Harvard Asian Alumni Summit 2014

NEWS

Storytellers Captivate Summit-goers at VOICES Finale. And the Winners Are…

by Jane Bock ’81

A stolen bike.  An Asian superhero.  A confrontation at a racist Hasty Pudding show.  The six VOICES finalists captivated a rapt crowd at the Summit’s Storytelling Slam with tales of the pain and tyranny of stereotypes, the love and hardships of Asian parents, and Asian American journeys both personal and profound.

Including an undergrad, a med student, College and Graduate School alums, and a faculty member, the storytellers brought the audience to tears and laughter and tears again with their “true stories, well told”. (Click on links below to view their stories.)

Connie Chung (“Daughters of Pyongyang”), John Lian (“Street Justice”), and Josephine Kim (“Asian Parents Love Differently”) won the top prizes of $5,000, $2,000, and $1,000, with John also earning the $500 audience prize.

The audience showed its love as well for Michael Hsieh (“My Coming of Age as a Warrior for Asian American Issues”click here to view historical documents related to Mike’s story), Min-Woo Park (“Captain Horizon”)and Vidya B.Viswanathan (“My Asian-American Rebellion”).

Host Ellie Lee AB ’92, acclaimed Moth storyteller and independent filmmaker, shared her own story with the audience during the deliberations of  the four distinguished judges: Michelle Chen AB ’99, Producer, Thirteen/WNET NY Public Media; Ju Yon Kim, Assistant Professor, English, Harvard; Darshak Sanghavi AB ’92, physician, healthcare columnist, bestselling author; and Julie Wu AB ’88, author, The Third Son, and physician.  Ellie and the judges praised the courage and literary skill of each of the storytellers.

Additional contributors to VOICES included the 34 entrants who submitted written and taped stories, 14 first-round and semifinal judges, a committee chaired by Jane Sujen Bock ’81 and Xiao Yu ’15, event chairs Dana Wang, HMS, and Franklin Zhao ’09, and sponsors The Tannery, Cambridge Trust Company, The Coop, Dumpling House and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

Watch the videos of each speaker tell their story on Youtube!

Thank you to all for an astonishingly moving event!

 

VOICES Semi-finalists Announced!


Congratulations to the 12 storytellers who have been selected to go on to the second round of the VOICES Storytelling Slam. The VOICES Committee was thrilled to receive entries from undergrads, graduate students, alumni and faculty—from diverse backgrounds and with very diverse stories and styles. This week the Semi-Finals judging panel will view their videotaped entries and select 5 or 6 to compete in the Live Finals on Sunday, Oct. 26th.

bxk AB ’14
“Tea Drinker’s Manifesto”

Grace Chao Harvard Medical School ’17
“My Father’s Father”

Connie Chung Harvard Graduate School of Education PhD ’12
“Daughters of Pyongyang”

Michael Hsieh AB ’80, MBA ’84
“My Coming of Age as a Warrior for Asian American Issues”

Josephine Kim Harvard Graduate School of Education Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-2006; Lecturer on Education
“Asian Parents Love Differently”

John Lian Harvard Medical School PhD anticipated ’16
“Street Justice”

Quinnie Lin AB ’09, MPP ’12
“Sisters, Americanizing”

Theresa (Tree) Loong AB ’94
“Take the Time to Listen. You Never Know What You Will Find”

Min-Woo Park Harvard College ’16
“Captain Horizon”

Ryan Park-Chan Harvard College ’18
“What I Learned on the Great Wall”

Vidya B.Viswanathan AB ’11
“My Asian-American Rebellion”

Sanyee Yuan AB 2012
“Dream Big: The Story of Disneyland, Oranges, and the Asian-American Dream”

Thank you to the VOICES Screening Committee for evaluating the 34 entries:

Jane Sujen Bock AB ’81

Tawhid Ali AB ’93

David Chan AB ’83

Pauline W. Chen AB ’86

Eunah Lee COL ’16

Jeannie Park AB ’83

Franklin Xiao AB ’09

Eric Yeh AB/MS ’98

And thank you to our VOICES Sponsors:

Cambridge Trust Company

The Coop

Dumpling House

Dumpling House

The Tannery

Asian American Writers’ Workshop

ELEVATE 2014 Finalists Announced!

Congratulations to the 2014 ELEVATE Pitch Competition finalists!

The 2014 Harvard Asian Alumni Summit is proud to announce our finalist teams who will go on to compete for over $35,000 in cash and prizes:

BaseTrace
DNA and bio-tech tracer to detect water contamination
Justine Chow Kmiecik AB ’10, co-founder and CEO
Jake Rudulph, co-founder and CTO
Adam Rigel, co-founder Paul-Harvey Weiner, co-founder
David Roche, co-founder

Oncolinx
Developing next-generation cancer therapies using antibody-drug conjugates, considerably reducing cancer-treatment side effects.
Allen Lin GSAS PhD Candidate, co-founder and CTO
Sourav Sinha, co-founder and CEO
Riley Ennis, co-founder and COO
Errik Anderson, Chief Advisor

Six Foods
Imagining an eco-friendly and sustainable future for food in the Western world by leveraging the abundance and nutrition potential of insects as a food source.
Rose Wang AB ’13, co-founder and CEO
Laura D’Asaro AB ’13, co-founder and  COO
Meryl Natow AB ’13, co-founder and Creative Director
Jason Qu JD ’14, Legal Advisor
Geoff Lukas, Head Chef, Sofra Bakery

Verify
Cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting technology using rewritable near field communication (NFC) tags on product packaging
Ben Li COL ’16, co-founder
Alex Busarov, co-founder
Yaz Belinsky, co-founder

Jubilee Project
Entertainment and content to inspire action and increase awareness.
Eric I. Lu AB ’09, co-founder and Board Member
Edward Lee AB ’10, co-founderand Board Member
Jason Lee, co-founder and Executive Director
Elaine Zhou, Chief Operating Officer

One Earth Designs
Enabling families to use efficient cooking tools powered by solar energy; flagship product: SolSource.
Catlin Powers MS ’11 Sc.D ’14- Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Center for Health and the Global Environment, co-founder and COO
Scot Frank, co-founder and CEO
Clement Lam, Chief Business Development Officer
Janet Wu, CFO and Chief of Strategy
Erica Young, Chief Design Officer

SPOUTS
Providing clean drinking water to Uganda through local production of affordable ceramic water filters.
Seul (Kathy) Ku AB ’13-14 HBS ’18, co-founder
John Kye AB ’14, co-founder
Suvai Gunasekaran AB ’13, Engineering Director
Billy Raseman, Country Director

Teaching Garage
Educational venture to encourage and educate students in STEM fields, and become scientific doers of the future; Design SySTEM is a year-long engineering program targeted at elementary school students.
Janice Chong Ed.M ’14, co-founder
Helen Chen, co-founder

On Oct 25th, the ELEVATE finalist teams will present in front of a distinguished panel of startup, tech, and VC industry experts and members of our over 400 summit attendees. Special thanks to our semi-final round judges Amy Chen AB ’11, of FirstMark Capital, Judith Li AB ’06 HBS ’13, of Lilly Asia Ventures, and Janie Yu MA ’07, of Fung Capital. Additional thanks goes out to our current sponsors for making 2014 ELEVATE possible:

Samsung Open Innovation Center

William Chang AB ’78

REITLER Kailas & ROSENBLATT LLC Logo

Techstars Logo

WeWork logo

2014 ELEVATE Pitch Competition semifinalists announced!

Sixteen semifinalist teams have been selected from an extremely competitive pool of applicants. Selected teams reflect the diversity of the Harvard Asian community: Semifinalists represent at least seven of Harvard’s schools, and team members range from current undergraduates to seasoned alumni.

For-profit:

BaseTrace
DNA and bio-tech tracer to detect water contamination
Justine Chow Kmiecik AB ’10, CEO and co-founder
Jake Rudulph, CTO and co-founder
Adam Rigel, co-founder
Paul-Harvey Weiner, co-founder
David Roche, co-founder

Brilliant Bicycles
Designer bicycles employing a vertically-integrated, software-assisted design-to-delivery process.
Kane Hsieh AB ’12, Head of Product
Adam Kalamchi AB ’05, CEO

Cam Med
Innovative multi-drug delivery device/system in the form of a bandage.
Yanzhe Qin SEAS Visiting Fellow, Chairman and Head of R&D
Larry Alberts AB ’84, CEO
Zhifei Ge, Product Design Head

Oncolinx
Developing next-generation cancer therapies using antibody-drug conjugates, considerably reducing cancer-treatment side effects.
Allen Lin GSAS PhD Candidate, CTO
Sourav Sinha, CEO
Riley Ennis, COO
Errik Anderson, Chief Advisor

PAKT
Concierge clothing and wardrobe storage based in Hong Kong, with customizable temperature and humidity settings.
Barbara Yu Larsson AB ’78, founder
Eva Gundersen, designer

PsyBuddy
Culturally-aware mobile app solution to mental health care delivery in China, including connecting patients to qualified psychiatrists/psychologists.
Xiaomu Yu ’16 HBS , founder and CEO
Yanfang Cheng, co-founder and psychiatrist
Aiden Wang, chief engineer

Six Foods
Imagining an eco-friendly and sustainable future for food in the Western world by leveraging the abundance and nutrition potential of insects as a food source.
Rose Wang AB ’13, CEO/Co-founder
Laura D’Asaro AB ’13, COO/Co-founder
Meryl Natow AB ’13, Creative Director/Co-founder
Jason Qu JD ’14, Legal Advisor
Geoff Lukas, Head Chef, Sofra Bakery

Smarking Inc.
Real-time predictive analytics for parking spaces, reducing supply-and-demand inefficiencies for parking facilities.
Zhewen Dai MLA ’14, designer and co-founder
Wen Sang, CEO
Zhenlong Zhao, CTO

Stiqer
Comprehensive consumer/customer loyalty program solution for small to medium sized business.
Yo Sup “Joseph” Moon AB ’13, Chief Product Officer
Henry Ma, CEO
Alex Xiong, CTO

Verify
Cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting technology using rewritable near field communication (NFC) tags on product packaging
Ben Li COL ’16
Alex Busarov
Yaz Belinsky

Vinobly
Consumer guide via mobile app for wine; a ‘Pandora’ for wines.
Emily Wang AB ’09 MBA ’14, Founder & CEO

 

Social Enterprise and Non-profit:

Jubilee Project
Entertainment and content to inspire action and increase awareness.
Eric I. Lu AB ’09, Co-Founder and Board Member
Edward Lee AB ’10, Co-Founder and Board Member
Jason Lee, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Elaine Zhou, Chief Operating Officer

One Earth Designs
Enabling families to use efficient cooking tools powered by solar energy; flagship product: SolSource.
Catlin Powers- Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Center for Health and the Global Environment, co-founder and COO
Scot Frank, co-founder and CEO
Clement Lam
Janet Wu
Erica Young

Potluck Energy
Organizing shared solar energy installations for communities and reducing the need for subsidies in the future of solar energy.
Yin Liang, HBS ’15
Michele Lunati HKS ’15, Founder
Mario Orozco
Demetrios Kellari
Henry Nassif

SPOUTS
Providing clean drinking water to Uganda through local production of affordable ceramic water filters.
Seul (Kathy) Ku AB ’13-14 HBS ’18, co-founder
John Kye AB ’14, co-founder
Suvai Gunasekaran AB ’13, Engineering Director
Billy Raseman, Country Director

Teaching Garage
Educational venture to encourage and educate students in STEM fields, and become scientific doers of the future; Design SySTEM is a year-long engineering program targeted at elementary school students.
Janice Chong Ed.M ’14, co-founder
Helen Chen, co-founder

———————

ELEVATE 2014 is made possible by the generosity of the following sponsors and individuals:

Samsung Open Innovation Center

William Chang AB ’78

REITLER Kailas & ROSENBLATT LLC Logo

Techstars Logo

WeWork logo

Top 10 Reasons You Should Attend the Harvard Asian Alumni Summit*

10. Because Shake Shack is now in Harvard Square. Enjoy a Crimson Red Velvet frozen custard while reminiscing about buying textbooks and records at the Coop—yes, there once were rows and rows of vinyl there!

9. Because the gooey, sweet Flour sticky bun might be one of the best connections you’ll ever make at a conference. (Yes, food again. We’re Asian, right?)

8. Because you might meet the next person who will get to name a Harvard school. 

7. Because the edge-of-your-seat ELEVATE Pitch Competition is like if competitive sports married Silicon Valley, minus the overpriced hot dogs.

6. Because you’re curious if Tiger Mom has claws. Come and find out!

5. Because of all the instruments we’ve practiced, the loudest should be our voices.
Hear powerful stories, or tell your own at our first-ever VOICES Storytelling Slam.

4. Because you’ll learn about and hear from the many great Asian-American athletes that come from Harvard. Yep, you read that right.

3. Because President Faust’s Ice Bucket Challenge reminded you of icy Cambridge winters and now you want to visit—minus the whole icy winter part.

2. Because the Kong still serves scorpion bowls.

1. Because hundreds of amazing people will be there. It took four years to pull together this second Summit, and you can’t wait that long for the next one!

*With a nod to Harvard Black Alumni Weekend’s Top 10 List…and David Letterman

Inside Look #2: CALLING ALL HARVARD ENTREPRENEURS!

Inside Look LogoBy Evelyn Hsieh Wong MTS ’08

1 business plan. 10 minutes to sell it. $35,000 in cash and prizes. That’s what’s at stake at the ELEVATE Pitch Competition, happening Saturday night , October 25, at the Second Harvard Asian Alumni Summit. Everyone knows how creative our alumni, students, faculty, and staff can be. But have you seen them sweat as they pitch ideas in front of hundreds of people and a panel of judges? Just like four years ago, teams will give “elevator pitches” to win cash and prizes, as well as advice from venture capitalists and industry experts, networking opportunities, and media buzz. And everyone’s invited to watch!

ELEVATE was established by Monica Lee AB ’88 and Jeff Yang AB ’89 in 2010. This year, Amy Wu AB ‘09 and Eric William Lin AB ’09 are running the competition. Drawing on their experience in start-ups, venture capital, event planning, business and media, Monica and Jeff modeled ELEVATE after other competitions found at HBS and MIT. These contests blended the excitement and energy of reality TV and sports with the creativity and innovation of the business community. The inaugural ELEVATE competition exceeded all expectations — over 100 entries were submitted from around the world, including as far as Korea, China and England. And the winners, as you’ll see below, are thriving and continuing the cycle of supporting entrepreneurship in all its forms.

This year, hopes are that the competition wiill be even bigger and more impactful; there are tracks for both for-profit and non-profit start-ups and higher cash awards than in 2010.

Do you have what it takes? ENTER NOW!

Winners of the 2010 ELEVATE competition.
Winners, Finalists, Judges and Sponsors of the 2010 ELEVATE competition.

Here’s what our previous winners have been up to:

2010 Perkins Coie Award for Innovation

Samuel Sia PhD ’02

Diagnostics One: A nonprofit providing a life-saving, low-cost device that can diagnose blood-based diseases in remote parts of the world; it just takes one prick of blood and results come out in 15 minutes.

Since winning the award, Dr. Sia sold his company (Claros Diagnostics) that worked on the device to OPKO Health. Then he set his eyes on another problem: a lack of affordable commercial lab space in New York City. Together with his wife, Dr. Sia founded the Harlem Biospace, “a place where life-science startups can congregate,” he said. The ELEVATE competition was “a great event to hear feedback on our idea from experienced colleagues” and follow up with other attendees, he says. And he’ll be paying it forward — as a judge in this year’s competition.

2010 Dr. James S.C. and Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Award for Change

Kavita Shukla AB ’06 and Swaroop Samant

Fenugreen: A patented biodegradable food packaging material that extends perishable food shelf life two to four times.

Their product, now called FreshPaper, is available in Wegmans, Whole Foods Markets and local stores across the country. It’s been featured in media far and wide, from the Today Show, to the Oprah Magazine, to CNN. Last year, FreshPaper won the prestigious INDEX design award — joining the ranks of previous winners Tesla, Kiva, and Apple. And like Dr. Sia, Fenugreen is paying it forward with its own competition — the $15,000 “Fresh Prize” for ideas to improve the world.

Fenugreen accepts award at 2010 ELEVATE competition.
Fenugreen’s Kavita Shukla and Swaroop Samant (on either side of check) accept award from Monica Lee and Jeff Yang.

2010 AOL Award for Creativity

Jennifer 8. Lee AB ’99, Mynette Louie AB ’97, and Amit Paley AB ’04

“The Secret Court of 1920″: A film about how the Harvard administration discovered and expelled an underground ring of gay students in 1920, resulting in multiple suicides. Based on a true story.

Today, the script is still being developed with screenwriters. “It’s a big project to tackle in all ways (creative scope, budget, historical significance, etc.), and projects like that tend to take years to develop and get right,” said Mynette. Meanwhile, Mynette has worked on seven feature films that have premiered at film festivals worldwide. She won the Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award in 2013 and is currently president of Gamechanger Films, a new company that finances women-directed feature films. Jennifer is executive producer of a documentary, “The Search for General Tso,” and working on a startup that brings fiction series to digital platforms.

The 2014 ELEVATE competition is sponsored by Samsung Open Innovation Center, Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt, and WeWork.

Inside Look #1: THE SUMMIT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE! It Changed Theirs

Inside Look LogoBy Evelyn Hsieh Wong MTS ’08

How often have you heard, “This [gadget/HBO show/guacamole] will change your life?”

Well, the Inaugural Harvard Asian American Alumni Summit in 2010 actually did just that! It led alumni like Jinhee Ahn Kim ’85 and Amy Chu MBA ’99 to do a complete career 180. Jinhee (co-directing this fall’s Summit with Hye-Won Choi ’85) started Snapette, a mobile app for shoppers to discover new products and sales from top designer brands. Amy is now a full-time comic book writer and publisher, jetting from Comic-Con to Comic-Con across the country. They are where they are today in part because of the conversations, networking, and the “Road Less Traveled: Unconventional Careers” panel at the first Summit.

Here are a few lessons they’ve learned in their switch from “Oh, My Ivy League Cousin Does That Too,” to “You Do What?!”

Jinhee Ahn Kim and Sarah Paiji
Sarah Paiji (left) and Jinhee Ahn Kim launched Snapette after meeting at the Summit.

1) Hearing someone else’s story can inspire your own.

Jinhee had attended the “Road Less Traveled” panel in 2010, hearing from Joanne Chang ’91 (owner of Flour Bakery), Georgia Lee ’98 (film director), Bernard Lee ’92 ALM ’94 (pro poker player) and V.V. (Sugi) Ganeshananthan ’02 (author), who were thriving in their nontraditional careers. Says Jinhee, “I was at a point when I was feeling a bit rudderless and off my confidence. The panel and conference really energized me and gave me motivation—it made me want to go out there and just DO IT.” The next day, she happened to strike up a conversation with fellow Harvard alumna Sarah Paiji ’06, who was also interested in fashion and entrepreneurship. They hit it off, decided to collaborate, worked together out of an apartment in London, and launched Snapette three months later.

2) Your life doesn’t need to fit into a neat box.

Amy never aspired to work in comics. At the time of the Summit, Amy, mother of two, was a freelance biotech consultant. She talked to Georgia Lee, who told her about a real need for strong female storylines and characters in the comics industry. They started brainstorming about starting an imprint that reflected just that. Thus—Alpha Girl was born. “Most people assume I grew up reading Spiderman and couldn’t resist… when actually I have to Wikipedia everything,” says Amy. “Comics was not in the game plan. It was purely by accident and that throws people for a loop. Deep down, I knew I wanted to be a writer but writing comics? Never in 100 million years.”

3) Hanging out with Asians has value. And not just for swapping parental horror stories.

Amy says, “Look at me, I came from Iowa. I grew up feeling like an outsider. I mean, even the idea of having an Asian party was like… wow!” She laughs. “Not to sound like a complete hick but I’m coming from a completely different background all together. And the Summit is important because we understand that we have a community. We should celebrate that. It’s not just about the networking, but about sharing, supporting and learning from one another.”

Welcome Letter from the Summit Co-Chairs

Welcome to the Harvard Asian Alumni Summit!

          It has already been almost four years since we held our inaugural summit in October 2010, and what an amazing event that was. More than 400 of us attended, from all over the world, and we spent the weekend reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, engaging in discussion on so many different issues of interest to our community and the world around us. We were inspired by our peers, who had accomplished so much in their careers and were making an impact in their fields. We talked about education, politics, finance, medicine, business, music, law, the arts, and so much more. We were moved and inspired by those who had followed their passions down untraditional paths. We left feeling re-energized professionally and personally and feeling reconnected with our peers and the University. Some of us even changed our lives as a result.

          Well, it’s now time for us to descend upon our alma mater for our second summit to be held in Cambridge on October 24-26th.  This Summit promises to be just as exciting as our inaugural meeting. We are planning panels on entertainment, education, healthcare, social impact and entrepreneurship, and have invited leaders in these fields.  We will, once again, have the Elevate pitch competition and something new: a celebration honoring Harvard’s Asian athletes. Our networking breakfast, which proved hugely popular last time, will take place on Saturday.  We are also planning a session for alumni and their children to meet with William Fitzimmons, Dean of Admissions, as well as a panel of current students discussing their experiences with the admissions process and college life. In response to your feedback from 2010, there will be more free time to get to know each other and to enjoy exploring all that’s new in Cambridge.

          We want to extend a warm welcome to all our fellow alumni—as well as faculty, administrators and students—to join us. We are looking forward to seeing you on campus in October!

Hye-Won Choi AB ’85
Jinhee Ahn Kim AB ’85

 

4 Inspiring Keynote and Opening Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Sheryl Wudunn Sheryl WuDunn MBA ’86, the first Asian-American to win a Pulitzer Prize in reporting, is a best selling author, business executive and lecturer, and has strong ties to the philanthropic community. She is the co-author with her husband Nicholas D. Kristof of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, just published by Random House.

 

 OPENING SPEAKERS

JYK portrait -  12.9.13 currentJim Yong Kim MD ’86, PhD ’93, is the President of the World Bank Group. Trained as a physician and an anthropologist, he has received several awards, including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and recognitions such as one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, and in 2006 TIME magazine named him as one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

 

 

Rakesh KhuranaRakesh Khurana MA ’97, PhD ’98, will become Dean of Harvard College on July 1. He is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School and the Master of Cabot House at Harvard College.

 

 

 

Lizabeth CohenLizabeth Cohen is Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Harvard University.