Amar C. Bakshi is an artist whose work focuses on how to integrate technology into environments and across pronounced distance to create new forms of digital-physical public spaces that challenge and subvert existing norms. In particular, he works to connect members of diverse communities who would likely not otherwise meet in intimate environments to create their own meanings. As an artist, Amar treats the formation of institutions as, themselves, sites of creation. Amar previously worked as a reporter at The Washington Post, an editor at CNN, and as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Amar, a Soros Fellow and Truman Scholar, has an AB from Harvard University, a MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a JD from Yale Law School.
Co-Founder and Director of Global Development
Michelle Moghtader runs global development for Shared_Studios. Previously, she was a multi-media journalist based in the Middle East. She has written for Reuters, CNN, The Huffington Post and Energy Intelligence Group and worked as a community organizer across the U.S. Michelle graduated from the University of Virginia and received her master’s degree from the Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. She speaks Persian, French and Spanish.
Chief Operating Officer
Jake manages staff, operations, and public activations across Shared_Studios projects. Immediately prior to Shared_Studios, he worked with the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders on issues of sexual assault in the military. He has held a number of positions in production management and public policy, including as a speechwriter for the New York City Mayor’s Office, as a Producer for Major Lazer in Havana, Cuba, and at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where he advised senior executives on programming and outreach for young audiences. He is a graduate of Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and a 2015 Truman Scholar.
Global Portal Curator
Emma Saperstein is a performance artist, curator and arts administrator based in San Luis Obispo, CA. A graduate of Wheaton College and the New York Center for Art and Media Studies, her experience includes serving as studio manager to internationally recognized artist Titus Kaphar, co-curator of Inverse Performance Art Festival, involvement in the thriving alternative arts and publishing community in Chicago, specifically with the Public Media Institute, Lumpen Magazine and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. For the past two years, she has served as an editor and curator for the feminist collective HYSTERIA. She currently splits her time between Shared Studios and the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College.
Ben Gordon oversees partnerships, sales, and business development activities for Shared_Studios. He also leads Shared_Studios' work in smart cities, community development, and placemaking in the U.S. and abroad. Before joining Shared_Studios, Ben ran business development and strategy for Manhattan Strategy Group, a federal consulting firm that provides technical assistance and program evaluation to the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development. He has a BA from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Ben is from Maryland, grew up in New Delhi, and now lives in Brooklyn.
Alistair was a 2018 Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he studied a Master of Global Affairs. Prior to that, he helped the Good Lad Initiative - a non-profit organisation that delivers workshops on masculinity and consent - launch in Australia, and supported the Sydney Convicts - Australia’s first gay and inclusive Rugby Union team - in their fight against homophobia in sport. He has degrees in Philosophy and English Literature from the University of Sydney, and is a keen writer and photographer.
Ryan Howard is a technologist, designer, and artist who creates systems, strategies, and environments for storytelling at human scale. His work spans experience design, product design, audiovisual systems design, software development, game development, broadcast media systems, IT, and architectural media. His visual art practice explores the mediation of gestural mark-making by technology, working with both traditional and non-traditional mediums. At Goldman Sachs he was a thought leader on use of immersive technologies within the enterprise environment. As an independent consultant he worked on global collaboration ecosystems, live-action gaming, and a broad range of production and audiovisual hybrids. Over twenty-five years he has led the design, engineering, and deployment of systems across the globe.
Head of Educational Programming
Kristen Erickson has spent the past seventeen years as an educator at Greenwich Academy, an independent school for girls in Greenwich, CT. She teaches high school and middle school students and served for nine years as a grade-level dean. Prior to her time at Greenwich Academy, Kristen spent twelve years in the curatorial field at the Museum of Modern Art, Smith College Museum of Art, Ashmolean Museum, and Luchsinger Gallery at Greenwich Academy. She is fluent in French and has decades of experience as a competitive rower and rowing coach.
Marisa DeSalvio has worked in educational institutions, museums, and design agencies for the past five years. She is passionate about finding the intersections between education, technology, and great design. Through her time as an English Second Language Teacher in Qatar, she experienced firsthand the transformative power of conversation between different cultures and how connection is the key to understanding.
Los Angeles Portal Curator
Born in Mexico City raised in Los Angeles, Andrea found strength and comfort throughout her youth by organizing and creating art in her community. She has helped found two important collectives in her community: Ovarian Psycos and Ni Santas. Both of these collectives focus on team-building and empowering women of color, while addressing pertinent issues in our communities.
Lewis coordinates Portal operations in Milwaukee and Chicago, as well as local outreach, and business development in the Amani neighborhood. Lewis is also the Outreach Coordinator for the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, and is a leader working on community and restorative justice his community.
Omid Habibi is a professor of computer science and the director of ADIB. He single-handedly brought the first Portal to Afghanistan and has helped secure the expansion of Portals in his country and beyond. He is currently studying computer science in Berlin.
Tomas Ramirez is an interpreter and translator who studied at the Instituto Superior de Intérpretes y Traductores in Mexico City. He is also a freelance booking agent and has worked with several entertainment agencies like Ache Entretenimiento, Filter Mexico, TAPE, Sicario, among others. He has produced dozens of concerts and performances through the Mexico City Portal.
Maryam Hosseinzadeh has spent her whole life getting to know Los Angeles. She is interested in the layered sites, memories, places and histories of all people in the every day, the micro to macro, the links connecting locations, the built environment, and spaces in-between. In addition to creating her own projects, she also has worked with numerous artists and organizations on community centered public programming including the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs on the LA/Islam Arts Initiative and the pioneering Creative Career Pathways Pilot Program, a paid internship program for transitional-age foster youth. She holds a BA in American Studies from Pitzer College and completed graduate coursework at USC in Historic Preservation with an emphasis on the political, social, and cultural histories of the city.
Khaled A. Salar
Khaled was born in the Badghis province of Afghanistan and raised in Herat. He is an alumni of the Youth Exchange and Study program in the U.S. Khaled is an MD who studied at Herat University. He is also a professional simultaneous translator and holds a diploma in business and entrepreneurship.
Lindsay Mackenzie is a communications specialist and photo & multimedia journalist from Canada, currently based between Erbil and Beirut, working for a range of news and NGO clients throughout the Middle East and North Africa. She teaches photography for National Geographic Student Expeditions and create radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has an BA in Geography and an MA in International Multimedia Journalism and has completed a journalism safety training courses at Columbia University and through the UN in Iraq. She is also the founder and curator of the popular Instagram feed @everydaymiddleeast.
Washington DC_Portal Curator
Deirdre Darden is an emerging curator born and raised on art in Washington DC. She began her curatorial practice in 2014 exhibiting the youngest members of Black Artists of DC. Following that show she exhibited and collaborated with some of DC's best emerging artists, organized panel discussions and artists talks touching themes of race, societal pressures, and art's power. Notable shows include Black Lives / White Light, Pressure Points and Lest We Forget.
Washington DC Portal Translator
Wassim is a citizen diplomat from Colorado who enjoys learning about the world and its people. His ethnic heritage crosses Saudi, Syrian, Sudanese, Kurdish, Egyptian, and his work takes him even further, translating business and security needs into learning interventions for clients around the world.
Omar Alshafai is an electrical engineer and app developer. He fled Damascus when war broke out and has been living in Berlin since April 2015. He is the co-founder of the Bureacrazy app, which helps simplify German bureaucracy for refugees and migrants. Omar speaks Arabic, English and German.
Judith is the founder and director of Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga, and a public health and educational systems specialist. Her work across East and West Africa and the Caribbean focuses on the roles of new technologies and creativity for development. She received an interdisciplinary BA in Anthropology, Community Building, and Photography, and holds a Master of International Affairs and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University. Judith and the Kigali Portal are supported by hosts Olivier Dushimimana, Arlette Umwari, and Yves Banza.
Alejandro Alfonso is a graphic designer and photographer who recently completed his studies in Havana. His subjects range from street scenes to famous Cuban musicians and artists such as Kcho and singer Omara Portuondo from the Buena Vista Social Club.
Rami was born and raised in Mosul, Iraq. He has been displaced by fighting and now lives in the Harsham IDP & Refugee Camp outside of Erbil.
Saied Habibi was born and raised in Tehran. At age 19 he moved to the Herat province of Afghanistan. Saied is currently studying Science and Technology at Herat University. He is an assistant professor at Herat University, and will soon be a full professor.
Dogon Nshimiyimana graduated from the University of Rwanda where he studied education and language. He is Congolese by nationality and has been living in the Congolese refugee camp for 20 years. He is an honest, self motivated, hardworking man focused on his life and career.
Amanda Hall is the Development Coordinator of Oye Honduras.
Yves Banza is a Congolese-Rwandese currently working and living in Kigali, Rwanda. After his Business Studies at the National Universities of Rwanda in 2010, he worked as a Business Development Agent for different companies in Rwanda and currently he is working as an Independent Consultant for a Market Research Company in East Africa. He speaks French, English, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, Lingala and a little bit Spanish. He has a lot of hobbies among others art, music, travelling, meeting new faces and learning from people of different backgrounds and cultures, teaching and learning new languages.
Lily Sarafan is Chief Executive Officer of Home Care Assistance. Under Lily‘s leadership for more than a decade, Home Care Assistance has grown from startup to industry champion and today employs thousands of team members across more than 150 markets. The company is consistently recognized as an employer of choice and best-in-class consumer service, and Lily as a featured expert on digital health and innovation in aging at the White House and global conferences. For her role at the helm of Home Care Assistance, Lily has been honored as Women Health Care Executives 2016 Woman of the Year and Ernst and Young‘s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year. She holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Stanford University.
Olivier Dushimimana is young Rwandan of 28 years old. He was born and raised in Rwanda. After secondary school, he worked with different organizations including Youth With A Mission (Christian based organization) where he trained underprivileged people basic electrical wiring skills that he acquired in school. Right after that, he worked with a big solar company building a career in electronics. Olivier speaks Kinyarwanda and English fluently and he can speak some Swahili and Luganda which is Eastern African languages! He enjoys meeting new people and loves trying new things, and looks forward to connecting Kigali to the rest of the world through Portals.
Arlette Umwali is 28 years old, from Rwanda, a born again Christian. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and works in one of the top telecom companies in Rwanda, where she is in charge of high value customers. She loves interacting with people and reading.
Dennis Walton is the head of the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative. He is a community organizer from Harambee who has been involved in numerous projects over the years, including the making of the film Milwaukee 53206.
Kavita is a New York City-based jazz singer and composer. Shah has performed and recorded with musicians such as Lionel Loueke, Steve Wilson, Yacouba Sissoko, Rogerio Boccato, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Samir Chatterjee. Shah was named by Downbeat Magazine as the "Best Graduate Jazz Vocalist" (2012) and winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award (2013).
Elizabeth Bick is a photographer, informed by her training in classical ballet and her study and practice of street photography. Her work examines the public and private display of individual and collective movement as pantomime. She holds a MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art.
Brandon Culpepper, Milwaukee native and founder of PeppNation, moved back to his hometown in 2013 after studying and working in marketing and as a professional athlete for a decade. He chose to return in large measure to try to “become part of the solution” to daunting problems within the central city, where he grew up and still lives.
Cara Neel is a freelance writer and the former Stanford Portal Curator for Shared Studios. Her background is in research psychology, communications, and community outreach. She received her Bachelor's degree from McGill University in 2015, where she received the Entrepreneurship Prize for the creation of the Unofficial McGill Guide.
Rich currently works as an investor at Blue Pool Capital. Previously, he worked at the Detroit Mayor's Office, Goldman Sachs's Financial Institution Group, McKinsey & Company's New York Office, and Jericho Capital, a New York-based investment management firm. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College.
Associate Director of Design
John Farrace is a Los-Angeles based designer working at the intersection of media and architecture. He directs Shared_Studios' design, architecture, and strategic practice. John is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Yale University (M.Arch.).
Nick McDonell is a novelist and journalist. Born in New York City in 1984, he studied at Harvard and St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His work has been published in twenty three countries and appeared on bestseller lists around the world.
Austin Portal Curator
Ben Carneiro is a filmmaker and musician from Austin, TX. He loves using Austin's Portal to share his hometown with people all over the world. He brings artists and musicians to the portal to share art, exchange culture, and "Keep Austin Weird." He is often found taking long walks on the beach, and he can register you to vote.
Newark Portal Curator
Divad was born and raised in Newark, NJ aka Brick City. An educator, consultant, community activist, youth advocate, prisoner reentry specialist, author and artist. He brings over 20 years of professional experience to areas where impact is crucial.
As Portal Curator, Divad utilizes his desire for community empowerment to enhance creating needed bridges and connections.
Newark Portal Curator
Fayemi Shakur is a writer, editor, and activist fayemi shakur first began writing political and cultural news stories for The Source magazine in 1999. Her interviews and published work have appeared in The International Review of African American Art, Artvoices Magazine, UPTOWN, Ebony.com, Nueva Luz Photographic Journal and various online and print media outlets.
She is a former editor and contributing writer for HYCIDE Magazine, a photography journal and is the creator and co-editor of OPEN: An Erotic Journal, a collection of short stories, poetry and photography featuring the work of George Pitts, Akintola Hanif, Michael A. Gonzales, jessica Care moore, Liza Jessie Peterson, Greg Tate and more.
In addition she serves as an advocate for political prisoners in the United States, teaches yoga and meditation as a tool to help heal trauma in communities affected by violence and is a proud mother of two sons.
Michael Arri is a trainer/coach and consultant for intercultural communication and conflict management. Before his current role, he worked in China for more than ten years as a TV journalist.
Now he is managing a refugees’ home outside of Berlin, and turning a former nunnery into a meeting point for intercultural communication, arts and performances.
Project Manager and Social Impact Activist
Karla Maradiaga is a Charles P. Howland Fellow at Yale University. She is performing her fellowship in El Progreso, Honduras. She studied public heath and pre-med at Yale and is an active member of the Yale math and science club.
London Portal Curator
Farzana recently finished her third year of studying Business Marketing BA Honors. With her degree she wants to accomplish her dream of working in a business-marketing establishment. Throughout the 3 years of studying Business Marketing she has learned many things such as working within a business environment, marketing their products as well as using the best strategy for them and making the business one of the leading businesses within their market.
Dre Meekins was born and raised in Chicago but has spent years around the globe in South Korea and China, teaching English. Dre speaks five languages and is committed to community development across America.
Karam Yahya is a Syrian refugee who made a dangerous journey to Berlin for a better life. Her has been living in Berlin since July 2015, studying German language and volunteering with several refugee initiatives. Karam is from Idlib in the northwest of Syria. He has previously worked as a community mobilizer with ActionAid in the Zaatari Camp. For more on Karam, read his interview with the European Student Union.
As a diplomat, bureaucrat, political campaigner, and advocate, Alexander Djerassi’s work has revolved around building relationships and interpersonal understanding across divides of experience and perspective. Djerassi has served as chief of staff in the U.S. Department of State’s Near East Bureau, which oversees U.S. relations with the Arab world, Israel, and Iran. He is a former nonresident associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the policy team of multiple presidential campaigns.
Ber-Henda is a bilingual poet with more than 20 years dedicated to the craft. She has hosted and performed at numerous cultural events around the metro-area including: Festival of the Arts, Dally in the Ally, Academia Del Pueblo at WSU and Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers. She is a community activist and lives in the intersections of race, gender and culture. She is the founder of The Power of Girlhood, a Girl's Leadership Organization for teens. Ber-Henda holds to tight to the pillars of: Culture, Community and Connection.
Gaza City_Portal Curator
Mira is our Gaza City Portal Curator. She is the iYouth Program Coordinator for MercyCorps. She previously worked as a trainer for UNRWA.
Isabel Maxwell is a Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum. She is a media and Internet entrepreneur, international executive, and champion of social innovation. She is known for her energetic leadership of companies and non-profit organizations and leveraging her extensive network of investors, thought-leaders, business leaders and philanthropists around the world. She is multilingual and tri-national, and a graduate of Oxford University.
Patrick is an experienced systems architect and technical leader that has overseen products and projects of all scales. He is Vice President of systems engineering at LiveStream.
Baltimore Portal Curator
Artist and Baltimore native, Rachael London holds degrees in Urban Studies, Design and Fine Art from The New School and Maryland Institute College of Art, respectively. With a focus on public space, her work uses observational research to serve and celebrate the site of each project with specificity and inclusivity. She works as the Baltimore Portal curator, a freelance radio, film and event producer, and sculpture & installation artist. Her local work includes the Idling at Dusk event series and a public concrete bench at Baltimore's Penn Station Plaza as well as on-going media project Greater Sights and Sounds inside Lexington Market. These and more are on her website: www.rachaellondon.com.
Architecture & Design Advisor
Raised in a diplomat family, Young-Tack has become an avid traveler and explorer. Living in various countries from France, Belgium, Norway, Singapore, to Korea, he has learned to meticulously observe and respect different cultures, as well as adapting to them accordingly. He is the founder of Archipleasure, a creative collaboration focused on architectural ideas. His traveling experiences have led him to see architecture as a foundation for attracting and sustaining multiple cultures together within a certain environment. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, and later received his Master of Architecture from University of Michigan in 2015. He currently works as an architectural consultant in New York.
Software Architect & Technology Advisor
Justin Pogrob, founder of Simplex Studio, is a building and software architect focused on the integration of technology and the built environment. His experience with a broad range of award winning architectural and software projects as well as his extensive knowledge in IoT technology made him ideally suited to design and implement the software controller for our global network of portals. Justin is a member if the American Institute of Architects and holds a B.Arch. from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.
Aparna Bakhle (b. 1973, Bombay, India) received her BFA in Film (Emerson College, Boston, MA). She resides in Los Angeles and investigates the intersection of radical aesthetics, political agency and the construct of publishing as the Fourth Estate. She values empathy as an integral framework for the inner revolution that must precede radically shifting the material conditions that perpetuate inequity. A series of aesthetic investigations into self-publishing led to her role as managing editor of fabrik, a contemporary art quarterly in print since 2008. Social justice issues consistently occupy her attention, keeping her engaged in more precisely understanding the material conditions leading to dynamic social change. Supporting grassroots activists and community organizers through mutual aid keeps her in perpetual motion.
Muhammad Shahryar Yaqoob
Islamabad Portal Curator
Shahryar is a graduate of the University of London International Programmes with a degree in Business and Management. Having been working ever since he was in middle school, he has experience in various fields including Marketing, HR, Business Development, Project Managenent, Social Entrepreneurship and even Teaching. His experiences both locally and abroad have shaped his thought process towards innovative and solution centric patterns. He was also the Vice President for AIESEC in Islamabad, an international youth driven organisation while working as the regional manager for Tripda. After this he began working with Carnelian as Project Manager for the biggest youth movement within Pakistan, Together For Tolerance. He's currently working for invest2innovate, an impact accelerator focused towards supporting entrepreneurship in developing markets. Diverse is the word that describes this passionate individual.
Born and raised in Amman, Jordan, Nour began her global journey at New York University’s portal campus in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) where she pursued her undergraduate degree. Through NYU’s global network and liberal arts program, Nour studied abroad in New York, Florence, and Shanghai, and realized her passion for integrating engineering and social impact through Product Design and Development. After completing her BSc. in Mechanical Engineering with a pre-professional track in Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship, Nour returned home to further develop her Product Design portfolio within the melting pot that is now Jordan.
Adam is the Senior Director for The Rye Arts Center in Rye, NY, and is responsible for administering many arts classes, workshops, exhibits and events for the community. Adam has worked at the RAC for nearly 20 years, and, in addition to his work at the Center, is also an artist and musician.
Boulder Portal Curator
Eric Netterlund is a PhD student and educator in Communication Studies at the University of Colorado, where he has studied and taught rhetorical approaches to human communication for the past 6 years. While his current work focuses on religious rhetorics in the contemporary US, he has broader interests in theatrical performance and production and hopes to reintegrate these forms of artistic engagement back into his life after spending so many years focused on his studies.
Becky is a master’s student in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program at Georgetown University, where her research focuses on human-computer-interaction and technologies that can be used to counter societal polarization. At Georgetown, she also produces “Home,” a radio show about making personal connections despite—and because of—differences. Before going back to grad school, she was most recently the editorial director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. When not stuck in a book or in front of a computer, Becky enjoys the outdoors—hiking, camping, orienteering, and more—as well as photography, bellydancing, and cooking.
Neesha Rahim co-founded and led Level Up Village, a social impact company building global competency skills in K-12 students through guided global virtual exchange experiences revolving around STEM subjects. She helped scale the company's impact to 26 states in the US and 20 countries around the world as co-CEO, reaching thousands of students and educators. Before this, she spent 15 years working in the NGO space with youth development and conflict resolution organizations, including Seeds of Peace, where she first understood the power of connecting people with seemingly insurmountable differences.
Max Ferguson, a Colorado Springs native, is a renowned local theatre artist, performer, and director producer. He has been seen treading the boards at the CS Fine Arts Center (FAC), UCCS Theatreworks, The Millibo, and Springs Ensemble Theatre (SET). He has also performed with the CS Philharmonic and CS Chamber Orchestra on numerous occasions. Max's directorial work has been seen at the FAC, SET, and Millibo to name a few. Max also has a passion for sharing the dramatic arts through education. He teaches at the Colorado Springs School and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale. Max is thrilled to be joining the Shared Studios team.
Anne-Marie Litak lives and breathes in San Francisco. She laughs often, asks questions, and talks with strangers. Having studied Critical Theory, Creative Writing, and American Studies at UC Davis, she now applies her curiosity through the creation of site-specific art installations, guerilla theater performances, "identity correction" hijinks, and other culture-jamming work. She has happily worked with the SF Institute of Possibility, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Ai Weiwei's @Large exhibit on Alcatraz.
Sara joined Shared_Studios after completing a Masters in Anthropology from University College of London where she conducted fieldwork in the Calais ‘Jungle.’ She is interested in points at which material culture and human rights intersect; including materialized memory, imagined realities, the architecture of displacement, and the aesthetic and media responses to humanitarian crisis and civil injustices.
Jennifer Pisz is a writer, dancer and producer based in Los Angeles. She began her career at the age of 16 in Off-Broadway musical The Children and continued dancing professionally while completing her undergraduate degree at New York University, where she majored in Journalism with a minor in French Studies. She has written for outlets including CBS Los Angeles, CBS Radio, Yahoo! and HBO News, specializing in news, arts and culture. Jennifer founded DANCELEN(D)S in 2010 to explore the intersection of dance and film. A collective of choreographers, dancers and filmmakers, the organization works to promote the collaborative spirit of the arts and to make high-value dance films more accessible to the public.
Digital Media Intern
Razan is a photography and video student at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been featured nationally in several gallery exhibitions and museums such as the Mississippi Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Greater Reston Arts Center. Her work has also been published in The Washington Post, Rookie Magazine, The Vienna Connection among others. She hopes to receive her BFA and become an art director and work for nationally-recognized publications and international media outlets.
Stefano Chinosi is an architect of experience and the Director of Strategic Innovation for the Andover Public Schools. He’s spent the last 24 years guiding students up mountains, down rivers, across Shakespeare, and beyond biodiesel. He believes that every child is gifted and talented and recently created “The Office of Ingenuity” to prove it.
In the summer he builds stone walls. Actually, it’s just one stone wall that he has been working on for the last 15 years. During the fifth year of hauling and setting stone, while he was jamming a smaller stone between two larger ones, one of the large stones shifted and fell, temporarily rearranging his thumb. It was then that he remembered the best advice he ever received, “be smarter than the stone.”
Shelagh St. Laurent
Shelagh is the coordinator of the Global Pathways Program at Andover High School in Andover, Massachusetts. The Global Pathways Program serves 130 students, who choose to travel, participate in global service opportunities, navigate a specific course pathway based on interests/passions, create a global capstone project, and share their journey with the world through a digital portfolio. Shelagh also supports teachers as a Digital Learning Coach and facilitates the AHS Innovation Lab, a unique course where students are exposed to a hands-on approach to authentic learning, based on the principles of Stanford University’s Design School. She is in her 12th year of teaching and has worked with students from grades 6-12, ages 11-18, in the areas of technology, innovation, business and global relations. Shelagh and the Andover Portal Team support their school district, town and surrounding communities.
Sam is a designer and researcher with work deeply rooted in ethnography, material investigation and empathy. Projects begin with interviews, surveys, and experiments in order to incorporate design moves. Her current body of work explores humanistic design interconnected with investigations of materiality. She is the founder of The Things We Keep, a collection of stories about people’s most special things. She is also co-founder of Clever/Slice, a space for creatives to share in-progress work, while evaluating critical feedback. Sam has collaborated with Martha Stewart Living, IKEA, Healthy Materials Lab, and teaches at Parsons School of Design.
Joan is a doctor in general medicine. He loves sports, soccer and volley ball.
Mel Gross is a multidisciplinary artist and activist from the DMV area. She has worked with environmental and social justice organizations over the last decade on campaigns ranging from canvasing and grassroots organizing with the Sierra Student Coalition to building schools and organizational development programs in Mali, Africa raising awareness about girls rights to bodily autonomy and education as a charter member of School Girls Unite (Filles Unies). She holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from the Maryland institute College of Art where she began developing a practice based around social justice and development, with a focus on linguistic and cultural infrastructures.
Marwa is deeply involved in her community and with a variety of radio and computer projects with MercyCorps. She studied Computer Systems Engineering and Balqa Applied University and is currently a Media Trainer at Mousa Al-Saket center
Anthony “Bud” Rock served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Incorporated (ASTC), an international organization of science centers and related institutions dedicated to furthering public engagement with science worldwide. Mr. Rock also served as Executive Publisher of Dimensions, the leading professional publication of the science center field. Prior to his tenure at ASTC, Mr. Rock held the position of Vice President for Global Engagement at Arizona State University (ASU), where he was responsible for expanding global awareness among students and developing new and creative international programs of research and scholarship.
Before joining ASU, Mr. Rock had a three-decade career in U.S. government service, mostly within the U.S. Department of State. His diplomatic service included a five-year appointment as acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for oceans, environment, science, technology, and health. During this period, Mr. Rock also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, overseeing the negotiation and implementation of more than 50 bilateral cooperative science and technology agreements throughout the world. He served abroad as Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, Health, and Non-Proliferation Affairs in the United States Embassy in Paris, France and in the United States Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.
Samuel Ordoñez is a conference interpreter and art enthusiast, with broad experience in energy, SAP, and engineering assignments.
Mary O'Meallie has BAs in Art History, Photography and French Language. She specializes in black & white (film) and pinhole photography. Her French is a little rusty but she enjoys every opportunity to use it. She is fascinated with other people & cultures and loves to travel. She enjoys the challenges of communicating with others.
Her travels have taken her to China, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Ireland, England, Italy and France. There are still many more places she'd love to explore.
Aurelia Adhiambo was born and raised in Nairobi. She is passionate about technology, leadership, and empowering the marginalized in our communities. She’s eager to talk about everything from politics to science, and healthy living to recent cultural trends.
Ciela Herce is from Mexico City and has a degree in Language Interpretation.
Kathryn focuses on strategic planning, legal affairs, and partnerships. She previously served as an Aide to the Marshal at the Supreme Court of the United States, excavated in the ancient marketplace of Athens, and held a variety of curatorial internships. Kathryn has an A.B. in Classical Archaeology from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She hails from central Florida and is now based in New Haven, Connecticut.
Feras Faleh Syiran was born in Qatar, Doha. He holds a BBA in Finance and Accounting from Qatar University, and a MSc in International Business from SKEMA Business School Paris.
He has worked for 2 of the Big Four audit firms – Deloitte and KPMG – in areas as diverse as accounting, finance, sport management, and project management.
Feras speaks Arabic, English and some French. He hopes to continue a PhD in Management and to be involved in the family's business in the future, which is related to advertisement. Feras loves Crossfit and exploring new cultures and countries.
Graeme Harrison has worked in the commercial AV industry for the last 3 decades leading global sales, marketing and product management teams as well as helping to grow companies by formulating and implementing strategy on executive teams. He is also heavily involved in the TED community as a mentor for the fellows, a speaker host and an advisor on audio. His background is in research Chemistry in his native England, but he now lives in Portland, OR.
Originally Palestinian/Jordanian, Haneen Hunaiti is an aspiring writer/journalist with a focus on world cultures, interdisciplinary studies, and feminism.
She has interned at AlJazeera Headquarters in Doha, Qatar and at Ro’ya TV in Amman, Jordan. Haneen also provides content for @orientistan on Instagram, a page dedicated to postcolonial affairs in general, and in particular, highlights the lives of Eastern heroes across different eras and disciplines. A movie buff, avid reader, and part-time pianist, Haneen holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and International Affairs from Qatar University.
Fouad Ballan has over 10 years of experience in community development and civic and social organization industry. He is an alumni of the Reach Out to Asia youth advisory board. He got his body language trainer certification from Jordan and has been conducting body language workshops and communication skill training for almost 5 years in many international conferences. He has a Bachelor of computer Engineering from Qatar University.
Sanaz Habibi is an Iranian-Swede with an MSc in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University. She has spent most of her academic career getting involved with local initiatives related to socio-economic and environmental sustainability. This includes being a communications coordinator for the local Fossil Free campaign and a broadcaster and producer for a studentradio program about sustainable choices called STEPSradio.
Neema Githere is an Africa-enthusiast and artist-in-blooming who was born in Nairobi and raised in Denver. Having dreamt herself into the world via the Internet from an early age, Neema's work archives and is curated around her own coming-of-age as a digital nomad. She has traveled to 17 countries across the Afrodiaspora, mapping and theorizing on the aesthetics of a genre she terms Afropresentism. She is pursuing a degree in African Studies with an emphasis on Art History at Yale University.