Speakers of the 2017 U.S.—China Higher Education Symposium

Mariko Silver
Dr. Mariko Silver took office as president of Bennington on July 1, 2013. Prior to this appointment, Silver was senior advisor to the president of Arizona State University (ASU). She previously held leadership roles at Columbia University, in the Obama administration, and in the administration of Arizona governor Janet Napolitano.

As senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow, Silver was a key strategist in what Newsweek called “one of the most radical redesigns in higher learning since the origins of the modern university.” She designed and led international and community initiatives focused on economic development, interdisciplinary science initiatives, and student success. Silver also served as Professor of Practice in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies and established international research and teaching partnerships, including the international University Design Consortium.

Donald Holder
Donald J. Holder has been involved in education in China for 21 years. In this time he has been recognized as an education innovator who has contributed much to the national discussion on education reform. Mr. Holder holds the distinction of being the first foreigner to be named a senior administrator of a public secondary school in modern China, and the first foreigner to be head of a national curriculum school. He is currently Executive Head of School of The Shenzhen Houde Academy, a private secondary school he founded in 2016.

Mr. Holder hails from the United States where he attended Oberlin College and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He studied East Asian Studies, Education, and Music. A polyglot who is proficient in five languages, including fluency in Chinese, Mr. Holder first came to China on a fellowship in 1996. He worked for The Affiliated High School of Peking University for nine years, five of which he was an assistant principal. He was also assistant principal of Shenzhen Middle School for six years, and assistant principal and principal of The ISF Academy in Hong Kong for four years. While his primary work has been working with Chinese education bodies at all levels on policy and reform as it pertains to the Chinese National Curriculum, international curriculum programs he started at The Affiliated High School of Peking University and Shenzhen Middle School have ranked in the top 10 of such programs in China based on college acceptances to top tier universities around the world.

In addition to his work as an educator and principal in secondary schools in China, Mr. Holder has also been an adjunct faculty member of the Central Conservatory of Music, and currently maintains the position of guest lecturer in education at the Beijing Institute of Education, a position he has held since the late 1990’s. Over his years in China, he has led professional development sessions for thousands of Chinese teachers and administrators. Mr. Holder has been a speaker and panelist at numerous education conferences in China, the US, and Europe. He has also hosted over 500 programs on culture and education for both Beijing Television (BTV) and China Central Television (CCTV).

Hung Bui
Hung Bui came to Bennington in 2014 after serving as director of admissions strategy and planning at Colby College. While at Colby, Hung assumed an increasing number of leadership initiatives that materially contributed to the success of Colby admissions. With his background in financial portfolio management, he introduced an in-depth level of quantitative analytics that served to integrate both admissions and financial aid processes and accurately project yield outcomes. Hung holds a BA from Colby, double-majoring in economics and English, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a chartered financial analyst.
Russell Davis
Russell is the Director of Global Student Recruitment at Duke Kunshan University, located in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China. Duke Kunshan is a partnership between Duke University and Wuhan University, and launched its first of four current graduate programs in 2014. In August of 2018, Duke Kunshan will welcome the inaugural class in its four-year undergraduate program. Prior to joining Duke Kunshan, Russell was the Associate Director Admissions and Recruitment at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. In 2005, Russell was also involved in admissions and recruiting for the Duke Goethe Executive MBA program, a newly established collaboration between the Fuqua School of Business and Frankfurt University’s Goethe Business School. For his last 8 years at Duke, Russell was responsible for the admissions and recruitment of MBA and Masters students in China. He enjoys helping applicants navigate the application process, in addition to helping students make the most of their experience once they arrive on campus. Russell recently relocated to Kunshan where his family will soon join him.
AJ Lee
AJ Lee is one of the International Specialists and Assistant Directors in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UC Berkeley. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from UC San Diego and earned a Masters of Education in Student Affairs at UC Los Angeles. AJ has worked in Admissions for five years at a variety of universities including UC Los Angeles (internship), San Jose State University and currently UC Berkeley. He enjoys helping students navigate through the admissions process and working with families to alleviate the issues or concerns of applying to college.
Guo "Jessica" Luning
Jessica has been working as a school-based counselor since 2007. She started at Nanjing Foreign Language School, established the counseling office for the international center there. In the fall of 2008, she moved to Cambridge A level Center in Hangzhou Foreign Languages School as Head of Counseling and has worked there since. As one of the first groups of school-based counselors in China, Jessica successfully set up a counseling plan and system for Chinese students. Committed to international education, she was invited to present the status of school-based counseling in China to US admission officers at the International Admission and College Application Conference, as one of the four speakers. Jessica believes a good counselor does not only guide students through the college application process, but also inspires them to think and act for their future. Jessica is absolutely committed to having a positive impact on the community in which she lives and works.
Shaun Mcelroy
A veteran international college counselor, Shaun McElroy has lived in worked in China since 2005. As part of the college counseling team at Shanghai American School, he has developed innovating programs to assist students to find colleges that best suit their needs and goals. Shaun has also trained hundreds of college counselors in China and abroad through his work with the Collegeboard and the Counseling Training Center. You can follow Shaun’s research and insight into college admissions at his blog www.internationalcounselor.org.
Shawn Moore
Shawn Moore is the regional representative for Bard College admissions, and has been living in Beijing since the fall of 2014, following a yearlong stint in Seoul, South Korea. He concurrently pursues his career as a violinist teaching and performing in China, the US and other locations throughout the world. Shawn is passionate about languages and communication in general – be it musical, linguistic or otherwise! He is a graduate of Bard College and Yale University.
Jiang Percy
Percy (Xiaobo) Jiang, Director of College Counseling with Keystone Academy. Before he joined Keystone, Percy served as Director of College Counseling at the Beijing National Day School (BNDS). He has helped to start the BNDS college counseling project and built a professional counseling team with his expertise and resources. Since then, Percy has been actively involved in college counseling and has maintained a professional connection with many universities in the U.S. plus some other countries. As a faculty member in Regional Institute China and Pre-Conference, Percy is also deeply connected to and much respected within Int’lACAC, the International Association for College Admission Counseling. He has been sitting on the Government Relations Committee for the last 3 years and was also invited to train local college counselors and present to parents in some workshops by the EducationUSA China Office.
James Shirvell
James is an admission counselor on the International and Internal Relations team at Stanford University and the territory manager for China. He focuses on many international initiatives, as well as projects with other departments at Stanford, including the School of Humanities and Sciences and the athletics department. James joined Stanford after spending two years in Singapore, where he worked as a Dean’s Fellow to help create Yale-NUS College, the first liberal arts college in the country. A graduate of Yale University, James earned his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and was the captain of the Track and Field team.
Beatrice Ugolini
Beatrice is an international admissions counselor at Bennington College. Born and raised in Italy, she decided to attend college in the United States. She graduated from Bennington in June 2016 where she studied Political Philosophy and Chinese language and culture. While at Bennington, she also had the opportunity to study abroad in Beijing for 6 months and to work for a study abroad company based in Beijing. As an international alumna of Bennington College, Beatrice looks forward to helping the College develop relationships with foreign institutions and to expand its international student community, making it even more diverse and inclusive.
Cheng "Della" Xiaofeng
Ms. Cheng Xiaofeng, widely known as Della, is Director of College Counseling Office of Ningbo Foreign Language School in southeastern China. As a member of IACAC, NACAC, CIS and CIS EARCOS, Della has immersed herself in the profession of college counseling, particularly in international programs of China’s public high schools, for over 8 solid years. With over 10 years of management experience in international education, Della has been devoted to building up professionalism and integrity of school-based counseling program as well as team. She has participated in IACAC since 2012. And based in NBFLS, she has collaboratively connected institutions from around the world to the local community. She has been invited to international conferences, including AP China Summit and CIS Forum, to share her experience and perspective on development of international education and college counseling in China. With 25 AP subjects (still more to be added) as well as a complete counseling program, NBFLS is currently running the most comprehensive AP program in China.