2018 Recipients

Keyonda Smith, PhD

Keyonda Smith, PhD

Maryland University of Integrative Health, Maryland, USA

Dr. Keyonda Smith earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, performing a quantitative study titled, “The Relationship between Institutional Culture and Faculty Perceptions of Online Learning in Chiropractic Higher Education,” from Trident University's College of Education, and a Master’s in Higher Education. Additionally, she completed a professional Doctorate in Natural Health from Trinity University. Dr. Smith is a member of Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) Center for Teaching and Learning senior staff as Director of Online Course Design. At MUIH, she leads a team in developing engaging online courses, demonstrating instructional strategies, implementing multimedia in online courses, and supporting evidence-based online learning best practices.

​Alessandra C. Ribota

​Alessandra C. Ribota

Texas A&M University, Texas, USA

Alessandra C. Ribota is a doctoral student, graduate teaching assistant, and Language Program Assistant to the Director of Lower Division Spanish Instruction in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University. She holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and has experience as a Spanish high school teacher. Her research interests are second language acquisition, pedagogy, Open Educational Resources (OER), and teacher education.


​Dr. Janelle Christine Simmons

​Dr. Janelle Christine Simmons

Walden University, Minnesota, USA

Dr. Janelle Christine Simmons is originally from New York City. She was educated via NYC public schools. In order to pursue psychology and pre-law, she attended Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts. Thereafter, she returned to New York to earn a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice while simultaneously working at the Bronx District Attorney's Office. Upon completion, she moved to Korea and studied Korean (Yonsei University) and then theology at TTGST (now TTGU) where she earned a Master of Divinity. Upon a recommendation from her Hebrew and O.T. professor, she attended Liberty University (hybrid program) and earned an Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction along with an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Currently, she is earning a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.

She taught psychology for over ten years at various colleges in universities in New York, New Jersey, online and then taught psychology courses at an international high school in China. She also taught research methods at the undergraduate and graduate level, In addition, she has experience in working in ministry, government, in the law, the non-profit industry, et al. Her research interests lie in multicultural leadership characteristics, leadership styles, differences in leadership amongst the sexes, et al. as well as prosecutorial styles, etc.

Amor Jebali

Amor Jebali

University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland

Amor Jebali is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Eastern Finland, Finland. His research investigates the Impact of Social Media and Blended Learning on Students’ Self-Regulated and Collaborative Learning. A former EFL teacher and teacher trainer, he has been instrumental in applying social media in teaching and learning for more than a decade teaching undergraduate students at the University of Manouba in Tunisia. His main research interests are deeply rooted in educational research and include educational technology, e-learning, teacher education, language pedagogy, self-regulated and collaborative learning.

​Rebecca Y. Bayeck

​Rebecca Y. Bayeck

Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA

Rebecca Y. Bayeck is a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University, Department of Learning Performances Systems in the College of Education. She is pursuing a dual degree in Learning Design and Technology and Comparative International
Education Programs. Her main research interests include games and learning, video games, learning, and representation, learning and teaching in online environments, teaching and learning with technology, Massive open online
courses (MOOCs) and gender studies. She also adds a cultural lens to her research as she explores the influence of culture on
different environments where learning, collaboration, interaction, and teaching occurring.

Dr. Benjamin Teye Kojo Boison

Dr. Benjamin Teye Kojo Boison

University of Rochester, New York, USA

Dr. Benjamin Teye Kojo Boison is a higher education educator and researcher who is interested in how educational technologies have transformed teaching and learning activities in schools. He has studied postgraduate programs in Information Technology, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Management Information Systems. He has also taught Computer Science and Information Technology courses and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students in a few Ghanaian universities.

He is currently a Teaching and Curriculum doctoral student, a research assistant and a teaching assistant at Margaret Warner School of Education, University of Rochester, USA.

Xiaoyu Wan

Xiaoyu Wan

University of Rochester, New York, USA

Xiaoyu Wan is a third-year doctoral student at Teaching & Curriculum department, at Warner School of Education, University of Rochester. As an educational practitioner and learning experience designer, who love to translate the needs of learners into effective and engaging learning opportunities, she accumulated extensive practical experience designing online and hybrid courses for ABVI-Goodwill, Strong National Museum of Play, and Warner School of Education. Meanwhile, she has involved in research projects in examining the effectiveness and conducting interventions in MOOC and hybrid learning environment, exploring Web2.0 pedagogy, and using strategies to improve learners’ engagement and motivation in digital learning space. Her current research interests focus on digital instructional design and pedagogy in higher education.

Josh DeSantis, D.Ed

Josh DeSantis, D.Ed

York College, Pennsylvania, USA

Josh DeSantis, D.Ed., is an Assistant Professor of Education at York College of Pennsylvania. He also directs the York College of Pennsylvania Master of Education Program. His scholarship interests include augmented reality in education, asynchronous instruction, and pre-service teacher technology self-efficacy.

Gunjali Trikha, MBA

Gunjali Trikha, MBA

Marymount Manhattan College, New York, USA

Gunjali Trikha, Assistant Professor of Marketing, earned an MBA in Marketing and Finance from New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Economics from Hollins University. Prior to joining Marymount Manhattan College, Gunjali worked at the NYSE for thirteen years, most recently as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, where she engaged with the world’s largest companies on issues pertaining to women’s leadership, financial capability and environmental sustainability.

During her career at the Exchange, Gunjali spent a majority of her time in Marketing as a Product Manager, Customer Relationship Manager and Project Manager for a portfolio of digital services. At Marymount Manhattan College, Gunjali teaches Marketing, Introduction to Business, Organizational Behavior, Leadership and Advertising. She also teaches Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility and Women in Business Leadership at NYU.

In Their Words

It was a wonderful opportunity to network with the scholars in your field and see how they are doing in other parts of the world. I made connections with some very interesting people who may be helpful to collaborate in research projects in the future.

Nadeem Saqlain, 2017 Awardee

I really appreciate having the possibility to chat with and hear all these wonderful people. This is not a vertical dynamic, we all were treated the same and that made possible for us students to talk with amazing academics and to have their comments on our work.

Silvia Agreda, 2014 Awardee

This conference experience will aid me in my future because it reminded me of the importance of learning from colleagues and building upon our strengths. I feel more confident that I can communicate effectively with fellow scholars from around the world.

Andrew Pratt, 2014 Awardee