Founder & Creative Director
Amar C. Bakshi is an artist whose work focuses on how to integrate technology into environments and across pronounced distance to create new forms of digital-physical public spaces that challenge and subvert existing norms. In particular, he works to connect members of diverse communities who would likely not otherwise meet in intimate environments to create their own meanings. As an artist, Amar treats the formation of institutions as, themselves, sites of creation. Amar previously worked as a reporter at The Washington Post, an editor at CNN, and as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Amar, a Soros Fellow and Truman Scholar, has an AB from Harvard University, a MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a JD from Yale Law School.
Co-Founder and Director of Global Development
Michelle Moghtader runs global development for Shared_Studios. Previously, she was a multi-media journalist based in the Middle East. She has written for Reuters, CNN, The Huffington Post and Energy Intelligence Group and worked as a community organizer across the U.S. Michelle graduated from the University of Virginia and received her master’s degree from the Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. She speaks Persian, French and Spanish.
Chief of Staff
Jake manages operations and public engagements for Shared_Studios. Jake most recently worked on issues of sexual assault in the military for Protect Our Defenders. He has also worked as a speechwriter for the NYC Mayor's Office, as a concert producer in Havana, Cuba, and at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where he advised Lincoln Center's executive leadership on programming for new audiences. Jake is a graduate of Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and is a contributor on topics of technology and politics to The Hill.
Director of Operations & Legal Affairs
Kathryn focuses on internal operations, legal affairs, and partnerships. Before joining the Shared_Studios team, Kathryn worked as an attorney at an international law firm. She previously served as an Aide to the Marshal at the Supreme Court of the United States, excavated in the ancient marketplace of Athens, and held a variety of curatorial internships. Kathryn has an A.B. in Classical Archaeology from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She hails from central Florida and is now based in New Haven, Connecticut.
Prior to joining Shared_Studios, Neesha Rahim co-founded and led Level Up Village, a social impact company building global competency skills in K-12 students through guided global virtual exchange experiences revolving around STEM subjects. She helped scale the company's impact to 26 states in the US and 20 countries around the world as co-CEO, reaching thousands of students and educators. Before this, she spent 15 years working in the NGO space with youth development and conflict resolution organizations, including Seeds of Peace, where she first understood the power of connecting people with seemingly insurmountable differences. She brings her passion and expertise in creating wide-scale impact through education, philanthropy and global connectedness to Shared_Studios where she will be focused on bringing the Portal experience to colleges, universities, nonprofits and NGOs. Neesha has a Masters Degree in Social Work, with a minor in International Affairs from Columbia University. She sits on the board of Level Up Village as well as NicaPhoto, a youth development organization in Nicaragua and Opportunity Plus, a micro lending organization for women.
Global Portal Curator
Emma Saperstein is a performance artist, curator and arts administrator based in San Luis Obispo, CA. A graduate of Wheaton College and the New York Center for Art and Media Studies, her experience includes serving as studio manager to internationally recognized artist Titus Kaphar, co-curator of Inverse Performance Art Festival, involvement in the thriving alternative arts and publishing community in Chicago, specifically with the Public Media Institute, Lumpen Magazine and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. For the past two years, she has served as an editor and curator for the feminist collective HYSTERIA. She currently splits her time between Shared Studios and the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College.
Head of Educational Programming
Kristen Erickson has spent the past seventeen years as an educator at Greenwich Academy, an independent school for girls in Greenwich, CT. She teaches high school and middle school students and served for nine years as a grade-level dean. Prior to her time at Greenwich Academy, Kristen spent twelve years in the curatorial field at the Museum of Modern Art, Smith College Museum of Art, Ashmolean Museum, and Luchsinger Gallery at Greenwich Academy. She is fluent in French and has decades of experience as a competitive rower and rowing coach.
Lily Sarafan is Chief Executive Officer of Home Care Assistance. Under Lily‘s leadership for more than a decade, Home Care Assistance has grown from startup to industry champion and today employs thousands of team members across more than 150 markets. The company is consistently recognized as an employer of choice and best-in-class consumer service, and Lily as a featured expert on digital health and innovation in aging at the White House and global conferences. For her role at the helm of Home Care Assistance, Lily has been honored as Women Health Care Executives 2016 Woman of the Year and Ernst and Young‘s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year. She holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Stanford University.
Rich currently works as an investor focused on making long-term private investments in North America. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State University Law School. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor to the Mayor at the Detroit Mayor's Office, where he coordinated policy-making and special projects across several departments and subject areas. Prior to the Mayor's Office, Rich worked at Goldman Sachs's Financial Institution Group, McKinsey & Company's New York Office, and Jericho Capital, a New York-based investment management firm. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College, and a recipient of the Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Rich was born in Nanjing, China, and raised in Detroit and Troy, Michigan.
International Advisor & Writer in Residence
Nick McDonell is a novelist and journalist. Born in New York City in 1984, he studied at Harvard and St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His work has been published in twenty three countries and appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His book on nomadism in politics, The Civilization of Perpetual Movement , is forthcoming from Hurst & Co. in 2014.
Portal Ambassador & International Advisor
As a diplomat, bureaucrat, political campaigner, and advocate, Alexander Djerassi’s work has revolved around building relationships and interpersonal understanding across divides of experience and perspective. Djerassi has served as chief of staff in the U.S. Department of State’s Near East Bureau, which oversees U.S. relations with the Arab world, Israel, and Iran. He is a former nonresident associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the policy team of multiple presidential campaigns. He holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Patrick is an experienced systems architect and technical leader that has overseen products and projects of all scales. He is Vice President of systems engineering at LiveStream.
Architecture & Design Advisor
Raised in a diplomat family, Young-Tack has become an avid traveler and explorer. Living in various countries from France, Belgium, Norway, Singapore, to Korea, he has learned to meticulously observe and respect different cultures, as well as adapting to them accordingly. He is the founder of Archipleasure, a creative collaboration focused on architectural ideas. His traveling experiences have led him to see architecture as a foundation for attracting and sustaining multiple cultures together within a certain environment. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, and later received his Master of Architecture from University of Michigan in 2015. He currently works as an architectural consultant in New York.
Software Architect & Technology Advisor
Justin Pogrob, founder of Simplex Studio, is a building and software architect focused on the integration of technology and the built environment. His experience with a broad range of award winning architectural and software projects as well as his extensive knowledge in IoT technology made him ideally suited to design and implement the software controller for our global network of portals. Justin is a member if the American Institute of Architects and holds a B.Arch. from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.