About Us

The Wharton Global Youth Program mobilizes the extensive opportunities of the Wharton academic community to educate, inform and inspire pre-collegiate students to explore business practices, analyze the world’s complex challenges, and take the needed steps to become leaders who will transform the global economy.

By the Numbers

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High school age students in residence during the summer for Wharton On-Campus Programs

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High school students participating annually in our global high school investment competition

Our annual report highlights the achievements that the Global Youth team has accomplished in a year’s time. Click this button to discover Global Youth’s mission-driven work, partnerships, markets and vision as we deliver quality business-education opportunities to high school students and educators.

Meet the Team

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Serguei Netessine — Senior Vice Dean

Serguei Netessine joined the Wharton School as a faculty member in 2001. He is now Senior Vice Dean for Innovation and Global Initiatives, and Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Russian native, he lived, taught and conducted research in Russia, France, Singapore and USA. He now teaches innovation and entrepreneurship to audiences ranging from high school students to senior executives while conducting research on business model innovation with corporations, non-profits and governments. All his spare time is occupied by travel and two teenage children.

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Eli Lesser — Senior Executive Director

A career educator, Eli leads the Wharton Global Youth Program team and his work focuses on the strategic vision for programming and partnerships. Eli started his career teaching high school social studies, but transitioned to working in higher education full-time in 2006. He is committed to connecting the teaching and research of the Wharton faculty directly to high schools and pre-college age students. Originally from Miami Beach, Eli now lives with his family in Center City, Philadelphia and rides his bike to the office (when it is not too cold!).

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Diana Lasseter Drake — Managing Editor

A professional writer and editor, Diana manages the reporting, writing, editing and distribution of Wharton Global Youth content, publishing regularly in the program’s online business journal and newsroom. She hosts a monthly Global Youth podcast and creates a monthly newsletter to keep our growing Global Youth community informed. Diana began her journalism career more than 30 years ago, and helped to lay the foundation in the 2010s for many of the Wharton Global Youth Program initiatives. A California native, she grew up in New Jersey, where she now lives with her husband, daughter and son. When she’s not at her computer, you can find Diana volunteering with the youth in her community, hiking and biking the trails, serving on various boards, and cheering on the soccer sidelines. Her cooking? Chef’s kiss.

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Kara Dunn —  Director, Communication & Competitions

A detailed-oriented project planner, Kara leads the annual high school investment competition. She also oversees the communication and marketing efforts for Wharton Global Youth and provides operational support for the team. She joined the Wharton School in 2010 and has been working on high school programs since 2012. A sweatpants enthusiast and lifelong Delco native, you can usually find her at the ice hockey rink with her husband and two young daughters.

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Dongnian (Effie) Zhou — Senior Manager, Instructional Support

Originally from China, Effie supports the development of curriculum materials and programming across the Wharton Global Youth programming suite. A graduate of Penn’s Graduate School of Education, Effie led the development of Wharton’s Global Young Leaders Programs. A passionate program developer, Effie works directly with faculty on creating new opportunities for students. Effie and her family foster a working dog from Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

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Allyson V. Ronayne — Manager, Wharton Summer High School Programs

A first-gen college graduate and proud La Salle University alumna, Ally focuses on operations and the student experience for Wharton Global Youth Summer High School Programs. Her interest in non-traditional education was formed while coaching girls travel soccer, teaching English to nursery school students in Kenya, and encouraging children to learn through play while working at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. When she’s not in Huntsman Hall running programs, you can find her at Penn GSE taking classes, spending time with her rescue dog and fiancé, traveling, and going to concerts.

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Lauren More — Director, Wharton Summer High School Programs

An experienced program leader and advisor, Lauren’s first teaching experience was in Japan, where she served as English language instructor to elementary, junior high, and continuing education students. For twelve years she managed undergraduate and high school programming within Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. Now at Wharton, Lauren leads all summer programming. She has a vision for creating dynamic educational opportunities for high school students within Wharton classrooms and providing the chance for students to learn directly from Wharton’s world class faculty. A native of Kentucky, Lauren now resides with her family in the Philadelphia suburbs, where she drinks a lot of coffee and reads a lot of Murakami.

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Gregory Wilson — Associate Director of Communications

Gregory, a Pennsylvania native, helps manage the marketing materials as well as social media for the Global Youth Program. He is a Boston University graduate who has spent the past 6 years working at a marketing agency, a local plant shop and at an educational non-profit, before landing at Wharton. He is an avid traveller who’s visited over 30 countries across 6 continents. When he’s not on Penn campus, you’ll likely find him hiking and taking photos in a forest somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic or making music with his band.

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Alaysha Suggs — Manager, Pre-Baccalaureate Program

With a passion for higher education, Alaysha focuses on coordinating logistical support for the success of the Wharton Pre-Baccalaureate Program and Wharton Global Youth Programming Team. Her involvement in higher education administration began as a work-study student in financial aid while attending Howard University in Washington, DC. Alaysha’s commitment to providing access and resources to underserved populations has resonated through her previous work and she is enthusiastic about working with Wharton to provide high school scholars with the tools to better prepare them for their next chapter in academia. When not on Penn’s campus, she enjoys venturing out on local hiking and bike trails and is an avid gardener.

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David Brubaker — Technical Director

David has a passion for the intersection of people, technology, and business. He has spent his 16 years at Penn working to improve the way technology helps people, departments, and the University. Originally from Lancaster County, David now lives with his family a few blocks from campus. He enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, and ultimate frisbee.

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Lilla Butterworth — IT Project Leader

Lilla supports, documents, and maintains IT systems and processes for the Wharton Global Youth Program. In her spare time, she enjoys -redacted- and -redacted-. Like many technologists, Lilla is a big fan of data privacy.

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Kimberly Navarro — Administrative Coordinator, Wharton Summer High School Programs

Kim, a Philadelphia native, has a range of experiences in education across local, global, and virtual communities. She has supported students with non-profit orgs, prek-12 schools, academic research programs, and online language learning spaces. She aims to continue serving students through the Wharton Global Youth Summer Programs in her role as an Administrative Coordinator. Kim is also an entrepreneur and lifelong learner. She has a background in sociology and education from Georgetown University. She is currently earning her Master in Ed Entrepreneurship at Penn GSE and enjoys knitting in her free time.

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Donovan Moore — Operations Assistant

With a passion for learning and creative educational programs, Donovan supports the Wharton Global Youth Program’s High School Investment Competition and provides general support for the team’s needs. Having graduated from Xavier University, he has backgrounds in Political Philosophy, History, and Education. Don is always working on new creative projects, from learning new instruments to learning how to sketch. His most recent project is designing the curriculum for a creative residency that he plans to run in Southern Italy.

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Rachel Szkaradnik — Business Manager

A longtime Penn employee, Rachel currently works in Wharton’s Finance & Administration office supporting financial operations and reporting for the school’s revenue business units.  She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and two rambunctious boys, and enjoys dining, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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Brianna Ross — Administrative Coordinator, Pre-baccalaureate Program

Brianna Ross, a proud alumna of Florida A&M University, brings a diverse experience in the Education arena, as well as a deep passion for History. She’s dedicated to Higher Education and empowering young scholars through her active involvement in community service and volunteering. Within the Wharton Global Youth Program, Brianna is responsible for the administrative coordination of the Pre-Baccalaureate Program, ensuring its smooth operation. Beyond her professional role, she enjoys reading personal development books, managing her skincare business, and experimenting with healthy-ish recipes in the kitchen.

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Congcong (Coco) Wang—Online Programs Coordinator

Coco specializes in integrative research, insight finding, and innovative design to proficiently solve complex problems, with a background in strategic design and management, graphic design, and communication. She focuses on the development of online courses and strategies for the Wharton Global Youth Program. In addition to her professional pursuits, she is a food enthusiast who loves exploring new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes.