30 under 30 30 under 30

The University of Miami Alumni Association honors 30 outstanding alumni for their impact on society.

One year ago, the University of Miami Alumni Association held an open call for its inaugural 30 Under 30 list. More than 100 nominations were received over the course of one month. To be considered, candidates had to receive either an undergraduate or a graduate degree from the University of Miami and be under the age of 30 as of May 31, 2017.

Qualifying candidates were then evaluated based on the impact made on his or her profession, community, and the University of Miami. The Young Alumni Leadership Council review committee found it quite challenging to select 30 finalists, based on the overwhelming achievements of the nominees. 

Join us in celebrating the success of UM's 30 under 30!

30 Under 30 honorees for 2017:



Zain Ashraf Mughal

B.B.A. 11
Founder, Seed Out
Hometown: Gujranwala, Pakistan

Zain is a social entrepreneur working on something he says is greater than himself. His life goal is to harness and empower millions of entrepreneurs from the lower income group to sustain themselves by reaching their true potential with the help of a Nonprofit Crowdfunding Platform integrated with interest-free microfinancing. He envisions an ecosystem where every citizen is empowered to live a happy sustainable life.

Connect with Zain on LinkedIn  |  Follow Zain on Twitter:  @zainashraf11  |  Follow Zain on Instagram: @zainashrafmughal

Erin BensonErin Benson

A.B. ’14
CEO, Gameday Bae, Inc.
Hometown: Miami, Florida

Erin graduated from UM in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Economics. She was the captain of the Sunsations team, a Delta Gamma sister, and a football operations intern. She received a merit scholarship to Wake Forest School of Law where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Studies in Law degree in 2016. After graduation, she founded Gameday Bae, a successful online Miami-based fashion startup. 

Connect with Erin on LinkedIn   |   Follow Erin on Instagram: @gamedaybae

Blaire BrettschneiderBlair Brettschneider

B.S.C. ’09
Founder, GirlForward
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Blair graduated from UM in 2009. Her first job at a refugee resettlement agency led her to found GirlForward, the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunity for refugee girls. Blair has been featured on CNN Heroes, named as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Education and Crain's Chicago Business 20 in their 20s.

Michael CaballeroMichael Caballero

B.S.I.E. ’13, M.S.I.E ’13
Associate Engineer, FedEx LAC
Hometown: Port Charlotte, Florida

Michael is a System Form Engineer for FedEx LAC. He serves as the U.S. Green Building Council Emerging Professionals Chair for Miami and a member the South Florida Board of Directors. He co-founded #SmartMiami to increase sustainable infrastructure development by providing sustainability training to the public and private sectors. The pilot delivered Florida's first EcoDistricts training in June.

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn  |  Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCaballe1

Clarissa CarlucciClarissa Carlucci

B.B.A. ’12
Senior Associate - Communications, J.P. Morgan
Hometown: Oyster Bay, New York

Clarissa is a communications lead at JPMorgan Chase and is the Vice President of the University of Miami Executive Board in New York. She is a member of the Regional Alumni Awards Committee and sits on the Junior Board of the American Cancer Society. While at UM, Clarissa was selected as a Marketing Scholar and competed on the sailing team. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at NYU.

Connect with Clarissa on LinkedIn

Maggie DeBarberieMaggie DeBarberie

B.S.C. ’11
Video Producer/Editor, The Miami HEAT
Hometown: Wayne, New Jersey

Maggie describes herself as a born and raised a Jersey Girl who went to the greatest university in the world: The University of Miami. She has since planted roots in Miami and is currently working for the Miami HEAT as a video producer and editor for a TV show called “Inside the HEAT.” She says she has been blessed with amazing family and friends as well as an incredible job that has given her opportunities she never could have imagined.

Connect with Maggie on LinkedIn  |  Follow Maggie on Twitter: @magdebar

Jenny DeFrancescoJenna DeFrancesco

B.S.B.E. ’10, M.S.B.E. ’10
Chief Biomedical Engineer, Veteran's Health Administration
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. DeFrancesco’s ability to compassionately solve problems in health care has led to numerous honors recognizing her as an innovator and positive change agent. Currently deployed as the COO of one of the most historic VA Medical Centers, she aims to become a hospital CEO, where she will change the way people think about health – creating a community of care that transcends traditional paradigms.

Connect with Jenna on LinkedIn

Andrew DemuroAndrew DeMuro

A.B. ’12
Regional Director, Guitars Over Guns
Hometown: Flemington, New Jersey

Since his tenure at the U, Andrew has balanced a double life as musician and educator. He served as a special education teacher & coach through TFA before landing a spot on 'Team Adam' in Season 11 of NBC's 'The Voice'. Since 2016, Andrew has performed extensively with his Chicago trio, The Shades, and served as Regional Director for Guitars Over Guns, a non-profit with a music & mentoring focus.

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn  |  Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewdemuro; @guitarsoverguns; @WeTheShades

Sam DormanSam Dorman

B.S.M.E. ’15
Team USA Olympian
Hometown: Tempe, Arizona

Sam Dorman qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games when he became a record-breaking NCAA championship diver in April 2015. He overcame adversity during his junior year at UM when he sat out for the year due to shoulder and hand injuries. Sam went on to win a silver medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a near perfect score dive with partner Mike Hixon, and a stellar performance throughout the entire competition.  

Follow Sam on Twitter: @sam_dorman1  |  Follow Sam on Instagram: @sam_dorman1

Gabriel EliasGabriel Elias

B.S.M.E ’10
Designer Engineer, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Race Team
Hometown: Miami, Florida

Gabriel Elias is a 4-time Formula One World Champion Design Engineer for the Mercedes AMG F1 team, based in Oxford, UK. As one of three Americans within the team of 850 employees, Gabriel is a key contributor to the design and performance of F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton's Silver Arrows Mercedes, pairing the most dominant driver with the most dominant GP car of the modern motorsport era.

Connect with Gabriel on LinkedIn  |  Follow Gabriel on Twitter: @gabenconfused  |  Follow Gabriel on Instagram: @gabenconfused

William FrickWilliam Frick

B.S.B.A. ’11
Technology Executive, Deutsche Bank
Hometown: San Francisco, California

William is the Liquidity Manager and Americas Head for Treasury Collateral Management at Deutsche Bank. He previously held a position at BNY Mellon, where he worked as Program Manager on the Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure Reform Program, a $1.5 trillion derisking initiative for secured wholesale global funding. William currently sits on the Board of Advisors for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

Todd FriedmanTodd Friedman

J.D. ’12
Attorney, Kenny Nachwalter, P.A.
Hometown: Miami, Florida

Todd practices law at Kenny Nachwalter, focusing on commercial litigation. He clerked for the Honorable Robert M. Gross on Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal, and therafter, second-chaired multiple trials and arbitrations throughout Florida. Todd has also successfully first-chaired an appeal, where he obtained a unanimous opinion reversing a final judgment adverse to his client and directing the trial court to re-enter final judgment in favor of his client. Outside of his law practice, Todd chairs the Law Alumni Association's Young Alumni Committee, which recently hosted the highest grossing fundraiser in the Committee's history. He also is a member of the Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. Todd is committed to the future of his community and serves on the Downtown Development Authority's Resiliency Task Force Committee, which seeks to identify and develop solutions to sea-level-rise and affordable housing issues, among other complex challenges. Todd regularly participates in community service projects organized at his temple, Beth Am, his wife's church, St. Andrews Greek Orthodox, and the Miami-Dade County Animal Shelter. He lives in Coconut Grove with his wife, Lindsey, and their dog, Tifah, and spends his free time learning about cryptocurrency and block-chain technology.

Connect with Todd on LinkedIn  |  Follow Todd on Twitter: @toddrappfree

Robin GarciaRobin Garcia

B.S.M.A.S. ’10
Policy Analyst, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Robin earned a BSMAS in Marine Science and Biology from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a M.S. in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. As the Policy Analyst for NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, Robin supports outreach and communications with Congress and external partners, and communications with NOAA leadership.

Connect with Robin on LinkedIn  |  Follow Robin on Twitter: @capitol_oyster

Claudia GeeneClaudia Greene

B.S.C. ’10
Founder and CEO, Mayhem Entertainment
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

After gaining experience at companies like TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, and PopSugar, Claudia calls herself a pop culture junkie with a passion for journalism. She earned a Bachelor's degree in motion pictures from UM and went on to pursue her Master's degree in Writing and Producing for TV from Loyola Marymount University. Two of her career goals are to become a showrunner in her own reality TV show, and become the owner of her own public relations firm. So far, she has accomplished one, as the founder and CEO of Mayhem Entertainment Public Relations.

Connect with Claudia on LinkedIn

Garrett GrossbergGarrett Grossberg

B.B.A. ’11
Director of Operations, Unity Jets
Hometown: Orange County, California

Originally from Orange County, California, Garrett considers himself a Floridian. He is the Director of Operations for Unity Jets, a private jet company based in Miami, Florida. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for UM Hillel and remains heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Connect with Garrett on LinkedIn  |  Read Garrett’s alumni profile here

Omari HardyOmari Hardy

A.B. ’13
Commissioner, District 2, City of Lake Worth
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Omari Hardy is a 4th generation educator, teaching civics and world history at Roosevelt Community Middle School in West Palm Beach, FL.  He is a native Floridian, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale and educated at the University of Miami, where in 2012, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major concentration in economics and a minor concentration in philosophy.  After working for his alma mater’s Frost School of Music, he moved to Lake Worth to take a position with Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, where he still works part-time today. He currently serves as Commissioner for District 2 of the City of Lake Worth.

Claire HeckermanClaire Heckerman

A.B. ’11
Founder and Head of School, Laureate Academy Charter School
Hometown: Sarasota, Florida

Claire graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in International Studies and Anthropology. While at UM she was heavily involved with Alternative Breaks and social justice work. Since graduating, Claire has been focused on ensuring every child has access to a high quality education. With this as her focus, in 2015 she founded Laureate Academy, a free, college preparatory charter school in Louisiana.

Connect with Claire on LinkedIn

taylor holcombTaylor Holcomb

B.B.A. ’11
Founder & CFO, FreshStarts
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

Taylor co-founded FreshStarts Behavioral Therapy which strives to increase the quality of life of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities through the use of Applied Behavior Analysis. FreshStarts has helped hundreds of individuals acquire new skills and overcome challenging behaviors. Taylor hopes to leave a legacy of impactful changes in the field of autism treatment and ABA.

Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn

Selima JumaraliSelima Jumarali

B.S. ’09
Associate Director, Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, NYU
Hometown: Queens, New York

Selima Jumarali is a lover, educator, scholar and activist. She serves as Associate Director of the NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. Selima is passionate about racial justice, liberation, and furthering radical, revolutionary love. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, she is an ESFJ personality and an Aries who loves poetry slams. Selima earned her B.S. in Psychology from UM and her M.A. in higher education from NYU.

Connect with Selima on LinkedIn  |  Follow Selima on Twitter: @selimajumarali  |  Connect with Selima on Facebook

Samantha KuSamantha Ku

B.B.A. ’10
Head of Capital Operations, Square, Inc.
Hometown: De Pere, Wisconsin

Samantha currently leads Capital Operations at Square, Inc., a FinTech company focused on economic empowerment through financial services for the underserved. She served two terms as President of the San Francisco 'Canes and currently participates as a board member. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, playing clarinet with the San Francisco Civic Symphony, and cheering on 'Canes football.

Connect with Samantha on LinkedIn  |  Read Samantha's alumni profile here

Bryan LlenasBryan Llenas

B.S.C. ’10
National Correspondent, FOX News
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

As a general assignment reporter, Llenas covered a variety of stories from President Trump’s transition outside Trump Tower in NYC, to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Houston and Miami, respectively, to the Church shooting outside San Antonio, and two terror attacks in Lower Manhattan. One of his first big stories was covering the Papal Conclave in Rome in 2013 and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn  |  Follow Bryan on Twitter: @bryanllenas

Vicente LumbrerasVicente Lumbreras

Ph.D. ’14
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Chicago
Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Vicente is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Neurobiology at the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami. His research has focused on developing devices and therapies to cure hearing loss and balance disorders. Outside of the lab, Vicente is an avid marathoner fundraising for HIV prevention and reducing inequality in the LGBTQ community.

Connect with Vicente on LinkedIn

Michael MarcheseMichael Marchese

B.B.A. ’10
Lieutenant, United States Navy
Hometown: Sugar Loaf, New York

LT Michael S. Marchese is from Sugar Loaf, NY. He attended UM from 2006-2010, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A. in Marketing. He then worked in advertising for the New York Post until commissioning as a Supply Officer in the US Navy in 2012. He served onboard a submarine and now teaches logistics in Newport, R.I.. Michael is married to Jenna Marchese and they have a daughter named Emilia.

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn  |  Follow Michael on Instagram: @michaelsmarchese  |  Connect with Michael on Facebook

Justin John MonizJustin John Moniz

M.M. ’13
Coordinator of Vocal Studies, Millikin University | Executive Director, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival
Hometown: Lake Ronkonkoma, New York

Dr. Justin John Moniz has begun to emerge as one of the most prominent artists of this generation, having established himself as a singer, director, teacher, and arts administrator. Winner of The American Prize in Voice, Moniz recently made his Chicago Symphony Center debut and has appeared with companies including Opera Grand Rapids, Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Utah Festival Opera.

Connect with Justin on LinkedIn  |  Contact Justin on Facebook

Travis MontaqueTravis Montaque

B.B.A. ’14
Founder/CEO, Emogi
Hometown: New York, New York

In 2011, Travis founded Emogi, a company that helps brands and publishers measure the effectiveness of ads and content by using proprietary emoji-based technology. In 2015, he launched a strategic partnership with IBM, and in 2016, was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Marketing and Advertising. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from UM in 2014.

Lauren PettietteLauren Pettiette

J.D. ’14
Senior Director of Education, HeartShare St. Vincent's
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

As HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services' Senior Director of Education, Lauren Lee oversees the education of youth in H.S.V.S.' care and the American Dream Program. A Louisiana lady bursting with generosity and joie de vivre, she is a fierce advocate and educator committed to ensuring every child feels loved, successful, and unstoppable. She is married to Abe Schewel, fellow Miami Scholar and UM law alumnus.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn

Adam SchindlerAdam Schindler

B.B.A. ’10
CEO, Walters Wicker
Hometown: Tenafly, New Jersey

Adam is the CEO of Walters, a leading furniture designer and manufacturer catering to hospitality and residential markets. As the fourth generation CEO of Walters, Adam’s ability to find the pulse on an ever-changing market is a testament to his character. Paired with a B.B.A. from Miami, Adam has a keen focus on providing innovative design solutions for clients, marketing, and product development.

Jason ShumanJason Shuman

B.B.A. ’13
Principal, US Investment Partners
Hometown: Sudbury, Massachusetts

Jason Shuman is the prinicpal of venture capital firm US Investment Partners and Chief of Staff to GLG co-founder, Mark Gerson. With Gerson, he has operated in a number of roles at Julius, a MarTech startup; he also manages Gerson’s family office. As a student, Shuman launched a D2C footwear company before becoming a VC. The former vice president of UM’s Young Alumni Leadership Committee, he was also the youngest member of the Miami Business School's Entrepreneurship Board.

Erica TowleErica Towle

B.S.M.A.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’15
Program Analyst, NOAA
Hometown: Scarsdale, New York

Erica is a double alumna and holds a doctorate in marine biology and fisheries from UM's Rosenstiel School. Following graduation, Erica worked in the U.S. Senate as an ocean policy fellow, and is currently working in Washington, D.C. for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In her free time, Erica serves as the Treasurer for D.C. 'Canes Community.

Connect with Erica on LinkedIn  |  Follow Erica on Twitter: @ericatowle

Jon WeislowJonathan Weislow

B.S.C. ’09, MS.Ed. '11
Director of Operations, Amicon Management, L.L.C.
Hometown: Reston, Virginia

A former baseball student-athlete, Jonathan went on to earn his Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from UM. He leveraged both skill sets to the field of construction and real estate development. Amicon Management's mission is to simplify the construction process for their clients, maximizing value while minimizing risk. Amicon Management was named #1232 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 List.

Connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn