Masterclasses

The Summer STEM Institute (SSI) includes a 30-day Masterclass seminar series. The Masterclass series will connect SSI students to an impressive network of top young adults across the country who will speak about their experiences and advice for high school students.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship from Forbes 30 Under 30 inductees, science fairs from Science Talent Search (STS) 1st place winners, and the college admissions process from students who have been admitted to several elite universities. Students will have an opportunity to ask our speakers questions after every talk.

Students will learn from 30+ different speakers in the following verticals:

• Science Research
• Entrepreneurship
• Admissions
• Engineering and Technology
• Biology, Chemistry and Physics
• Mathematics and Computer Science
• Strategy and Personal Skills
• Business
• Social Science

Learn more about our Masterclass speakers below. Due to COVID-19, some speakers are uncertain about their summer availability, so the following list is subject to minor changes.

Science Research

Dhruvik Parikh

Stanford University

Dhruvik is an undergraduate at Stanford studying economics and computer science.  In high school, Dhruvik won the Young Scientist Award (top 3 overall; $50,000 scholarship) at the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). Dhruvik has been recognized as Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy, and he attended the Research Science Institute (RSI), where he researched bioremediation and petroleum cleanup. Dhruvik’s Masterclass will focus on the lessons he’s learned through his science fair career, and how they prepared him to win ISEF in his senior year. Dhruvik will also be an assistant instructor for the Conducting Data Science Research course.

Indrani Das

Harvard University

Indrani is a student at Harvard pursuing a degree in chemical and physical biology. While in high school, Indrani won 1st Place in the Regeneron Science Talent Search ($250,000 scholarship), widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious science competition, for her work designing a novel method to promote neuron repair in a model of brain injury. Indrani was also recognized by CNN Tomorrow’s Heroes for her work. Indrani’s Masterclass will focus on her experience creating a research project in-house in her high school’s research classroom and what she learned from her experience winning the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Amy Jin

Harvard University

Amy is an undergraduate at Harvard studying computer science. In high school, Amy conducted research on using artificial intelligence to analyze surgical skill in videos. For her work, Amy won the Davidson Fellowship ($50,000 scholarship; top 4 nationally), was a Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) Scholar, and was a Siemens Semifinalist. As a high school student, Amy also published her research in the IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision and also won Best Paper in the Machine Learning for Health Workshop in the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. Amy’s Masterclass will discuss her experiences with AI+Health research and engineering and advice she has for high school students interested in research.

Amol Punjabi

Harvard University

Amol is a student at Harvard pursuing a degree in mathematics. While in high school, Amol won 1st Place for Basic Research in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search ($150,000) for his work on developing software to help drug makers develop new therapies for cancer and heart disease, a project he began while at the Research Science Institute (RSI). Before RSI, Amol was published as first author in the journal ACS Nano for his nanotechnology research, and he also won Best in Category in the Intel ISEF in the Biochemistry category. Amol also holds a patent on up-converting nanoparticles. Amol’s Masterclass will discuss his various experiences in biotechnology and his advice for high school students interested in science fairs.

Entrepreneurship

Marco Lorenzon

Stanford Univeristy

Marco is a student at Stanford student pursuing a master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He has been a teaching assistant for Stanford’s well-known Lean Launchpad class for the past three years, a class that teaches how to apply the lean startup method to prototype, test, and iterate ideas for starting new companies. In high school, Marco was on the founding team of a startup incubator for technology-enabled startups and worked on a P2P safety app used by millions. At Stanford, Marco has worked with True Ventures, Charles River Ventures (CRV), Stripes Group, and Impossible Foods. Marco’s Masterclass will discuss building and supporting startups solving big problems and his advice for high school students interested in startups.

Diva Sharma

Stanford University

From New Delhi, India, Diva is an undergraduate at Stanford interested in human-computer interaction and computer science. Diva ignited her career as a healthcare entrepreneur in high school, when she worked on a hardware startup to detect physiological stress levels in animals. In high school, Diva won the Times of India Student of the Year Award, was honored as Forbes 30 Under 30, and has delivered a TedX Talk on advice for female entrepreneurs. The talk was selected by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was featured on the TedX Girls Spotlight Playlist (which has been viewed by nearly 80,000 people). Diva’s Masterclass will focus on the details of starting a company in high school, including how to identify a problem, create and ship a product, and sell it as a high school student.

Kasha Akrami

Stanford University

Kasha is an undergraduate at Stanford University majoring in Management Science and Engineering. After his freshman year, Kasha interned for Congresswoman Diana DeGette, the successful gubernatorial campaign of Congressman Jared Polis, and the law firm Davis Graham & Stubbs. This past summer, he interned for the venture capitalist Tim Draper. in addition to these experiences, Kasha is particularly passionate about launching and managing organizations that expand on his interests and connect like-minded individuals. A few to highlight include launching/directing the Scouting Program of Draper Associates, the GovTech Network, and (during high school) Sierra Project Foundation. Kasha's Masterclass will discuss how to combine hard and soft skills in high school and college.

Admissions

Daniel Wu

Stanford University

Daniel is an undergraduate at Stanford studying computer science and math. In high school, Daniel’s primary field of interest was biology, and he was recognized as a Silver Medalist in the USA Biology Olympiad (top 8 nationally). His high school research on cancer modeling was published in the journal Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health. Daniel is also interested in debate and literature, and in high school, he won the Scholastic Gold Key Award and the Gedenk Award for Tolerance for his writing on the subject of fear. Daniel has co-authored a book on Stanford admissions. In addition to discussing the college admissions process, Daniel’s Masterclass will talk about the amazing ways in which computer science is transforming biology and medicine, the frightening realities of scientific research, and tardigrades.

Katherine Ho

Stanford University

Katherine is an undergraduate at Stanford studying english and computer science. In high school, she won 1st Place in the Columbia University Model Entrepreneurship Competition and was a 2x Gold Key Winner in the Scholastic Writing Competition. In addition, Katherine is a Platinum Division (highest division) Finalist in the USA Computing Olympiad. Katherine is the author of “My Journey to Stanford”, where she shares stories, insights, and the application that helped her win admission to elite universities. Katherine’s Masterclass will discuss how to approach the college admissions process, and how candidates can combine both science and the humanities to stand out.

Engineering and Technology

Jessica Pointing

Harvard University

Jessica Pointing is a PhD student specializing in quantum computing at Stanford University as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and computer science with high honors from Harvard University (top 5% academic GPA), after spending her first two years of university at MIT. Jessica was selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the Science category. She founded the Stanford Quantum Computing Association and the Harvard College Quantum Computing Association. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Optimize Guide, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times. The blog is about life optimization, which includes guides on admissions and internship interviews for high school and university students. Jessica's Masterclass will discuss quantum computing and its potential to revolutionize computing.

John Hallman

Princeton University

From Sweden, John is an undergraduate at Princeton studying mathematics and machine learning. In high school, John was a Silver Medalist in the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO), where he placed 45th in the world (top 7.5%), and also won Third Place in the Swedish Physics Olympiad. John is also an accomplished figure skater, having medaled in several international competitions. At Princeton, John became more interested in machine learning and research, and specializes in statistics, NLP, and reinforcement learning. Last summer, he worked at Google Brain’s brand-new lab in Princeton. John’s Masterclass will discuss his advice on data science competitions and a brief introduction to modeling time series data (data where the x-axis is time).

Vahid Fezal-Rezai

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Vahid recently graduated with bachelor's degrees in mathematics and computer science and a master's degree in engineering from MIT. In high school, Vahid was a winner of the national USA Junior Math Olympiad (top 14 nationally) and worked on number theory research. His mathematical research was published in the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, and he was recognized as an Intel Science Talent Search (STS) semifinalist for his work. After graduating from MIT, Vahid worked as a software engineer at Silicon Valley technology startup Rockset. He recently left after two years and is now starting his own company. Vahid’s Masterclass will discuss a survey of career options in the tech industry and how to explore and evaluate those options in high school and college.

Luke Melas-Kyriazi

Harvard University

Luke is a Rhodes Scholar and a student at Harvard studying mathematics and computer science. Luke began conducting research in high school through a summer program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. At Harvard, Luke is a John Harvard Scholar (top 5% academic GPA of sophomore and junior class). He has published machine learning research on topics including language generation, natural language understanding, and image captioning.  His current research spans topics in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. Next year, Luke will pursue a PhD at Oxford as one of 32 nationally selected Rhodes Scholars. Luke’s Masterclass will discuss various topics in modern machine learning and AI, and he’ll give advice for high school students interested in machine learning research.

Michael Oduoza

Stanford University

From Canada, Michael is a student at Stanford studying electrical engineering. In high school, Michael won 1st Place in the International University of Waterloo Chemistry Competition: he was the first person-ever to earn a perfect score (100%) in the history of the competition. In addition, Michael has pursued numerous research projects in the fields of nanoscale semiconductor, nanoelectronics, and programmable logic devices. Recently, as his final project for Stanford’s “Computer Systems from the Ground Up” (CS 107E), Michael designed an autonomous raspberry pi motion tracking sentry gun. Michael’s Masterclass will discuss how to pursue projects where you can build things with your hands and how to distinguish yourself in high school with engineering.

Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

Jiwoo Lee

Stanford University

Jiwoo is a student at Stanford studying biomedical informatics and computational biology. In high school, Jiwoo conducted biology research on CRISPR-Cas9 and was Best in Category in Biomedical and Health Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Jiwoo attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) and was a Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) semifinalist and a Siemens semifinalist. Jiwoo was also recognized as a WIRED25 Winner with Jennifer Doudna, co-founder of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Jiwoo’s Masterclass will discuss her biology research in high school and her experience as a computer science and pre-med student pursuing research at Stanford. Jiwoo will also serve as a research mentor this summer for computational biology projects.

Michael Truell

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Michael is an undergraduate at MIT studying computer science, biology, and statistics. In high school, Michael attended the Research Science Institute (RSI), where he applied probabilistic computing to diabetic healthcare data. Michael attended the Intel ISEF competition, where he won the NASA Award, the CERN Research Award, and the 2nd Place Award in the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Category. He is currently a co-founder of Abelian, an AI consultancy firm he runs with his college roommates. Michael's Masterclass will discuss how high school students can pursue independent computer science and biology research projects. Michael will also serve as a research mentor this summer for biology and machine learning projects.

Leo Lo

Columbia University

From Hong Kong, Leo is studying physics in the Rabi Scholars Program at Columbia University. In high school, he was a USA Physics Olympiad Gold Medalist (top 50 nationally) and a Gold Medalist in the International Sustainable World Project Olympiad. Leo also conducted nano-optics research at Stony Brook’s Simons Summer Research Program, co-authoring a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters. For this work, he was recognized as a 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist (top 40 nationally) and placed 3rd in the Physics category at the 2018 International Science and Engineering Fair. In Leo’s Masterclass, he will share his insights on why he chose physics, how to best prepare for physics competitions, and the outlook of continuing the path of physics in college and beyond.

Anushka Walia

Yale University

Anushka is an undergraduate student at Yale studying biochemistry. In high school, Anushka was a 2-time Finalist in the USA Chemistry Olympiad (top 20 nationally), and she was also a Semifinalist in the USA Biology Olympiad. Anushka was also the 1st Place Winner of the National Technovation Pitch Challenge. Anushka attended the Research Science Institute (RSI), where she developed a nanosensor-coated stent to serve as a continuous in-vivo monitoring device for potassium. Anushka’s Masterclass will discuss her experience with wet lab research and advice she has for high school students interested in biology, chemistry, or the life sciences.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Michael Ren

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Michael is an undergraduate at MIT studying mathematics and computer science. In high school, Michael was a member of the USA Math Team (top 6 in nation). The USA Math Team was the first place team at the 2018 International Math Olympiad (IMO), where Michael was a gold medalist (top 1/12th of IMO contestants). Michael was a 2x USA Math Olympiad winner (top 12 nationally), and was the first place individual in 2018. Michael also studied quasiinvariant polynomials and was recognized as a Regeneron STS Finalist (top 40 nationally) for his research. Michael’s Masterclass will discuss his experiences with the International Math Olympiad and how to prepare for olympiads.

David Zhu

Harvard University

David is an undergraduate student at Harvard studying applied mathematics. In high school, David conducted computational research on classifying benign and malignant breast cancer lesions at Harvard Medical School. David’s research was published in the prestigious Nature Journal and won 5th Place in the Siemens Competition ($20,000 scholarship). In high school, David was top 20 nationally in the USA Computing Olympiad, was a 4-time qualifier for the USA Mathematics Olympiad (top 250 nationally), and was a Semifinalist in both the USA Physics Olympiad and the USA Chemistry Olympiad. David’s Masterclass will discuss advice he has for high school students interested in science and his strategies for training and excelling in four separate national Olympiads.

Tanya Otsetarova

Stanford University

From Bulgaria, Tanya is an undergraduate student at Stanford studying mathematics and computer science. In high school, she was a recipient of the Harvard Club of Bulgaria Award and was an International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist. Tanya also attended the Research Science Institute (RSI), where her research proved results in combinatorial geometry and acute set theory. Tanya graduated with a perfect 6.00/6.00 GPA from the Academy Kirik Popov High School of Mathematics Plovdiv. At Stanford, Tanya is continuing to pursue research in mathematics, and she is very interested in graph theory. Tanya’s Masterclass will discuss what she has learned from mathematics research and advice she has for high school students interested in mathematics.

Jenny Xu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Jenny is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient, a long distance runner, artist, programmer, gamer, farmer and CEO of Talofa Games. She solo develops horror comedy mobile games for her indie game company, JCSoft Inc. After graduating MIT with a computer science degree, she has worked in the intersection of AR and fitness to explore how gaming motivates healthy habits. In her 10 years in the gaming industry, she’s created 130+ games for web and mobile with 10 shipped titles on the mobile app stores with over 9.2 million downloads. She has also completed internships at Google, Electronic Arts, Sony PlayStation, and N3TWORK. Jenny's Masterclass will discuss how she started making games in high school and advice for young students looking to work on technical projects.

Strategy and Personal Development

Benjamin Spector

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Benjamin is an undergraduate at MIT pursuing a double major in computer science and mathematics. In high school, Benjamin was an ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize Winner, a national FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Winner, and an American Computer Science League (ACSL) national team member. He has interned at Google Research, Cornell Tech, and twice at Two Sigma investments as a co-developer of the Halite programming competition. Benjamin has also published AI research at conferences such as NeurIPS and has given talks at conferences such as Google NEXT. His Masterclass will focus on organization, time management, and effectively making hard decisions.

Sahaj Garg

Stanford University

Sahaj is an undergraduate at Stanford studying computer science. In high school, Sahaj was a 3-time USA Mathematics Olympiad qualifier, a USA Physics Olympiad Silver Medalist (top 100 nationally), and a top 5 Presenter at the Research Science Institute (RSI) for his research on how we perceive relationships in animations. Sahaj has conducted machine learning research at both Stanford and Google Research, and has been published Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI). In addition, Sahaj won the $100,000 Grand Prize at the World Crypto Economic Forum Hackathon. Sahaj’s Masterclass will discuss defining your own value system and how to make decisions about how to spend time in high school, college, and beyond.

Shawn Chao

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Shawn is a junior at MIT studying mathematics and political science. In high school, Shawn was a Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) scholar, a Intel International Science Engineering Fair (ISEF) finalist, and a Research Science Institute (RSI) scholar. At MIT, Shawn became more interested in data science, entrepreneurship, and policy. He has interned as a quantitative researcher at AQR Capital Management and as an entrepreneur in residence at Candidate Labs. On the side, he spends time leading philanthropic events and projects along with conducting pro-bono college consulting. Shawn’s Masterclass will discuss long-term planning, networking, and ethics.

Business

Katherine Du

Stanford University

Katherine is a student at Stanford pursuing a master’s degree in management science & engineering, a bachelor’s degree in economics, and a minor in computer science. At 15, Katherine applied to Stanford and was admitted via likely letter. In high school, Katherine was a media entrepreneur; her work was published by The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Huffington Post, and her creative nonfiction was recognized by U.S. Presidential Scholarship in the Arts Committee, National YoungArts Foundation, and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Katherine’s Masterclass will explore media entrepreneurship, strategic pivoting, and navigating opportunities in business and finance.

Joey Feffer

Harvard University

Joey is a student at Harvard studying mathematics. In high school, Joey was top 8 in the US National Computational Linguistics Olympiad, a Silver Medalist at the International Linguistics Olympiad, a United States Presidential Scholar, and a Research Science Institute Scholar.  Joey has presented his research on multitasking in visual foraging tasks was presented at the Vision Sciences Society Conference. At Harvard, Joey has been interested in using mathematics and quantitative methods to drive social change, which has led him to numerous different areas of business and economics. Joey’s Masterclass will discuss his experiences exploring different business activities at Harvard and his advice for high school students interested in science and business.

Sabrina Wong

Cornell University

Sabrina is an undergraduate at Cornell University studying business and english. On campus, Sabrina is the president of Apex Capital, a student-run finance organization. She is also a member of Phi Gamma Nu business fraternity, a contributor to the Business Section of the Cornell Daily Sun, and a weekly columnist for the Cornell Business Review. Sabrina is also a part of a Cornell Law School Practicum. Last summer, Sabrina worked as a Residential Programs Advisor at Brown University for the Summer@Brown Pre-College program, where she mentored high achieving high school students and regularly gave talks on college readiness and the college admissions process. Sabrina’s Masterclass will focus on professional development and the importance of making meaningful connections through crafting a unique personal narrative.

Albert Wang

Princeton University

Albert is an undergraduate at Princeton studying Operations Research Financial Engineering (ORFE), with minors in computer science and finance. Albert served as the youngest-ever Assistant Director (AD) of the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 2017. In high school, Albert qualified for the USA Mathematics Olympiad (USAMO) and was the two-time captain of the South Carolina All-State Math Team. At Princeton, he serves as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) and Partner of Tiger Capital Management, Princeton’s student-run investment fund, focusing on the technology, media, and telecom sectors. He also works on growth, data, and product at Public Comps, a data platform for enterprise software investors. Albert’s Masterclass will discuss why he choose finance and investing.

Julius Vering

M.E.T. Program, UC Berkeley

From Switzerland, Julius is an undergraduate pursuing a dual-degree in engineering and business in UC Berkeley’s competitive Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (M.E.T.) program (~3% acceptance rate). In high school, Julius studied Physics, and he was a 2-time Swiss National Physics Olympiad Gold Medalist and a Swiss Physical Society Scholar. He also attended the 2017 Research Science Institute (RSI), where he was recognized as a Top 5 Presentation for his project on quantum computing. At Berkeley, Julius is a Project Manager for Berkeley Consulting. Julius’s Masterclass will discuss what he has learned from his college experiences and advice he has for high school students interested in the intersection of engineering and business.

Social Science

Arjun Ramani

Stanford University

Arjun is an undergraduate student at Stanford studying economics and mathematics. In high school, Arjun won 3rd Place in the Regeneron Science Talent Search ($150,000 scholarship), was awarded the Davidson Fellowship ($25,000 scholarship), and was a USA Mathematics Olympiad qualifier (top 250 nationally). Arjun has published research papers in the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the European Journal of Physical Chemistry, the International Conference on Data Mining, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. At Stanford, Arjun does economics research on how policy can drive innovation in sectors and regions of the US that have historically suffered from low productivity growth. Arjun’s Masterclass will discuss pathways in economics and policy, as well as his advice for high school students on how to create a diverse college experience.

Jennifer Xiao

Harvard University

Jennifer is an undergraduate at Harvard studying applied mathematics and art history. In high school, she conducted computational biology research at the Research Science Institute (RSI) and received 3 national medals as well as 14 gold keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. At Harvard, she is a member of the Signet Society, the premier artistic and literary organization on campus, and is president of the Harvard Applied Mathematics Society. Jennifer is also an Arts Board Staff Writer for the Harvard Crimson. Jennifer is currently working on materials science and machine learning research at the MIT Media Lab and neuro-evolution research at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jennifer’s Masterclass will discuss her experiences in research and how to approach art and writing competitions.

Surtaz Khan

Yale University

Surtaz is an undergraduate at Yale studying computer science and economics. In high school, Surtaz studied the viability of artificial neural networks on accurate visual pattern recognition in noisy environments. In his junior year, Surtaz became interested in science policy and published his book “The Hell Code” to share a collection of cyberpunk short stories to explore the unintended consequences of innovation, with topics ranging from human enhancement to natural disaster. Surtaz’s Masterclass will focus on his passion for the intersection of technology and policy.

Felix Wang

Stanford University

Felix is a student at Stanford studying mathematics and political science. In high school, Felix was recognized as a Davidson Fellow ($25,000 scholarship), a Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) Finalist (top 40 nationally), and a Siemens Regional Finalist (top 60 nationally). In addition, Felix was a winner of the USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad Winner (top 12 in nation), a participant in the USA Math Olympiad Summer Program (top 50 nationally). At Stanford, Felix is a Project Director for the Stanford Consulting Group. This summer, Felix is excited to be working for Joe Kennedy’s Senate campaign. Felix’s Masterclass will discuss political science, and more broadly, how to balance specialized and general education in college.

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