SPARK! Student Leaders

Meet the SPARK! Student Leaders

Katherine Feng – President, Computer Science Co-Leader

Hi, my name's Katherine, and I am a senior at GSSM! My favorite subjects are math, computer science, and environmental studies. I'm really interested in how data science can analyze ecological processes and patterns. In college, I hope to use data analysis to help conservation efforts. I am so excited to be a part of SPARK! this year and see new and returning faces! SPARK! is really important because my parents have always told me that education is one of the most powerful tools, and I love seeing students get excited and passionate about what we teach. A fun fact about me is that I love collecting funny pieces of clothing like hats and my most prized possession, waffle pants. My favorite TV shows are Psych, How I Met Your Mother, and Malcolm in the Middle, and my favorite movie right now is The Big Sick. I absolutely love any kind of chocolate dessert and Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. 

Kirti Reddy – VP of Humanities, Government/Economics

Hi guys! I'm Kirti, and I'm from Sumter, South Carolina. I've been learning more about government and economics ever since I got more interested in law! I love all things humanities - art, music, literature, foreign languages, you name it! I think a well-rounded education is important. I love teaching and kids, so Spark caught my attention right away. My favorite movie is probably Parasite, and my favorite book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. As for ice cream, I have to go with Haagen-Dazs vanilla - it's classic!

Tomoki Shiratori – VP of Stem, Mathematics

Hello, I'm Tomoki! I'm a senior at GSSM, and my favorite subjects are Mathematics and Physics. I always love learning new things, especially when they involve problem-solving, so being a part of SPARK! is an absolute joy. My favorite part of SPARK! by far is being able to see students expand their knowledge and passion in diverse topics. Some fun facts about me are that my favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry's "The Tonight Dough" and my favorite movie is My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli.

Gianna Bambery – Marine Biology

Hello everyone! My name is Gianna Bambery, and I'll be leading the Marine Biology this year. I joined SPARK! my junior year because I participated when I was a student in middle school and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to be able to teach others now! I have always really loved biology, math, and Spanish in school. Outside of school, I am a huge movie buff and foodie. Currently, my favorite movies include The Batman, Beetlejuice, and Ponyo. I also absolutely love nature (hence why I am so excited to be the leader of Marine Biology!). I really hope our team will be able to spark [;)] a love of STEM in you all.

Caroline Cadena – Literature

Hi, I'm Caroline! I'm a Senior at GSSM, and I'm from Blythewood. My favorite subject is Chemistry, and I plan to major in some field of Chemistry for college. In my free time, I'm either spending time with friends or reading, sometimes both! I tend to gravitate towards mystery and adventure genres, but my favorite book is All Quiet on the Western Front. In SPARK! I'm able to connect with students all over the state who love literature as much as I do. My favorite part of leading the lesson is seeing students dive into the concept and tie in all their favorite books, movies, poems, etc. A fun fact about me: I have a collection of mugs with a story accompanying each one! My favorite Ben and Jerry's flavor is Phish Food, though sherbet is better... My favorite movie is Murder on the Orient Express (I prefer the 1974 release, but the new one isn't bad)!

SJ Caldwell – Computer Science Co-Leader

Hi! I'm SJ Caldwell, co-leader of SPARK! Computer Science. I've always loved math, but GSSM sparked a passion for computer science. I joined SPARK! to help other students find a similar passion, no matter the field. I am also co-president of WOMPSCI, which promotes women in computer science fields. A fun fact about me is that I collect Mini Brands, and I listen to a LOT of music - ask me about my favorite artists! I am looking forward to leading more SPARK! lessons this year!

Michael Gardner – Music

Hi South Carolina! I'm Michael Gardner, I'm from Greenwood, and I'm the SPARK! Music leader. I've been in love with music ever since I was a little kid. I have sung, danced, played instruments, and acted my entire life. My favorite subjects are Biology and French, and I plan on majoring in medical genetics and then becoming a genetic pediatrician. My favorite ice cream flavor is a tie between mint chocolate chip and black cherry; I just can't choose! I play Beat Saber, Super Smash Bros, and Mario Kart, and I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at all of them, but I've been humbled multiple times. My favorite show is WandaVision and just anything Marvel. I can't wait to see you in my class! I'm sure we're going to have a lot of fun.

Jack Jackson – Spanish

Hello, my name is Jack Jackson! I am a senior at GSSM, and I am from Greenville, South Carolina. My favorite subjects are biology and engineering, and I plan to pursue biomedical engineering in college. My favorite part about being a SPARK! leader is that I get to share something that I am passionate about with students. I have studied Spanish since the fifth grade and have loved learning about everything from the language to the culture. A few fun facts about me are that I lived in Oxford, England, and my favorite ice cream flavor is cookies and cream. I am excited about this year of SPARK! and can't wait to teach others more about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.

Anna Kiley – Environmental Science

Hey guys!! My name is Anna, I am a senior at GSSM, and I am from the upstate. My favorite subject is environmental science, and I also plan on studying it in college. I am super excited to help bring awareness to the issues our planet faces and how we as individuals can help work towards a better Earth! Some people grew out of their favorite foods from when they were little, but I definitely haven't! Since I was 5 years old, my favorite food has been applesauce. I play soccer and tennis. I am really excited to inspire others through Spark!

Sherry Kong – Chinese/Asian Studies

Hi, I'm Sherry! I was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to North Augusta, SC when I was 8. My favorite subjects are biology and math. I would like to either major in biochemistry, biophysics, or molecular biology in college and become a radiation oncologist. I am a part of SPARK! because I love teaching and sharing with others my passion for Chinese culture. A fun fact about me is that I have been dancing and practicing art for going on 14, and my favorite ice cream would have to be any flavor from Haagen Dazs.

Sare Koruk – Biology

Hi, I'm Sare! I'm a senior at GSSM and the subject leader for SPARK! Biology. I am from Greenville, SC. My favorite subjects are biology and chemistry. I am interested in either majoring in biochemistry or neuroscience in college and am particularly fascinated by the brain. I find neuroscience and its ability to be studied in chemistry and biology particularly interesting. My favorite part about SPARK! is the enthusiasm the students express towards subjects and topics that I am passionate about. One fun fact about me is that I love reading and trying new coffee shops. My go-to coffee order is probably an iced oat milk latte with vanilla. Even though I struggle to pick a favorite book, one of my recent favorites is The Midnight Library.

Briggs Murray – History

Howdy, y'all! My name is Briggs, and I'm from Charleston. I LOVE LOVE LOVE all things History, French, and English - I guess you could say I'm an outlier, being a Humanities lover at a Science and Math School! I love our SPARK! program because it allows each of us SPARK! teachers to share our passion for subjects that we love, and I'm looking forward to sharing my love of history with you all. A little bit about me: my favorite TV show is Survivor (I've seen most of the 42 seasons, so you could call me a superfan!) and my favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip. To give you all a little taste of SPARK! History, here's a historical fun fact that you might not know: While Bill Clinton was president, he actually pardoned his brother, Roger Jr., for his crimes! (Talk about a conflict of interest...) If you'd like some more awesome History, sign up for SPARK! History, and I promise you won't be disappointed!

Hir Panchal – Chemistry

Hi, I'm Hir! I'm a junior at GSSM, and my favorite subjects are Chemistry and Biology! I want to pursue Social Science or Psychology in the future and hopefully work in STEM academically for a while. I've worked with kids & tutoring for a couple years, and so combined with Chemistry, I was excited to be a part of SPARK! I look forward to seeing you at Chemistry lessons and having fun together. I like watching movies with my friends, especially rom-coms, going to the gym, and journaling. My favorite movies are Legally Blonde and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and my favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.

Grant Sackmann – Robotics Co-Leader

Hello, my name is Grant. I am a senior at GSSM. I really enjoy learning about computer science and mathematics, and I have participated in robotics since 5th grade. I plan to major in computer science in college. Some interesting things about myself are that I moved from Wisconsin a couple years ago, and my friends have told me that I cannot pronounce the words bag, flag, and dragon correctly. My favorite musician is Frank Ocean, I love Turkish kabobs, and I really enjoy traveling and new experiences. I am really excited to lead SPARK Robotics this year.

Matthew Smith – Robotics Co-Leader

Hi my name is Matthew, and I’m a senior here at GSSM. My favorite subjects are by far physics and engineering. I plan on majoring in mechanical engineering in college, and I am considering minoring in robotics, depending on where I go. This year will be my 10th year of being on a FIRST robotics team (which I highly recommend joining if you haven’t already), and it is one of the main things I look forward to each year. A fun fact about me is that I have a YouTube channel where I review food with my friends from Greenville (Reviews by Matt). I also can recite nearly every line of every episode of The Office, along with all the lyrics to any Kanye West song. I am so excited for SPARK! this year!

Raja Villareal – Physics

Hello! My name is Raja, leader of SPARK! Physics. My favorite subjects are physics, of course, and computer science because I like the problem-solving aspect of each, and I will most likely double major in those subjects in university. I also quite like origami and playing the piano, both of which I've been doing for over ten years. Other hobbies of mine include game programming, solving Rubik's cubes, Tetris, and drawing (fun fact: I'm ambidextrous, so I switch between hands when I draw!). I joined SPARK! because I can talk about concepts I find interesting, and I enjoy watching younger students understand those topics. My favorite ice cream flavor is plain strawberry. My favorite movie (though you'll more likely catch me reading a book than watching a movie) is 'A Silent Voice.' I look forward to seeing you in a SPARK! lesson soon!

Lily Zarrouf – Psychology

Hello, I'm Lily, and I'm from Anderson, SC! I'm a senior at GSSM and my favorite subjects are cell biology, ancient history, and of course, psychology! My favorite part about SPARK! is hearing everyone's input and opinions when discussing a topic. I also get to teach about really cool things that usually don't get covered in class. My favorite movie would probably be "The Greatest Showman" and my favorite TV show would have to be "Friends." A fun fact is that my family is from Syria; I've visited about seven times now. Any ice cream flavor that's pink is bound to be good: strawberry, black cherry, raspberry, cotton candy... the list goes on!