is a great fan of Verdi’s operas and is also working to build a collection of African classical music from 60’s to the 90’s. Handerson looks forward to the year ahead, working with ISAB to enhance the experience of international students and strengthen the community.
Mohammad Oulabi is from Aleppo, Syria. He is currently a sophomore studying Logic Information and Computation. As a student who has resettled in different countries several times, he is aware of the difficulties international students face when they first travel to the US to come to Penn. While he was personally pleasantly surprised with the amount of effort ISSS does to welcome international students and make them feel home, by joining ISAB and working with ISSS and other administrators, he plans on doing his best to ensure that international students not only feel welcome when they first arrive, but that they do so throughout their entire time at Penn.
Stefan Tzvetanov is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Economics and Mathematics with minors in Statistics and Hispanic Studies. Originally from Bulgaria, he has studied in a boarding school in the United Kingdom, and this experience has helped me understand the power of diversity and the problems international students face. Stefan is interested in data science and predictive modeling. He loves playing football (soccer) and skiing.
Derya is a sophomore in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is from Turkey. As a computer engineering major, she is planning on going to law school after college. You can find her at Starbucks enjoying her coffee or at the library studying, or working out. As an international, she has faced a lot of challenges coming to Penn so would love to help anyone out with their own experience.
So Yoshida is a first year MBA student at The Wharton School. He was born and mostly grew up in Tokyo, Japan. Before Wharton, he worked for Japanese commercial bank for 12 and half years. For about recent 8 years, he dedicated himself to the function of corporate management, such as strategic planning, resource allotment, and business performance evaluation. He pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of Tokyo, during which he studied economics and enjoyed playing the classic guitar in the Classic Guitar Club at the university.
Cecilia is a Master's student in the International Educational Development program at the Graduate School of Education. She calls Beijing, China home, but spent the past few years studying at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She loves photography and enjoy taking long walks with her walking buddies.
Academic Year 2017-2018
Undergraduate Chair: Lina Qostal, Morocco
Graduate Chair: David Socol, Spain
Vice Chair: James Goh, Singapore
Academic Year 2016-2017
Graduate Chair: Fangming Li (outgoing) Mahvish Ilyas, Pakistan (incoming)
Undergraduate Chair: Chhavi Aggarwal
Vice Chair: Mitchelle Matesva, Zimbabwe
Academic Year 2015-2016
Graduate Chair: Fangming Li, China/Canada
Undergraduate Co-Chairs: Valerio Imperatore, Italy
Bill Ding, China
Academic Year 2014-2015:
Graduate Chair: Benjamin Partridge, UK
Undergraduate Chair: Erica Aduh, NigeriaVice Chair: Jussi Lundstedt, Finland
Academic Year 2013-2014:
Graduate Chair: Benjamin Partridge, UK
Undergraduate Chair: Frederick Jiacheng Ding, Canada
Academic Year 2012-2013:
Graduate Chair: Kwadwo Tettey, Ghana
Undergraduate Chair: Sofia Bernier, Chile
Academic Year 2011-2012:
Graduate Chair: Qiwei Shi, China
Undergraduate Chair: Lorenzo Beacco, Italy
Academic Year 2010-2011:
Graduate Chair: Phoebe So, United Kingdom
Undergraduate Chair: Trixie Canivel, Philippines
Academic Year 2009-2010:
Graduate Chair: Manisha Joshi, India
Undergraduate Chair: Amal Rahuman, Sri Lanka
Academic Year 2008-2009:
Graduate Chair: Anne Katrin Arnold, Germany
Undergraduate Chair: Annabelle Hache, Dominican Republic
Academic Year 2007-2008:
Graduate Chair: Zehua Li, China
Undergraduate Chair: Alexander Giannakakis, Egypt