Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

Equal Access to Education for Women & Girls - Panelist Bios

Equal Access to Education for Women & Girls - Panelist Bios

In some area of the world, cultural norms cause a lack of access to education for girls and women. The availability of more mobile devices with greater connectivity provides an opportunity to remove this obstacle and allow increased access to education and learning for girls and women. In a similar vein, cultural biases lead to a gender gap in STEM. Can new educational tools and technologies be used to make pursuing a career in STEM more appealing to girls and women? Are the challenges technological or cultural and are there methods the department can employ to overcome any cultural hurdles to insure gender equality in education for girls and women?

Rebekah Levi (Moderator) - mEducation Alliance Secretariat

Rebekah is a Research Associate who has played a leading role in the development of the Mobiles for Education (mEducation) Alliance since its inception. She manages the mEducation Alliance Secretariat, housed at JBS International, and oversees all Alliance activities including research, partner outreach, knowledge management, Alliance events and support of the various working groups. Rebekah has extensive experience working both internationally and in the field of education. She has evaluated numerous education projects and initiatives and provided ongoing technical assistance to USAID/Washington and Missions around the world. In addition to her work with the mEducation Alliance, Rebekah has evaluated projects for universities, foundations, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Junior Achievement Worldwide. Her own research interests include teacher training and the impact of integrating Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into the classroom on the teacher and their pedagogy, and the use of mobile technologies to empower women and girls. Rebekah draws from extensive experience as a teacher, evaluator, researcher and policy adviser.

Alice Borrelli - Intel

Alice Borrelli, Director of Global Healthcare Policy for Intel Corporation, works with U.S. and international policymakers on healthcare reform and Health IT issues in developed and emerging economies.  During the US healthcare reform debate, she focused on reforms that would  include innovative technologies for care delivery including e-Care, remote patient monitoring and telehealth.  She also interfaces with government agencies worldwide to promote the adoption of viable electronic health records.   She was recently recognized by the American Telemedicine Association with the Industry Council Award and a recipient of the Continua Health Alliance’s Key Contributor Award.  Additionally, Alice has participated as a speaker in international symposiums including the APEC High-Level Meeting on Health & the Economy in St. Petersburg, the Senior Officers Meeting during the International Federation on Aging Summit in Prague and most recently as the invited guest of the World Bank and MOH to China’s policy leaders from the central and provincial governments in Health IT.

As former Vice President of Congressional Affairs for AT&T, she represented the company on telecommunications, environment, benefits and labor issues.   For over a decade she interacted with Congress on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Broadband issues, Medicare and Pension Reform, and Internet Tax initiatives.  During her career with AT&T, Alice has also served as a public affairs consultant for BGH&T, a private equity firm focused on health and technology solutions, the World Bank, the American Red Cross and the Cyber Security Industry Alliance.  

Alice currently serves as co-chair of the Continua Health Alliance’s Emerging Markets Policy Working Group, to advocate for interoperability and deployment of personal connected health technologies worldwide, serves on the board and past Chairman of Women’s Policy, Inc, supporting the women’s congressional delegation and on the Board of Advisors for the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program for Public Policy.   She has a BA in Government from the College of William and Mary and an MPA from New York University

Abel Caine - UNESCO

Mr Abel CAINE is a Programme Specialist for Open Solutions in the Knowledge Societies Division at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France specializing in Open Educational Resources and Mobile Learning. Since 2005, Abel has been responsible for working directly with Governments, key educational and research institutions, NGOs, teachers, and learners to implement enabling policy frameworks, development of online communities of practice, and capacity-building to enhance universal access to high quality education and sustainable development. 

Roya Mahboob - Afghan Citadel Software Company

Roya Mahboob is an Afghan entrepreneur and businesswoman. She founded and serves as CEO of the Afghan Citadel Software Company, a full-service software development company based in Herat, Afghanistan. She has received attention for being among the first IT female CEOs in Afghanistan,where it is still relatively rare for women to work outside the home. On April 18, 2013, Roya Mahboob was named to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In The World for 2013 for her work in building internet classrooms in high schools in Afghanistan and for Women's Annex, a multilingual blog and video site hosted by Film Annex. This was the 10th anniversary of the TIME special edition. The Women's Annex platform give the women of Afghanistan and Central Asia a platform to tell their stories to the world. The TIME Magazine introduction to Roya Mahboob was written by Sheryl Sandberg who is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the author of "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead".U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Roya Mahboob and other Afghan women entrepreneurs at the International Center for Women's Economic Development at the American University of Afghanistan.She is also known for her work with online film distribution platform and Web Television Network Film Annex on the Afghan Development Project.

Karen Peterson - National Girls Collaborative Project

Karen A. Peterson is the Chief Executive Officer for the EdLab Group, an educational equity non-profit organization. She has over 25 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, university instructor, teacher educator, program administrator, and researcher. Currently, Peterson is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). Designed by Peterson, the NGCP brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM. The overarching goal of the NGCP is to use the leverage of a network or collaboration of individual girl-serving STEM programs to create the tipping point for gender equity in STEM. The NGCP facilitates collaboration between more than 22,800 organizations who serve more than 8 million girls and 4.4 million boys. Peterson is also Co-Principal Investigator for Citizen SciGirls Transmedia and Research to Encourage Girls in STEM, SciGirls CONNECT – A Diffusion Scale Up Project, ITEST Learning Resource Center, and Build IT Underwater Robotics Scale Up for STEM Learning and Workforce Development. All of these projects are funded by the NSF and address gender, racial and socioeconomic underrepresentation in STEM fields. Many of them access the NGCP’s national network and dissemination tools to distribute, scale-up, and/or replicate project outcomes. These projects have leveraged Karen’s expertise in STEM equity project development, effective national scale-up strategies, dissemination, and capacity building.

Peterson serves on local and national boards which develop and administer programs designed to increase underrepresented students’ interests in STEM. She serves on the Board of Directors for True Child, an independent think tank which translates research and knowledge on the impact of gender stereotypes into a range of effective interventions, policies and other resources for the organizations and policy-makers. Peterson has published in The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and CBE Life Sciences Education, a journal published by the American Society for Cell Biology. She has also co-authored evaluation reports and promising practices reports in informal information technology education for girls for the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the Girl Scouts of the USA. A graduate of the University of Washington, Bothell campus, her Master’s thesis focused on gendered attitudes towards computer use in education.

Mark West - UNESCO

Mark West works in the section for Teacher Development and Education Sector Policy at UNESCO. He has authored several papers on the intersection of technology and education and helps oversee field projects in Africa. He is currently studying efforts to leverage mobile devices for reading, particularly in the context of developing countries. Prior to joining UNESCO, Mr. West served as a Fulbright fellow in Azerbaijan and worked as a classroom teacher and teacher trainer. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

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