STAFF & VOLUNTEERS

Project: VISION’s staff and volunteers are the core of the organization. Their hard work and dedication make it possible to serve our community.

OUR STAFF

Karen Chiu

Karen Chiu

Executive Director | Co-Founder

While taking time off from medical school in 2003, Karen took a part-time job tutoring at-risk teens, an experience that ignited her passion for youth development. Realizing there was a need in the community for a safe place that youth could call their own and get the support and guidance they need, Karen founded Project: VISION with a few fellow volunteers. In 2009, she assumed the role of Executive Director on a volunteer basis, managing many facets of operations including administration, fundraising, and board development. However, her favorite part of this experience continues to be working directly with the students whether it be tutoring, teaching ACT, or doing service projects alongside them. She believes that positive after school programs go a long way in helping kids succeed, and she looks forward to helping PV continue to grow in order to bring these programs to even more students in the coming years.

Sandy Ruan

Sandy Ruan

Director of Development

Sandy has a degree in Public Relations/Advertising and Psychology from DePaul University. She joined Project: VISION in 2013 as Development Intern and has since taken on the role of Development Manager and now the Director of Development. She uses her past experiences with the Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations to help Project: VISION secure the resources it needs to support its growing youth programs. Sandy’s role also allows her to work directly with PV’s youth, watch their growth firsthand, and better tell their stories. She is proud to be able to provide students an important part of growing up: chances to learn something new every day.

Elvina Ng

Elvina Ng

Operations Manager

Elvina graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2012. After working at the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce for 4 years, she developed a passion for helping the community. After working at the Chamber, she realized the impact that nonprofits have within the community. She joined Project: VISION in 2018 because she felt that her experience at the Chinatown Chamber was meaningful and that it could be used towards her new position as the Operations Coordinator at PV. Elvina is excited to be able to watch the PV youth not only grow academically, but to become leaders of their generation.

Abby Millner

Abby Millner

Youth Program Manager

During her time serving as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Chicago, Abby developed her love and appreciation for youth education & development. She loves working directly with youth and seeing all the incredible, necessary, additions they bring to our world. Abby is very excited to grow along-side students as they develop both themselves and our beautiful city.

Cynthia Marroquin

Cynthia Marroquin

Youth Program Coordinator

Cynthia graduated from the University of Illinois in Chicago with a bachelors degree in Urban Studies with a focus in community development and planning. Being a Chicago native and participant of youth groups herself, she became aware of the educational disparities seen in Chicago neighborhoods. This is what inspired her to become more involved by becoming a peer tutor at UIC’s Writing Center and joining an organization dedicated to preparing underprivileged incoming students by hosting civic engagement days and fundraising for scholarships. She believes that one of the first steps towards creating a positive community is youth empowerment and is excited to set youth up for everyday success in their lives.
Cecily Smith

Cecily Smith

Youth Program Coordinator

Cecily graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Sociology and Chinese. After college, Cecily joined Americorps with College Possible, where she led SAT and college preparation workshops for low-income students. Cecily is passionate about college access and success, and she hopes to encourage confidence in students as they navigate the complexities of the education system. Growing up in Bridgeport and the Chinatown area herself, Cecily is excited to work with students from a similar background and support them in their development of being active members of their community.
Benjamin Stopka

Benjamin Stopka

Academic Youth Program Coordinator

Ben graduated from the University of Illinois in Chicago with a B.A. in English, concentrating in Creative Writing. His passions for youth service began when he volunteered as one of the leaders of the Kirkwood Dance Marathon, which fundraised the creation of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He was also a tutor at the UIC Writing Center, which led him to Project: VISION as an after-school tutor. As the Academic Youth Program Coordinator, Ben is dedicated to building youth wellbeing inside and outside of school, making sure they feel comfortable and listened to.
Taylor Tan

Taylor Tan

Youth Program Assistant

Tammy Wen

Tammy Wen

Parent Engagement Coordinator

Tammy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and joins us as a 2020 graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Previously, Tammy has worked at the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Spurlock Museum. Her work-study as a Special Collections Assistant fortified her desire to continue serving the public beyond the academic and artistic community. As a first-generation graduate and former ESL student, Tammy believes current and future generations of students should be able to attain higher education and upwards mobility without barriers of affordability or accessibility. At Project: VISION, she looks forward to developing programs and improving her Cantonese to bridge students and their communities closer towards their personal, academic, and professional goals.

 

OUR TUTORS

Celoa Adriatico

Celoa Adriatico

Staff Tutor

Sophie Askey

Sophie Askey

Staff Tutor

Karis Blaker

Karis Blaker

Staff Tutor

Jeffrey Belshee

Jeffrey Belshee

Staff Tutor

Will Blodgett

Will Blodgett

Staff Tutor

Ashley Cain

Ashley Cain

Staff Tutor

Vivian Cao

Vivian Cao

Staff Tutor

Alejandra Castañeda

Alejandra Castañeda

Staff Tutor

Zepei Cen

Zepei Cen

Staff Tutor

Nim Yan Chan

Nim Yan Chan

Staff Tutor

Arlindo Chan Borges

Arlindo Chan Borges

Volunteer Tutor

Daniella Conner

Daniella Conner

Volunteer Tutor

Cottone Gannon

Cottone Gannon

Volunteer Tutor

Camila Crausaz

Camila Crausaz

Staff Tutor

Sabrina Farshori

Sabrina Farshori

Staff Tutor

Heidi Friedeck

Heidi Friedeck

Volunteer Tutor

Michael Garcia

Michael Garcia

Staff Tutor

Tim Gietl

Tim Gietl

Volunteer Tutor

Eli Ginsburg-Marcy

Eli Ginsburg-Marcy

Volunteer Tutor

Ilona Huang

Ilona Huang

Staff Tutor

Hongjie Jiang

Hongjie Jiang

Staff Tutor

Madeline Jurcev

Madeline Jurcev

Volunteer Tutor

Phong Lai

Phong Lai

Staff Tutor

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee

Staff Tutor

Simon Li

Simon Li

Staff Tutor

Steven Li

Steven Li

Staff Tutor

Willie Li

Willie Li

Staff Tutor

Alice Liu

Alice Liu

Staff Tutor

Samuel Long

Samuel Long

Staff Tutor

Brianna McKenna

Brianna McKenna

Staff Tutor

Joseph Minardi

Joseph Minardi

Volunteer Tutor

Emily Park

Emily Park

Staff Tutor

Christopher Powell

Christopher Powell

Staff Tutor

AJ Reinhardt

AJ Reinhardt

Staff Tutor

David Ren

David Ren

Volunteer Tutor

Kamila Russ

Kamila Russ

Staff Tutor

Hannah Ryu

Hannah Ryu

Volunteer Tutor

Thea Showalter

Thea Showalter

Staff Tutor

Benjamin Stopka

Benjamin Stopka

Staff Tutor

Tanmayee Vegesna

Tanmayee Vegesna

Staff Tutor

Dean Welby

Dean Welby

Staff Tutor

Rachel Wisniewski

Rachel Wisniewski

Staff Tutor

Lisa Zhou

Lisa Zhou

Staff Tutor