Meet the DemiDec Team

Over the years, DemiDec has evolved into a vigorous team of former Decathletes, curriculum experts and freelance writers nationwide. Several members of our team are former national champions. Though many participated in the program, some had never heard of Decathlon until they encountered alumni later in life. Others are coaches, active and retired. Those team members listed below represent only a partial list of our contributors.

Join the DemiDec Team

Every summer, DemiDec offers internships to a select number of top-performing Academic Decathletes interested in becoming part of our team. Each applicant, if accepted, becomes a full-fledged DemiDec contributor, with a real project and plenty of opportunities to learn both "on the job" and from DemiDec's veteran staff members.

Find out more...

Name Projects School(s) Decathlon Achievements Bio
Daniel Berdichevsky Founder, Editor and Coordinator Harvard University, KSG M.P.P. ‘05

Stanford M.A.
& B.A. ‘02

Overall Top Scorer, National, California and L.A. City Competitions

1st Place Team, Nationals

Since founding DemiDec, Daniel (a.k.a. "DemiDec Dan") has contributed to the overhaul (but not yet the overthrow) of the Ecuadorian government, taught in Korea, designed persuasive technologies, lived in a monastery, and been the best man at a wedding with multiple best men. He has also destroyed a gas station, though only by accident. Daniel especially enjoys drizzly weather and will often accumulate frequent flier miles in order to visit freezing cold countries in the middle of the winter.
Catherine Chen Workbook Coordinator

Workbook Author (2004-2005)

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine '09

Northwestern University ’05

  Catherine "Cat" Chen recently completed her first year of medical school at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine after graduating from Northwestern with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in June 2005. In her free time, Catherine enjoys practicing with Northwestern's juggling club, being six and a half feet tall, reading her most-recently acquired novel, and cooking.
Dean Schaffer Power Guide Coordinator

Music Power Guide

University '10

Taft High School '06

1st Place Honor, National Competition (2006)

1st Place Team, Nationals and California (2006) & LAUSD (2005-2006)

Overall Top Scorer, California (2005) and LAUSD

When Dean’s not working for DemiDec, he's probably sleeping or playing guitar with his noodly appendages. He hopes someday to move to Molvania, an illustrious ex-communist state in Eastern Europe; until then, however, he will attend Stanford, which is a little like Molvania in that it lacks public transportation and any real connection to the outside world.
Julia Rebrova Coordinating Editor (2006)

Super Quiz Power Guide

Science Power Guide

Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania '10

Taft High School '06

2nd Place Honor, Nationals (2006) and LAUSD (2006)

1st Place Team, Nationals (2006), California (2006) & LAUSD (2005-2006)

Recently featured in the L.A. Times for her SAT and ACT scores, Julia appreciates Mary Poppins and British tea. She’s sure the world stops for 24; if you disagree, she may sentence you to fifth grade English in Alphabet Bay. Her goals in life include owning every single book on the planet and experiencing every possible season of guacamole.
Melanie Goodman Cross-Curriculum Reviewer

Art Workbook

Art Quizzes

Elmira College '09

Granada Hills High School '05

3rd Place Team, California (2005) Melanie was involved in Decathlon for four years at Granada Hills High School, where she thrived on camaraderie and caffeine. Deca was an addiction she could not quit, so she joined DemiDec.  Now at Elmira College, Melanie plays hockey, procrastinates, drinks chai lattes, watches 24, and reads books, but only the unassigned ones.
Monica Schettler Lead Beta Tester (2006)

Beta Tester

University of San Francisco '10

Taft High School '06

1st Place Team, Nationals, California, and LAUSD (all 2006) On the off-hand chance that Monica isn't trying to get that weird decathlon aftertaste out of her mouth, she enjoys all things Macintosh, being photographed with beverages, and traipsing around the internet. When it comes to tea, she is open to surprises—an admirable quality.
Tom Brazee Lead Programmer (2001-2006)

Social Science Resource

Norris High School (Coach)  1st Place Medium Team, Nebraska (2006) Somewhere in Nebraska, Tom works the magic that makes DemiDec possible--from web sites that write tests (well, almost) to software that administers them (even on PDAs.) Coach of the Norris High School team, the top medium-sized school in Nebraska, 2006, Tom has been a DemiDec writer, editor and lead programmer since 1999.
Zac Ellington Internal Affairs

Poetry Power Guide

Grinnell College '10

Taft High School '06

1st place team, Nationals (2006), California (2006), and LAUSD (2006 and 2005)

1st Place Varsity, Nationals (2006) and LAUSD (2005)

Before becoming lost in the hazy, slightly fruity world of Decathlon, Zac interned at a radio station and a music label. Zac recommends that you read books by David Sedaris, unless of course you don’t like to laugh. Zac likes animals, music, food, and sleep. Zac doesn’t like insomnia, applying to college, or writing about himself in the third person.
Atish Sawant Cross-Curriculum Quizzes (2006) Yale University '10

Taft High School '06

Overall Top Scorer, Nationals (2006)

1st place team, Nationals (2006), California (2006), and LAUSD (2006 and 2005)

Aside from Decathlon and schoolwork, Atish's favorite pastime is basketball, whether that means watching a Clippers playoff game on television or going down to the courts for a game. He has played the piano for 8 years, and plans to major in bioengineering at Yale.
Benjamin Lin Mathematics and Impromptus

Science Cram Kit

Caltech '10

West High School ‘06

Overall Top Scorer, Los Angeles County (2005 and 2006) Ben never lacks for something interesting to say or study. In 2005—and at DemiDisco 2006—he delivered a speech on Santa Claus at the California state competition. Indeed, the night before competition he was spotted in the LAX Airport Marriott lobby wearing a red hat, though with no toys to hand out.
Ben Strauber Literature Exams

Scimitar Literature Exams

Arizona State University ‘09

North Canyon High School '05

  A fiendishly prolific literature exam author, Ben visited DemiDec HQ in August 2005, prompting a team-wide pilgrimage to a Chinese supermarket in Monterey Park.
Casey Glick Beta Testing

Music Cram Kit (2005)

Pleasant Valley High School '07 1st Place Honors, California Division II In summer 2005, Casey got on the wrong bullet train in Osaka and missed his destination (and his farewell party) by 200 miles. The inevitable Decathlon speech that resulted helped him break 9,000 points at competition; now back home in Butte County, he can be found playing piano, or singing loudly along with the radio.

Art Power Guide (2005)

Art Power Guide and Exams (2004)

Harvard University '08

Bellefonte High School '04

Overall Top Scorer, Pennsylvania State (2004) Upon discovering that open-seas piracy and tiddlywinks were not actually majors at Harvard, Chris resignedly took up the field of history. This summer - in addition to DemiDec and provided catastrophre doesn't strike - he's going to be working on filming a movie that he wrote. After college, he plans to become a secondary school teacher.
Chuan-Mei Lee Poetry Resource

Poetry Workbook

Stanford University M.A. ‘05

Stanford University B.A. ‘04

  An aspiring writer and journalist, Chuan-Mei graduated from Stanford (again) in 2005 with an M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature. While she enjoys thinking and reading “modernly,” secretly she wishes she could just go back to college (or be a singing muppet on “Avenue Q”). In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, talking on the radio, and living in China, where she is a Fulbright Prize recipient.
Clifford Shin Super Quiz Exams

Scimitar Science Exams

Columbia University ‘09

North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet ‘05

  Possessing a small library of "sounds of nature," Clifford once considered dropping his studies for a year to record rainstorms around the world. Currently he is pursuing a major in Biology with a chemistry concentration.  He is a fan of Audrey Hepburn, sappy Korean dramas (The Prince Turned Frog, anyone?) and teatime.
Cori Linder Polisher

Master’s of Professional Writing,

B.A. in Communication Studies,
  Cori Linder works as a freelance writing consultant doing everything from developing technical/business documentation to helping professionals write their books.
Craig Chu Math Editor
Caltech ‘04

Martin High School ‘00

  Now a professional actuary in Boston, Craig is well-known in DemiDec circles for his mathematical savvy, his fluid dynamics and his discovery of a very debilitated DemiDec Dan at the Madrid International Airport.
David Novgorodsky Art Fundamentals Power Guide (2006) Berkeley '10

Taft High School '06

Second Place Scholastic, Nationals (2006) David demonstrated a psychic flash with regard to the individual overall standings at the national awards ceremony in San Antonio, prompting widespread but pleasant confusion in the audience.
Dean Webb China for the Rest of Us

Renaissance for the Rest of Us

Berkner High School (Coach)

First Place Pseudo-Team, National 
Super Quiz Relay (2006)
Dean has a wife and kids, including a daughter who's a senior in high school. He is desperately hustling cash to afford putting her through college. If he is ever again kidnapped by a Venezuelan soccer team, he will gladly accept whatever money they offer for cabfare.
Denise Ichinco Social Science Flashcards

Super Quiz

MIT '09

Emerson Jr. / Sr. High School '05

Now majoring in Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, Denise first joined DemiDec after four years of Academic Decathlon in New Jersey. When she's not reading, she's throwing people in judo (and dispelling the myth that is the “judo-chop”), crocheting, trying to figure out what to do with her life, or checking her mail.
Diana Saville Illustrator (2006) Harvard '05 Diana is currently nursing a broken clavicle sustained in a coed soccer game.
Erica Niemiec Music Focused Exams (2006)

Music Evaluative Exams (2005)

University of Minnesota '09

New Berlin Eisenhower High School '05

Overall Top Scorer, Wisconsin Academic Decathlon (2005) Erica enjoys poetry, listening to music of all sorts, singing, playing the piano and handbells, and theater. Though never terribly athletic, she is now a coxswain on a crew team and therefore interested in all things rowing. She reallys enjoy learning languages, particularly “dead” ones, as is interested in the ancient world in general.
Erika Vause Essay Topics

Super Quiz Flashcards

Ph.D. Program in Modern European History, University of Chicago

Berkeley ‘04

Overall Top Scorer, California Academic Decathlon (2000) Although four-year Acadec veteran Erika does eventually plan to enter "the real world," her seeming tolerance for non-complex carbohydrates and sleep deprivation are currently enabling her to pursue a PhD in Modern European History at the University of Chicago. Her current goal is to finish her dissertation or bring about world peace, whichever comes first.
Erin Yu Music Exams (2006) Harvard University '10

Plano Sr. High School '06

3rd Place Honor, Nationals (2006)

Texas State Champion (2006)

When the Plano coaches recruited Erin at the end of her sophomore year, she remembers thinking she must have been the only person in the world who could possibly get excited about a competition that consisted of absorbing huge packets of knowledge and taking multiple choice tests. Now she's helping to create the packets and write the tests. Her other hobbies include reading (J.K. Rowling, Sylvia Plath, and USAD are a few of her favorites), snowboarding, and standardized testing.

Ian Ynda-Hummel Mac Flashcard 
Garfield High School '07 1st Place Scholastic, LAUSD (2006)

2nd Place Scholastic, California (2006)

Ian’s name is not Ishmael, but it does begin with an 'I'. His hobbies include computers, anime, puppies, and long walks on the beach. Actually, he rather dislikes the beach, but he does like puppies; that part was true.
Jennifer Brisendine Literature Quizzes and Exams (2006) Seton Hill University M.A.

West Virginia Wesleyan College B.A.

Jennifer is a secondary English teacher and freelance writer from Pennsylvania. As a young child, she would spend hours happily creating quizzes and tests for her parents (mostly on Peanuts cartoons and episodes of Little House on the Prairie), so she’s excited to be writing for DemiDec. She currently teaches 11th grade English and enjoys reading every day with her 18-month-old son, Aidan Carter.

Jennifer Wang Art Power Guide (2006) Stanford University ('10)

Centennial High School ('06)

Overall Top Scorer, Idaho Academic Decathlon (2006)

Idaho State Champion (2005)

Jen Wang has time to ponder the endless futility of existence now that she has graduated from high school. She plans to subsist the entire summer on fruits, Starbucks, and Cheez-Its, except when she will be eating Chinese food. In China. She scored a meager 8,075 at the regional competition in 2006, where Centennial’s 10-year winning streak dynasty was toppled by upstart Sandpoint.  She took the gold individually, but the victory was bitter with the blood, sweat, and tears of defeat. 
Jensen Law Math Exams

Scimitar Math Exams

Brown University ‘09

North Hollywood High School ‘05

  Jensen joined DemiDec in 2005 as the math writer for the Scimitar testing suite. Science Bowl captain and "honorary member" of the North Hollywood Acadec team, Jensen spent most of high school memorizing science facts, delivering random impromptu speeches and writing essays about books he never read.  Now at Brown University, Jensen spends his free time napping and at ballroom dance practices.
Jesse Vigil Super Quiz Screenplay (2003-2006)

Super Quiz Resource

Art Exams

USC ‘04

St. Pius X Academy ‘00

New Mexico State Champion (1999) A contributing author since 1999, Jesse first became demifamous for his appendices, including the Super Quiz Smackdown, which pitted authors against each other in a grudge match to teach relationships between articles. A graduate of the USC film school and a professional writer of all things needing writing, Jesse worked with Daniel to originate the Super Quiz Screenplay, which has been published annually since 2003. Jesse also enjoys sunset walks on the beach, kittens, and movies where things go boom.
Joyce Yuan Music
Power Guide (2006)
Berkeley '07

Lowell '03

1st Place Scholastic, California Division II (2003) Joyce isa third-year at UC Berkeley, majoring in molecular and cell biology and minoring in Japanese. Joyce is a big fan of the Japanese  all-female musical revue company Takarazuka; she has played piano for over ten years. Her favorite place on earth is Disneyworld. She has been there four times and can't wait to go again. She enjoys eating, especially Japanese food, Thai food, and desserts like cheesecake. She has a fraternal twin, though they look similar and have fun confusing people.
Juhyung Sun Music Power Guide (2006) Canyon Del Oro High School '07 Arizona State Champion (2006) An enlightened despot in the making, Juhyung would rather plan out impossible military strategies or work out dubious economic systems, but usually instead spends his time in more mundane ventures as reading Decathlon materials, losing sleep, and intentionally telling people how to mispronounce his name. He's currently a senior at Canyon del Oro High School, where he plans to wreak as much havoc as possible before finding other hapless instructors to terrorize.
Julia Ma Math Quizzes

Math Exams (2002-2005)

Caltech '06

Alta High School '02

Julia is a senior electrical engineering major at the California Institute of Technology. She joined DemiDec as a Math writer in 2002. Julia thinks the writing for DemiDec is not as fun as playing with the robots in her lab, but she agrees that DemiDec keeps her high school math skills up to par. When she's not studying or writing for DemiDec, she's an expert Ramen noodles chef and enjoys strawberry limeade. Rose quartz is her favorite rock, and circuit boards are hot
Kieran Fitzgerald Economics Exams


Friendswood High School ‘05 Overall Top Scorer, Texas (2006)

1st Place Team, Texas Medium Schools (2005 and 2006)

Kieran is a vegan and enjoys reading, eating, and listening to Slayer in his free time.
Ling Wang Social Science Quizzes

Music Listening Tests & Cram Kit (2005)

New York University '10

Friendswood High School ‘06

1st Place Team, Texas Medium School Academic Decathlon (2005)  An avid lover of music, Ling plans on majoring in Recorded Music at NYU and will hopefully go on to become a successful record producer. Her hobbies include singing, playing piano and guitar, and doodling.  She spends an unusual amount of time at Starbucks, where she camps and studies.
Lucy Zheng Art Flashcards


Duke University '10

Arcadia High School ‘06

  Lucy's greatest moments all include some decathlete element, such as the award ceremony, a massage train on the stairs, etc. When she is not with her team, which is rare, she enjoys shopping, walks in the park and reading fantasy novels.
Lydia Lo Super Quiz Flashcards

Super Quiz Testbank

Harvard University '09

Westlake High '05

Lydia participated in Academic Decathlon as a freshman, then returned four years later to write the Scimitar Super Quiz Testbank. Her favorite films include Love Actually and Office Space, and she is an editor for the Harvard Crimson.
Magali Ferare Flashcards

Music Workbook

Stanford University '10   Magali completely immersed herself in DemiDec culture in lieu of a functional AcaDec team. Magali also thoroughly enjoys Broadway musicals, and along with Dan and a few other DemiDeckers hopes to put together and star in an AcaDec musical comedy whenever she can escape her part-time internship for the award-winning and very very liberal Sunday Pinnacle Newspaper.
Maneesh Sethi Math Quizzes

Beta Tester

Stanford University ‘09

Bella Vista High School ‘05

  Maneesh has worked with Blitz Basic for the past four years. He is also the founder of Standard Design, a website design company, and leader of Cold Vector Games, a game programming team.
Meaghan McNeill Economics Exams

Chinese Economy Power Guide

Baylor University '10

Lubbock High Schook '06

Overall Top Scorer,
Texas Large School
Academic Decathlon (2006)
Last season, Meaghan could be found at the local Coffee Haus with a chai studying the European Renaissance until it came out her ears.  Since the state competition, she has tried to fill her free time with studying, dance, reading, and more Aca Deca.  She thinks she will pursue a Biology major in college, but is wary since she only took advanced physics in high school.
Michael Huang Website Designer (2005-2006) Stanford University '07

Cinco Ranch High School '03

The lead web site designer for the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab and for the BuddyBuzz initiative, Michael is presently studying abroad in Beijing at a university that was once a garden for the emperors and that features gigantic stuffed version of the Beijing 2008 Olympic mascots in the campus convenience store.
Michael Lew The Good Earth Resource and Exams

Science Resource and Exams

Yale University ‘03   Michael graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and Theater Studies. As a 1999 Intel Science Talent Search Finalist, he entered college intent on studying medicine and emerged a playwright and director. This is either because he was seeking a more creative outlet or perhaps because at Yale the science classes are at 9 a.m. on the top of a distant hill whereas the English classes are at 2 p.m. right in the heart of campus.
Michelle Yang Art Resource (2006) Harvard University '10 Michelle is currently somewhere in Europe.
Mike Stanek Super Quiz Exams (2006) University of Chicago '09

Eastlake North High School '05

Overall Top Scorer, Ohio State Competition (2004) A student at the University of Chicago, Mike intends to major in physics and astrophysics. His other interests include politics, paleontology, and Pez. He hopes to someday live the life of a great cosmologist: wining, dining, and travelling to scenic locales (and, occasionally, cosmologying).
Nance Yuan Music Fundamentals Power Guide Berkeley '07

Lowell High School '03

1st Place Honor, Div. 1, California State Competition (2003) Nance is a senior majoring in Molecular & Cell Biology and minoring in Japanese. She plays piano; her dreams include going to med school to become a doctor and living abroad in Japan. She likes fruits and veggies and Craig Ferguson and does not like bagels, sugary sodas, and Jimmy Kimmel. If you're wondering how to tell Nance and her sister Joyce apart, you can go by voice: Nance was a 1st soprano in choir and Joyce a 2nd alto. Nance is one inch taller (a few pounds heavier), has a more square jaw, and a larger head (by 2 cm.) Sadly, the extra size consists of only air and bone.
Russ Glenn Social Science Power Guide IRTs (2006) Cambridge 
University Ph.D. Program

Brown University '04

Moorpark High Schook '00

2nd Place Honor, Div. 1, California State Competition (2001)

Russ was the third-highest scorer at the 2000 California Academic Decathlon. DemiDec gives his life some structure other than the rowing that seems to take up the remainder of his time in Cambridge. His doctoral work is in the oh-so-politically-correctly-named Oriental Studies department
Siddharth Dangi Super Quiz Focused Quizzes
Trabuco Hills High School ‘06 1st Place Team, Orange County (2005)

Siddharth’s favorite tennis player is Andy Roddick, his favorite basketball player is Steve Nash, and his favorite ping-pong player is Forrest Gump. After college, he hopes to do a bit of traveling around the world, especially in Europe and Asia.
Summer Block Super Quiz Exams

Art and Social Science Exams

University of Chicago ‘01   A freelance writer and critic, Summer points out that she may be "solitary, poor, nasty, and brutish," but that she is "certainly not short." Originally from Los Angeles, she now lives in Shanghai with her fiance and lots of pets. When DemiDec Dan visited Shanghai, she was in Beijing; when he visited Beijing, she was in Shanghai.
Tina Ye Lead Artist

Art Exams and Cram Kit

Tufts University '08

School of the Museum of Fine Arts ‘09

Acton-Boxborough ’04

1st Place Team, Massachusetts (2003, 2004) Tina is an undergraduate in her second year and an inquisitive dreamer. She aspires to help build the world as an architect, or to link people together as a graphic designer. Her enjoyments include music, art, architecture, web design, fattening up her housemates, and laughing impulsively.
Tom Yang Social Science Power Guide
Harvard University '10

Woodbridge High School '06

Overall Top Scorer, Orange County (2006)

3rd Place Honor, California (2006)

Tom’s interests include Latin, history (especially Roman), international relations, chemistry, numismatics, linguistics, earth science, coins and stoicism. A quasi-celebrity in Decathlon circles following his score of 9,258 points at county competition, Tom was a crowd favorite at the 2006 California state finals.
Wenna Jia Art Power Guide (2006) Harvard University '10

Whitney Young High School '06

3rd Place Honor, Nationals (2005)

Illinois State Champion (2005-2006)

When Wenna isnot in hermit mode during the peak of Acadec season, she enjoys reading novels, being an iPod junkie, memorizing pivotal lines from romantic comedies, and going on road trips with her friends.
Yuhong Wang Economics Exams (2006) Hamilton High School '06 Yuhong Wang has indefinitely suspended her idea of becoming a traveling comedian.  Instead, she will major in electrical engineering and minor in economics. She is reluctant to part with Academic Decathlon, her true love of four years. Yuhong is still happily married, however, to her TI-86, her mechanical pencil, and her orange tree. She enjoys fishing, science textbooks, pessimistic conversations, abbreviating too much, chewing Extra, and music that her parents do not like.