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Meet the 2024 Yale Ventures Summer Associates


Meet the 2024 Yale Ventures Summer Associates

By Roxana Grunenwald '25

In early June, 20 Yale students gathered around a conference-room table for an orientation lunch in the Yale Ventures office. Hailing from Yale College, Yale School of Management, Yale School of Public Health, and Yale Chemistry Department, the Yale Ventures team is thrilled to welcome these students as Summer Associates who actively support innovations that impact the world's greatest challenges.


We're excited to extend a warm welcome to our second cohort of Yale Ventures Summer Associates. These talented students across the undergraduate and graduate levels are working as an extension of the dynamic Yale Ventures team to drive innovation at Yale. Motivated, passionate, and diverse, our associates offer new insights, connections, and experiences that enhance our programs and innovation resources that support Yale entrepreneurs."

- Amy Kundrat, Director of Innovation Community


The Yale Ventures Summer Associates work with ten Yale Ventures project teams

With their diverse backgrounds and industry expertise spanning from life sciences and public health to entrepreneurship, consulting and finance, Associates work closely with the Yale Ventures staff and our innovation community partners to develop strategic insights on projects that accelerate the velocity of innovation and the commercialization of Yale research.

Meet this year's Summer Associates.


Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale

The Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale is a $65 million fund, committed to cultivating and transforming Yale's pioneering research into cutting-edge, life-saving solutions in the life sciences. Blavatnik Associates will provide technical and business insight to the current portfolio of awardees of the Blavatnik Fund and will help evaluate those under consideration for support. They will also work on lead-generation to identify the most promising up-and-coming healthcare projects and innovations.

Henry Liu
YV associate
  • Hometown: Beijing, China
  • Education: Master of Public Health (MPH), Yale School of Public Health (2026); Bachelor of Science in Management (B.S.M.), Case Western Reserve University (2024)
  • Past work experience: Management Consulting Intern, IQVIA; Grants Management Associate, Center for Clinical Research, University Hospitals
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Health
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation in life and science means developing and applying novel ideas, technologies, and methodologies to advance human health, enhance the quality of life, and solve complex biological and medical challenges."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Working with Yale Ventures offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of transformative projects, leveraging cutting-edge research and a collaborative environment to drive impactful innovation."
  • Fun Fact: I play ice Hockey and love film photography.


Center for Biomedical Innovation & Technology (CBIT)

CBIT connects innovators across the Yale School of Medicine, Yale School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Yale School of Management, Yale New Haven Health, and more, with funding at the earliest stages to accelerate the translation of discoveries in medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. CBIT Associates will apply skills in customer discovery, competitive landscape mapping, marketing, and outreach while actively contributing to the Yale Rothberg initiative.

Casey Ma

  • Hometown: Guangzhou, ChinaYV associate
  • Education: MBA Silver Scholar & MPH Healthcare Management, Yale School of Management & Yale School of Public Health (2027); BS Business Psychology, UC San Diego (2023)
  • Past work experience: Merck Group; IQVIA; Yale New Haven Health; Ascension
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Climate, Health, Social Entrepreneurship
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "For me, it means daring to think differently and transforming bold ideas into reality to support and elevate others."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Working with Yale Ventures allows me to join a dynamic community that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit, driving impactful solutions while gaining real-world marketing skills and contributing to the Yale Rothberg initiative."
  • Fun Fact: The first time I ever saw snow was at Yale in New Haven.


Corporate Strategy & Engagement Office (CSEO)

CSEO Associates work to develop private and industry sector connections and collaborations in support of Yale research and educational missions. Associates focus on cultivating, developing, and managing corporate partnerships that are aligned with Yale’s scientific, engineering, and healthcare innovators to advance discovery, research, and trainee development. 

Femi Ayangbayi

  • Hometown: Lagos, NigeriaYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2025); BSc Geophysics, University of Lagos (2017)
  • Past work experience: Associate Consultant, KPMG; Assistant Manager, EY
  • Innovation interests: Climate, Clean Energy, Policy Design & Implementation
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Finding a specific problem of significance and utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach to develop a solution through sustainable and ethical means that is accessible to people desiring the solution."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Opportunity to gain practical work experience in the United States in a flat organization structure "start-up style" while gaining access to solving global problems in collaboration with Yale faculty, students, and the private sector."
  • Fun Fact: I learned how to drive myself.

Tayah Turocy

  • Hometown: Wadsworth, OHYV associate
  • Education: PhD Chemistry, Yale University (2024); Bachelor's of Chemical Engineering, Youngstown State University (2018)
  • Past work experience: Student Researcher, Youngstown State University
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Deep Tech, Health, Science/Engineering
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation represents how I will utilize my different skillsets to make lasting, worldly impacts."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "I am drawn to Yale Ventures because it serves as an innovative bridge between Yale and the business world and provides a unique opportunity for students to experience both."
  • Fun Fact: I am a certified SPINNING instructor who has coached over 500 classes!

Faculty Engagement

Faculty Engagement Associates develop outreach, marketing, and engagement material aimed to activate Yale faculty innovators, including communicating disclosure timeline, the IP & Licensing process, and next steps to commercialize at all stages of innovation. Associates cultivate Yale Ventures' relationships with faculty departments and work to measure impact and engagement metrics.

Nicholas Davies

  • Hometown: Lausanne, SwitzerlandYV associate
  • Education: BA Ethics, Politics & Economics, Yale College (2024)
  • Past work experience: 2024 Spring Intern, Carbon Containment Lab; 2023 Summer Intern, 
    Cella Mineral Storage
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Climate, Social Entrepreneurship
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "To me, the word 'innovation' is imbued with the thrill that comes from unlocking new perspectives and approaches to pressing problems."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "To gain insight into the theory and practice of innovation while supporting and engaging with inspiring members of the Yale community!"
  • Fun Fact: My favorite movie, Fitzcarraldo, inspired me to travel up the Amazon River to research conservation efforts surrounding the river's largest aquatic organisms.


Innovation Community

"Innovation Community" refers to all key players in the Yale-New Haven innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Yale Ventures sees itself as a hub of resources between Yale faculty and students, relevant pre-professional organizations like Yale Entrepreneurial Society, and community partners such as ClimateHaven and Connecticut Innovations, and many more. Innovation Community Associates cultivate meaningful and lasting relationships with central figures and programs in the ecosystem, seek out alignments, and leverage shared goals to build New Haven into the next great innovation hub. Associates source and promote entrepreneurship events, innovation stories, and community engagement by way of content across the website and online platforms, as well as organizing and planning events such as the annual Yale Innovation Summit or the Yale Startup Matchmaking fairs.

Nurşen Öğütveren

  • Hometown: Madison, CTYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2026); BE Molecular Biology and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (2015) 
  • Past work experience: Software Engineer, Microsoft; Software Engineer, Alphabet (Verily)
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Founder, Health, Social Entrepreneurship, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation means experimentation in pursuit of a novel solution to a problem."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "To see incredible ideas take flight and create broader impact."
  • Fun Fact: I was once falsely credited with sneaking a live waterfowl into a friend's dorm as a prank.

Roxana Grunenwald

  • Hometown: Belleville, WIYV associate
  • Education: BA Philosophy & Humanities, Yale College (2025)
  • Past work experience: Associate, Yale Center for Business and the Environment; Founder & Head of Green Certifications, Yale Office of Sustainability
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Climate, Founder, Investor, Social Entrepreneurship, Software / SaaS
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "To me, 'innovation' means 'transformation' -- transforming the market with your product, the lives of your customers (in a good way), the returns in your VC firm's portfolio (with your incredible profit margins!), and, of course, transforming your own life as a founder."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "The phrase 'innovation community' that Yale Ventures actively promotes really strikes home; for-profit business models are as supported as nonprofit social impact projects across multiple industries -- Yale Ventures is developing the next great model for inclusive & accessible innovation, and it's incredible to be a part of this organization!"
  • Fun Fact: I'm a poet and creative writer at heart and love Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Schleiermacher, and all those other German Idealist philosophers. I'm convinced that philosophy is a highly transferrable skill in the startup ecosystem these days!


IP & Licensing

IP & Licensing Associates assist faculty innovations by way of business development, marketing, intellectual property protection, contract negotiation, financing, and venture formation, accompanying innovations along the entire technology transfer process to help them scale and go-to-market. They evaluate disclosures, draft non-confidential agreements for potential licensing partners, and cultivate relationships with key legal and commercial figures.

Alice Ao

  • Hometown: Suwanee, GAYV associate
  • Education: BS/MS Computer Science, Yale College (2024)
  • Past work experience: Software Engineer Intern, Flatiron Health; Explore Intern, Microsoft; Campus Tour Guide, Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions; Public School Intern, Dwight Hall At Yale
  • Innovation interests: Climate, Deep Tech, Social Entrepreneurship, Software / SaaS, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Solving problems!"
  • Why Yale Ventures? "I’ve always been fascinated by the research and work produced by the Yale community, and I’m excited to help expand their impact through Yale Ventures!"
  • Fun Fact: I had a pet chicken in high school.

Julia Senkina

  • Hometown: Bridgewater, NJYV associate
  • Education: PhD (rising 2-year) Chemistry, Yale University; B.S. Biochemistry, Rutgers University (2023)
  • Past work experience: Graduate Research Fellow, Yale University; Medicinal Chemist Co-op, Bristol Myers Squibb; Undergraduate Research Assistant, Rutgers University
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Founder, Health, Investor
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "'Innovation' to me is a transformative discovery that can positively impact a community."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Yale Ventures provides great support to entrepreneurs and helps translate research at Yale into new ventures to address unique challenges."
  • Fun Fact: Sometimes I dream in 3 different languages.

Leonardo Mateus

  • Hometown: Miami, FLYV associate
  • Education: B.S. Chemistry, Yale College (2024)
  • Past work experience: IP & Licensing Associate 2023-24, Yale Ventures; Coordinator for the Latin American and Iberian Film Festival, Yale University; Global Programs Assistant, MacMillan Center
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Biotech, Climate, Quantum, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation is applied creativity used to further the frontiers of technology and science."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Yale Ventures offers the best access to state of the art research and community of innovators."
  • Fun Fact: I swam for the Colombian National Team and ranked 3 in South America for the 1500 meter race. 

Isaiah Yim

  • Hometown: Flushing, Queens, New York.
  • Education: PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering, Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Class of 2014, University of Michigan.
  • Past Experiences: Research in Cancer Metabolism at Weill Cornell Medicine, Research in Stem Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute
  • Interests: Patent Law in the Life Sciences.
  • What does innovation mean to me: Innovation is when imagination comes to life in a workshop, laboratory, garage, or out in the field. It remains an idea in your head if it stays in your head. YV Associate
  • Why Yale Ventures?: Yale Ventures is the launch pad for innovations. Being part of a team that prepares each project for a successful take-off into a competitive world of cutting-edge technology gives me a sense of responsibility and pride.
  • Fun Fact: I'm an autodidactic bike mechanic who offers house call services for fellow Yale students with bike-related needs.  


Roberts Innovation Fund

The Roberts Innovation Fund at Yale is a 2022 initiative launched to accelerate Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS) engine of innovation. The Fund’s Associates assist in customer discovery, market strategy & competitive analysis, technological feasibility and IP assessments, and industry engagement. They provide technical, strategic, and tactical support during the many phases of the award process as awardees test and solidify their technology and prepare to license or develop their venture along the commercialization process.

Erin BaileyYV associate

  • Hometown: Denver, CO
  • Education: BA History of Science, Medicine and Public Health, Yale College (2024)
  • Past work experience: Bain & Company
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Climate, Health, Investor, Software / SaaS, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Implemented ideas that generate positive change."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Be part of game-changing tech driven by academic research."
  • Fun Fact: I have climbed Mt. Yale!

Landon Chavis

  • Hometown: Cream Ridge, NJ
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2024); BA Economics, Cornell University (2014). Yale MBA 2024
  • Past work experience: Marketing and Strategy Summer Associate, Sommelier du Parfum; Real Estate Paralegal, Ferrier Law
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Quantum, TechYV associate
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Creative solutions to challenging problems."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "To meet intelligent people with similar interests while helping firms maximize societal impact."
  • Fun Fact: I once modeled for Hanes socks.

Michelle Xu

  • Hometown: Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Education: Master of Advanced Management, Yale School of Management (2024); MBA, University of Toronto Rotman School of Management (2023); Bachelor of Commerce, Finance & International Business, The University of British Columbia School of Business (2017)
  • Past work experience: HSBC; Deloitte
  • Innovation interests: Climate, Founder, Health, Investor, Social Entrepreneurship, Software / SaaS, TechYV associate
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation mean the creation and implementation of new ideas to improve or transform existing systems and solve problems in novel ways."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "I would love to leverage Yale's exceptional resources, expertise, and network to contribute to accelerating the development and commercialization of groundbreaking innovations."
  • Fun Fact: I love traveling and always send myself a postcard from every city I visit - I now have hundreds of them at home (though some of them got lost on their way).


Venture Analysis

Venture Analyst Summer Associates will research, design, and help expand the Yale Ventures investor network. They will identify and organize our extended team's list of active venture capital firms, design programs to expand the services Yale Ventures provides to VCs to connect them with the deal flow of Yale startups, and work on data analytics and the reporting of startup investments to enrich the Yale Angels program that connects angel investors with Yale startups.

Andy Zuo

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, CAYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2025); BA Data Science, UC Berkeley (2023)
  • Past work experience: Product Manager, Tencent; Product Manager, Five9
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Deep Tech, Founder, Health, Investor, Social Entrepreneurship, Software / SaaS, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "To me, 'innovation' means creating novel solutions that significantly improve existing processes, products, or ideas, driving meaningful and sustainable change."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Joining Yale Ventures this summer would be an exceptional opportunity to leverage my background in product management and data-driven decision making to support and develop startups that are poised to redefine their industries."
  • Fun Fact: I have a passion for exploring the great outdoors.

David Cheishvili

  • Hometown: Tbilisi, GeorgiaYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2025); BA Business Administration & Management, ESM Business School, Free University of Tbilisi (2011)
  • Past work experience: Serial Entrepreneur; Product Manager, Genesis-AI; Product Manager, HEKS EPER / Pakka AG Consortium
  • Innovation interests: Deep Tech, Founder, Quantum, Software / SaaS, Tech, AI
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Tearing down barriers, empowering users and making lives better!"
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Working with faculty innovators and startups on the one hand — where real innovation/breakthrough happens, and working with investors on the other — is an exciting prospect and I hope that I've honed skills to contribute to Yale Venture's success."
  • Fun Fact: Specialty coffee and wine lover; board games and e-sports enjoyer; car headlight retrofitter.

Pooja Rai

  • Hometown: Seattle, WAYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2024); Bachelor of Architecture; Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  • Past work experience: Founder, Anthill Creations
  • Innovation interests: Biotech, Climate, Founder, Health, Social Entrepreneurship, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation is the process of transforming an idea into a market-ready product, method, or service that uniquely drives progress and solves problems."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "To join a vibrant community of founders, entrepreneurs, and innovators dedicated to transforming research-based ideas into successful ventures."
  • Fun Fact: I am currently on a road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast.


Venture Lab Fellows

The Venture Lab is a new initiative launched by Yale Ventures in 2022 to accelerate Yale faculty ventures which have already established proof-of-concept. Working across six major themes (Therapeutics, Medtech, Digital Healthcare, Data Science, High Tech, and Climate Tech), graduate and professional students work with teams alongside expert faculty innovators to develop project briefs and support a series of interactive coaching sessions on the technical, product, and business model fronts.

Aaron Turczynski

  • Hometown: Rolling Prairie, INYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2024); BS Accounting & Information Systems, Indiana University Kelley School of Business (2018)
  • Past work experience: Senior Consultant, Monitor Deloitte
  • Innovation interests: Climate, Founder, Social Entrepreneurship
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation is the process of coming up with a creative and novel solution to a new or existing problem."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "The opportunity to give back to the community in a way that utilizes my consulting experience to the fullest."
  • Fun Fact: On a daily basis I walk 4+ miles as an opportunity to disconnect from the world and process life around me.

Christine Sedlack

  • Hometown: Philadelphia, PAYV associate
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2025); BA Economics & Mathematics, Barnard College, Columbia University (2019)
  • Past work experience: Investment Banking Analyst, Barclays Investment Bank; Quantitative Capital Markets Advisor, Matthews South 
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Biotech, Health, Investor, Software / SaaS, Tech
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation is what occurs when motivated individuals see a problem in society and are unflaggingly passionate about creating a solution."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "Exciting and challenging projects with a great team."
  • Fun Fact: I danced for 19 years!

Shane Wilson

  • Hometown: Clinton, NJ
  • Education: MBA, Yale School of Management (2025); BA History, Colgate UniversityYV associate
  • Past work experience: Commercial Strategy, EVident Battery; Senior Director, Correlation One
  • Innovation interests: Arts, Climate, Deep Tech, Investor
  • What does "innovation" mean to you? "Innovation is creativity applied and executed to create value."
  • Why Yale Ventures? "As an MBA building a Venture Capital career, Yale Ventures is an incredible opportunity to go deeper in the institution and work with world-class faculty to commercialize great ideas."
  • Fun Fact: I played football in college but have since converted to intramural Ice Hockey thanks to the YSOM Hockey Club.  Wednesday nights in New Haven- Ingalls Rink is the place to be!


Thank you to all our 2024 Summer Associates! The Yale Ventures team is excited to work with you to translate idea to impact.