Our Board

Antonia Hellman

Chair

Antonia Hellman (’21) is the chair of Stanford in Government. She is double majoring in economics and political science, with concentrations in Political Economy & Development and Data Science. Antonia started her involvement with SIG on the Community Development team. During her sophomore year, she was one of the first directors of StanfordVotes, where she helped to increase voter registration and turnout rates among students, faculty, and staff. As co-director of Special Events her junior year, she focused on bringing a diverse lineup of engaging speakers to campus. She has worked on several congressional and state campaigns, interned at a communications consulting firm in DC, and currently serves as CEO of Toucan, a virtual events startup she launched with her brother. She’s very excited to be leading this organization during such a historic time!

Sreeram Venkatarao

Vice Chair of Programming

Sreeram Venkatarao, '21, is the Vice Chair of Programming. Sreeram joined SIG his sophomore year by serving on the Policy Lunches committee. He served as the Special Events co-director his junior year, helping to host speakers such as Gen. Jim Mattis, Valerie Jarrett, NSA Susan Rice, and Julian Castro. He is currently majoring in Computer Science with a focus in Artificial Intelligence. This past summer, Sreeram was a Software Engineering Intern at Microsoft. This year, Sreeram is looking forward to shaping SIG programming as a way to better understand everything that has happened (and will happen) in 2020 and what it means for the future of the nation. In his free time, Sreeram enjoys watching sports, going to the gym, and participating in South Asian cultural events on campus.

Lena Han

Vice Chair of Fellowships and Stipends

Lena Han, '22, is the Vice Chair of Fellowships and Stipends and is excited for her third year on the F&S team! Lena is majoring in economics and is passionate about policy, media, and the arts. She spent her past summer interning at USAFacts, a nonprofit using government data to educate voters about policy issues, and completing an independent research fellowship on NYC street art and graffiti. Outside of SIG, Lena loves playing chamber music and frequenting farmers markets.

June Lee

Vice Chair of Operations

June Lee, '21, is Vice Chair of Operations. She previously served as co-director of Diversity and Outreach, focused on bringing a more intentional approach to inclusion in the SIG community. She has also served as director of Policy Lunches and was on the General Events committee her freshman year. As an international relations major and computer science minor, she is passionate about cybersecurity and international law, and has interned at the Atlantic Council and State Department. During the pandemic, she has enjoyed doing a lot of yoga and the New York Times crossword puzzles.

Ben Paladino

Vice Chair of Communications

Ben Paladino

Ben Paladino, '21, is the Vice Chair of Communications for SIG. Ben joined SIG in his freshman year as part of the Public Policy Forum team. In his sophomore year, he served as the director of Social Media. He will eagerly tell you that out of all of his communities at Stanford, SIG is by far where most of his friends are. Ben is majoring in Public Policy.  In addition to his policy interests, Ben is an avid artist and has spent the summer working on his art and retail business. This year, he is excited to leverage the amazing communications team to keep the SIG community involved and engaged through what is a unique time for the entire campus community.

Sean Casey

Co-Director of StanfordVotes

I am a sophomore majoring in Economics and English with a particular interest in how rhetoric shapes policy. I previously was a member of the Public Policy Forum team at SIG before taking a year off to staff a presidential campaign. I'm currently interning for a political consulting firm and a tech company, and I'm also an opinion columnist at the Daily. During my free time, I love writing, reading old speeches, and listening to the same five songs over and over. I can't wait to meet people in person!

Jose Luis Gandara

Director of Community Service

My name is Jose! I'm a sophomore (class of 2023) taking a gap year (so now 2024?). I'm studying Public Policy and have a keen interest in local and regional policymaking. This summer I worked as a policy intern for First Community Housing, a nonprofit based in San Jose that develops and maintains affordable housing. This fall I will be researching race and policing with Professor Hakeem Jefferson (poll sci) and will also be interning for a civil rights attorney who works for the largest pro bono law firm in the country! In my free time I love to run and go hiking. I've been a part of SIG since the first meeting of my freshman year, and I love that this community is the type that defines "fun" as roasting candidates during the Democratic primary debates. As Director of Community Service, I aim to create quarter-long service initiatives that serve as a lightning rod for student action on pressing issues such as climate change and voter disenfranchisement.

Joven Hundal

Director of Diversity and Outreach

I'm a sophomore from the Central Valley (just about two hours from campus) and the director of Diversity and Outreach this year. I joined SIG last year as a member of D&O and especially enjoyed going to all the different types of events and meeting really cool speakers. I'm a total political junkie so 2020's been a crazy year for that, and I've mostly been spending quarantine watching and rewatching and rewatching Netflix shows.

Liana Keesing

Co-Director of StanfordVotes

Liana Keesing, '23, is a sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering with minors in Ethics in Technology and Physics. Raised in Virginia, she grew up working on political campaigns and exploring the marble buildings across the river in D.C. She spent her summer working on Maritime Autonomy--basically, big robot boats. As a Director of StanfordVotes, she's excited to bring her engineering mindset to improving voter turnout at Stanford, with a focus on developing the young organization into a sustainable Stanford institution. Aside from collecting voting-themed shirts, she loves playing the cello, watching rom-coms, dancing in her kitchen, and is a proud member of the Stanford Varsity Fencing Team.

Rachel Kim

Director of Recruitment

Rachel is a rising junior studying Public Policy with a concentration in Health Care and Human Rights. Having co-lead the Public Policy Forum (PPF) Committee last year (which mostly consisted of then-frosh), Rachel is excited to help introduce the SIG community to incoming frosh/transfers and current students as the Director of Recruitment this year! Rachel hopes that new SIG members will be able to find a special community of students who also care deeply about public service, political awareness/activism, and public policy (albeit virtually). Last summer, Rachel worked as a paralegal assistant at the Orange County Public Defender's Office, spending the first half of her internship in the misdemeanor unit and the second half in the felony unit. This summer, Rachel has been working at the Stanford Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Law and Policy Project (SIDDLAPP) as a research assistant for Professor Alison Morantz, conducting a literature review on self-direction in long-term services and supports. In a pandemic-free world, Rachel likes to dance salsa with Los Salseros de Stanford, and teach Zumba. In today's world, however, Rachel has been going on lots of walks, facetiming her friends (ft > zoom), and going through her camera roll, reminiscing about concerts and CoHo.

Bill Wermuth

Financial Officer

 

My name is Bill Wermuth and I am beyond excited to be on the SIG board this year, because we are a powerful group of student leaders ready to take adversity head on. I am planning on majoring in Economics, but have always grown up fascinated by the political arena. That's where SIG comes in. By serving as Financial Officer I maintain that level of advocacy and policy discussion that made me join SIG as a freshman, while also dipping my feet into the financial industry. I am also committed to Stanford's Breakfast Club, and this fall will be a Millenium Fellow for the research I have been conducting on the stability of the upcoming 2020 election.

Sean Michael

Director of Analytics

Since joining SIG in fall of freshman year, Sean has been passionate about the wide-ranging discussions that the organization facilitates and gained experience organizing such events through the Policy Dinners committee. In his sophomore year, he aims to stay focused on that aspect of the club, creating and disseminating surveys so that the Board knows what types of conversations SIG's membership most wants to have. In his free time, Sean loves kayaking, reading, and discovering new parts of campus.

Julia Paris

Co-Director of Community Development

Julia is a rising senior pursuing a B.A. in Economics ('21) and an M.A. in Public Policy ('22). She is from Ottawa, Canada. This year, she will be co-directing the Community Development Committee, helping to keep the SIG community engaged during unique circumstances.

Maggie Roache

Co-Director of Community Development

I am majoring in political science and minoring in human rights. This year, I will be writing an honors thesis through the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. I joined SIG my freshman fall and was a committee member on the Alumni Relations team. During my sophomore year, I was director of SIG's Alumni Relations committee. I am really passionate about international human rights law, transitional justice, and securing accountability for extreme human rights violations. This summer I worked for the Guernica Centre for International Justice, where my work focused primarily on political persecution and extrajudicial killings in Venezuela.

Nik Marda

Director of Technology

Nik Marda, '21, is SIG's Director of Technology. He previously served as SIG's Co-Director of Technology, after joining SIG in his freshman year as a member of the Public Policy Forum. He is majoring in political science and coterming in computer science, and he is passionate about civic tech and AI policy. In his spare time, Nik enjoys hiking, martial arts, drinking coffee, and spending too much time on Twitter.

Katherine Waissbluth

Social Media and Marketing Director

Katherine Waissbluth, class of 2022, is a prospective Political Science major from Cincinnati, Ohio. She will be on the SIG board for social media! Katherine loves how SIG is able to connect people with similar interests. This summer, she is interning with the Social Science Research Council. She is particularly passionate about environmentalist issues. Ask her about veganism and sustainable fashion!

Sarina Deb

Co-Director of the Public Policy Forum

I joined SIG my freshman year as a member of the special events team, and instantly found a tight-knit and passionate team dedicated to public service and policy. I loved spending my first year in SIG meeting political figures like Julian Castro and Valerie Jarrett and engaging in discussions about everything from ethnic and territorial conflict in Kashmir to the legalization of sex work. This year in SIG, I hope to engage the SIG community and the broader Stanford community in thought-provoking discussions through new forums, whether that means interactive activities such as rewriting past legislation, lively panel discussions, or student-centered debates. Outside of SIG, I am a News Editor for The Stanford Daily, a political science major, and a musician.

Mac Simpson

Co-Director of Policy Dinners

Mac Simpson, '23, is the Co-Director of the Policy Dinners committee, where he was a member his freshman year. He is likely majoring in Political Science and minoring in Human Biology. Mac has worked for the Political Psychology Research Group and the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project. He is looking forward to putting on a class with the IR department to bring amazing speakers to virtual campus!

Jackson Richter

Co-Director, Special Events

Jackson is a junior studying Public Policy. He has been a member of SIG's special events team since his frosh year. He has always admired the strong community within the organization of people passionate about policy and change. He has interned with a strategic communications firm in Washington, DC, and at multiple education nonprofits. In his free time, Jackson can be found playing basketball, listening to hip-hop music, or enjoying a Coupa Smoothie with friends.

Bilen Essayas

Co-Director of Stipends

Bilen is from McLean, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC. She joined SIG her freshman year as a member of the Fellowships and Stipends committee and is excited to co-lead the Stipends team this year. She is majoring in Economics and minoring in Data Science, with specific interests in economic theory and data analytics. She spent this past summer working at the FDA where she conducted regulatory drug research. In her free time, she enjoys playing the viola, hanging with friends, and trying new vegan food.

Alexandra Hennessy

Co-director of Stipends

I am a rising senior majoring in Economics, and I have been a part of the Fellowships and Stipends team since freshman year! It is very fulfilling to connect people all around campus to public service opportunities. Last year I participated in both the Stanford in Paris and Stanford in Washington program. At Stanford in Washington I interned at the World Bank on the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation team. I am looking forward to another great year in SIG!

Christopher Maximos

Co-Director of the Public Policy Forum

Christopher Maximos, '23, is the Co-Director of the Public Policy Forum from Randolph, New Jersey. Now in his second year with the committee, Christopher looks forward to facilitating dialogues on critical policy issues among students, faculty, and legislators. Christopher's main policy passion areas are education and digital/telecommunications. This past summer, he interned for The Aspen Institute's Education and Society Program and Longwalks, a Bay Area mindfulness startup. Outside of SIG, Christopher spends his time working in student government, producing shows with Ram's Head Theatrical Society, and facilitating mini-events for Stanford Ideas Out Loud.

Eric Benitez

Director of Outreach for Fellowships and Stipends

Hello! My name is Eric, and I’m super excited to serve on the SIG Board this year! I loved my time in SIG on the Fellowships and Stipends committee last year, and I look forward to being part of the group helping create that awesome experience for everyone SIG connects with.

Zac Stoor

Director of Fellowships and Stipends Logistics

Hi there! I'm a third year SIG and F&S member and this year am managing our logistics! I'm originally from a small town in Michigan, so rural issues are a big thing for me. I also was an exchange student to Belgium in high school and am really interested in European and international politics in general. I'm hoping to help F&S be successful in this very odd year and am looking forward to another great year with SIG!

Sophia Danielpour

Director of Fellowships

Sophia Danielpour, ’23, is the Co-Director of Fellowships. She is excited to work with the rest of the Fellowships and Stipends committee to help provide Stanford students with opportunities to meaningfully participate in public service. She is planning to major in economics and political science. This past summer, she conducted research with Professor Susan Liautaud on the ethics of public policy and worked as a research assistant for the Stanford-MIT Project on a Healthy Election, evaluating election practices during COVID-19.