For media inquiries, please email media [at] StudentMentor [dot] org.
Ash Jafari is the Founder and CEO of StudentMentor.org. Through his leadership, StudentMentor.org has grown to unprecedented levels. Ash was recently invited to The White House to meet the President and talk to White House officials about StudentMentor.org’s role in improving college completion and preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow. As a result, StudentMentor.org and The White House launched a partnership in 2012 to bring more light to this critical issue. Previously, Ash was the Founder and CEO of Making a Difference for Good USA. The organization provided thousands of rural Cambodians with clean water, adequate sanitation, and education. Prior to that role, he worked in finance for NVIDIA and was a key player on their philanthropic team. In addition, he’s been a CNN contributor on education. Ash is also the creator and host of Social Innovation Live, a talk show sponsored by the Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation, where he has interviewed a Nobel Laureate and many leaders from around the world. Ash is an MBA candidate at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business, which he attends part-time. He started college at 16 and graduated in the top 1% of his class and has a B.S. in Finance from Santa Clara University. He is a StartingBloc Fellow.
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Stephanie Bravo is the Founder and President of StudentMentor.org. Stephanie was recently invited to The White House to meet the President and talk to White House officials about StudentMentor.org’s role in improving college completion and preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow. As a result, StudentMentor.org and The White House launched a partnership in 2012 to bring more light to this critical issue. Previously, Stephanie was the Founder and President of Making a Difference for Good USA, which provided thousands of rural Cambodians with clean water, adequate sanitation, and education. Stephanie was selected as a prestigious Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar. She is also a Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Stephanie was an M.D. candidate and prior to that she was a first-generation college graduate earning a B.A. in Psychology with honors from San Jose State University.
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Arash Nasibi is the Chief Information Officer at StudentMentor.org. He grew up in Sweden and came to the states at age eleven. Despite this, he started college at 16 and obtained a B.S. degree in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles. He was also awarded a UC Regents scholarship. Throughout his college tenure, Arash used the counseling and mentoring services available to obtain grants, internships, and a strong academic record. Arash has a background in technology consulting and has also run his own tutoring company. In addition, Arash has been active with various Junior Achievement programs by teaching basic personal finance, business, and economics principles to middle and high school students. Having greatly benefited from mentoring, Arash is excited to give back to college students through StudentMentor.org.
Richard To is the Lead Developer at StudentMentor.org. He has a B.A. in Creative Writing and an A.S. in Internet Technology. He is an avid supporter of non-profits and the causes they are devoted to, especially education. He has done volunteer work for Pacific Autism, CET Immigration and Citizenship Program, Just Read, and Reading Partners. Becoming a reading tutor for elementary school students is one of his most rewarding experiences, and he recommends it to anyone who can spare an hour or two a week. Richard is happy to be part of the StudentMentor.org team.The potential of education to change lives is something Richard believes in. It is like thinking the world is round even when faced with a square map.
Viktor Petersson is the Chief Technical Officer at StudentMentor.org. Viktor grew up in Sweden, but moved to Silicon Valley to study in 2004. While still in school he started the software company WireLoad, Inc. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a major in Business Management, and a focus on entrepreneurship. While Viktor’s academic background is in the field of business, his true passion has always been technology. Since graduating, Viktor has started two additional companies in the software space and is happy to provide StudentMentor.org with the technical expertise required to grow the program.
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Aaron Bazin consults on contingency mitigation planning and organizational assessments for StudentMentor.org. His experience is focused in the government sector and he has worked for U.S. Military for the past 15 years. His specialty in that capacity is strategic planning and policy development and has been focused primarily on the contemporary issues facing the Middle East region. He has worked on numerous projects leading small teams of subject matter experts to develop unique solutions to complex and wicked problems for high-level decision makers. Aaron holds a MBA and is currently working as a consultant / mentor with StudentMentor.org to fulfill his practicum requirement for completion of his Doctorate in Organizational Psychology.
Mike Palmieri is the Program Specialist for StudentMentor.org, and also serves as a mentor with us. He works with the Evaluation team to assess program effectiveness, and to develop new ideas and solutions to achieve our goals of student college completion and career readiness. Currently, Mike is the Director of Retention and Student Success at Notre Dame de Namur University, a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Through a Title V Program, he works with faculty, staff, and students to enhance and develop retention strategies, with a focus on Hispanic, low-income, and/or First-Generation college students. Mike has also held Student Affairs positions at San Jose State University, University of South Florida, Adelphi University, and New College of Florida. He is dedicated to working with students regarding personal and professional development goals, including one-on-one counseling and group advising on a variety of topics such as career exploration, personal finance/budgeting, and time management. Mike has a M.Ed. in College Student Affairs, and a Graduate Certificate in Career Counseling, both from the University of South Florida. He also has a B.A. in Psychology from New College of Florida.
Alex Shebanow is the Media Director at StudentMentor.org. He is an award-winning filmmaker who started his career making documentaries on non-profits around the San Francisco Bay Area. He believes that films can be used to raise awareness for a wide-ranging array of topics and can be used to better society itself. Besides working on documentaries and videos for StudentMentor.org, his other documentary work includes films on Autism Spectrum Research Alliance, Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, and A Better Place Foundation. He loves to tell stories and finds documentary storytelling an incredibly rewarding experience. Alex is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.
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David Shapiro is the front-end and UI architect for StudentMentor.org. He brings over 15 years of web development, software engineering and IT administration experience to the team. He has worked for some notable Internet pioneers including Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and Infoseek, as well as, a handful of successful and not-so-successful start-ups. For the last 10 years Dave has focused his efforts exclusively on providing the latest web technology to the non-profit sector including five years as a web developer and account director with the Taproot Foundation. Dave is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and serves on the Mid Peninsula Boys & Girls Club board of directors. He is also a licensed private pilot and avid rock climber. Follow Dave on GitHub
Kousha Najafi is a technical consultant, bringing over three years of professional software engineering experience to StudentMentor.org. A native of Orange County, CA, Kousha received his B.S. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles. Upon completion of his studies, he began his career as a Software Engineer at Google, Inc., focusing on speed, scalability, and reliability. Kousha relishes the fast-paced and quick-thinking environment that comes with keeping Google running, and has fine-tuned the necessary skills for troubleshooting the most complex situations. He is excited to apply his technical skill sets to optimizing the potential of StudentMentor.org.
Danielle Lafontaine is the Marketing Specialist for StudentMentor.org and lead Copywriter at Verecloud, Inc., a Denver based Cloud app store for businesses. Previously Danielle was a freelance advertising copywriter and owner of Dynamic Marketing Resources, located in Huntington Beach, CA. Danielle has an advertising agency background and has worked on the media, creative and production sides in both general and legal industry-specific agencies. She has written TV and radio commercials, web content, marketing collateral, public relations articles and press releases for companies in myriad industries. As owner of D.M.R., Danielle focuses on web and print content development, social media campaign planning and execution, and public relations. Danielle is a graduate of the New England School of Communications located in Bangor, Maine and holds a B.S. Degree in Marketing Communications.
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