Rethinking Interdisciplinary Approaches to 21st Century Global Challenges

Learn more about the Global Learning Colloquium on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Design (STEAM’D).

Featured Speakers

Katharine HackettKatharine Hackett
Princeton University
Katharine Hackett is the executive director of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) – the interdisciplinary center of environmental research, education, and outreach at Princeton University. PEI’s work comprises research in climate science, biogeochemistry, disease ecology, biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable development; and includes educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Kathy directs the administration of PEI’s research and academic programs including the Program in Environmental Studies, the environmental internship program, and Princeton’s Grand Challenges Program – an integrated research and teaching program that addresses environmental challenges around the globe with scientific, technical, and policy dimensions. Kathy has played a formative role in developing Princeton’s program in the environmental humanities and expanding field research programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Kathy serves on Princeton’s Sustainability Committee and the Steering Committee for the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities. She is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Shaun MartinShaun Martin
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
As senior director of climate change adaptation at WWF, Shaun helps conservation programs become "climate smart," making sure they are prepared to address the inevitable consequences of climate change — increased drought, more severe storms, melting glaciers, shifting seasons — and their effects on biodiversity, people, and the ecosystems that they rely upon. He spends the majority of his time training WWF field staff on how to adapt their conservation practices to take climatic changes in their region into account. To date he has educated nearly 1,000 WWF staff and partners from dozens of countries across the globe. Shaun has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in economic development from the University of Pittsburgh. He serves on the boards of directors for the School of Fields Studies and the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program. Shaun is also a regular contributor to WWF's climate change adaptation blog,

Benedetto PiccoliBenedetto Piccoli, PhD
Rutgers University - Camden
Benedetto Piccoli is distinguished professor and the Joseph and Loretta Lopez Chair Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University - Camden. He also serves as associate provost for research and served as the director of the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology. His research interests include control theory, traffic flow on networks, crowd dynamics, math finance and systems biology. He is author of more than 250 research papers and 6 books. He is the recipient of the 2009 Fubini Prize and 2012 American Mathematical Society Fellow. He is the founder and editor in chief of the journal Networks and Heterogeneous Media.


Katherine BishopKatherine Bishop
University of Waterloo
Kate is a PhD candidate in epidemiology at the University of Guelph and a sessional lecturer in ecological determinants of health at the University of Waterloo. She completed a master’s of science in 2014 in population medicine. Kate’s work applies an EcoHealth paradigm. Currently, Kate is working on a project in Bwindi, Uganda, identifying seasonal and temporal patterns in acute respiratory infections and access to healthcare, with a particular interest in the ability of clinical data to represent vulnerable populations. Kate is deeply invested in teaching students about wicked problems and the value of collaborative and participatory solutions. Further, Kate is passionate about applying the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to her courses from development through to implementation.

Daniela IaconaDaniela Iacona
Daniela Iacona is the senior manager for international relations and board operations at ABET, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university-level programs in the disciplines of applied & natural sciences, computing, engineering, and engineering technology worldwide. Ms. Iacona currently oversees ABET’s international initiatives, including its engagement in mutual recognition agreements, memoranda of understanding, and global collaboration activities. Ms. Iacona is the staff liaison to the ABET Global Council as well as to all foreign delegations and ABET-related international reviews of accreditation systems. Ms. Iacona earned her baccalaureate in international studies from Old Dominion University and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE). She is currently pursuing a master of global management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Gregory KennedyGregory P. Kennedy
National Aerospace Training & Research (NASTAR) Center, Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC)
Gregory P. Kennedy is the director of educational programs at the National Aerospace Training & Research (NASTAR) Center at Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC). The NASTAR Center is the premier air and space training, research, and education facility in the world, and its Educational Programs unit provides training simulation for aerospace professionals as well as STEM programming for higher education faculty, K-12 teachers, and students. He was selected by Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, to join four other citizen-astronaut candidates who are training to fly in the near future as payload operators on the Lynx spacecraft, currently under construction by XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, California.

Neil LearyNeil Leary, PhD
Dickinson College
Neil Leary, director of the Center for Sustainability Education at Dickinson College, works with faculty, staff and students to create opportunities for learning about socially, economically and environmentally sustainable systems. He teaches courses on climate change, sustainable and resilient communities and campus sustainability. He has co-taught semester immersion programs that have taken students to UN climate conferences in Copenhagen, Durban, Lima and Paris to conduct research on international governance of climate change and to Nepal to conduct field research on climate risks and resilience in rural communities. He has been an author and editorial board member for science assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has led international climate change research and fellowship programs with more than 300 participating scientists and graduate students from over 50 countries. Neil received a PhD in natural resource economics from the University of Washington and a BA from Macalester College.

Barbara LeithererBarbara Leitherer
Community College of Baltimore County
Barbara Leitherer is professor of mathematics and has been vice chair of global student programs at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). She has been instrumental in promoting the globalization of the STEM curriculum in the School of Mathematics and Science by designing an introductory statistics course as the first globally oriented mathematics course. This effort has led to numerous professional development presentations at local and national conferences, including NAFSA in 2013. She has been chair of the Global Workforce Committee under the college's Global Education Action Board and continues to serve on the A-NET on international math education of the American Mathematical Association of 2-Year Colleges (AMATYC). Barbara Leitherer received her master of arts degrees in mathematics and geography from the University of Heidelberg and master certification in project management from George Washington University.

Mark SeifertMark Seifert, PhD
School for Field Studies
Mark Seifert has been an educator and higher education administrator for over a dozen years. His academic career has spanned several disciplines - mostly across the social science dimensions of economic anthropology, human adaptation, and behavior modeling. Seifert serves as the chief academic officer at the School for Field Studies (SFS), the most prominent field-based environmental education abroad provider in the United States. He oversees 34 faculty members and 12 research fellows at eight international research centers on four continents. As SFS dean, Seifert travels the world supporting academic excellence and undergraduate research in the fields of ecology, natural resource management and conservation, environmental policy, and environmental ethics. Seifert served on several national committees including the National Council on Science and Environment and the Council on Undergraduate Research and remains an advisor to the Inter-American Development Bank and to international conservation NGOs.

Schiro WithanachchiSchiro Withanachchi
Queens College, the City University of New York
Schiro Withanachchi is a tenured lecturer of economics at Queens College, the City University of New York (CUNY). With a BS in aerospace engineering and an MBA in decision science, she transitioned from Lockheed Martin (Aircraft) Corporation to teaching statistics. Her 15 years of teaching has involved innovative pedagogy using virtual dialogue and global learning. Schiro is bridging the application-knowledge gap by expanding internationalization with faculty-led study abroad, by maximizing experiential-learning as the faculty internship coordinator, and by escalating diversity discussions in New York City. In 2016, Schiro was awarded the Diversity Enhancement Research Grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for her research in measuring the impact of internationalization on underrepresented students. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (CUNY).