Staff

We are so lucky to have so many dedicated individuals as part of our team!  We would not be able to spread the magic without our coordinators, counselors, general members, advisory board and camp staff!  We really appreciate all of their help and support!

The 2014-2015 Executive Board of Camp Kesem has been responsible for shaping the beginnings of Camp Kesem at Case Western Reserve University. These individuals were selected through a rigorous interview process in order to ensure that we hold the best camp ever!

 

Co-Directors

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Tia “Muffins” Mullins

Tia Mullins is a senior studying Political Science and Medical Anthropology. She aspires to work in international health policy, as well as teaching children. This is her second year being a part of Camp Kesem and her first year as Co-Director. She is more than excited to be involved in such a rewarding organization and hopes to see it grow in the CWRU community in years to come.

Why She Kesems

“I joined Camp Kesem because I have a passion for helping kids. For these kids, there are not many resources available to help them during this difficult situation. Camp Kesem is the only organization that embraces this often-overlooked population. Through support and understanding, we provide an outlet and a sense of community for these kids that they might not otherwise have access to. Not only are we making an impact in these kids’ lives, we are impacting their parents’ lives as well. Parents might not be able to provide their children with the support and encouragement they need due to their battle with cancer, and that is what Camp Kesem is for. A stranger’s kindness can go a long way, and I believe Camp Kesem makes a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.”

 

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Pierce “Blue” Curran

Pierce Curran is a Junior from Setauket, New York on the Pre-Med Track with Majors in Biology and Psychology and Minors in Chemistry and Childhood Studies. He plans to take a year off after college to participate in an international service program before pursuing his career in medicine. When he isn’t working hard on making Camp Kesem at CWRU the best organization on campus, he is involved with his Fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, and in various other volunteer activities. He loves the Yankees, his dog Buddy, and singing his favorite camp songs as loud as possible.

Why He Kesems

“I Kesem because I know what it feels like to grow up with a parent affected by cancer. I was fortunate enough to have a loving family and support system to help me process my mother’s diagnosis, but I know that not everyone is so lucky. I believe that Camp Kesem is an amazing opportunity for children like me to develop a supportive network of people who understand what they’re going through and want to help in any way they can. After serving as a Director at camp last year, I got to see first hand the amazing impact that Camp Kesem can have on not only these children and their families, but also on the counselors. I can say with complete honesty that Camp Kesem has changed my life for the better, and I hope that our chapter will have the opportunity to change the lives of many more children as we continue to improve and grow.”

 

Operations

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Sanjana “Snickers” Soni

Sanjana Soni is a senior at CWRU with majors in Nutritional Biochemistry and Medical Anthropology. She aspires to attend medical school after graduating and become a pediatrician, as she finds happiness from giving back to children. She is excited to be a part of the Camp Kesem family for a 2nd year and meet more incredible kids. In addition, she is involved in Phi Delta Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Theta, research, and outreach service projects. In her free time, she likes to run, cook gourmet meals (like awesome tacos), and explore Cleveland.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because there is something magical about making a child smile. Children deserve to expereince an incredible youth, while also learning and gaining strength from any hardships they come across. This is a place for these children to grow up together and build a strong support system with fellow campers and counselors. We are all here because we have been impacted by cancer in some way. I care about this cause because I have expereinced the difficulties of having a loved one with cancer, and all I needed during that time during my childhood was comfort from a friend. I am looking forward to creating more memories and bonds with our Camp Kesem family.”

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Annie “Poppy” Cheng

Annie Cheng is a first year nursing student. After graduation, she plans on working as a pediatric nurse back in either Southern California or Washington.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I cherish the reason Camp Kesem exists. It seems that all the research and funding goes toward cancer patients but never the loved ones who are also affected. Kesem allows these children to build a support system: to join a family who understands what they may be going through.”

Outreach

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Natasha “Sunshine” Mohanty

Natasha Mohanty is a sophomore at CWRU majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She is on the pre-med track and minoring in music as well. Though born in Charleston, West Virginia, her heart belongs to the town where she was raised, Bridgewater, New Jersey. Aside from Camp Kesem, she is the Vice President of Case Kismat Fusion Dance Team, a member of Global Ethical Leader Society (GELS), and a member of Alpha Phi Fraternity. Though she’s always running from classes, meetings, or practices, she always takes the time to stop at Starbucks, and, every once in a while, she pretends she knows how to cook (all while talking to her mom of course!).

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I believe cancer is just as detrimental to a patient’s life as it is to his or her family’s lives. It’s so important to be supportive of the children especially. Unfortunately, I’ve seen how cancer can affect one’s family firsthand, and I want to be there for the next child that has to go through all of these experiences. I want to aid in creating the safe haven that these children can go to, because I wasn’t able to do so as an elementary school student some time ago. Most importantly, I Kesem for the magic that I can create with the aspiring young lives that I get to meet very soon.”

 

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Luchang “Squirrel” Zhang

Luchang is a junior studying Psychology and Medical Anthropology. She is hoping to go into Medical school and becoming an OBGYN after graduation. Besides being an acitive member of Camp Kesem, she is also on the executive board of Alpha Phi Fraternity. She also loves to dance! Last year, she was on Kismat Fusion Dance Team with Natasha where she learned some awesome dance moves. Since senior year of high school, she has been conducting research on cancer cells and has done various genotying in the department of Radiation Oncology. She was a counselor at our very first Camp Kesem and she cannot wait for next summer. Last but not the least, Luchang is a proud Clevelander!

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I believe in the Kesem magic! I enjoyed volunteering at this particular camp because I helped to create an environment where the kids could feel comfortable sharing their stories and know that they are not alone. Knowing that I was able to trade one week of my life to make a difference in their lives was rewarding. At the same time, their positivity and carefree attitudes have taught me to be a stronger person and to keep doing the things that I am passionate about.”

Development

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Liz “Tiger” Mercer

Elizabeth Mercer is a Junior at Case Western, majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish. She is a memeber of the Sigm Sigma Sigma sorority and an active member of Camp Kesem’s executive board. After graduating, she hopes to continue her education in medical school within the state of Ohio. This is second year being involved with Camp Kesem and she can’t wait to see all of the former campers again as well as meet all of the new campers. Her favorite parts of camp include Arts and Crafts, Gaga, and Campfire songs. Her everyday hobbies include hula hooping, reading, and watching movies.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because my life has not been directly influenced by cancer. Camp Kesem has given me a deeper insight into the lives of the families directly affected by this disease. My heart has been touched by each and every one of the children I have seen through this organization. They give me the inspiration to carry on towards my goal of one day becoming a doctor and treating people who need my help.”

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Sam “Starfish” Loebbaka

Sam Loebbaka is a second year nursing student with a minor in psychology at CWRU. Sam plans on continuing her education after graduation to become a pediatric nurse anesthetist.. She is from the Chicago suburbs, although she dreams of moving to North Carolina. In addition to Camp Kesem, Sam is an involved member of Phi Mu sorority on campus. In her off time, she loves to paint flowers, watch movies and goof around with friends!

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I believe in the CK family. I have a passion to help the people around me, especially children. Kesem offers a one of a kind support system for kids while they are experiencing a heartbreaking and confusing time in their lives. In bringing the kids together at camp, they join a family who understands what they are experiencing. Cancer effects the entire family, but I believe that children are extremely resilient. Even though they are all fighting their own battle, they do not have to do so alone. We want to offer them all of the support and encouragement we have to give. I Kesem because I want to give the kids all my love and support so they never feel alone on their journey.”

Volunteer

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Sasha “Curly” Ali

Sasha Ali is a junior majoring in art history from South Bend, IN. Sasha plans on continuing after undergrad to get a masters in public health and hopefully traveling and looking at a lot of art. She loves to eat tacos, read, take naps outside, listen to music, and dance awkwardly.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because it’s the one organization where you can see the difference in the lives of everyone involved. By spending a week dancing, singing, playing, and most importantly listening to these kids, a family is formed. The bond of a CK family is impossible to put into words but is truly a magical experience. CK gives a support system outside of the one we are given and reminds the kids, parents, and counselors of the goodness in the world. “

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Pranav “Bear” Singh

Pranav Singh is Junior Medical Anthropology student with the hopes of attending Medical School soon. He is 20 years old and loves the outdoors so a camp environment is perfect for him. On campus, he is an active member of the fraternity Zeta Psi, and does research with the Emergency Medicine Research Division at University Hospitals. However, Camp Kesem is his favorite group to be a part of by far!

Why He Kesems

“I Kesem because although I had never dealt with a parent with Cancer, I could relate to how cancer affects families, and children. I remembered the experiences me and my father went through with our Grandma and I really wanted to be there for support for these amazing children. However, when I finally got to camp, I realized just how strong these children really are and that in the end, my job was just to make them realize just that, and in the end, I began to learn more from them. I Kesem to try and show how much joy and happiness each one of these kids deserve, but more importantly, the joy and happiness that they give to those around them.”

Marketing

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Ki “Kiwi” Oh

Ki Oh is a senior at CWRU studying Biochemstry. Though born and raised in South Korea, he has lived in North Carolina and most recently, in Nashville, TN. He hopes to enter an MD/PhD program in Pharmacology to one day become a medical scientist. Aside from Camp Kesem, Ki is involved in the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, Lambda Eta Mu service fraternity, and research in pharmacology. He also works as a peer tutor under Educational Services for Students (ESS) and as a photographer for the campus paper, The Observer. In his free time, he enjoys taking pictures outdoors, cooking, DJing, skateboarding around campus, and watching Netflix with a bowl of ice cream.

Why He Kesems

“I Kesem because I believe in the organization’s unique cause and would like to have an active role in organizing the best camp that we can put together for these children. I believe everyone has an ability to make a difference in the world whether it’s small or big. I wish to see this organization grow and expand to more and more people so the community at large will understand and unite under a greater cause.”

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Tanvi “Chewy” Parmar

Tanvi Parmar is currently a junior finance major and marketing minor at CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management. She is originally from the wonderful town of South Brunswick, New Jersey. She enjoys her other roles on campus involving the Undergraduate Student Government, Emerging Leaders Program, and the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for women. When she is not swamped with work (and even when she is) she loves to look up punny jokes, sing along to 80′s music and watch romantic comedies.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I really believe in the cause that CK advocates- to recognize the children who silently suffer and give them a happy and supportive place to make new friends and network. As someone who had a rare heart surgery when she was a child, I understand the importance of surrounding yourself with caring people who keep you smiling each and every day, even when you’re having a low day. Really, I want to be the needed support similar to what I gratefully received as a three year old kid.”

Make the Magic

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Meredith “Piggie” Lee

Meredith Lee is a junior nursing student from South Bend, Indiana. Along with being involved in Camp Kesem, she is also a member of the women’s tennis team and a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for women. Her other hobbies include crafting, fishing, baking and cooking.

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I have always had an interest in entertaining and working with all ages of children. Being able to interact and establish relationships with kids who have something in common and help make a difference in their lives will be an experience unlike any other. Although cancer is becoming more prevalent, not all children have family exposure. Camp Kesem provides a week spent among others the same age with similar circumstances as they share their own experiences, learn from one another, and most importantly, create unforgettable memories. I hope to give back to this population of children by being a part of this camp that they will attend free of charge!”

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Julie “Grapes” Welch

Julie Welch is a Sophomore Pre-Med Student with a minor in Spanish. After graduating, she would love to go to Medical School to eventually become an Oncologist. Along with all of her love for Camp Kesem, she is involved in Colleges Against Cancer/Relay For Life, the Emerging Leaders Program, Emergency Medicine Research Division, and her sorority, Phi Mu! When she’s not busy with these things, she enjoys hanging out with friends, take naps, travel, and find new music!

Why She Kesems

“I Kesem because I know how hard it can be to find support while going through a parents cancer. I Kesem because someone needs to focus on all the other members affected by a loved one’s cancer. Although many people are supportive of these children, there are very few people their own age who know exactly what they are going through. After being a CK Counselor last year, I know that kids can find this support from the other campers, and that is something extremely special. Lastly, I Kesem because CK gives kids and counselors one of the most amazing weeks of their life. What I took away from these amazing kids is more than I could ever dream of giving to them. The campers taught me so much about everything, including myself. I Kesem because I believe in the CK Magic and I hope to share it with as many people as possible :)

Counselors

STAY TUNED! Selections to occur SOON!