We haven’t selected the leaders for FOCUS 2015 yet, so please enjoy these leader bios from 2014!

Abby Ryland and Parker MacLure


HELLOOOOO FOCUSERS! My name is Abby; I’m from Cooperstown, NY, I’ll be a junior in the fall and I’ve been counting down the days until FOCUS 2014! I’m studying biopsychology and German, I serve on the Leader’s Council of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, and I dance in Tufts Burlesque Troupe and Tufts Tap Ensemble. While I’m not doing these things on campus, you can find me singing in the car to country music or in a coffee shop somewhere pretending to be productive while actually on tumblr. Can’t wait to see you all soon!


Hello!!! My name is Parker and I’m a Senior at Tufts! I’m majoring in Economics and minoring in Urban Studies. I am particularly interested in social and economic justice as well as sustainability and urbanism. Get excited to ride the T because I am the one and only PubTranspoGuru. Peace, Love, FOCUS



Barbara Storch and Sam Berry


I’m Barbara Storch, a rising junior, double majoring in Cognitive & Brain Sciences and Child Development. On campus, I’m active in LCS, tutor through Tufts Tutors, and spend a lot of time derping in a psycholinguistics lab! I think always having snacks is very important – here I am holding some. I can’t wait to meet you all in the fall!!

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Heyyo, my name is Sam and I am from Orangeburg NY, studying ACS-Chemistry. I do a bunch of stuff around campus, from Tufts’ Club Soccer team to country swing dance, which most importantly is not square dancing (nor a standard New York thing). I love to combine my interests in chemistry and food, so I love to cook (quality not assured) and my favorite thing to do at Tufts is to have as many enlightening 3am conversations as is possible, as well as explore Boston with anyone who wants to join me!


Brenda Lee and Matt Braly


So my parents originally planned to name me Brian, but they didn’t want me to get bullied at school. They still liked the Br- sound and my mom saw a Beverly Hills 90210 show once with a character named Brenda, so here we are. “Where are you from?” is the hardest question ever, so I’m going to skip it.  I’m currently studying English and Clinical Psychology, they’re trill. Sometimes when I eat too quickly I get terrible hiccups, or the people I’m eating with get terrible hiccups–it’s uncanny.  Here I am with a chill French mountain goat.



Art hist Mage from Indiana. VP of Stand up comedy collective. I was in the paper when I was 6 for having the largest collection of furbies in the state.




Christelle Salomon and Matt Marber


Hey Y’all!! My name is Christelle Salomon and I’m from Boston, MA. I am a rising senior (yes, I’m still in denial) majoring in biology and following the pre-med track. When I’m not in class, I am working in a genetics lab, singing and praise dancing for gospel choir, belly dancing, or stuffing my face (what I do best)!! I also enjoy baking sweets, watching YouTube videos, reading books about infectious diseases, and spontaneously making animal noises and singing feliz navidad. I’m super excited to be a part of FOCUS this year and I can’t wait to meet you all 🙂


HELLLLLOOOO FO-BABIES!!! I’m Matt, a rising Junior from Jericho, NY majoring in Engineering Psychology. Buzzfeed quizzes tell me that I am most like Taystee from Orange is the New Black and that I’m the champion of breakfast cereals. I always wear matching socks and I still use AOL for email. I am FO excited to meet you all and I absolutely cannot wait for FOCUS!! 😀



Daniella DiPaola and Ryan Fleer


Daniella DiPaola is a rising junior from Smithfield, Rhode Island majoring in Engineering Psychology with a minor in Engineering Education. Daniella is involved with the Tufts Center for Engineering Education Outreach, Society of Women Engineers, and is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. She enjoys watching Greys Anatomy, traveling, exploring used bookstores, and having tea parties.


Hey hey FOCUS 2014! I’m Ryan, a rising junior majoring in International Relations and Economics.  I grew up in your typical suburban town in New Jersey, but I like to pretend that I come from some place cooler nearby (New York City, duh).  On campus, when I’m not researching the cheapest flight to [insert random place in the world] or watching the latest music video, I tap with Tufts Tap Ensemble.  I am obsessed with FOCUS, and I hope you love it too!

Elana Shapiro and Peter Estes

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Hi 2018! My name is Elana Shapiro, but fellow FOCUSers have nicknamed me the Svet (it’s a long story…). I was born and raised in NYC, and am a rising senior majoring in International Relations and Community Health. On campus, I’m also a member of a sustainable development group called BUILD: Nicaragua, a Tufts Dance Collective participant, and the incoming co-chair of Tufts’ Relay for Life. In my free time this summer, I can be found baking, watching nerdy documentaries, or listening to Pandora’s Verano Urbano station.


Peter Estes is a rising Senior, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Education. He’s from DC (PoliSci makes sense right?) and is ultimately looking to work in education policy. Peter is a Captain of the Varsity Men’s Crew team. When he’s not questioning the logic of waking up at 5am everyday to row boats, he’s eating at his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, where he has served as Philanthropy Chair and Rush Chair. Peter grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and still loves them, but now he probably listens to artists like Arcade Fire, Chvrches, and Chance the Rapper more (other stuff too). He’s extremely excited to meet all the FOCUSers.

Emma Brenner-Bryant and Eli Converse


HEY FOCUSERS! I’m Emma and I’m a junior majoring in American Studies. I’m from San Francisco, where we don’t have seasons, so I get pumped during fall when campus is covered in magical colors (my local friends make fun of me for it). On campus, I’m co-leader of Tufts Health Advocates, I mentor with Strong Women Strong Girls, I’m a Writing Fellow, and I’m a Tisch Scholar, which means I’m doing a social justice project near Tufts. My fun fact is that I played at Oracle, the stadium where the Warriors play NBA games. Soooo excited to meet you all!!!

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Hello everyone! My name is Eli Converse, I am a rising junior studying chemical engineering and I hail from Darien, Connecticut. Hmmmmm fun facts… well, as a vegetarian and therefore an expert on vegetables, the best vegetable out there (my favorite) is the ever majestic and always delicious and nutritious baby spinach. It’s just so versatile and yummy! But really my favorite food is cheese; specifically those cheeses of the “goat” variety. I also like music and long walks on the beach. See you all in August!


Gemma Stern and Noah Habeeb


HEYY!!! My name is Gemma and I’m from Westchester, NY. I’m a Junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. On campus, I’m co-president of the Leonard Carmichael Society, Tufts’ community service organization, and I’m also a member of the Chi Omega sorority. I just got back from India and now I’m spending the summer doing research in a psych lab at Harvard which is awesome, but I’m REALLY excited for FOCUS. Doing FOCUS was the best decision I have made at Tufts and I’m so excited to meet all of you! (It is also okay to be nervous…I was probably the most nervous freshmen coming into FOCUS).


Hi…I’m Noah. I am originally from Arlington, Virginia right outside of DC. I am studying international relations and urban studies. On campus I play club soccer, copyedit for the Daily, and am involved with greek life.  I play the guitar and love listening to music.  I write and edit for Melisma Magazine and Sound of Boston. This summer I am working at a think tank in DC, which is loads of wholesome fun — but I can’t wait to get back to campus to hang out with all my FOCUS p@ls.



Grace Buchloh and Barton Liang


Hello! I’m Grace and I am a rising senior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Yes, people do live there, though only a few).  Isatisfy my inner diplomatic debater feminist activist with International Relations and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses.  My junior year was spent studying abroad in Chile and Spain, but when I’m not exploring the world outside of Tufts you can find me shaking it on stage with the Tufts Burlesque Troupe, eating candy in the Women’s Center at VOX meetings (Tufts Planned Parenthood affiliated student organization), or freaking out about being a FOCUS LEADER!!!


Hey y’all! I’m Barton and I’m a rising junior from Hong Kong, China. I’m majoring in civil engineering and minoring in engineering management. Fun fact—I used to be an international relations major! Aside from being #obsessed with FOCUS (literally one of the best decisions I’ve ever made), I’m also a campus tour guide, a member of Tufts’ club rugby team, involved in Greek life, and a member of Team Q, our LGBT peer education organization. This’ll be my third year of FOCUS, and I can’t wait to meet all of you. FO-love FO-ever!


Gracie Peck and Jon Williams


I am a junior from Maui, Hawaii planning to major in psychology and minor in entrepreneurial leadership studies. I am on the sailing team, a member of the co-ed fraternity ATO of Massachusetts and I can’t wait for focus (or something cheesy like that).


What’s up FOCUSers!! Just a mini intro: I’m from Mount Laurel, NJ, and I’m a rising junior. I’m a pre-med Biochemistry major. I’ve been involved in research, including two labs here. I am a varsity athlete (first baseball then crew currently). I’m also in Greek life as a brother of Delta Tau Delta. Aside from these I am also involved in many clubs on campus, including GlobeMed, Balance Your Life, and the pre-med society. I love weird food, doing anything active, making a complete fool of myself dancing, long walks on the beach, and of course ALL OF YOU!!!!



Hannah Dorfman and Marcus Budline


Hey FOCUSers!! I’m Hannah, a rising senior from Columbus, Ohio double majoring in Religion and American Studies! I play ultimate frisbee for the Tufts EWO and am also a part of the most bangin’ group on campus, Tufts B.E.A.T.s. I love all things FOCUS and just about anything that has to do with food, music and my two amazing dogs, Meg and Dixie. I’m currently spending a semester abroad in Germany enjoying beer, pretzels and the craziness that is this year’s World Cup!! I can’t wait for FOCUS 2014. It’s going to be the best time ever!!



Marcus Budline is a rising senior from Princeton, NJ majoring in English and minoring in Media Studies. On campus, he’writes for the Tufts Daily, is a brother of Theta Chi Fraternity, and last year coordinated this amazing week of FOCUS. Off campus, he just took a semester off to go farming and biking in Europe. He’s an NBA nerd, likes food, suffers from tremendous biker road rage, and he can’t wait for FOCUS.




Isabelle Vrod and John Kelly


Hello my lovely FOCUS nuggets! My name is Isabelle Vrod. I am from the lovely land of the old Boca Raton, Florida. I am an economics major and soon to be child development minor. When I’m not dealing with the invisible hand or the life of children I’m singing, cooking, whistling, knitting, working out or binge watching TV, sometimes all of the above. I am so so so excited to meet all the new Tufts chickadees about to hatch!!


John is a rising senior majoring in religion, with minors in sociology and political science, and this is his fourth year doing FOCUS! John loves abbrevs and talking about feelings, and does a bunch of activist work on and off campus. He sleeps with an emergency jar of peanut butter next to his bed, and has recently taken to carrying around a second emergency jar in his backpack, you know, for emergencies. He will cry with joy on arrival day, and can’t wait to meet his sweet baby FOCUSers!!


Janna Karatas and Jake Lipson


A junior, Janna hails from Rochester, NY, where her Poli Sci/ Spanish major has invested her
In working with inner-city communities and helping immigrants.
Her quirks? She loves etymologies, short stories, political theory,
Riding her bike, and being on a team of South Asian dance.
She’s excited to be able to mentor new Jumbos in the start of their Tufts adventure
And above all else, she’d like to welcome you to the college locus;
Get ready to meet great people, as well as serve Boston – 55 days! Is that all?!
See you August 21, and till then: “Fo-what?!” “FOCUS!!”

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Jake is a rising senior studying Computer Science, but he does not like writing in the third person, so I’m switching formats mid-bio! Hey guys! I’m about to start my final year at Tufts, during which you’ll find me toiling in the computer labs of Halligan, eating my way through the city of Boston (food is my one true love), or running outdoors to compensate for all the food I eat. I can also claim to be a member of a couple organizations around campus, including Tufts Television and Theta Chi Fraternity. I’m also a movies/TV aficionado, an animals person, and an early 2000s pop enthusiast, so there’s that. I cannot believe how close we are to FOCUS, so I’m getting excited to meet you all and welcome you to Tufts! See you soon!


Kathleen Cachel and Colin Burnett


I’m a junior studying computer science and minoring in math. I’m from Concord MA. I am a self proclaimed morning person who is routinely appalled that Tisch Library only opens at 10AM on the weekends. My favorite summer activity is to watch the planes come into Logan airport over the Boston harbor.


Colin Burnett is a manatee-loving Pisces hailing from the lazy, yet sandy beach town of Marshfield in South Shore Massachusetts. Aside from months of beach-going and summer relaxing, Colin spends his time at Tufts University studying biopsychology and focusing on veterinary medicine for a future career with animals. Outside the classroom, he is a stage manager with Tufts 3Ps theater group, a member of the Pre-Veterinary Society, and a brother of Theta Chi fraternity, amongst other activities. Besides his obsessions with red velvet cake, bow ties, and corgis, Colin cannot wait to start this FOCUS adventure with everyone!


Kelly O’Grady and Ben Forester 


Hi, I’m Kelly, a senior majoring in International Relations. I’m from Cranbury (pronounced like the fruit), New Jersey. I spent the past fall studying abroad in Santiago, Chile and would love to spend more time in South and Central America. I love chocolate pudding and ordering Dominoes from the little man online. My favorite form of water is the ocean (though mountain streams are a close second).


I am going into my senior year, and have been studying economics and marketing. I am from Maine, and love the outdoors and having fun! I am part of an acappella group on campus, as well as the Entrepreneur’s Society. I KNOW that FOCUS 2014 is going to be incredibly, fantastically, unabashedly awesome and positively life changing, so everyone better get ready to have the best experience of their life!



Kristina Chang and HeeJae An


As a third year FOCUSer, I can’t WAIT to have a FO-family of my own (FOCUSers, you’ll soon learn what I’m talking about)!!  I’m a rising junior hailing from the lovely town of Pittsford, New York (aka Rochester aka Canada).  I’m double majoring in Spanish and biology, although I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  My family has a multitude of pets (dogs, cats, chickens, chinchillas, a horse and more…), I am a 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo, I love to ski, I hate the cold, and I play the violin.


Hi! My name is HeeJae and I am a junior studying child development and on the pre-med track here at Tufts. I love this school with all my heart and I can’t wait to share my love for Tufts with you guys during FOCUS. On campus, I am a part of the Track and Field team and the Korean Student Association. I’m both nervous and thrilled to meet all of you and I look forward to sharing the blissful week that is FOCUS with you all. Much Pax et Lux!


Leah Petrucelli and Ryan Parigoris


My name is Leah Petrucelli and I am a senior psychology and community health major. I am on the premed track and stoked about becoming an integrative physician. I love people, music, dancing, singing, sports, and the outdoors. My passion for becoming a doctor stems from my love for understanding people and things, and I cannot wait to learn about all of you! A couple fun facts: I was born with five wisdom teeth, I can speak in 300 different voices, I just spent four months in India, Argentina, and South Africa, I work for an online greeting card company, I’m also a personal trainer, I used to have two pet newts, I have many more quirks but I suppose you can learn about those when we meet:)!!


Hey everyone! My name is Ryan Parigoris and this is my third year doing FOCUS but my first time as a leader and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been living here in Somerville for the past few years but I’m originally from Long Island and I have the accent to prove it. Some fun facts about me: I’m a rising senior studying Clinical Psychology, I just got back from studying abroad in Nantes, France, and my most recent Pandora stations are Sam Smith and Amy Winehouse. Can’t wait to meet all of you in a few weeks!


Maddy Ball and James Prosser


Name: Maddy Ball, Hometown: Mill Valley, CA, Majors: Environmental Science and American Studies with a minor in Earth and Ocean Sciences, Spirit Animal: River Otter/Baby Dragon. In addition to leading for FOCUS, Maddy is an active member of Tufts Dance Collective, Programming Board, Giving Camp, Tufts Mountain Club, and works at the Office for Campus Life.  She is currently spending the summer working and exploring in Boulder, CO.  She loves dried mangoes, running, geology puns (everyone in the Geo dept is so gneiss!), hiking up mountains, doing headstands, and anything food with dark chocolate.  She will be a senior in the fall and is incredibly excited for her fourth and final (Fo-what?!) year of FOCUS!

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Hi! My name is James Prosser. I am from New York City. I am a Classical Studies major with a focus on archaeology. I am a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and on the Tufts Men’s Rugby team. I spent last semester studying in Rome/eating everything. My favorite food, however, is BBQ. I am SOO Pumped for FOCUS 2014!



Maia Raynor and Evan Balmuth


My name is Maia Raynor and I’m going to be a junior in the fall. I’m from Boston, MA and studying both Peace and Justice Studies and Community Health. I’m so excited for FOCUS in the fall!


I’m a pre-med Biopsychology major from Newton, Massachusetts. Here at Tufts, I tutor peers as a Writing Fellow, write and edit for the TuftScope Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy, and direct philanthropic programming for Theta Chi Fraternity such as the annual Tufts’ Best Dance Crew and Tufts Prism Run. The last three summers, I’ve been doing neurobiology research at the Boston Children’s Hospital and then McLean Hospital. In my off time, I enjoy playing guitar and piano along with some biking, Frisbee, and tennis. I also continually strive to perfect the skeptical one-eyebrow raise.


Melissa Wang and Jonathan Wolf


I’m Melissa Wang, a senior from Acton, MA and a four-year FOCUSer! At Tufts I study psychology and communications, and I’m heavily involved with the Tufts Daily. Last semester I studied abroad at King’s College in London and absolutely loved it! I love cheering on the Red Sox, playing tennis, getting too hooked on TV shows (The Walking Dead, Parks and Rec, 24, etc.), traveling, and trying to cook fancy meals found on Pinterest.


Hey FOCUS! I’m Jonathan, a double major in political science and economics.  Outside of the classroom, I’m a proud member of the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau and a co-chair for Tufts J Street U.  I spent last semester studying abroad in London at King’s College. Cheerio!



Melissa Weikart and Spencer Meldrum


Melissa Weikart (also Mel) is a rising junior hailing from the nearby town of Newton, Massachusetts. She is majoring in Spanish and Music with a minor in Linguistics and could not be more excited for FOCUS 2014! She can usually be found in Granoff singing with Tufts sQ!, (Tufts’ freshest co-ed a cappella group), shelving books at the music library, or cranking out new tunes in a practice room!


Hello, wonderful FOCUSers! My name is Spencer and I’m a rising Senior at Tufts majoring in Computer Science and Music. I’m from the quaint town of Palo Alto, CA, where Priuses rule the world and everyone is on some sort of terrifying juice cleanse. I have many interests not limited to eating food, talking about food, 2 Chainz’s Cookbook, and well-captioned cat portraits. I am extremely excited to be having my first FOCUS fam as a leader w/ my wonderful co Mel! Get ready 2 have some fun.



Sam McPeck and Dylan Rhys-Williams


I’m a senior majoring in Community Health and Spanish. I spent all of last semester gallivanting around Spain and continental Europe, but on campus I’m a volunteer at Tufts Educational Day Care Center, a member of Tufts Idea Exchange and a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta. I could not POSSIBLY be more excited for my fourth year of FOCUS with my partner-in-crime and all around better half, Dylan Rhys Williams!


Dylan Rhys Williams is a super-senior (#peterpan) majoring in history and concentrating in finance. In addition to being a FOCUS leader, he is a brother in Theta Chi, as well as a world champion watermelon speed-eater and Nicki Minaj wannabe. He is ecstatic to renew his wedding vows with the luvv of his life & apple of his eye Samantha McPeck (but lyke don’t peck me, br0!).


Sara Fuhrman and Ben deButts


I’m Sara Fuhrman, and I’m a rising junior from Bainbridge, Pennsylvania. I’m double majoring in Philsophy and Biology, and after Tufts, I plan on attending medical school. On campus, I play on the Tufts Women’s Rugby team, and I am also involved in the sorority Alpha Phi. Fun fact: I love dairy products: milk, ice cream, cheese, however I’m pretty sure I’m a little bit lactose intolerant. But that doesn’t stop me, I don’t let fear control my life.

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Hey, my name is Ben deButts and I am from Arlington, Virginia. I am studying Computer Science and am currently trying to figure how I want to do that computer science-y stuff! Other fun tidbits: grew up with 3 other brothers (no sisters!), trying to negotiate a semester abroad in Japan, huge into movies, anddddd am in HYPE!, the University mime troupe! Can’t wait to meet you guys!!


Sarah Brown and Ryan Leung


I’m a rising junior from Bethlehem, PA (home of Peeps and Crayola crayons), double majoring in English and Child Development.  On campus, I’m a member of Anchord a cappella, the philanthropy co-chair of Chi Omega, and on the exec board of Tufts’ Relay for Life.  When I’m not obsessing over cute children, I can be found watching/quoting re-runs of Friends, baking (read: eating), or dancing around campus. SO EXCITED TO MEET Y’ALL – welcome to FOCUS!


FOCUSers! Ryan Leung here. Born and raised in New Bedford, MA, I’m a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Biotechnology. Captain of BlackOut Step Team and VP of Country Swing Dance, I’ll happily dance to just about anything. Other than that, Health Career Fellow, brother of ΔΤΔ, aspiring chef, fitness junkie, tech nerd, and videogame buff. I’m excited to meet you all and can’t wait for FOCUS 2014!


Solana Davis and Tahlib Owens


Hi! I’m Solana and I’m a senior double majoring in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Biology. I’m from N.J. and enjoy deep-sea fishing, knitting, and binge-watching tv shows. On campus, I am a DREAM mentor, the Treasurer and co-Founder of the Black Student Union, on staff for theater productions, and the Vice President of Emerging Black Leaders. When I’m not studying for a biology exam or writing a paper on women, sex, and society, I’m reading on my kindle or scrolling through my tumblr dashboard. I’m super excited for FOCUS 2014 and cannot wait until August to get to meet all of my FO-kids. Let the countdown begin (and may the odds be ever in your favor). Welcome Class of 2018 Jumbos!! Get ready for FOCUS 2014 😀


HI!! I’m Tahlib and I’m a rising senior from New Bedford, MA majoring in American Studies with a minor in education. At Tufts, you might find me working at the student services desk, singing with sQ! (freshest co-ed acapella group), or participating in Tufts Dance Collective. I love kids and am spending this summer teaching 7th grade literature through Breakthrough Collaborative. I also hate mayonnaise.