our staff



Fish Stark

Executive Director 

Fish is an organizer, educator, and writer passionate about unlocking students' potential as leaders and peacemakers. Fish founded the Teaching Peace Initiative in 2011 and serves as its Executive Director. Fish has also worked as a Fellow with the West Virginia Department of Education, an educator for students from preschool to high school, a newspaper columnist, and an organizer on countless political campaigns.  Fish serves on the City of New Haven's Peace Commission and is a recipient of the Courture Education Fellowship, the Dara Rei Onishi Fellowship, the Yale President's Public Service Fellowship, and the Jovial Concepts National Peace Prize. 




Andi Peng

Deputy Executive Director 

Andi, a student at Yale University, comes to TPI with experience as international liaison for Chinese students to promote social change and youth empowerment, and has lectured on the role of youth in international development at Hubei University for Nationalities. In addition, she was worked with as a United States Senate page, a tutor, and an intern with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. 





Rachel Okun

Director of Communications & Partnerships 

Rachel is fascinated by epiphanies, the moments in which people change their minds about one another, and she looks forward to creating conditions for these epiphanies through her work as the Teaching Peace Initiative's Director of Communications and Partnerships. In 2005, Rachel co-founded ThanksUSA, a national non-profit that has awarded $11 million in scholarships for college and vocational school to the kids and spouses of our active duty military. She is a graduate of the School for International Training Peace and Conflict Seminar in Rwanda and Uganda, she has worked as a teaching fellow with the Breakthrough Collaborative Silicon Valley, and has served as a writing tutor for Dante Behind Bars, collaborating with the men of McDougall-Walker Correctional Facility to perform the theatrical pieces they wrote in response to Dante's Divine Comedy.




Sheila Qasemi

Director of Curriculum & Research 

Sheila is a sophomore at Yale University studying in medicine and education studies.  As a pre-medical student, she's interested in majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.  As the Director of Curriculum and Research at TPI, she's passionate about crafting curricula that engages and empowers peacemakers in our schools.  Her work at TPI is a continuation of curriculum writing she pursued while working with Spouts of Water in Uganda, a social enterprise dedicated to providing Ugandans access to clear drinking water through ceramic water filters, and her work as a Dwight Hall Public School Intern at Hillhouse High School.  As a Muslim-American, she is inspired to end ignorance and prejudice to create a safe environment for children to thrive.  





Katrina Garry

Head Peace Coach 

Katrina is a junior at Yale University, where she is a member of the Women's Cross Country and Track and Field teams. Previously, she worked with Goldman Sachs in Asset Management and with the educational non-profit Pencils of Promise. Katrina is a Global Affairs major and Education Studies Scholar, drawn to TPI is because of her interest in education and especially her Quaker background. Katrina attended a Quaker school for 15 years and is a birthright Quaker. In her senior year she held  the highest role in her meeting as Clerk and oversaw and the spiritual life at the school. Her work with the Alternatives to Violence Project, as well as organizing a Peace Week at her high school has furthered her knowledge and passion for pacifism and teaching peace. Peace education has been an incredibly important aspect of her own schooling and life and she is excited to share this with others.  







Simran Chahal

Head Peace Coach 

Simran is one of the Teaching Peace Initiative’s Head Peach Coaches, where she unites college and high school students in their mission to deliver peace education and build strong, supportive communities in schools across the country. She has the privilege of serving on Yale’s Title IX Undergraduate Advisory Board, where she does work in helping refocus energies on how to best implement strategies for a safer sexual climate. Simran interned at the Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy program, which is dedicated to exposing and encouraging new and innovative social science research that tackles the systemic and institutional problems of democracy.



Hayley Kolding

Peace Coach 

As a senior English major at Yale, Hayley is driven by the idea that language is the most powerful popular vehicle of connection, communication, art and change. She writes, "I'm thrilled to work with TPI because I believe that we, by providing school communities with the opportunity and the language to talk about peace, can empower high school students as unique promoters of compassion and social justice."  Prior to signing on with TPI, Hayley worked at Community Partners in Action in Hartford, CT, supporting their efforts to aid those effected by the criminal justice system, and served Connecticut fifth-graders through the revolutionary ESTEEM mentorship program. Her non-professional passions lie in poetry, music and the great outdoors.



Nia Jones

Peace Coach 

Nia is a sophomore at Yale University from Atlanta, Georgia. She is passionate about tackling issues of justice, inequality, and education. While at Yale, Nia hopes to major in Ethics, Politics and Economics and then attend law school. Ever since she was young, Nia has been described as a mediator between her friends and family. She is excited to start working with her TPI coworkers and Peace Teams as a Peace Coach. Prior to joining TPI, Nia spent 2 years in high school volunteering as a tutor at a local homeless shelter. Her other hobbies are reading and listening to music. 



Fiona Riebeling

Peace Coach 

Fiona is a junior at Yale University. She is studying psychology and education, and has a strong interest in early education and child development. Fiona is also a Communication and Consent Educator, working toward making Yale a safe, respectful, and inclusive campus for all. She is a tutor for Bridges ESL, a group that provides free English lessons for immigrants and international scholars in the New Haven community. Fiona is also the Public Relations Chair and a workshop leader for the Yale Undergraduate Mindfulness Education Initiative, a student organization that teaches local high school students about stress management through mindfulness and meditation. As a Peace Coach with TPI, Fiona is excited to be teaching a different set of valuable skills and to directly influence students' drives for social justice and peacemaking work.



Lina Volin

Peace Coach 

Lina is excited to work with TPI as a Peace Coach. Having experienced the often ineffectual methodology of anti-bullying programs throughout her elementary and middle school years, she's eager to participate in the development and implementation of TPI's innovative peace curriculum. In addition to her work with TPI, Lina is an associate editor for The Yale Politic, a member of RALY (Reproductive Justice Action League at Yale), and advocates for progressive issues from the local to the national level as the Events Coordinator for the Yale College Democrats.






Jackson Cole

Communications & Partnerships Associate 

Jackson has passion for service, and wants to give every student the opportunity to thrive and be a leader. Jackson taught English for two summers at the Brendan Court program in Dallas, Texas, where he worked closely with 7th and 8th grade students with low-income backgrounds and gained experience in achieving peace and character education for students. He also worked in the development office of his high school, St. Mark’s School of Texas, principally focusing on fundraising, data services, and alumni relations for the school. Jackson’s previous work before TPI includes a large effort with faculty and students to revamp his own high school’s English program to include more leadership vocabulary and skill building, preparing all students to make an impact in the world around them.




Grace Jin

Communications & Partnerships Associate 

Gracie is a freshman at Yale University studying medicine and global affairs. After serving as a high school Peace Team leader for Teaching Peace Initiative in Pittsburgh, PA, she is excited to help TPI grow as a member of the Communications & Partnerships team. Gracie is passionate about education equity: she worked as a Lead Activist for the National Youth Leadership Council’s Youth4Education campaign, winning over $8,000 in grants supporting an urban education service-learning project. She also researched for the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, which helped create the international anti-sweatshop movement. In her free time, Gracie loves ukuleles, painting, and singing with her a cappella group. 




Franklin Eccher

Curriculum & Research Associate 

Franklin Eccher is a sophomore at Yale University, interested in majoring in either English or American Studies (if he ever manages to choose between the two). Franklin is fascinated by the intersection of data-driven research and effective curricula, and hopes to help the Curriculum and Research team to provide helpful and flexible material for TPI's Peace Teams to implement in their schools. Franklin hails from Montrose, Colorado, where his father teaches and develops curricula for Peak Academy, a local online-based alternative to traditional schooling. Apart from TPI, Franklin acts as Fellowship Director for the Students for a New American Politics PAC (SNAPPAC), and Co-Founder of the Yale Student Alliance for Gun Safety (YAGS). Franklin also enjoys fly fishing, brewing beer, and Bon Iver. 





Sana Aslam

Curriculum & Research Associate  

Sana is a freshman at Yale University from Lexington, Kentucky. She studies public health and history, and is a firm believer in the power of stories to bring people together. As a Curriculum and Research Associate for TPI, Sana is excited to develop engaging lessons that will encourage young people to speak up for themselves and their peers and reflect on the ways in which they treat one another. Prior to joining TPI, Sana founded a student-run social climate council at her high school called the Justice League, through which she led her peers in organizing events, workshops, and peer-to- peer lessons to raise awareness on social justice and bullying and to empower students to take on the role of an active “upstander” in their everyday lives. Sana looks forward to using her past experiences with peace education to inform not only her work with TPI but hopefully also all of her future academic and extracurricular endeavors.


Luwei Xiong

Curriculum & Research Associate 

Luwei Xiong is a freshman at Yale University, studying Economics and Global Affairs. She is passionate about education equality and accessibility. Previously, Luwei worked for the Asian American Student Advocacy Project, an education policy advocacy group in New York City, successfully pushing a campaign to promote a guidance counselor system within NYC public high schools. As part of the Curriculum and Research team, she wishes to contribute her past experience and develop curricula accessible to diverse communities.



Jackson Anthony

Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

Jack is a student at Wesleyan University. Before working with TPI, Jack studied at Oxford and worked with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.  


Klay Roberts

Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

Klay is a student at Columbia University, pursuing a major in economics. One of TPI’s original founders, Klay rejoined the TPI team in June 2013 to serve as the Initiative’s Director of Finance. Before his work with TPI, Klay has worked on Wall Street and in Howard University’s finance department.



Seungju Hwang

Senior Advisor 

Seungju is a senior at Yale University. He is an Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major and is currently working on investigating the mechanisms behind salamander limb regeneration. He is involved in discussions of diversity and inequality in the STEM fields. He also writes, performs, and produces his own music. He has worked with TPI since January 2014, and is excited to see the results of the TPI's hard work. 






  • Jack Anthony, The Key School ’12, American University ’17

  • Patrik Kast, The Key School ’12, Columbia University ’16

  • Kate Kirby, The Key School ’13, Stanford University ’17

  • Klay Roberts, The Key School ’12, Columbia University ’16

  • Fish Stark, The Key School ’13, Yale University ’17

NEXT: Our network of student leaders



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