Introducing the 2019 Lead Team

Meet the 2019 Lead Team!

Three weeks before the semester started, six students came to campus to begin preparing for optiMize leadership. These students were selected from last year’s Core Organizing Team to lead this semester’s team in putting on the eighth Social Innovation Challenge. Introducing Alec, Kirsten, Lilly, Ponette, Steve, and Valerie.


Kirsten Lam

Business, Class of 2022

Storytelling & Marketing

What first drew you to optiMize? I first heard about optiMize at MESA-Palooza my freshman year, and I loved the org's message! I was impressed by the innovative and passionate community optiMize has, especially after reading about past projects. Also, everyone I met welcomed me with open arms, which was really nice coming into college.

If you were a garment of clothing, which would you be? I don't know what, but something you put on your head.

Alec Anderson

International Studies, Class of 2021

Community & Organizational Culture

Why did you want to join the leadership team? I wanted to join the leadership team for two main reasons. For one, I admired the leaders that helped make optiMize such an amazing experience for me, and helped shape the optiMize community. On top of that, I believe so strongly in the work done by U-Mich students and wanted to do anything I could to make this year's Social Innovation Challenge the best one ever.

If you were a garment of clothing, which would you be? A pair of shoes. Sometimes that's sneakers, sometimes that's Chacos, and sometimes that's basketball shoes.


Ponette Rubio

Undecided, Class of 2022


What are you excited for this semester? I really liked being on core team last year and thought I could help out with making mentor-participant bonds more meaningful. I'm excited to be on lead team and work with mentorship!

If you were a garment of clothing, which would you be? Leggings.

Lilly Heald

Psychology, Class of 2021

President, SIC Lead

What are you excited about this semester? I'm excited to grow the Challenge even more and spread the word about optiMize to tons of students on campus! So many students on campus have brilliant ideas floating around in their minds, and I want them to know there's a place to foster those ideas and nurture them to fruition. Even if their project doesn't work out, I know they still will have grown and learned so much throughout the process. I can't wait to get to know the new Challenge participants, Core Team, mentors and anyone else who joins the optiMize community. We're going to have tons of fun while creating a positive sustainable impact!

If you were a garment of clothing, which would you be? A big cozy sweater.


Valerie Le

Art & Design and Communication & Media, Class of 2021

Creative Team / Design

Why did you join the leadership team? To take on some more responsibility in the org. I want to help realize optiMize’s creative vision and welcome new members to Core Team as well! I’m excited for all of our upcoming events.

If you were a garment of clothing, which one would you be? Socks.

Steve Marics

Industrial Engineering, Class of 2021


Why did you join the leadership team? I saw an opportunity to dedicate myself to community that had done so much to support me over the last year and could not miss the chance to do the same for others. I am SO STOKED to be working with our great leadership team and to see how optiMize will continue to grow and impact the lives of those in Michigan and around the world.

If you were a garment of clothing, which one would you be? Jeans.

Our new Lead Team looks forward to meeting the community and new Cohort. Be sure to look out for them and say hello!