Minerva Project
Executive Leadership
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Ben Nelson
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Ben Nelson
Founder
Chief Executive Officer
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Ben Nelson is Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Minerva, and a visionary with a passion to reinvent higher education. Nelson started Minerva in 2011 with the goal of nurturing critical wisdom for the sake of the world through a systematic and evidence-based approach to learning. Over the past decade, Nelson has built Minerva University into the most selective, innovative (ranked #1 according to WURI rankings), and effective university in the US, and has developed a business – Minerva Project – to share Minerva's unique approach with other like-minded institutions. Prior to Minerva, Nelson spent more than 10 years at Snapfish, where he helped build the company from startup to the world’s largest personal publishing service, with over 42 million transactions across 22 countries, nearly five times greater than its closest competitor. Prior to joining Snapfish, Nelson was President and CEO of Community Ventures, a network of locally branded portals for American communities. Nelson’s passion for reforming undergraduate education was first sparked in college where he created a blueprint for curricular reform in his first year of school. Nelson went on to become the chair of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE), a pedagogical think tank at the University of Pennsylvania. Nelson holds a B.S in Economics from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
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Geoff Watson
President & Chief Business Officer
Geoff Watson
President & Chief Business Officer
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As President & Chief Business Officer, Geoff manages all operations and has direct responsibility for continuing to grow the business. Prior to Minerva, Watson was Senior Vice President at Guild, where he led the buildout of Guild's academic partner network. Previously, he led venture incubation at Entangled (which was acquired by Guild), where he helped launch multiple new edtech companies. Watson was also a Partner at Monitor 360, where he introduced a new analytics platform to blue-chip clients, including Gates Foundation, Harvard University, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Pfizer. Earlier in his career, he was President of Intrax, an international education company serving over 50,000 students annually from 80+ countries. He was instrumental in launching innovative, State Department-sponsored cultural exchange programs, including the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program for Muslim youth and the Korea West internship program. He holds an MBA from Wharton and B.A. from Dartmouth College.
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Noah Pickus
Chief Academic Officer
Noah Pickus
Chief Academic Officer
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Noah Pickus is the Chief Academic Officer at the Minerva Project where he oversees its programs in higher education, high school, and professional learning. He was previously Associate Provost at Duke University and Dean of Undergraduate Curricular Affairs and Faculty Development at Duke Kunshan University. A faculty member at Duke for 25 years, he is currently a Professor of Social Sciences at Minerva University. At Duke, he directed strategic planning, cross-university initiatives, and academic innovation. At DKU, he led the design and implementation of an interdisciplinary and problem-based undergraduate curriculum and oversaw the faculty hiring process. Pickus earlier served as the Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, where he established the institute as a signature university-wide interdisciplinary program and oversaw its expansion in research, policy engagement, and high impact undergraduate programming. Previously, he was the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University, a university-based venture in shaping public debate, public policy, and institutional practices. An American Council on Education Fellow at Franklin & Marshall College with President Dan Porterfield, he has also co-directed the Arizona State University-Georgetown University Academy for Innovation in Higher Education Leadership Intensive Program. His new book Start Up U: Stories from 21st Century Colleges and Universities is under contract with Princeton University Press, and he is the author of articles and opinion pieces on innovation and globalization in higher education as well as two books on immigration and citizenship. Pickus earned a B.A. in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.
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Brian Fields
Chief Product Officer
Brian Fields
Chief Product Officer
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Brian Fields, Ph.D. is the Chief Product Officer at Minerva, responsible for the digital learning platform that enables Minerva’s pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment. He joined Minerva in 2013 and played a crucial role in the development of Forum™, enabling its scalability and other performance improvements. Prior to Minerva, he specialized in the field of computer architecture, researching ways to improve the performance of general purpose microprocessors. He was previously a computer architect at Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq, and NVIDIA, and his Ph.D. thesis won the test-of-time Influential Paper Award from the International Symposium on Computer Architecture 15 years after its publication. Fields holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Betsy Tucci
General Counsel & Chief Administrative Officer
Betsy Tucci
General Counsel & Chief Administrative Officer
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Betsy Tucci oversees all legal, financial and people functions including all regulatory matters such as contracts, intellectual property, and people operations. Tucci was previously General Counsel and Company Secretary of InStride. Prior to InStride, she served as Associate General Counsel for the Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on the firm's BCG Digital Ventures division, which collaborates with clients to develop, commercialize and scale new digital business concepts. Previously, Tucci was the Principal Counsel for the Disney Parks Digital team, supporting digital efforts globally for Disney theme parks and resorts, cruise lines, merchandise, and food and beverage. She has also served as Vice President/Senior Loan Closing Specialist at Wells Fargo and as an Associate at the law firm of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from UCLA Law School and a B.B.A. from Idaho State University where she graduated with High Honors.
Strategic Partnership Leads
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Sharan Singh
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
Sharan Singh
Senior Managing Director
Strategic Partnerships, Americas & EMEA
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Sharan C. Singh is Senior Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He is responsible for leading the creation of Minerva’s partnership ecosystem across these regions with a diverse range of institutions, including governments, corporations, multilateral organizations, education institutions and NGOs. Prior to Minerva, he worked in higher education as a senior administrator for 16 years and also as a management consultant. Singh graduated with a B.A. from Whittier College with a double major in International Relations and Business. He also holds an M.A. in International Business from Nova Southeastern and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami.
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Kenn Ross
Managing Director, Strategic Partnerships, Asia
Kenn Ross
Managing Director
Strategic Partnerships, Asia
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Kenn Ross is the Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships in Asia at Minerva, responsible for building partnerships with universities and high schools across the continent. Originally from the United States, he has lived in Asia for more than 20 years, where he is respected for his knowledge of higher education issues, education innovation, and China-US cross-border education. In addition to Minerva, Ross is also founder of the International Foundation for the Promotion of Academic Soft Skills (IFPASS), a US-based nonprofit that provides non-cognitive skills-based and experiential education in China. He regularly speaks at global education events such as TEDx and is also a frequent commenter on Chinese television, where he speaks on topics related to Chinese and international education. Ross’ 2015 book Academic Soft Skills (留学软实力) is considered by many in China as a definitive guide to preparation for global study. Prior to Minerva, Ross held executive positions in Fortune 30 and mid-sized multinational companies in the clean energy, technology, and consulting industries. Ross earned his B.A. from Middlebury College and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
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Laura Bookmyer
Director, Strategic Partnerships, North America
Laura Bookmyer
Director
Strategic Partnerships, North America
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Laura Bookmyer is Director of Strategic Partnerships, North America at Minerva Project, developing partnerships with universities and high schools in the US, Canada, and Mexico. She has over 15 years of experience working with institutions in higher education on transforming teaching and learning, at companies including Blackboard, PLATO Learning, Cengage, and Burning Glass Technologies.. Her experiences have equipped her to successfully tackle complex challenges in higher education, helping institutions better serve their students. At Minerva Project, Bookmyer works with institutions to build strategic partnerships to accelerate innovation and achieve their goals. She has a BA in business from Michigan State University.
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Michael Caruana
Director, Strategic Partnerships, EMEA
Michael Caruana
Director
Strategic Partnerships, EMEA
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Michael Caruana is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Minerva Project where he is in charge of developing relationships with higher education and governmental bodies in the EMEA and CIS regions. In this role, he focuses on assisting institutions through their own transformational process, advising on the virtues of curricular reform, pedagogical innovations, and data-driven delivery and assessment through technology. Prior to joining Minerva Project, Michael was at Times Higher Education where he was Director of Partnerships, responsible for aiding in analysis of institutional data, benchmarking, and Ministerial relations advising on countrywide strategies to measure outputs in teaching and research. He holds a Psychology degree from Queen Mary, University of London.
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Will Sanchez
Director, Strategic Partnerships, Asia and LATAM
Will Sanchez
Director, Strategic Partnerships, Asia and LATAM
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Will Sanchez is Director of Strategic Partnerships, Asia & LatAm at Minerva Project. With over nine years of experience working in the global higher education sector, he is responsible for advancing and developing strategic partnerships with governments, top universities, education institutions, and corporations in these two dynamic regions. Will previously worked from Singapore at two of the most prestigious UK-based global ranking corporations, Times Higher Education and QS Asia Quacquarelli Symonds, as Regional Director for Latin America, Africa, Korea & Japan. His expertise spans data-led projects, global branding, and consultancy He is highly passionate about positively impacting higher education through innovation and technology. Will Sanchez earned an M.A in Global Economy and Strategy from Yonsei University and graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in International Business.
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Stephen McCue
Director, Strategic Partnerships, Minerva Baccalaureate
Stephen McCue
Director, Strategic Partnerships
Minerva Baccalaureate
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Stephen P. McCue is Director of Minerva Baccalaureate partnerships for North America. He is responsible for developing partnerships at the secondary school level through his work with public, charter, private, independent and parochial schools. He previously served as a teacher and Department Chair at a large public high school for several years before working in the field of state and district partnerships for 14 years. Steve graduated with a B.A. from S.U.N.Y. Potsdam with a double major in Political Science and History. He also received Post-Baccalaureate degrees from Framingham State University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In addition, Steve has an M.B.A. from Fitchburg State University.
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Yun-Te Sung
Partnerships Representative
Yun-Te Sung
Partnerships Representative
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Yun-Te Sung is a Partnerships Representative at Minerva Project. She works with university and high school leaders to identify partnership opportunities with Minerva Project. She is passionate about education, technology, and innovation for the public good. Yun-Te Sung graduated from Minerva Project's flagship program, Minerva University, with a B.A. in Social Sciences and minor in Business Administration.
Program Operations and Partner Success
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James Genone, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Solutions and Innovation
James Genone, Ph.D.
Managing Director
Higher Education Innovation
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James Genone is Managing Director of Higher Education Innovation at Minerva Project and Professor of Social Sciences at Minerva Schools University. He oversees academic academic solutions and innovations, bridging the partnerships team and the delivery team to develop repeatable and scalable academic offerings while exploring new territories. He also works closely with Minerva’s Product Team to develop and refine the technology we use for curriculum design, instruction, and assessment of student learning. Previously he was Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Minerva University, where he oversaw the Cornerstone courses for the undergraduate general education program, and coordinated curriculum development across colleges. Before joining Minerva, Genone was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, Camden. His areas of expertise include the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and he has both taught and engaged in research on topics such as the nature of sensory consciousness, semantic reference, personal identity, concept acquisition, and perceptual knowledge. Genone earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.
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Josh Fost, Ph.D.
Managing Director, High School Innovation
Josh Fost, Ph.D.
Managing Director
High School Innovation
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Joshua Fost oversees innovations and partnerships for the Minerva Baccalaureate. He has a diverse background centering on the intersections between science, philosophy, technology, and education. Before joining Minerva, Fost was an Assistant Professor at Portland State University, where he taught disciplinary courses on neurophilosophy, artificial intelligence, critical thinking and ethics, as well as interdisciplinary courses on artificial life, design and society, and the rise of modern physics. His background also includes six years as a private sector consultant and Chief Technology Officer for a diverse set of companies. In his time at Minerva, Fost has led and contributed to a wide range of academic projects and programs. Chief among these include the creation of a quantitative measure of knowledge transfer used to track student progress in the general education program; the use of Big Questions to focus first-year courses on a diverse array of enduring globally significant issues; creation and management of the Master of Science in Decision Analysis program and the Minerva Baccalaureate program for high school students; and oversight of institutional and educational research. Fost earned a Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University, and a BA. in neuroscience and philosophy from Bowdoin College.
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Megan Gahl, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Curriculum & Pedagogy
Megan Gahl, Ph.D.
Senior Director
Curriculum & Pedagogy
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Megan Gahl is Senior Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy at Minerva Project, developing and adapting innovative general education curriculum and active learning instructor trainings for educators. Before joining Minerva Project, Gahl served as Professor of Natural Sciences at Minerva University, helping develop the curriculum leading to a degree of natural sciences. Prior to Minerva, Gahl’s research and teaching focused on ecology, including aquatic and conservation biology. Gahl taught biology and ecological sciences at the University of Alaska Southeast, Bates College, and University of Missouri, St Louis. She has also taught field courses for students of all ages and it is these outdoor, active classes and her Montessori background that inspire her creative active learning curriculum design at Minerva. Gahl earned a Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She is the author of numerous scientific papers and book chapters on aquatic and wetland ecology and conservation, with more recent writing focused on education.
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Christine Looser, Ph.D.
Senior Academic Director
Christine Looser, Ph.D.
Senior Academic Director
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Christine Looser is a Senior Academic Director of Professional Learning at Minerva Project and an Associate Professor of Business at Minerva University. Looser oversees Minerva Project’s professional learning portfolio. Previously, she was the head of the Business College at Minerva University and taught courses on data-driven approaches to building customer-centric brands. Her expertise spans behavioral science, consumer psychology, and branding. Her research focuses on how seemingly small cognitive biases create outsized consequences for interpersonal understanding, organizational management, and public policy. Before joining Minerva, Looser was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Business School and taught in the Harvard Psychology Department as a College Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College and an interdisciplinary B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross.
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Meaghan Duff
Senior Academic Director
Meaghan Duff
Senior Academic Director
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Meaghan Duff is Senior Academic Director of Higher Education at Minerva Project. She leads academic program strategy and implementation for Minerva's postsecondary education partnerships worldwide. Together with her team of learning innovation and partner success experts, Meaghan ensures that students and faculty at partner institutions benefit fully from Minerva's best-in-class pedagogy, curriculum, and tools. Across her career in higher education - at Blackboard, APLU, EVERFI, EDUCAUSE, Faculty Guild, and as an independent consultant - Meaghan has worked in partnership with colleges and universities to improve education quality and access through digital learning. She studied history at the University of Virginia and Trinity College Dublin and earned her M.A. and Ph.D from the College of William & Mary.
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Scott Wisor, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Scott Wisor, Ph.D.
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Scott Wisor is Academic Director at Minerva Project, developing innovative undergraduate programs which tightly integrate interdisciplinary skill development and experiential learning. Prior to joining Minerva Project, Wisor served as Professor of Philosophy at Minerva University, where he has taught since 2016, developing the curriculum in the ethics, philosophy, and the law track and teaching cornerstone, tutorial, and capstone courses. Prior to joining Minerva, Wisor held positions at the University of Birmingham and Australian National University. He received his PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of two books and twenty articles, primarily in topics related to ethics and international affairs.
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Abha Ahuja, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Abha Ahuja, Ph.D.
Academic Director
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Abha Ahuja is Academic Director at Minerva Project where she conducts program design and oversees curriculum delivery for Minerva Project's higher education partnerships. Passionate about diversity and inclusion in STEM, Ahuja realized the potential of online education early in her career, designing innovative virtual courses as an Associate Professor in the College of Natural Sciences at Minerva University. Prior to joining Minerva University, Ahuja conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University and served as a Lecturer and Curriculum Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She studied Zoology at Delhi University (India) and earned her Ph.D. in Genetics from McMaster University (Canada).
Erin Kamler
Erin Kamler, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Erin Kamler, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Erin Kamler
Dr. Erin Kamler is an Academic Program Director at Minerva Project based in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining Minerva Project Dr. Kamler worked as Assistant Professor of Arts and Humanities at Minerva University, Affiliated Researcher at Chiang Mai University, and an international gender equality consultant in Southeast Asia in partnership with NGOs, UN agencies, members of government and civil society. An award-winning composer, playwright, and author with over 25 years of creative and production experience in the entertainment industry, Kamler’s book “Rewriting the Victim: Dramatization as Research in Thailand’s Anti-Trafficking Movement” is available from Oxford University Press. Kamler holds a PhD in Communication from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, an MA in Communication and MA in Public Diplomacy from The Annenberg School, and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.
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Ayo Seligman
Managing Director, Brand & Creative
Ayo Seligman
Managing Director
Brand & Creative
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Ayo Seligman is Managing Director of Brand & Creative at Minerva. He leads design and development of brand identity, strategic marketing, and visual design. His work on partner engagements includes strategic visioning, positioning, and contribution to overall program design. In addition, he and his team ensure that partner branding and marketing communications reflect the premium nature of Minerva learning experiences. Prior to Minerva, Seligman spent two decades as a brand and design consultant, working internationally with clients ranging from startups and social impact organizations to global Fortune 100 enterprises, including Accenture, Disney, HP, Kia, Microsoft, Naver, Nextel, Samsung, and Wells Fargo. He holds a B.A. in Design from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Diana El-Azar
Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Diana El-Azar
Senior Director
Strategic Communications
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Diana El-Azar is Senior Director of Strategic Communications. She is in charge of thought leadership, content strategy and public relations at Minerva Project. El-Azar has over 20 years’ experience in the private and not-for-profit sectors, namely in strategic communications, business development and stakeholder management. She spent over 12 years at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where her most recent role was heading Marketing and Outreach, engaging over 1000 companies in corporate citizenship issues such as gender, sustainability or education. Previously she built and managed partnerships with C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies in the media and technology sectors. Prior to the WEF, she held various business positions with Reuters in Beirut, London, Paris and New York. She also worked with the United Nations Development Program, and taught freshman economics at the American University of Beirut. El-Azar holds a B.A. in Economics from the American University of Beirut and an M.Phil in Economics of Developing Countries from Cambridge University.
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Capri LaRocca
Director of Experiential Learning
Capri LaRocca
Director of Experiential Learning
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Capri LaRocca is Director of Experiential Learning at Minerva Project, working with Minerva partners to design learning journeys that integrate academic curricula with cross-contextual experiential programs. Prior to joining Minerva Project, Capri played multiple roles at Minerva University to design and build the unique Student Life programs at its global Campuses. Taking a student-centric approach, Capri advises teams in the best practices for creating educational experiences anchored in practical knowledge, personal reflection, and cultural immersion. She studied Science, Technology and International Affairs at Georgetown University and architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

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