PATRICK COOK-DEEGAN // director + lead navigator
Patrick is a leader in purpose learning, meaning-making education, and reimagining high school for the 21st century. In 2015-2016, Patrick was an education innovation fellow at Stanford's d.school. He came into the fellowship with the question: How do we help adolescents craft meaningful lives and develop a sense of purpose? A year later, Project Wayfinder was born.
Patrick has spent the last decade helping youth develop through a number of experiential education programs including: mindfulness education (Inward Bound Mindfulness Education), wilderness education (Back to Earth), social innovation (Brown University’s Social Innovation Initiative), and starting a travel abroad program for low-income students. Patrick is a longtime wilderness guide and has been deeply influenced by the history and practices of native traditions around the world. He is a graduate of the Tracking Project’s community mentoring training – a program focused on appropriately and effectively bringing native wisdom into the modern world.
Patrick has spoken at more than 100 schools including Duke, Yale, and UCLA. He has been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and NPR and written for Stanford Social Innovation Review, Edutopia, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good and the recently published book Purpose Rising. Patrick is an All-American high school lacrosse player, Fulbright Scholar, Brown University graduate, and former lecturer at Stanford's d.school.
claudia biçen // operations + creative director
In the spirit of wayfinding, Claudia has simultaneously pursued multiple paths in her life. As a visual artist, her work has focused on how people construct meaning in a transient world. Her project Thoughts in Passing, a series of pencil portraits and interviews with hospice patients, was exhibited the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, featured in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and has been shared in universities, high schools, hospitals and senior living centers across the US and UK.
Claudia has worked with young people around the world: as Program Manager of an internship program in Yosemite National Park for at-risk youth, leading art therapy workshops at an eating-disorder clinic in Los Angeles, teaching high school students in Uganda and volunteering at an HIV/AIDs orphanage in Tanzania. From 2010-2013 Claudia led marketing and operations for BlueOak, a Kleiner Perkins backed start-up tackling the electronic waste epidemic.
Claudia holds a BA in Philosophy & Psychology from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Social Anthropology from University College London where she wrote her thesis on the cross-cultural use of metaphor as a means to help people dealing with mental health issues.
Alexx TemeÑa // Community Creator
Alexx graduated from Brown University with degrees in Cognitive Neuroscience and Contemplative Psychology. She blends curriculum design, art, and wellbeing practice to mentor youth and create transformative community experiences. Alexx travels the world teaching people how to live fulfilled lives through the lenses of neuroscience, psychology, education and mindfulness.
For the past six years, Alexx has worked with students at United World College: International School of Asia, Karuizawa in Japan, teaching leadership and design thinking. She taught mindfulness and leadership in various settings: with students, school administrators and teachers, and medical students and professionals.
Her experience as a Filipina immigrant entering elite educational institutions informs her work in civic engagement and the arts. Alexx is currently working on a platform to unite changemakers from her hometown of Vallejo, CA, building a youth performing arts festival, and hosting intimate community showcases for local artists in the Bay Area.
Wayfinder Design Team
kelly schmutte // founding designer
Kelly co-founded Project Wayfinder with Patrick, and served as its Lead Product + Curriculum Designer for two years. She is currently a Designer and Lecturer at the Stanford d.school, as well as a serial entrepreneur and passionate inventor, and holds dual degrees from Stanford in Product Design (MS, BS). At the d.school, Kelly led the @Stanford project, which culminated in Stanford 2025, and an idea called Purpose Learning: Declare a Mission, not a Major. This work later became one of the seeds that inspired Project Wayfinder, as she and her colleagues sought ways to bring this idea to the high school experience and teenagers in Palo Alto.
While working on Project Wayfinder, Kelly guided the team in shaping many of the core design principles and frameworks that led to the Wayfinder Navigation Toolkit, and designed many of the Toolkit’s activities. She is excited about the potential of Project Wayfinder to free students to align their skills and passions with an area of need in the world that moves them deeply, and feels privileged to have helped launch this work in the world.
gloria Chua Jia Min // designer
Gloria started working on Project Wayfinder in her senior year at Stanford, where she was majoring in Product Design and Computer Science. She has worked to create human-centered applications at the IDEO CoLab, created personalized learning technology with AltSchool, and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that supported women who had experienced miscarriage. She loves working on wicked problems in education, civic engagement, and public transit. She is now a product designer at Dropbox.
wayfinder communications team
Samantha is the founder of the Digital Behaviorist - a platform for fighting screen addiction + using social media for positive social change. As the head of Project Happiness's online community she built a following of 2.4 million on Facebook and 150K on Instagram. Using the "7 Habits of Happiness" her followers were encouraged to develop daily practices to increase their well-being and health like the "Emotional Fitness Challenge". She also designed and implemented science-backed social emotional curriculum that is now being implemented in 90 countries with 250,000 students. Samantha graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A in psychology and worked in Carol Dweck's Mindset Lab at Stanford and Dacher Keltner's Awe lab at UC Berkeley.
Nirali is a certified mindfulness facilitator from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. She is the founder of Shvaas, a non-profit platform that has helped streamline efforts of hundreds of volunteers to connect and work on meaningful social change projects.
Matt is an engineer, designer, and wilderness educator. A life-long passion for nature connection led him to an immersive study of traditional skills including living off the land for a year stone-age style on the Canadian-Washington State border.
Adrian Michael Green
Adrian is the Director of Inclusivity at Colorado Academy and founder of lovasté. Adrian is an acclaimed writer, poet, and author of 9 self-published books of poetry and prose centered on loving yourself and others.
Tim is an award-winning urban educator, clinical therapist and school counselor focused on purpose education amongst low-income, first-generation students in Boston. He currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Medford High School.
Dashielle Vawter is a transformational coach and the founder of Illumin. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she guides vision quests for Sonoma Academy and also does coaching and mentorship work with adults and teen girls.
Jenny Taryn Wyron
Jenny is an expressive arts therapist and community facilitator. She is a former Program Manager at Summer Search, holds degrees from Brown University and Smith College, and has worked with adolescents for the past decade.
Hannah leads the Product & Design team at Back to the Roots, an organization that connects people to where their food comes from. She has taught Math, Science and the Arts at at-risk schools focused on teaching through meaningful outdoor experience.
HYE JUNG KIM
Hye Jung is the community innovation coordinator at Education Incubator, a non-profit organization in Hawaiʻi. She is also a crew member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a volunteer adviser for the Nā Kelamoku youth leadership initiative.
Jeanette van der Lee
Jeanette is a social and organizational psychologist with a degree from Leiden University in the Netherlands. For the past year she worked as a Research Assistant at UC Berkeley for the Social Interaction Lab and the Greater Good Science Center.
Heather is the Director of Research at the Stanford Center on Adolescence. Her research primarily focuses on how young people develop purpose and the capacity for meaningful participation in and contribution to their communities and society.
Nick is a systems engineer and classics scholar. His family history includes Norse explorers who came to America in the 10th century. He holds a Masters degree in Eastern Classics from St. John's and has a deep knowledge of Native North American history.
Wayfinder Wise Council
Brown University, Director of Social Innovation Initiative + Adjunct Lecturer in Public Affairs
Master Tracker + Founder // Director of The Tracking Project
Oneida Nation, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) + graduate Institute of American Indian Arts
President Efrusy Family Foundation + Board Member Haas Center for Public Service
Founder + Director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center Education Program