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Keynote Speakers -  September 2016,  NYC

Dr. Steve  F. A. Acquah, Florida State University, Director of GEOSET and Associate Research Professor of Chemistry


Dr. Steve Acquah is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Scientist. He is the director of Sir Harold Kroto’s research laboratory and the director of the Global Educational Outreach for Science Engineering and Technology (GEOSET) initiative, which focuses on providing an educational resource for teachers and students from K12 through to postgraduate level education. The multi-award winning studio facilities he operates at Florida State University provides a unique environment for students and staff to innovate with the latest technology, and produce video and interactive media to enhance the learning experience. Steve conducts research with carbon nanomaterials, focusing on the development of new sensors and piezoelectric devices with high school students and undergraduates, providing them with a valuable laboratory experience on prominent renewable energy projects, reducing the barriers towards scientific research for the next generation of young scientists

Ms. Lorraine Hariton, Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships,  New York Academy of Sciences, New York City

Lorraine Hariton spent 25 years in various senior level positions including CEO of two venture backed start-ups in Silicon Valley before being appointed by President Obama to be Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State (September 2009 – February 2014). Currently she is a Senior Advisor at the Transnational Strategy Group and Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships for the New York Academy of Sciences. At the New York Academy of Sciences she supports the Global STEM Alliance. The initiative aims to increase the number and diversity of students in the STEM pipeline.  She is also on the Leadership Council and the Technology Policy committee of the Hillary for America campaign and on the board of the Wiki Education Foundation.  At the State Department she was responsible for outreach to the business community, commercial advocacy and global entrepreneurship efforts. She worked with US embassies around the world to ensure that support of business was a priority and was instrumental in establishing entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool. She launched the highly successful Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) and supported the Presidential Summit for Entrepreneurship and Co-Chaired the US-Japan, Mexico-US and US-Russia innovation and entrepreneurship working groups.  Ms. Hariton has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University.

Ms. Min Jeong Kim,   Head, GEFI Secretariat at UNESCO,  New York City

Ms. Jeong Kim leads The Global Education First Initiative Secretariat which provides overall support to the Initiative and facilitates collaboration with all partners.  The United Nations Secretary-General launched the five-year Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in September 2012 to accelerate progress towards the Education for All goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals. The Initiative aims to:

  • Rally together a broad spectrum of actors for the final push to 2015;

  • Put quality, relevant and transformative education at the heart of the social, political and development agendas;

  • Generate additional and sufficient funding for education through sustained global advocacy efforts.

Professor Emeritus  Harold Ramkissoon, The Univeristy of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad West Indies



Professor Emeritus Harold Ramkissoon has served on the Executive Committee of several organizations, regional and international including UNESCO’s International Basic Science Committee, UNESCO’s International Science, Technology and Innovation Committee and the Inter Academy Panel .  He is a former President of the Caribbean Academy of Science and currently Chairs the CARICOM Science, Technology and Innovation Committee. Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics and Faculty of Science and Technology, The Univeristy of the West Indies,  St. Augustine, Trinidad West Indies

Dr. Rahmat Shoureshi, Provost,  New York Institute of Technology, NY, U.S.A

Rahmat Shoureshi, Ph.D., joined NYIT as provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2011, administering a complex and global academic enterprise. In this role, he is responsible for shaping academic priorities and programs, fiscal management and revenue diversification, attracting and supporting outstanding faculty and academic leadership, providing global education for students, and expanding scholarship and research initiatives, especially in cross-disciplinary areas. With all New York and global campus deans reporting to him, he oversees faculty and curriculum development, online and blended programs’ offering, planning and budgeting, and initiatives for teaching and learning with technology, domestically as well as globally. He initiates new partnerships and dual-degree programs with universities in strategic regions around the globe, and oversees the development of collaborations with business and industry through educational and executive programs, technology transfer and commercialization, and other outreach activities. Dr. Shoureshi has been an active researcher with funding from government agencies and industry. His research effort has resulted in more than 250 technical publications and he is the holder of several patents. He has supervised and graduated 80 Ph.D. and M.S. student theses. He is an expert in automation, control systems design and artificial intelligence with applications in: robotics, biomedical engineering, energy/power engineering, structural engineering, and automotive engineering.

Dr. Donald Tomalia,  CEO and Founder, NanoSynthons, Michigan, U.S.A

Dr. Donald Tomalia is the CEO and Founder of NanoSynthons, a nanotechnology company founded in 2010.  He currently serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor (Columbia University, Chemistry); Adjunct Professor (University of Pennsylvania, Chemistry) and Affiliate Professor (Virginia Commonwealth University, Physics). He is the inventor of over 128 U.S. patents and author of  over 240 peer reviewed publications. In 2011, Dr. Tomalia was inducted into the Thomas Reuters Hall of Citation Laureates in Chemistry (i.e., 40 most highly cited scientists in the field of chemistry). His discovery of the cationic polymerization of 2-oxazolines led to two international industrial research awards (R&D-100) for creative research in 1978 and 1986. His discovery of dendrimers (dendritic polymer architecture) in 1979 led to a third R&D-100 Award in 1991 and the Leonardo da Vinci Award (Paris, France) in 1996. He received the Society of Polymer Science Japan (SPSJ) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Polymer Science (2003) for discovery of the fourth major macromolecular architectural class, dendritic polymers.

 Section Speakers

Dr. Nada Anid -  Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Sciences,  New York Institute of Technology, New York City


The first female dean of NYIT's School of Engineering and Computing Sciences (SoECS), Nada Anid oversees 80 engineering and computing sciences faculty members and nearly 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students at NYIT campuses located in Manhattan and Old Westbury, N.Y., Canada, China, and the Middle East.  Dr. Anid is committed to educating a new generation of engineers that is ready to address societal challenges identified in the White House Strategy for American Innovation and the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges for Engineering. Long an advocate for women pursuing education and career opportunities in STEM fields, Anid is an active proponent of K-12 education that encourages girls to experience the thrill of discovery and design.

Mr.  Jim Brasunas, Director of the Board,  ITEN,  St. Louis,  Missouri,  USA


Mr.  Brasunas has 32 years of entrepreneurial, management, marketing and sales experience with technology-based companies. He has been involved with numerous start-up ventures, including telecommunications, IT, retail, manufacturing and a number of non-profit organizations. Since April of 2008 he has been the Director of ITEN. From 2003 to 2006, he was the President of the Technology Entrepreneur Center, a technology incubator in downtown St. Louis. He built TEC into a regional center for start up companies focused on information and communications technology. TEC continues as the parent organization of T-Rex.

Dr. Janell N. Catlin,  Director of the STEM Initiative, Teach For All  

Teach for All is a global network of 40 independent organizations that share the same mission to expand educational opportunity for students.  In this role, she leads the vision for Teach For All's Global STEM Initiative, which facilitates global connections and provides direct support to network partner organizations, with the goal of improving STEM teaching and learning across the network.  Based in New York City, she is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University (New York City).  Dr. Catlin's professional background is multi-faceted as an experienced high profile project manager, teacher educator, educational researcher, and former research scientist.  She has led international STEM consultancies with K-16 educators in China, Vietnam, a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) funded project in Indonesia, and is also a STEM education consultant for the New York City Department of Education.  She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Science Education, and Masters in Pharmacology from Columbia University. She received her Bachelors in Biology from Bennett College (Greensboro, North Carolina). Dr. Catlin is extremely passionate about improving global P-20 STEM education and Girls' Education.  She has been awarded for her scholarship by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) and her alma mater, Bennett College.

Mr.  Francis  Chmelir,  Executive  Director,  ITEN St. Louis


Francis  Chmelir  has  a deep  history  of  contributing  to  the  growth  of  scalable, technology  startups  over the last  12  years.  Previous professional roles include having been the Director of Operations and founding member of the Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) and the Statewide Director for MoFAST, a part of the University of Missouri systems program for technology commercialization. Mr. Francis Chmelir currently serves as the Executive Director for ITEN, a catalyst of the tech startup ecosystem in the St. Louis region.  At ITEN, Mr. Chmelir directs the fundraising, operations and overall strategy of the organization while also focusing on new client attraction, intake and business acceleration  programs.  Additionally, Mr. Chmelir works on enhancing mentor engagement throughout  all of ITEN's services to its client companies.  For the last 5 years,  Mr. Chmelir has also served on the local public school board in the St. Louis area at Maplewood-Richmond Heights focusing on promoting entrepreneurship education.


Dr. Sheila Davis, University of Denver,  Healthcare Leadership Program, University College, Denver, Colorado


Dr. Sheila Davis completed an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at MIT and the Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine and a Masters degree in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science.  After completing an internship in pediatrics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Sheila served on the writing team of the Healthy People 1998 Progress Review for African Americans. This experience ignited her interest in public health (with an emphasis on vulnerable populations).  In 2005, she was appointed Associate Director of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health (Cobb) Institute, a research organization devoted to the reduction of racial and ethnic health disparities. Critical health issues in minority communities, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, frame the Cobb research agenda.  Currently, Dr. Davis serves on the faculty of the University of Denver’s Healthcare Leadership Program.  She also sits on the Safety Net Advisory Committee for the Colorado Health Institute.

Ms. Stina  Vrang Elias -  Managing Director of the Think Tank DEA and the Danish Society for Education and Business


Ms. Vrang Elias is the Managing Director and CEO at DEA and has the overall responsibility for operations, projects and initiatives throughout the organization.  DEA works to ensure a better future for Denmark by working on broad educational projects.  Ms. Vrang Elias has extensive experience in public adminisration and policy.  She also has held a number of honoarary positions including member of NOKUT - the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education,  member of the Radio and Television Board at the Danish Ministry of Culture (appointed by the Minister for Culture), member of the Danish Accreditation Council, Ministry of Education (appointed by the Minister for Education).

Dr.  Agueda Gras-Velázquez,  Science Programme Manager of European Schoolnet (EUN), Brussels, Belgium


Dr Agueda Gras-Velázquez is the Science Programme Manager of European Schoolnet (EUN) and is in charge of overseeing and coordinating all the Maths and Science projects run by EUN. Additionally, she is in charge of the day to day management of “Scientix” (the community for science education in Europe, and coordinated the school piloting of the “inGenious” project, a strategic partnership between major industries and Ministries of Education ( In her 8 years at EUN, Agueda has been involved in over 20 European Commission funded projects and ten private funded ones and also sits in the advisory board of a number of projects. Prior to joining EUN in May 2008, she worked as an independent eLearning Professional, as Tutor, Content designer, IT manager, Administrator, Project Manager and Consultant for international projects. She has co-authored several papers in the area of Science Education Research and has a PhD in Astrophysics from Trinity College Dublin, which she carried out at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Dr.  Adrián Gras-Velázquez,  Visiting Professor of Spanish,  Sawrthmore College,  Pennsylvania,  U.S. A

Adrián Gras-Velázquez recieved his PhD from Durham University (United Kingdom) in Hispanic Film Studies. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Swarthmore College since 2014, where he has taught Intensive Spanish for Advanced Beginners and First-Year Intensive Spanish, as well as courses on contemporary Spanish cinema, gender and identity, and literature and culture. He is currently working on several lines of research including project-based learning in second language acquisition, queer urban spaces in film, and the evolution of the family concept. 

Dr. Alan Gettis,  Clinical Psychologist, New Jersey,  USA


Dr. Alan Gettis, is a Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice, in River Edge, New Jersey.  USA. He is the author of 5 books including, The Happiness Solution: Finding Joy & Meaning In An Upside Down World, and, It's All Part Of The Dance: Finding Happiness In An Upside Down World.  Dr. Gettis spent two years as a Vietnam era army psychologist in the late 1960’s. In the 1970’s,  he worked for seven years at a large mental health center as the Chief Psychologist. He is a clinical psychologist with graduate degrees from Central Michigan University, Utah State University, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has been in private practice since 1974.   Dr. Gettis extensive travels and studies of world cultures led him to create his own unique approach to psychotherapy.  Dr. Gettis utilizes Zen teachings as well as story telling in addition to psychodynamic, and supportive and cognitive behavioral therapy in his unique therapeutic approach to helping others heal and thrive. Dr. Gettis believes wholeheartedly in the power of stories and creating a happier world.

Dr. Meghan Groome,  New York Academy of Sciences,  Senior Vice President of Education, New York City


Dr. Meghan Groome is the founding Senior Vice President of Education at the Academy, which includes a global portfolio of Pre-K through higher education programs. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on numerous National Science Foundation grants. She also served as an Education Policy Fellow for the Institute for Educational Leadership in China.  Meghan joined the Academy in July of 2010 after spending three years at the American Museum of Natural History. Previously, Meghan was a Senior Policy Analyst with the National Governors Association, where she worked on Governor Janet Napolitano's Innovation America initiative and co-authored "Building a STEM Agenda," a framework for states to improve their STEM education pipelines. She completed her PhD at Teachers College, Columbia University, and taught science in New Jersey.

Dr. Bruce Heiman, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University, Department of International Business,  San Francisco,


Professor Heiman’s education includes an A.B. in Psychology from Stanford, an M.S. from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering, Product Design, an M.B.A. from Universiteit Nijenrode, NL and a PhD from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (Business and Public Policy). He has published in a substantial number of academic journals and conference proceedings as well as refereed books. Prof. Heiman's research explores international aspects of creativity and innovation. Within this realm, his interests include teaching design thinking in organizations and to leaders and teachers, transaction cost economics, and its application to international aspects of problem finding and solving in organizations. Classes taught include Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCB), Doing Business in Europe, Global Strategic Management, Creativity Skills for Global Managers, International Business Environment Analysis (SFSU), Cross-cultural Creativity, Globalization and Business in the 21st Century, and Statistics & Finite Math for MBA Students (USF). He speaks English (native), Dutch (advanced) and French (elementary).

Dr. Christy Hunter,  Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Nanoscience at the University of Manchester, Manchester,  United Kingdom


Dr. Christy Hunter received his first degree in pharmacy from the University of Brighton and following pre-registration training in hospital qualified as a pharmacist in 1993. He still locums in community pharmacy. He undertook post graduate studies in bioorganic chemistry (1993-1996) at the University of Sussex. He was appointed to faculty in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Brighton where he undertook a range of roles within the division of pharmaceutics over the following 14 years. He joined the University of Manchester in July 2012.  His primary research focus is in understanding the behaviours and mechanistic basis of synthetic polymer interaction within biological milieu particularly in reference to experimental and currently used nanomedicines.  Dr. Hunter is interested in creating programs helping children from poorer backgrounds to study science. He is involved in outreach programs that focuses  on widening participation for these students to get into pharmacy programs and how K-12 education can be improved.

Dr.  Felicia Moore Mensah,  Teachers College, Columbia University,  New York City,  U.S.A


Dr. Felicia Moore Mensah is a full tenured Professor of Science and Education and past Program Coordinator of the Science Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. With her promotion to full professor, this academic year Professor Mensah was appointed by the President and Provost as Special Advisor for Student Affairs. In this role she is serving as a liaison between administration and the student body.   At Teachers College, Professor Mensah’s research has been primarily in elementary science education with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and science teacher identity as well as gender issues in science education. She has sponsored more than 30 doctoral student dissertations and has served on more than 90 dissertation committees, including inside and outside her program, department, college, and internationally. She serves as the academic advisor to the Black Student Network.

Dr. Moein Moghimi,  Chair and Professor of Pharmaceutics,  Durham University,  Durham, United Kingdom


Dr. Moghimi is a Professor and Chair in Pharmaceutics at the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University, UK. He is also a Full Affiliate Member at the Department of Translational Imaging, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital Systems (Houston, Texas, USA) and Adjoint Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado - Denver Medical Center (USA). Moein’s research activities are focused on pharmaceutical nanoscience, nanomedicine and nanosafety. Moein has been the recipient of numerous awards and has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, many patents  and more than 12000 citations (Google Scholar). He functions as the Editor-in-Chief of Current Bionanotechnology (Bentham), Associate Editor for Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (American Scientific Publishers) as well as Immunology Section Editor for Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.  Dr. Moghimi is an advisor to many science education projects.  

Dr. Maria Rivera Maulucci,  Associate Professor of Education, Barnard College,  New York City,  NY,  U.S.A


Dr. Maulucci, is an Associate Professor of Education, Barnard College.  She combines expertise in science pedagogy and teacher education with elementary, secondary and post-secondary teaching experience. Her accomplishments include original scholarship on teacher learning, particularly the role of identity and emotions as teachers enact multicultural, critical, and social justice pedagogies.  Maria joined the faculty of Barnard in 2004.  Prior to her appointment at Barnard College, Maria served as Director of the Science Professional Development Center for Region One in the Bronx. Her expertise in science pedagogy and teacher education draws on 16 years of experience teaching at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on how teachers learn to teach for social justice and the role of language, identity, and emotions in teacher development. Professor Rivera is the Principal Investigator for the Barnard College Robert Noyce Teacher Education Scholars Program (BNTSP) funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Dr.  Ana Peršić, Programme Specialist in Science, UNESCO,  New York City

Dr. Peršić  is the Programme Specialist in Science at the New York office of UNESCO.  

In the field of science, the work of UNESCO Office in New York covers two broad areas – promoting science, technology and innovation as critical drivers of sustainable development and using science to manage the environment in a sustainable way, including the ocean, freshwater and biodiversity.  In this context, UNESCO Office in New York acts as an advocate for the dialogue between scientists, policy-makers and civil society.

Dr. Richard Simpson,  New York Institute of Technology, College of Engineering, New York City, NY,  U.S.A


Dr. Simpson received a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech in 1992.  At the University of Michigan he earned an MS in Bioengineering in 1994, an MS in Computer Science and Engineering in 1995, and a PhD in Bioengineering in 1997. Dr. Simpson joined New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in 2013 as Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Dean for Research. Dr. Simpson teaches computer science courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Dr. Simpson incorporates a number of instructional technologies into his teaching. In 2015, he received NYIT's Presidential Engagement Award for Innovative Use of Technology to Engage Students. He has given several presentations on his use of instructional technology.

Mr. Abhay Tewari,  Founder and CEO,  Sumbon,  San Francisco, California,  U.S.A

Abhay is the Founder & CEO of Sumbon (, a for-profit social enterprise. Prior to Sumbon he worked at Apple as a New Product Operations Manager for 8 years, where he managed the development and launch of new Mac products. His conversation with his 6-year old daughter convinced him to quit Apple and start Sumbon wth a mission to have a much greater impact in the world. Sumbon is a marketplace to help connect the non-profits with individual donors, who give ~$258B in the US. He himself is passionate about addressing the issues of education, poverty and cancer research. He has an MBA from University of Chicago, Booth and studied Industrial Engineering at The Ohio State University. When he is not working on building Sumbon he loves to spend time with the family, he is an avid runner and a die hard Ohio State Football fan. 

Dr.  Shiang-Kwei Wang ,  Associate Dean of the School of Education, New York Institute of Technology, NYC,  U.S.A


Dr.  Wang She received her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia, an M.B.A. at the Yuan-Ze University (Taiwan), and bachelor's degree in Library Science at the TamKang University (Taiwan). Wang has authored or co-authored more than twenty peer-reviewed journal articles and made more than fifty national and international conference presentations. Her professional interests include technology integration in learning settings, the motivational impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on learning attitude and performance, mobile learning, as well as the design and development of interactive learning tools. Her work has appeared in Educational Technology Research and Development, Journal of Science Education and Technology, and Tech Trend. She is the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation (NSF, DRK12- 1020091) project.

Ms. Dede Heiman,  Global Education Symposium, Fundraising and Organizing Committees


Ms. Dede Heiman is the chair of fundraising and organizing committees for the Global Education Symposium.  She has been an active supporter of education and use of technology in education.  She is the president of Women in Telecommunications,  West Coast chapter,  San Francisco, and a veteran of Telecommunications industry.  She currently spends time helping the library at the San Francisco State University and is involved with numerous charity causes in the U.S.  She holds a BA from San Francisco State University, in Fine Arts.

Dr. Shadi Farhangrazi,  Global Education Sympoisum Founder and Chair


Dr. Farhangrazi is an educator having worked on K-12 education for the last 10 years as an advisor and innovator focusing on use of technology in education,  improving education for girls, and integration of STEM, health and art education into a broader education curriculum.  Dr. Farhangrazi is a neuroscientist,  biochemist,  infectious diseases expert and a global speaker and educator.  She teaches classes and workshops on variety of subjects including education,  science,  innovation and entrepreneurship, and technology trends in Denver, Colorado,  U. S.  and across the world.  



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