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Bay Area Forum Speakers

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Andrea Belz, NSF

Andrea Belz joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in May 2019 as the Division Director of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP), which manages America’s Seed Fund powered by the NSF, the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Partnerships for Innovation and Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC). Previously, Andrea served as Vice Dean for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, as well as Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Technology) of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She was previously a Visiting Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. From 2014 to 2019, Andrea was the Founding Director of Innovation Node-Los Angeles, a regional hub for the NSF I-Corps program. She has worked with many university startups and investors, most recently representing a major angel investing group on the board of a Caltech spinoff laser manufacturer until its acquisition in 2018. For nearly 20 years, Andrea has advised universities, corporations and other organizations on commercialization opportunities as managing member of the Belz Consulting Group. Her recent research has focused on technology ventures, from startups through publicly funded launch programs to private funding. Andrea has authored or co-authored dozens of refereed articles, peer-reviewed conference presentations and proceedings on technical topics and innovation, and she authored a book on product development. Belz earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland at College Park and doctoral degree at the California Institute of Technology, both in physics; she earned her master’s degree in finance at Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business.

Jess Erickson, Facebook AI

Jess is a program manager on the AI Programs & Marketing team at Facebook. She steers the Artificial Intelligence Diversity and Inclusion task force and manages partnerships that engage with underrepresented groups. She is also the founder of Geekettes, an organization uniting, mentoring and promoting women in tech worldwide.

Jodi Tims, Northeastern University – San Francisco/Silicon Valley Campuses

Dr. Jodi Tims is a Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University and Director of Computer Science Programs in the Khoury College of Computer and Information Sciences, San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Prior to joining NEU, Dr. Tims was Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Baldwin Wallace University. She earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh with a research area of Programming Languages. Dr. Tims is very active in service to the women in computing community, currently serving as Chair of ACM-W. She has served as a member of the Northeast Ohio Regional IT Engagement Board (RITE) and the OHTech Board of Directors. She is also active in the computing education community as a member of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education and a member of several SIGCSE symposia committees, including serving as SIGCSE 2016 co-chair.

Catherine Gill, Northeastern University

Catherine is the Managing Director for the Align Master’s Program at Northeastern University. Align provides a direct path to a Master’s in Computer Science for non-computer science majors and people without programming experience. Prior to assuming this role, Catherine was Executive Vice President at Root Capital, a social enterprise that provides financing and advisory services to rural businesses in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In that position, she was responsible for fundraising, impact investing and communications. At Root Capital, Catherine also played a leadership role in developing the Women in Agriculture Initiative, which has invested in more than one hundred gender-inclusive businesses across the globe. Before that, Catherine spent ten years in the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry, at the Nonprofit Finance Fund and at Seedco, financing and consulting to leading social change organizations. Catherine holds a bilingual MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) in Barcelona, Spain, and a B.A. in ancient Greek from Wellesley College. She serves on the boards of The Partnership for Gender Equity and Criterion Institute.

Randy Hall, USC

Hall is Vice President for Research at the University of Southern California, and is responsible for leading research initiatives across the university, overseeing research advancement, administration and ethics. The Stevens Center for Innovation, USC’s center for technology transfer and corporate research relations, is one of the units that reports to him. Hall’s experience includes serving as the founder/principal investigator for two national research centers, the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), and the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research (METRANS). He also served as senior associate dean for research in the Viterbi School of Engineering for four years. Hall was chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering during a period when the faculty size grew by 50%, and when it became the first named academic department at the University of Southern California, upon receipt of a $10 million gift from Daniel J. Epstein. As Vice President, Hall has led the creation of policies to catalyze collaborative research, including changes in promotions and tenure, research attribution, and shared repositories; creation of funding programs that support collaborative research and shared equipment; and infrastructure and events enabling digital scholarship. He has helped faculty create national research centers, built alliances with external research institutes, developed the Center for Excellence in Research, created the DC-based research advancement office, and built an integrated research office that encompasses contracts and grants, technology transfer, human subject protection, animal resources, clinical trial administration, research ethics, research training, research advancement and internal grant programs. Hall is the architect for the TARA research administration system at USC, providing software tools that support research administration, compliance, technology transfer and business intelligence.

Dawn Jones, Intel Corporation

Dawn Jones Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion Executive Communications and Policy, Strategy and External Partnerships, Intel Corporation Dawn Jones Dawn is the Director of executive communications, policy, strategy and external partnerships for Intel’s Global Diversity & Inclusion (GDI) Team. Her work focuses on Intel’s commitment and progress on accelerating diversity and inclusion at Intel and across the technology industry. She leads a team focused on collaborating with external partners to provide opportunities that positively impact retention and progression for women and underrepresented minorities. Her policy work centers around engaging federal stakeholders to impact legislative issues in the Diversity and Inclusion sphere. Prior to her current role, Dawn spent her time as the Texas Public Affairs Manager where she was responsible for creating and implementing Intel’s external strategic engagement focused on, neighbor relations, corporate reputation, volunteer programs, local and state government and driving education and community programming. In 2014, Dawn completed a 6-week rotational assignment in South Africa where she led a project implementation team to scale the Intel® She Will Connect program on the continent of Africa. Dawn began her career at Intel in 1997 as an Administrative Assistant. Through the years she has honed her craft in various roles within Media relations and Public Affairs as well as serving as a trusted advisor to senior executives inside and outside of Intel. Dawn holds a BS in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University and a MS in Communications Management from Syracuse University.

Charles Riordan, University of Delaware

Charles (“Charlie”) G. Riordan serves as the University of Delaware’s Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Innovation, with responsibility for advancing the research enterprise, including oversight of seven research institutes, numerous core facilities, technology transfer and business development, the University’s federal relations office and developing public-private research partnerships to drive economic development. Riordan is a chemist, whose laboratory has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, the latter including a National Young Investigator Award. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Riordan serves on a variety of boards including the Delaware Innovation Space, Inc., the University of Delaware Research Foundation and the EPSCoR/IDeA Coalition. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the College of the Holy Cross, his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago.

Sepi Hejazi Moghadam, Google

Sepi works to enable research breakthroughs by building and maintaining mutually beneficial Google-academic collaborations. He also incubates programs that improve the experience and outcomes for underrepresented students in computer science research pathways. His projects have focused on establishing a deeper understanding of underrepresented groups who choose computer science and the barriers preventing those that do not. He has a PhD in Political Science and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Masters in Policy Analysis and Evaluation from Stanford University.

Chris Hewitt, BASF

Hewitt has more than 28 years of experience working as the interface between chemical technology and business initiatives. He was appointed Science Relations Manager, North America for BASF in mid-2014 and has responsibility for BASF’s relationships with universities in North America. Prior to this he was BASF’s Global Business Manager for the Inorganic Intermediates business. Prior to joining BASF, Hewitt held a number of leadership roles at Sigma-Aldrich, including Director of Business Development for Chemistry and Vice President, Marketing and R&D. At Sigma-Aldrich, he led a successful team to improve external collaborations and the impact on their R&D initiatives. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Durham University in United Kingdom and is a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Chris Ramming, VMWare

Chris Ramming is a technology strategist and research manager with a passion for working at the intersection of theory and practice. He recently joined VMware Inc. as senior director of research & innovation, with responsibility for an incubator program (XLR8) that explores disruptive technologies to generate new lines of business for the company. Chris is also the incoming chair of DARPA’s Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group, which helps DARPA identify and understand emerging technological disruptions. During his much-enjoyed career he has been privileged to work with several leading research organizations including Intel Labs, DARPA, AT&T Research, and Bell Labs. At Intel, he was responsible for the Intel Labs University Collaboration Office, where some of the key challenges included strategic topic selection and systematic technology/insight transfer of key ideas. At DARPA, he led a number of programs related to mobile ad-hoc networking and distributed decision support systems. At AT&T/Bell Labs Research he focused on telecommunications-related software, services, and languages. Chris has a background in computer science with degrees from Yale and UNC Chapel Hill.

Mark Schmidt, John Deere

Dr. Mark Schmidt is the Associate Director, Stakeholder Relations for John Deere. Mark joined John Deere in 1999 and holds thirteen United States and international design and utility patents. His role at Deere provides technical leadership on science and technology policy and sustainability issues, while also having responsibility for developing Deere’s global university strategy and relationships. He has been quoted and cited in several media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Money, Bloomberg, Fox News, U.S. News and World Report, and others. Mark is active in several professional societies, trade associations, and standards development organizations. Schmidt is a director and Vice-Chair of the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), member of the North Carolina State Plant Science Initiative Advocacy and Resource Development Task Force, and Past Chair of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP). He is also a director of The North Carolina Arboretum (TNCA) and serves on a special research advisory committee focused on economic development from innovation products from plant extracts. Through TNCA, he also co-leads the Landscape Stewardship Initiative. Schmidt is a member of the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) Expert Working Group.

Stewart Tansley, Facebook

Stewart Tansley joined Facebook in 2015, managing research collaborations in connectivity, data science, and human-computer interaction, previously holding similar roles at Microsoft Research and Yahoo Labs. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence for Engineering from Loughborough University, UK. He has published papers on robotics for education, artificial intelligence, and network management, including several patents. He co-authored a book on software engineering for AI applications, and co-edited The Fourth Paradigm, a collection of visionary essays on data-intensive science. He has over 15 years specialist experience in collaborative industry-academic research partnerships, plus 15 years in industry research and development as engineer and manager, especially in advanced software technologies for data networking and telecommunications.

Sandra Brown, UC San Diego

Sandra Ann Brown, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego. Vice Chancellor Brown administratively manages the Office of Research Affairs, a $1.3 billion research enterprise charged with creating opportunities, enhancing the research experience, developing tools and training to improve research administration, and supporting and promoting university innovations while ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations. She oversees the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, Animal Care and Animal Welfare, Contracts and Grants, Research Ethics, Government Research Relations, University-Industry Relations, Conflict of Interest, Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholars programs, and campus Organized Research Units.
Under her leadership, UC San Diego has achieved multi-year, billion-dollar investments in research and the university’s top-five ranking as one of the nation’s premier public research universities. She designed and implemented major transformations of research structures and processes to enhance the university’s competitiveness.  She launched the Office of Innovation and Commercialization to accelerate UC San Diego related start-up companies that have now doubled, and improved training to help prepare trainees for future research careers. She serves on the Board of Directors of Biocom, CONNECT and CleanTech San Diego, and chair-elect of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Council on Research.
Dr. Brown is a Distinguished Professor in two UC San Diego departments: Psychology and Psychiatry. Her pioneering studies of youth addiction and adolescent development have led to 26 federally funded grants including the current National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) and Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), which is the largest longitudinal study of youth development ever funded by NIH. In addition to over 300 peer reviewed publications and one book (Adolescent Substance Abuse, Oxford Press), she previously directed the development of clinical, education and research activities as the Chief of Psychology at the Veterans Affair Health Services System in San Diego.
She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Wayne State University in 1981, and is licensed as a psychologist by the California Board of Psychology.

Crystal Leach, University of Georgia

In 2016, Crystal Leach accepted the newly created position of Director of Industry Collaborations at the University of Georgia. She works with faculty and administration to build industry partnerships that align with UGA’s research capabilities and strategic priorities. Crystal is actively engaged in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at UGA, including serving as a business mentor for the University’s recently awarded NSF Innovation Corps program. Crystal earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering from The University of Akron, then she went on to earn her doctorate in textiles and polymer science at Clemson University. She spent 18 years in R&D at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 health and hygiene company. As a Research Director there, she managed the innovation and technology development portfolios for both the Health Care and Professional sectors. During this time, she led teams of engineers and scientists that were responsible for bringing over 25 medical products to market globally.
Crystal holds four U.S. and European patents, has presented at numerous conferences, and in 2005, was named The University of Akron’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Society for Biomaterials and the Southeastern Medical Device Association. In 2018, she was elected as a fellow to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Nerissa Draeger, Lam Research Corp. 

Dr. Nerissa Draeger is Director of Global University Engagements, a position she has held since 2017. She oversees Lam’s academic partnerships and strategic research collaborations in pursuit of disruptive and enabling technologies to advance the semiconductor industry. Her leadership is focused on creating diversity in both our technology and talent pipelines to drive innovative solutions for our customers. Dr. Draeger has led various programs since joining the company in 2000; including feasibility of emerging materials and processes, new product development, and strategic business and intellectual property development. Dr. Draeger’s background is in thin film deposition and she earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her B.S.E. degree from the University of Michigan. She has authored over 30 patents and numerous technical publications.

Erwin Gianchandani, NSF 

Dr. Erwin Gianchandani is the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Acting Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). In this role, he guides the CISE directorate in supporting fundamental and transformative research, the development and use of cyberinfrastructure across the science and engineering enterprise, and the education of a diverse workforce of researchers and practitioners. He oversees strategic and human capital planning, formulation and implementation of the directorate’s nearly $1 billion annual budget, and day-to-day operations. He has served as the NSF/CISE Deputy Assistant Director since 2015, and has led the development, launch, and implementation of several new NSF investments, including Smart & Connected Communities, Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, and the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes. Before joining NSF in 2012, Dr. Gianchandani was the inaugural Director of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), providing leadership to the computing research community in identifying and pursuing audacious, high-impact research directions. Prior to that, he was the Director of Innovation Networking at the University of Virginia, reporting to the university’s Vice President for Research. Dr. Gianchandani has authored or co-authored numerous publications in computational systems modeling of biological networks, with the goal of understanding disease mechanisms and identifying therapeutic targets. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in biomedical engineering and his B.S. in computer science from the University of Virginia.

Mary Trimarco, Northeastern University 

Mary is the Business & Outreach Director for the Align and MSCS programs at Northeastern’s Seattle campus. Align is a one-year bridge before entering the MSCS program for students who studied anything but CS as undergrads. Mary’s role is to develop industry relationships to provide our students with opportunities for internships, Co-ops, mentoring and full-time roles in addition to ongoing engagement between our corporate partners and our students. Prior to Northeastern, Mary was the Assistant Director at the State of Washington’s Department of Commerce, managing the international trade group and promoting global investment into the state. Before that, Mary spent over a decade in the film industry including running the film commissions for the state of WA as well as television commercial production. Her early career was in commercial banking. Mary holds a BS in finance from the University of Illinois and she serves on the board of College Possible Washington.

Kelsey Evans, University of Texas at Austin

Kelsey Evans has been a team member in the Texas Development community since 2001. She joined the University Development Office in fall 2017 as Executive Director of Corporate Relations. In this role, she is responsible for helping connect the campus’s greatest assets (people and research) with the University’s top corporate partners to foster mutually beneficial collaborations and philanthropic investments. With an eye towards always developing trust and to helping companies formulate a targeted strategy for engagement with UT, Kelsey brings a breadth of the University’s technical and programmatic expertise to every conversation. Kelsey received her BA from the University of Arizona and lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Scott, and their two children; son August (15) and daughter Avery (14). She is a member of the University-Industry Partnership network (UIDP), National Association of Corporate Relations Officers (NACRO), and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Heather Mattisson, Intel 

Heather brings over 15 years of experience in product management, marketing and IT to Intel, and holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from Kellogg School of Management. She has been PMP certified for over 12 years, and has won Recognition Awards for her roles in software product launches and program management at several firms. Most recently, Heather joined the Global Diversity & Inclusion team at Intel Corporation as a University Partnerships Manager. There, she drives partnerships with some of Intel’s education partners, such as Georgia Tech and six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and manages a college student mentoring program. Prior to Intel, Heather held Product Management roles at Ticketmaster and Omedix, a patient portal startup, and managed the product launch and software product management process for multi-million dollar clients. Heather is also a Certified Integral Coach®, a VitalSmarts® Crucial Conversations Client Trainer, and an Advisor for SheLEADS, a leadership development and skills training workshop series for women. She is a member of a book club that has lasted a decade, and one of her favorite foods is bacon.