Student Profiles

Thomas Bejarano

Through his academic, professional, and personal experiences, Thomas Bejarano has developed a vision of business that emphasizes its potential to empower individuals and act as a catalyst for positive economic, social, and political change. He cemented this interpretation, not within the confines of business, but as a student of psychology and as a social worker. Thomas received his BS in psychology and MS in global technology and development from Arizona State University. Most recently, while living and traveling in Brazil, he dedicated his master’s research to examining entrepreneurship and business incubation as development tools and hopes to continue his research not only within the business incubation sector but also within the nexus where entrepreneurship, innovation, and development meet.


Paul Case

Paul is a doctoral candidate in the Organizations and Social Change research group, and a member of the inaugural cohort of NSF IGERT Coasts and Communities Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research focuses on the connections between social entrepreneurship and sustainable development, and the lived experiences of the beneficiaries of these endeavors. His dissertation centers around transformations in venture contexts related to the introduction of new technologies and practices, and the differing experiences of venture stakeholders regarding these transformations. 

Paul is currently a visiting researcher at the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network in Addis Ababa, where he is researching the impacts of a high-tech intervention in the coffee industry. He is also researching the expansion of a social enterprise in the handicrafts industry. 

Paul consults for businesses on aligning their business models and operations with the sustainable development goals. Prior to joining the Organizations and Social Change program, he worked and volunteered for a variety of organizations in both the United States and Egypt. He holds a BA in English language and literature from Gordon College, and an MBA from Clark University, where he focused his studies on sustainability and social change.


Sunyu Chai

Prior to joining the OSC program, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Labor and Employment Relations. Her research interests include human resource management, industrial relations, dynamics of organizational structures, and workforce decentralization. Her current research is focused on exploring relationships between emerging flexible workforce alignments, employees' professional identity, and social transformation to understand changing nature of work in the modern economy.


Yaeli Lif

Yaeli Lif is a PhD student in Business Administration - Organizations and Social Change and an IGERT fellow. Prior to attending UMass Boston, Yaeli worked at a nonprofit organization in western Massachusetts doing community engagement and best-practice development. She has degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and sociology from the University of Hartford. Yaeli's research focuses on social enterprise and measures of success in the water and sanitation sector in developing countries.


Nishi Gautam

Nishi is a doctoral candidate in the Organizations and Social Change track. She completed her MBA from the University of South Carolina and has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Sikkim Manipal University. Prior to joining the MBA program, Nishi has worked as an Assistant Manager of HR and in the IT sector in India. She has also volunteered for programs relating to child rights and their protection in her hometown of Sikkim. She is currently interested in topics such as diversity and attrition among millennial workforce, foreign worker visa programs and its impact on the US tech industry, and salary disparity between male and female employees. 


Jamila Gilliam

Jamila Gilliam is a PhD student in Business Administration, Organizations & Social Change track. Jamila’s research interests include studies in social entrepreneurship, barriers to sustainability transitions in developing countries, and challenges to sustainable development, and innovation in U.S.-based coastal communities. Prior to joining the Organizations & Social Change Program and National Science Foundation’s IGERT Fellowship, Jamila was a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant in the UMass Boston College of Management while pursuing her MBA with a specialization in finance. Jamila also earned her bachelor of science degree in management with a finance concentration.  

As a research assistant, Jamila has engaged in scholarly research projects concerning, social entrepreneurship, impact measurement, social enterprise incubators, accelerators, and local economic development initiatives. As a teaching assistant in the College of Management, Jamila has guest lectured in MBA MGT courses: Multinational Corporations & Globalization, and, Business & Analytical Writing for Managers. Jamila has also guest lectured in undergraduate courses: Intro to Business, Business Communications, and was substitute instructor for a series of classes in Business Environments & Public Policy. Jamila has years of experience working in the Market Research field as a Research Interviewer, Survey Administrator, and Focus Group Recruiter. During her earlier academic work, Jamila was a Supplemental Instructor and Tutor in the Roxbury Community College Learning Communities Program. She was also Lead Tutor and Mentor to High school students in the Roxbury Community College Upward Bound Program. Jamila tutored in Algebra, Biology, and English Composition. In Upward Bound summer programs Jamila taught Personal Finance, Budget Management, Financial Literacy and English Composition.  


Hozami Helwani

Prior to joining the program, Hozami worked as a university instructor of business administration for King Saud University for Girls in Saudi Arabia. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in public administration from KSU in S.A. Understanding ethical decision-making in business organization and creating sensitivity to the implications of business decisions are her main current interests.  Hozami is a mother of five children and reside currently in Brookline. 


Keshav Krishnamurty

Prior to joining the OSC Program, Keshav Krishnamurty was involved in qualitative research work on the interactions of business interests with the urban poor. He has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow and has an undergraduate background in Economics, Political Science and History.  He is interested in the transnational transfer of Business Education and the effects of Business Education on society. He is also interested in studying the growth of Employee Resource Groups as well as ways in which these groups and other corporate initiatives affect veterans returning to civilian life.


Steve Loren

Steve has been associated with the financial community in New York since the 1990s and has achieved both an MBA in Finance and Investments as well as the CFA Charter and Financial Risk Manager Designations. Prior to embarking on the path to Wall Street, Steve studied philosophy and psychology and developed a strong interest in social theory, which led him to take some doctoral classes in philosophy while still an undergraduate. Long active in environmental and consumer organizations, Steve has always thought and acted at the intersection of Business and Society.  He has chaired the Sustainable Investing Committee of the New York Society of Securities Analysts and has worked to advance the use of Environmental, Social and Governance metrics and criteria into the investment management process, including asset selection and portfolio construction. In his role at NYSSA, Steve has organized conferences featuring world renowned financial practitioners and academics who are leading the way to creating a more just and sustainable society.


Heatherjean MacNeil

Heatherjean is a PhD student in Business Administration, Organizations in the Social Change track. Her research is broadly focused on diversity, inclusion, and entrepreneurship, and her dissertation investigates the legitimation of the cannabis industry from an intersectional lens. Heatherjean’s previous work as an entrepreneur motivates and informs her research. As co-founder of the award-winning Babson WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab, Heatherjean supported high-growth women founders to scale their businesses in both Boston and Miami. Prior to the WIN Lab, Heatherjean founded an ethical fashion company, Proxy Apparel, where she built global partnerships with women cooperatives to produce fashion-forward, sustainable apparel. She has worked extensively with for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations to develop leadership training programs, launch business development initiatives, and design experiential market efforts. Heatherjean has a BA in International Studies and Biology from Marlboro College and an MBA from the Simmons School of Management.


Aynur Nabiyeva

Aynur Nabiyeva is a doctoral student in Organizations and Social Change track program. Her current research interests include social entrepreneurship and hybrid organizations, and overall, how organizations respond to social and economic impetus. Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a research assistant at psychology labs at Columbia University and Duke University, and conducted original research in Nepal and the United States. Aynur earned her MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School University as a Fulbright scholar. Prior to entering academia, she worked in different sectors, including a think tank, NGOs, IGOs and financial institutions – experiences which broadly shaped her research interests. 


Anusha Chaitanya Satturu

Anusha has a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management from Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) in Gujarat, India where she was exposed to various NGOs during the two-year program and after graduating, when she worked at an NGO in central India. Her academic interests developed during her post graduate degree and were strengthened by her experiences at work, where she observed that the underlying values of management were not exactly aligned with democratic values of equality even in NGOs which claimed to address issues of inequality in the society. She wants to focus her research on understanding how non-governmental organizations challenge or reinforce socio-economic hierarchies that exist in the society within their own organizational structure and leadership. Her current research interests are in socio-economic hierarchies and leadership of NGOs, intersectionality in organizations, hierarchical structures, and sociology of organizations.


Matthew Urdan

Matthew S. Urdan is a PhD student in Business Administration, Organizations & Social Change track. Matthew earned his BA in Social Sciences, Summa Cum Laude from Ashford University and his MBA from Quinnipiac University.  

Prior to joining the Organizations & Social Change Program, Matthew worked as a Library Aide, a High School Debate Coach, a Restaurant General Manager, Program Director of the International Whitewater Hall of Fame, and Project Manager for the Nantahala Outdoor Center—where he researched and compiled a benchmark environmental stewardship assessment for the company and conducted a complete statistical analysis of its energy use to determine if the company was utilizing its energy resources efficiently.  He is co-founder of the MBA League—an organization connecting MBAs across all professional backgrounds, and in 2012 he published his first novel: The Siren’s Call.  He has extensive environmental volunteer experience, chairing the Sierra Club’s Michigan Rivers Committee, representing the Mackinac Chapter (Michigan) of the Sierra Club on the eight state Midwest Regional Conservation Committee and the Binational Great Lakes Committee where he presented testimony on behalf of the Sierra Club to the International Joint Commission and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Third International Assembly which was held in Ann Arbor in 1989.

Matthew’s research interests center around the intersection of business and climate change in general, and specifically executive compensation and corporate governance as they affect corporate sustainability initiatives and sustainability transitions.


Stanislav Vavilov

Prior joining UMass Boston, Stas received a MS in ocean and climate science and BA in public policy from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and MBA from the Yale School of Management. He also worked in consulting, investments, nonprofits, and think-tanks. Stas’s research interests lie at the intersection of entrepreneurship, international business theory, and sustainability. In particular, he is interested in international entrepreneurship for bottom-of-the-pyramid markets. He is a member of the Balaton Group and an alumnus of the German-Russian Youth Leadership Forum “New Generation.”


Nichole Weber

Nichole Weber is a currently a PhD student in business administration and an IGERT fellow at UMass Boston. Prior to joining the program, Nichole had a variety of experiences in policy, research, and environmental work. In Washington State, Nichole worked in environmental youth education programs and environmental restoration efforts. Nichole's experience extends to international volunteer work in Ecuador where she worked for a nongovernment organization and reforestation project in the Galapagos. Most recently, Nichole worked as a research assistant in public policy at the Center for Public Policy & Administration at the University of Utah where she helped design and implement various applied research projects, such as economic impact surveys and the efficacy of household alternative energy installations. Nichole holds a master of arts degree in sociology from New Mexico State University (NMSU). At NMSU, Nichole received both qualitative and quantitative training, served as a research co-investigator, lectured on the environment, and investigated climate change discourse in the media and gender in the media.


Christopher R. Whynacht

A native of Nova Scotia, Chris’s family has close ties to the fishing and coal mining industries which have historically driven the local economy. He attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, before beginning a career in business development.  After 15 years as an entrepreneur and general management consultant, he returned to Dalhousie for a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) degree to gain a better understanding of environment and resource management. His research interests revolve around the intersection of business and sustainability. Chris has worked with numerous businesses across a wide variety of industries and regions, including some of Canada’s top franchise companies and financial institutions. Chris has also worked in partnership with various economic development agencies, First Nation communities, and has served on several Team Canada Trade Missions to the U.S.

Chris chose to investigate methods of integrating environmental dimensions in economic development and strategic planning.  He studied strategic environmental assessment and produced a thesis titled Planning a SEA Change. Chris is interested in building on his more nuanced understanding of environmental management to research the dynamic economies of coastal communities.