The Executive Committee
Dr. Philip Rakita is Chair of the Board and Managing Director of Armour Associates, with offices in North Carolina and France. He is a senior executive with more than thirty years of international experience in the chemical and related industries. For eighteen years he held various management positions in fine and specialty chemicals and plastics for the Elf Aquitaine Group. He also served as CEO of Syrgis Performance Products, LLC, a privately held $50 million diversified group of specialty chemical companies. He has lead numerous successful projects in new business development, technology assessment and transfer, divestitures and acquisitions. He has worked and lived in France, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States and has extensive experience with multinational technical and cultural interfaces within organizations. Prior to his industrial career he was Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Minnesota, and Senior Fulbright Visiting Professor at Moscow State University (USSR).
Dr. Herma Williams is the Vice Chair of the Board and former Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Fresno Pacific University from 2006 to 2010. Before going to California, she served as Associate Provost at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. During her career, she has been deeply committed to strengthening faculty scholarship and promoting student research. Williams has published one book and authored numerous articles and papers. She is in high demand as a speaker and is very active in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from Southern Illinois University and her Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Dr. Williams completed post-doctoral studies in Higher Education and Policy at Harvard University and was named a Kellogg Foundation and Ford Foundation fellow. As a Fulbright Scholar, she directed a program designed to strengthen academic excellence for students of color at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Dr. Ramesh Ramakrishnan is Secretary of the Board and the Director of Molecular Biology at Fluidigm Corporation, in South San Francisco, since 2005, and has spent an equal amount of his life in the USA and India. He has more than 15 years of R&D experience in commercial settings, and is passionate about science and the scientific process. He is currently involved in projects involving single cell "Omics" using microfluidic technology. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the China Medicinal Biotech Association. He was also a Member of the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme ( DPFS) Expert Group, Cambridge, UK. He earlier developed oligonucleotide expression and SNP microarrays for the pharmaceutical marketplace, when he worked with Motorola Life Sciences, as the Section Manager. As a Research Scientist at Vysis, Inc., he worked on developing multi-fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) probes to examine chromosomal aberrations. He loves West Coast Jazz and Chicago-style blues, originally hails from Bangalore (now Bengaluru) in south India, and attended Bishop Cotton Boys' School there. He was a Fulbright scholar from India in 1985-86 in Genetic Engineering, at Georgetown University, and completed his Ph.D.in 1990 with a degree from the University of Poona, India. He also has a Masters degree in Biochemistry from the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Baroda, and an M.Phil. in Zoology from the University of Poona, both in India.
Mr. Kim David Eger is the Academy's Treasurer and the President & CEO of Eco Smart Shutters, a Georgia-based company that provides energy efficiency upgrades through dynamic shading devices for the residential and commercial markets. His firm introduced solar-powered rolling shutters with wireless remote controls to the SE, harnessing the sun to create shade and reduce energy consumption needs. Eco Smart Shutters has been awarded government contracts for both breathable security gates and hurricane shutters. Mr. Eger also recently served as a consultant for Garick, LLC, a subsidiary of Waste Management. Prior to these positions, he served Scotts Miracle-Gro focused on major retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowes following three years in Germany with the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany working on trade and investment policy. Kim was the first student from Christopher Newport University to earn a Fulbright scholarship. His 1992 Fulbright was to the University of Cologne, where he studied political science. After his Fulbright, he went on to earn an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), studying in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC. Kim is fluent in German and French and proficient in Italian. He’s recently started learning Mandarin.
Mr. Torsten Kracht is the Academy's General Counsel and a Partner at Hunton & Williams, LLC, in their Washington, DC office. His practice is concentrated on the representation of clients involved with disputes in the United States and abroad. His litigation and arbitration experience includes complex contract disputes, unfair competition investigations and claims, intellectual property litigation and securities arbitration. He has particular expertise in the application of the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods and in issues arising from international service of process and discovery. Previously, he was with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and with Alston & Bird, LLP. He received a J.D. with International Law Honors and Distinction from Rutgers University in 1998, and a B.B.A. in Finance and Operations, cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1993. He spent the 1995 - 1996 academic year studying law in Berlin, Germany, as a Fulbright Scholar.
Board of Directors - Additional members
Ms. Lori Alspaugh is the Development Director for the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Fine Arts and Design, in Edmond,OK (a northern suburb of Oklahoma City). She is the founding staff member of the college’s development office, which after ten years of operations is successfully raising several million dollars per year for college programs. She graduated with a degree in Arts Management from the University of Northern Arizona, and has worked in fundraising and marketing ever since. Her background in the arts includes work in theatre, dance, visual and performing arts at places like the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles and the Arizona Opera. Her Fulbright was to Germany in 2008, where she was part of the U.S.-Germany International Education Administrator's Seminar.
Dr. M. Gail Sanders Derrick is a Professor in the online Doctor of Education program and program director for the adult education cognate area in the School of Education at Regent University. Gail received her Doctor of Education from The George Washington University in 2001 in Higher Education Administration. Her influential research in understanding persistence in learning has served as the foundation for numerous dissertations and research endeavors in self-directed and adult learning. She continues to explore the psychological facets of why adults engage in self-directed and autonomous learning. Her research studies include the role of self-efficacy, curiosity, and development of skills for 21st century learning. She and her colleagues have developed and validated instruments related to self-efficacy with adult learners, the factors associated with autonomous learning, and problem solving. Her research interests are motivation, persistence, problem solving in learning, and cultural aspects associated with learning. Dr. Derrick traveled to Cuba to participate in the 2009, Búsquedas Investigativas: Investigación De La Práctica Educativa Cubana, (Academic Explorations: Researching Cuban Educational Practices) where she was a member of a panel discussion with Cuban education leaders on K-12 education, higher education, and policy issues. Additionally, in 2010, she participated as a Fulbright Specialist to Hungary where she worked with teachers of Roma youth seeking to complete a trade program. She is currently on the Fulbright Academy as a Board member. Dr. Derrick has presented at national and international conferences, and written extensively in the area of autonomous learning, self-efficacy, and motivation. Dr. Derrick is highly recognized by her peers and colleagues for her sustained work. She was co-recipient of the 2007 Best Research Paper from the National University Teaching Network as well as recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from Virginia Wesleyan, the 2007 Gary J. Confessore Award for Scholarly Achievement at The Autonomous Learning World Caucus, the 2008 Professor of the Year in the School of Education, and the 2009 (Spring) Faculty Award for Excellence from Regent University.
Dr. Christopher Kelley is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2005 and in Chisinau, Moldova in 2011, a grant that was extended to include May 2012. Professor Kelley frequently teaches in Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, and Belarus. He also has taught in Kazakhstan. In addition to teaching in person, he has taught as many as five courses per semester by distance to students in Ukraine, Moldova, and Lithuania. He is a part-time, non-resident Professor at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine. Professor Kelley is a former three-term Co-Chair of the Russia/Eurasia Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law and currently is the Chair of the Section’s Public International Law I Division. He has been an ABA Section of International Law International Legal Exchange delegate to Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, Lebanon, and Poland. He also has participated in the planning for each of Section’s five business-related dispute resolution conferences in Moscow, Russia. And he participated in the World Justice Forums I and II in Vienna and World Justice Forum IV in The Hague, all sponsored by the World Justice Project. Before joining the University of Arkansas School of Law faculty in 1998, Professor Kelley practiced law in both the public and private sectors, including with Arent Fox in Washington, D.C., and Linquist & Vennum P.L.L.P. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began his legal career in the Solicitor General’s Office of the Minnesota Attorney General. He also has been a public defender, a small firm practitioner, a legal services attorney, and staff counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi. He also has taught at the William Mitchell College of Law and the University of North Dakota School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, North Dakota, and the District of Colombia.
Mr. Thomas (Tom) Moga is a partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Washington, DC, where he focuses on intellectual property and international business transactions. His experience in the arena of international intellectual property includes the development of domestic and foreign patent portfolios, the acquisition of registrations for trademarks and copyrights, licensing, litigation, dispute resolution and mediation, and policy development. Mr. Moga is an experienced patent prosecutor in the mechanical, chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical arts and has been qualified and has testified as an expert witness in patent disputes. He also manages patent enforcement and anti-counterfeiting actions in Asia (China, South Korea, India), including overseeing initial counterfeit product investigation, selecting and working with local investigators, selecting and working with local counsel, preparing administrative and judicial documents, and participating in raids. He spent the first half of 1997 as a Fulbright Scholar in China where he taught patent law at Jilin University and acted as a foreign advisor to China’s State Intellectual Property Office.
Dr. Robert Ruminski is a researcher and entrepreneur in Poland. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Szczecin, Poland, Faculty of Management and Economics, Department of Banking and Comparative Finance. He is also a Development Manager, Proxy and the main shareholder in INPRO LLC, one of the leading suppliers of comprehensive property management services and real estate consultancy to investors, property owners, tenants and developers. Dr. Ruminski has served as an expert within the European Union Program, evaluating numerous business ventures, enterprises and GOs applying for the EU funds. He is the former CEO of the Department of Culture, Science and National Heritage in the province of West Pomerania. His 2009-2010 Fulbright grant was to Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration in Los Angeles, where he did research on entrepreneurial finance and banking. In his work and research, he has collaborated with universities and organizations supporting small business in Europe and the United States. He earned his doctorate from the University of Szczecin, Poland, and his MBA from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (O), Germany. Dr. Ruminski is passionate about strengthening the Fulbright community at the local, national, and international levels. He is interested in coordinating with alumni associations around the world to share best practices and entrepreneurial spirit.