Woonchan Cho is a data analyst at Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He joined Washington University Olin Business School in 2015 and earned an MBA degree in 2017. Before devoting his work full-time to the Center, He worked as a software developer and technology project manager in financial institutions for 7 years. Utilizing knowledge in finance, software development and big data, he is implementing a financial modeling and education tool to help early-stage and prospective entrepreneurs to establish the financial projections for their companies.
Natasha Conley, PhD
ASCEND GRANT MANAGER
Natasha supports the Center’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts by leading our Ascend planning grant from the JP Morgan Foundation which is focused on support systems for women and people of color active in the entrepreneurial space. She serves as President of PSRI Technologies, LLC which she founded in 2001. Natasha has a PhD in Management and Sustainable Systems with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from Case Western Reserve University and holds the distinction of being a Fellow for the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Her research interests include: race, gender, and faith-based entrepreneurship.
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
Sydney graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Sydney comes to the Center with experience in communications, marketing, and public relations. She also brings along her passion for higher education and community development. In her free time, Sydney enjoys exploring the latest exhibits at St. Louis museums, reading, and trying new restaurants.
PROGRAM AND EVENT COORDINATOR
Jess Gannon serves as the Program and Event Coordinator at the Skandalaris Center. Jess provides programmatic and administrative support to a number of the Center’s student-facing programs, such as the Skandalaris Internship Program and the St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellowship. She also leads orientation programming focused on innovation and entrepreneurship at WashU and in St. Louis, and oversees student engagement initiatives. Originally from northern Indiana, Jess moved to St. Louis to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the Brown School.
Jess’ interest areas include student leadership development, community engagement, social justice, and program assessment & evaluation. She enjoys playing rugby, exploring St. Louis, slow fashion, and weekend trips to other cities.
Contact Jess about: Skandalaris Internship Program; St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellowship; Scholars Program; Entrepreneurial Student Advisory Committee; Student organization partnerships
Che-Pei (Pat) Kung obtained his PhD degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying tumorigenic mechanisms mediated by Epstein-Barr virus. After graduation, Pat first worked at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, where he identified genetic variations in the tumor suppressor protein p53 that regulate the development of both cancers and diabetes. He is now a TL1 postdoctoral research scholar at Washington University School of Medicine, conducting translational research to develop novel therapeutic approaches in hard-to-treat breast cancers. He is also an entrepreneur fellow at the Skandalaris Center, assisting with applications for SBIR/STTR small business grant mechanisms from the Washington University community.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF LEAP AND RESEARCH INNOVATION
Tom Krenning is a registered patent agent and project manager for various members of the St. Louis Innovation Community (BioGenerator, Euclises Pharmaceuticals, KaloCyte) and now focuses on engendering a culture of innovation and execution of product development with Washington University faculty through Skandalaris’ LEAP educational & translational program. Tom worked as a synthetic chemist for the Center for World Health and Medicine and has their Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from Saint Louis University.
Erin graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She started work at Washington University in St. Louis in August 2013 and joined the Skandalaris Center in March 2018. Erin brings with her experience in event management, administrative coordinating, and an appreciation for creativity and innovation from an entrepreneurial perspective. In her free time, Erin enjoys spending time with her family and dog Remy, traveling, exploring new restaurants, and reading.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ASSISTANT VICE PROVOST FOR INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
II (“two”) joined the Skandalaris Center after spending the past seven years leading Villanova University’s Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship efforts. II is no stranger to WashU—he was part of the Skandalaris Center team from 2007-2011 before heading east.
Mike graduated with a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2004 and MBA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016. Mike completed the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-CORPS) national cohort in 2018 and has served as an I-CORPS mentor. In his free time, Mike enjoys traveling and outdoor adventures with his family.
Contact Mike for assistance with customer discovery, operations and programs for military members and veterans.
ASCEND GRANT GRADUATE ASSISTANT
Shannon graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Currently, she is a student at the Brown School of Social Work pursuing her MSW degree with a concentration in Social and Economic Development. Shannon is passionate about diversity in higher education, community development, supporting women and minority small business owners, and advocating for economic development initiatives in low income neighborhoods. In her free time, she likes trying new restaurants, listening to music, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF VENTURE DEVELOPMENT
James Sorrell is an Assistant Director with the Skandalaris Center primarily focused on assisting young entrepreneurs navigate the world of creating and running startups. His primary focuses are consumer software, hardware, and biotechnology. James has co-founded several startups, including Pro-Arc Diagnostics, a local biotech company that developed a blood-based diagnostic. Previously, he was a consultant and officer with The BALSA Group and a lab coordinator at the Washington University School of Medicine, focusing on traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage. In his free time he is an amateur iOS developer and avid baker.
Jessica (Stanko) Weldon
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Jessica directs the programming strategy for the Skandalaris Center with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Jessica’s background is in higher education – she earned her bachelor’s in communication from Mizzou and her master’s in international affairs from WashU and has been on campus in a variety of roles for 10+ years. She also is a 4-year advisor for Arts & Sciences students. When not working, Jessica enjoys traveling, reading, practicing yoga, and hiking.
Contact Jessica about: StEP; Diversity and inclusion initiatives; Orientation / Immersive Experience Program; Fellowship & Internship programs; Campus partnerships / overall programming strategy; Data gathering and sharing for survey purposes