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Introducing the Clarifai Champions!

By Cassidy Williams

Clarifai Champions is our new initiative to teach and train the next generation of great developer evangelists. After a mind-blowing number of high-quality applications from amazing hackers and doers, we finally narrowed it down to an amazing class of 27 devs who will make up the first class of Clarifai Champions!

Meet the crew who’s ready to blow everyone’s socks off – we have an incredibly diverse group of awesome, talented peeps and you can read more our about our Clarifai Champions below!

Pavi Vetriselvan – Pavi is currently a junior studying computer science at the University of Michigan. She’s a serial hackathon organizer with a slight Netflix addiction. She loves to learn and teach, hoping to secure a career in the educational technology in order to empower a future generation of thinkers and doers. Eventually, she’d love to go into secondary education or education policy. Fun fact: She has an unnatural obsession for owls and Harry Potter

Prince Wilson – Prince Wilson is a student studying Computer Science over at the University of Central Florida. He came in with no experience as a developer, the only thing that he had to his name was a passion for learning and growing. And on Jan. 15th, he just finished hosting UCF’s first hackathon and it was a huge success!

Christina Zhu – Christina is a junior studying Computer Science at UC Davis. When she’s not busy directing HackDavis, she can usually be found volunteering for Girls Who Code and scouting more hackathons to go to. A few of her favorite things are: the PennApps Fellows, listening to Drake, and sleeping for 13 hours straight.

Kevin Lewis – Kevin is a Javascript developer from Birmingham, UK. He attended his first hackathon in 2011 and has been hooked ever since as an attendee, organizer and volunteer. Away from the screen, he builds (and occasionally designs) board and card games.

Timirah James – Timirah James, iOS Engineer at YogaGlo, is a leader in the Los Angeles tech community known for her active roles in the hackathon realm, as well as mentoring young girls through her program TechniGal LA (dedicated to influencing high school girls by exposing them to the many areas of opportunities of the tech world). Timirah dropped out of college (freshman year) to pursue software engineering full-time in 2013. Two years later, she became an instructor for iOS Development in Make School’s Summer Academy program. She is very passionate about building, educating, and expanding the tech community. Fun Fact: She is also a noted singer-songwriter, and recently released a song about her love for technology and innovation called “Coderitis”, which can be found on Soundcloud and Spotify!

Atsushi Yamamoto – Atsushi hopes to live till a 100, wonders how to make his fast eating habit into a career, and likes his black tea with lots of milk. As a sophomore at University of British Columbia studying Business and Computer Science, Atsushi strives to build a community of builders and hackers. He started coding with edX’s Python course the summer before his college freshman year, and has been hooked ever since! He has been attending hackathons across North America and he is currently an organizer of a hackathon at his own university. When he’s not coding, you can find him exploring forests, enjoying hip hop beats and spending way too much time cooking his morning omelette.

Sarabeth Jaffe – A recent graduate in Computer Science from RPI, Sarabeth considers herself a mixture of developer, product manager, and data enthusiast. At university, she was heavily involved in the CS department, volunteering to recruit new students, acting as the Events Chair for the CS Honor Society, and founding RPI’s official Women in CS Organization. Before she starts full-time at Microsoft, she’s excited to be spending the next few months in the DC area volunteering as an Instructor for Girls Who Code, co-founding a start-up, and now studying to be a Clarifai Champion!

Ivan Mylyanyk – Ivan is a Ph.D. student from Ukraine and also a part-time software developer/team lead in a small outsourced IT-company. He often participates in different programming competitions and is really interested in the machine learning area. From time to time, different crazy ideas come to his mind. He is open to new challenges and still in search of his perfect career path.

Lavanya Iyer – Lavanya is a Technology Analyst at Goldman Sachs, working on Full Stack Web Development. In her free time, she likes to sing, dance, play the flute, listen to music, watch movies, and solve programming challenges. Fun fact: she absolutely loves roller coasters! 😀

Derek Tor – Derek was born and raised in the Silicon Valley. He loves tech, hip-hop, and sitcoms. That’s why when he grows up he wants to become Donald Glover. He enjoys making things and helping others make things, especially software and music.

Zahra Traboulsi – Zahra is a third year Computer Science student at University College London and Events Director at UCLU Tech Society. By day, you’ll find her hacking, doodling, and helping to put together awesome events such as HackLondon. By night, she is a vocal advocate of toast-driven development.

Gary-Yau Chan – Gary-Yau is the Head of Product Innovation at Oz Content, a SaaS tool that helps marketers craft content with data driven research. He have participated and mentored at over 50 hackathon competitions. Gary’s goal for 2016 is to apply his learnings from the Clarifai Champions program and help organize his first technology event on prototyping and design. Until then, you will most likely find him at the next hackathon in New York City.

Claire A Durand – Claire grew up in France and accidentally stumbled into electrical engineering on her way to the US. She goes to Temple University where she discovered coding. She decided it was pretty okay and now she wants to continue doing that, but in New York. Also she arm-wrestles T-Rex’s in her spare time.

Timotius Sitorus – Timotius Sitorus is a Computer Science student at Stony Brook University. He is an avid hackathon hacker and has gone to over 40 hackathons. His favorite hobby is playing the guitar and experimenting with new technologies.

Aarti C Bagul – Aarti is currently a junior at New York University, majoring in computer science and computer engineering. She was born and raised in India but chose to continue her studies in the US. She is interested in applications of Machine Learning to clinical medicine and hopes to continue working in the field when she goes to graduate school. In her spare time, she enjoys playing chess and indulging in popular British TV shows such as Sherlock and Downton Abbey. You can find out more about her on LinkedIn.

Raj Krishnan – Raj is currently a senior in computer science at Iowa State University. He loves bringing people together and exploring tech. In his free time, Raj enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, and pursuing his borderline obsessive love for sushi. He’s excited to share his love for technology (and sushi!) with more people all over the world.

Heather Huynh – Heather Huynh is a junior Computer Science major at the University of Georgia. She is passionate about STEM outreach, mainly in Computer Science, and Computer Science for Social Good. She also likes taking photos, traveling, and learning new skills.

Kevin Chow – Kevin Chow is a computer science engineering student at the University of Florida’s Honors College. He is involved in ACM, UF’s Programming Team, and UF’s Engineers’ Week. He enjoys competitive programming, attending hackathons, reading, and writing.

Niti Paudyal – Niti Paudyal is a fourth year at the University of Virginia studying Computer Science and Engineering Business. From Washington D.C. to San Francisco, she has interned as a software engineer in the Intelligence Community and Tesla Motors. She loves to cheer on the New England Patriots and UVA Basketball, enjoys hiking and running, and exploring new cities!

Sami Alabed – Sami is a second year CS student at the University of Manchester. He’s also the co-director of GreatUniHack and president of the hackathon society. If you want to barter with Sami, he trades in hackathons’ stickers and Oreos!

Charlyn Gonda – Charlyn thrives in the intersection between technology and design. She is currently sharpening her software engineering skills, and lives for that mind-blown-learned-something-new moment. Listening to TED talks while cleaning or doing laundry is her perfect Sunday morning. She’s a little too enthusiastic about package design – she once baked three dozen cookies just so she can package them adorably.

Bryan Yan – Born in Canada but from the Bay Area, Bryan is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon studying Statistics and Machine Learning with a minor in Software Engineering. His last name is a subset of his first name. He also enjoys hiking, lifting, golfing, and chicken nuggets. You might not like him since he is a Heat fan and a Patriots fan.

Caeley Looney – Caeley is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition to her engineering based coursework, she is an active member of a number of women in computing groups, including NCWIT, She++, ProjectCSGirls, and Ladies Storm Hackathons. On campus, Caeley is involved in SWE, ERAU’s Women’s Engineering Institute, and their Experimental Rocket Propulsion Lab. Off campus, Caeley tries to attend as many hackathons as possible and travel everytime she gets the chance!

Alex Terela – Alex Terela is a senior Computer Science major at Binghamton University and an organizer for HackBU, Binghamton’s annual hackathon. He is a big fan of technology, music, media, and lover of all things coffee! He’s aiming to begin working in a role that encompasses these interests following graduation, hopefully in developer evangelism!

Zhifan Li – Zhifan Li is a senior studying Computer Science and Psychology at Rice University. Originally from China, she currently lives in Houston, and is ready to relocate to the bay area after graduation as a software engineer for Intuit. Here are a couple of her favorite things: hackathons, marathons, diet coke and afternoons spent binge watching Netflix.

Zach Plata – Zach is a recent graduate of Iowa State University (go Cyclones!) and he is starting as a Software Engineer at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, MO. His guilty pleasure is singing power ballads in karaoke. Please don’t judge him.

Shaun Chua – Shaun is a junior concentrating in Mathematical Creativity at New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He has a passion for starting projects, his latest being Lisa, a digital personal assistant via text. Shaun has also been a core member of several NYU initiatives such as the annual Entrepreneurs Festival and Startup Week. In his spare time, Shaun likes to think he’s cool and actively participates in breakdance battles across the east coast.

Well, those are our 2016 Champions – pretty impressive, huh? If you’re interested in following along with their progress, follow ClarifaiDev on Twitter!We will also be writing blog posts on topics in the Clarifai Champions curriculum, so if you want to learn more about tech evangelism, keep tabs on our blog.