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Meet the Team!

Alex Li

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M.S. in Operational Research, Columbia University

Alex graduated from Columbia University with a Master's degree in Operations Research. He spent his undergraduate years at UCLA and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Statistics. He had various quantitative work experience at investment funds in the U.S. and China. Unlike a typical tech guy, Alex has found his deep interest in the Education Industry as time goes by, and started to embrace his career as an educational consultant. Alex enjoys building friendship with his students and advising them on applications to top U.S. universities, and he is certain that his passion and skills will guide him further into his adventure.

Anna Saltzman


M.A. in Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Anna has a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College and a Master's degree in Asian Studies from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. At Georgetown, she had a double concentration in politics along with history, society, and culture in China. Anna is a senior educational consultant at Thinktown. She has worked for international think tanks in Washington, DC and taught English to primary and secondary school students in Shenzhen. After that, she moved to Oxford, England to complete her CELTA certification. Having found her passion in facilitating cross-cultural communication and understanding, Anna is dedicated to helping her students explore their creative and academic potential.

Cory Liang


M.A. in Humanities, University of Chicago 

Cory graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree of Master of Arts in the Humanities, where they studied creative nonfiction writing. They also received their BA degree from Smith College, double-majoring in English Literature and Government. As a first-generation college student, Cory is passionate about expanding educational opportunities for underserved communities and helping students develop the mindset and skills to realize their full potential. At Thinktown, they hopes to share their love for personal narratives and uses their knowledge and experience of writing to support more aspiring young writers.

Erin Hunt


M.S. in Professional Writing, New York University

Erin graduated from New York University with a Master of Science in Professional Writing after earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. Erin has worked for a Chicago-based EdTech startup, The Graide Network, where she partnered with over 50 veteran teachers and 1,600 students at schools across the U.S. After working as an Editing Specialist since July 2019, Erin is excited to begin a new chapter as an Educational Consultant, helping students achieve their academic and professional goals.

Estelle Zhang

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M.A. in Humanities, University of Chicago

Estelle Zhang graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree of Master of Arts in the Humanities, where she researched the dynamics between fiction and moral philosophy. At UChicago, she studied how narratives reflect and mold the human psyche while developing a deep interest in art and realist novels. A lover of letters, Estelle is passionate about exploring how literature resonates with students and helps them to find their own voice. A seasoned writer, test- taker, and tutor, she leverages her experience and knowledge to teach efficient thinking tools and writing skills to turn exams into stepping stones.

Jack Dwyer


​B.A. in World Politics, Hamilton College

Jack graduated from Hamilton College with a bachelor's degree in World Politics and a specialization in International Development. Jack has experience in the film and television industry, where he evaluated creative material such as screenplays, television pilots, novels, and stageplays, worked with writers and producers on narrative development for original material, and workshopped projects of his own. Jack is passionate about each step in the storytelling process and loves collaborating with writers to help them develop their voice. He views it as a special privilege to help young writers craft stories that vividly and entertainingly express their unique view of the world.

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Lisa Qiu

M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication, Northwestern University

Zhongyi earned her bachelor's degree in Finance from the College of William and Mary and received her master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. During the programs, she focused on the branding strategy sequence which prepared her with a solid understanding in a wide scope of marketing concepts, and acquired proficiency in market research and data analytics to support data-driven strategies. She developed strong critical thinking skills and a business mindset through plenty of collaborative projects as well as previous experience working in e-Commerce marketing and customer engagement.

Luke Potter


M.S. in Language and Literacy, Harvard University

M.S. in Language and Literacy, Harvard University

Luke graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master's degree in Language and Literacy. He received his bachelor’s from Duke University with a major in Political Science. He has had experiences working in both education and the government, including tutoring and interning at the White House under President Obama. Luke believes that higher education can change the destiny and tap the best potential of each student.


Qianhe Ji


M.A. in Arts Administration, Columbia University

Qianhe graduated from Columbia University, majoring in Arts Administration. For her undergraduate, she studied Art History and Sociology at Peking University. She has various experiences in exhibition curating, gallery management, and museum education. With a great passion for art and education, she wants to help students enjoy art, love life, and achieve their dreams.

Sara Wu

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M.A. in Educational Theatre, New York University

Sara completed her Undergraduate and Master's degree at NYU Steinhardt, majoring in Educational Theatre. During her time at NYU, she devoted herself to theatre performances and production, taking the role of an actor, director and choreographer in NYU theatre performances. She developed an interest in performing arts administration and business, and minored in Dramatic Literature and Business in Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Prior to joining Thinktown, Sara focused on producing recent work: Gaggle: Voices and Stories of Chinese International Students in the U.S., which had been streamed on online platforms and performed in New York high schools, and has received great audience reflections.

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Sherry Mao

M.A. in Global Thought, Columbia University

With a Columbia Master's degree, educational research expertise and financial reporting experience under her belt, Sherry is dedicated to fostering global collaboration of different institutions at Thinktown and helping students become well-rounded leaders of tomorrow. At Thinktown New York, Sherry is the lead developer and maintainer of external resources, in addition to planning and executing events to increase our brand awareness.

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Shuhan Xia

M.S. in Statistics, University of Washington

Shuhan graduated from University of Washington with a Master's degree in Statistics. He received his Bachelor's degree from UN-Chapel Hill with a double major in Statistics and Economics. He believes that the preparation of study abroad is in essence the process of self-exploration and personal growth. At Thinktown New York, Shuhan is in charge of optimizing the procedures of our writing coaching services and supporting Front Office in delivering the best storytelling assistance to our students. He is glad to help students reach their academic and life goals using his own experience.

Soren Pedersen


B.A. in English and Creative Writing, Colby College

Soren graduated from Colby College with a major in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. During their time at Colby, Soren worked as a Peer Writing Tutor where they assisted students with collegiate academic writing assignments. Due to their passion for education, after graduation, Soren launched an academic tutoring program where they mentored students grades K-5 in all subjects. At Thinktown, Soren hopes to use their skills in education, and their passion for creative writing, to inspire students to think critically and share their stories.


Tyler Finley

B.A. in Stories in Interactive Media, New York University

Tyler graduated from New York University with a concentration in Stories in Interactive Media and a minor in Game Design. His studies explored the intersection of creativity, writing, and interactive technology and involved developing projects for virtual reality, crafting short stories and poetry, and investigating the horror genre. He has worked as a tutor since high school and is fueled by a passion for facilitating and witnessing growth in others. Tyler finds joy in playing with his dogs, hiking, and helping others share their stories.

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Vanessa Ruales

B.A. in Social Studies, Harvard University

Vanessa has a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies with a focus in Food Policy & Law from Harvard University. She graduated with high honors and achieved distinctions for her thesis research, including a fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Vanessa believes in interdisciplinary growth, using knowledge from a variety of disciplines to spur personal development, particularly during the college admissions journey. She has practiced this herself, working in a variety of fields such as education, politics, and business. Her experiences include working in the Massachusetts Senate, Harvard Medical School, the 2020 Biden Campaign, and starting her own real estate development business. She is excited to help students find meaning through the inner exploration of writing.

Victor Yao


M.A. in Arts Politics, New York University

Victor holds a MA in Arts Politics and a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch, with a double major in Psychology. He has worked on numerous arts education projects, serving as the writer, director or project manager on several welcome programs at NYU. He directed the first Mandarin production of MAN OF LA MANCHA in the US, and his other projects have been seen at PlayStation Theatre, Symphony Space, NYU Tisch, WOW Café Theatre and Shanghai Theatre Academy. At Thinktown, Victor is committed to helping aspiring artists find their unique voices. Currently, he is a business product manager for Thinktown's Theatre and Film subjects. He is invested in leveraging theatre and film to help students hone creative problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills.

Zeqing Shao

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M.A. in International Education Policy, Harvard University

Zeqing graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master's degree in International Education Policy. She received her bachelor's degree from University of Connecticut with a double major in Psychology and Communication, along with a minor in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is actively involved in work that promotes educational equity, diversity and inclusion. As a self-taught amateur video editor, she is also passionate about facilitating learning through creative thinking and innovative techniques.
As a Senior Educational Consultant at Thinktown, Zeqing is always excited to offer her knowledge and expertise to inspire her students to grow, to rise, to bravely share their stories and explore their unique talents.

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