OUR PEOPLE

LEAD NAVIGATORS

patrick-deegan

PATRICK COOK-DEEGAN
Founder + Director

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-bicen

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.

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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 CREW

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SAMANTHA FEINBERG
Digital Engagement

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 as a researcher in Carol Dweck's Mindset Lab at Stanford, and within the Institute of Personality and Social Research at UC Berkeley. She brings her background in psych, education, and community organizing to designing Project Wayfinder's daily digital engagement.

tim-klein

TIM KLEIN
Outreach Director

Tim Klein is an urban educator, clinical social worker and guidance counselor who has spent the last decade working intensively with underserved and marginalized students as a school guidance counselor and outreach director at Summer Search.

Tim is actively working with a variety of partners, including Project Wayfinder, Boston College and Harvard University to integrate youth purpose curriculum and best practices into public education. As the Director of School and Community Engagement at Medford High School he has developed purpose curriculum and is currently conducting a randomized trial with Boston College to help his students cultivate their own sense of purpose.

You can learn more about Tim here.

raiki-machida

RAIKI MACHIDA
Outreach Lead - Asia

Raiki is the co-founder of ImaginEx, a Japanese-based program that equips students and educators with life-long learning skills. He was one of the founding team members of Japan’s first fully residential high school and Japan’s only United World College - UWC ISAK Japan. At ISAK he was the Summer School Director and a facilitator of ISAK’s mindfulness + design-based leadership curriculum.

Raiki has worked as a researcher in hepatitis-C vaccine development, spent several years as a professional Japanese taiko drummer in Ondekoza, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology from Brown University. He has held workshops and classes for over 7,000 students in 40 different cities around the world.

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jeanette-lee

ELIZABETH FIGLIETTI
Operations Lead

JEANETTE VAN DER LEE
Research

Elizabeth's passion for health, wellness and business development led her to begin her career at the American Lung Association where she focused on development management and fundraising. Later, she worked as an Executive Project Manager for a large multi-billion dollar real estate development firm where she learned the private business sector. Alongside Project Wayfinder, Elizabeth currently works in a diagnostic biotech firm that provides a diagnostic test for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Outside of work, Elizabeth loves to travel and also volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club in San Francisco tutoring children, and for the SFSPCA fostering animals in need. She studied Pre-Doctorial Science at San Francisco State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, East Bay in Health Sciences, Pre-Clinical Nursing.

Jeanette is a social and organizational psychologist with a research master’s 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. Since 2014 she has tutored Dutch high school students in ancient Greek, Latin, and English. Her goal is not just to help them improve their grades, but also their confidence and enjoyment of the classes. Her Dutch-American dual nationality got her interested in the similarities and differences across cultures. She has pursued this interest by organizing trips for her psychology study association to India and the Czech Republic and studying abroad in Scotland and the United States. During her time at UC Berkeley she also worked at the Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership to organize activities for US American and international students to create greater intercultural understanding.

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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.

Wayfinder Guides

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KYLE LEMLE
Oakland, CA

Kyle is a forester, musician & community organizer working at the intersections of environmental justice and radical cultural change. When he is not planting trees, Kyle serves as founder and co-director of the Thrive Choir, which performs original gospel-inspired music for social justice at festivals, conferences and direct actions across California. Kyle is an official delegate with SustainUS and the US People’s Delegation to the United Nations Climate Talks. He is an inaugural recipient of the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship and Co-Director of Lead to Life - a project that uses ceremonies to heal violence at sites across Oakland and Atlanta. Kyle is a graduate of Brown University.

taryn-wyron

TARYN WYRON
Philadelphia, PA

Taryn Wyron has spent the last decade interweaving her passions for creative expression and social justice. A former 6th grade teacher, Taryn spent five years working at  Summer Search  -  a national organization that supports low-income high school students of color to become first-generation college students and reach their educational goals. As a mentor, she nurtured individual relationships with dozens of young people and wrestled with deep questions about race, class, and social inequity. Since then she has gone on to work with youth in a number of settings and gained her Clinical Social Work degree from Smith College. Taryn also holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University.

nirali-shah

NIRALI SHAH
Berkeley, CA

Nirali is a mindfulness educator and counselor. She has spent thousands of hours meditating in silent retreats in monasteries, meditation centers, cells and forests in Asia and the United States. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently teaches with Google, Stanford University, Insight Meditation Center, Spirit Rock, and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. She is the founder of Shvaas, a non-profit platform in India that streamlined efforts of hundreds of volunteers to work on meaningful social change projects on ecology and social justice. She is a certified mindfulness facilitator from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

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SCOTT KRESHEL
Overland Park, KS

Scott is the Program Development Specialist for the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, an award-winning innovative high school program in Kansas City. He is the learning architect behind the CAPS accelerator which supports student startups and innovative thinking. Much of Scott’s time is spent seeking out best practices in education innovation which led the CAPS team to discover Project Wayfinder. Since both programs specialize in self-discovery, exploration, and purpose-based education, it was a natural fit to bring the Wayfinder Toolkit into the CAPS student experience. As a pilot partner, Scott has observed the direct impact the curriculum can have on students and appreciates the disarming conversations that spring from the activities.

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HYE JUNG KIM
Honolulu, HI

Hye Jung is currently the Community Innovation Coordinator at Education Incubator. Before switching over to her current position, she worked with youth in public, charter, and independent K-12 schools, including ‘Iolani School and the University Laboratory School in Honolulu. Hye Jung is a volunteer crew member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and leads its after-school youth group called, Nā Kelamoku. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida, she attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for her masters degree in mathematics. She served as a fellow at the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 program.

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ADRIAN GREEN
Denver, CO

Adrian Michael (add link: adrianmichaelgreen.com) is the Director of Inclusivity and 7th grade social studies teacher at Colorado Academy. Currently, he is working on a book project that explores how students of color, specifically African Americans, can be resilient and successful while maintaining their racial identity in predominantly white spaces. In 2016, he co-presented at the National Association of Independent School’s People of Color Conference on rebranding “diversity day” in private schools by incorporating 21st century skills, student development and design thinking. An accomplished writer, Adrian Michael has self-published ten books of poetry and prose centered on loving yourself and others and is the founder of lovasté - a lifestyle brand that teaches mindfulness and promotes self-care.

lawrence-schussler

LAWRENCE SCHUSSLER
Joshua Tree, CA

Lawrence  has spent the past 20 years guiding and instructing people in wild places all over the world. To date, Lawrence has spent more than seven years in the wilderness and 1,000+ days leading various wilderness expeditions around the world. He has led trips for Prescott College, the Eagle Rock School, the Dunn School, Outward Bound, and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. In addition to wilderness guiding, Lawrence has spent the past 12 years practicing mindfulness meditation and various styles of yoga. Leading wilderness exploration courses combined with mindfulness fulfills Lawrence’s deepest sense of purpose.

matt-forkin

MATT FORKIN
Oakland, CA

Matt is an Engineer, Designer, and Wilderness Educator. His technical expertise is in renewable energy and sustainable materials; he has designed + built products, equipment, and factories. A lifelong passion for nature connection led him to an immersive study of traditional skills including living a completely stone-age lifestyle in the Cascade mountains for a year. Matt has taught and facilitated groups of youth from elementary school through university age, including leading young men’s wilderness trips with W.I.L.D. He is currently working with Google X to develop new technologies that can combat climate change. Matt holds dual degrees from Brown University in Mechanical Engineering and Visual Arts.

mark-ellis

MARK ELLIS
Honolulu, HI

Mark was born, raised and currently lives with his family in Nu’uanu, O’ahu, Hawai’i. He is a husband and father of 4 children. Mark is a crew member and student of navigation with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and recently sailed on several legs of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. He is a past Fellow of the First Nations’ Futures Institute at Stanford University. Mark received an undergraduate degree in Organizational Development, and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Design. He is currently a Sr. Program Manager in the Kealakūlia Department at Kamehameha Schools.      

dashielle-vawter

DASHIELLE VAWTER
Nevada City, CA

Dashielle has spent much of the last 10 years dedicated to deepening in her own relationship with the wilderness. During this time she has spent a total of almost 2 years backpacking in various wildernesses, primarily in the Sierra Nevada. She has guided 70+ multi day wilderness programs with youth and adults while Director of Back to Earth Outdoors and since then through her own company, Illumin. She leads vision quests for Sonoma Academy and has a long history of working successfully with teenagers in rites-of-passage ceremonies. Dashielle graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Peace and Conflict studies.

enrique-cardozo

ENRIQUE CARDOZO
Oakland, CA

Enrique is a meditation teacher and educator. He currently works as an instructor for Challenge Day where he facilitates social and emotional learning workshops for thousands of young people all over the country. Enrique’s skill with teens has led to teach internationally for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. He is on the Guiding Teacher Counsel and Equity and Interdependence Committee for Inward Bound. Enrique is a frequent co-facilitator for teens at Spirit Rock and a committed advocate for bringing meditative interventions into jails and addiction treatment facilities. He believes deeply in the power of marginalized voices to change the world.

kate-weiler

KATE WEILER
London, UK

Kate’s educational journey started by supporting sixth form students to mobilise social action projects. She has developed an alumni programme for The Challenge Network, supported teachers to champion citizenship and self esteem, and coached high school students with Yes Futures. Kate also spent a summer with the Otesha Project running workshops on environmental and social justice while cycling and camping around Scotland and living in a nomadic, sustainable community. Kate currently works in East London in a preventative mental health service where she trains teachers and youth workers and leads targeted interventions in primary and secondary schools. Outside of work, she organizes an annual community street party on her block, and hosts a learning forum where people can learn about complex world issues in a safe and inclusive environment.

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ANDREW SATANAPONG
Mountain View, CA

Andrew is a counselor and life design instructor at Stanford Online High School. Andrew founded OHS's first life design class and continues to build a life design program that includes a year-long fellowship and several pop-ups crafted to explore the teenage experience.  His most recent work also involves helping students to create shared learning experiences for their peers. Andrew has a love for helping people, a passion for human-centered design, and a vision that together, we can achieve great things.

Andrew  earned his M.A. in school counseling from The George Washington University and his B.A. in psychology from UCLA. His work in counseling spans kindergarten to university students, but a majority of his career has been spent working with 9th-12th grade students
 in traditional public schools in Northern Virginia and Hawai’i.  

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MAKEDA GERSHENSON
New York, NY

Makeda is a certified youth life coach and emotional intelligence educator. As a staff developer for the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, Makeda trains teachers and school administrators in social emotional skill-building and restorative practices. A passionate youth advocate, she also supports students in finding their voices in personal expression. Makeda's collaboration with Milwaukie High School's after-school program was awarded the inaugural Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Changemakers Award in 2016. Her independent firm, Mosaics In The Making, serves individuals and organizations around the world by introducing techniques of mindfulness and emotional intelligence that help navigate our increasingly complex world.     

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CHRIS RUDD
Chicago, IL

Chris Rudd is a community organizer with a passion for social justice. He has worked the past several years with gang-involved youth on the south and west sides of his native Chicago, challenging them to engage with their communities through activism and technology. Chris is the former director of the Juvenile Justice Council (JJC) at Mikva Challenge, working with students to develop an app called Expunge.io, which connects youth with pro bono lawyers to complete the expungement process. Chris is the founder of Chi-by-Design combining social justice and design. He is a former Stanford d.school education innovation fellow.

 
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TERRI FEINBERG
Palo Alto, CA

Terri joins Project Wayfinder after a 20-year career teaching career. For the last fifteen years, Terri taught at Palo Alto’s most progressive elementary school: the Ohlone School. Terri is a firm believer in the power of combining academic and social emotional curriculum. She was a curriculum contributor for Project Happiness - a leading K-5 social emotional learning curriculum. Before Ohlone, she was an arts teacher with Spectra Art. Terri holds a masters degree in Education, Psychology, Organizational Behavior from USF and did her undergrad at Michigan State University.

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RANDLE CHARLES
Santa Fe, NM

Randle Charles is an artist and a facilitator from Onieda nation (part of the Iroquois confederacy). Randle facilitates workshops and public programs at the Academy for the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, NM. Randle works in and with many Indigenous communities throughout North America inspired by his persistent quest towards decolonization and cultural vitality. As a facilitator, Randle has been leading and designing transformative experiences for groups and individuals in wilderness and professional settings for over 20 years. Randle's approach arises from his unique pursuit of the arts, the creative mindset they provide and his experience guiding people to successfully to meet their individual goals, build mental flexibility, and develop resiliency through an indigenous mindset.

 
 
 
 

Wayfinder Wise Council

DR. BILL DAMON
Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence 

DR. SUSIE WISE
Founder, Stanford's K12 Lab

ASHANTI BRANCH
Founder, Ever Forward Club

JOHN STOKES
Founder, The Tracking Project

heather-malin

HEATHER MALIN
Director of Research, Stanford Center on Adolescence

ALEX LOCKETT
Dean of Students, University High School

BOB LENZ
Executive Director, Buck Institute

MOLLY EFRUSY
President, Efrusy Family Foundation

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DAVE MOCHEL
Founder, Applied Attention

MIKI K. TOMITA
Education Lead, Polynesian Voyaging Society

 

MIKE MARRINER
Founder, RoadTrip Nation + Ashoka Fellow

ALAN HARLAM
Adjunct Lecturer, Brown University

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VICKI ZAKRZEWSKI
Education Director, Greater Good Science Center

CHRIS MCKENNA
Former Program Director, Mindful Schools

KENDALL COTTON BRONK
Associate Professor, Claremont Graduate University

 

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