Cohort

Michelangelo Ball Van Zee

There are a lot of things that could be made better: I want to harness my skills and passions to help do that. Some of my particular interests include foreign languages, different cultures and peoples, food, and nature, but I love learning about pretty much all intellectually stimulating topics. I also like meaningful conversations with thoughtful people. I naturally gravitate towards big-picture questions and enjoy thinking of ways to monetize novel ideas. A lifelong New Yorker before Princeton, I appreciate the hubbub of the big city, but also enjoy exploring the complexities of nature. To me, relaxation means nothing more than curling up with a good book.

Irene Burke

I grew up in a small town outside of Chicago called Oak Park, which is also the hometown of Ernest Hemingway, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ludacris. I am from a big Irish Catholic family of artists, writers, and entrepreneurs, and I love working on new projects and traveling. When I was little I wanted to be a farmer (like Laura Ingalls Wilder!) or a museum curator. I got a taste of life as a farmer when I worked in rural Peru for a year as the manager of a women’s artisan collective, and I helped to research and curate an art exhibit while interning at a museum in New Delhi, India. While my experiences working in Peru and India were different in many ways, they enabled me to bring together my interests in economic development, art, and the challenge of preserving history and traditional culture in communities experiencing rapid urbanization.

Hunter Dong

Hey I’m Hunter!

I find the question “What’s your story?” to be clunky and I probably spent more time than necessary writing this little bio. Stories are structured and flow in a way that nobody’s life really does. My own story is too confusing and would make the worst book ever, but I’ll try to write the abridged version here.

I am first and foremost a learner. I’ve devoted myself to learning and reading ever since I came home from kindergarten crying because we were learning the letter “p” and I didn’t know what a pickle was. I’m a Long Islander but I betrayed New York to attend college in New Jersey. I’m a Buddhist who is currently pursuing a career in the most materialistic field possible, finance. However, up until the 11th grade my dream job was something along the lines of a professional bowler astronaut so my current goals are subject to change. I spend too much time thinking about my family, present and future, for a 19 year old. The contradictions of my religion, my culture, and my conservative hometown nestled in a liberal state have shaped my political views into that of a “radical centrist.” Everything I do is with the ultimate goal of changing the world for the better, but I’d appreciate some help figuring out the steps to get there.

Ioana Ferariu

I like learning – picking up a book about something I’ve never heard or even thought possible before, but also learning how to find my way in-between the specific intricacies of one field or topic. I enjoy seeing how things can blend or mix up, or how sometimes they must be decidedly apart – from foods, to concepts, to colors, to music or people. I LOVE chocolate, and wine, and French cheeses. and coffee. and getting lost in cities. and great conversations. and randomness :)

Katherine Lee

I'm an east coast girl. I love my cities and the people who run around in them, the strangers on the train who open up more because you both know you'll be going separate ways when those doors open, the glorious few days between summer and fall where the sky feels so high you think you could stretch to infinity, the vibrant purple of the flowering weeds that I've tried, and failed, to capture on camera. I'm addicted to the uncomfortable—the squeamish feeling of being on the edge and pushing yourself further, closer, off the edge—the thrill of free-falling.

Katie Smith

Hi, I'm Katie Smith, and I am a student from Haddonfield, New Jersey, which is right outside of Philadelphia. I am studying ecology and environmental studies and trying to figure out what to do next with my life, now that the 'scripts' I have been following (school) are ending. Maybe I'll finally move out of New Jersey! I love spending time outside, learning and trying new things with other people, and finding ways to help others. I am especially interested in the environment, from both the science side and policy or regulatory side.

I come from a liberal family that emphasizes giving back to the community and doing fulfilling things. I have wonderful role models in my family, as well as many great friends I have made and mentors I have found. My ultimate goal is to have a meaningful and fulfilling life that is helpful to others that I also find not overly stressful and that gives me joy.