Meet The Team

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Joni Bessler

Executive Director


 

  • Recognized expert in educational ventures, including: Full STEAM Forward; Bookends; Avenues, China; Whittle School, China; and YK Pao School.

  • 30+ career with Booz & Co. focused on Australasia, working with public and private company leaders.

  • MBA from University of Chicago (Booth); BS in Engineering from Stanford University.

  • Fluent in Spanish and Mandarin

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Rebecca Singer

Chief Operations Officer

  • Portolio manager focused on investments in Biotech and Technology.

  • AmeriCorps program coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County. 

  • Three-term, publicly elected Board of Education Trustee of a NJ K-12 public school district.

  • PhD and MS from Albert Einstein College of Medicine; BA, University of Pennsylvania.

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  • Global finance and transformational executive with 20+ years of experience. Currently CFO at Hootsuite

  • MBA, USC Marshall Business School, Jiao Tong University; BA Economics and Accounting, Universita’ Cattolica, Italy.

  • Bi-lingual in English and Italian

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David Young

Special Initiatives
Officer

  • Founder and Managing Director of Top Golf Advisors

  • Over 20 years of international marketing, planning, and development and training experience

  • MBA from SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy

  • Fluent in English and Italian

Tiziana Figliolia

Chief Finance Officer 

Founders and Senior Leadership

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Jacqueline Horgan

Academic Strategy 
Assessment &
Educator


 

  •  years of experience teaching science (pre-K through adulthood) in both in-school and out-of-school settings including the American Museum of Natural History.

  • Instructor of elementary science teaching practices and qualitative research methods for undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Certified educator in elementary science and mathematics.

 

  • PhD in Science Education from Columbia University; BS in Elementary Education from Penn State University. 

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Annie Gentile

Curriculum &
Educator


 

  • NYS dual-certified educator in Childhood Education 1-6 and Visual Arts K-12

  • Inaugural teacher for Camp Full STEAM Forward; currently a k-4 elementary art teacher

  • 10 years of teaching experience in museum settings, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working closely with young children and their families to enhance their appreciation and understanding of the arts and sciences.

  • BA in Art History from SUNY New Paltz and MS in Museum Education from Bankstreet College of Education

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Jazlyn Mena

Educator



 

  • NYS dual certified educator in Childhood Education 1-6 and School Building Leadership

  • IRT Scholar seeking a PhD in Urban Education

  • 10 years of dual language and STEAM teaching experience mainly in grades 2-5

  • BA in Psychology with a concentration in Childhood Education from Barnard College and MS in Bilingual Education from City College of New York

  • Fluent in Spanish

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Luna Simone Gonzalez

Mentor Program


 

  • Extensive experience in tutoring, teacher's assistant roles and mentoring including at: Science & Nature Program and Bridge Up: Stem Program both at the American Natural History Museum.

  • Inaugural mentor for Full STEAM Forward

  • Currently a student at Middlebury College

  • Attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School where she was an AP Scholar with Distinction

  • Bilingual Spanish/English

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Jane Kloecker

Educational Programming


 

  • Over 50 years experience in Early Childhood Education in New York City

  • As a teacher, principal, consultant & director, established pioneering and successful programs in private & public schools and at museums.

  • 20 years as Director in the Education Department at The American Museum of Natural History. In 1998, founded The Science & Nature Program & Family Initiatives--a highly successful science "school" for children ages 2 to 12 years 

  • While at the AMNH, established sustained partnerships with local community centers, Head Starts, shelters and public schools to promote science literacy.

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Vriti Saraf

Education Ventures

  • Edtech Entrepreneur at k20 Educators. 

  • Expert in building and executing professional learning ecosystems and programs across local, global, public and private, k-12 and higher education organizations.

  • Experienced school leader, network administrator, teacher, and adjunct professor, with pedagogical expertise in Online Learning, Responsive Classroom, Reggio Emilia, Standards-based Instruction & Assessment, and Project Based Learning.

  • Teach for America alumna; B.A. from Macaulay Honors College; M.Ed. from Teacher U/Hunter College

Academic Leadership 

Business Support and Global Operations

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Mary Manning

Development

  • 20 years experience in corporate including 10 years with an international investment bank in Sydney, Australia working in client services, product development and project management in the private banking sector.

  • BSc degree majoring in Earth Science from Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia

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Magaga Enos Rombo

Kenya

  • Certified educator in Biology and Mathematics.

  • Country Lead for HundrED.org, Kenya.

  • Community and Outreach Coordinator for Beads For Education, Kenya. 

  • Extensive experience working with organizations serving young students in Kenya including: UNESCO, My Dream Machine Global, Githiga Boys High School, and Friends School Senende.

  • Advocate for quality education, gender equity and women’s empowerment.

  • Bi-lingual English and Kiswahili.

  • Locally based outside of Nairobi

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Advisors

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Mona Sinha

  • Board Chair: ERA Fund for Women’s Equality, and Women Moving Millions.

  • Co-Founder: Raising Change. 

  • Board member: Columbia Business School, The Global Mental Health Program at Mailman School at Columbia University, Women Creating Change at Columbia University, Breakthrough, and Center for High Impact Philanthropy.

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Diana Taylor

  • Former Assistant Secretary to NY Governor George Pataki, CFO Long Island Power Authority, New York State Superintendent of Banks, MD at Wolfensohn Fund Management.

  • Board member: International Women’s Health Coalition, The New York Women’s Foundation, YMCA of Greater New York, ACCION, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Sotheby’s, Citigroup, Brookfield Properties. 

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Deborah Jackson

  • Founder & CEO Plum Alley, Founder, Women Innovate Mobile.

  • Former SVP, Shattuck Hammond Partners, Goldman Sachs.

  • Recipient of numerous awards including: “League of Extraordinary Women”, “Leader of Economic Impact”, ”Women Changing the World: VCs/Entrepreneurs”.

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Meme Scherr

  • Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Sensato Investors.

  • Former COO at PBPCapital Management managing non-investment activities of a start up hedge fund.

  • Director of Client Service at Mellon Capital Management.