About Us
Meet The Robert Yin SPIRIT Foundation Inc. Board of Directors
Based out of Rockville, in Montgomery County, Maryland, we are a dedicated and energetic team, plus volunteers.  We keep SPIRIT alive and growing through charitable work, in the face of Robert's sad and early and tragic death. Click on a name below to see the profile of that person.
  • The Board has openings for positions as Operational, Advisory, and Honorary Members.
  • The Board meets monthly, both virtually (online) and in person.
  • We might also offer internships for college students.
  • If you want to inquire about getting involved, please contact us!


posted Dec 9, 2010, 9:43 AM by Remember Robert Yin   [ updated Feb 9, 2014, 10:13 AM by Sandy G ]

Alex Giger

SPIRIT Foundation President
I am Alex, Robert's younger brother by 17 months. I am a graduate of Wootton High School's Class of 2009. From choirs and orchestras to duets at the local nursing home, growing up and playing music together with Robert has influenced my decision to pursue a career in music. I graduated from the University of Maryland School of Music, where I studied violin performance with James Stern. Robert shared his passion and love of music with me, always supporting me and encouraging me no matter what.

For most of our childhood, Robert and I always did the same things: tae kwon do, violin, Chinese school, singing, church choir, Landon, MCYO Orchestra, Peabody Orchestra, video games, going to the pool, playing and spectating baseball, trips to China, the list goes on. In the cars together for years and a couple hundred thousand miles. I will always cherish the memories of the times I had with him. I only wish I had the chance to have more now as two grown men, ready to take on the world. As President of the SPIRIT foundation, I can help Robert's spirit live on through this scholarship, this music commission, sponsored activities throughout the community, and building a better tomorrow, so that the next generation can realize their SPIRIT.
2014 Update: Alex is now studying for his Master's Degree in Violin Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK.



posted Dec 7, 2010, 2:04 AM by Remember Robert   [ updated Jan 13, 2023, 9:50 AM ]

Ian Akisoglu

SPIRIT Foundation Leadership Emeritus

Ian Akisoglu is a graduate of Thomas S. Wootton High School’s class of 2008 and American University’s class of 2012. He spent his early childhood in Turkey and France before moving to Rockville, Maryland. Ian was a member of the Wootton High School Cross Country and Track and Field teams, during which time he became friends with Robert. Ian served as an officer in the United States Navy from 2013-2019 before leaving active duty to attend law school. He was instrumental in establishing the SPIRIT Foundation and the SPIRIT Scholarship.


posted Dec 6, 2010, 1:07 PM by Remember Robert   [ updated Feb 9, 2014, 12:31 PM by Sandy G ]

Sandy Giger                                                         忠杰

Thanks for finding your way to my page. I am Robert's mom. Robert was my first born son. He embodied beauty to me! My dear friend. I will spend the rest of my life remembering Robert at every moment. I will keep him close to my heart forever, as he was always in life. Despite losing Robert, I hope we can still make the world a better place, in honor of his memory.

There's something you should know. Robert's death was preventable. Preventable! Yes. Imagine. He could be with us now. How awesome would that be? That is the tragedy. The world lost its son, but it could have been prevented. I refer to the sport of pole vaulting where its athletes are exposed to life-ending risks because of lax safety practices and rules that do not address risks. I can't change the unwilling world alone, but together, will we garner the SPIRIT to effect changes to the safety rules for pole vaulting? What would Robert do (WWRD)? Robert would try to save lives, and not let another die.

I've had a respectful professional career, working in the federal government for my entire adult life. I could list achievements, but I might waste our time to write that list. I've visited many places too.
All these "outside" things pale by comparison to the "inside" life I had with my family, raising my good and faithful sons, Robert and Alex. Later on, William joined us.

Such joy as a mother is the greatest joy, because love is the reason for our existence over all else. The thrill of holding your baby, watching them grow, and laughing so hard you cried, time and time again. Guiding and protecting them. Now ended by the sadness of Robert leaving the earth before his time, and me not going first.

On behalf of Robert's father, Jeremy Yin, and I, we are deeply grateful for the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who have contacted our family and friends, giving us sympathy and support in our grief.

Sandy Giger

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