Raluca Besliu, Managing Director
Raluca Besliu, originally from Romania, is a journalist interested in women’s and children’s rights, youth visionaries and entrepreneurs, refugee and human rights issues, peace and post-conflict reconstruction. She has published multiple articles on all of these topics. Raluca has graduated the University of Oxford with an MSc in Refugees and Forced Migration, after receiving her bachelor degree at Vassar College, majoring in International Studies. She has founded a non-profit organization, called Save South Kordofan. The organization is focused on raising awareness about the indiscriminate killings currently taking place in the Sudanese region and providing assistance to communities in need, by raising funds through the sale of Sudanese art in Western countries. She believes that Taking on the Giant has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of employment and education and is excited about developing the project.
Rania Adamczyk, Scriptwriter, On-Screen Commentator
Following lifelong passions for film, writing, and constructive social commentary, she is thoroughly enjoying being a part of the video team at TakingOnTheGiant. Her plans for the future entail trying to continue to be as helpful an agent of inspiration as she is getting to be here.
Kyle Tribble, Video Editor, Social Media Management Kyle Tribble is an English major entering into his senior year at Oberlin College, and, at any given time, can be found attempting to wade through hundreds of pages of reading assignments. When Kyle isn’t pondering the particulars of the English Canon, he pursues passions in music as a producer, sound engineer, and co-chair of the Oberlin Hip-Hop Collective, an organization dedicated to fostering the college’s hip-hop scene through community events, open mics, and live concerts. Kyle loves kids (more than most adults) and is well aware they’re the key to solving many of our world’s problems, joining Taking on the Giant with this in mind. After graduating with his bachelor’s from Oberlin, Kyle will pursue a career as a writer and journalist while hoping to find success as a musician and artist.
Emily Rogers, Scriptwriter and Videographer
Emily Rogers is a second year student at Oberlin College, majoring in Creative Writing and most likely Cinema Studies as well. Aside from writing, she enjoys shooting and editing videos, and hopes to create enjoyable and informative digital content for the Taking on the Giant YouTube channel. Emily runs the Oberlin Film Series at her college and spends her free time making art or watching bad movies.
Max Buck, Web Developer
Max Buck is studying Computer and Information Science at The Ohio State University. A poet and dedicated advocate for social change, Max has competed in both the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational and at the Brave New Voices slam in California. He also keeps personal blog about life stories and untold history.
He has faith that the stories of youth who “Take on The Giant” will be drops in the water that cause ripples for miles. He is happy to be a part of Taking on The Giant and take part in the technical side of our project.
Aria Gao, Video Intern
Aria Gao, originally from Beijing, China, is now a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Accounting at Case Western Reserve University. She is a delightful lively young woman who always wears a smile. She loves listening to music, traveling and photographing in her spare time. She got passionate about joining TakingOnTheGiant.com after hearing about the great many inspiring stories of young people changing the world, and she hopes to get those stories out to more teenagers across the globe. Her past work experiences focused primarily in financial sectors, but she has always been interested in growing with nonprofit organizations. She feels like this summer is the time for her to learn, to practice, and to make a real difference.
Olivia Saine, Intern
Julian Huff, Twitter and Video Intern
Julian Huff is from Strongsville, Ohio and attends New Tech East High school in Cleveland where he plays Varsity basketball. Julian, a straight “A” student, has a great desire both on and off the court. He takes classes at Cuyahoga Community College on his way to a bright future. He has been interested in TakingOnTheGiant.com since first seeing their videos. During his time with TakingOnTheGiant.com he wants to learn how to help change the world.
Ravneet Kaur Sandhu, Writer
Ravneet Kaur Sandhu, a 17-year-old, loves to read.
She is currently completing her schooling at Yadavindra Public School in India. A writer in making, Ravneet loves to sit and ink her thoughts.
This is her first writing gig and she is excited to try and do her best.
A passionate micro-volunteer, she also loves new experiences and Punjabi folk songs.
Emily Dallas, Writer
Emily Dallas is a recent graduate of King’s College London’s Conflict, Security and Development master program. She previously received her Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in International Affairs.
She loves traveling and keeping informed on current events, and is very excited to volunteer for Taking on the Giant to highlight the great things young people are doing around the world.
Nakita Mason, Writer
Since completing her MSc in Psychology and Investigation Nakita has made steps to enhance her writing career and is in the process of developing a novel. An avid creative writer from a young age Nakita is also a thorough researcher whose specialist areas are culture including fiction and film, psychology and sociology.
Never straying far without a book or pen and paper, Nakita is a country girl at heart who enjoys camping in the Lake District and summers spent in France. She is delighted to be involved with Taking on the Giant.
Leih Boyden is a first grade teacher in Detroit, Michigan interested in conflict transformation, mediation, women and children’s rights, and refugee and asylee issues. Leih has graduated from Goucher College with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies.
She spent six months studying Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding in Kigali, Rwanda and Gulu, Uganda which culminated in a month long independent project. She has been a Youth Caseworker Intern for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and during that time she oriented, enrolled, and was the first point of contact for newly arrived refugee children and their families.
While at IRC, she worked closely with Refugee Youth Project and co-led an International/American Student Leadership Dialogue. Over the years, Leih has been a director or facilitator for a variety of academic afterschool programs for students and parents including Help Increase the Peace Program. She believes that education fosters the ability and desire to consciously understand and interact with the world around us and excitedly sees Taking on the Giant as a space to expand this great work.
Ranny Andayani, Facebook Manager
Ranny is passionate about education, human rights, history, and enjoys studying language and culture. She speaks fluently in Indonesian, Javanese, the Surabayan dialect, English, and is currently learning German and Spanish.
After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Economics in 2009, she worked as a Finance Assistant in Singapore. In 2011, Ranny moved to Melbourne and she has a qualification as a Trainer and Assessor from Boxhill Institute – Australia. Now she teaches Indonesian for professionals and school students.
She enjoys traveling and meeting new people. Ranny lives in London – and goes back and forth to Melbourne and Indonesia frequently. She is currently expanding her career path into Translating and Interpreting.
Working with young people in schools, Ranny knows that their creativity and ideas are very original and with support they can help the world. The stories of young people on Taking on the Giant inspire us not to be afraid of dreaming.These stories can encourage others to keep pursuing their dreams.
Charlie Butts, Managing Director
A student of the sixties, Charlie dropped out of college to spend three years in the Civil Rights Movement, struggling to register voters throughout Mississippi and working directly with Medgar Evers before his assassination. He co-authored BLACK, WHITE AND GREY, along with Martin Luther King, George Wallace and others. After returning to college, he became involved in politics: first as the campaign director for Carl Stokes—helping elect him as the first black mayor of a major American city—and then as a member of the Ohio Senate, where he served for sixteen years. Enthralled with the stories of young people who have changed the world, he has a passion for those stories to live.
Common Core Project Staff
Kristine L. Still, Ph.D., Common Core Project Director
Dr. Still served as the Director of The Cleveland Schools Book Fund, a project funded through a $5 million dollar endowment and which created classroom libraries in all K-3 classrooms in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Dr. Still is active in CSU’s Campus International School where she serves as a resource for IB Curriculum initiatives as well as conducts research to support teacher inquiry. Dr. Still’s major research interests focus on the integration of meaningful technology-based literacy events in primary grade classrooms as well as on a variety of related topics around Literacy Instruction and Teacher Professional Development. She has presented at over 50 professional conferences (regionally, nationally, and internationally) and is author and/or co-author of over 35 scholarly writings which are either published, currently “in review”, or “in process.”
Outside of Cleveland State, Dr. Still is also highly active in professional organizations as she served as the Webmaster for the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers from 2011-2013 and is the current Membership Director for the Ohio Council of the International Reading Association. Additionally, Dr. Still is Co-editor of the Ohio Reading Teacher. Dr. Still remains active in the community through her outreach and research initiatives with literacy related projects serving greater Cleveland. Prior to joining the faculty at Cleveland State University in 2006, Dr. Still taught 1st grade for 10 years and also held the position of Visiting Assistant Professor at The University of Akron while working on her doctoral studies from 2004-2006.
Patricia McGinty, CCSS Curriculum Specialist
Patricia is a Kindergarten teacher at St. Mark School in Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her Bachelors at Cleveland State University and her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction also from Cleveland State University. She is an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist. Patricia received her Master Teacher Designation from the State of Ohio Department of Education in the fall of 2013. Patricia is currently enrolled in post-Masters studies at Cleveland State University. Patricia is writing curriculum including quizzes for TakingOnTheGiant stories. She hopes to empower students and teachers alike with knowledge about individuals making a difference in our world in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards.
Carmen Chung, CCSS Curriculum Specialist
Carmen Chung is an 18 year veteran elementary school teacher. She obtained a Bachelor of Elementary Education degree, Master of Education in Administration degree, and a Master degree in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Literacy from Cleveland State University. Carmen lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and son.
Jenna Bellassai, CCSS project Intern
Jenna is a second year student studying English at Oberlin College. She is a member of OSlam, Oberlin’s slam poetry club, and she is on the editing staff of The Plum Creek Review, one of Oberlin’s campus publications. Jenna is also an elementary school tutor for America Reads and America Counts. During her time with Taking on the Giant, she hopes to expand the site’s horizons so that more readers will be able to learn about the progress made by young people in the world today.
PREVIOUS INTERNS AND STAFF MEMBERS
Nathaniel Sher, Intern
Originally from Sacramento, California, Nathaniel is currently pursuing a BA in History and English from Oberlin College.
With a passion for all things literature, Nathaniel has been testing the waters of creative writing, from short fiction to journalism. He is a contributing author for two Oberlin publications, The Oberlin Review and Fearless and Loathing. In his time away from academics, Nathaniel likes to play guitar and sing. And if the weather permits, he enjoys outdoor activities such as board sports, ball sports and hiking. He is excited to contribute both articles and multi-media to Taking on the Giant’s content, and help spread its message and expand its reach.
Alison Cameron, Intern
Alison, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, is currently studying History at Oberlin College. She’s focusing on expanding Taking On the Giant’s social media platform and contributing content to the website itself. In her spare time, she works for Oberlin’s radio station WOBC and has participated in the Oberlin Young Educator’s organization. She also sings classical and jazz music, along with reading any piece of literature she can find.
Savannah Tracy, Intern
A native of Western North Carolina, Savannah is enduring the Ohio snow while pursuing a BA in Sociology and Religion from Oberlin College. She is passionate about the power of storytelling, especially through different forms of media. At TakingOnTheGiant, she is excited to contribute to the website’s content and video collection. In her spare time, she works as the Talk Director for WOBC 91.5 FM and as a Peer Advisor for the Oberlin Career Center. She’s exceptional at being mediocre at too many instruments, and spends her free time singing in a local folk band.
Angelica Pastrana, Summer Intern
Angelica is currently a third-year student at The Ohio State University. She is studying strategic communications and economics, and is involved with OSU’s First-Year Experience Program,OSU telecounseling, the Philippine Student Association, and PRSSA OSU chapter. She hopes to work in the public relations field after graduation. She is excited to utilize her social media and video editing skills for Taking on the Giant to help share these incredible stories.
Hannah Fragapane, Summer Intern
Hannah is from Strongsville, Ohio and will be attending Bowling Green State University in the fall of 2014. She is looking forward to her first year of college and will be studying International Relations. She hopes to find a career after college that will allow her to travel all over the world. Hannah is excited to be a part of the blog team and wants to help share the many inspirational stories of young people taking on the giant.
Ryan McEntee, Former Intern
Marketing major currently in his second year at Cuyahoga Community College, Ryan is very interested in business growth and promotion. He is incredibly excited to work for Takingonthegiant.com and is determined to help promote the website in a positive way. Ryan has also worked with many organizations to make promotional videos for sponsors. Ryan enjoys making original skits and watching the Cleveland Indians in his free time.
Caroline Kinnen, Summer Intern
Caroline is a sophomore studying Communications and Political Science at The Ohio State University. She is a member of the Humanities Scholars at Ohio State and also serves on the Humanities Scholars Leadership Committee. Caroline has traveled to Mexico, the Bahamas, and New Orleans on youth mission trips. She has seen firsthand the impact young people can have if they put their minds to making change. She is looking forward to writing and helping manage social media for Taking On the Giant, while also finding ways to market the website to as many people as possible.
Filiz Ortatepe, Facebook Editor
Filiz Ortatepe is from Hamburg, Germany. She just graduated from high-shool and decided to take a year off before going to university. Her goal is being a journalist to be a witness of big movements and to be part of it. She is especially interested in Human Rights and Women’s Rights. Among these things she wants to collect as many experiences as possible. TakingOntheGiant.com is a great opportunity to combine making an impact and organizing as well as working with different people.
Jordan Doll, Writer and Editor
Jordan Doll was the editor of her high school’s first literary journal and interned at The Legal Society of Cleveland where she wrote about Civil Legal Cases.
As a student at Oberlin College she continues to pursue writing in all forms.She wants to pursue an Economic and possibly Creative Writing major, and is interested in fiction writing and journalism, especially journalism focused on the economy. She’s unsure what she wants to do after college and is trying to enjoy the mystery. On her downtime, she likes reading whatever is around the house, watching netflix instant play and philosophizing with her friends and cat. She’s an enthusiastic editor and contributor of Taking on the Giant and is excited to be on board with this project.
Chris Landers, Writer/Deputy Editor
Chris Landers graduated from Oberlin College with an English degree and a minor in Politics. Chris spent two years as Sports Editor of the OBERLIN REVIEW, Oberlin’s paper of record, and served as co-Editor in Chief in 2012-2013. He also ran the Oberlin Film Series and was a member of the Oberlin Peace Activists League. When not watching or ranting about the Giants, Yankees or Knicks, he enjoys watching or ranting about all things film and television.
Amy Campbell, Inter
Amy studied at Oberlin College, majoring in Sociology and Anthropology and minoring in French.
At Oberlin, Amy was involved with the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA)and was a Sexual Offense Policy Advocate, both as a person of support as well as a promoter of education of topics surrounding the issue of sexual offense on campus.
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