Education Panel

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | 8:00 - 9:00 PM ET/5:00 - 6:00 PM PT

Anna Hyunah Byon
Zhen Gao
Sammi Wong

Anna Hyunah Byon (they/them), Senior Policy Analyst for Higher Education Policy at The Education Trust

Anna (they/them) is a senior policy analyst on the higher education policy team. They focus on higher ed accountability to ensure the success of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Before joining the Education Trust, Anna led the education portfolio for Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), the only national civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of Southeast Asian American communities. At SEARAC, they analyzed federal policy, built relationships with policymakers to advance community priorities, and supported SEARAC’s community-based partners and key civil rights coalitions. They have also served as a congressional staffer, first as a Fellow sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and then as a full-time legislative staffer.

Anna is nonbinary and a 1.5 generation Korean immigrant. They hold a MA in Urban Education Policy and BA in Education Studies from Brown University, where they examined aligning research and community organizing to support student-centered and youth-led policy change.

Zhen Gao (he/him), Chemistry Teacher at University Prep Charter High School; Doctor of Education (EdD) candidate at John Hopkins University; GMS Scholar

Zhen “Z” Gao is a first-generation and Asian American immigrant based in NYC, and currently is a high school teacher serving the South Bronx community. Zhen received his B.S. in Business Management and Entrepreneurship from Stony Brook University. Immediately after, Zhen obtained his Masters of Education from Relay School of Education, and is currently in the second year of his doctorate program in Education at John Hopkins University. Zhen’s ultimate goal is to utilize his business skills and teaching experience to start an education non-profit for motivated first-generation high school students from low-income backgrounds and to supply them with free academic, financial, and professional resources to succeed in college.

Instagram: @thezhenlife


Sammi Wong (she/her), Director of Lead Acquisition, Insights, and Operations at Teach for America

Inspired by the students that she has taught through her corps experience in Chicago, Sammi Wong continues to strive for educational equity alongside the powerful network of fellow TFA alumni changing the course of the nation. Through the three years Sammi spent in the classroom, she worked to close the opportunity gap my students faced in their under-served school. As a bilingual (Chinese-English) Early Childhood Educator, Sammi not only worked to academically and social-emotionally prepare her students for elementary school, but also formed significant and empowering relationships with their families and the community. As a result, Sammi was named a finalist for the Sue Lehmann Teaching and Learning Fellowship in recognition of the outstanding teachers of Teach For America who exemplify the organization's core values.


Additionally, she worked to build awareness by publishing nine articles while at New America - a Washington-based think tank - as part of their Education Policy team. Today in her current role, as the Director of Insights & Operations, Sammi works alongside a team of recruiters empowering them with data-driven strategies and innovative tactics to find the brightest minds and most promising leaders to bring them into the classroom and join this network working for the futures of our next generation.



Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved with TFA:

“Exploring Pathways Into Teaching”, Wednesday, September 29th at 8pm ET/5pm PT/2pm HT

Interested in pursuing a career in education? Exploring Pathways Into Teaching is a 45-minute virtual event for equity-minded leaders looking to make a difference as classroom teachers. This event will feature panelists from Teach For America, Urban Teachers, and other education programs, all of which provide their own pathway to becoming a teacher. Each program will share what makes them unique and provide concrete information on how to get involved. All programs have opportunities in various parts of the United States, too. We will end with 15-minutes of audience Q&A, during which time you can get specific questions answered. We hope to see you there!

Registration link: 

Connect with a TFA Recruiter: