Full Team Biographies
The Board of Directors
Cristina Cismas Florea, Founder
Cristina has over fifteen years of teaching experience at Bay Area high schools, including Henry M. Gunn High School and Saratoga High School. She holds a double degree in Mathematics and Marketing, teaching credentials in Mathematics and Business, and Masters Degree in Education Technology from Santa Clara University, as well as a certificate for teaching business to high school students from the Wharton School of Business. Cristina was a seminar speaker for applied learning at The Wharton School of Business and advised Knowledge@Wharton High School on curriculum content.
Tom Berquist, Chairman
Tom is the Chief Financial Officer of TIBCO Inc. He is responsible for TIBCO’s worldwide financial operations and reporting, as well as investor relations, sales operations, and maintenance renewals, and the implementation of Vista's transformation initiatives. Prior to joining TIBCO, Tom held CEO and CFO roles at software companies including Saba, Corel, and Actian. In addition, he has spent 10 years on Wall Street with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Piper Jaffray, and six years at Deloitte. Tom earned a BA degree in Accounting and a MBA in Management & Marketing from the University of St. Thomas.
Masha Maslova, Secretary
Masha brings a wealth of non-profit knowledge and passion to her role with BEAM and has over 10 years of experience working at the intersection of public and private sectors. Masha has served as the Engagement Manager at the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership where she managed SVTP’s Education Portfolio and worked to advance and scale innovative project-based STEM programs across schools and districts in the Bay area. Masha has also co-founded a nonprofit to benefit to orphaned children in Uganda and worked on various international relations projects. Masha holds a M.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
Russ Atassi, Treasurer
Russ serves as Head Of Supply Chain & Technical Operations at Oculus at Facebook. Previously, Russ has served as Director of Supplier Operations at Google, Director of Worldwide Operations of Mechanical Enclosures at Apple Inc, and several manufacturing operations roles at General Motors and Ford Motor Co, with over 17 years of automotive experience. Russ holds a BSE (Industrial and Systems Engineering) from the University of Michigan Dearborn, an MSE (Industrial & Operations Engineering) from University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and a MS in (System Design & Management) from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Troels Smit, Board Member
Troels serves as US Industry Manager at Facebook and heads up client facing teams in the Education group. Prior to Facebook, he served as VP of Sales for LiveRail and Managing Director at Sizmek. Troels holds a Master Degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Denmark.
Julia Tanase, Board Member
Julia Tanase has over 15 years of legal experience in a variety of private law firms and corporations. Julia has a strong interest in education and helping the community and has followed BEAM from its inception. She believes that the key to the future of success is through building interconnected communities for our students to provide future career growth opportunities. Julia holds a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a J.D. from Fordham University.
Donald Olgado, Board Member
Donald serves as the Director and Co-Founder of DFarm, an educational non-profit that uses design thinking and project based learning to develop critical thinking, innovation and love of learning in teens. He is also a mechanical design consultant focused on medical, semiconductor, and consumer products, having previously designed semiconductor capital equipment. He holds a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of the Philippines. He has been a Palo Alto resident since 1994 and is known as Mr. Fixit among neighbors and friends. He has 2 teenage children, and is an avid sailor.
The Advisory Committee
Rob Krolik, Advisor
Rob is a senior-level finance executive with over 25 years of experience, having served as Chief Financial Officer for Yelp, Move, Inc, Shopping.com, DigitalThink, and VP of Finance at eBay. Rob currently serves on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee Chairman of Shazam Entertainment Ltd and Sun Basket, as well as the Finance Committee of the nonprofit BBYO. Rob holds a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and is an inactive certified public accountant.
Victoria Thorp, Advisor
Victoria is a writer and editor who is passionate about using communication to build community engagement and support. She is a senior writer for the Doris and Donald Fisher Fund in San Francisco and the Founder & Editor of Palo Alto Pulse. Victoria has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA. Victoria is on the Board of the Palo Alto Community Fund and the advisory board for Palo Alto Partners in Education, and she is a leader for Palo Alto’s Cool Block Challenge. Victoria lives in Crescent Park with her two teen-aged daughters, her husband, Jim Migdal and her dog Abby. When she’s not writing or editing, Victoria can be found riding her bike, reading, hiking, or playing tennis.
Oscar Garcia, Advisor
Oscar is the Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer of Aspira, a community relations and workforce development firm, and also has over 10 years of technology and nonprofit management experience. Oscar has served in business development roles at five startups, as the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, TV host of Silicon Valley Business, Community Relations Manager at LinkedIn, and co-founded a nonprofit. He has received various prestigious awards recognizing his leadership and community work. As Chief Empowerment Officer, his goal is to empower and engage others so they perform at their peak, which results in the organization performing at its peak.
Hayley Krolik, Advisor
Hayley is a student at Northwestern University, working toward her double major in Learning Sciences and Political Science and Spanish minor. She plans to pursue a career in education policy or consulting with school districts. Hayley served as a BEAM student CEO her junior and senior year at Gunn High School. She credits BEAM with inspiring her interests in nonprofit consulting and education systems, and hopes to stay involved with the organization as long as possible. To Hayley, BEAM represents the future of high school education and she is excited to help spread the program to thousands of students worldwide.
Jordana Siegel, Advisor
Jordana is a student at Brown University, concentrating in Behavioral Decision Sciences (a brand new concentration that is a combination of Computer Science, Psychology and Economics) and Urban Studies. Outside of the classroom, she is a leader of the first year peer advising program at Brown and is training for a half marathon! She was one of the founders of BEAM when it began as a club at Gunn High School.
Tim Sun, Advisor
Tim is a BEAM alumnus and former Co-CEO of Gunn BEAM. He is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Computer Science. On campus, he is involved with Berkeley Consulting, the Undergraduate Finance Association and the Daily Californian. In his free time, Tim enjoys playing basketball and reading.
Ron Miasnik, Advisor
Ron is a student at Princeton University studying Computer Science and Economics. He is a Venture Partner at Contrary Capital, a university-focused VC fund; founder of Israel TigerTrek, Princeton’s first international entrepreneurship trek; and a member of Princeton’s Academics Committee and US-China Coalition. In high school, Ron founded Mountain View BEAM and served as its CEO.
Steffen Haschler, Advisor
Steffen aims to extend his students' horizons beyond the scope of the antiquated German school system and guide them through their discovery of our increasingly complex world. Steffen engages his students in extracurricular activities, such as field trips to makerspaces and hackathons. The students are given opportunities to both hone their soft skills and develop entrepreneurial proficiency by working with international partners in the seminar course BEAM. Steffen is committed to improving the digital literacy of today’s youth through his membership in the initiative “Chaos macht Schule” by the Chaos Computer Club, as well as his support of the project “Jugend hackt”, which aims to encourage young programmers by providing them with opportunities to apply their skills in real-world projects.
Minki Kim, Advisor
Minki is an Economics major at Cornell University and served as CEO during his time at BEAM. On campus, he is involved in Student Agencies as a Treasury Analyst and TIPTOE& as an internal consultant. In his free time, Minki enjoys kickboxing and reading about how other countries have developed over time.
James Chang-Davidson, Advisor
James is a Computer Science major at Northeastern University and served as Chief Technology Officer during his time at BEAM. James is passionate about modernizing the education system through innovative technologies and improving the world for society as a whole. His other interests include cinematography and all kinds of engineering.