Brandeis University Admissions
Meet the BOLD 9
Emily Eng ’14
Between the cost of instruments, education, and other hidden costs, playing music often comes with a high barrier to entry. Given the racial wealth gap in the United States, that barrier is also on average higher for people of color.
Emily Eng ’14 co-founded Lift Music Fund to address that inequality.
“As an Asian conductor, in the world that I live in, I have experienced that feeling of, wow, there’s no one around me who looks like me,” she says. “We want to make music more affordable and more accessible to music students, mostly from underrepresented populations.”
Lift differs from other scholarship organizations, she says, in that they focus on helping BIPOC student musicians afford “the incidental and hidden costs” associated with music, including instruments, equipment, and lessons – many of the things that prevent people from exploring music study at all.
Jackson Holbert ’17
Jackson Holbert ’17 recently released his first book of poetry, a collection that largely examines the opioid crisis in eastern Washington, his original home.
Entitled “Winter Stranger,” the book won the 2022 Max Ritvo Prize, ensuring its publication by Milkweed Editions. Holbert’s work has previously been published in Poetry, The Nation, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Copper Nickel, The Iowa Review, as well as multiple editions of Best New Poets.
Currently, he’s a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he studies and is hard at work on his next collection.
Iyvon E. ’13
Iyvon E. ’13 is a New York City-based theater producer, dramaturg, and artistic programmer.
She is the founder of The Parsnip Ship, a play development company originally focused on audio storytelling, but now expanding to other forms of storytelling and play development.
As the Director of Artistic Programs at Signature Theatre Company, she works to curate and cultivate free artistic programming in the organization’s open, public lobby called SigSpace and leads LaunchPad, Signature’s newest residency program for early career playwrights.
Jonathan Goldman ’19
As executive director of the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice, Jonathan Goldman ’19 works to train college students to provide pro bono legal support to asylum seekers and organize for immigrant justice
Currently, the organization serves three communities: Worcester and Boston in Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. The clinic partners with various schools in these cities to give students hands-on experience in community organizing and immigration law.
Previously, he co-founded The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) and was one of the youngest elected members of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee.
Rima Tahini ’16
As the director of Artist and Repertoire at Nigeria’s Mavin Records, Rima Tahini ’16 oversees the label’s roster of artists, helping to launch artists from scratch, developing their brands, sound, visual identity, social media presence, and performance opportunities.
These artists include superstars like Rema and Ayra Starr, whose top hits have been streamed on Spotify hundreds of millions of times, while their collective stream counts stretch into the billions.
That means, even without an instrument, Tahini is playing an instrumental role in shaping the landscape of popular music in Africa, and the wider world, as the Afrobeat genre gains in popularity beyond the continent.
As her own star has risen, Tahini has also been quick to give back to her community.
In October, the African Leadership Academy (ALA), which she attended, launched the Rima Tahini artist residency fund. The fund provides a beneficiary with the opportunity to shadow Tahini at work and learn the ins and outs of artist development and management.
Sam Hyun, Heller MBA’22, MPP’22
Sam Hyun, Heller MBA’22, MPP’22, serves as the director of federal relations under Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. In the role, he acts as a liaison between Wu’s cabinet and the federal government, representing and advocating for the city’s needs and priorities to White House partners and congressional leaders.
Prior, he’d worked for five years as a legislative aide for Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, eventually overseeing the Speaker’s foreign affairs portfolio, arranging visits from dignitaries like the prime minister of Vietnam and former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon.
Outside his political work, Hyun is also the co-founder of 1587, a sneaker company that celebrates Asian culture and fashion.
Aneil Tripathy ’12, GSAS MA’14, PhD’21
Aneil Tripathy ’12, GSAS MA’14, PhD’21 spent more than a decade at Brandeis, arriving as an undergraduate student and then staying to complete a Master’s degree and a PhD.
Through his years at Brandeis, he was able to take courses in the Graduate School for Arts & Sciences, the International Business School, and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. This experience, he says, gave him the chance to envision and pursue interdisciplinary work and research for his PhD in anthropology. That work, he says, set the course for his current career as an economic anthropologist focused on climate finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate and Sustainability Consortium (MCSC).
In this role, Tripathy works with research teams across MIT as well as with MCSC member companies that span a wide range of industries. He aids them in addressing climate change and works to figure out how these companies can utilize financial markets to support climate solutions and business transition plans.
Ayan Sanyal ’14
Ayan Sanyal ’14 is the co-founder of Kolkata Chai Co., a cafe in the East Village of New York City specializing in chai made in authentic Indian traditions.
Since its 2019 opening, the company has put authentic chai on the map and in the process earned a popular following on social media, with nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram. Sanyal, and his brother and co-founder, Ani, have also appeared on Good Morning America to talk about their process and the importance of celebrating and preserving their heritage. Last summer, they raised $1 million in funding to grow their e-commerce business. The company opened a second physical location in May.
In all they do, their goal, says Ayan, is to “share the really vibrant and authentic food culture of West Bengal and Kolkata.”
Sarah Ackerman ’17
Growing up, Sarah Ackerman ’17 didn’t know many people who had food allergies, and fewer still who had the type of life-threatening allergies she had to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame, legumes, shellfish, and mustard.
More than limiting her diet, she says her allergies often made her feel lonely, since she couldn’t always enjoy birthday cake at parties, or trick or treating with friends. As she got older, her allergies affected her life in new ways: interfering with travel plans and even dictating the types of cosmetics she could use.
That’s why in 2019 she founded Girl Behind the Hive, a website with advocacy resources, recipes, and stories from her own life. She has also become an active advocate in the push for food safety legislation, meeting with U.S. lawmakers to encourage the passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act. The bill, which requires that sesame is labeled on packaged foods at the start of 2023, was signed into law by President Biden in 2021.
While she’s proud of that work, she knows more work remains to create a truly safe world for people with food allergies.