The World Scholar’s Cup draws on the spirited contributions of staff, volunteers, and champions all over the world; there is no way to introduce all of them. Below are just some of our team members:
Daniel Berdichevsky is the program's founder and alpaca-in-chief. In high school, he achieved the highest score in the history of the United States Academic Decathlon; he has been a professional nerd ever since. For Daniel, Decathlon was life-changing: it introduced him to the joy of teamwork, inspired him to overcome his fear of public speaking, and launched him into college with new confidence. It was after studying science, technology, and society and public policy at Stanford and then public policy at Harvard that Daniel had three realizations: first, that there was no opportunity like the one he had been given for students around the world; second, that such a global program could be for students in the 21st century what Decathlon had been for him in the 20th; and, third, that he had just discovered his life’s work. Daniel has also led strategic innovation for CASIO, worked (with great non-success) in venture capital, and attempted (with even greater non-success) to write musicals. Daniel loves little more (except maybe the song Havana) than meeting and learning from students around the world.
Tom Brazee is the program's lead programmer and lead scoring specialist and the member of team most likely to have developed an allergic reaction to the words unhandled exception error. A computer science instructor and Quiz Bowl coach for many years in the great state of Nebraska, Tom has been dropping into developer mode with the World Scholar's Cup (and its predecessor, DemiDec) since 1999 (when Daniel briefly mistook him for a flashcard writer); his travels began ten years later with a trip to Singapore and have continued ever since. Tom's many distinctions at the World Scholar's Cup include being the only staff member ever to fall asleep on stage during the Scholar's Show and one of the few to have survived the 2010 Scholar's Scavenge; he also jams a mean air guitar.
Min Chiang is way more than min. Min is max. Min puts maximum effort into all of her World Scholar’s Cup endeavors—most recently, spending two years organizing rounds in China even while the rest of the world had no rounds at all. Long before that, she began as a scholar in Shanghai, then became a valuable contributor at one Global Round after the other. In 2021, she was Daniel’s cousin.
Jeremy Chumley (“JChum”) is the Managing Director of the World Scholar’s Cup. A specialist in belly-to-belly diplomacy, he is also an expert in burgers, Chelsea boots, essay reading, Texas, and frog anatomy. He takes Challenge proctoring very seriously—especially when scholars aren’t taking the Challenge very seriously. Prior to joining the World Scholar’s Cup, Jeremy taught math, sold suits, and questioned the value of the World Scholar’s Cup.
Timothy Hibbins believes in the importance of a good breakfast—specifically, a Bacon and Egg McMuffin™, three hash browns, taro pie, and coconut water (if they have). He likes to explain things in great detail, even to those who do not like detail. When he isn’t diagramming Texan family trees or writing high-production value Bowl questions, he is probably at the mall or in Canberra, which has no malls. He is the member of the team most likely to have his hair dyed during a talent show by a scholar from Myanmar.
Jason Hu joined the World Scholar’s Cup after first serving as our keynote speaker at the Cape Town Global Round and our host liaison at the Yale University Tournament of Champions, where he represented the Yale International Relations Association. From the beginning, Jason has been the best-natured person on our team, an asset he uses everyday in his new role as a teacher in Texas.
Dylan Kroft first began his journey with the program as a scholar in 2012, showing up to his first debate shaking with nervousness, excitement, and two cans of green tea, and hoping his parents would reward him for his effort with a new laptop. A year later, he helped his brother Terran start the World Scholar's Cup Facebook group. From the science of transportation to the history of espionage, Dylan grew to love each and every one of the subject areas he explored as a scholar. After following in his brother’s footsteps as the top scholar at the Global Round, he joined our team as our first-ever Gap 18-Monther in 2017. When he isn't hosting or organizing rounds, Dylan can be found hoarding laptops, treating all alpacas with great affection, and collecting sneakers as sharp as his cheekbones but more numerous.
Kevin Kuo recently transitioned out of and then back into the program. On any given day, he may be found upgrading the solid-state hard drive on a teammate’s laptop, running a side gig selling technology on Facebook, booking and rebooking flights for the entire team (with some exceptions), enjoying an episode of an anime series on Crunchyroll, working for the Canadian government, or DJ'ing a Global Round Awards Ceremony.
Chauncey Lo (“Chacha”) is officially celebrated at the World Scholar’s Cup. As our Creative Director, he directs creatively—when he isn’t playing Geoguessr. Chauncey is the team member most likely to win at Jeopardy! In hindsight, he is also the team member most likely not to have won at Jeopardy! Chauncey’s voice is the Official Dramatic Voiceover of the World Scholar’s Cup. In 2019, he announced the 2020, 2021, and 2022 themes with a speech he rehearsed.
Patrick Henry McDonald III is the member of the team most likely to respond to your many questions and information requests. A former librarian, he loves making learning fun, safe, and effective. Over the years, Patrick has become one of our team’s most experienced travelers, round organizers, and purveyors of nutraceuticals.
Thishin Moodley is the unseen force behind our certificates, which we know matter to many of you. After recognizing the impact of debating in his own life, he went on to launch a coaching cartel in Pietermaritzburg; it was in this role that he first met Daniel and learned about the World Scholar’s Cup. A few emails later he was applying for his first passport and leaving home to help spread the value of debating in a whole new way. He spends most of his time programming, renting apartments, avoiding political mayhem, mining Bitcoin, and breaking (and repairing) phones and laptops.
Josephine Richstad is the Director of Curriculum at the World Scholar's Cup. She holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA and a BA, also in English, from Columbia University. She first joined our team as a writer in 2008, beginning her alpaca-centric collaboration with Daniel over breakfast at a Malibu diner shortly before going underground at a Charles Dickens festival. She is pictured here at her desk in Idaho, where she divides her time between tending her family, teaching herself economics, masterminding the production of curriculum and testing materials, and not taking international flights.
Rosie Berdichevsky is the program’s alpaca-mom; based in Los Angeles in a suburb full of coyotes and Hollywood film production crews, she processes all our registrations and takes care of the program’s two puppies, Molly and Luli. At Global Rounds, she can be found at the souvenir booth with her grandson Aiden, who will be watching YouTube.
Kylie Tamara is our Producer and the Master of All Things Inflatable. As a child, she attended about 30% of the world's international schools. She first joined the World Scholar's Cup as one of our many friends at Big Red Button, our video production partners since 2014, when she was asked to cover the end of the Hanoi Global Round. At the time, she wondered why the program had a strange obsession with carrots. At any given moment, she may be planning a scavenger hunt for our next European Global Round, addressing on-stage wardrobe malfunctions, placing pineapples on a properly-appreciated chair, or denying allegations that she is Dylan's mother.
Maris Van Boheemen is our first-ever team member from the Netherlands, where they helped lead the delegation from our original host school, Laar & Berg. Their house now doubles as a distribution point for alpacas across the European Union, which is growing at approximately the same rate as our regional rounds in Europe. Maris is also well-known as a mobile distribution point for stroopwafels.
Vishal Verma is the World Scholar's Cup Program Director for India and the Director of Global Round Planning. Following a chance meeting with Daniel at a conference in Singapore in 2012, he was infected by the alpaca virus and has chosen never to be cured. When he is not driving nine hours to introduce the program to a new school in the Himalayas, he is frequently found waiting for sandwiches and sourcing obstetricians. Vishal has a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Telecom Engineering from Pune University and an MBA in Finance from the Symbiosis Institute. He spends his free time on photography and reading.
Painted Warrior is alive.
Olivia Watson spent much of the pandemic in Western Australia, where she enjoyed the local wildlife, especially the spiders. She began as a volunteer for the program in Warsaw, then very quickly joined our team to help recruit new schools and build new rounds all over the world. She is a dolphin, except when she is in Missouri, when she is a fox.
Alexandra Witt (“Teacher Lexi”) has joined our team for a gap decade following an earlier career as a well-trained performer for the Cirque’d’ISA. Her emails are strategically sad. An expert in hide-and-seek, Lexi will gladly find you the nearest bathroom during the Scholar’s Challenge. If she ever sees a lost scholar, you can count on her to ask, "where are you going...?" Before joining the World Scholar’s Cup, Lexi attended the smallest school in the world, located in a mall in Costa Rica.
The many jetlagged members of the World Scholar's Cup traveling team would like to thank their friends and families for their relentless love and support as they tote alpacas all around the world; it helps make the tough times bearable and the good times truly joyful.