UHS Alumni+Student Symposium
Symposium Presenters and Panelists:
Please note that this page is under ongoing construction, and new presenters and panelists will be added daily!
Click here to see information on the symposium and other Reunion Weekend events.
Will Bartlett '93
Parallax Volatility Advisors
Will has been involved with equity options since 1995 and has been with Parallax since 1996. Parallax manages a complex portfolio of listed and over the counter volatility positions on global equities, indexes, ETFs, and commodity futures. Prior to joining Parallax, Will worked on the floor of the Pacific Coast Exchange while earning his degree in economics. He proudly serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the Town School for Boys, and is a member of The Guardsmen, an organization helping at-risk youth in the Bay Area.
Rachel Becker '13
Rachel Becker is a bilingual doula based in San Francisco. She provides prenatal, birth, and postpartum support to birthing people and their families. Her care is guided by trauma-informed and intersectional practices in an effort to improve maternal health outcomes for vulnerable communities. She works closely with the Homeless Prenatal Program to support homeless and low-income clients and volunteers at San Francisco General Hospital. Rachel is currently organizing for community-based doulas in San Francisco to be paid for their work in the low-income communities they serve.
Audrey Benison Hemesath '92
Assistant US Attorney
Audrey has served in the Criminal Division of the Office of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of California since 2004.
Derek Brinkman '93
LuckyLand (VGW US)
My career path started at an ad agency, took an early entrepreneurial turn starting an import company, and eventually settled into the technology world. I joined register.com as a marketer, but quickly realized I was drawn to product design and management. Over 15 years I have designed website-building products, an online advertising exchange, a PC video game distribution platform, a premium video game subscription program, five separate social casino games, and also founded a VR video production studio. My current focus is applying a sweepstakes-based business model to social casino games. I am the general manager of the game and run the US-based subsidiary of VGW.
Eric Brown '93
I have a 20-year career in online media. I started as an editor in the '90s, got my MBA, and then moved into business intelligence in the mid-2000s. Currently I'm an analytically-focused product manager for NerdWallet for the credit cards team. Previous place I've worked at include Bleacher Report and Yahoo.
Jason Cauthen '96
Jason is a director of market intelligence at Intel, where he leads a team that identifies business, industry, and technology trends and uses those learnings to influence Intel's strategy and roadmap. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two young sons.
Mike Chamberlain '88
Deputy Attorney General, CA
Mike Chamberlain is a deputy attorney general in the Criminal Division of the California Department of Justice. He has been a state prosecutor since 2002. Mike splits his time between litigation of felony appeals and serving as counsel for California’s Bureau of Forensic Services. He has tried dozens of cases to verdict, argued multiple times in the California Supreme Court, and been involved in the litigation of several cases before the US Supreme Court. Mike provides advice, training, and consultation on DNA/forensic evidence topics to law enforcement and prosecutors statewide and nationally, and teaches at the UC Davis Forensic Science Master’s Program.
Lisa Congdon '93
The Prado Group
Lisa focuses on residential and mixed-used development and renovation projects in San Francisco and Marin. Prior to joining The Prado Group, Lisa was a dispositions associate and oversaw nearly a billion dollars in dispositions in the transactions group at AMB Property Corporation. Prior to AMB, Lisa was an analyst in the acquisitions group at Lend Lease Real Estate Investments where she was responsible for real estate valuation, underwriting and due diligence for approximately $500 million in acquisitions. Lisa holds a Master’s in city and regional planning, with a concentration in community development.
Ayana Curry '93
Law Offices of John Burris
Ayana graduated with degrees in political science and African American studies, and went on to obtain her law degree. She began her legal career as a Deputy Attorney General in California, and then as Senior Assistant District Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently practices civil rights litigation, specializing in police misconduct and employment discrimination matters, with the Law Offices of John Burris in Oakland. Ayana credits UHS and Summerbridge for fostering her commitment to volunteering and sits on the boards of nonprofit organizations that address issues of inclusion and equity through education.
Matt Farron '98
Matt is responsible for analyzing and executing new investments in the consumer products sectors for Gryphon Investors, a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. Since 1997, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $50 million to $200 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $100 million to $500 million. Matt is currently a director of The Original Cakerie (Dessert Holdings) and Matrixx Initiatives (Zicam), and is a trustee of UHS.
Erica Fortescue '93
Erica is currently the head of Co-Lab and resident Creativity Architect at Funworks, a creative agency headquartered in Oakland. She holds dual master's in educational curriculum design and educational policy. Erica has advised and trained executives in creative collaboration, working with organizations ranging from Intel, ESPN, and Disney, to Maker Media, the American Library Association, and the San Francisco Unified School District. Before Funworks, she launched the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which supported world-renowned academics in various brain science and creativity research projects. Her first teaching job was at Summerbridge.
Dan Frost '98
Education & Technology
Dan has been an educator in SFUSD for ten years and has always been an avid implementor of technology in his classrooms. He currently works as a digital learning partner in the Department of Technology at SFUSD helping teachers, administrators, and other staff integrate technology into their practice more effectively and efficiently. He develops and delivers training sessions and professional development series, leads and facilitates initiatives around digital implementation in schools, and advises administration on how to integrate technology use more thoughtfully for their whole school. He is currently spearheading the Digital Citizenship initiative for SFUSD.
Benicia Gantner '88
Benicia has exhibited widely in the US and has been commissioned to make site-specific work by the Oakland Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. Her work is included in the collections of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Crocker Art Museum, as well as numerous private and corporate collections. Gantner has a BA in studio art and religion, and received her MFA in printmaking. Gantner currently lives and works in the Bay Area.
Alex Gelber '98
UC Berkeley & The National Bureau of Economic Research
Alex is a tenured associate professor at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research concerns public finance and labor economics. From 2012–2013, he served as deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the US Treasury Department, and in 2013 he served as acting chief economist at Treasury. He currently works with private sector firms as a consultant on economics, data analysis, and public policy, and is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics.
Tony Goodman '98
Politics & Construction
Tony has spent more than a decade working in the construction industry on projects ranging from the vice president's laundry room to new border crossings in Montana. Meanwhile, he was elected to multiple terms as a commissioner for a downtown neighborhood in Washington, DC, and served as chairman for the District's Pedestrian Advisory Council. Since 2016 he has served as chief of staff to DC Councilmember David Grosso, where he continues to advocate for pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and helps with oversight of government construction projects and the public school system.
John Grubb '93
Business & Public Policy
Bay Area Council
John is chief operating officer at the Bay Area Council, where he is responsible for the organization’s government relations, public policy, advocacy, and China operations. The Council is the voice of the San Francisco-Silicon Valley Bay Area’s largest companies. Each year, John is tasked with implementing the annual vision of improvements for the Bay Area developed by the CEOs of these companies. Before joining the Bay Area Council, John worked at Hill and Knowlton and Porter Novelli, two of the world’s largest public relations agencies. He volunteers his time as chair of the Sleepy Hollow Charitable Foundation.
Will Hartley '89 (Sponsor)
Will is the founder and president of Slingshot Foods, a company producing natural foods made to boost energy and packaged so that they're easy to take on the go.
David Hopkins '02
Creative Expansion, LLC
David Hopkins is a social entrepreneur, sales strategist, published author, and motivational speaker. He is Founder of Creative Expansion LLC, an impact-driven sales and marketing consulting company that advises business leaders, book authors, and charitable organizations to grow “profits with a purpose” to address pressing social and environmental issues.
Larissa Hsia-Wong '03
Larissa attended the Chinese American International School, where her love for languages was born. At UHS. she studied Spanish and at Georgetown University, while continuing her Chinese studies, she learned French and Japanese. Upon graduating from college she was asked to serve as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Togo. Upon her return, she pursued her Master's of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She then spent six years living Taiwan, where she taught at the Kaohsiung American School and Taipei American School. Larissa now teaches kindergarten at her alma mater (CAIS).
Terrel Hutton '88
Terrel has a passion for helping public benefit organizations increase the impact of their work. She has two decades of experience in fundraising; communications; strategic planning and impact evaluation for media, environmental and educational organizations. Her lifelong love of the outdoors has translated into working to protect our rivers and advance sustainable solutions to water management. She is currently director of advancement for River Partners, a statewide organization restoring floodplain forests and re-wilding California rivers. Terrel serves on the Advisory Board of San Francisco Baykeeper, as well as giving campaign co-chair for her children’s public elementary school.
Elizabeth Jensen-Blumberg '96
Dr. Jensen works as an internal medicine hospitalist. Over the past decade she has served on and chaired multiple hospital committees, as well as worked as a physician advisor liaison between hospital administration and physicians at two different hospitals. She currently serves as one of the directors for her group, Bay Area Hospitalist Associates, and is one of the eight members of the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.
Justin Kagin '98
Justin is a PhD in agriculture and resource economics. He is the founder and owner of Kagin’s Consulting, a consulting firm helping to alleviate poverty worldwide. Clients have included government ministries, UNFAO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNILO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, universities, and NGOs. He is the founder and director of the Economic Diplomacy and Integrity Forum. The forums and conferences teach ethical principles and values to combat the corruption, unemployment, and poverty globally.
Guru Khalsa '06
At UHS, Guru Khalsa did a lot of theater and goofing around in the Lower Campus computer lab. Now, he spends his working time improving software. He does that by coding and by talking about it with other people. For fun, he surfs and kiteboards.
Gregory Kielian '03
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to build cool gadgets and save the world. Along the way, I learned that other people also love building cool gadgets and working to save the world. I learned physics, biochemistry, electrical engineering, and software development through school, adventured through the start-up world, spoke to folks from hackerspaces all over, and eventually co-founded a nonprofit, foodRev, which combines our efforts in tech with down-to-earth needs.
Cameron Kramlich '98
Retail & Business
After graduating from UHS Cameron's career spans the entire spectrum of the innovation economy including stints investment banking in London, a number of years in venture capital based in both Hong Kong + Shanghai and most recently as a serial entrepreneur. He has served as an investor or founder of projects as wide ranging as the semiconductor company that designed sound chips for iPods, to a social learning platform in China that serves millions of children per day, and the largest independent retailer in Alaska. He currently leads Odge which empowers better decision making by enabling the discovery and delivery of structured date. Where others see problems, Cameron discovers opportunity.
Mark Kushner '79
A UHS alum and parent, Mark is a national education leader. A former high school English teacher, coach, attorney, head of school and CEO, he founded the first charter high school in California (based on UHS!), and later founded many cutting-edge schools. He is currently working on a student assessment company. He teaches at Stanford, and has served on numerous school boards. Honors include the Harvard Club of San Francisco’s Educator of the Year Award, and the Hart Vision Award, the highest award given to charter school educators in California.
Sydney La Londe Blumenkranz '04
First Republic Bank
Since graduating from UHS, Sydney went to college and graduate school on the East Coast and has lived in Paris, New York, London, and Washington, DC. She started her career in PR and then spent five years in the art world at Christie's. In 2014, she moved back to San Francisco for a job at IDEO. Now, she is the marketing director for business banking at First Republic Bank.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder '88
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP is the Michael A. Gertz Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Linder has expertise in using behavioral science and social psychology to understand and change behavior, as well as the use of electronic health records and clinical decision support. Dr. Linder has participated in the development or evaluation of interventions to improve management of acute respiratory infections, coronary artery disease, diabetes, tobacco treatment, and cancer screening.
Alex Mann '86
Alex Mann is the co-founder and CEO of ClickTime, a San Francisco-based SaaS company. He received his BA in economics and previously held roles in IT consulting, film and television effects, and multimedia production. Alex currently serves on the boards of Basis Technology and the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living.
Kathryn McKinley '05
Always a questioner who liked to look at issues from various perspectives, Kathryn graduated with honors in social studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies. She worked in marketing strategy, and then obtained a joint Master’s in a unique joint degree program that grants students an MBA, an MEM, and a Certificate in Design. She is currently at the innovation and product consulting firm fuseproject, working as a senior strategist with a focus on product and portfolio planning. She helps clients and startup partners anticipate the future, find new opportunities, launch new products, grow their business, and succeed.
Justin McMahan '93 (Keynote)
Justin is a director at Citibank. He has been with Citi since 2009 in capital markets origination and the private bank in New York, Dubai, and the Bay Area. Justin holds a BA, an MBA, and an MSc, where he concentrated on finance and foreign policy. His professional affiliations include the Aspen Group, Society of International Business Fellows, and Georgetown.
Sherief Meleis '88
Sherief is an executive vice president of Novantas, a New York-based management consultancy, technology solutions, and data provider to financial institutions. Sherief co-founded Novantas in 1999, and currently manages the firm’s West Coast business. Sherief has particular expertise on issues of bank strategy, channel management, and pricing, and has supported banks in the US, Canada, Australia, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Sherief has been actively involved in immigrant issues for years. He was a long-time board chair and helped found the Arab American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, which has grown to be the largest social services agency serving Arab Americans in the Northeast.
Bonnie Morrison '93
Bonnie Morrison has worked in marketing, communications, and strategic brand development for fashion designers and retail companies for over 15 years. Her clients have included some of the most renowned brands in the United States and Europe, including Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, Zac Posen, and Coach.
Dr. Andrea Niles '03
The San Francisco VA & University of California, SF
Dr. Niles is a postdoctoral research fellow in psychiatry at the San Francisco VA and the University of California, San Francisco. She completed her PhD in clinical psychology. Her research interests fall into two broad categories: to improve the effectiveness of anxiety- and trauma-related disorder treatment through identification and experimental manipulation of treatment mechanisms and personalized medicine, and to better understand the overlap between psychological and medical illness with a focus on biological mechanisms of anxiety that increase risk for diseases of aging. She also has expertise in administration of cognitive behavioral therapies for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Courtney Sakai '88
Courtney assists the East-West Center president in building upon the Center’s established legacy as a preeminent organization focused on the Asia-Pacific region. She leads institutional strategies for marketing and communications and for diversifying the institution’s funding base among public and private donors and partners in the US and internationally. She was previously senior vice president of global development for Oceana in Washington, DC. Courtney has also served as vice president of the Coalition of Services Industries, an award-winning PR and public affairs practitioner, a deputy assistant secretary of the California Resources Agency, and on the professional and political staffs of California Governor Pete Wilson.
Daria Saraf '91
Sotheby's International Realty
After majoring in comparative religion at Columbia University, I went on to work in the film business. In the process of buying a micro home for myself in Manhattan, I become obsessed with and passionate about real estate. I joined The Corcoran Group and learned the business from Barbara Corcoran. I have been selling homes for 17 years, in New York and now in San Francisco, and am excited to share the myriad benefits of this industry including: being your own boss, high income, flexibility of work schedule, and the opportunity to connect with and help people.
Bella Shen Garnett '93
Upon graduation, I worked for an orthodontist as an associate in Manhattan. In 2005, I moved back to San Francisco and started a private practice from scratch. I opened my second Bella Smile practice this last May, 2017. I treat both children adults and am now the top Invisalign orthodontist in the Bay Area/West Coast. I lecture for Invisalign and Propel Orthodontics, and am a leader in accelerated treatment.
Anne Tolpegin '88
Broadway: A Tale of Two Cities (Madame DeFarge Standby), Les Misérables (Head Whore, Madame T u/s). National Tour: Kinky Boots (Marge), Billy Elliot (Mum), Ragtime (Mother), Mamma Mia!(Donna/Rosie u/s), Les Misérables. Off Broadway: Barrow Street Theatre: Standby for Carolee Carmello, Sweeney Todd (Mrs Lovett), MCC: Standby for Marin Mazzie, Carrie (Margaret White). TV:Marvel’s “Iron Fist” (S2), USA’s “Mr. Robot” (S2) From San Francisco, Anne has toured North America, Mexico and Japan (Tokyo Phil-harmonic).
Dr. Tiffanie Tse '03
The Permanente Medical Group
Tiffanie is a general pediatrician in San Rafael with The Permanente Medical Group. She completed her Pediatric Residency at UC Irvine/Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and served an additional year there as chief resident. In her practice, Tiffanie enjoys working with families to support the growth, development, and health of children and teens. One of the most rewarding aspects of Tiffanie’s career is the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with families.
Jessica Vapnek '81
UC Hastings Law School
After college, Jessica served in the Peace Corps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She returned to the Bay Area to attend law school, and after clerking for two federal judges, she spent a year in Ghana on a Fulbright Fellowship. Afterwards, she worked as a legal officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. Since last August, she has been managing the international programs, teaching, writing, and advising international students at UC Hastings Law School. Jessica has worked in or traveled to 91 countries during her career. She moved back to the US in 2009 and worked for 7 years for a consulting company implementing rule-of-law projects funded by the US State Department and USAID.
Julayne Virgil '94 (keynote)
Girls Inc. of Alameda County
In the aftermath of 9/11, Julayne transitioned to the public sector to focus on making the world a better place, with the goal of leading a youth development organization in her hometown. Twelve years after writing her grad school entrance essay about that goal, she became the CEO of Girls Inc. of Alameda County.
Aron Walker '03
The Center for Advanced Research and Technology
Aron currently teaches science at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology in Fresno, CA. He previously taught for four years as founding faculty at the Nueva School’s upper school in San Mateo, helped launch the D-Lab: Education course at MIT, taught science and math at UHS, and served for four years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. He has BA degrees in chemical engineering and Earth, atmospheric, and planetary science.
Jennifer Weiss '89
JENNIFER WEISS ARCHITECTURE
Jennifer is the Principal of JENNIFER WEISS ARCHITECTURE, a design-oriented architecture studio committed to excellence in custom architecture and design for residential, cultural, corporate, and academic buildings. Jennifer’s background in both architecture and construction management now informs her design processes, guiding her clients and the project team through complex, rigorously designed, and financially informed projects. Jennifer holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Art History. Jennifer’s passion for architecture was discovered as a young child, and continues to grow. Jennifer’s experience at UHS was pivotal.
Miriam Wrobel '94
Clean Energy & Real Estate
Miriam Wrobel Consulting
Miriam Wrobel advises major energy users, electric utilities, investors, lenders, and project developers in identifying, structuring, and executing clean energy projects that maximize financial, strategic, and sustainability outcomes. As a director at Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Ms. Wrobel financed $600M of solar and wind projects, and was an underwriter on New York State’s award-winning Green Jobs-Green New York energy efficiency securitization. Having started her career in institutional real estate investment, Ms. Wrobel is also keenly interested in the complimentary intersection of clean energy and commercial real estate.