2021 Grad Slam Judges
2019 Gradslam Finalists
Carol Choi | Founder, United Exchange Corporation
Carol Choi graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the School of Social Sciences and a minor in Biology from the Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences. She went onto receive her Masters in Business Administration and Public Health (MBA/MPH) from USC. In 1993, Carol established United Exchange Corporation (UEC) specializing in the sales, marketing and distribution of Consumer Packaged Goods throughout the U.S., Pacific Asia and Latin American regions. Through her work, UEC has been recognized as a good corporate citizen and valued community service provider in the diverse cultural neighborhoods of Los Angeles and Orange County. Carol volunteers on several university advisory boards, including as a trustee of the UCI Foundation and as a member of the UCI School of Law Board of Visitors. As a child of Korean immigrants, she believes no dream is too big, and has a passion for paying it forward to her kids, community and the next generation of students and immigrants.
Anderee Berengian | CEO, Cie Deigital Labs
Anderee Berengian is Founder & CEO at Cie and Founder & Managing Partner at RezVen. He is a serial entrepreneur and board member. Cie is a venture studio that serves as an innovation lab for visionary corporate partners and an accelerator for bold entrepreneurs who want to transform disruptive ideas into new technology ventures.
Cie blends Silicon Valley know-how, startup dynamism and speed with the business maturity of serial entrepreneurs, seasoned venture capitalists, and Fortune 500 executives. This combination gives Cie a deep understanding of how to apply the latest technology to solve strategic and operational business challenges. Cie's unique hybrid model also enables the company to identify new opportunities that Cie’s venture studio incubates, develops, and accelerates into new products and companies. Through his roles at Cie and RezVen, Berengian supports and mentors a wide variety of startup entrepreneurs as well as UCI students.
He earned a BS in Biochemistry from UCLA, M.A. in Business from USC, and was a Ph.D. candidate in Biophysics at UCLA before recognizing his true passion as an entrepreneur.
Berengian gives back by serving as a Board Member for nonprofits Discovery Cube of Orange County and as a Board Member for Human Options as well as corporates such as Performa Labs and Longeve Brands, amongst many others.
Christine M. Nakamoto, EdD | Dean’s Leadership Council Board Member
Christine’s career includes decades of experience in both domestic and global business management. She served as the CEO of an international manufacturing firm establishing herself as a leader in regulatory and manufacturing processes. She has also been involved as a front line mental health advocate as the director of a community mental health agency. Christine chaired the advisory board of UCI’s Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, continues to be an active member of the Dean's Leadership Council for Graduate Studies at UCI as well as serving as the key corporate and community advisor on several other UCI boards guiding the efficient connection of academic research to the correct and necessary service.
Christine holds a doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of the Pacific, as well as a Masters of Public Administration and a Bachelors of Arts degree, both from the University of Colorado.
Jane Buchan | Martlet Asset Management
Ms. Buchan is Chief Executive Officer of Martlet Asset Management, an independent firm established in 2018. Prior to founding Martlet, Jane was Chief Executive Officer of PAAMCO, a fund of hedge funds, which she helped found in 2000, and Co-CEO of the holding company, PAAMCO Prisma Holdings. Under her leadership, the firm grew to $32 billion in assets under management. Ms. Buchan began her career at J.P. Morgan Investment Management in the Capital Markets Group. She has been an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She recently served as chairwoman of the board for the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA) and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Master of Financial Engineering Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. In addition, she is currently serving on the boards of AGF Management Ltd. and Globe Life Inc. In March 2020, Jane was named to the Barron's 100 Most Influential Women in US Finance and in 2015 she was named to the Investhedge Hall of Fame. Ms. Buchan has been actively involved in initiatives to advance the careers of women in finance and is a founding Angel for 100 Women in Finance. She has also been recognized with numerous industry honors and awards. Jane holds both a PhD and an MA in Business Economics (Finance) from Harvard University. She earned a BA in Economics from Yale University. Jane has thirty-three years of experience in investment management and portfolio construction with institutional investors.
Jennifer Friend | CEO, Project Hope Alliance
Prior to becoming CEO at Project Hope Alliance (PHA), Jennifer Friend enjoyed a successful career as a partner at a large law firm representing national and international clients throughout the civil courts of California. While practicing law, she served as President and Secretary of PHA’s Board of Directors and was actively engaged in the organization’s expansion and strategic growth. In 2013 Jennifer left her partnership to become Project Hope Alliance’s full time CEO. Since then, PHA has served thousands of children & youth experiencing homelessness seeing them through high school graduation and onto college or specialized skills training while also moving over 2,500 children & their parents out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Though serving County wide, PHA is currently on site full time at public junior high & high school campuses throughout Newport Mesa Unified School District. Under Jennifer’s leadership, PHA has experienced a growth of 400% in the past seven years, evolving from a team of three full-time employees to a current team of 18. Her personal experience as a homeless child in Orange County which inspired the Broadway play Nomad Motel, fuels her deep-rooted passion and commitment to homeless children and youth, while her ability to cast vision, think strategically, and lead and direct broader systems change uniquely qualify her to serve as Project Hope Alliance’s CEO.
Jennifer holds a JD from Whittier Law School and a BA in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of California, Irvine. She currently serves as a Trustee of the UCI Foundation; Appointed Member of the University of California Fiat Lux Alliance; Past President of the UCI Alumni Association; a Member of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Advisory Board and named in 2019’s 100 Most Influential Game Changers in Orange County by The Orange County Register; and is a proud parent volunteer for the Newport Harbor High School Marching Band and Davis Magnet School Band. Jennifer lives in Costa Mesa with her fellow Anteater husband Rob Smith and their two children, Parker and Beck.
John J. Tracy, PhD | Former Chief Technology Officer, Boeing
Dr. John J. Tracy served as Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Senior Vice President of Engineering, Operations, and Technology from 2006 through his retirement in 2016. In this role, Tracy reported to the Boeing Chairman and CEO and served on the company’s Executive Council.
A 35 year Boeing employee, Tracy’s responsibilities during his last assignment included leading several functions and business organizations comprising more than 100,000 employees. These included the Engineering, Operations, and Supplier Management functions, and also the Information Technology, Test & Evaluation, Enterprise Technology Strategy, Intellectual Property Management, Research & Technology, and Environment, Health & Safety organizations.
Tracy is an elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and is a past chair of the ASME’s 6,000-member Aerospace Division.
Tracy has authored more than 40 publications in the areas of composite structural mechanics, launch vehicle structures, smart structures, and aging aircraft.
Tracy received a PhD in Engineering from the University of California-Irvine, and a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in Physics respectively from California State University-Los Angeles (1981) and California State University-Dominguez Hills (1976).
Jim Meacham, P.E. | Principal, Altura
Jim is a founding principal of Altura, where he is responsible for managing a diverse team that provides services for some of the world’s most energy efficient and iconic real estate projects. Jim is a proud Anteater and received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Irvine in 2005, where he was a graduate researcher at the National Fuel Cell Research Center. Prior to attending UCI, Jim worked in industrial automation and was a high school math teacher. Jim lives with his wife (also an Anteater!) and two sons in Corona del Mar and enjoys cooking, camping, hiking, running, mountain biking, skiing and all of California’s natural beauty.