Speaker Biographies

Conference Chairperson

Dr. Arthur Gerstenfeld

Conference Director, US Africa Business Conference

 Dr. Arthur Gerstenfeld received his Ph.D. from MIT and is Professor of Management and Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has published more than fifty articles in academic journals and seven books. His most recent book is Africa: The Next Decade, co-authored with Prof. Raphael J. Njoroge.

Dr. Gerstenfeld has been to Africa at least once a year for the past twenty years with his most recent trip in March 2006 to South Africa along with twenty students. He has been the recipient of many grants relating to Africa and is currently project Director for a grant with the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Dennis Berkey

President and CEO, WPI

Dennis Berkey became the fifteenth president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute on July 1, 2004. Prior to that he had served as Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Boston University where he had joined the faculty in 1974. His undergraduate and graduate degrees are in mathematics (B.A., Muskingum College; Ph.D., University of Cincinnati) and his published research is in applied mathematics and optimal control theory. He is an accomplished teacher, having won Boston University’s highest teaching award, and is the author of two calculus textbooks.

Berkey’s extensive experience in university administration has included both the development of science and engineering programs and initiatives in general education. He is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the American Mathematical Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He has served as a Trustee of Muskingum College, the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, the Huntington Theatre (Boston), and U. Mass. Memorial Health Care, Inc.

Dr. Richard Vaz

Dean Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, WPI

Dr. Richard Vaz is Associate Professor, Dean, Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division of WPI, Co-Director, Bangkok Project Center, Co-Director, Limerick Project Center. He holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Dr Vaz is a member of various Scientific and professional societies including IEEE Education, International, and Social Implications of Technology Societies; American Society for Engineering Education; Senior Science Fellow, Association of American Colleges & Universities; US Mobility in Asia-Pacific Advisory Board; Eta Kappa Nu; Sigma Xi; Tau Beta Pi.

Euvin Naidoo

President, South African Chamber of Commerce America SACCA

In June last year, Euvin Naidoo delivered the opening address at TEDGlobal 2007, a seminal gathering of world leaders in Arusha, Tazania. The speech generated international acclaim for the reframing of significant challenges facing Africa as exciting opportunities.

Mr. Naidoo, is the US based President & CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce in America (SACCA), an organization committed to the expansion of business, trade and investment opportunities between Entrepreneurship Platform, featured at the Clinton Global Initiative. Prior to assuming the leadership of SACCA, Mr. Naidoo was an investment banker at Standard Bank, one of Africa's largest financial services institutions, where as part of the Acquisition Finance Group, he worked across emerging markets focusing on large-cap Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions (South Africa) and Private Equity led transactions (Latin America). Mr. Naidoo is an alumnus of McKinsey and Company where he worked accross a multitude of sectors and industries, from financial services, telecommunications and airlines, to metals & mining, over a four year tenure.

A graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he was co-President of the Social Enterprise Club, Mr. Naidoo co-authored the business school case "Nelson Mandela, Change Leader" with Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, highlighting how the leadership lessons of Africa's great role models can be applied to the board rooms of the world. The case formed part of the research based of the South African chapter in the New York Times bestseller, "Confidence", which examines the DNA of successful corporate turnarounds. Post this project, Mr. Naidoo joined former asst. Secretary General of the United Nations, John Ruggie and his team, at the Center for Business & Government at the Kennedy School of Government, focusing on Corporate Responses to HIV-AIDS in emerging markets. Euvin Naidoo has been a frequent speaker at the Harvard Business on issues of Black Economic Empowerment, Capital Markets and Private Equity in emerging markets. Most recently he was the opening keynote speaker at the Wharton School of Business's Africa conference held in Philadelphia where he focused on the leadership required for Africa's transformation growth.

Mr. Naidoo has served as Distinguished Faculty at Synergos' "University for a Night", is a member of the Admissions Committee of the Harvard Club of New York; sits on the Board of MaAfrika Tikkun USA, the award winning South African NGO endorsed by President Mandela; is an Advisory Board Member of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, and is a member of the Harvard Business School's Centennial Social Enterprise Steering Committee. He is a Fellow of the "Emerging Leaders Program" founded by James Joseph, former US Ambassador to South Africa, aimed at mentoring the next generation of global leaders.

Andrew Stern

Manager New England Windpower

Andrew Stern has a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ecosphere Technologies, Inc. (OTCBulletinBoard:ESPH), a provider of clean air and water technology solutions that solve business and environmental challenges appointed Andrew Stern as senior vice president of business development of its subsidiary Ecosphere Energy Solutions Inc. (EES). In his role as EES, Stern has lead the launch and market expansion of the company's Ecos LifeLink micro-utility product in the continent of Africa, as well as India and developing nations.

Unveiled in February 2007 at the Cleantech Venture Forum, Ecosphere's Ecos LifeLink is a self-contained platform for delivering critical resources including clean water, wireless communication and renewable power from solar and wind energy systems. The portable micro-utility is designed for easy deployment in developing communities and off-grid locations to supply water, electricity, and connectivity. Stern will drive global deployment of the Ecos Lifelink through strategic customer, financial and partner relationships with government organizations, NGO's and manufacturers.

Prior to joining Ecosphere, Stern was co-founder and vice president of Citizen Advocates for Renewable Energy (CARE) where he led development and implementation of community wind turbines totaling 2.46 megawatts in Hull, Massachusetts. Stern also recently founded Action for Clean Energy, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on municipalities. He has additional experience designing and implementing both battery storage systems and solar photovoltic arrays.

Tim Bergstrom

Director, International Business Linkages

Tim Bergstrom joined the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in May 2005 as its Senior Agribusiness Specialist, and was subsequently appointed to be the Council's Director of International Business Linkages in October of that year. Tim directs the five-member international business linkages unit at CCA, which is responsible for identifying and publicizing trade and investment opportunities in Africa to the CCA membership. Tim also implements CCA's USAID-funded South Africa International Business Linkages Program which includes 10 offices and a staff of 48 in South Africa. Tim also manages CCA's US-Africa Infrastructure Conference.

Before joining CCA, Tim was Regional Manager of Southern Africa for Land O'Lakes' International Develop Division. Based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa he managed and implemented USAID agricultural development programs in five countries which included; Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. This included organizing international trade missions and study tours to the U.S. and to over seven Southern and East African countries. He also worked closely with South Africa's Department of Agriculture to assist emerging farmers to access credit, inputs, and high value markets by providing training and writing business plans. Prior to this he worked in Zimbabwe and South Africa for Mid Africa Software as their Market Development Director.

Tim received a B.A.from Bethel College in Business and Economics and a B.S. from St. Mary's University in Management Information Systems. He has also received a M.B.A.from St. Thomas University with a focus in International Operations. Tim has over 12 years experience working and living in Africa.

Jerome (Jerry) J. Schaufeld

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Department of Management, WPI

Jerry Schaufeld shares his considerable experience in entrepreneurship, operations and general management of technology-based companies as a Professor of Entrepreneurship at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). He is currently a commercialization consultant to Children's' Hospital in Boston, and has served as Director of the Rhode Island Slater Fund, and as past president and CEO of Mass Ventrues which were quasi-public entities focused on the commercialization of academic research and development. He is a member of the Launch Pad Angel group in Wellesley, and co-founded the Cherrystone Angels in Rhode Island. In addition, he is an advisor to the newly formed Boynton Angel group in central Massachusetts, a charter member of national Angel Capital Association (ACA), and participates in the regional north east Angel's syndication group as a charter member.

A graduate engineer, MBA and Professional Engineer (MA), Jerry has a distinguished technical and operations-savvy managerial career in the formation and success of several technology-based enterprises that began while he was a Special Student at the MIT Sloan School where he studied in the areas of the Management of R&D, technology transfer and entrepreneurship. He has significant operating experience in technology based companies and served as co-founder and COO of a venture backed manufacturing company called Phoenix Controls. The company was successfuly sold to Fortune 500 conglomerate. His current research is in the area of improving the probability of success in early stage commercialization ventures.

Dr. Roshini Moodley Naidoo

Special Advisor, Private Sector Department of Oxfam America

Roshini Moodley Naidoo is a Special Advisor within the Private Sector Department of Oxfam America, a global NGO and affiliate of world-renowned Oxfam International, operating in more than 120 countries. As a leading development and humanitarian relief organization, Oxfam is committed to creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. The Private Sector Department has a core strategic focus on the implementation of innovative, impactful and sustainable mechanisms of engaging the private sector in alleviating global poverty. Roshini worked previously within the financial services industry where her primary responsibility at one of Africa's largest financial services providers was the integration of corporate social responsibility principles within the organization's core business functions.

A medical doctor, Roshini trained as a resident Psychiatrist serving as a clinician in South Africa's public and private health care sectors. Roshini is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard School of Public Health. Roshini and her husband reside in Boston with their two children.

Edward Gonsalves

Senior Vice President, Product Development WaveTrend

Edward Gonsalves has recently joined Wavetrend's management team as Senior Vice President, Product development. Ed has been in the semiconductor and high technology industry for more than 25 years. He has held a variety of positions in engineering, marketing, sales and business development.

For the past five years, Edward was with NXP Semiconductors and supported their RFIDefforts in North America. Edward has a Bachelor and Master degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, holds seven patents and has published several technical papers. He is a regular speaker at various industry trade and conference events and is an adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

John M. Rossi

President & Founder, John Rossi, Company.
Strategic Planner, Integrated Design Group, Inc.

Mr. Rossi is a co-founder of the University of Maragoli Foundation serving as architectural master planner and strategic advisor for the new University being planned in Kenya, Africa. He serves on the Foundation's core development team with co-founders Wilson O. Endege of Harvard University, and John T. Ambenge of Connecticut College. This core team has developed a strategic alliance with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an outcome of the 2006 WPI Africa Conference. His experience directing complex creative projects spans 25 years.

Since 1994, John Rossi has been integral among design teams responsible for master planning and architectural services of 48-million square feet of space with a construction value of $2.4 billion over the next 20-years. Nearly $320 million of this planned work has been, or is currectly under construction. This includes new construction renovation for academic campuses, housing, mixed-use commercial space, and preservation of historic landmarks. In the US, he has worked with institutions such as Boston University, Williams College, Stonehill College, Vanderbilt University, Hamilton College, Marywood University, Dean College, and the Waldorf School Lexington.

As strategic planner with idGroup Boston, Rossi works among an integrated team of architects, engineers, and project managers on complex data and technology projects to meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of business, education, and research institutions throughout the US and internationally. He has served as principal, vice president and senior planner among architecture and engineering firms in Boston, Cambridge, and Seattle. John brings an engaging leadership style and dynamic approach to broad-based participation that helps raise everyone's understanding of the complex social, environmental, and economic aspects of large-scale and modest real estate developments, campus plans, and building initiatives. He has published dozens of articles and has been a guest speaker to national audiences on issues of academic campus planning, sustainable development, as well as heritage and historic landmark preservation. His work has inspired individuals, academic campuses, companies, and entire communities to raise their expectations of what could be achieved and has helped many clients realize greater results with more sustainable, cost-effective outcomes.

David Olinger

Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Aerospace Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

David J. Olinger is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Aerospace program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His research interests are in renewable energy, experimental fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, fluid-structure interaction, nonlinear dynamics, and flow control. His teaching interests are in aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, and aircraft design. Dr. Olinger has authored over forty (40) technical papers in engineering journals and conference proceedings. He received a national ASME Curriculum Innovation Award - Honorable Mention in 2001 for educational methods that integrate experiments and computations into the engineering classroom. He was also awarded WPI's Morgan Distinguished Instructor in Mechanical Engineering, 2001-2002, recognizing quality undergraduate project project advising. He was the recipeint of a U.S. Navy - ASEE Summer Faculty Research Fellowship in 1994.

Prior to his graduate studies he was employed at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

Ernest Mungai Kamau

Managing Director, Diaspora Homes Lte. (Kenya)

Ernest Mungai Kamau is a graduate from Kenya Polytechnic in Nairobi in the field of Mechanical Engineering. He worked with Kenya Cremeries Corporation before quitting to start a business. He founded Mechanical Engineering Plant Ltd. to provide professionals engineering services to small and medium businesses in Nairobi city. He also ventured in construction of private homes and business property before expanding his business to tender for government contracts.

In the past 15 years he has completed many construction and engineering contracts with the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture among others in all major cities of Kenya. Ernest believes slums in Kenya and other parts of Africa will be eradicated if more housing space is built. Diaspora homes (K) Ltd. targets to build 10 million sq ft of housing space in the next 5 years, a business volume of about Kshs 5 billion (Approx $100 million).

Dan Moon

President, Environmental Business Council of New England

Since the fall of 1997, Mr. Moon has served as the president and executive director of the Environmental Business Council of New England, the non-profit trade association representing environmental and energy companies in the region.

With over twenty five years experience in the environmental field, Mr. Moon has gained extensive knowledge of issues relating to environmental management. He began his environmental career working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region I in Boston on policy and regulatory development issues and on the implementation of programs legislated by the Toxic Substance Control Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

After leaving government service, Mr. Moon working for the national waste management firms of Rollins Environmental Services and SCA Chemical Waste Management where he where he gained cutting edge experience working on private sector issues includes environmental compliance, corporate development, facility siting, and the management of complex multi-million dollar field remediation projects.

Prior to becoming president of the EBC, Mr. Moon served as president of the consulting firm Longwood Environmental Management, Inc. located in Belmont, Massachusetts. Formed in 1987, this firm assisted with the development of environmental regulatory compliance programs as well as management and marketing assistance to growing environmental companies.

Mr. Moon has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from San Francisco State University. He is active in several environmental organizations in addition to the EBC. He currently serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Corporate Wetlands Restoration Program, the Environmental Technology Advisory Board of JFY, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Advisory Board and Walk for Boston.

Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Villanova University

Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Villanova University of Pennsylvania. She has a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Biochemistry from LeHigh University. She also holds a degree in Food Science and Technology. Her current areas of research are in the fields of cancer biochemistry, synthesis of novel chemotherapeutic drug delivery systems, bioremediation of toxic substances and biochemical evaluation of herbal remedies. She previously taught at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and University of Rochester.

Christine's primary areas of focus are leadership and empowerment. She is one of the founding members of the USA-Kenya Chamber of Commerce(USKCC) as well as Kenyans in the Diaspora for Peace Coalition (KEDPEC). In the field of business she is Co-Founder of Cholaco Enterprises with her husband Charles Ochola and is also Co-Founder and Head of Research of Advent Beauty. She has also been highly involved in outreach activities both in the US and in Kenya. Her last needs assessment tour to South Nyanza, Kenya yielded a wealth of information regarding the impacts of HIV. In the US, Christine spends copious amounts of time addressing "At Risk Middle and High School Students" via workshops on areas such as health, empowerment, reality checks, tertiary education and leadership.

Ernest Edusei

President Ghana Tourism Society

Ernest William Edusei, has been one of the early successful African graduates in tourism and hospitality. After his studies in the UK, he was picked from the Surrey University to join Avis Europe. Having been trained as a franchise executive by Avis UK, he decided to return home to Ghana to start his own tourism enterprise. He managed and ran the company SPEEDWAY Travel Tour Ltd, and was the first country manager for Avis for 25 years.

He is now the President of Ghana Tourism Society and a retired consultant to AIMS Ltd and NomadAfrica.

He has worked in Europe, USA, and Ghana for 45 years.

Tim Bergstrom

Director, International Business Linkages

Tim Bergstrom joined the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in May 2005 as its Senior Agribusiness Specialist, and was subsequently appointed to be the Council's Director of International Business Linkages in October of that year. Tim directs the five-member international business linkages unit at CCA, which is responsible for identifying and publicizing trade and investment opportunities in Africa to the CCA membership. Tim also implements CCA's USAID-funded South Africa International Business Linkages Program which includes 10 offices and a staff of 48 in South Africa. Tim also manages CCA's US-Africa Infrastructure Conference.

Before joining CCA, Tim was Regional Manager of Southern Africa for Land O'Lakes' International Develop Division. Based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa he managed and implemented USAID agricultural development programs in five countries which included; Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. This included organizing international trade missions and study tours to the U.S. and to over seven Southern and East African countries. He also worked closely with South Africa's Department of Agriculture to assist emerging farmers to access credit, inputs, and high value markets by providing training and writing business plans. Prior to this he worked in Zimbabwe and South Africa for Mid Africa Software as their Market Development Director.

Tim received a B.A.from Bethel College in Business and Economics and a B.S. from St. Mary's University in Management Information Systems. He has also received a M.B.A.from St. Thomas University with a focus in International Operations. Tim has over 12 years experience working and living in Africa.

Richard Kennedy

President & CEO Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Richard B. Kennedy is President and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was named president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce by unanimous vote of the board of directors at their meeting in November 2004. He has over 30 years of experience in the high tech and manufacturing industries most recently as the vice president of world marketing in the abrasives group at Saint-Gobain, a $35 billion international conglomerate that manufactures a diverse array of highly specialized, engineered materials. Mr. Kennedy's extensive marketing and mangement experience bring a unique perspective to the Chamber.

As a global marketing leader at Saint-Gobain, he directed marketing strategies and execution on five continents with $1.7billion in sales. Mr. Kennedy made a significant impact to the bottom line through market share growth, cost containment, improving productivity, and new product development. His skills as a communication and his recognition of the importance of communication within an organization and to its audience make him an effective leader.

Mr. Kennedy was co-founder and executive vice president of a start-up internet company, eGLOBALCHEM, involved in developing and marketing relationship-based private information networks for mid-size supply chain partners in the specialty chemicals industry.

Mr. Kennedy has served on various boards including manufacturing and non-profit organizations. They include: L.S. Starrett, American Supply and Machinery Manufacturers Association, Worcester Regional Research Bureau, United Way, Worcester Business Development Corporation, among others.

Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. He resides in Worcester with his wife Mary Ann, has two grown children, and enjoys spending time with his grandson Will. He enjoys golfing and traveling.

McRae C. Banks

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy in the Department of Management, WPI

McRae C. Banks is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy in the Department of Management, WPI's nationally ranked equivalent of the traditional business school. His B.A. and Ph.D. degrees are from Virginia Tech and his M.A. is from Northwesten University. Prior to his appointment at WPI in 1995, he held academic appointments at Mississippi State University and Radford University.

Professor Banks holds two administrative positions at WPI. As Head of the Department of Management he is the equivalent of the dean of the business school at other universities. Through WPI the Department awards undergraduate degrees in business and industrial engineering, and the MBA and three specialized MS degrees at the graduate level. He is also the founding (and current) director of the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, WPI's nationally ranked university-wide center for entrepreneurship and innovation activity.

Professor Banks has experience as an entrepreneur and manager in entrepreneurial enterprises in both the business and academic sectors. He founded several businesses in the service sector, and has held managerial and executive positions in small manufacturing and retail organizations. In the academic sector he founded and led three university centers and served as Acting Director of the Agribusiness Institute (ABI) at Mississippi State University, which he also helped found.

Over the years professor Banks has published many papers and won a number of grants and contracts from corporations and foundations for both research and outreach, including the Kauffman foundation, the Coleman Foundation and the John and Jeanne Hughes Foundation. He has been active in national and international leadership roles in several professional organizations, including the Entrepreneruship Division of the American Society for Engineering Education, the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management, the Corporate entrepreneurship and Technological Entrepreneurship Divisions of the United States Association of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, and the Society of Advancement of Management.

Becky Erkul

Senior International Economist in the Office of Africa at the U.S. Department of Commerce

Becky Erkul serves as Senior International Economist in the Office of Africa at the U. S. Department of Commerce. She has more than 10 years of professional experience in international trade, development, and competitiveness, with in-depth knowledge of Eastern and Southern African states. She served as the Department's Coordinator for the U.S. - Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations from January 2004 until September 2006, and now covers 10 countries in Eastern Africa. She is in charge of domestic outreach for the Africa region. Ms. Erkul has served as the Commercial Liaison at the African Development Bank, in support of the U.S. Executive Director.

Ms. Erkul joined the Commerce Department in 1998. Prior to her current position, she served as Senior Policy Analyst and worked on the Free Trade Area of the Americas and U.S.-Chile FTA negotiations. Prior to joining the Commerce Department, Ms. Erkul worked in the private sector. Ms. Erkul received her Bachelor's Degree in International Economics and Master's Degree in International Political Economuy from The American University in Washinton, D.C.

Michael Tjivikua

Director Centre for Teaching & Learning, Polytechnic of Namibia

Dr. Michael K. Tjivikua joined the Polytechnic of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology, in 2004 as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. The center was established to help improve teaching and learning on campus through academic development initiatives. It is focused on providing support to students and faculty.

Since his tenure at the Polytechnic of Namibia he has been preoccupied with the creation of an academic support system for the university. He has worked on establishing a center for an Academic Support Center for students which will provide a range of services to students but focused on tutoring in mathematics, writing and other courses for which they need assistance. He has also developed a series of suppport activities for faculty including induction, mentoring, academic discussions on best practices in teaching and learning, and faculty development workshops.

He is teaching a course titled "Principles of Instruction" and manages a faculty resource hub at the center. He points out that Namibia is a relatively new democracy and appeals to Namibians to be fully engaged in the process of nation building and undoing the effects of apartheid and colonialism.

Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld

Director of Academic Programs and Planning for Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, Director of Project Centers in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, WPI

Dr. Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld received a Ph.D. in Social Planning in 1987 after a long first career as a psychotherapist and Director of Social Work in a psychiatric hospital in the Boston area. She is Director of Academic Programs and Planning for WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and Director of its two project centers in Latin America, which she also initiated and developed.

Additionally, she is one of the original co-developers of project centers in Zimbabwe and Namibia. In 2003, she was one of the WPI advisors on site in Namibia with students. In 2004, she conducted a series of faculty training workshops at the Polytechnic of Namibia. Earlier in the 2005-2006 academic year, Dr. Vernon-Gerstenfeld prepared students for and then led a study trip to South Africa. The trip was designed for WPI students who were bound for project work in Namibia, and it focused mainly on the apartheid era and the legacy of that era in South Africa and Namibia. She then laid the goundwork for the development of the infrastucture of South Africa Project Center in 2006-2007. She is a recipient of a 2006 Fulbright grant which supported her work with faculty at the Polytechnic of Namibia to foster project-based and interactive education.

Dr. John Ambenge

Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Middlesex Community College

John Ambenge is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Middlesex Community College, Middletown, where he became a member of the faculty in 2000.

Dr. Ambenge earned his BA (Hon) degree from Concordia University, a Masters' degree from University of Windsor, and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

He has taught in several American higher institions of learning. Currently, Dr. Ambenge is the chairman, Andimi Foundation Group (AFG) and chair and co-founder of the University of Maragoli Foundation. And in the past, Dr. Ambenge has served in various leadership positions; chairman, Sociology and Anthropology Department, Egerton University, where he was instrumental in establishing the Study Abroad Program and academic partnerships with The University of Illinois, Urbana--Champaign, Indiana University, Bloomington, and the University of Michigan. He was appointed to the Board of Directors, Center for WOMEN Studies & research, Egerton University and chair Egerton University Students Administration and Catering Services (EUSCAS), chairman, Valogoli Vene LLC, Public Relations Officer, Andimi Economic Group(AEG).

Dr. Ambenge also worked in the civil service in Kenya with the Ministries of Labor and Health. He believes that an educated society is better at learning, creating, and implementing new technology and believes that if we don't invest in our education system, we will not only short-circuit our young minds, we will empower an economic brownout as well. Dr. Ambenge is committed to bringing change through education.

Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld

Director of Academic Programs and Planning for Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, Director of Project Centers in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, WPI

Dr. Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld received a Ph.D. in Social Planning in 1987 after a long first career as a psychotherapist and Director of Social Work in a psychiatric hospital in the Boston area. She is Director of Academic Programs and Planning for WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and Director of its two project centers in Latin America, which she also initiated and developed.

Additionally, she is one of the original co-developers of project centers in Zimbabwe and Namibia. In 2003, she was one of the WPI advisors on site in Namibia with students. In 2004, she conducted a series of faculty training workshops at the Polytechnic of Namibia. Earlier in the 2005-2006 academic year, Dr. Vernon-Gerstenfeld prepared students for and then led a study trip to South Africa. The trip was designed for WPI students who were bound for project work in Namibia, and it focused mainly on the apartheid era and the legacy of that era in South Africa and Namibia. She then laid the goundwork for the development of the infrastucture of South Africa Project Center in 2006-2007. She is a recipient of a 2006 Fulbright grant which supported her work with faculty at the Polytechnic of Namibia to foster project-based and interactive education.

Bill Lapp

Manager, Contact Center Development at Cisco

Mr.Bill Lapp is a Manager of Engineering and Deployment Success for Cisco Systems Inc.'s Voice Technology group. He is responsible of a staff of 14 Managers and Engineers located in Massachusetts, Texas, California, Australia, and India. His group is responsible for forming and leading ad-hoc teams of Cisco employees to resolve customer crisis situations and ensure voice deployment success. The Voice Technology Group develops VoIP telephony solutions and in less than 10 years has become the #1 provider of Enterprise Telephony.

Mr. Lapp was previously an Associate Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he worked in the field of high performance real-time computing and its application to Ballistic Missile Defense and radar technologies. Mr. Lapp traveled the globe extensively for this project including destinations such as Washington DC, Australia, Antigua, California, Hawaii, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Mr. Lapp earned his BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is currently working towards an MBA with a focus on Entrepreneurship at Babson College.

His employer Cisco, has been very active in Africa. Below are some of the initiatives undertaken by Cisco.

Creighton Peet

Program Coordinator, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Director of the Namibia Project Center and Director of the Hong Kong Project Center in WPI's Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division.

Dr. Peet has been working on the problems of international development, humanitarian assistance and international education since the late 1960's, first with the Peace Corps in Nepal and later as a professional anthropologist in East, South and Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Balkan, the Caribbean, Central America, Africa and Australia.

Dr. Peet obtained his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University, with additional training in agriculture at Cornell University and has focused his research and project work on the issues of sustainable development. In June 2003, he was a speaker in a workshop on Water Resources at the Corporate Council on Africa's US-Africa Business Summit. In June 2004 he helped organize a conference on water management at WPI that emphasized the problems of water management in Africa. Since then he has continued to help organize WPI's annual US-Africa Business conferences and has made presentations at each one on a variety of topics. He continues a research interest in the sociocultural aspects of water management with a current focus on the problems in Namibia.

Dr. Peet has been involved in international education since 1989. He worked for four years as Associate Dean at the School for field Studies, for two years as Program Director for the Social Sciences at Earthwatch Institute and for the last eight years at WPI in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division. He has also been a consultant on capacity building in the non-governmental sector in both Eastern Europe and many of the republics of the former Soviet Union.

Scott Jiusto

Director South Africa Project Center, WPI

Scott Jiusto has research interests in environmental policy and philosophy, particularly energy policy and the pursuit of sustainability at sub-national scales. Research themes include assessing the politics of energy policy across multiple geographic scales (state, local and international), carbon emissions analysis, electrical power sector restructuring, and the management and manipulation of scientific uncertainty in the production of environmental knowledge and environmental policy. He has recently begun extending these interests to consider how city agencies, NGO's and academic programs can address issues of sustainable comminity development in informal settlements, particularly in Cape Town, South Africa.

These sustainability-related interests intersect with teaching responsibilities in WPI's Global Studies Program and a complementary research agenda that concerns the role of experiential, "project-based" approaches to educating students to effectively address challenges of sustainable development. Jiusto's role as Director of the new WPI Cape Town Project Centre provides an opportunity to extend and more closely integrate this research on sustainability and undergraduate, experiential education. In 2008, in close collaboration with partners in Cape Town, Scott will advise 23 WPI students working on six integrated projects to help the community of Monwabisi Park move toward its goal of redeveloping their informal settlement into an "eco-village" supportive of healthy comminity life, homes and work opportunities. He also sits on the Advisory Board and the Curriculum Committee of the University of Maragoli (Kenya)Foundation.

Irene Mumbi Dunjwa

Co-Founder and President of Advent Beauty, Co-Founder and
President of Operations, USA-Kenya Chamber of Commerce

Irene Mumbi Dunjwa is Co-Founder and President of Advent Beauty. Her key areas of interest include advocacy, leadership, and empowerment through the deliver of educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. She is Co-Founder and President of Operations of the USA-Kenya Chamber of Commerce (USKCC), Co-Founder and President of Kenyans in the Diaspora for Peace Coalition (KEDPEC) and sits on the boards of mother's Love and Winning Wealth Services. She has more thank five years Information Technology (IT) experience at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and currently provides IT consulting services for the Global Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance area. She co-organizes a biannual Visiting Students Program at GSK which primarily exposes underserved high school students to careers in science and technology.

In the past she practiced as a Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist in large teaching hospitals and clinics in Massachusetts, Kansas, Georgia and Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelors degree in Chemistry and Nuclear Medicine Technology from Worcester State College and a Masters in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Raphael Njoroge

Professor of African Studies, WPI

Dr. Njoroge attained his B.A., M. A. from Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA; Ph.L. (Licentiate in Philosophy) from St. Michael's Institute, Spokane, WA; Ph.D. from the Unviersity of Nairobi. He has taught in the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University where he has been Professor and Chairman, Dean and Director of Bureau of Educational Research. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University where he was a resource person for the Graduate School of Education. He has taught in several universities and colleges of the Worcester consortium including Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he is a faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Arts, and a Research Associate for the Africa Project.

He has written six books and numerous articles in academic journals. His latest book, which he co-authored with Prof. Arthur Gerstenfeld, is entitled AFRICA: The Next Decade (2005).

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Last modified: September 18, 2008 08:19:39