Unoma Ndili Okorafor. Ph.D.
President and Founder
Dr. Okorafor is the founder and Chief Executive of WAAW Foundation. Born in Nigeria, she received her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos in 1998. She obtained the M.Sc. degree from Rice University in Houston, TX and her Ph.D. at Texas A & M University, College Station, TX both in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is a graduate of INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship program and attended Stanford Business School’s Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship. Her industry experience includes software developer and team lead at the Education Technology Division at Texas Instruments, Dallas Texas. She has worked at Intel, HP and IBM research lab. Dr. Okorafor is a member of IEEE, ACM, SWE, NSBE and SPIE and has been the recipient of the Sloan Foundation Fellowship. the AAUW Engineering Dissertation Fellowship and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship for promoting STEM education. She is a partner at Herbal Papaya LLC and acts as a visiting professor at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja Nigeria teaching courses at the Computer Science department.
Vice President and Board Executive Secretary
Ebele is a Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) Master Teacher overseeing the Science Dept. in the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Texas. She is a PRINCE 2 Project Management Foundation expert and a Thomas International System Certified User. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas in Arlington. Ebele has worked as a Management Consultant/Trainer; her area of training specialization is in Leadership/Management and Interpersonal Skills, focusing on the Behavioral and Psychometric aspects of learning interventions. Ebele has taught a diverse group of students in several Texas schools where she has mentored children from low socio-economic background.
Frances Van Sloun
Frances has served as the Operations Director at WAAW Foundation and now serves on the board of directors. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Frances has experience working for many camps in Minnesota, including STEPS Camp (Science Technology Engineering Preview Summer Camp) at the University of St. Thomas, and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN where she served as Assistant Director for three years. In January 2011, she went on her first trip to Africa to help install a small solar power grid to provide lighting for a friend’s home village in Ntungamo District, Uganda. Now having a great love for the people and culture of Africa, she is excited to be a part of the WAAW Foundation team.
Kaye Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Physics and STEM Education
St. Catherine University, Minnesota. Dr. Kaye Smith is currently an Associate Professor of Physics and STEM Education at St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Dr. Smith holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. She has over 12 years of industrial experience in R&D, manufacturing and technical service. After leaving her industrial career she taught courses in engineering, physics and math at Century College, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, before accepting the position of 3M Thwaits Fellow at the University St. Thomas. In addition to teaching and research at St. Thomas, Dr. Smith directed the highly successful School of Engineering STEPS (Science Technology Engineering Preview Summer) Camp for girls for several years. Dr. Smith’s service work is in the area of water purification in developing countries and she makes almost yearly trips to developing areas of the world to work with and educate local communities about clean water, sanitation and hygiene. This work includes working side-by-side with community members to build pit latrines and sand filers. Dr. Smith traveled to Nigeria in 2013 as part of the WAAW Foundation team to help facilitate the launching of the STEM Camp which impacted 26 African girls.
Senior Finance Director at Intel Corporation
Abi is a finance executive with nearly 25 years of proven leadership experience in finance and strategic management at major IT companies. As Senior Finance Director at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California, where he is responsible for leading the company’s NTG business unit’s global financial planning & analysis. He served as a key cross-functional business partner to both business unit and functional leaders. He has extensive FP&A experience leading end-to-end P&L activities directly and at a group level across worldwide and regional business units. He has managed in small start-up and large environments with a direct financial responsibility of more than $3 billion P&L, and 11,000 people.
Prior to Joining Intel, in June 2015, he has spent years working in Finance and Accounting executive leadership positions at companies like Jawbone, Deem, Intuit, Microsoft and HP.
Abi is an avid soccer player, world traveler and proudly Nigerian. He grew up and attended high school in Lagos, Nigeria before migrating to the US for college. He has a special interest in empowering African Youths through education and mentorship.
His extensive global executive experience includes serving on the Board of Directors for WAAW Foundation and was the founder of Waltan Corporation, a global outsourcing consulting firm headquartered in Silicon Valley.
He graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu with an MBA and a BS degree in Accounting from Cal State University, Hayward
Doctoral Candidate Boston University School of Public Health
Chijioke Okoro is a doctoral candidate at Boston University School of Public Health. He holds a Master of Science degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He had his initial graduate training in Public health as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. He has extensive experience working as Technical Advisor, Project Manager, Consultant and Researcher. He has expertise in Strategic planning, Project Management, Policy Analysis, and Program evaluation. He started his career as a technical officer with Nigeria Youth AIDS Program, Lagos, supporting the implementation of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programs in special populations including school children, women, religious institutions, and youth living in the urban slumps of Lagos Nigeria.
Prior to joining Boston University, he worked as a Public Health Analyst with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. In this capacity he was responsible for the technical coordination of studies to evaluate the impact of rapid HIV scale up on the Health System of low income countries where US sponsored PEPFAR was being implemented. In Nigeria, he has successfully led state teams in a multi-stake holder effort to build government capacity for a multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS. Chijioke has extensive experience with NGOs and was the founder and pioneer program coordinator of Health and Community Development (HECOD) Initiative. He is committed to replicating the “can do” spirit in WAAW, in the heart of every girl in Africa.