Alumni Council

The six-member Flinn Scholar Alumni Council supports the Flinn Scholars Program by providing feedback and advice to Flinn Foundation staff, undertaking initiatives to enhance the experience of current Flinn Scholars, and cultivating a meaningful network of Flinn Scholar alumni.

Meet the Flinn Scholar Alumni Council:

Breanne Bushu (Chair)

Education Policy Leader, Strategic Planner, & Education Designer
Flinn Scholar Class of 2002
University of Arizona

Breanne Bushu is an independent education consultant. She brings to the Flinn Scholar Alumni Council expertise in education public policy research, strategic planning, and systems design—from experiences working in schools, nonprofits, and the Arizona Legislature. Breanne is particularly excited to serve on the Alumni Council because of her lifelong commitment to Arizona students and to give back to the Flinn Foundation for its ongoing support. Breanne is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Arizona, where she earned a Master of Education in educational leadership and Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art. She is also a 2016 Flinn-Brown Fellow.

Lindsey Chew (Incoming Chair)

Lindsay Chew
MD/PhD Candidate
Duke University School of Medicine
Flinn Scholar Class of 2014
University of Arizona

Lindsey A. Chew graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Arizona Honors College in 2018, with a degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (Neurobiology emphasis) alongside minors in Spanish and Business Economics. She is currently completing her MD/PhD at Duke University School of Medicine through the Medical Scientist Training Program, and she is a Ph.D. candidate in Catherine Bowes Rickman’s lab in the Department of Ophthalmology. Her project focuses on validating gene therapy targets for age-related macular degeneration, as well as understanding the role of specific fat and cholesterol components in the development of this visually-impairing disease. Lindsey aspires to see patients as an ophthalmologist and conduct research to find cures for blindness. She was inspired by her time as a puppy raiser with Guide Dogs for the Blind during her college years in Tucson. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Lindsey spent several months traveling to guide dog training schools around the world (Czechia, Ireland, Hungary, New Zealand, Canada), meeting with mobility and orientation training experts as well as innumerable guide dog handlers. The Flinn Foundation played a key role in enabling her exploration, and Lindsey looks forward to continuing the adventure on the Flinn Alumni Council.

Shantanu Bala (Past Chair)

Senior Software Engineer
Art Blocks
Flinn Scholar Class of 2011
Arizona State University

Shantanu Bala has spent the past decade building wearable computers and multimedia software. At Culdesac, he integrated ubiquitous computing into the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the United States. In his previous role as CEO of Somatic Labs, he oversaw the design, engineering, manufacture, and distribution of haptic interfaces on behalf of three Fortune 500 R&D groups, two large aerospace companies, and hundreds of individuals. While pursuing undergraduate degrees in computer science and psychology at Arizona State University, he conducted human-computer interaction research at the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing for six years. He was awarded a Thiel Fellowship in 2014, and his contributions to the field of tangible media received first place awards at the Alphalab International Hardware Cup, NASA iTech, and ASU Innovation Open. As someone who has collaborated with Flinn Scholars throughout his career, Shantanu brings enthusiasm for helping foster the same connections in future classes.

Tina Kwasnica

Interim chair, Department of Physical Medicine and NeuroRehabilitation
Barrow Neurological Institute
Flinn Scholar Class of 1987
University of Arizona

Tina Kwasnica is a member of the second Flinn Scholar class. After graduating from the University of Arizona, she went to Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. She was fortunate to find the field of rehabilitation medicine and stayed to train at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan Ability Lab), the preeminent program in the field of rehabilitation. Her path led back home to Phoenix and Barrow Neurological Institute in 2000. Her interests include pediatric rehabilitation, spasticity management, brain injury and sports concussion. She is married to Kevin Theodorou and has two children—Brandon, who is pursuing a doctorate in computer science/artificial intelligence at University of Illinois and Alex, who is a junior at Arizona State University and a collegiate gymnast dreaming of medical school. Tina is excited to continue her relationship with the Flinn Foundation which changed the pathway of her future.

Mark Larsen

Managing Principal/Director of Operations
Walter P Moore
Flinn Scholar Class of 1987
University of Arizona

Mark Larsen is a managing principal and the director of operations for Walter P Moore, a multi-discipline engineering firm with offices across the U.S. and in four other countries. Mark grew up in Tombstone with a tinkering mindset and a desire to build things. Mark funneled these instincts to the University of Arizona College of Engineering, where he studied structural engineering and graduated summa cum laude in 1991. Mark was very active in multi-discipline research projects in his time as an undergraduate and continued at University of Arizona to earn a Master of Science in structural engineering. Over the past 30-plus years, Mark has designed buildings in Arizona, across the U.S., and on four continents. He’s had the opportunity to work with architects such as Antoine Predock and Richard Meier, and his project list includes SoFi Stadium, the Atlanta Braves ballpark, and the Star Wars parks for Disney in both Anaheim and Orlando.  Mark and his wife, Rayann, live in the metro Atlanta area, while their daughter is a student at UC Berkeley.  Mark is excited about the opportunity to engage with the Flinn Foundation and especially with the Scholars in his role on the Alumni Council. 

Gayatri Sadachar

Flinn Scholar Class of 2015
University of Arizona

Gayatri Sadachar earned her honors degree from the University of Arizona in neuroscience and cognitive science with a minor in women’s studies. Her lasting interest in healthy aging and rural health care was first sparked by a study abroad trip to Greece, a dream made possible by the Flinn Foundation. As a College of Science ambassador, she led STEM outreach initiatives for youth at Diamond Children’s Medical Center and Tucson Science City. In 2019, she was named Outstanding Senior. During the pandemic, Gayatri began working as a health educator for the Phoenix Mobile Health Unit, where she and her colleagues provided over 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines and preventative health screenings for underserved communities across Arizona. The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health recognized their efforts with a Staff Team Award for Excellence in 2021. To continue improving the health of Arizonans, she will pursue an advanced degree. Gayatri is deeply grateful for the chance to give back to the Foundation that has given life-changing opportunities to both her and her brother, Shivam, a 2017 Flinn Scholar.

Past Alumni Council Members

Ruth Allard Past Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 1990

Ruben Alonzo
Flinn Scholar Class of 2001

Jennifer Banks – Past Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 1991

Timothy Ellsworth Bowers
Flinn Scholar Class of 1997

Aaron Cain
Flinn Scholar Class of 1997

Michael ChuPast Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 1992

Darryl Davis-Rosas
Flinn Scholar Class of 2006

Heidi Ernst
Flinn Scholar Class of 1998

Nathan Johnson
Flinn Scholar Class of 1986

Ajay Karpur
Flinn Scholar Class of 2012

Renata Keller
Flinn Scholar Class of 2000

Arielle King
Flinn Scholar Class of 2007

Susan Luu (Lai) Past Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 1987

Samantha Winter McAlpinPast Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 2004

Michael Mitchell
Flinn Scholar Class of 1986

Margaret Neff
Flinn Scholar Class of 2003

Jennifer (Manuszak) Nelson
Flinn Scholar Class of 1989

Am Norgren
Flinn Scholar Class of 2006

Matt Rolland
Flinn Scholar Class of 2005

Benjamin Sanchez
Flinn Scholar Class of 2009

Amy Shahar (Stabler)Past Chair
Flinn Scholar Class of 2007

The Flinn Scholars Directory