Board of Engineers

The Board of Engineers (BoE) was launched in 2010 to fill the gap between the responsibilities of a traditional Board of Directors (which holds fiduciary responsibility and governing authority over the organization) and a loosely affiliated Board of Advisors (which provides advice on targeted issues). The BoE is comprised of a growing group of smart, enthusiastic young professionals who believe in the work of Blue Engine. The BoE supports Blue Engine in three key ways: Fundraising, Awareness Building and Program Capacity Support. The BoE is led by a six person Executive Committee that leads the strategic direction of the BoE. Members of the BoE support various initiatives through Action Teams formed around specific needs and activities. Learn more about the BoE’s structure. Apply to join the BoE. Email us with questions about the BoE.

Kayode Owens – BoE Chair

Vice President, Mobile Innovation & Business Development, JPMorgan Chase

Kayode is currently Vice President, Mobile Innovation & Business Development, JPMorgan Chase. Prior to JPMorgan, Mr. Owens was GM of Fifth Element Capital, a digital media seed fund, and Chief Operating Officer of MyCypher, a mobile audio startup. Prior to MyCypher, Mr. Owens was Assistant General Manager of Flavor Unit Films, helping finance a slate of films and managing digital media for Queen Latifah. Mr. Owens graduated from Harvard University and holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.

Khalida Ali – Communications Chair

Manager, Morgan Stanley, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Khalida Ali is a member of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at NBCUniversal, where she is the Manager of Diversity Analytics.  In this role she develops and analyzes the Firm’s metrics as it relates to the workforce, programming and community investment. She previously worked at Morgan Stanley in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Khalida specifically focused on developing diversity recruiting initiatives for the Analyst Investment Banking and Global Capital Markets Programs. She also worked on the formation of the Office of Corporate Engagement, which sought to partner with external community based organizations. She also managed the Diversity Recruiting Process for the Associate Programs across all lines of the firm’s business. Khalida initially joined Morgan Stanley working in Global Capital Markets covering equity offerings for the Media and Communications sector. She received a BA in Economics from Spelman College.

Rob Buesing – Data Management Chair

Associate, Barclays Capital

Rob Buesing is an Associate at Barclays in the Enterprise Risk Management group, a quantitative analytics group focused on providing holistic risk management advisory services to the corporate clients of the investment bank. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Rob graduated from Williams College in 2009 with a BA in Mathematics and Economics, receiving departmental highest honors in Economics. He was a four-year member of the rowing team, serving as a co-captain during his senior year. He successfully competed at national and international regattas, and continues to row and compete through the North Adams Rowing Club. While at Williams, Rob performed research for the Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education, focusing on the characteristics of the public schools that sent students to Williams, which helped to spark a passion for reducing inequality in education. Rob is extremely excited to be involved with the Blue Engine team, as their data-driven methodology to determine the best way to help their kids succeed fits well with his passion for quantitative analysis.

Nick Kim – Governance and Recruitment Chair

Director of Business Development, Thinaire

Nick is the Director of Business Development at Thinaire, a mobile marketing technology company that enables marketers to connect with their customers using radio frequency enabled (RFE) media. Prior to joining Thinaire, Nick was an Associate on the Global Markets Corporate Advisory & Sales team at HSBC, advising multinational corporations on risk management strategies in foreign exchange, interest rates, and other financial markets. He has also spent the past four years providing consulting services in business strategy and financial planning for start ups in New York City and Los Angeles. Nick holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and is a CFA charterholder. He joined the BoE believing Blue Engine has the visionary leadership and innovative teaching model to transform the traditional classroom and improve the education landscape in New York City and beyond. He lives in NYC, but home will always be Santa Monica, CA.

Adama Sall – Program Engagement Chair

Partner, Global Planning Director, Ogilvy & Mather

Adama started her advertising adventure at Discovery Channel working in the Design Group as a jack-of-all-trades. She immediately fell in love with the creative & independent spirit that embodied the group of misfits, and set out to replicate that experience throughout her career. She moved to San Francisco at the height of the boom and landed at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for 5 years (unheard of in advertising!) After working on HP, Adobe, Elizabeth Arden and twice earning the dubious award of “GSP People Who Don’t Suck,” she followed her mentor to TBWA/Chiat/Day where she helped launch the Never Hide campaign for Ray-Ban. In 2007, Adama journeyed to Wieden + Kennedy where she continued building strong global brands for EA and Nike Women. One of her proudest moments in advertising came to fruition in Portland when The Nike Foundation launched The Girl Effect – a cause that is dear to her heart. After a year and half in “cozy” Portland, the bustling city life beckoned. Adama packed up once more and headed to NYC, where she currently resides, soaking up all the city has to offer. And although advertising has been a fantastic ride, she is still holding out for her dream job: working for The Killers.

Shalini Sriram – Development Chair

Trader, Scoggin Capital Management

Shalini Sriram is a trader for Scoggin Capital Management, a New York based hedge fund. Prior to joining Scoggin, Ms. Sriram worked at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America as a senior trader specializing in securitized products. She has volunteered with several organizations including Akshaya Patra, focused on providing educational opportunities and daily lunches to children overseas, and is excited to be a part of a team advocating academic achievement in the U.S. After spending her childhood in the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia, she loves to travel and experience new cultures but has been happy to call herself a New Yorker for the last ten years. Ms. Sriram received a B.A. in Economics with honors from Wellesley College in 2002, and an MBA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business in 2011.

Xavier Afriyie

(bio is coming soon!)

Jessica Baird

Special Projects Lead, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Jessica serves as Special Projects Lead for the New York Tax practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she has a variety of strategic and development responsibilities. She is also pursuing a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management at The New School. Jessica volunteers with PwC’s Earn Your Future program, which addresses youth education with a focus on financial literacy, and serves as a pro bono consultant with the Taproot Foundation. Born and raised in New York and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Jessica has a love of all things adventurous (and Badger football). Believing that access to quality education and a chance to succeed is every child’s right, she is thrilled to join the BoE and support Blue Engine in their unique approach to some of the educational challenges we face.

Nayan Behal

MBA Candidate, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Nayan is currently a student at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI.  Previously, he was Vice President of Business Development at Sitara Skin Care and was primarily responsible for new business generation, utilizing various sales channels, corporate partnerships, and social media platforms.  Prior to his role at Sitara Skin Care, he was an Associate at Citigroup in New York City.  At Citigroup, he was primarily focused on providing sales coverage on global liquidity & short-term investment solutions for Citi’s institutional clients with revenues in excess of $1 billion.  He has been actively involved with various youth organizations in New York City, including Junior Achievement of New York, StreetWise Partners, and The Posse Foundation, which is what led him to align with Blue Engine’s mission and goals.  Nayan is from St. Louis, MO and also lived in London, England for 6 years, Los Angeles, CA for 7 years, and New York City for a year; he hold a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Corporate Finance from the University of Southern California.

Kunal Bhatia

Analyst in Investment Banking, Credit Suisse

Kunal Bhatia is an Analyst in Investment Banking at Credit Suisse, where he focuses on Leveraged Finance and executes transactions for clients across all major industries. Having joined Wall Street during a challenging economy, Kunal has experienced the importance of a solid education and knowledge-base first-hand. His efforts to equip high school and undergraduate students with the adequate skill-set to succeed, both in class, and after graduation resonate with the mission and initiatives at Blue Engine. Kunal graduated from The College of William & Mary with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Finance in 2009. He lives in New York City.

Ted Calaman

Analyst, Financial Services group, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Ted Calaman is an Analyst in the Financial Services group at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. He concentrates on providing real estate leasing, disposition, and developmental analysis and advisory services to institutional clients that span the globe. Ted joins Blue Engine with a background in education, having previously co-founded a financial literacy and education start-up. He is thrilled to be a member of the Blue Engine team, as their innovative approach to the classroom model, driven by quantitative analysis, meshes well with his analytical, educational, and technological expertise. Ted graduated from Pace University with a B.B.A. in Finance. He is an avid soccer player, skier, and marathoner.

Chris Chowaniec

Project Management Office Director, Ipsos

Chris Chowaniec is the Project Management Office (PMO) Director for Ipsos, a global market research firm. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Within Ipsos, Chris specializes in online market research, web development, and process improvement. His project management knowledge is complemented by a strong talent for leading diverse teams, training other project managers, organization, and his communications and psychology background at Northwestern University. Since joining Ipsos, he has taken the initiative to standardize and improve processes, automate quality into the production life-cycle, embrace innovation, improve communication via web-based systems, and mentor departmental staff to deliver on time the first time and within specifications. He now is recognized as a company-wide project management expert.

Peyton Cochran

CEO & Founder, EPiC

(bio coming soon!)

Katie Darius

Senior Associate, The Frankel Group

Katie Darius is a Senior Associate with The Frankel Group, a life sciences strategy consulting firm. Prior to joining The Frankel Group, she was a consultant for Sg2, a healthcare intelligence and strategy consulting firm. She completed her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where she focused on defining relationships between injury biomechanics and pathologic sequelae that lead to chronic neck pain following whiplash. While in Philadelphia, Katie served as a high school mentor through Philadelphia Futures. Prior to graduate school, she completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health where she was involved in research investigating neural mechanisms of multisensory integration. She holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University and is an invited member of the Northwestern University Council of 100, a mentoring organization for women students and young alumnae, and past president of the Northwestern University Alumni Club of Philadelphia. Katie is excited to have been involved with Blue Engine over the last few years and fully supports the mission of helping to ensure college readiness.

Brian Dever

Director of Development, Let’s Get Ready

Brian Dever is the Director of Development at Let’s Get Ready, a nonprofit that provides college access and success support to over 3,300 low-income students throughout the Northeast each year. He came to Let?s Get Ready from Minnesota where he served as the Executive Director of the Northfield Union of Youth. Brian served on the Board of the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund, and is a volunteer with ioby and iMentor. A graduate of Carleton College, Brian received the Sister Pat Kowalski Leadership Award for his work as an undergraduate on service-learning initiatives. Brian is deeply committed to educational opportunity and equity, and is very excited to be a part of the Blue Engine team.

Jared Eisenberg

(bio coming soon!)

Edward Ernst

Sales Associate, Hanover Research

Edward Ernst is a Sales Associate for the Market Insight Center division of Hanover Research in Washington, DC. In this development-focused role, Edward is responsible for making initial contact with marketing and business development executives at a variety of corporations. He was introduced to Blue Engine and the Board of Engineers by Khalida Ali. Mr. Ernst chose to be part of this program because of its innovative model and commitment to maximizing educational opportunities. Edward graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Philosophy.

Jeffrey Farber

Financial Advisor, Investments, UBS Financial Services

Jeff is a Financial Advisor within UBS’s wealth management division. His team focuses on three financial disciplines: Concentrated Equity Risk Management, Liquid Portfolio Construction, and Trust, Estate, and Tax Planning Strategies. Prior to joining UBS, Jeff was a Vice President in the Institutional Sales division of Gleacher & Co, where he ran the firms Corporate Venture services effort. He managed corporate stock repurchase plans and assisted corporate executives to manage risk associated with concentrated equity holdings. In 2004, Jeff began his career as an investment associate at Bear Sterns. He received a BS in Communications from the University of North Florida in 2003.

Jason Finder

Financial Advisor, Investments, UBS Financial Services

A recent graduate of Colgate University, where he concentrated in Political Science and Environmental Studies, Jason currently works as Sustainable Innovation Associate for The Doe Fund. In this role, he has overseen the development of a new urban farm program for the New York City-based organization, which operates transitional housing and job training programs for formerly homeless and/or incarcerated men. Jason is also an active member of the Bushwick Food Cooperative, where he sits on the Board of Directors and contributes to the work of the Outreach, Communications, and Finance committees. Especially given his strong interest in social innovation, Jason is very excited to be able to work with an organization as forward thinking and effective as Blue Engine.

Jenny Heller

President, Chief Investment Officer, Brandywine Group Investors

I’m thrilled to be involved with Blue Engine because I got tired of believing that public education in the US was an un-fixable mess, and this organization gives me hope for a solution. The passion, integrity and commitment to excellence I’ve witnessed during the past 2 years of my involvement with BE only strengthens my hope!  I currently run a family office that managers over $6bn for 15 families.  Prior to 2012, I spent ~5 years helping to manage the endowment of a $2bn foundation in NYC.  Prior to business school, I took a little time off the traditional finance track to spend 6 months working as consultant for an NGO in India (Self Employed Women’s Association). My soul is at rest in the mountains and energized by the city.  I love dogs. I’ve been an avid traveler since age 8 and I’m drawn to adventure of any variety. I recently became a mom to a beautiful little girl…the most exciting adventure of all.

Jules Hough

Vice President, Investment Management, Goldman Sachs

Jules Hough is a Vice President in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs in New York where he is a portfolio manager focusing on investment solutions for institutional clients. Jules joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in 2006, in the Private Wealth Management (PWM) area of the Investment Management Division in Philadelphia, where he focused on investment strategies for private clients. Jules received a B.S. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. As a member of the Blue Engine Board of Engineers, Jules appreciates the necessity for improving opportunities for high school students through tutoring and academic coaching to facilitate their entry into institutions of higher education.

Avi Karnani

Co-Head and Lead Strategist, Churnless

Avi is the Co-Head and Lead Strategist of Churnless (, a digital strategy consultancy. Churnless builds web products that drive behavioral change and incubates promising early-stage startup companies, with the belief that being able to make informed choices with good information can help people lead fuller, more satisfying lives. Prior to launching Churnless, Avi co-founded Thrive (, a free personal finance management site. As CEO, he built a team dedicated to helping twenty- and thirty-somethings save more, spend less and improve their financial health. Median-income active Thrive users reduced their discretionary spending by an average of 3.28 percent of their income; added nearly $1,000 more to their savings account than non-Thrive users; and paid off almost $3,500 more of their debt than non-Thrive users. Avi’s experience prior to launching Thrive and Churnless includes institutional finance, specifically arbitrage strategies at hedge funds, investment banking with Citigroup and venture work with MSD Capital, Michael Dell’s private investment vehicle. He is passionate about building things, whether they’re new products or exciting partnerships. A graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Avi will use virtually any surface as a whiteboard… but his first and true love will always be graph paper.

Kevin Kelleher

Brand Lead, Maide Golf, Bonobos

Kevin Kelleher is a product and merchandising manager at Bonobos. Starting with the company in late summer of 2008, Kevin has seen this e-commerce men’s retailer grow from a team of 5 to 25. As Bonobos has transitioned from pant specialist to menswear retail platform, Kevin has found a niche sitting in the middle of the product team, working on both Bonobos brand product development as well as the partner brand merchandising. He is a Princeton University alum, graduating in 2008 with a degree in Economics. Kevin spent 4 years in the Football program, highlighted by a 2006 Ivy League championship. New York has become Kevin’s home away from home. While living in the West Village is a little different from his Ann Arbor, MI roots, he is loving all that New York has to offer.

Catherine Koh

(bio is coming soon!)

Josh Kuzon

Payment Strategy, JP Morgan Chase

Josh Kuzon is a member of the Payment Strategy Group at JP Morgan Chase. In this role he supports enterprise strategy, corporate development activities and cross line of business projects as they relate to the firm’s payment businesses. Prior to joining JP Morgan Chase, Josh worked at First Annapolis, a consulting and M&A advisory firm focused on the payments industry. He received his bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University.

Bethany Lampland

COO, The New York Foundling

Bethany is the Chief Operating Officer of The New York Foundling, one of New York City’s oldest and largest children and family services charities.  At The Foundling, she oversees all of the charity’s business departments- human resources, finance, legal, development and communications, information technology, facilities and capital projects.  Prior to joining The Foundling, Bethany practiced law at various firms in the City.  She earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law.  Bethany sees the access she had to higher education as the biggest game changer in her life and believes all children deserve the same opportunities to arm themselves for success.

Andrew Lee

Attorney, Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP

Andrew Lee graduated from Brown University with a degree in applied mathematics, and holds a law degree from Yale Law School. He is currently an attorney at Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP, where he represents clients involved in government investigations and civil litigation. Before joining LSW, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles S. Haight, Jr., a federal judge in the Southern District of New York. For the past five years, Andrew has volunteered as a math tutor with Literacy Partners, providing weekly math tutoring to adults in pre-GED classes. He is excited to be involved with Blue Engine because he believes that its model of small-group instruction can make a dramatic difference by fostering active engagement and participation by students in their classes.

Geoffrey Lieberthal

Principal, Lee Equity Partners

(bio is coming soon!)

Stefanie Lob

Westchester Director, Private Prep

Stefanie Lob is the Westchester Director of Private Prep, a distinctive tutoring service that offers individually customized lessons for a wide range of K-12 subjects and standardized test prep. Prior to joining Private Prep, she spent time as a ski instructor at Mammoth Mountain in California and subsequently elected to forego medical school to pursue her lifelong passion for education. In 2005, Stefanie joined the New York City Teaching Fellows program and helped found the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics where she served as a cabinet member and math department head. With her tough-love approach in the classroom, Stefanie inspired and prepared students to surpass city and state achievement standards and continue their education at some of the best universities around the country. She also combined her passion for education with her love of travel and the outdoors by leading student trips to Vietnam with Global LAB and the Florida Everglades with Outward Bound. Stefanie earned her B.S. from Northwestern University and M.S.Ed from The City College of New York.

Lauren Logan

MBA Candidate, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Lauren is a strategy and business development professional with expertise in digital media and entertainment. She has a track record for driving growth for organizations, aiding in over $200 million in client acquisition in her previous role at OMD, a marketing communications agency. More recently, Lauren worked at Disney analyzing partnership opportunities and revenue models for Disney websites. Lauren is currently completing her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she is studying technology marketing and new product development. Lauren holds a BS in Marketing and a BA in Spanish from Tulane University and she never misses New Orleans Jazz Fest.

Nicole Lussow

Actress, Model

A native of Rochester, New York, Nicole graduated from Tufts University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and received her Masters in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in June 2010. A strong believer in a “back to basics” approach to nutrition, Nicole focuses on simple, whole foods to promote optimum health. Since no two people are alike, Nicole believes in a focused and individualized nutrition program for her clients. Her approach is designed to be a straightforward but comprehensive. Prior to her work as a nutritionist, Nicole worked in a variety of capacities as an actress and model. Of note, Nicole guest starred as Isabel Coates on the first two seasons of the hit television show Gossip Girl. A sample of Nicole’s modeling engagements include national campaigns for GAP, GAP Body, and Banana Republic.

Paul Lussow

Director, Leveraged Finance, Credit Suisse NY

J. Paul Lussow graduated from the Northwestern University Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received his M.B.A. in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Prior to business school, Paul worked in strategy and operations consulting and currently works as a Director in investment banking at Credit Suisse in New York, focusing on leveraged / distressed finance and restructuring transactions across a wide range of industries. Paul served as Chairman of his 10-year Northwestern reunion in 2008 and is a currently a member of Northwestern’s New York Regional Council and Weinberg College’s Board of Visitors. Paul has been a member of the Board of Engineers since 2010 which is a natural extension of his long-term involvement and commitment to education.

Kim Marsh

Assistant Vice President, Project Manager, Citigroup

Kimberly is currently Assistant Vice President, Project Manager in Human Resources at Citigroup.  She is responsible for the initiation and execution of a variety of projects across Citi Professional Recruiting within the Institutional Clients Group and Global Functions.  Prior to her current role, Kim worked at a health and wellness education organization, Campus Outreach Services, where she headed up a variety of programs and HR initiatives including work with the Take Back the Night Foundation.  She previously held roles on Teach For America’s recruiting team as a recruitment associate and senior recruitment associate where she supported the recruitment of college students and professionals from the Northeast.   Kim began her professional career as a Teach For America corps member in Brooklyn, NY, teaching 1st and 3rd grade.  She holds a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Gender Studies from Ithaca College and earned her M.A. in Teaching from Pace University in NYC.  She currently lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Claire Meunier

Director of Research Partnerships, Michael J. Fox Foundation

Claire Meunier is the Director of Research Partnerships at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research where she manages the clinical trial recruitment strategies team. Prior to joining MJFF, Claire earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Before business school, Claire was the Special Projects Manager in the Department of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. In this capacity, she managed a national initiative in geriatric education, leading the collaborative activities of clinician-educators from 30 leading medical schools in the creation and dissemination of medical education materials. Ms. Meunier holds a BS from Vanderbilt University in Human and Organizational Development with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. Claire currently serves as the Chair of the Blue Engine Board of Engineers. She plays an active role in the BoE because she believes that the BE model is what is going to change the face of public education across the country.

Jeff Miller

Director of Business Development, Better Place

Jeff leads business-development efforts for Better Place (, a clean-tech start up whose mission is to end the world’s addiction to oil. In this capacity, he is responsible for evaluating and prioritizing potential markets for Better Place. He works with governments, energy companies, investors, and other key stakeholders with the ultimate goal of creating charging networks to support the mass adoption of electric vehicles. Prior to joining Better Place, Miller worked for the Boston Consulting Group out of its Los Angeles office, where he focused primarily on Media and Entertainment industry clients. He has also spent considerable time in the field of international development, and specialized in financial services for the poor through work with a variety of organizations, including the United Nations. Miller holds joint masters degrees, receiving a Master of Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He also holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Economics and Mathematics from Northwestern University.

Michael Miller

Associate, Investment Banking Division, Barclays Capital

Michael Miller is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division at Barclays Capital. Michael works on the Debt Capital Markets team, covering Real Estate and Industrial clients. Growing up, he was actively involved in community service both in his hometown and as a member of the Stanford Football Team in college. Since arriving in the city in 2008, Michael has actively expanded his involvement in the community through programs such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), the Beginning with Children Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York. As an alumnus of the Boys and Girls Club and SEO, Michael is committed to giving back to the next generation and is very grateful and excited to be a member Blue Engine’s inaugural Board of Engineers. Michael began his career with Lehman Brothers in July 2008. He holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in Sociology from Stanford University.

Puja Mohindra

Actress, Writer

A Chicago native, Puja Mohindra is an actor and writer based out of Los Angeles. On stage, her favorite credits include: Belle in the American Conservatory Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” the title role in Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” & Mary Warren in “The Crucible.” TV Credits include: “Undercovers,” “CSI: Miami ,” “Three Rivers,” “Miami Medical,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “All My Children,” “Valentine,” and the HBO pilot, “1%.” Her recent film work includes the comedic feature, “I’m Not Like That No More,” where she played alongside comedians Paul Rodriguez and Felipe Esparza, the winner of “Last Comic Standing.” The comedy was selected to screen at more than 25 film festivals this year. Puja’s dramatic work can be seen in the films, “Foreign” and “Second Best,” which are currently on the festival circuit. She is a former dance company member of Natya Dance Theatre in Chicago and has toured across the U.S. and India performing the classical Indian dance, Bharata Natyam. Puja is currently developing a one-woman show for the stage. When she’s not on set or stage, she has a passion for being in the audience.

James Nouss

MBA Candidate, Columbia Business School

James Nouss is originally from Saint Louis, Missouri.  He graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and began working as a Supply Chain Management Consultant for IBM.  He concentrated on global IT implementation projects in the industrial/automotive sector for five years with IBM.  He is now a full-time MBA student at Columbia Business School, focusing on Strategy.  He is expected to graduate in 2014.  James has been involved with Blue Engine since the start of the BoE.  He looks forward to continuing the support of education in New York City.

Patrick O’Neil

Associate, Public Finance Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Patrick O’Neil is an Associate in the Public Finance Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He has worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (or its predecessor) since graduating college in 2007. Patrick grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where he first became interested in education. As part of the Aim High program at his high school, he served as a Teaching Assistant for underprivileged youth from the inner city. In college, he continued his activity in the education sector by participating in the Sursum Corda Literacy Program in Washington, DC. Patrick is greatly inspired by his brother, Kevin, who is one of the original twelve BETAs. He holds a BSFS in International Political Economy from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Joshua Packwood

Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Red Alder

Joshua Packwood was born in Kansas City, MO. Through the support of his extended family and his “adopted” family, the Joneses, he was able to overcome a broken home and early run-ins with the authorities to start down the path of college preparation in middle school. It was this pivotal year, 8th grade, that provides him conviction in the effectiveness of Blue Engine’s focus on early high school as the critical college preparatory stage. Josh is the co-founder and co-managing partner of Red Alder, a United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment signatory firm, focused on long-term investing. He was formerly an investment analyst at Citadel and Goldman Sachs. He graduated valedictorian at Morehouse College where he as a Rhodes and Marshall Scholar Finalist.

Ritu Pancholy

Attorney, New York City Department of Education

Ritu Pancholy is an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel at the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”). Since joining DOE in August of 2010, she has defended the DOE against claims filed by individuals and has advised the DOE on new legislation impacting education law. As an attorney at DOE, she has also assisted with charter school legal issues related to opening new charter schools and accountability, as well as on implementing other education reforms, such as tenure reform and closing failing schools. Prior to joining the DOE, Ritu served as a litigation associate at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP in New York City. There she worked on large complex commercial litigations that involved among other things responding to federal government agencies’ investigative requests, and defending the confirmation plan for one of the largest producers of ethanol in bankruptcy court. At Weil, she was also active in the pro-bono program through which she successfully submitted an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit of Appeals on behalf of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, and represented several asylum applicants in court. She holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from Rutgers University and a J.D. in law from Duke University School of Law.

Vignesh Ravi

Associate, Barclays Capital

Vignesh is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division at Barclays Capital. He works with corporates to help manage their interest rate, credit, and fx risks by structuring and executing derivative transactions. Coming from a family of educators, Vignesh is passionate about utilizing innovative techniques to improve educational outcomes. He has worked with TeachingMatters, and co-founded Edusophy, a free learning management system for Indian schools. Vignesh received a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an alumnus of the United World College.

Hunter Rice

Manager, Financial Services, KPMG

Hunter is a manager in the financial services audit practice at KPMG, an international “big 4” accounting firm. Within the financial services practice, Hunter specializes in investment bank audits with representative clients including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Investment Technology Group. Hunter is a registered Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of CPAs. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Hunter attended the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, earning a BS in Accounting in 2007. Throughout his career at KPMG, he has participated in local charitable efforts with the firm, and is excited to join Blue Engine and continue making a difference in the New York community – though his allegiance will always lie with Atlanta sports teams.

Allie Rubin

Director of Market Development, Thinaire

Allie is a digital marketing specialist with a background in leading innovative large-scale, multi-media marketing initiatives across categories. She is currently Director of Market Development at mobile technology marketing firm Thinaire, where she develops business strategy and leads partner and client relationships that contribute to company growth. Her focus is on enabling and measuring deeper customer engagement in the retail environment. Prior to Thinaire, Allie was an account manager and strategist at Digitas where she led cross-capability teams, managed and grew relationships with major Fortune 500 clients. Allie graduated magna cum laude from Boston University where she received a B.S. in Communication.

Hugo Santillan

Sales & Growth Strategy Analyst, The Achievement Network

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Hugo graduated magna cum laude from Pace University. He is an alumnus of the non-profit organizations Sponsors for Education Opportunity (SEO) and Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). From 2007-2012 he worked as an investment banker at Barclays in the technology, media and telecommunication group. Currently he works as an Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow with The Achievement Network. Hugo is excited to be involved with Blue Engine because he values the importance of education and strongly believes in the Blue Engine’s mission and leadership.

Laurel Schwartz

Assistant Principal of Instruction and Teacher Development, St. HOPE Leadership Academy

Laurel Schwartz is excited about Blue Engine because of the proven effectiveness of the tutoring model and the great work they’re doing to prepare students for success in college. Laurel is currently the Assistant Principal of Instruction and Teacher Development at St. HOPE Leadership Academy, a charter middle school in Harlem serving fabulous 5-8 grade students. Prior to working at St. HOPE, Laurel worked as a principal resident at City on a Hill Public Charter High School in Roxbury, MA. She began her educational career as the founding history teacher and a Teach for America Corps Member at KAPPA International High School, an International Baccalaureate district school in the Bronx. She is an avid potter, loves to travel and geek out about education reform. Laurel holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, a MST from Pace University, and an EdM from Harvard University.

Naveen Shahani

Investment Banking Analyst, Credit Suisse

Naveen Shahani is currently an Investment Banking Analyst at Credit Suisse, where he focuses on advising private equity clients. Naveen graduated with a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, receiving Magna Cum Laude honors. Naveen’s interest in education stems from his simple belief that the same opportunities presented to him should be universally applicable. Naveen hopes to mimic the footsteps of his entrepreneurial parents in creating a tangible impact based on his simple aspirations. He is confident that Blue Engine and the Board of Engineers will specifically allow him to build on his passion for education. Naveen is originally from Syosset, New York and now lives in New York City.

Saad Siddiqui

Assistant Vice President, Merrill Lynch, Global Wealth Management

Saad Siddiqui is an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch’s Global Wealth Management division, where he is part of a specialist team that develops pricing strategy focusing on Institutional clients. Prior to this role, he is the co-founder and Co-CEO of LS & Co, a strategic advisory firm that he started with a college friend, before beginning his full-time assignment at Merrill Lynch in 2008. He had an opportunity to pitch a $25 million acquisition to the board of Pakistani based conglomerate as part of their ongoing global expansion. Saad currently serves on the Young Leadership Board of New York Needs You, Young Leadership Board of the Pakistan Rehabilitation of the Disabled Foundation, an organization that provides education to disabled lower income children of Pakistan and Muslim Urban Professionals. Saad volunteers much of his spare time planning and coordinating numerous fundraising events for various other organizations. Saad migrated to the United States at the age of 14 for his education. While working over 40 hours a week to finance his education and serving as the co-president of his graduating class, Saad earned a BS in Finance with a minor in Statistics from Rutgers University in 2008. He is a 2008 recipient of the Rutgers Business School Alumni Leadership Recognition Award, and one of 15 to receive the University’s Diverse Business Leadership Award. That same year, Saad also received the Ben Sopranzetti Alumni of the year award.

Sean Sullivan

Manager, Accenture

Sean is a Manager in the Consulting practice of Accenture.  He specializes in both Financial Planning and Systems Integration while also working toward a Project Management Professional certification.  He is based out of New York and has worked for a variety of Fortune 500 clients, resulting in extensive international travel.  His clients are cross-industry and cross-technology, leading to a breadth and depth of knowledge in the Planning area.  Sean is originally from Philadelphia, PA.  He received a BS in Integrated Business and Engineering – Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University and now resides in New York.  His involvement in Blue Engine began due to ties with one of the original BETAs and continues due to the mutual passion of ensuring the educational readiness of today’s students.

Chris Tracy

Vice-President, Chef Geoff’s

Since 2006, Chris Tracy has served as the Vice-President of Chef Geoff’s, a company that owns and operates four upscale casual restaurants in the greater Greater Metropolitan Washington area. In addition, he is an equal partner in 2 Tees LLC, a restaurant management company he co-founded with his brother Geoff in 2008. Chris began his career as a Teach for America corps member at Garnet-Patterson Middle School in Washington, DC where he taught English as a Second Language from 2000-2003. After teaching, Chris co-authored a series of reports on teacher quality issues while working for the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) and later pursued doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins in the Sociology of Education. Chris holds a BA in English from Colby College.

Ambrose Wooden Jr

Associate, Equities Division, Goldman Sachs

Ambrose Wooden Jr. is currently an Associate in the Equities Division at Goldman Sachs. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Ambrose graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Finance. Ambrose was also of member of the University of Notre Dame’s Football Team. Outside of work, Ambrose is an active member in the New York City community, he serves as a mentor at iMentor and sits on the boards of both the Adeona Foundation and Achievement First Apollo. Ambrose enjoys music, traveling, spending time with family and friends, but most importantly making a difference in the community. Ambrose is excited about Blue Engine because he was raised in a low-income family and given the opportunity to attend a school with a more rigourous academic program and that changed his life, so he hopes to do the same for others.

Daniel Zeitler

Otologist/Neurotologist, Denver Ear Associates

Daniel is a Neurotologist (ear and skull base surgeon) with Denver Ear Associates in Denver, Colorado. Originally from North Carolina, Daniel graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A in Psychology and a minor in History. Daniel earned his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine where he graduated first in his class and as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He completed a general surgery internship and a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (aka ENT) at New York University, and a two year fellowship in Otology/Neurotology & Skull Base Surgery at the University of Miami. Daniel has engaged in numerous research projects, has published over 30 articles and book chapters in a variety of medical journals, and has presented his work at national and international meetings. Daniel’s volunteer work includes surgical mission trips to Eastern Africa, his role as the Medical Director of Listen Foundation (a non-profit foundation which provides auditory-verbal therapy to uninsured children with hearing loss), and as a clinical instructor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Colorado where he teaches and mentors ENT residents. Daniel is a die-hard Carolina Tarheels basketball fan, and should be avoided the day after any loss. As someone who always hated school, but loves learning, Daniel feels strongly that creativity, individualism, and personal academic rigor must be fostered and encouraged in our children, and believes Blue Engine is a unique and effective program that can achieve these goals.