Steering Committee 2012

Executive Board
President: Sohaib Hashmi ( Sohaib is a senior in the School of Engineering majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Economics. His home is Karachi, Pakistan, where he spent most of his life before coming to Penn. He loves football (the one where you use your feet), watching crime shows, driving golf carts on campus during NSO, and going down to Old City for dinner and then Franklin Fountain for ice cream. He spent last summer crash testing dummies (which was totally awesome) and study mechanisms of head injury in kids in my research. He joined AIS as a sophomore after doing PHINS and was the ISO chair last year. Sohaib is very excited about this year and all the exciting and challenging projects in the works (check the website for specifics!). Feel free to get in touch with him!
Internal Vice President: Nikita Patel ( Nikita is a junior at Wharton and currently Executive VP for AIS. She is originally from India but was born and brought up on Dubai. Nikita loves food, travelling, taking photos, and playing tennis.
External Vice President: Sonya Park ( Sonya is a senior in Wharton studying Finance and Operations & Information Management with a minor in Chinese in the College. She was born in Seoul, South Korea and has mostly recently lived in Auckland, New Zealand before coming to Penn. In her free time, she loves to work out and venture out into the wilderness. She also loves to travel and learn new languages. Sonya has been involved in AIS since her freshman year and has loved every single moment of it!
Treasurer: Natalia Lladó Calderón ( Lladó is indeed Natalia’s last name and not middle one. She is from San Juan, Puerto Rico and is part of Penn’s 2014 class. Currently a Biology major and possibly a Chemistry minor, she is studying to be a Veterinarian. It stands to reason that her passion is animals but she also enjoys dancing quite a lot! Natalia is honoured to be the AIS’s new treasurer and will work hard to make this a year to remember. Feel free to contact her at any point if you have any questions, concerns or just feel like a chat to give us ideas! All the best!!
Secretary Amanda Acosta ( Amanda  is a sophomore in the College studying biology, but still making life choices that will eventually lead to a career. She is also pursuing a statistics minor to aid in her career goals in research. She is greatly interested in the arts, particularly photography and writing. She is known for being particularly loud, so if you hear her anywhere, anytime, come say hi! Amanda enjoys involving herself in a lot of things so if you have any ideas for an event we could plan let her know and we’ll have some fun with it!
Committee Chairs
Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs: Sophia Dimitrova (, Justin Cho ( Sophia is studying in the College of Arts and Sciences (Class of 2014) and is an International Relations major. She has been involved with the Assembly of International Students since freshman year and is now co-chair of the Advocacy Committee. She has also worked on the organization of the first-ever Ivy League International Networking Conference in October 14-15th, 2011, serving as the Director of Guest Relations and Registration. At Penn she has also served as PHINS (Peers Helping Incoming New Students), written for the Penn Political Review, and co-founded the Eastern Europeans at Penn. She hopes to one day study international law and found her own NGO for better education on the Balkans (and learn French along the way). While being a longtime lover of dancing and traveling, her recent new interests include baking and fashion.
Justin “Joaquín” Cho is a sophomore in SEAS studying BE. He is currently the Freshman Representative in AIS with Amanda Acosta and a co-chair on the Advocacy Committee with Sophia Dimitrova. He was born in Korea, but grew up in Taiwan, studying at a American school. As a freshman rep, his aim for this year is to promote international and cultural awareness at Penn by hosting events primarily for the freshman class. His goals as a member of the Advocacy committee is to influence the school’s direction on financial aid concerning international students and to help both new and old international students ease into the Penn community by providing essential information as early on as possible. He looks forward to working with his fellow AIS/Steering members and to listen to your suggestions! 😀
Alumni and Employment Committee Chair: Bengisu Halezeroglu ( Bengisu is from Istanbul, Turkey. She is a sophomore in the college, struggling to decide on a major. Although undecided right now, she knows she will find the right fit for her at Penn. In her free time she loves to spend time with friends, eat good food and watch good movies. She also loves to dance ballet! She is very excited about being a part of the AIS community and is looking forward to working with all these great people with such different and interesting backgrounds and cultures.
International Mentorship and Orientation Co-chairs: Julia Shin ( Gonimah ( Julia Joo Kyeong Shin is a sophomore in the college of arts and sciences.Originally born in Korea, she was raised in all continents but Africa. She lived in Korea, Spain, Australia, Kentucky (USA), Hong Kong, Japan, and is currently living in Chile. Julia hopes that her international upbringing will make her more approachable to all international students, and better represent the needs and desires of the students.As the chair of the new IMO committee, she hopes to make your transition into an American college extremely effortless and memorable. Do not hesitate to talk to either Diana or Julia, as they are always here to serve you. Welcome to Penn!
Diana Gonimah is a sophomore in the College from Cairo, Egypt. She enjoys being the Minority Affairs beat reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian and the Campus Cutie features writer at HerCampus UPenn. Diana hopes to major in Urban Studies and minor in journalistic writing. When she’s not too preoccupied with eating hummus or olives, Diana loves meeting new people so feel free to say hi or email her any suggestions about how she can improve International Student Orientation and the International Mentoring Program for incoming freshmen!
Ivy League International Students Networking Conference Committee Co-Chairs: Nuria Riechenberg (, Amy Li ( Nuria is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, double majoring in Economics and Japanese and minoring in Math.
Her home is the tiny country of Luxembourg, but she is actually German and Spanish.
In her free time, Nuria loves to dance and bake and whenever she has a break, she will venture into unknown countries and explore new languages and cultures.
She was the Advocacy Chair last semester and is excited to be the ILINC Chair this year.
Amy is a senior in the College, majoring in Economics and minoring in French and Cognitive Science. Randomly not actually and international student but very happy to still be in AIS, she hails from Seattle, land of Starbucks, salmon, good water, and mountains. But not Twilight. Her parents are from Beijing, China. She enjoys stories, languages, meeting people, curiosities, and cosplay (dressing up as characters, often with travel to conventions involved). She is open to all conversation topics.
Social Committee Co-Chairs: Kay Yan Lu (, Daniel Penaloza ( Kay is a sophomore in the college and is very excited to be one of the chairs on the Social and Community Engagement Committee. Before coming to the states, Kay has lived in Hong Kong most of her life, but has yet to experience homesickness since she is having such a blast at Penn! During her free time, Kay likes to travel, make new friends, eat (don’t we all) and have lots of fun! Kay has enjoyed getting to know a lot of the AIS members during the last few months, and is sure that the year ahead will be an even more successful year.
Daniel is a sophomore in Wharton originally from Mexico. He is an avid fan of football (soccer) and particularly of FC Barcelona. He also likes basketball, tennis, and spending time with a group of friends. At Penn, he really likes the diverse community, especially prevalent in AIS, that allows people and cultures from all over the world to come together.
Freshmen Representative: