CURRENT FELLOWS / ESSAY COUNSELORS

 
 
 
 
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Justin Shelby

BA, Classical Studies, University of Chicago ('10)

I started this company after I had spent three years working in Vietnam as a college counselor. I saw many things that I liked: perceptive students, eager counselors, understanding parents. But I also saw many things that I did not like: students too narrowly focused on ranking and reputation, a tremendous amount of misunderstanding about American educational culture, low-quality counselors, companies that took credit for student success they didn’t cause, and outright fraud.

This company was begun as a solution to many of these problems. In 2010, I graduated from the University of Chicago. I was a good student at UChicago, but more than anything else, I remember being surrounded by incredibly bright, perceptive people. People smarter than me. I knew that if I could get people like this to come to Hanoi, we would be able to achieve fantastic results for students without the cheating and without the fraud that does a disservice to students and schools alike. Solving many of this industry’s problems seemed to be as simple as finding a way to get the right people to the right place. My job is to make Bedrock that place. Join us.

 
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Adam Thompson

BA, Psychology, Colby College ('13)

I believe that the world is made richer by those who embrace responsibility and a commitment to the pursuit of truth; that the value of a liberal education lies therein. At Colby, where I focused on personality psychology and neuroscience, I gained an abiding respect for the scientific process, intellectual diversity, and interdisciplinary scholarship.Since 2013, I have worked with nonprofits and companies in Maine, Shanghai, Washington, D.C., and Hanoi. From guiding parts of a large educational exchange program to pitching award-winning startups, I have a history of enabling others with actionable insights and creative strategic initiatives.




 
 
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Michael McLaughlin

BA, Political Economy and Neuroscience, UC Berkeley ('07) MCP, UC Berkeley ('12).

After completing my Masters from UC Berkeley I took classes at the UCLA School of Film & Television before pioneering urbanism videos for Planetizen Media producing 60+ hours of programming before taking up distribution and marketing posts with Gathr Films. I am an award-winning producer that has produced for and worked with: Netflix, VICE, BBC, Journeyman Pictures and The Saigoneer. When I am not at Bedrock I am producing documentaries and marketing media.

As a first-generation college student and an intermediate Vietnamese speaker who has lived and worked in Vietnam off and on since 2004, my Bedrock fellowship is born principally out of my passion for American higher education and hopes for the next Vietnamese generations.

I hail from the intersection of policy, technology, and education, with stints working in the U.S. Congress as well as the largest labor and immigration law firm in the world.

 
 
 
 
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Anna Blackburn

BA, Marlboro College ('15) MFA, Creative Writing, University of Montana ('17).

I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana, where I worked as an undergraduate writing instructor and poetry editor for Cutbank.

My courses at UM included a place-based first-year composition course, The Art of the Essay, and Introduction to Poetry Workshop. Because creativity and conversation inform one another, I design classes around opportunities for active dialogue: with tradition, with peers, and with other writers and disciplines. I also share genuine questions and assign texts that challenge my artistic sensibilities. While I demonstrate methods of inquiry, I hope to empower students to draw their own conclusions.

Through writing poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and criticism, I have become involved in hybrid projects that meld elements from different genres. I am interested in utilizing prose’s facilities for storytelling and meaning-making while drawing on poetry’s compression, lyrical precision, and substrate knowledge. My cross-genre chapbook, The Keeping House, received the 2017 Merriam-Frontier Award and will be published later this year.

 
 
 
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Alvin Khiêm Bùi

BA, History, UCLA ('15)

I am a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA where I double majored in History and Asian American Studies, with a Departmental Honors thesis in the latter. My thesis centers on the disjointed nature of memory as history through the example of my paternal family history. I also minored in Asian Languages (Vietnamese).

After stints as a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Fellow and venture capital investment associate at 500 Startups Vietnam, I join Bedrock with the hopes of connecting Vietnamese American and Vietnamese youth in working toward an exciting future.

I will start a U.S.-based Ph.D. program in Vietnamese history in Fall 2019 with broad interests in comparative colonial/postcolonial Asian studies and Transpacific social history. Outside of research, I spend my time learning Mandarin Chinese and accumulating points and miles knowledge.

 
 
 
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Darren Rippel

BA, Sociology, Columbia University ('18).

Having started my undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and finished at Columbia University, I have a bicoastal BA in Sociology. Since I started as a Financial Economics major, my transcript is very business-centric, with courses in Accounting, Business Law, and Economics flanking those in Sociology, Statistics, and Spanish.

Focused on building brawn as well as brain, I’m a former football player, powerlifter, and personal trainer. Sports have always played a role in my life, whether it be on the field, from the stands, or in the press box. At Columbia, I worked with the Athletics Communications Department, compiling statistics and record books, creating player bios and doing spot PA announcing.

I’m drawn to population statistics and ethnographic studies. I have conducted research on Harlem gentrification, and how tourist perceptions of the neighborhood change upon visiting. It is my hope to perform similar studies in Hanoi, and share social research skills with students while at Bedrock.

 
 
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Matthew Kendrick

BA, Religion, Hillsdale College ('18)

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Hillsdale College, an institution that seeks to preserve the intellectual heritage of Western Civilization and nurture an understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

At Hillsdale, I participated in competitive policy and parliamentary debate before pioneering my own debate organization. I have instructed academic debate at the high school and college level for the last four years beginning in 2015.

My goal is to instill in students a passion for study and critical thinking by striving with them to discover truth.




Bedrock’s Alumni Fellows