Chris Elia is from East Lyme, CT and graduated from Merrimack College in Andover, MA. After playing lacrosse in college, Chris moved to England where he continued to play and also worked as an ambassador of the sport within schools. This is what drove his interest in international education, and he has built his career working in sales and partnerships within higher ed. Chris came to Shearwater from Hotcourses, where he helped schools build their brand and generate interest from students in their target international markets.
Elise Tjernagel - Higher Education Partnerships
Elise was born and raised in inner-city Boston and deeply values the crossroads of culture and class that experience gave her. Prior to joining Shearwater, Elise was the Director of Sales and Marketing at MindMax where she led new university partnerships. She also worked with universities nationwide at Crimson Hexagon, a industry-leading SaaS company, and brings nonprofit experience from her work at Year Up, Inc. Elise earned her MBA in marketing at Simmons College School of Management and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Gordon College. Elise loves her (big) family, lifting weights, and playing the piano (in that order).
Eliza LaJoie - Director of Student Success
Eliza is passionate about empowering all kinds of curious minds. Before joining Shearwater, she worked as a student advisor, data analyst and program manager in both non-profits and startups -- including Quad Learning and AVID -- focused on non-traditional and underserved students. She graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University, where she studied the history of US education policy and sat on the editorial board of the Cornell Daily Sun.
Eli Rose - Engineering Lead
Eli is a person, and behaves accordingly. He graduated Oberlin College in Ohio, with majors in Computer Science and Creative Writing. Before coming to Shearwater, Eli worked at Cogo Labs in Kendall Square. He volunteers co-teaching a computer science class at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and enjoys going to Effective Altruist meetups in Cambridge.
Gaby Yeshua - Mentorships Lead
Gaby is passionate about reducing educational disparity and supporting students through tricky transitions. While a student teacher in a 2nd grade classroom, Gaby conducted research on mindfulness and applies it to her everyday pedagogy. An eager learner, Gaby received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master of Arts in Teaching from Brandeis University. Gaby considers herself to be a life-long learner and hopes to travel the world!
George Boyar - Director of Partnership Operations
George savors taking apart problems. He joined Shearwater to create sustainable social impact. Before Shearwater, George worked with Bain & Company and founded a coworking space in St. Louis dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs. While at Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate degree George studied Chinese, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship and Design.
Jackson Boyar - Co-Founder and CEO
Jackson first developed a passion for mentorship and cultural exchange while living with a Chinese host family during high school. His host parents spoke no English and he spoke no Chinese at the time. It was a transformative experience and inspired Jackson to co-found Shearwater to empower others to embrace the unknown. Prior to founding Shearwater, Jackson worked at L.E.K. Consulting, helping businesses address their most pressing strategic challenges. Jackson is a proud alumnus of Newark Academy (NJ) and Indiana University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in East Asian Languages and Culture. Jackson is a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese.
James Morrissey - Co-Founder and COO
James, born in New York City, attended elementary school in Taipei. He later attended Stuyvesant High School and graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton College with majors in Chemistry and Chinese. While studying abroad in China at several universities, James became passionate about mentorship as an effective mechanism for cross-cultural growth and integration, leading to the eventual creation of Shearwater. Previously, James worked at L.E.K., a global strategy consulting firm, and worked in recruiting/marketing for Teach for America.
Joe Michie - Higher Education Partnerships
Joe Michie is based in Denver, Colorado and has spent the last twelve years working closely with higher education leaders globally to identify and understand factors that lead students to leave an institution. After years of diagnosing student success challenges through market research and analytics at Hanover Research and Eduventures, Joe was driven to help grow a solution that is addressing these important challenges.
Polly Goss - Higher Education Partnerships
Polly is passionate about empowering students through personalized learning and mentorship. Before joining Shearwater, she taught high school English in London, U.K, for three years and is a Teach for All Ambassador. Polly’s first hand experience of moving to the U.S.A. compelled her to join Shearwater, to help others successfully integrate into life in the U.S.A. Polly loves to discover new places in her spare time, enjoys going to the theatre and is currently trying to learn Italian.
Polly has a Master’s degree from University College London in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor’s degree majoring in English Literature. Polly considers herself a global citizen and lifelong explorer!
Maria Van Thienen - Higher Education Partnerships
Maria was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to the States at an early age. After high school, she took a gap year to travel around Europe, while based in Paris working as an au pair. She then moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University where she completed a major in Psychology and a minor in Business. Her most memorable experiences at Northeastern were volunteering as a Husky Ambassador, working as an Orientation Leader, and studying abroad in Australia. Maria also competed in the Ballroom Dance Team and volunteered at a nonprofit, teaching health classes in Boston public high schools. Before Shearwater, she worked in operations, marketing, and project management roles at various startups in Boston. Maria is most passionate about education, travel, and dance. She speaks English, French, and Spanish and her favorite styles of dance are salsa and swing.
MyHanh Ozonoff - Senior Partner Success Manager
MyHanh is a champion of educational access and equity for students. She has spent more than a decade improving the educational experience through systems engineering and operations. MyHanh is a native Vietnamese speaker and first-generation college student, who was engaged in campus initiatives to increase dialogue across diverse communities during her undergraduate at Boston College. She earned her EdM from Boston University.
Rose Petrozzino - Special Projects
Rose considers herself a lifelong learner eager to tackle problems in our educational institutions using the power of technology. After studying abroad in Spain, Rose graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College with degrees in psychology and communication. In her previous role as Team Leader at Kure Creative, Rose excelled at promoting growth and efficiency within the company. She was driven to pursue a career in education technology after spending a summer teaching first grade math in Houston, TX. Rose’s other interests include wearable technologies, Italian food, and performing arts.
Sean Chung - Software Engineer
Sean is a technology enthusiast that love experimenting with different mediums and has a passion for using technology to change the way people interact with each other. Prior to Shearwater, Sean was the co-founder and CTO for Wizdy, a startup that teaches health education through mobile games. Although he majored in computer science at Tufts University, Sean enjoys a wide range of hobbies including graphic design and music production.
Caleb Rakestraw-Morn - Partner Success Associate
Caleb graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Carleton College. At Carleton he worked in the Learning and Teaching Center (LTC), an office on campus devoted to investigating questions of interest in higher education. In his time at the LTC he observed classes with an eye to student engagement and led discussion groups on various topics in Higher Ed. Caleb spends a disproportionate amount of his time thinking about coffee, dogs, and baseball.
Joe Sutherland - Senior Data Advisor
Joe brings more than 15 years of statistics and software development experience to Shearwater. His academic work uses experimentation and novel statistical techniques to study political inequality and representation. Joe’s research is published in top peer-reviewed outlets. A proven leader in the research and public sectors, he built a successful analytical enterprise at Prattle and managed projects at The White House. Joe is a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia; he holds a Master’s from Columbia and a Bachelor’s from Washington University in St. Louis.
Max Wallace - Technical Advisor
Micajah Dudley - Partnerships Advisor
Micajah is a passionate people-person dedicated to scaling impactful business models. Prior to joining Shearwater, Micajah was a consultant at Development Finance International and worked with companies to expand their business in Latin America and Africa. Among other previous experiences, Micajah has worked for an experiential education organization in Beijing, China and is the Co-Founder of a social enterprise incubator in St. Louis, MO. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and considers himself a lifelong traveler.
Siobhan Landry - Animator
Siobhan is a filmmaker and photographer with a Bachelors in Art History from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She loves working with people to create engaging stories about things that matter. She teaches video and digital media at the University of Connecticut, and Cambridge Community Television, and the International Center of Photography in NYC. She recently completed a short film which was a finalist for a Mass Cultural Council grant, and developed video content for Lipedema Simplified, a transmedia program supported by The Friedman Center at Mount Sinai hospital.
PJ Buddhari - Visual Designer
PJ is a multidisciplinary designer, with an architecture degree from MIT. She’s passionate about helping people turn their dreams into reality through meaningful storytelling and crafting seamless experiences that feel considerate and engaging. She previously worked in marketing communication design, as well as user experience consulting.
Snow Li - Curriculum Development
Snow is deeply passionate about providing high quality education for all students. She taught as a special education teacher in Chicago and Newark and is currently working as a Literacy Specialist at ANet, an education nonprofit in Boston. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University with a degree in History and certificates in East Asian Studies and Visual Arts. During her time as an undergraduate, she interned abroad in human rights organizations in Hong Kong and Stockholm. Snow will also be pursuing her MBA at the Wharton School in the fall of 2016.