UPEX-Rwanda Fellows and Experts

UPEX-Rwanda Fellows and Experts

In addition to 10 outstanding fellows who serve as administrators from a variety of higher education institutions in Rwanda, the University Partnerships and Exchange (UPEX) Rwanda Program draws content expertise from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Big Ten Academic Alliance and other top institutions across the United States. UPEX-Rwanda fellows will also have the chance to further develop skills gained in the program through expert mentorship from U.S. university leaders.

Fellows Experts


  • Jennifer Batamuliza

    Jennifer Batamuliza

    Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA)

    Jennifer Batamuliza is a lecturer of Information Technology at the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) and a Ph.D. candidate in data mining. She has Master’s degree in computer science and technology from the University of Electronics Science and Technology in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Rwanda. Through the UPEX-Rwanda Program, Jennifer is eager to learn about international partnerships and university collaborations.

  • Jean Claude Byishimo

    Jean Claude Byishimo

    Rwanda Polytechnic (RP) – Huye

    Jean Claude Byishimo is a dynamic and enthusiastic academic staff at Rwanda Polytechnic-Huye where he teaches, supervises and mentors students in addition to supporting other activities across the institution. He holds a Master’s of Global Health Delivery and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with an interest in health and research. Jean Claude expects this program will improve his skills in stakeholder engagement and grant proposal writing. He also hopes to acquire new relationships for future collaborations.

  • Ferdinand Mbonaruza

    Ferdinand Mbonaruza

    Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA)

    Ferdinand Mbonaruza is the Director of Marketing and Communication at the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA). He studied communication for his bachelor’s degree and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in management. Ferdinand has deep experience in multiple areas of communication, particularly in working with media, academia and government. As a UPEX-Rwanda fellow, Fedinand looks forward to the world of possibilities the program will open up.

  • Didacienne Mukanyiligira

    Didacienne Mukanyiligira

    University of Rwanda (UR)

    Didacienne Mukanyiligira is a lecturer and the Head of Master’s Studies at the University of Rwanda (UR). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electromechanical engineering, Master of Science in information and communication systems, and a Ph.D. in telecommunications. From the UPEX-Rwanda Program, Didacienne hopes to expand her academic network and improve her skills in writing grant proposals.

  • Eustache Munyaneza

    Eustache Munyaneza

    Institute of Applied Sciences (INES) – Ruhengeri

    Eustache Munyaneza is the Director of Cabinet and legal advisor for the Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Applied Sciences (INES). In his role, he advises the Vice Chancellor, manages the office protocol and international affairs, and maintains memorandum of understanding with institutional partners. Eustache holds an advanced diploma in philosophy, LLB, master’s degree in international and European law of fundamental rights and postgraduate diploma in leadership and management. Through UPEX-Rwanda, Eustache plans to strengthen his public relations and grant-writing skills.

  • Darius Murangwa

    Darius Murangwa

    University of Rwanda (UR)

    Darius Murangwa is the University of Rwanda staff in charge of internationalization affairs and provides assistance in partnership management and student international mobility. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and is currently pursuing his master’s in international relations and diplomacy at Mount Kenya University. Through UPEX-Rwanda, Darius looks forward to further build on his communication background to develop content essential for building and sustaining relationship among institutions.

  • Djamali Nambajimana

    Djamali Nambajimana

    University of Rwanda (UR)

    Djamali Nambajimana serves as the Resource Mobilization Division Manager at the University of Rwanda where he coordinates all activities related to resource mobilization and international partnerships. Djamali has 9 years of working experience in higher education with several credentials, including a Bachelor of Business Administration, Project Management Professional certification, MBA and CPA. He is looking forward to learning best practices for partnership development through the UPEX-Rwanda Program.

  • Samuel Sibomana

    Samuel Sibomana

    University of Rwanda (UR)

    Samuel Sibomana is currently a fundraising and industry relations specialist at the University of Rwanda (UR) with 15 years of administrative experience. He holds a master’s degree in project management and played a key role in establishing the University Solidarity and Development Fund (URSDF), of which he is the executive secretary. Samuel looks forward to developing his skills through the UPEX-Rwanda Program.

  • Karemera Noella Josiane Umuhoza

    Karemera Noella Josiane Umuhoza

    University of Rwanda (UR)

    Noella Umuhoza is a lecturer and the acting director of the Centre of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Rwanda (UR). She holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science in horticulture as well as a degree in agricultural engineering. Through the UPEX-Rwanda Program, Noella looks forward to sharpening a variety of skills in university management, including grant-writing and project management, mentorship and designing sustainable programs.

  • Callixte Yadufashije

    Callixte Yadufashije

    Institute of Applied Sciences (INES) – Ruhengeri

    Callixte Yadufashije is a senior lecturer and director of research and consultancy at the Institute of Applied Sciences (INES) – Ruhengeri. He holds a Ph.D. in medical microbiology and a Master of Science in clinical epidemiology. Callixte has expertise in human microbiota, maternal and child health, preventive medicine, and communicable and non-communicable diseases. Through UPEX-Rwanda, Callixte looks forward to developing his university partnership management skills.

Content Experts & Mentors

  • Michelle Buck

    Michelle Buck, Ph.D.

    Clinical Professor of Leadership, Northwestern University

    Michelle Buck is the Clinical Professor of Leadership at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.Her work focuses on the ways that leaders maximize their own performance and unleash the potential of others through transformational leadership narratives and engaging others. In 2014, Professor Buck co-led an international MBA course and trip to East Africa, including a private meeting for MBA students with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.In executive teaching, academic direction and consulting, Professor Buck has worked with private, public, family business and nonprofit organizations around the world. She has a Ph.D. and MA in Social Psychology from PrincetonUniversity, and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan.

  • Josh Davis

    Josh Davis, J.D.

    Associate Vice Chancellor of Global Affairs & Senior International Officer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Josh Davis serves as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs and Senior International Officer. He is responsible for all aspects of campus internationalization and leads the university’s cross-campus efforts to strategically expand its global reach and impact. He has served in multiple positions at the U.S. Department of State, both domestically and overseas, and has also worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the U.S. Senate as a foreign policy advisor and Brookings Institution Legislative Fellow. Josh is a graduate of the University of Akron School of Law and a member of the Ohio Bar Association.

  •  Nichola Driver

    Nichola Driver, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Faculty Director for Office of Community Engagement, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service

    Dr. Driver teaches Field Research Methods and Program Evaluation. Most recently, Driver served as a visiting assistant professor at UA Little Rock in the School of Public Affairs where she led the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program. She oversaw service-learning projects, internships, and taught courses in program evaluation, health policy, and nonprofit leadership and service. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in public administration from UA Little Rock. She is currently working on projects related to attitudes toward teen pregnancy, both nationally and in Arkansas, breastfeeding rates among Hispanic immigrants, maternal mental health, and creating healthy communities in Mexico through participatory action.

  •  Gaidi Faraj

    Gaidi Faraj, Ph.D.

    Former Head of College, African Leadership University

    Dr. Gaidi Faraj is a multidimensional manager, educator, trainer and team leader. As the former Head of College of African Leadership University, Dr. Faraj pioneered the development of the Global Challenges program, ALU’s flagship product. He holds a Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Teaching from Troy State University (USA). Dr. Faraj focuses on teaching innovation, entrepreneurship and futures thinking. Specifically, he is concerned with how curriculum design in areas of entrepreneurship and innovation at the undergraduate and graduate levels confront issues of leapfrogging inequality. Dr. Faraj has nearly two decades of experience doing business in Africa. Before joining ALU, Dr. Faraj was based in Tanzania as the Vice President of Operations for a transatlantic investment firm.

  •  Russell Ganim

    Russell Ganim, Ph.D.

    Associate Provost & Dean of International Programs, University of Iowa

    Dr. Ganim works closely with faculty and staff who provide leadership and support for internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and engagement. Before coming to International Programs, he served as the director of the UI’s Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures from 2011-2019, where he worked to extend and deepen study abroad and other partnership opportunities in East Asia, Europe, Russia, and Latin America. Ganim also served as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he oversaw numerous study abroad programs and served a term as head of the University’s International Affairs Advisory Committee.

  • Dan Gilbert

    Dan Gilbert

    Co-Founder and Principal, Gilbert + Chittenden

    Dan Gilbert is the co-founder and principal of Gilbert + Chittenden, a design thinking consultancy that helps organizations use innovation and strategy to build creative, caring cultures. For more than 25 years, Dan has worked with leaders and learners of all ages around the world at the intersection of learning, human-centered design and technology with a particular passion for education. Dan has taught multiple courses on human-centered design at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and has also led workshops and given lectures on human-centered design at universities around the world. In 2019 he facilitated workshops in Mozambique that brought together people with disabilities, technologists and academics to improve accessibility policies. Gilbert holds a Master’s degree in Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford and a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Georgetown University.

  • Amy Jamison

    Amy Jamison, Ph.D.

    Co-Director of Alliance for African Partnership, Michigan State University

    Dr. Amy Jamison is an education, gender, and research specialist. She holds graduate degrees in educational policy, history, and African studies. Dr. Jamison's research focuses broadly on African higher education development, educational policy in Africa, gender issues in higher education, and gender in international development. She has been involved with several grant and research projects in a number of African countries, including Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali. She has worked on two USAID-funded university capacity-building projects in Malawi and Rwanda. She spent one year on a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship conducting a qualitative study of academics' experiences with research at the University of Dar es Salaam.

  • Elaine Johannes

    Elaine Johannes

    Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor in Community Health for K-State Research and Extension, Kansas State University

    Elaine Johannes is the Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor in Community Health and is a state Extension Specialist in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences at Kansas State University. Dr. Johannes will guide the UPEX fellows in best practices and techniques in grant writing. She will support their efforts develop grant proposals, an applied learning activity of the fellowship. Dr. Johannes has degrees from Kansas State University in Psychology, Adult and Community Counseling, and Lifespan Human Development. Her focus is on working with networks, systems, and teams to address community health issues related to health disparities, unequal access to health care, and the social determinants and conditions impacting health.

  •  Fonda Kempton

    Fonda Kempton

    Senior Strategic Advisor, Bridge2Rwanda

    Fonda Kempton lives full-time in Kigali leading Bridge2Rwanda international team, both in Rwanda and the U.S. Before joining the team, she worked for Acacia Accounting Associates in Kigali, where she worked with Rwandan accountants. That opportunity introduced her to culture and business from a different perspective and prepared her for her work with B2R. Before moving to Rwanda, she served at the Director of College Guidance at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

  •  Gretchen Neisler

    Gretchen Neisler, Ph.D.

    Vice Provost for International Affairs & Director, Center for Global Engagement, University of Tennessee Knoxville

    Dr. Gretchen Neisler is the senior international officer of the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She began work at UT in August 2018. She came here from Michigan State University, where she was the director of the Center for Global Connections in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. She has an international portfolio that includes work across the Middle East, East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Her responsibilities include: Working with the university community to lead the development of the university’s strategic international agenda; Representing the university to external constituents, both nationally and internationally; and Overseeing the Center for Global Engagement.

  •  Demilade Oluwasina

    Demilade Oluwasina

    Professor of Entrepreneurship and International Business and Trade, African Leadership University

    Demilade Oluwasina is an entrepreneur and educator. He currently works as Faculty for Entrepreneurship and International Business and Trade. Prior to this, he was Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty for more than 2 years, designing and delivering curriculum to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders as change-makers and problem-solvers. Before joining ALU, he was the Program Manager at The Bridge Program Nigeria, an education NGO. He also previously led IMW Creative Enterprise, a branding and advertising firm where he gathered years of business experience in project management, marketing, advertising and eCommerce. He is an Alibaba Global Ecommerce Talent certified trainer and on track to complete a Leadership MBA in early 2020.

  • Abbie Raikes

    Abbie Raikes, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

    Dr. Abbie Raikes's career has focused on applying the science of child development and public health to national and global issues facing young children. She has population-based early childhood data experience with application as a United Nations staff member, leading a UNICEF, UNESCO, Brookings Institute and World Bank initiative on child development in low and middle income countries. Raikes's work focuses on early childhood development and the role of ecological systems in affecting it – including quality of children’s learning environments and their exposure to environmental influences on learning and development — primarily in the United States, Africa and Latin America.

  •  Elizabeth Scutchfield

    Elizabeth Scutchfield

    Program Design Strategist, Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture

    Elizabeth Scutchfield has over ten years of experience as an education innovator and ecosystem builder. She received her Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt. Scutchfield continued her educational journey at Stanford University, completing a certificate in Corporate Innovation, building an international network and growing her capacity to lead organizations and teams with a focus on creativity and customer-experience. She has created work-based learning programs in the private sector, launching an IT internship program for a Fortune 500 hospital management company and creating a professional development framework for a high-growth marketing agency. Most recently, she served as the Director of Partner Relations at Code Fellows, an immersive software development training program, where she created an industry advisory board to support curriculum development and program upgrades.

  •  Blayne Sharpe

    Blayne Sharpe

    Director of Africa Partnerships in the Office of Global Partnerships & Initiatives, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Blayne Sharpe has supported UNL’s initiatives in Africa since 2016. Most recently, Blayne coordinated a UNL taskforce that developed curriculum frameworks and an academic program specification to establish the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA). RICA is an undergraduate Bachelor of Science university that prioritizes experiential learning and science literacy education. In addition to overseeing the accreditation of RICA, Blayne led the taskforce’s efforts to establish a faculty-training program that enhanced RICA’s instructional capacity and effectiveness. He has an M.A.S in Community Development from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before coming to UNL, Blayne lived in Rwanda for 6-years supporting the Ministry of Education in strengthening a number of international partnerships and programs with institutes of Higher Education in the United States.

  •  Courtney Van Hoosen

    Courtney Van Hoosen

    Global Outreach Officer in the Office of Global Partnerships & Initiatives, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Courtney Van Hoosen is the Office’s primary communications liaison and helps manage internal and external relationships. She manages the @GlobalNebraska social media accounts, maintains the Global Nebraska website and provides event coordination and programmatic support for the Office’s international visitors and grant programs. Courtney is proud to be a two-time alumna of UNL, where she earned her M.A. in integrated media communications and her BSBA in international business with minors in French and Japanese. In the past, she has worked at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Belgium, served as team lead on a marketing consulting project for Surama Ecolodge in Guyana, and conducted international sales for French-speaking Canada. Prior to joining the Office in September 2018, Courtney worked as an English teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Shizuoka, Japan.