SEEMA BATAVIA. Board Member. YES! Teacher
Seema Batavia joins the YES! for Schools board bringing almost 20 years of business experience to the team. She spent her early career in strategy and operations consulting after which she worked for two prominent technology companies in Silicon Valley. Seema then spent 8 years at Johnson & Johnson working across multiple functional roles in both the U.S. and Europe. Seema first became involved with YES! as a consultant working in a pro bono capacity to drive the creation of the organization’s 5-year strategic plan and vision. Seema acquired her Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley and she holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a San Francisco Bay Area native and also a certified YES! teacher.
Johann Berlin. Board Member. TLEX Director and Teacher.
As Director, Johann has grown TLEX nationwide and into leading institutions and Fortune 100 companies. Experienced in leadership, collaboration and innovation, Johann was an entrepreneur and strategic consultant prior to joining IAHV, and has grown boutique triple bottom line and social sector companies from concept to high-impact ventures. Johann holds a B.A. in Business with a minor in Sustainability, and has taught courses to US and Chinese business students on global leadership, strategic planning, and human resource management.
Suparna Bhasin. Board Member/Acting Development Director.
Suparna is a successful entrepreneur devoted to creating personal and global transformation through empowering women to make their dreams a reality. She is the Founder of She Creates Change where she has dedicated herself to empowering women to transform their lives through community. Committed to serving her community, Suparna sits on the board of YES! for Schools where the same commitment lies to give young people the tools to make themselves and their future better. She has also served as the President of the Board for Women’s Education Project and as a lead coach for Future Possibilities. She is a certified coach from both Coach for Life and The Life Purpose Institute. Suparna holds a BA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.
Rekha Kodialbail. YES! Teacher Trainer.
Rekha is an engineer by profession with over a decade of experience in the IT industry. She found great fulfillment in serving society and chose to leave her career to volunteer her time and expertise in the non-profit community. For six years, she served as West Coast Regional Coordinator and San Francisco Bay Area Program Director for YES! for Schools. She is also a yoga and meditation instructor and actively teaches programs in the community for both youth and adults. Passionate about furthering peace and well being in her community, Rekha has focused her volunteer efforts on the environment, women’s empowerment, youth leadership, and community dialog. Her experience also includes event management and production, organizing fundraisers, stress-management conferences, women’s initiatives, inter-community dialogs, youth workshops and peace concerts. Her personal passions include cooking, painting, writing and traveling.
OUR RESEARCH TEAM
Maria Martiniello. Ed. D. YES! Research Director. YES! Teacher.
A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Maria Martiniello was a founding member and project coordinator for Harvard University Project Zero’s Latin American Initiative toward Understanding and Development (L@titud). While at Harvard, she studied the impact of linguistic complexity of math word problems on differential item functioning for ELLs. Martiniello’s dissertation research received the 2009 Exemplary Dissertation Award from the Spencer Foundation and the 2009 Outstanding Dissertation Competition from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. Martiniello is a native of Venezuela where she taught at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello. She was a member of the committee that developed the first admissions tests administered nationally by the Venezuelan National Council of Universities. Martiniello’s research interests are in the educational experiences of Latino ELLs.
Dara Gharemani. PhD.
Dr. Dara G. Ghahremani is an assistant researcher in UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He received his PhD in the Psychology Department at Stanford University with a specialization in neuroscience and was a postdoctoral fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA. His primary area of research involves using behavioral measurements and brain imaging techniques to examine brain systems underlying self-control. His research includes investigation of breathing techniques and mindfulness training as non-pharmacological interventions for reducing impulsivity and addictive behaviors. A major focus is on the YES! for Schools program as an intervention for building emotion regulation and stress management skills. He has shown that the program reduces impulsive behavior (published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, July 2013), a key predictor of harmful risk behaviors, such as substance abuse in adolescents. He is the Principal Investigator on a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigate the impact of YES! for Schools on the neural circuitry important for emotion regulation in healthy adolescents and craving regulation in teen cigarette smokers. He is planning a study to examine effects of the program on impulsivity and stress in adolescents undergoing residential substance abuse treatment and is also exploring the impact of the program on emotions related to bullying, such as empathy and compassion. Dr. Ghahremani routinely advises on internal evaluation for quality assurance purposes of YES! for Schools on a voluntary basis.
Ragini Sharma. MSW. YES! Teacher.
Ragini Sharma has a Masters in Social Work from University of Toronto, Canada and is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers. Currently completing her doctoral studies Education at York University, Toronto, her research will involve evaluating the impact of the YES! for School program for high school students in all five domains of self-regulation: physical, emotional, mental, social and pro-social. Ragini has over 20 years of experience working with individuals, children, families and communities in the area of child welfare, immigrant settlement and community empowerment. She was a community activist and researcher involved in a community empowerment project that led to the conversion of the Alexandra Park Public Housing Project in Toronto into a housing co-op managed by its residents, the first of its kind in Canada. In 2005 Ragini developed a school program called “Kids for Kids: Random Acts of Kindness Project” and the program was implemented internationally. Over 45,000 students completed a daily random act of kindness for 30 days and experienced the joy of giving and receiving acts of kindness.