Alumna of: University of Kentucky, Bellarmine University, Tsinghua University
Holly Chang is Founder and President of the Golden Bridges Foundation, which houses the Project Pengyou initiative. As a Chinese-American social entrepreneur, she has served hundreds of non-profits in China as an international bridge-builder, supporting diverse projects in climate change, education, health and philanthropy. From 2014 to 2018, Ms. Chang served as Executive Director of the Committee of 100, a leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans who seek to promote the full inclusion of Chinese Americans in the United States and advance U.S.-China relations. She began her career as a civil engineer at the United Parcel Service working on cutting-edge and fast-tracked engineering projects budgeted over $1 billion.
Alumna of: American University
Alyssa Farrelly served as the Executive Director of the Golden Bridges Foundation from 2015-2019. A New Jersey native, Alyssa studied abroad at Peking University for a semester in 2009 and fell in love with China, and lived there for nearly eight years. Alyssa joined Golden Bridges in 2012, working closely with its founder, and has since dedicated her life to promoting deeper mutual understanding between the U.S. and China. In addition to her work at Golden Bridges, Alyssa was a Heyrobics instructor, a popular fitness group in Beijing and the Chapter President for the American University Beijing Alumni Club. She was also selected as a Global Shaper, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. Alyssa graduated from American University in 2010 with a BA in International Studies, and she speaks Mandarin and Japanese. Alyssa recently started a part-time MBA program at UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business.
Alumna of: University of Missouri, Columbia
Devin’s hometown is Kansas City, Missouri but she lived in Beijing for 5 and a half years and considers it her second home. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in International Studies and Political Science in 2013, and immediately returned to Beijing, the city she fell in love with and began building a community in Beijing. Devin worked with Golden Bridges since May 2014 and was most recently the Program Director, handling content and strategy for projectpengyou.org, communications, planning and execution of Project Pengyou campaigns, events and programs, and more. She is currently pursuing her masters/PhD in counseling psychology. Devin was also President and manager of her A Capella group based in Beijing, 京 Sing!
Alumna of: Beijing Language and Culture University
Sunny (Chinese name 郭日辉) was born in a small city in Liaoning, China. When she was 19, Sunny left her home town and went to study at Beijing Language and Culture University. After graduating, she worked at Lenovo as a business planning specialist and cost engineer for four years before joining Golden Bridges in March 2014 where she served as Operations Manager. She is now pursuing her MBA in Beijing.
Alumna of: Harvard University, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Nanjing Normal University
Hui (AKA Helen) Huang is the Director of Asia Programs at the Center for International and Intercultural Studies at St. Lawrence University. She graduated from the Harvard Divinity School with a Masters of Theological Studies in 2012 with a concentration in Religion, Ethics and Politics. Helen has extensive experience in professional leadership development, working especially closely with Harvard professor Marshall Ganz, who is credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign. Helen served as a teaching team member for Prof. Ganz in two leadership courses at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2010: Public Narrative and Community Organizing. Since then, she has been a coach and lead coach for Prof. Ganz’s leadership workshops at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School, as well as in corporate programs. Helen has served as the Community Engagement Manager for Golden Bridges working closely on the development of our leadership trainings.
Alumnus of: University of Southern California
George Ding served as the Media Producer for Project Pengyou. He was born in Beijing and grew up in Northern Virginia. He received a BA in Film Production and a minor in East-Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California. After college, George moved back to Beijing, where he joined Team Pengyou. George also works as a writer and screenwriter. He has developed projects with companies like Oriental DreamWorks and Le Vision Pictures, and his writing has been published in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and The New York Times.
Alumna of: Texas A&M International University
Leslie Martinez is a originally from Laredo, Texas and she graduated from Texas A&M International University in 2015 where she earned a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Political Science, International Leadership and Translation. She studied abroad in Germany with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program during 2010-2011 and in Shanghai, China with International Studied Abroad in 2013-2014. She attended East China Normal University and completed a one year intensive Mandarin program. Leslie is a fellow and alumna of the Harvard Latino Leadership, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and Project Pengyou, programs through which she enhanced her leadership skills and commitment to serve as a bridge-builder in the U.S.- China-Latinx sector. In 2014 alongside another Project Pengyou fellow, she established the first Project Pengyou chapter in Texas at TAMIU in Laredo. She has served as a Project Pengyou Coach (2015-17) and she interned for the Committee of 100 in New York City. She is currently the District Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar TX 28 in Laredo, TX. Leslie is fluent in Spanish and German, and is currently developing her Mandarin Chinese. Her hobbies include cooking, teaching latin dance, learning and teaching foreign languages and traveling.
Alumna of: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Tammy is an avid learner. She recently switched into software development to marry her community-focused idealism with the reality of technology. She is the founder of the UW-Madison Project Pengyou chapter. After her studies at UW-Madison, she spent two years living Beijing working with biotech and communications. Tammy currently resides in Milwaukee, WI.
National Campaigns Committee
Alumnus of: Amherst College
A Cincinnati, Ohio native, EJ Mitchell is a graduate of Amherst College where he majored in Asian Languages and Civilizations with a concentration in China. During his time at Amherst, EJ studied abroad in Beijing through IES and returned to China after graduation to work for IES as the Head Resident Advisor for its Beijing center. EJ currently serves as a Senior Educational Consultant and Assistant Director of Recruitment for Elite Scholars of China (ESC), a Beijing-based educational consulting firm. Prior to joining ESC, he was a veteran teaching fellow and Dean of Student for Breakthrough Collaborative Cincinnati and served as a telementor for the Amherst College Admissions Office. He is a member of the inaugural Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows cohort.
Alumna of: Valparaiso University
A Chicago native now living in D.C., Michele spent most of her China time in Hangzhou and Shanghai studying Mandarin, interning, and doing graphic design work for a local education nonprofit under various government scholarships. Michele has been part of Project Pengyou since 2014 when she joined the inaugural cohort of Leadership Fellows and went on to found the Valparaiso University chapter. After graduating in 2015 with a degree in marketing, humanities, and Chinese, she worked in public health in Chicago for a couple years before moving to D.C. to do communications work with various nonprofits and NGOs including the US-China Strong Foundation. Her hobbies include traveling, advocating for human rights, and eating way too much Sichuan food.
Chapter Strategy and Outreach Committee
Alumna of: Swarthmore College
Anisa Knox graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature and a minor in Educational Studies. Knox currently serves as the Director of the Chinese Unit at a healthcare facility in New Jersey, specializing in building partnerships with doctors and hospitals to better serve the Chinese community. Anisa won 2nd place for the Hong Kong government Chinese Speech Competition hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office. Knox is a prominent strategist for radio show, Millennial High, a podcast centered on millennial related issues such as relationships and the music industry. She also served as governmental liaison for Councilman David Oh on the Council of Human Relations in Philadelphia, PA.
Brian Sanghee Lee
Alumnus of: Swarthmore College
Brian Sanghee Lee serves on the launch team of Whittle School & Studios, a global school that is building campuses in over 30 major cities across the world. Brian speaks English, Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese, and has lived in eight countries in pursuit of a global education. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, Brian earned a B.A. in psychology at Swarthmore College, where he served as an Admissions Fellow. He then completed an M.A. in China studies with highest honors from Zhejiang University. He conducted education field research in rural China under a Fulbright grant. He is part of the Fall 2014 Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow cohort.
Alumna of: Colby College
Emily is from Burlington, Vermont and is a recent graduate of Colby College, where she doubled majored in Biology and Environmental Science with a concentration in marine science and minored in Chinese language. In 2016, Emily went to Beijing and studied at Minzu University with the Associated Colleges in China intensive language program. The spring after returning from China, Emily became apart of the 2017 Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow cohort and co-founded the 2017-2018 Colby College PPY chapter. She loves to play volleyball and learn about other cultures.
Marketing, PR & Branding Committee
Alumna of: University of Indiana, Bloomington
Jamie entered Project Pengyou with the fourth cohort in 2017. Now, she lives and works in her hometown of New York City, handling communications for the current-affairs publication, China-US Focus, and occasionally writes for SupChina on food and culture. In 2018, she graduated from Indiana University's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. During her time as an undergraduate, she studied in Beijing and Shanghai. As a recepient of the 2018 Critical Language Scholarship, she also studied in Changchun.
Alumnus of: University of Kentucky
Hi! I'm Meredith Garrison, I was part of the first cohort of leaderships fellows with Project Pengyou in 2014. Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, I remember dreaming to move from my small town to a large city in China. I checked out a book from the library and started learning Chinese on my own--until word got around and one of the few Chinese people in our town decided to teach me. More importantly, she taught me how to be a cross-cultural bridge-builder. On my first trip to China, I realized how necessary it was to start building bridges between my home culture in Appalachia and my adopted home in China. My passion for social justice and peace-making has taken me around the world to work for non-profits in Bolivia and Nigeria. Right now though, I work as a Lecturer at the University of Kentucky as I finish a PhD in Communication. Most days you'll find me speaking a hodgepodge of English, Chinese, and Spanish, as I learn over and over what it means to be an American, what it means to be Kentuckian, and what it means to be a bridge-builder.
Alumna of: University of Colorado, Boulder
After studying Chinese for 4 years in college, Azuraye took the leap and studied abroad in Nanjing, China for a year in 2013 with CIEE's language and culture intensive program. After an amazing year of new experiences, she came back to Colorado University in Boulder for her senior year and happened across Project Pengyou. She attended the Leadership Summit in 2014 and founded the CU Boulder chapter when she returned. After a successful year, she graduated but felt it was very challenging to stay involved with PPY. After moving to Boston in 2017, she was inspired during the last Leadership Reunion to find a way to get alumni involved again. She started the Project Pengyou - Boston Young Professionals chapter, which focused on business networking, cultural exchange, and travel opportunities between the US and China. She hopes to continue to grow this chapter and help other alumni replicate this in other cities. Azuraye is currently working full time building up a new moving company called Small Haul, working part time at a climbing gym, organizing events for the MIT Outing Club, and is helping out on a new business endeavor with a few fellow PPY alumni to bring the entire US-China community together and get more chapters out there to change the world!
Alumna of: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Jianyin Roachell considers himself a social data scientist with working technical knowledge in data-mining, NLP machine learning, and computational economics. He has a strong startup entrepreneurship experience with a working-history in AI and information technology industry. His research area includes using social computational thinking and applied data science to explore government policies and socio-economic implications in China. In addition, he is very passionate about Digital Civil Rights and data privacy, contributing his time as a Pro Bono Volunteer in a project called Facebook Tracking Exposed, to audit and fight Data Abuse. He was a Yenching Global Symposium Participant at Peking University and the 2019 Oxford Internet Institute Data & Disorder Speaker.
Project Pengyou Leadership Retreat Trainer
Abel R. Cano is Founder and ED of The Arc of Change, a Boston-based training initiative focused on harnessing the power of community organizing practices as a transformative craft for leadership and social impact. Abel is Dominican-American, raised in Boston, Honolulu and Indianapolis. As a leadership trainer and coach, Abel’s passion is to ignite breakthroughs that empower a rising generation of social movement leaders. Abel Cano served as the Boston Field Organizer and Statewide Constituency Lead for Massachusetts in President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Abel led the grassroots campaign to elect Boston’s first Asian-American woman to City Council At-Large as Field Director in 2013. Abel is Co-Founder of the thriving arts non-profit, EMW: Art | Technology | Community in Cambridge. After years of organizing, Abel began teaching graduate level courses on leadership alongside legendary organizer Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Over the past 10+ years, Abel has organized in marginalized communities, served as an electoral campaign Field Director, trained and coached 1000’s of progressive leaders, and led 100’s of immersive workshops with the world’s leading universities and nonprofit organizations.
Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres
Project Pengyou Leadership Retreat Trainer
Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres is passionate about helping others discover their leadership capacity within. Her interest in the field began at Harvard, where she studied leadership and organizational motivation first as an undergraduate, later as a researcher, then as a Masters student at the Harvard Kennedy School. While a student at HKS, she was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Student Teaching. Voop has been a leadership consultant for numerous international leadership development firms, including Cambridge Leadership Associates, Tight Ship Consulting, and Mayday Consulting. Recently, Voop served as Executive Director of an influential nonprofit in Lowell, MA. There, she had a transformative impact: reinvigorating staff, recruiting a large volunteers corps, launching income-generating programs and bringing the organization to financial health. Voop is currently an independent consultant.
Project Pengyou Leadership Retreat Trainer
Stephanie Aines, from Watertown, MA, currently works as the Director of Organizing and Training with the Right Care Alliance, where she builds bridges between clinicians and patients to fight corruption in health care. Her background includes a lot of healthcare organizing, teaching organizing to students, and being a major fan of Project Pengyou for the last 5 years. She wishes she could really spend all her time watching Netflix at home, but there’s too many people to meet and things to do for that!
Project Pengyou Leadership Retreat Trainer
Xiaodi Chen was born in Changsha and grew up in Shenzhen. She left China to study abroad when she was 14 years old. In 2012, she graduated from Cambridge University, majoring in Economics. Later that year, she came to the United States to pursue a master's degree in Education focusing on Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It was there she took Marshall's class on Public Narrative and fell in love with storytelling and coaching. Xiaodi then taught Chinese for a year at Harvard. In 2015, Xiaodi went on to pursue master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northwestern University. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this journey of understanding and connecting humanity through storytelling.