Skip to main content

Ask Me Anything with Debora Jackson

Thursday, April 29, 2021
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm


Creating Impact at the Intersection of Technology, Business, and Human Behavior

Residing at the intersection of technology, business, and human behavior is WPI’s Foisie Business School.

Like its counterparts in Engineering and Arts and Sciences, the business school’s faculty and students have, for decades, created positive societal impact by applying entrepreneurial thinking and harnessing the power of technology and teamwork to solve complex human problems.

In this Ask Me Anything event, WPI’s new dean of the Foisie Business School, Reverend Dr. Debora Jackson '89 MS, '00 MEng, will lead a conversation about some of the school’s innovative research and applications that are addressing global problems and driving progress in such areas as healthcare delivery, artificial intelligence, and social media. She will be joined by professors Diane Strong, Nima Kordzadeh, and Robert Sarnie who will discuss their work, and she will share her vision for the future of business education at WPI.

Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021

Time: 6:30 PM EDT

Location: Virtual on Zoom

Dr. Diane Strong will share her work in healthcare delivery systems intended to improve the quality of and access to healthcare, and will talk about the business school's progressive approach to graduate business education.

Dr. Nima Kordzadeh will discuss his research focused on the complexities of developing and using responsible AI and analytics technologies that treat people fairly, and his work on the technological and behavioral drivers of the spread of misinformation on social media.

Robert Sarnie will talk with the audience about the importance of FinTech education and how WPI is making business education engaging and relatable, as well as WPI's role in the development of a pipeline to bolster FinTech in Massachusetts.

Zoom account is needed to attend this event. Registrants will be emailed the Zoom event URL to attend the event at the time of registration.



About Debora Jackson

The Reverend Dr. Debora Jackson is Professor of Practice and Dean of the Robert A. Foisie Business School at WPI. In response to changing industry needs, Dr. Jackson seeks to promote research, collaboration, and partnerships that understand broader societal needs and recast the vision for business education in ways that prepare leaders to disrupt, reorient, and innovate for societal impact.

Dr. Jackson comes to WPI having served as Director of Operations of All Girls Allowed, a faith-based, non-profit organization committed to restoring life, value, and dignity to women by providing resources that promote healing and wholeness. Previously, Dr. Jackson was Director of Lifelong Learning at Yale Divinity School and was responsible for developing a robust program to assemble and leverage the abundant intellectual and professional resources of the School for the betterment of churches and other ministries. Prior to her appointment at Yale Divinity School, Dr. Jackson was the Executive Director of the Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches, USA, and she also previously served for eight years as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Needham, MA.

Dr. Jackson worked in business for 20 years, with an emphasis on IT and software engineering, before heeding the call to ministry. Key roles she held during that time included Chief Operating / Chief Information Officer of an e-commerce energy services provider and as Managing Director of a supply chain / IT consulting group.

Dr. Jackson is also a consultant who leads custom, high impact engagements, including strategic planning, conflict resolution, and leadership development, for non-profit and faith-based organizations. As an author, Dr. Jackson has written numerous articles and two books, Meant for Good: Fundamentals in Womanist Leadership (Judson Press, 2019) and Spiritual Practices for Effective Leadership: 7 R’s of Sanctuary for Pastors (Judson Press, 2015), which was the 2016 Illumination Book Silver Medal Award Winner.

Dr. Jackson received her Doctorate in Ministry, emphasis in Leadership, and Master of Divinity degree, emphasis in Spirituality, both with honors, from Andover Newton Theological School. She holds a Master of Engineering degree in Manufacturing Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Management from WPI, and Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Indiana University.

More about Debora Jackson

About Diane Strong

Dr. Diane Strong is a professor and department head in the Foisie Business School. She is also affiliated with WPI’s Data Science and Management Information Systems departments.

Dr. Strong’s research program supports her teaching interests. She works with organizations to help them determine how best to use computing technologies. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Strong and an interdisciplinary team of researchers studied of how healthcare providers can use electronic health records systems to improve the quality of, and access to healthcare, while also reducing costs. Another NSF funded project is developing a diabetes support app. The executives she meets through her research often come to WPI to talk in student classes. Dr. Strong’s students have the most recent information about how computing technologies are being used in organizations because she integrates the knowledge gained from her research into her teaching.

Dr. Strong earned a BS from the University of South Dakota, an MS from New Jersey Institute of Technology, an MS Carnegie Mellon University, and a PhD from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

More about Diane Strong

About Nima Kordzadeh

Dr. Nima Kordzadeh is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Data Science. He joined the faculty of the Foisie Business School in 2017. In his research, Dr. Kordzadeh explores critical questions at the intersection of human and technology to enable developing, implementing, and using socially responsible, trustworthy, and advanced technologies for the betterment of society. In particular, his research enhances understanding of, and offers solutions to, the behavioral, organizational, and societal challenges of emerging technologies such as social media, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. His research has been presented at national and international conferences and published in leading information systems journals including Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, and International Journal of Information Management.

Prior to joining WPI, Dr. Kordzadeh was an Assistant Professor of Business and Health Informatics in the College of Business at Idaho State University. While there he led the design and launch of different degree programs in Health Informatics and Data Analytics.

Dr. Kordzadeh received both his BS in Computer Engineering and MBA from Sharif University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration with an emphasis on Information Technology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

More about Nima Kordzadeh


About Robert Sarnie

Robert Sarnie is a Professor or Practice in WPI’s Foisie Business School. His also affiliated with WPI’s FinTech Collaborative and the Wall Street-FinTech Project Center.

Sarnie joined WPI from Fidelity Investments, where he spent 23 years in the finance industry, holding multiple executive leadership positions including VP of Strategy and Planning, VP Human Resource Systems, and VP Finance, Procurement, and Accounting Systems. Rob also previously held positions in both the public and private sectors for companies in the manufacturing and nonprofit industries.

Sarnie earned his MBA with a concentration in Computer Science from Suffolk University’s Frank Sawyer School of Management, and his BS in Management Science with a concentration in Accounting and Finance from Bridgewater State College.

More about Robert Sarnie


Aubrey Valley, Advancement Events
Phone Number: