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.
Marisa DeSalvio has worked in educational institutions, museums, and design agencies for the past five years. She is passionate about finding the intersections between education, technology, and great design. Through her time as an English Second Language Teacher in Qatar, she experienced firsthand the transformative power of conversation between different cultures and how connection is the key to understanding.
Los Angeles Portal Curator
Born in Mexico City raised in Los Angeles, Andrea found strength and comfort throughout her youth by organizing and creating art in her community. She has helped found two important collectives in her community: Ovarian Psycos and Ni Santas. Both of these collectives focus on team-building and empowering women of color, while addressing pertinent issues in our communities.
Omid Habibi is a professor of computer science and the director of ADIB. He single-handedly brought the first Portal to Afghanistan and has helped secure the expansion of Portals in his country and beyond. He is currently studying computer science in Berlin.
Lindsay Mackenzie is a communications specialist and photo & multimedia journalist from Canada, currently based between Erbil and Beirut, working for a range of news and NGO clients throughout the Middle East and North Africa. She teaches photography for National Geographic Student Expeditions and create radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has an BA in Geography and an MA in International Multimedia Journalism and has completed a journalism safety training courses at Columbia University and through the UN in Iraq. She is also the founder and curator of the popular Instagram feed @everydaymiddleeast.
Washington DC Portal Translator
Wassim is a citizen diplomat from Colorado who enjoys learning about the world and its people. His ethnic heritage crosses Saudi, Syrian, Sudanese, Kurdish, Egyptian, and his work takes him even further, translating business and security needs into learning interventions for clients around the world.
Alejandro Alfonso is a graphic designer and photographer who recently completed his studies in Havana. His subjects range from street scenes to famous Cuban musicians and artists such as Kcho and singer Omara Portuondo from the Buena Vista Social Club.
Dennis Walton is the head of the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative. He is a community organizer from Harambee who has been involved in numerous projects over the years, including the making of the film Milwaukee 53206.
Kavita is a New York City-based jazz singer and composer. Shah has performed and recorded with musicians such as Lionel Loueke, Steve Wilson, Yacouba Sissoko, Rogerio Boccato, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Samir Chatterjee. Shah was named by Downbeat Magazine as the "Best Graduate Jazz Vocalist" (2012) and winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award (2013).
Elizabeth Bick is a photographer, informed by her training in classical ballet and her study and practice of street photography. Her work examines the public and private display of individual and collective movement as pantomime. She holds a MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art.
Brandon Culpepper, Milwaukee native and founder of PeppNation, moved back to his hometown in 2013 after studying and working in marketing and as a professional athlete for a decade. He chose to return in large measure to try to “become part of the solution” to daunting problems within the central city, where he grew up and still lives.
Cara Neel is a freelance writer and the former Stanford Portal Curator for Shared Studios. Her background is in research psychology, communications, and community outreach. She received her Bachelor's degree from McGill University in 2015, where she received the Entrepreneurship Prize for the creation of the Unofficial McGill Guide.
Rich currently works as an investor at Blue Pool Capital. Previously, he worked at the Detroit Mayor's Office, 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.
John Farrace is a Los-Angeles based designer working at the intersection of media and architecture. John is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Yale University (M.Arch.).
Austin Portal Curator
Ben Carneiro is a filmmaker and musician from Austin, TX. He loves using Austin's Portal to share his hometown with people all over the world. He brings artists and musicians to the portal to share art, exchange culture, and "Keep Austin Weird." He is often found taking long walks on the beach, and he can register you to vote.
Newark Portal Curator
Divad was born and raised in Newark, NJ aka Brick City. An educator, consultant, community activist, youth advocate, prisoner reentry specialist, author and artist. He brings over 20 years of professional experience to areas where impact is crucial.
As Portal Curator, Divad utilizes his desire for community empowerment to enhance creating needed bridges and connections.
Newark Portal Curator
Fayemi Shakur is a writer, editor, and activist fayemi shakur first began writing political and cultural news stories for The Source magazine in 1999. Her interviews and published work have appeared in The International Review of African American Art, Artvoices Magazine, UPTOWN, Ebony.com, Nueva Luz Photographic Journal and various online and print media outlets.
She is a former editor and contributing writer for HYCIDE Magazine, a photography journal and is the creator and co-editor of OPEN: An Erotic Journal, a collection of short stories, poetry and photography featuring the work of George Pitts, Akintola Hanif, Michael A. Gonzales, jessica Care moore, Liza Jessie Peterson, Greg Tate and more.
In addition she serves as an advocate for political prisoners in the United States, teaches yoga and meditation as a tool to help heal trauma in communities affected by violence and is a proud mother of two sons.
Michael Arri is a trainer/coach and consultant for intercultural communication and conflict management. Before his current role, he worked in China for more than ten years as a TV journalist.
Now he is managing a refugees’ home outside of Berlin, and turning a former nunnery into a meeting point for intercultural communication, arts and performances.
Project Manager and Social Impact Activist
Karla Maradiaga is a Charles P. Howland Fellow at Yale University. She is performing her fellowship in El Progreso, Honduras. She studied public heath and pre-med at Yale and is an active member of the Yale math and science club.
London Portal Curator
Farzana recently finished her third year of studying Business Marketing BA Honors. With her degree she wants to accomplish her dream of working in a business-marketing establishment. Throughout the 3 years of studying Business Marketing she has learned many things such as working within a business environment, marketing their products as well as using the best strategy for them and making the business one of the leading businesses within their market.
Dre Meekins was born and raised in Chicago but has spent years around the globe in South Korea and China, teaching English. Dre speaks five languages and is committed to community development across America.
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.
Baltimore Portal Curator
Artist and Baltimore native, Rachael London holds degrees in Urban Studies, Design and Fine Art from The New School and Maryland Institute College of Art, respectively. With a focus on public space, her work uses observational research to serve and celebrate the site of each project with specificity and inclusivity. She works as the Baltimore Portal curator, a freelance radio, film and event producer, and sculpture & installation artist. Her local work includes the Idling at Dusk event series and a public concrete bench at Baltimore's Penn Station Plaza as well as on-going media project Greater Sights and Sounds inside Lexington Market. These and more are on her website: www.rachaellondon.com.
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.
Ryan Howard is a technologist, designer, and artist who creates systems, strategies, and environments for storytelling at human scale. His work spans experience design, product design, audiovisual systems design, software development, game development, broadcast media systems, IT, and architectural media. His visual art practice explores the mediation of gestural mark-making by technology, working with both traditional and non-traditional mediums. At Goldman Sachs he was a thought leader on use of immersive technologies within the enterprise environment. As an independent consultant he worked on global collaboration ecosystems, live-action gaming, and a broad range of production and audiovisual hybrids. Over twenty-five years he has led the design, engineering, and deployment of systems across the globe.
Muhammad Shahryar Yaqoob
Islamabad Portal Curator
Shahryar is a graduate of the University of London International Programmes with a degree in Business and Management. Having been working ever since he was in middle school, he has experience in various fields including Marketing, HR, Business Development, Project Managenent, Social Entrepreneurship and even Teaching. His experiences both locally and abroad have shaped his thought process towards innovative and solution centric patterns. He was also the Vice President for AIESEC in Islamabad, an international youth driven organisation while working as the regional manager for Tripda. After this he began working with Carnelian as Project Manager for the biggest youth movement within Pakistan, Together For Tolerance. He's currently working for invest2innovate, an impact accelerator focused towards supporting entrepreneurship in developing markets. Diverse is the word that describes this passionate individual.
Born and raised in Amman, Jordan, Nour began her global journey at New York University’s portal campus in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) where she pursued her undergraduate degree. Through NYU’s global network and liberal arts program, Nour studied abroad in New York, Florence, and Shanghai, and realized her passion for integrating engineering and social impact through Product Design and Development. After completing her BSc. in Mechanical Engineering with a pre-professional track in Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship, Nour returned home to further develop her Product Design portfolio within the melting pot that is now Jordan.
Adam is the Senior Director for The Rye Arts Center in Rye, NY, and is responsible for administering many arts classes, workshops, exhibits and events for the community. Adam has worked at the RAC for nearly 20 years, and, in addition to his work at the Center, is also an artist and musician.
Boulder Portal Curator
Eric Netterlund is a PhD student and educator in Communication Studies at the University of Colorado, where he has studied and taught rhetorical approaches to human communication for the past 6 years. While his current work focuses on religious rhetorics in the contemporary US, he has broader interests in theatrical performance and production and hopes to reintegrate these forms of artistic engagement back into his life after spending so many years focused on his studies.
Becky is a master’s student in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program at Georgetown University, where her research focuses on human-computer-interaction and technologies that can be used to counter societal polarization. At Georgetown, she also produces “Home,” a radio show about making personal connections despite—and because of—differences. Before going back to grad school, she was most recently the editorial director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. When not stuck in a book or in front of a computer, Becky enjoys the outdoors—hiking, camping, orienteering, and more—as well as photography, bellydancing, and cooking.
Max Ferguson, a Colorado Springs native, is a renowned local theatre artist, performer, and director producer. He has been seen treading the boards at the CS Fine Arts Center (FAC), UCCS Theatreworks, The Millibo, and Springs Ensemble Theatre (SET). He has also performed with the CS Philharmonic and CS Chamber Orchestra on numerous occasions. Max's directorial work has been seen at the FAC, SET, and Millibo to name a few. Max also has a passion for sharing the dramatic arts through education. He teaches at the Colorado Springs School and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale. Max is thrilled to be joining the Shared Studios team.
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.
Jennifer Pisz is a writer, dancer and producer based in Los Angeles. She began her career at the age of 16 in Off-Broadway musical The Children and continued dancing professionally while completing her undergraduate degree at New York University, where she majored in Journalism with a minor in French Studies. She has written for outlets including CBS Los Angeles, CBS Radio, Yahoo! and HBO News, specializing in news, arts and culture. Jennifer founded DANCELEN(D)S in 2010 to explore the intersection of dance and film. A collective of choreographers, dancers and filmmakers, the organization works to promote the collaborative spirit of the arts and to make high-value dance films more accessible to the public.
Digital Media Intern
Razan is a photography and video student at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been featured nationally in several gallery exhibitions and museums such as the Mississippi Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Greater Reston Arts Center. Her work has also been published in The Washington Post, Rookie Magazine, The Vienna Connection among others. She hopes to receive her BFA and become an art director and work for nationally-recognized publications and international media outlets.
Sam is a designer and researcher with work deeply rooted in ethnography, material investigation and empathy. Projects begin with interviews, surveys, and experiments in order to incorporate design moves. Her current body of work explores humanistic design interconnected with investigations of materiality. She is the founder of The Things We Keep, a collection of stories about people’s most special things. She is also co-founder of Clever/Slice, a space for creatives to share in-progress work, while evaluating critical feedback. Sam has collaborated with Martha Stewart Living, IKEA, Healthy Materials Lab, and teaches at Parsons School of Design.
Marwa is deeply involved in her community and with a variety of radio and computer projects with MercyCorps. She studied Computer Systems Engineering and Balqa Applied University and is currently a Media Trainer at Mousa Al-Saket center
Kathryn focuses on strategic planning, legal affairs, and partnerships. 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.