Board, Advisors, and Staff

Learn more about NCIIA's Board, Advisors, and Staff


Abigail Barrow | Director, Massachusetts Technology Center
Abigail Barrow is the Founding Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC). The MTTC is state funded and supports technology transfer activities from public and private research institutions to companies in Massachusetts. The Center works with technology transfer offices at all research institutions; faculty, researchers, and students who have commercially promising ideas; and companies across the Commonwealth.

Prior to joining the MTTC, Dr. Barrow served as managing director of William J. von Liebig Center at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The von Liebig Center was created in 2001 to support the commercialization of research being performed in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Dr. Barrow worked in a variety of roles at UCSD CONNECT from 1990 to 2001. CONNECT’s programs focused on supporting early stage high-tech and biotech companies and in particular helping them raise funding from venture capitalists and corporate partners. Dr. Barrow has also worked with other regions where the CONNECT program has been successfully replicated, including Scotland and Scandinavia. Dr. Barrow is a Fellow of UCSD’s Beyster Institute and an Xconomist for

David Chen | Founder and Managing Director, Equilibrium Capital Group
Dave’s focus on sustainability is a result of his work in venture capital, regional economic development and energy policy. In 2007, he was a visiting executive at the Meyer Memorial Trust developing an investing thesis on mission related investing (MRI); this tool has since been adopted by several institutions. In late 2007, he formed Equilibrium Capital Group; an investment firm focused on growth equity investment opportunities in the area of sustainability.

Most recently Dave was a general partner at OVP Venture Partners, joining the firm in 2001.  His investments at OVP include @once (acquired by InfoUSA), Ambric, Intelligent Results (acquired by First Data), Net6 (acquired by Citrix), Tzero, and UXComm. He served on the board of @mobile prior to its acquisition by Until 2002 he served on the board of HNC Software when it was merged with FICO (NASDAQ:HNCS, now NYSE:FIC).

Prior to OVP, Dave founded GeoTrust (acquired by Verisign 2006) & The Ascent Group; was Vice President Marketing Mentor Graphics; was an associate at McKinsey & Co; and was an early team member in 1978 at Solectron.

Equilibrium Capital Group portfolio board of directors:
•    GEDi
•    Biological Capital

Dave serves as Board Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Portland Branch, Governor-Appointed Chairman of the Oregon Innovation Council, Chairman of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), Advisory Board Member of the Oregon Investment Fund (OIF), Advisory Board of the X Prize for Energy & Environment, Board member of National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), Past Chairman of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum (2006).

Jerry Engel | Adjunct Professor, Haas School of Business; Founding Executive Director Emeritus, and Senior Fellow, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, University of California at Berkeley

Jerome Engel is a veteran of Silicon Valley. After a successful career advising and founding entrepreneurial ventures, he joined the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 to found the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. Mr. Engel is an adjunct professor at the Haas School of Business and instructs in both the School's MBA and Executive Education programs specializing in Entrepreneurship, New Venture Finance, Corporate Innovation, Venture Capital and Private Equity. Professor Engel is also co-founder and General Partner of Monitor Venture Partners, a venture capital firm organized in collaboration with the Monitor Group, investing in early stage technology ventures.

In Professor Engel’s broad background in entrepreneurship and innovation, he has founded successful entrepreneurial firms, taken several publics and sold others to major corporations. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of several high potential venture capital-backed and privately held firms. Previously he was the Managing Partner of Entrepreneurial Services for Ernst & Young, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the firm’s National Director of Capital Resources, a practice specializing in new venture financing. Professor Engel is experienced in building programs to develop entrepreneurship faculty, with a specialty of working with business executives, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to develop them into highly effective college instructors. Since 2005 he has helped to create and lead the Intel Entrepreneurship Initiative, which has trained hundreds of faculty in more than 40 sessions conducted throughout the world. The Initiative has included five global symposia held at the University of California-Berkeley that have brought together leading alumni of the program for intensive “train-the-trainer” instruction. Professor Engel’s most recent research and publications focus on the nature of innovation processes in firms, communities and global networks. Professor Engel is the 2010 recipient of the NCIIA - Olympus Corporation Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award.

Michael Malone | Ronnie & Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mike was educated in chemical engineering at Penn State University and at UMass Amherst where he joined the faculty in 1980. At UMass he was Director of the Process Design and Control Center for nine years, Head of Chemical Engineering for six years, and then Dean of Engineering for five years until 2009.  He has been a Visiting Scientist in Central Science & Engineering at the DuPont Company and has done extensive consulting and teaching for industry in the US and internationally. He is the author of numerous technical articles, a textbook, and holds two patents on catalytic distillation. He has won several awards for his research on process design and for his teaching.  Currently, he team-teaches an interdisciplinary course on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Isenberg Program at UMass Amherst.

Paul Yock | Weiland Professor of Medicine and the founding co-chair of the Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University

Dr. Yock is internationally known for his work in inventing, developing and testing new medical devices, including the Rapid Exchange (tm) balloon angioplasty and stent system, now the primary system in use worldwide, and the Doppler-guided hypodermic needle system, P-D Access (tm). Dr. Yock also authored the fundamental patents for intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging and founded Cardiovascular Imaging Systems, now a division of Boston Scientific. Dr. Yock’s research focuses on preclinical development and clinical trials of catheter devices, most recently in the area of stem cell delivery to the heart. Dr. Yock also founded and directs the Program in Biodesign, which is a teaching and mentoring initiative focusing on the process of needs finding, invention and technology translation in the biomedical field.

Todd Warren | Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, Northwestern University and advisor to and an investor in Divergent Ventures

Todd Warren divides his time between the technology industry and entrepreneurial educational ventures. He is an advisor to and an investor in Divergent Ventures, focusing on early-stage companies. In addition to advising Divergent and their investments, Todd is an adjunct professor in computer science at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. He also serves on the board of Pcubed, a global consulting firm focused on large scale program and project management.  

Todd worked for Microsoft for over 21 years in a variety of product management, general management, and product development roles. He was a corporate vice president from 2003 to 2009. From 2005 until 2009, Todd was responsible for the development and technical product strategy for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system and related products. Todd retired from Microsoft in February 2009.

Todd joined Microsoft after completing a BA with Honors in Computer Science and Economics at Northwestern University. At Northwestern he serves on the board of trustees as well as a number of advisory boards in the university.


Judith Giordan | Senior Advisor
Dr. Giordan has enjoyed a career as a technology and corporate executive for several Fortune 500 companies, including Vice President of Global R&D for Pepsicola and International Flavors and Fragrances, and VP R&D Henkel Corporation. She has held adjunct and visiting academic positions and is currently Professor of Practice at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is active in professional societies and organizations including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Intangible Asset Finance Society, and the Industrial Research Institute. She is a member of the Board of Directors for startup companies, is a serial entrepreneur and is former Member of the Board of Directors both the Industrial Research Institute and the ACS. Dr. Giordan is also Managing Director – Intangible Asset Finance for Steel City Re, LLC and Vice President of Visions in Education, Inc. Dr. Giordan received her BS from Rutgers University, her PhD from the University of Maryland, and was an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellow at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. 


Phil Weilerstein | President
Phil began his career as an entrepreneur as a student at the University of Massachusetts. He and a team including his advisor launched a start-up biotech company which ultimately went public. This experience, coupled with a lifelong passion for entrepreneurship, led to his work with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Phil’s tenure at the NCIIA is marked by his skill for network-building and expert leverage of resources. He has a special talent for seeking out gifted educators and other important contributors and putting them to work for the betterment of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education in the U.S. and worldwide. As an entrepreneur in a not-for-profit organization, he has grown the NCIIA from a grassroots group of enthusiastic faculty to a nationally known and in-demand knowledge base and resource center. Phil also serves as the Chair of the Entrepreneurship Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

Rachel Agoglia | Grants Manager
Rachel manages the grant-making process at NCIIA, ensuring the efficient intake, review, and finalization of all submitted student and faculty grant proposals and competition entries. She ensures procedural compliance on funded awards, manages pre and post award processes, and works in close liaison with institution sponsored research staff. Rachel recruits and supports NCIIA’s external reviewers and works with NCIIA program staff to communicate with applicants, implement grants-related policies, and provide support to existing grantees. Rachel brings to NCIIA over a decade of prior nonprofit management and direct service experience, primarily from her work in Portland, Oregon and Providence, Rhode Island in the areas of hunger, education reform, and nonprofit consultation. She returned to her hometown in Western Massachusetts in 2007 to join the team at NCIIA. Rachel holds a BA in Women's Studies from Bates College.

James Barlow | Training Consultant
James has worked in the University entrepreneurship space for 7 years and has been Commercial Advisor or Commercial Director for 16 start-ups as well as consulting internationally on start-up strategy, enterprise education and training. Prior to working in Higher Education, James has been a Performance Coach, Motivational Speaker and Strategy Consultant for FTSE listed companies and also worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry in Sales and Sales Management. He earned his BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent.

Tim Binkert | Communications Associate
Tim earned a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy from Syracuse University in 2000 and a certificate in professional writing and technical communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004. Tim joined NCIIA in 2004 as an intern and was later hired to the permanent staff. Tim's responsibilities at NCIIA include reviewing and summarizing grant proposals, writing and editing publications, generating web content, conducting grant performance reviews, and performing administrative and operational tasks.

Patricia Boynton | E-Team Associate
Patricia is Program Associate for NCIIA's E-Team Program, which provides funding, training and coaching for university student-based technology innovators. She brings to the position many years of experience working for entrepreneurial companies, both technology and non-technology based. Since she started with NCIIA in 2008 Patricia has participated in dozens of venture development workshops and met and worked with over 300 student teams. She believes these student-started technology ventures are our country’s best hope for the future. Prior to NCIIA, she provided marketing and sales support for MicroCal, a scientific instrumentation company acquired in 2009 by GE Healthcare. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Patti has a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a self-professed weather geek, Patti can often be found studying weather maps and talking about the dewpoint.

Janet Daisley | Vice President, Programs
Janet develops and manages national entrepreneurship educational and training programs and facilitates the development of higher education training focused on building faculty “networks” to promote invention and innovation. She supervises all program officers and consultants and builds external relationships on behalf of the organization. Prior to joining NCIIA in January 2014, she served for 8 years as Director of the Commonwealth Corporation, which held a $17 million state contract to support the education and workforce training of youth in the Massachusetts juvenile justice system, where she fostered social impact by creating and seeking funding for “micro-enterprises”, including a silk screening business, to promote their ability to gain entrepreneurship skills and viable jobs. Janet has lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, for the past 20 years and has been actively involved with the public schools, community activities and enjoying the beauty of the Pioneer Valley. She holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Colgate University and a Masters degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. Janet took a non-traditional approach to her Girl Scout troop and taught them fund-raising skills that ended up raising $10,000 to work on coral reforestation in Puerto Rico.

Chris Desrosiers | Controller
Chris joined NCIIA in 2007 and successfully executes the financial and accounting functions of the organization. He handles grants accounting, tax matters, financial reporting and budgeting. Chris gained his business and accounting experience as an entrepreneur primarily in the mortgage and real estate industries. He recently earned his MBA from American International College and is also a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a B.A. in sociology.

Katie Dzugan | University Innovation Fellows Associate
Katie joined NCIIA in January 2014 in support of the University Innovation Fellows Program. Working closely with Senior Program Officer Humera Fasihuddin, as well as Stanford’s Epicenter, she aids students across the country to be catalysts on their campuses to create a student-led movement in changing engineering curriculum to be more inclusive of entrepreneurship and innovation education. Katie was a UI Fellow herself and completed training during the Spring 2013 cohort. Originally from Mount Prospect, IL, Katie attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, from which she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship, as well as a dual MBA/MA focused on the nonprofit sector and strategic communication. As part of the Southern Illinois Research Park, Katie aided in the implementation of SIU Carbondale’s Student Innovation Incubator, encouraging students to create ventures across campus.


Janine Elliott | Venture Development Associate
Janine works with the E-Teams, specifically focused on the VentureWell program. She coaches teams that have completed Stages 1 & 2, know their markets and have honed their technologies - and are preparing to raise the first equity investments. This year, Janine is excited to work with Village Capital and other partners to deliver programs for 3 cohorts: medical technologies, agricultural innovations, and cleantech. Previously, she has taught science and leadership skills for students of all ages from diverse backgrounds, and most recently was a co-founder of a cleantech materials startup, Skip To Renew, where she focused on strategic and fundraising initiatives. She brings strategic insight, financial acumen, and a plethora of stories on best (and worst) practices for startups. A born and raised San Franciscan, Janine holds a BA in Environmental Policy from Colby College and an MBA from Dominican University of California. The place she has learned the most about executive leadership and teamwork: at the back of a boat, guiding whitewater on the South Fork of the American River.

Humera Fasihuddin | Sr. Program Officer, University Innovation Fellows
Humera oversees all things University Innovation Fellows (UIF), working closely with Stanford in the Epicenter. She launched the UIF program in 2010 with a dozen students; it has grown to more than quadruple that number within four years. She plans to continue that growth, having developed an online UIF candidate training system, benchmarking Stanford's acclaimed Massive Open Online Courseware (MOOC) best practices. Prior to this, Humera led NCIIA's mentoring initiatives, launching NCIIA's first foray into advanced accelerator-like workshops for student and faculty teams. Humera also helped start up and grow BMEidea and BMEStart, NCIIA's biomedical engineering competitions. She joined the NCIIA staff in 2005, initially as a consultant, when she was tasked with scaling up the Invention to Venture workshop series, which she helped grow from 5 to 40 annually. Prior to joining NCIIA, Humera founded Edical May, a manufacturing and business development company enabling scale-up of new medical devices. From 2001 to 2005, Humera spearheaded the creation of the Regional Technology Corporation. Humera began her career at materials manufacturer Intelicoat, where she worked her way up from operations to technical support and finally to managing a $40 million business unit in the CAD arena and cultivating a new digital proofing business unit. Humera earned her M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2000 and her B.S. in Mathematics (minor in Economics) from Smith College in 1992. Outside of NCIIA, Humera has many interests including her work on the school committee, the family farm, and her own start-up efforts in materials manufacturing.

Allyson Greene | Accountant
Allyson joined NCIIA in May of 2009 and assists the Controller in executing the financial and accounting functions of the organization. She also manages employee benefits. She graduated in 2008 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she received a B.A. in economics and she has plans to pursue a Master's in accounting. She is a lifelong resident of the Pioneer Valley, having grown up in Montague, MA. While in school, Allyson swam competitively for Turners Falls High School and Roger Williams University and is currently an Assistant Coach for the Amherst Tritons Swim Team.

Jennifer Holme | Vice President of Finance and Administration
Jennifer oversees the financial integrity, growth and stability of NCIIA. She also manages human resources, contracts, grants administration, logistics, legal, and related administrative and operational activities. Before joining NCIIA in June 2012, Jennifer served as Chief Financial Officer at the Lathrop Community. Prior to this, she worked in Boston as both the Asset Manager and Director of Administration for Urban Edge, a developer of affordable housing, and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for Associated Early Care and Education. Jennifer holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in public and non-profit management from Boston University.

Jennifer Keller Jackson | Senior Program Officer, Special Programs
Jennifer Keller Jackson oversees NCIIA’s faculty grants program which funds technology innovation, invention and entrepreneurship on university and college campuses. Jennifer also leads the NCIIA annual conference, OPEN, which brings together 600 faculty and students from across disciplines. Her experience includes program development and management, technical proposal writing and business development. Before moving to Amherst, Massachusetts and working for NCIIA, Jennifer spent 20 years in Washington, D.C.; she wrote a concept paper to start a nonprofit and worked to transform another organization into a for-profit company, both of which exist today. She grew up in Asia, Africa, and South America and is deeply interested in entrepreneurial alternatives to the traditional aid model of development. She has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and studied at the Universit√© de Montpellier, France.

Leann Leake | Research and Evaluation Associate
Leann maintains NCIIA's databases, runs surveys, analyzes data, and trains and supports staff in the use of SmartSheet task management software. She joined NCIIA in 2011, first serving as Grants Team Assistant and later as Finance Assistant. Leann holds a B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in visual art with a focus on painting from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She hails from Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. Mushing with her Siberian huskies keeps the long New England winters exciting.

Victoria Matthew | Senior Program Officer, Faculty Development
Victoria plays a key role in all things faculty, and a pivotal role in the Epicenter Pathways to Innovation Program, which helps faculty strategically integrate entrepreneurship and innovation into the undergraduate engineering curriculum. In Pathways she leads the design of in-person and online workshops and convenings. She connects faculty with curated content, experts, and with each other, with a goal of growing the Pathways learning community. Prior to joining NCIIA, Victoria spent over a decade working in the higher education sector, in positions spanning community colleges, private colleges and public research institutions. She has designed, developed and managed degree and certificate programs, and has experience as an online instructor, and mentor and trainer of other online instructors. Victoria is from Littleborough, England. She has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Hull, a M.S. in International Strategy Management from Marlboro College, and a Certificate in Marketing Research from the University of Georgia. Victoria loves nothing more than swinging from a trapeze and playing ukelele with her daughter, though not usually simultaneously.

Liz Nilsen | Senior Program Officer, Epicenter
Liz Nilsen provides leadership to the Pathways strand of Epicenter, an effort to engage with a cohort of colleges and universities to fully embed innovation and entrepreneurship in undergraduate engineering education. She also leads project management efforts for the Epicenter team. Prior to joining NCIIA, she led STEM initiatives at the Penn State Center - Pittsburgh, was the Southwest Regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania STEM Network, and served as Director of Outreach and New Economy Program Development at the Institute of Advanced Learning & Research, a Virginia Tech initiative, where she secured a $13.4M grant to launch a statewide STEM program in Virginia. She earned her B.A. from Stanford in history and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University. Liz is a native of Anchorage, Alaska so it is perhaps fitting that her best Halloween costume ever was an ice cube.


Kim Noble | Operations Manager
Kim manages logistics and operations for NCIIA's programs. She brings extensive experience in the management of national programs relating to leadership and business management through her work for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) and Golden Key International Honour Society (GKIHS). Her past work focused on coordinating geographically dispersed training programs, applying evaluation data to curriculum development, and developing and maintaining training materials. She received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Eric Phelps | Vice President of Development
Eric is responsible for resource development for NCIIA, including foundation, corporate, public and individual funding. He brings more than 20 years experience in nonprofit management encompassing executive leadership, fundraising, human resources, program development, conference planning and strategic oversight. Eric was most recently Director of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. He has also served as Executive Director of the New Art Center in Newton, MA and of VSA Arts of Georgia in Atlanta. Eric also worked as Development Director of IMAGE Film & Video Center and as Community Events Coordinator of Special Audiences, both in Atlanta. Eric holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a degree in American Sign Language from Georgia Perimeter College. A native of Greenfield, MA, Eric once played an entire concert using a conch shell and cactus tines.

Laura Sampath | Senior Program Officer, Global Programs
Laura Sampath oversees the planning, development, and execution of global curriculum and training programs. Prior to joining NCIIA, Laura ran the MIT International Development Initiative where she worked with students, faculty and alumni to develop effective models of engagement in emerging markets. Laura has also worked with USAID's East Africa Regional mission in Nairobi, Kenya, and has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Peace Corps Volunteer and a National Collegiate Scholar Athlete in swimming. Originally from York, Maine, Laura’s international experiences have spanned several countries in East Africa, as well as Morocco, India, and Peru. Laura has a Master's from Clark University in International Development and Social Change. When she was 4 years old she was denied Elmer's glue - the one item on her Christmas list - by Santa, and has been skeptical of his existence ever since.

Angela Shartrand | Director of Research and Evaluation
Angela oversees NCIIA's internal and external research and evaluation initiatives. Most recently, she has helped to build the organization's capacity to conduct research in areas that are closely aligned with NCIIA's mission, through developing collaborations with faculty researchers and developing successful research proposals to the National Science Foundation. She currently manages three NSF-funded research projects that examine innovation and entrepreneurship education in the STEM fields. Prior to NCIIA, she worked as a researcher and evaluator in several organizations, including the Young Sisters for Justice at the Boston Women's Fund and the Harvard Family Research Project. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Williams College.

Joseph Steig | Director of Venture Development
Joseph directs the E-Team program, responsible for both the grant funding process and the training and venture development activities. He has been involved with NCIIA almost since its inception. Joseph has worked in a CFO capacity with a range of technology and engineering based startups. He is the founder of River Valley Investors, a regional angel investor group. And he works in a consulting capacity with Long River Ventures, a Massachusetts venture capital firm. He grew up in Vancouver, Canada and holds a B.A. from Hampshire College, the birthplace of NCIIA. Immediately after college, Joseph became the fourth employee of an aquaculture company started by a close friend. Within a year they had 40 employees. The company is still flourishing and many times larger today. Joseph is especially proud of his brother Eric, a prominent climate scientist and one of the authors of


Jennifer Taub | Assistant Director of Development
Jennifer supports development for NCIIA through preparation of funding proposals, concept notes and communications with funders and potential supporters. She conducts new prospect research, prepares stewardship reports to governmental and private funding sources, assists in coordinating the activities of the NCIIA Alumni network, and participates in the formulation of fundraising strategy with the Development Team. Jennifer comes to NCIIA from her former position as Deputy Director of Development at Western Center on Law and Poverty, which supports legal aid organizations throughout California in health, housing and welfare. She managed the development of four Neighborhood Housing Services programs in Los Angeles and served as Regional Marketing Director for Datacom Systems Corporation. A native of New York City, Jennifer has a B.A. in American History from Brown University and studied public policy at Claremont Graduate School. She is a recipient of the Coro Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs.

Kate Tobin | Operations Associate
Kate Tobin is the Operations Associate at NCIIA. She supports E-Teams, Global Programs and the annual conference, Open. She started at NCIIA in April 2013 as Administrative and Accounting Associate. She comes from a background in sustainable agriculture, specifically in food justice working to provide fresh, organic food to seniors in low-income areas of Boston while she worked as Office and CSA Manager at Enterprise Farm in Whately. She produced the 2011 Boston Local Food Festival. Kate grew up in the Pioneer Valley and is a Northampton native. She holds a B.A. in Modern American History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Kate loves to cook and has two dogs, Chloe and Niko.

Ari Turrentine | Research and Evaluation Analyst
Ari is in charge of survey administration for internal program evaluation on the research and evaluation team. Her duties also include survey creation, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, program logic model development, and evaluation coordination across various stakeholder groups. Most recently Ari held positions in Austin, Texas at OneStar Foundation as a Fellow on the Texas Connector project and at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health as a Program Evaluation Graduate Research Assistant. Ari is from Phoenix, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Lewis & Clark College in Psychology and a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. At UT Austin Ari completed the Community Administration and Leadership concentration and earned a portfolio certificate in Nonprofit Studies from the LBJ school of Public Affairs. She is willing to admit in public that her favorite movie is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker.
Jo Ellen Warner | Director of Communications
Jo Ellen Warner joined the NCIIA team as the Communications Manager in March 2013. Prior to NCIIA, Ms. Warner served as a communications officer and consultant to the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Region Office, Communicable Disease, Surveillance and Response Team in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the Pacific Open Learning Health Network, a distance learning program for health care workers in 12 Pacific Island countries. Ms. Warner was the risk communications specialist for Public Health for Seattle & King County for three years and held communications director roles with the City of Seattle for nearly a decade. During this time, she also taught health communications as adjunct faculty to the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the UW Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. She is a recipient of the Gold Award for Excellence in Public Health Communication (New Media) from the National Public Health Information Coalition, and the Mayor's Champion of Diversity Award from the City of Seattle. Ms. Warner has a Master of Nonprofit Administration degree from the University of San Francisco.
Lisa Zacks | Grants Associate
Lisa Zacks joined the NCIIA family in 2013. She is a key member of the grants administration team and works to support the proposal intake, review, and finalization process for NCIIA’s grants programs and competitions. She also provides support for NCIIA’s existing grantees. Prior to joining NCIIA, Lisa put her writing, editing, proofreading, and entrepreneurial skills to use at the Uncommon Sense newspaper, a local alternative newspaper she published with her husband in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. Lisa holds a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan-Flint.