Stern Chats Team


Steven Avila
Co-President and Co-Host

Prior to coming to Stern, Steven spent five years in various roles throughout the Obama Administration. Upon completion of his appointment, Steven spent six months traveling across the country and visiting national parks. Steven participates in Stern Chats because he is an avid lover of podcasts and storytelling, and his favorite podcast is Hard Core History by Dan Carlin.

Naisham Jamshidi

Naisham grew up in the Washington DC metropolitan area and fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams of moving to the big apple two years ago. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors, appreciating all forms of art, and learning new things. She has a deep passion for the craft of storytelling and has been an avid reader and writer of stories from a young age. She loves listening to The Moth podcast and attending their live events in Manhattan whenever she has the chance.

Rachel Gordon
Executive Producer

Rachel Gordon is a dual degree MFA/MBA Filmmaking candidate from Millburn, NJ. She comes from a background in analytics at Veterans Affairs and The New York Times. Rachel is pursuing storytelling to highlight under explored areas through fiction and non-fiction and is interested in issues ranging from race and gender, STEM diversity, and the role improving mental health can play in reducing social ills such as mass violence. The theme of her Bat Mitzvah was Harry Potter, and one her podcasts on rotation is The Moth.

Derek Fein
Content Director

Derek is an MBA1 from Long Island, New York, currently pursuing the Entertainment, Media, and Technology specialization at NYU Stern. Previously he produced content for the programs “Good Morning America” on ABC and “New Day” on CNN. Derek joined the Stern Chats team in the hopes of continuing to advance his editorial skills beyond his experience in broadcast news. In his (limited) spare time Derek coaches a high school tennis team and runs in half-marathons for charity.

Justin Katchis*
VP of Content and Co-Host

Justin is a Stern MBA1 and aspiring conversationalist. Focused on completeness since he never finishes anythi

*Disclaimer: Not his actual likeness


Andrew Slotnick

Andrew is an Associate Producer with Stern Chats. Originally from Virginia, he enjoys photography, playing guitar, sailing, and listening to his favorite podcast, Pilot to Pilot.


Sheri Holt
Co-Founder and Advisor

Sheri grew up in Los Angeles listening to NPR and story-driven radio, like Story Corps, and feels grateful to have found a partner in Frank to help launch this student-run production! She is also an avid cook, who enjoys getting inspiration from the Union Square farmers market on Saturday mornings. A fun fact is that Sheri is a classically trained pianist.


Frank Varrichio
C0-Founder and Advisor

As an active duty military member Frank will be returning to the military upon graduation from NYU Stern. Frank is an alumni of the US Coast Guard Academy and pursuing an MBA with a focus on Business Strategy. With a life long passion for radio, Frank is hoping that Stern Chats will continue to grow and succeed long after he graduates from NYU Stern. Frank lives in Hoboken NJ, with his beautiful wife Jenny and tiny puppy “Oscar Peterson.”


Steve Carey
Associate Producer

Steve was born in Los Angeles, California. Prior to Stern, he worked at 21st Century Fox in various capacities, including Corporate Development and Advertising Sales. Outside of the classroom, Steve enjoys competing in triathlons and exploring Indian food restaurants throughout New York City. Besides Stern Chats (of course!), his go-to podcasts are NPR’s “Up First”, Barstool’s “Pardon My Take” and “This American Life” by Chicago Public Media.


Yen Chiang
Web Design and Associate Producer

Yen hails from the lakeside oasis / tundra of Toronto. She is currently pursuing the title of “New Yorker” and a career that combines social impact, city planning, and service delivery. There are so many great podcasts out there but currently on rotation are 99% Invisible, Slate’s Working, and Planet Money. Outside of Stern, you can find her eating, taking the city in, or doing both at the same time.


Alex Cronstein
Associate Producer

Alex Cronstein is a former Marine who enjoys analytical discussions about political and business issues. While school, politics, and finding a new career are the top of Alex’s priority list, his other passions are skiing, surfing, climbing, and reading. When Alex is not doing school work or prepping for his next case, he can be found running in Central Park with his dog Odin or watching Curb Your Enthusiasm with his wife.


Richa Deshpande

Richa is a first year MBA student who hails from the “Land Down Under” (aka Australia). As VP of Events for Stern Chats, she hopes to use her passion for logistics and planning to bring the Stern Chats community together in creative ways. When not organizing events, Richa enjoys trying new places to eat in New York, attending boxing classes and traveling abroad. Finally, her favorite podcast is Hamish & Andy (Australian comedians); she has been an avid listener for ten years.


Jane Marks

Jane is the AVP of Marketing and is in the Langone program, specializing in Strategy and Product Management. At her day job, Jane works at HBO in Digital Distribution. In her spare time, Jane can be found at local farmers markets (see her weekly Snapchat feature, “Squash of the Week”), cooking, or running. Her favorite part of Stern so far has been meeting interesting new people.



Anthony Russ
Associate Producer

Anthony is a new New Yorker, and currently lives near Union Square with his wife. After growing up in New Jersey, he’s lived in Massachusetts for most of my adult life. When  not in business school-mode, Anthony enjoy spending time with his wife, family & friends. He is also a major sports fan, and thoroughly enjoys debating any and all topics about Philadelphia sports, in particular.


Utkarsh Satyawadi
Associate Producer

Utkarsh is from New Delhi, India where he has spent 25 years of his life. He graduated from Delhi College of Engineering majoring in Electrical Engineering. He is still an engineering geek who can spend hours discussing how electricity is transmitted. He loves driving and about 15 minutes of his Stern admissions interview was spent on discussing his 5,000 mile drive across India.


Michael Schwartz
Director of Post Production

What’s up you cool babies? Michael was born and raised in New Jersey, but attended the University of Colorado (Go Buffs!) where he majored in broadcast production. After working at the NBA for four years, he decided to pursue his MBA at NYU Stern. Podcasting is a recent interest of his, but Stern Chats has allowed him to get involved in something—production—that he has been passionate about since high school. His favorite podcast is My Brother, My Brother and Me or The Adventure Zone.


Eric Warters
Associate Producer

Eric, a native Floridian, now calls the Upper East Side home. He has 11 brothers and sisters and they all share a love for the Florida Panthers. Eric joined Stern Chats to get involved with the Stern community in a creative way. The Joe Rogan Experience is his personal favorite podcast.