Phare Student Advisors

Phare is committed to shining a light on students perspectives and collaborating directly with students in all our endeavors.

Sabrina Zheng
My name is Sabrina Zheng, and I am graduating from MOT Charter High School in 2024. As someone still exploring her interests, I love learning about the social sciences, Asian culture, and computer science. Outside of school I love reading books on those topics and binge watching shows on Netflix! Being a first generation college student, I want to help Phare students gain access to educational opportunities and learn about the importance of education.

Alice Liu

 Hi, I’m Alice Liu! I’m a first-year college student who is seeking to pursue a career in interior design. As someone who is interested in nearly all fields related to the arts, from film to illustration, and everything in between, I hope to be able to thoroughly explore and synthesize my interests in a way that feels rewarding and true to myself. Phare’s goals to give youths a voice in their own education resonates with me, and I intend to use this platform to help provide the resources and support that I wish I had earlier in my education. 

Lily Leeson

My name is Lily Leeson. I am a 12th grader who goes to an IB school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. New Mexico ranks 50th in education. We have low funding and overcrowded schools, and as a result, New Mexico has a lack of support for students. Getting free and adequate college guidance and academic help is much more difficult than it should be. Because getting these things free is often not an option, there are extreme educational inequalities that are based on one’s financial ability to pay for these things. I wanted to join Phare in order to be able to contribute my ideas and advocate for free solutions for students who may not get the support they need within their schools. I often feel that creating change in the educational system is out of my control, but Phare has allowed me to have a voice on issues that affect me and many other students nationwide. Now I have a way to create positive change for students around the country.

Rianne Mustafa

Hi! My name is Rianne, and I am delighted to be a part of Phare’s Student Advisory Board. Phare’s commitment to empowering students and making education accessible for all is what drew me to this community. I’m a Connecticut native currently studying at the University of Connecticut. Being a part of the Student Advisory Board means that I can work with students to create a more inclusive and supportive environment. Beyond working with Phare, I am passionate about learning and understanding the world around me. One of my main goals while working with Phare is to contribute to the betterment of the education system by making it more accessible, equitable, and encouraging for all students. I hope to achieve this by collaborating with my fellow students and using my knowledge and skills to contribute to Phare’s success. Ultimately, I am thrilled to be a part of Phare’s Student Advisory Board, and I look forward to working with the community to achieve our shared goals. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me!

Toluwanimi Ajani

Hi! My name is Toluwanimi, I was born and raised in Tampa, FL. I am a business school student in NYC. My interests span technology, social entrepreneurship, finance and education. In my free time, I enjoy reading, traveling, party planning and exploring new parts of NYC! I am passionate about addressing educational inequality. Greater access to education is key to achieving greater parity in economic opportunities. I joined Phare’s Student Advisory Board because I want to share my ideas on how Phare can help students enjoy their academic journeys. Too few students understand how they learn best, or have the opportunity to explore their true interests. I am also looking forward to learning from the other members of the advisory board. I am a student that really values collaborative learning experiences. As a committee member, not only will I share my insights with the team, I will also get to learn more about how my peers have navigated their own educational journeys. Through my involvement with Phare, I hope to gain a better understanding of education-based problems and build Phare’s relationship with students.

Kaitlin Mui
My name is Kaitlin Mui and I graduated in 2023 from James Madison High School in Brooklyn New York. I’m passionate about conducting sociology research and using my research background to help bridge the gap between academia and community organizing. My current research is focused on addressing the prevalence of gambling within the Chinese American community and developing community-based solutions to address the issue. Outside of my research work, I’m also a member of the Youth Organizing Committee at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. I help organize community events and actions with a cohort of other youth to address matters of food insecurity, housing displacement, immigrant voter participation, and more in the Flushing/New York City community. As a student who has attended underfunded New York City public schools my entire life, I was drawn to Phare’s mission to create impactful tools to help under-resourced students succeed. Through my work with Phare, I hope to not only help design impactful student resources—but ensure they are made accessible and well-known to students from under-resourced backgrounds.

Elena Tamba

My name is Elena, and I am a senior attending MOT Charter High School in Delaware. I have always been passionate about STEM fields as well as the arts and humanities. I believe exposure to diverse areas of study leads to a more well-rounded and insightful perspective.

As an active member of my school community, I value strong connections with my peers and teachers. I participate in a variety of activities, including Speech and Debate Club, America Goes Cyber, and National Computer Science Honors Society. I enjoy the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills through these programs while also cultivating mentor relationships. My teachers have been especially influential in sparking my interest in tech careers and pushing me to achieve more than I thought possible.

Beyond academics, I enjoy playing badminton, reading, poetry, and listening to music. I see volunteering as a chance to gain experience and give back to help others in need. I hope to continue assisting students through technology after graduating high school.

Justin Miranda

Hello My Name is Justin I am 16 and a Junior soon to be senior in Bronx Prep Charter High School. I am from the Bronx, NY but was born in Virginia. I am very interested in the medical field both the surgical career and pyschology field. I have and continue to do things that can benefit me from these paths For example I have partnered with Griptape to do research on mental health. Being part of Phare I hope to accomplish learning more ways many high school students can help their mental health, learning problems that can lead to self harm or doing things that aren’t well for the body.

Claire Cullen

Claire Cullen hails from Greenville, South Carolina but is headed to Duke University in the fall as an incoming freshman. Throughout high school, she was deeply involved in extracurriculars such as speech and debate and ballroom dance, and she also focused heavily on academics. Though Claire’s high school experience was unforgettable, she regrets the difficulties that can come with navigating school, creating a work-life balance, and transitioning to college. She is excited to help Phare improve those difficulties and make a difference in students’ and teachers’ lives. Her high school mentors, including Phare’s Jessica Koehler, were integral to her success. Through Phare, she hopes to act as a similar voice of reason in the educational system to enact positive change.