Vedant Seeam - CEO
Vedant Seeam (Yale ’11) is the Founder and President of ELI Africa. He grew up in the quaint farming village of Plaine des Roches, Mauritius. After performing well in his village’s primary school, he was granted admission to a school two hours away by public transportation, where he became Chairman of the Student Council. There, he witnessed badminton being played the first time he set foot in a gymnasium. He began playing and soon made the Mauritian National Team. In 2005, Vedant won the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. After he graduated from high school, he ran for political office and became the youngest elected politician in Mauritius when he served as the Vice-Chairman of Finance of his district. In his free time he completed training and certifications to work as a policeman, fire-fighter, and coast guard officer.
Seeam’s unusual road to Yale has everything to do with the creation of ELI Africa. At Yale, Seeam found himself blown away by the opportunities and quality of education he was receiving. While grateful for such a wonderful experience, he was bothered by the fact that many of his friends at home did not have access to such an opportunity. He realized that he got his chance through education, but that a lack of a proper education should not define someone nor play such a determining role in someone’s life course. Seeam set out to do something about it.
During his junior year, Seeam began to conduct research and raise funds and soon thereafter started HOPE Inc. (Helping Orphans Prosper Through Education). HOPE later became ELI Africa, and Seeam’s dream of helping disadvantaged African youth through education took a large step towards reality.
Seeam took a year off between his junior and senior years at Yale to prepare a needs assessment for ELI Africa’s launching ground, Mauritius, and to prepare ELI Africa’s 2010 summer pilot program. At Yale, Vedant made history when he tried out for the football team, having never seen the sport played before, and became the first international Yale Varsity Football Team player to date. Seeam’s wide array of academic, athletic, political, and professional experiences have provided him with an outlook uniquely suited to serve as president of ELI Africa.
Jason Guss – President, ELI Africa at Yale
Jason Guss (Yale ’12) previously worked as COO and continues to primarily manage the Finance, Public Relations, and Program Development teams. A senior, Jason is a political science major and member of the Yale Ski Team. He is a native of Palm Springs, California.
Freddy Ketchum – Chief Financial Officer
Freddy Ketchum (Yale ’13) focuses primarily on private donations and micro fundraising. Freddy studies Political Science with an interdisciplinary concentration in International Relations. Prior to becoming the CFO, he worked closely with the previous CFO Nicholas Simmons on the finance team. Freddy’s volunteer background includes teaching English and math at a local primary school for street kids in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in the summer of 2010.
Ashish M. Bakshi – Chief Information Officer
Ashish Bakshi (Yale ’10) directs ELI Africa’s online activities, including the website, blog, social media presence, and internal systems. His aim is to develop IT as an enabling tool for the organization. Ashish graduated from Yale in May 2010 and is currently Manager of Strategy & Technology at Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles in Bangalore, India. At Yale, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law, President of the Yale Engineering Design Team, President of the Yale Aerial Robotics Research Group, and an officer of several other groups. Ashish is from Manhasset, New York and graduated from Manhasset Senior High School.
Edward Wiese – Director of Strategy and Development
Ed Wiese (Yale ’12) is a senior at Yale majoring in Anthropology. Outside the classroom, he dedicates his time to a number of education and community development projects. He is a tutor at New Haven Reads, a public education project serving children in the greater New Haven area, and currently serves as the captain of the Yale men’s club volleyball team. In the past, Ed has interned at the Washington D.C. branch of the microfinance organization Opportunity International, and served as an intern for a public health program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. This past summer, he traveled to Mauritius as one our ELI Fellows.
Alexandra Adams – Chief Program Officer
Lexy Adams (Yale ’13) leads the ELI Africa Programming Team. As the Summer 2011 Teaching Fellow of Hands-On Science, Lexy hopes to broaden and improve the operation of the ELI Fellows Program, as well as kickoff the new yearlong program. She hopes to increase ELI Africa’s presence as an organization on Yale’s campus, spreading awareness and strengthening student and faculty connections. In addition to involvement with ELI Africa, Lexy is also a back on Yale’s varsity field hockey team, a Community Health Educator, Communication & Consent Educator, and a sister of Pi Beta Phi. As a Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry major, she hopes to obtain a Master’s Degree in public health and then attend medical school.