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.
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.
Meaghan Duff is Vice President of Programs at Minerva Project. She leads 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.
Joshua Fost is Vice President of Product and Technology. 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.
Sharan C. Singh is Vice President 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.
Ayo Seligman leads the Strategy & Design practice at Minerva, helping partners crystallize their institutional and program visions, innovation strategies, and new program designs. He collaborates closely with internal and partner teams to articulate the objectives, audiences, and market positioning for new institutions and programs, then to create high quality new learning experiences that help realize those visions. As a founding member of Minerva Project, Seligman helped architect the Minerva brand and design the student experience at Minerva University. 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. He holds a B.A. in Design from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Diana El-Azar is Managing Director of Marketing and Thought Leadership. 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.
Christine Looser is Senior Director of Solution Design 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.
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.
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.
Abha Ahuja is Senior Director of Partner Programs, Americas 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).
Dr. Erin Kamler is Director of Partner Programs 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.
Audrey Giacomini is Director of Partner Programs at Minerva Project, overseeing partnerships in Europe and the Middle East. Prior to joining Minerva Project, she worked for the World Innovation Summit for Education - Qatar Foundation, where she was in charge of promoting innovation in education through a diverse portfolio of initiatives in policy engagement, research and practitioner programs. She is deeply committed to harnessing educational innovation to empower learners with future-ready skills and to make quality education accessible to all. She has extensive experience in program design and management, partnership development and management, and events curation for the private, non-profit and public sectors. Audrey graduated with a dual Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris and the Freie Universität Berlin and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris.
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.
Capri LaRocca is Director of Experiential Learning Design 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.
Mina Yang is Senior Manager of Partner Programs, Americas at Minerva Project. A pianist (MM, New England Conservatory) and musicologist (Ph.D., Yale), Mina Yang has written two books – Planet Beethoven: Classical Music at the Turn of the Millennium (Wesleyan University Press, 2014) and California Polyphony: Ethnic Voices, Musical Crossroads (University of Illinois Press, 2007) – and numerous essays situating music within larger sociopolitical trends. She has presented her work internationally and has consulted for and supported the marketing efforts of Disney, LA Opera, and other arts organizations. Yang has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of California, San Diego, University of Southern California, Colburn Conservatory, and Minerva University, where she served as the first lead of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She has been with Minerva University/Minerva Project since its first year of classes.
Torsten Doering is Manager of Partner Programs, Americas at Minerva Project, where he is focused on business curriculum development and the effective implementation of proven and novel active learning methods as an advisor for higher education partners and in the classroom at Minerva University. His educational background includes a degree in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering, an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in Operations Management and Strategy with a specialization in Marketing. Professional experiences include consulting, manufacturing management, and many years in technical marketing management roles in Germany and the U.S.A.
Eduardo Gomez holds the position of Senior Associate of Partner Programs, Americas at Minerva Project, where his primary responsibilities involve strategy and operations within various partnerships across Latin America. His decision to join Minerva stems from a strong dedication to advancing both the educational and economic landscapes of the region. Before joining Minerva, Eduardo gained valuable experience as a consultant at Bain & Company, where he worked with clients in Brazil, Chile, and Peru across a range of industries. Eduardo earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Minerva University and is particularly intrigued by the potential of emerging technologies to deliver high-quality education on a large scale.
Sean Hughes is a Manager of Partner Programs, EMEA at Minerva Project, where he collaborates with universities around the world to reimagine and supercharge their educational practices for a post AI era. His thought leadership on how to transform institutions in ways that equip their students with AI resilient durable skills has recently been spotlighted by the World Economic Forum and at UNESCO global events. Prior to Minerva, Sean served as an assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Ghent and as a visiting scholar at both Harvard and Cornell Universities. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed articles on a wide range of topics, from Learning and AI, to Behavior Change and Influence, as well as Attitudes and Persuasion. He is also the co-author of a book titled, “The Psychology of Learning: An Introduction from a Functional-Cognitive Perspective” currently available from the MIT Press.
Raquel Ribeiro is Senior Manager of Partner Programs, EMEA at Minerva Project, where she collaborates with partner institutions to craft higher-education curricula that nurture critical wisdom and inquisitive mindsets, preparing students for a disruptive, ever-evolving world. Her methodology emphasizes scaffolded learning and personalized assessment, employing technology to reinforce foundational learning outcomes. Raquel’s responsibilities span program and project management, stakeholder communication, and pedagogical oversight. Additionally, she leads faculty coaching initiatives focused on active learning, grading, and assessment, which complements her role as a professor of computational sciences at Minerva University. Before Minerva, Raquel was a lead data scientist working on demand/maintenance forecasting, market segmentation, and fraud detection. Her academic background is in theoretical cosmology, having earned a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (U.K.), followed by post-doctoral positions in both the U.K. and the U.S.A.. Raquel’s research work in cosmology has been recognised with over 1,000 citations, averaging 45 citations per publication.
Özgür Özlük is Manager of Partner Programs, EMEA at Minerva Project. He received his doctorate in 1999 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, following a Bachelor of Science degree from Bilkent University in Industrial Engineering. After his Ph.D., he worked on pricing optimization models in Silicon Valley, and between 2003-2014 he taught various courses on Data Analytics at San Francisco State University. During the same period, he served as visiting professor at different universities and as an operations management/data analytics consultant to companies in various sectors. Prof. Özlük founded the Big Data Analytics Masters Program at MEF University in Fall 2016. Currently he works as a faculty member at Minerva Schools and an academic program manager at Minerva Project.
Justin Sanders is Senior Manager of Partner Programs, Asia at Minerva Project. He joined Minerva out of a deep commitment to building intentional research-based educational programs, driving the evolution of our institutions and systems. Prior to Minerva, for nearly 20 years Justin worked in a diverse range of educational settings across the globe. Most recently, he served as Director of Continuing and Corporate Education at Temple University’s Japan Campus in Tokyo. As a Research Specialist and later Global Recognition Manager for the International Baccalaureate (IB), he worked closely with top universities and forward-thinking international schools around the world. With the Association for Community College Trustees (ACCT) in Washington, DC, he supported the leadership and governance efforts of community college boards and presidents across the United States. He began his foray into international education through capacity building projects in rural Azerbaijan as a US Peace Corps Volunteer. Justin holds a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Arizona, an MA in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University, and a PhD in Education from Osaka University, Japan. His research and publications center around institutional strategy, educational partnerships, and the internationalization of higher education. He has lived and worked in Asia for more than 10 years, including stints in Singapore, Japan and Malaysia.
Frances Pak is Senior Curriculum Associate at Minerva Project, developing curriculum based on the science of learning, implementing active learning instructor trainings, and providing support on Minerva’s platforms both internally and across partnerships. Prior to working at Minerva Project, Frances graduated from Minerva University with a B.S. in Designing Societies and a minor in Data Science. Her interests and passions lie in radical education innovation, which she has explored in a wide range of self-directed and nontraditional education experiences, as well as consulting for learning projects.