OLPCorps Cornell Mauritania/Team

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Team

Eli Luxenberg
James Elkins
Alan Garcia
Nora Callinan
Seth Luxenberg
Charles Curwen
Billy Podlaski












Eli Luxenberg

-Project Lead
As someone who uses a computer everyday and has never attended a school without computers my education has been shaped by technology. Whether it is a projector not working or needing a fact that has slipped my mind, the presence of technology in my life is ever-present. I now understand this and realize that many other people around the world have the same potential to succeed, but lack the tools. My goal in the project is to set up the computers and infrastructure in Tidjikja in order to give the tools to children that undoubtedly have the same potential as my classmates, but do not have the tools.

James Elkins

-Logistics Lead
Hi! I'm a sophomore information science major from Livingston, New Jersey. I've been interested in computers and related technology ever since I took my first programming course. As someone who often uses technology to answer questions, my goal is to enable others to be able to use it as a tool to enhance their own learning. I'm currently the web content editor of the Cornell Daily Sun, and I do research for Jeremy Birnholtz in the area of attention and focus online. I'm interested in ICT education, information visualization, information retrieval, and online journalism.

Alan Garcia

-Technology Lead
Alan is a senior Information Science student at Cornell University. He has experience managing and tackling technical challenges on interdisciplinary teams seeking to instill social change or introducing novel ways of using and thinking about technology. He has worked with professors Phoebe Sengers and Tarleton Gillespie, and interned at the MIT Mobile Experience Lab in the summer of 2008 under Federico Casalegno and David Boardman. His expertise lies in collaborative web technologies and multimedia for interactive performance technologies.

Nora Callinan

-Fundraising Lead
Nora is a recent December graduate from Cornell in Biology and Nutrition. She has a limited background in web design, but has always been driven to help people wherever she can. She is a part of Cornell OLPC to help with fund raising, brainstorming and local support in the Ithaca community.

Seth Luxenberg

-Government Lead/Translator
My name is Seth Luxenberg and I am Peace Corps Volunteer currently serving in Tidjikja Mauritania. I am an environmental education volunteer working on ecological sustainability projects with 2 primary schools in Tidjikja. I have also organized an informal English club as well as a computer club. In addition, I teach a computer course at a local vocational school. I graduated from Cornell in 2008 with a degree in policy analysis and management. During my time at Cornell I founded the outreach sub-team for a project team called Aguaclara which brings affordable municipal scale water treatment plants to Honduras. I am excited to work with OLPC because I think the project could really help the children of Tidjikja. I speak French and Hassiniya, which is the local language of northern Mauritania.

Jawwad Asghar

-Pedagogical Lead
I am a sophomore mechanical engineer from New City, New York. As a pedagogical lead on the Cornell OLPC, I am concentrating on designing a system that will make using the laptops a comfortable and rewarding experience for the children in Tidjikja. Along with the Cornell OLPC, I am part of an engineering project team known as MineSweeper. Our goal is to fabricate an autonomous robot that can be deployed into the plains of Cambodia and be used to locate landmines which have become a detrimental to social and economic life in the country.

Billy Podlaski

-Pedagogical Lead
I am a sophomore biology major, concentrating in neurobiology and behavior. I am specifically interested in the more computational aspects of biology, as I believe that computers and other new technology are at the forefront of innovation and science. I am one of the pedagogical leads for the Cornell OLPC, along with Jawwad Asghar, and we will focus primarily on how to integrate the new technology into the children's education. The essential objective of the OLPC is to help the children learn and grow, and our aim is to find the most effective way to do this.

Charles Curwen

-University Liason
In an atmosphere of thirteen thousand motivated, socially conscious students, there is no better place to turn to than the University itself for helpful advice. As University Liaison I collaborate with the Public Service Center (PSC) to raise support here on campus. This includes support from professors, faculty, and other student organizations.

My name is Charles Curwen, I am a Cornell University Information Science major. I am excited to be working on this project: there is a lot of potential not only to make this year's project a success, but to continue these deployments for years to come.

Advisory Board

Dmitry Epstein
Jennifer Wofford












Dmitry Epstein

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. My research interests focus on new media and society, particularly on institutional analysis of media and information technology adoption. I am interested in what is labeled as 'digital divide' or 'digital inclusion' with a focus on developing countries. One of my main projects these days is looking at perceptions of media and information technologies by policymakers and how those are reflected in policy. Other than academia I am interested in social entrepreneurship with particular focus on youth and am trying to follow youth enterprises aimed at "doing well while doing good." In the past, I co-lead and advised to educational projects focused on information technology.

Jennifer Wofford

Jennifer Wofford is Assistant Dean for Educational Programs in Computing and Information Science (CIS). Wofford supports efforts that build awareness of computing among prospective students, that bridge CIS CIS student communities with industry, and that cultivate cross-disciplinary connections between students in computing and those pursuing study in the humanities and social sciences. Wofford is program evaluator on the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) grant, Worlds for Internet Technology and Science (WITS), which pairs undergraduate students with middle school students across the U.S. to collaboratively construct virtual worlds that showcase topics in computing and information science. Wofford is part of a team designing quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate computational thought in K12 outreach programs, with particular emphasis on cyber youth programming that incorporate blogs, virtual worlds, games and emergent new media.

Barbara Trueger

Barbara Trueger, Ed.D.’08, member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Educational Honor Society, has contributed her energy, effort, and talent to the field of education.

In 2008, Dr. Trueger was co-recipient of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education’s South Africa Vision Award for her contributions to educational research in the areas of multicultural and global education. In January 2009 she was selected Educator of the Year by the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children, as well as Distinguished Service Award co-winner by the Rutgers Graduate School of Education’s Alumni Association for her outstanding service and commitment to education. A very significant contribution to education by Dr. Trueger has been her work in South Africa and the extension of that work to her students in New Jersey. She traveled to South Africa on an educational study tour sponsored by Rutgers, as a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow, and twice again for doctoral research. The results of this fieldwork encouraged parental involvement in two South African elementary schools to substantially increase.

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