Stephanie is a 2012 alumnus of the UCLA undergraduate International Development Studies program. Growing up in Taiwan and later moved to the United States, she encountered cultural differences and language barriers. The experience inspired her to spend a year abroad through Free University Berlin, and Semester at Sea; traveling in Asia, Europe, and Africa, with the strong interest in learning about culture-based conflicts and developmental issues caused by globalization. Stephanie first join SEALNet as a team member for Project Thailand 2010. The very unique experience with Project Thailand and the amazing friendships created during the project is what inspired her to return to SEALNet and become a co-leader for Project Singapore 2011. She later served as a member of the Leadership Team (2011-2013) and recently as head of Alumni Relations. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, food and wine tasting, reading and performing arts.
Trent Walker is currently a second-year PhD student in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where his research focuses on the ritual performance of Pali and vernacular Buddhist texts in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. He hails from the San Francisco Bay Area and in 2010 completed a BA in Religious Studies at Stanford, where he first got involved with SEALNet as a freshman back in 2006. Trent co-led Project Cambodia 2007 and has been involved in four subsequent SEALNet projects in Cambodia (2009), Thailand (2008 and 2011), and Vietnam (2012). His main commitment to SEALNet, however, has been co-facilitating SEALNet’s annual Leadership Retreat since 2008. The Leadership Team—including Alice Eamsherangkoon, Tiam Jaroensri, and Stephanie Tong—still focuses on the training of new Project Leaders at the annual retreat as its core mission, but Trent hopes this can be seen as just the beginning of a life-long cultivation of leadership skills by SEALNet members and alumni. Trent lived in Cambodia for several years and speaks fluent Khmer. He is trying less successfully to improve his Lao and Thai in preparation for upcoming fieldwork in Southeast Asia. Outside of school and SEALNet, Trent teaches meditation to teens, performs Buddhist songs at Cambodian temples, and has way too much fun playing with remote-controlled cars.
Francis Plaza is a graduating senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is majoring in Computer Science and a minor in Economics. Francis was born and raised in the Philippines. He joined SEALNet in 2009 as a core team member of Project Philippines 2010 after being inspired to make a difference on Filipino and Southeast Asian youth. In the summer of 2012, Francis co-led Project Philippines in Leyte, Philippines – the first year of the project – with Angela Park, where he was inspired to motivate students to use science and engineering as tools to make a difference in their community and beyond. The project was implemented at his high school alma mater – his way of giving back to the school that encouraged him to pursue a career in science and mathematics. The SEALNet Technology Team – including Ary Ascencio – provides technology services, communications and operations assistance to support the world-class projects underway at SEALNet. On the technical side, the Technology Team handles everything from maintaining and monitoring SEALNet’s technology infrastructure to ensuring our members can access solid and reliable computing and communications services. Francis is mainly interested in software design, user interfaces, and developmental economics. He is joining Oracle as a Software Engineer in the fall of 2013. Aside from being a software engineer, he loves traveling. He has traveled to several beautiful cities in North America and Europe. He also loves flight simulators, which he spends playing with during his free time. He looks forward of being a pilot too someday.
Izzah Farzanah Ahmad is currently a sophomore at Stanford University, where she intends to major in either Economics or Public Policy. Born and raised in Brunei Darussalam, she was initially drawn to SEALNet by her passion to learn about geopolitical regional dynamics and the opportunity to work with other like-hearted youth leaders from Southeast Asia. Co-leading SEALNet Project Singapore in the summer of 2012 opened her eyes to the service-oriented dimension of the region previously unknown to her. This fueled a desire to not only realize the service dreams of youth but also empower them through mentorship and leadership skills. Because of this, Izzah stayed on to head the newly formed External Relations committee. She works closely with Khetpakorn Chakarawet, Sarah Techavarutama, Thipok Rak-Amnouykit and Quyen Nguyen on recruiting team members and publicizing summer projects. In addition, the team manages SEALNet’s social media and public relations. This year, she spearheaded a new initiative of project-specific online information sessions. In her spare time, she enjoys brushing up her Mandarin Chinese, reading Noam Chomsky, and watching Malaysian cerekarama drama and Glee.
Kylie Goh is currently a sophomore at Stanford University, where she is majoring in Product Design. Born and raised in Singapore, her interest in SEALNet was sparked by SEALNet’s model of change and its focus on Southeast Asian youth as the powerhouses of change and development in the region. In Summer 2012, she co-led Project Singapore 2012, where she was humbled by the stories of foreign domestic workers in search of a better live, inspired by the organizations that the team was able to strike a partnership with, and amazed at the creativity of local high school students in practicing the design thinking skills that the team taught. She was also able to learn from outstanding mentors and role models, which today gives her the drive and passion to ensure others the access to mentorship and guidance in their lives. The Mentorship Executive Committee—including Kin Fucharoen and Lorra de le Paz—works to support the entire ecosystem of mentorship for project leaders that is such a fundamental part of our organization. Conducting training workshops for project leaders and mentors, matching project leaders to the most suitable mentors, and checking in with mentors are all tasks and activities that fall under the banner of our team. Her academic interests lie in human trafficking and the anti-trafficking sphere, especially in Southeast Asia, modern Chinese history, and the application of design thinking and improvisation to public policy making. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and traveling. The only thing she enjoys more is writing poetry while traveling.