Michael L. Best
Dr. Michael L. Best directs the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macao SAR, China. He is a associate professor, on leave, with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. Professor Best is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the widely read journal Information Technologies and International Development and he leads the Global Computing column for Communications of the ACM. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.
Hank Blumenthal is a producer and director of movies (The Ghost Club, In the Soup, Strawberry Fields) a creative director and producer for interactive television and digital media (Microsoft, Google, Viacom, R/GA, Bravo and IFC,) and a PhD candidate in digital media at Georgia Institute of Technology investigating transmedia storytelling and new paradigms for stories. He has worked on prototypes for a Digital Memorial for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia and also investigated the use of transmedia storytelling to develop new models for Nollywood and in particular the movie developed by TID lab.
Paul Lazarus is a Masters student within the School of Interactive Computing. He’s pursuing a degree in Human Computer Interaction. Paul believes in using technology to fix societies problems, a belief that has seen him publish a short paper at as an undergrad at the American University of Nigeria. The paper was about making education more immersive for kids using technology, and was publish at the 2011 CELDA conference held in Brazil. Paul also aided in the deployment of the TID social media tracking center in Nigeria (2014). Paul is an alum and fellow of the prestigious CODE2040 fellowship as well as an inaugural fellow of the Roland Ewubare Social Impact and Engagement Fellowship. //add blurb about future works later.
Amanda Meng is a PhD student of International Affairs and Technology. She studies networked technologies and participatory democracy. Her interest in the intersection of ICTs, development, and democracy began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. While democracy is her current focus, she has participated in the field evaluation of a mobile phone water delivery notification service in India and mobile banking with rural populations in Ghana. Amanda also aided in the deployment of the TID social media tracking center in Ghana (2012) and Nigeria (2014), and has conducted post hoc data analysis of election discussion over social media in emerging African democracies. Recently she collaborated with the International Telecommunication Union to evaluate the United Nations’ initiative to crowdsource the global youth’s participation in penning the Millennium Development Goals Beyond 2015. Amanda also engages locally with civil society organizations and the city of Atlanta to use ICTs to enhance participation in decision making. For her dissertation, she plans to investigate the role of intermediaries in realizing the social impact of open data in the Dominican Republic.
Alex Stelea is a junior studying computer science with a strong passion for entrepreneurship and education. Last year, Alex received the Outstanding Sophomore in Computing award given by the College of Computing for his work within the lab and beyond. He is concentrated on the Information Internetworks & People threads and a student in the prestigious Denning Technology & Management and Grand Challenges programs. Alex loves building prototypes and experimenting with new technologies & features. Alex was one of the initial members behind the Aggie redesign project, and is continuing to work with the lab in adding automated labeling and relevancy to crawled content. He takes his love and enthusiasm from his startup experiences at Jawbone & Prezi to guide future directions of the Aggie interface.