This article originally appeared in the winter 2016 Harker Magazine
Jamil Valliani was promoted to partner at Microsoft, where he leads product teams in the U.S. and China working on Microsoft’s search team. He is most known as the product leader for Bing image search, video search and home page. These products touch more than 100 million users and serve billions of searches every month. Jamil enjoys traveling around the world and is an active volunteer in the Seattle community. Jamil is in touch with Iliya Pesic (now chairman of Silvaco).
Yong Joon Yoo and his new wife dropped by Harker to tour the campus and reminisce with Joe Rosenthal during their honeymoon trip to the Bay Area.
Edward Hong and his wife, Jenny Chung, attended the Harker Family & Alumni Picnic, caught up with Joe Rosenthal, and then returned to the Saratoga Avenue campus so Eddie could take a tour with Karri Baker ’84, alumni director, and reminisce about his years spent in the Harker dorms. Eddie said, “Harker will always be a special place for me. You guys nurtured and parented me in the most evil ages of adolescence. How can I forget about it? You really made me who I am now.”
Isabella Liu worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign as a field organizer in Florida. She first got involved in January and played a key role in San Francisco during the California primary. Though she had the option to organize in the Bay Area and battleground states like Virginia, she chose Florida, which was the biggest, most influential swing state.
We are sad to report that Sparsh Bhargava passed away on Oct. 28 of natural causes while on a business
trip to Germany, just four days after his 31st birthday. Sparsh left Harker after grade 5, when his family moved to Boston. Also attending Harker at that time were his brother, Samarth ’06 and cousin, Shivani Bhargava ’06. His obituary states, “His name means ‘touch,’ and he lived every day with a mission to enrich people’s lives: family, friends and the less fortunate. We are better people and the world is a better place because of him.” A memorial fund has been established, geared toward touching children’s lives: https://www.youcaring.com/childrenseducation-683341#. For the full obituary: http://joycefuneralhome.tributes.com/obituary/show/Sparsh-Bhargava-104105361
Hillary Brooks married Andrew Lawrence on Aug. 27 at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. The couple met while studying abroad in China. The wedding was a mini reunion for Harker classmates. According to Joan Brooks, mother of the bride, “Though miles have often separated the group with their college choices and careers since their 2005 Harker graduation, it’s so wonderful that they have worked at remaining very good friends.” Heartiest congratulations to the happy couple! Pictured left to right (all ’05 unless noted): Eric Gavarre, Katie (Ball) O’Leary, Mariama Eghan, Yagmur Ilgen, Hillary, Andrew, Erika Gudmundson, Genna Erlikhman ’09, Estelle Charlu and Boris Fedorov.
Harker alumni based in New York City stopped by Webster Hall on Oct. 24 to support the band Letters From The Fire, featuring Mike Keller. The band toured across the country until Nov. 9 promoting its new album, “Worth the Pain.” Letters From The Fire started at Harker as the band Park Lane, which was a regular contestant in Harker’s annual Battle of the Bands. Pictured left to right (all ’07 unless noted): Anna Huang, Siobhan Stevenson, bassist Clayton Wages, Mike, Jessica Lee, Gwynne Davis ’08 and Chanelle Kasik.
Jason Martin is the new owner of Sal’s Pizza in Campbell, and he’d love to have Harker alumni and current families stop by to eat. Alumni parent Tina Najibi said, “My family has been ordering pizza from Sal’s ever since I first ate a slice at a Harker event when my kids (now both graduated) were in the lower school. It is, in my opinion, the best pizza in the Bay Area! Their calzones are the best that I’ve tried anywhere.”
Ryan Tam married Stephanie Wang in a beautiful ceremony in Palo Alto in August. Ryan and Stephanie met at USC and are now living in the Bay Area. According to class agent Stephanie Guo, “It was a beautiful occasion and a wonderful reunion.” Ryan added, “It was great celebrating the big day with old friends, K-Life!” Pictured left to right (all ’09 unless noted): Nate Kwok, Andy Yee ’08, Jonathan Liu ’09, Andrew Chin, Marcus Wong, Ryan, Stephanie, Kyle Hall, Stephanie Guo, Winny Huang and Khwaab Dave.
Jia Jun recently graduated from the University of Washington with her M.S. in bioengineering, and has moved back to the Bay Area. She took a job at Gilead Sciences as a senior research associate. Jia said, “I have been missing all the reunions since I’ve been away (since graduation, actually), and I’ve been finding so many Harker connections recently! My boyfriend started his MBA program at Stanford, and another member of my ’09 class is his classmate, and I unexpectedly found out that my boyfriend’s sister’s college classmate went to Harker as well (Class of ’03). Small world!”
D.J. Blickenstaff’s Hollywood career is on fire! He was cast as “Arman” in Netflix’s “Dear White People,” a 10-episode show based on the 2014 movie of the same name. The show follows a diverse group of students as they attend an Ivy League college where racial tensions are often hidden. The show will air in 2017 and D.J., originally cast for episodes two and eight, was recalled for the finale, episode 10.
A few 2009ers are in graduate school in Boston and managed to get together. Vinay Kumar celebrated his 25th birthday in New York City with Harker friends. Pictured are classmates Manasa Reddy and Veronica Hsieh (first row); Vin, Valerie Hwa, Jackie Ho, Sean Morgan and Lung-Ying Yu (second row); Andy Fang, Arjun Mody and Sachin Mitra (back row).1
Vlad Sepetov was interviewed by Huck Magazine on his iconic and iconoclastic album covers. He is clearly a serious force in album design! http://www.huckmagazine.com/art-and-culture/vlad-sepetov-designs-album-art-worlds-greatest-hip-hop-artists/
Michael Prutton just finished his master’s degree in medical device and diagnostic engineering at USC.
Sanjana Baldwa is working with a fascinating startup, Go Jane Go, to develop an application that will connect female road warriors in real-time. The company’s motto is, “Business women embracing the experience of #TravelingWhileFemale.” Via in-app messaging, women can “connect with each other for activities to make solo business travel a lot more safe, fun and easy.” Sanjana, who graduated this year from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied psychology, human-computer interaction and communication design, will be concentrating on her forte, user experience. The website ( http://www.gojanego.com) already has garnered some great blog posts by traveling women.
Pavitra Rengarajan was part of a group of engineering interns who had dinner with Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at their Palo Alto home in early October. Zuckerberg posted this image on his Facebook page.
Nikhil Panu and his app, Squadz, were among just 10 teams selected to participate in the Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures Social Innovation Lab! “In addition to being promising solutions to pressing social issues in the areas of health, education and community development, these ventures and their leaders represent the strength and diversity of Baltimore’s social innovation and entrepreneurship community,” said Darius Graham, SIL director, in the university’s news story. The report noted, “Squadz is a social activity and venue booking platform that connects the community to play pickup sports, while generating revenue for community centers and recreation facilities.”
And in sports news, Nikhil was featured on a Johns Hopkins basketball promotion. Nikhil graduated from Johns Hopkins in three years and is now a post-grad student there.
Mary Liu received the Distinguished Cadet Award at West Point, the United States Military Academy, and was selected for the Omar Bradley Research Fellowship. She ultimately elected to leave the academy to go on a mission trip. Mary is now teaching high school physics, economics and statistics at a school in Weihai, China, and working with the Catholic church as a bible study leader. She promises to keep us posted on her next adventure!
While staffing Hillary Clinton’s national headquarters in Brooklyn, Shannon Hong called in to answer student questions during Cyrus Merrill’s history class. “She is my youngest guest speaker/former student ever!” said Merrill.