About the Presenter
Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of Central Florida, 2002
Dr. Jeff Ramsdell is the director of the Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University and a professor in the Department of Technology. He has led the Energy Center's biofuels and biomass research initiative. Dr. Ramsdell's research includes study of energy efficient housing in South Africa. Ramsdell received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida, a master of business administration degree from Rollins College and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Central Florida. His research has been supported by the University of North Carolina Research Competitiveness Fund, the Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina State Energy Office, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the Biofuels Center of North Carolina.
William Kamkwamba is the co-author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope(William Morrow) a New York Times bestseller, relating the story of how he achieved his dream of bringing electricity, light, and the promise of a better life to his family and his Malawi village. He has appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, ABC's Good Morning America, CSPAN Book-TV, and NPR. A 2007 TED(Technology, Entertainment, Design) Global Fellow, he was a student in the inaugural class of the Pan-African Leadership Academy in South Africa. Kamkwamba has addressed audiences at the 2008 World Economic Forum, multiple times at TED, and at schools and universities across the globe.
Deja is a Marketing, Risk Management and Insurance, and Entrepreneurship triple-major. She participated in the Walker College of Business Faculty-led study abroad program to Malawi this past January. While in Malawi she was inspired to make a difference in the lives of more children around the world. She has traveled the world since she was seven and would like to continue traveling to inspire and be inspired.
Blessings Chikakula is a teacher at Mvera Girls Secondary School and a friend and former tutor to William Kamkwamba. Mr. Chikakula served as a translator in writing "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind." He has also served as a translator with World Camp and a country manager for The Moving Windmills Project.
Marie graduated from Appalachian State in 2012 with a degree in Business Management and a minor in International Business. Marie is currently pursuing an MBA with an International Business emphasis here at Appalachian . During her time at Appalachian, Marie studied abroad in Greece, Africa, Hong Kong and China, and traveled to Bolivia and Jamaica to do service work. Marie will graduate from the MBA program this May.
Kathryn graduated from Appalachian State in 2012 with a BS/BA in Hospitality & Tourism Management as well as in Marketing. She is currently completing her MBA with an emphasis on International Business. Kathryn has lived abroad and, while a student at App, has travelled to Malawi, Africa as well as China and Hong Kong. When she graduates in August, Kathryn hopes to find a challenging career in eco-tourism that will involve her studies, as well as her love of travel."
Dr. Susan Doll is Assistant Professor of Building Science and Renewable Energy at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She is a systems thinker with expertise in sustainable environment technologies and air/water/food/energy inter-relationships, gained through integration work on the Biosphere 2 project in Oracle, Arizona, NASA’s International Space Station, and development work in rural Rwanda. Conducting research on household energy use in rural Rwanda while at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and subsequently living there as a United Nations Development Programme consultant for infrastructure development, reinforced her conviction regarding the importance of designing solutions within the context of local conditions and inspired a passionate commitment to global sustainability, education and capacity building.
Dr. Leslie McLees
Dr. Leslie McLees works in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, examining urban food supplies, urban agriculture and the ways that formal and informal economic, political and social systems interact to ensure food security in cities. Her research has involved extensive interviews with urban farmers from around the city, city officials and working with an NGO advocating for land tenure for the farmers. She has also travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, to connect a large NGO, the Mazingira Institute, to activists in Dar es Salaam to facilitate the creation of professional networks revolving around urban food issues, including nutrition, composting, farming, livestock, etc., that provides farmers with access to knowledge and best practices concerning soil conservation, composting, water use and safe fertilization. While she has focused on urban food cultivation and social and economic networks, her research seeks to examine larger issues of regionally appropriate urban development, specifically the effects of formalizing the complex and nuanced informal mechanisms people rely on to meet their needs in cities. She plan future projects to examine issues of development in African cities in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Abuja, Nigeria.
Dr. Tiffany Christian
Dr. Tiffany Christian has been teaching at Appalachian State since the fall of 2003, spending most of her time as a professor in the Social Work department but teaching in Watauga Global Community and First Year Seminar. In the community, she is actively involved in her church, Boone Sunrise Rotary, and Girl Scouts. She is married with 4 children (ages 15, 13, 6 and 6) and spends a great deal of time supporting their love of music and dance. She is an avid “foodie” and love to travel as well.
Jesse Pipes is a co-founder and executive director of World Camp, an international non-governmental organization working in Malawi, Africa. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has over 12 years’ experience assisting with the development of community based educational programs and directing international service internship programs in Malawi and Honduras. Jesse most recently worked as a Creative Assistant for MokuZoku, a company aiming to help children and parents bridge the gap between virtual games and outdoor adventures in Boulder, CO. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Business Administration with concentrations in International Business and Sustainablility at the Walker College of Business.