Our Faculty & Staff
David A. Thurman joined Northeastern University as Dean & CEO of the Seattle campus in November 2018 after 25 years with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, most recently as Director of the Seattle Research Center. His early career focused on applied software engineering, data visualization, and automation technologies. More recently, he held a variety of leadership positions at PNNL, including director of cyber and data analytics research programs, crafting multi-institution cyber partnerships, and leading the development of large-scale analytics solutions for government partners.
At Northeastern in Seattle, Dave leads efforts to build the gateway to the Seattle tech economy by helping students build the data, technology, and human literacies required of the future workforce. With nearly 1000 students in industry-driven graduate programs in computer science, information systems, data analytics, and technical project management, Northeastern in Seattle is helping to fill the modern skills gap through industry-aligned curricula and experiential learning for all ages.
Dave holds a master’s degree in systems engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science from the University of Oregon.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Paula Boyum has served in administrative positions in higher education. Most recently, she served as vice president of economic and workforce development at Bellevue College, where she provided vision, leadership, and overall management for the college’s workforce programs in technology, the health sciences, and business. Boyum’s previous experience encompasses numerous higher-education leadership roles, including dean of continuing education and workforce development for the Milwaukee Area Technical College and faculty development specialist at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. She holds a master’s degree and PhD in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a bachelor’s in radiologic sciences from the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School.
Director of Student Affairs & Planning
Gina Copping acts oversees the learner experience for Seattle Campus students, ensuring quality throughout all aspects of their graduate program. Her previous career experiences revolved around early childhood education and teaching English in Japan. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Santa Clara University and a master’s in comparative education from University College London’s Institute of Education. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education through Northeastern.
Desiree Gualandri has been working in IT for the last decade, starting as a student work study at a law school and developing it into a professional career. She likes the constant challenge IT provides and enjoys working in a higher-education environment. Midwestern by birth and education, Gualandri has a BA in history from the University of Illinois.
Associate Director, Office of Global Services
Laura Iwane supports Northeastern international students by advising about F-1 student status, including how to obtain and maintain F-1, work authorization, and travel. Born and raised in Maine, she moved to New York where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and began her career in education, and is happy to now call Seattle home.
Assistant Director of Student Affairs
Aaron Jorgensen works as the main point of contact for all student issues outside of the classroom, assisting students from all programs and colleges. Jorgensen has spent time on both coasts, growing up in Los Angeles before moving to Boston to attend Babson College for his undergraduate education and Boston College for his master’s in higher education administration. Prior to Northeastern, Jorgensen worked in a variety of student affairs offices with a focus on student conduct, residential life, and working with students with disabilities.
Anne Maria Jacobson
Associate Director of Operations
Anne Maria Jacobson works closely with the Seattle team to assist in fulfilling their objectives and keep the campus running seamlessly. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s from Southern Utah University. Prior to joining Northeastern University—Seattle, Jacobson was the board administrator and special projects manager for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She has also had the good fortune to work for the 2002 Winter Olympics and Jim Henson Productions.
Caroline Li manages all marketing and PR campaigns and initiatives at Northeastern’s Seattle location. She enjoys strategic planning and implementing fully integrated marketing and communication plans. She has held marketing roles in corporations and startups and helped start a multicultural marketing agency in Seattle. She is also a former journalist and has lived abroad in Asia. Li graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. Over the years she has been on the board of directors for the Asian American Journalists Association in Seattle and SafeFutures Youth Center, which empowers and advocates for underserved young people from low-income communities and communities of color in the South Seattle areas.
International Student Advisor
Angela MacDougall works with the Office of Global Services to advise and assist international students with maintaining their visa status, as well as to support their access to Northeastern’s full student experience and global network. Ever since her experience as a high school exchange student, she has dedicated her career to facilitation of international exchange and citizen diplomacy. She has previously advised F-1 students at Seattle Central College and University of Washington. Before moving to Seattle in 2014, MacDougall lived in the D.C. area and Michigan, as well as in Russia and the Republic of Georgia. She holds a BA in international studies from American University and an MS in global studies from Northeastern.
Assistant Director, Global Learner Support
Jeremy Walter supports international and domestic students at Northeastern University’s West Coast regional campuses by developing and managing English language, academic, and cultural support services. He assists in the daily operations of Global Learner Support and Global Pathways on Seattle and Bay Area campuses. Jeremy also works closely with the International Enrollment Management team by representing West Coast regional campuses at IEM events and trainings. Jeremy holds his Doctor of Education from Northeastern University, specialized in curriculum, teaching, learning, and leadership. He also holds an MA in applied linguistics and TESOL and a BA in English studies.
Khoury College of Computer Sciences
Director of Computer Science
Ian Gorton joined Northeastern University–Seattle as the director of the computer science master’s programs in 2015. Prior to this role, he worked at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute as a senior member of the technical staff. He worked on several projects focused on the principles of designing massively scalable software architectures for Big Data applications and building knowledge bases both manually and using machine learning to support engineering tasks.
Before joining the SEI, Gorton was a laboratory fellow in computational sciences and math at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He managed the Data Intensive Scientific Computing research group and was the chief architect for PNNL’s Data Intensive Computing Initiative. He was also principal investigator for multiple projects in environmental modeling, carbon capture and sequestration, and bioinformatics. This experience has led to a particular interest in the design of large-scale, highly customizable cyberinfrastructures for scientific research.
Gorton has a PhD in computer science from Sheffield Hallam University and is a senior member of the IEEE Computer Society and a fellow of the Australian Computer Society. Until July 2006, he led the software architecture R&D at National ICT Australia in Sydney, and previously worked at CSIRO, IBM, Microsoft, and in academia in Australia. His passion is analyzing and designing complex, high-performance distributed systems, and embodying design and architecture principles in methods and tools that can be exploited by architects in other projects.
Everaldo Aguiar is a part-time lecturer at in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University–Seattle. He received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame, where he was affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science & Applications. His PhD research focused on the development, deployment, and evaluation of machine learning models to detect, ahead of time, students that may be at risk of underachieving their academic goals. He was a fellow at the Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Fellowship and a visiting researcher at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where through a variety of partnerships with large school districts, he was able to incorporate his predictive models to early-warning systems that continuously monitor hundreds of thousands of students, informing educators when individual attention to a particular student may be needed.
He now works as a data scientist at Concur Technologies, where his research work is being leveraged and applied to highly complex and extremely large data sets. Some of his recent projects involved the development of predictive models that extract important token values from receipt images, and lightweight machine learning approaches to matching receipt images to their corresponding credit card feeds in real time.
Tamara Bonaci is a part-time lecturer at Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in 2015, specializing in security and privacy of emerging biomedical technologies. Since graduation, she has been a part of a pre-public local Seattle startup, focusing on biometric methods. She also teaches a sequence of security and privacy courses at Northeastern and the University of Washington. Bonaci feels strongly about diversity in engineering and about bringing women to and retaining them in STEM. In her free time, she enjoys going to playgrounds and running.
Joe Buck earned his PhD from the University of California–Santa Cruz and a bachelor’s degree from Bethel University. His doctoral research focused on applying recent advances in Big Data to scientific computing, and his professional experience has involved working on storage and distributed computing, in addition to Big Data-related projects. He’s excited to be a part of the Align program and to play a part in helping motivated students as they transition into the world of computer science.
Raman “Chandra” Chandrasekar is a part-time lecturer in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus. He has a background in research as well as engineering management, with a focus on addressing real-world problems in natural language processing, information retrieval, and machine learning. He has experience incubating and deploying applications in areas such as web-scale search, text mining, topical news dissemination, and context extraction.
Chandrasekar received his PhD in machine translation from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and worked there and at the National Centre for Software Technology, Mumbai, focusing on various aspects of artificial intelligence. Later, he worked at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science and at the University of Pennsylvania on automatic sentence simplification and using natural language processing to improve searches. From 1998 to 2010, he was a researcher at Microsoft and Microsoft Research, working on search, text mining, news dissemination, human computation, and related areas. He then worked at the news-dissemination startup Evri.com, and still later, managed the development of web-scale academic search products at ProQuest. Chandrasekar is now a freelance consultant, working with clients on problems including text classification, and learning from mobile sensor data. More information about his papers and patents are available via Google Scholar, USPTO and Semantic Scholar.
Bruce Chhay works on Google BigQuery, which is the interactive Big Data service for Google Cloud. He previously worked at Microsoft, working on large-scale data analytics for Windows. He also spent time as co-founder of a startup. Chhay holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and an MBA from the University of Washington. Chhay is a Seattle-area native and enjoys spending time on his motor vehicles.
Marlin Jay Eller
Marlin Jay Eller is a part-time lecturer in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University–Seattle. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics at Whitman College and his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Washington. Eller’s research area includes programming languages. He is a native of Pasadena, California. Before coming to Northeastern, Marlin worked at Microsoft, where he managed software development projects for 13 years. He will be teaching Discrete Math and Introduction to C Programming, and he looks forward to teaching students the ins and outs of programming.
Abigail Evans is a Lecturer at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science in Seattle. She received her PhD from the University of Washington’s Information School in 2018, specializing in human computer interaction and computer supported collaborative learning. Abigail also holds an MEd in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University.
Professor John Ewart is a part-time lecturer at Northeastern University–Seattle specializing in computer science and environmental systems. Prior to joining Northeastern, he lectured at the University of California, Merced, where he covered material on data structures, Java, C++, C, UNIX systems programming, and machine organization. While lecturing at the University of California, Ewart also worked as an adjunct faculty member for Columbia Community College, teaching Introduction to Programming, Introduction to UNIX and Linux, and Advanced Web Topics.
His research experience involves embedded sensor networks and 1-D flow modeling. He worked as a research assistant to Thomas Harmon at the University of California, Merced, from 2004 to 2006, developing embedded sensor networks to retrieve data for analysis by mathematical models to understand the nature and behavior of pollutants in environmental systems. He also researched groundwater and wetlands as well as agricultural and riparian-related problems.
Ewart received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from California State University, Stainslaus, where he also worked as a part-time lecturer from 2004 to 2006, teaching material such as basic database and webpage development, basic computer and internet usage skills like Microsoft Office, and introduction to programming through C++.
Huo worked as an online security software engineer at Sears from 2013-2015, where he was responsible for designing security standards and ensuring SDLC adopted through the development lifecycle. One project involved designing security requirements on user authorization, performing security assessments, and providing remediation options for detected vulnerabilities in online platforms for managing home devices such as garage doors and general thermostats. Another project involved performing back-end testing with tools SoapUI and Burp, conducting code review with HP Fortify SCA, and auditing the user profile database for PII and PCI data to deliver identified user authentication issues and to provide necessary remediation options for detected vulnerabilities in online user profile payment services. Huo also assisted with the planning and integration of SDLC in the development lifecycle, worked closely with the development team to explain certain risks, and performed testing with Burp and scanning with AppScann to deliver identified vulnerabilities and remediation options for a project involving a gifting platform that allows users to turn physical items into digital gift cards to send via email.
He earned his master’s in computer science from Wollongong University in Australia and his bachelor’s in engineering from Dalian University of Technology in China.
Computer Science–Program Coordinator
Caitlin Kidder supports students in the Master of Science in computer science program Northeastern University–Seattle with an emphasis on co-curricular event coordination and supporting Khoury College of Computer Sciences’ teaching assistants. She has spent time on both coasts, growing up in the Seattle area before moving to Western Massachusetts to attend Mount Holyoke College for her undergraduate education and the University of Massachusetts for her master’s degree programs in higher education and public policy and administration. She previously worked in a variety of student and academic affairs offices at colleges and universities in Massachusetts with a focus on academic success, student services, and service learning. Her master’s-level research focused on access and success for marginalized students in higher education, student activism, and scholar-practitioner identity in student affairs professionals.
Computer Science –Lecturer
Professor Rutu Mulkar-Mehta teaches courses in artificial intelligence and information retrieval at Northeastern University. She is the founder of an artificial intelligence-based technology company called Ticary Solutions, which helps computers understand human language. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Gujarat University and her master’s and PhD from the University of Southern California. Her specialization is in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Mulkar-Mehta runs the Natural Language Processing Meetup group for the greater Seattle area. She is passionate about increasing the representation of women in technology and works hard toward bridging the gap.
Faculty Cooperative Education Coordinator
Francisco—or “Paco,” as he prefers to be called—Mesch is a co-op faculty member for the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Mesch assists students in preparing for co-op using his background in experiential learning and career services. He teaches the graduate co-op seminar and works with students throughout the process, as well as lends a hand to employer outreach. Prior to working at Northeastern, Mesch worked at Bellevue College as a career and employment specialist focused on internships and work study. Mesch grew up in the Philippines but has lived in Seattle for the past 12 years.
Tony Mullen received his PhD from the University of Groningen, where he worked on applying machine-learning techniques to syntactic parsing of human language. He holds an MPhil in linguistics from Trinity College, Dublin, and a BA in English literature from the University of Washington. He carried out postdoctoral research in named-entity extraction for biomedical texts at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, and since 2005 has been a faculty member in computer science departments, first at Tsuda College, Tokyo, and then at the University of Puget Sound. His areas of research interest include statistical natural language processing, computer-assisted language learning, and computer science pedagogy. He has written several books on 3-D graphics software and related subjects.
Vinayak Rao has been a software engineer in the Seattle area for 13 years working for a variety of companies. Currently, he is an engineer with Salesforce working on a software security team. In the past, he has worked in fraud, payments, and retail software. He spends his free time with his family, tutoring at a local Seattle tutoring center, or playing tennis.
Computer Science–Associate Director of Graduate Advising and Student Services
Jackie Saarenas is a native Seattleite and a passionate educational administrator. As the associate director for graduate advising and student services, she supports all aspects of the Master of Science in Computer Science program in Seattle. Prior to her current role, she worked in various roles supporting learning, access, retention, and engagement in higher education. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in student development administration from Seattle University. Inspired by her own experiences in higher education, her master’s research focused on learning communities and first-generation college student engagement.
Therapon Skoteiniotis holds a PhD in computer science from Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Before joining Northeastern as a lecturer, Skoteiniotis worked at Amazon in multiple areas including Amazon Retail, Amazon Android Appstore, and Builder Tools. Skoteiniotis’ main areas of interest cover software engineering and programming languages.
Adrienne Slaughter holds a BS in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA in learning, design, and technology from Stanford University, and a PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington. Previous to Northeastern, Slaughter worked at multiple startups and spent many years at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She has also spent time at MSR, Intel Research Seattle, and Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory. Her work has straddled the areas of human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing and mobile devices, user research, and data science.
Professor Hosung Song is currently working as a software engineer in Microsoft’s Azure cloud business. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a tenured associate professor of computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He received his PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His BS and MS degrees are in electrical engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Before coming to the U.S. for his doctoral degree, he worked at Samsung SDS as a systems engineer. His experiences in both academia and industry and also in both computer science and a noncomputer science major gave him unique insight regarding how students should develop their careers in this field.
Zhifeng Sun received his PhD from Northeastern in 2012, specializing in approximation algorithms, algorithmic game theory, and distributed computing. After graduation, he spent a few months with Microsoft, building online advertising systems. He is now working full time at Google, designing statistical forecasting systems. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, traveling to different national parks, and playing basketball.
Business and Outreach Director
Mary Trimarco has been with Northeastern since 2015 cultivating partnerships with companies and non-profits to advance educational and career opportunities in computer science for our students. Her work focuses on expanding the talent pipeline of computer sciences with underrepresented and non-traditional students. She works closely with faculty and staff in Boston, as well as Northeastern’s campuses in San Francisco and San Jose to discover and identify where Northeastern can support employers’ needs. Mary brings more than 20 years of experience to her role. Prior to Northeastern, Mary’s most recent role was managing the international trade and business recruitment teams at the State of Washington’s Department of Commerce. Mary also worked as a television commercial producer and as a commercial lender in banking. She has served on various local boards, including College Possible (formerly College Access Now); WA State China Relations Council; and Impact Washington. She is originally from Illinois and has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois.
Kevin Small: Part-Time Lecturer
Ming-Chuan Wu: Part-Time Lecturer
Fei Fei received her PhD in second language studies from Michigan State University. Her research interests include computer-assisted second language learning and teaching, second language reading, writing and vocabulary acquisition, and task-based language teaching. Previously, Fei was an instructor in the Department of English at the University of Indianapolis, where she taught the psycholinguistics course at the TESOL master program. She also taught writing and ESL courses at various levels in China and in the U.S. A life learner of foreign languages, Fei is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English, and intermediate in German.
College of Engineering
Andrei Guschin joined Northeastern University–Seattle in 2015. He is teaching at the MSIS program, specializing in digital product management and other managerial courses for engineers. Prior to this role, he taught graduate students at the Foster School of Management, University of Washington, where he specialized in technology entrepreneurship, product management, and sustainable product design and development. Gus chin previously taught at the College of Business and College of Engineering at the American University of Armenia, the first and only U.S.-accredited institution in the former Soviet Union. Courses included Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management, Managing Information Systems, Production and Operation Management, and Supply Chain Management. He also taught corporate innovation to MBA students at the Sauder School of Management at the University of British Columbia.
Before getting into teaching, Dr. Guschin was a research scientist at MIT, Ford and Russian Academy of Sciences. He also cofounded a clean tech company, Bionavitas, where he led research and development of the LIT™ photobioreactor technology. Guschin was also a consultant to technology startups and large companies, specializing in product, partner, and business development.
Dr. Guschin has been serving on Advisory Council, Business Leaders for Climate Solutions, since 2010. He also was chairing several committees at MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest, where he helped technology entrepreneurs to make fewer mistakes.
Guschin has a PhD in mathematics and physics from the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as an MS in applied mathematics and physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He also studied at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
College of Engineering
Ashish Ashish works as senior software engineer II at Bluetooth SIG. He has a master’s in computer science from Oregon State University. Prior to Bluetooth.com, he worked at Microsoft and Digital-Control Inc. in the Greater Seattle area. He started DrillMaps.com for mapping utility pipelines in high accuracy. He has a passion for teaching and instructs Algorithms and Data Structures, Operating Systems, and Smartphone Programming.
College of Engineering
April Bingham is a front-end developer who has been working in the web industry for almost 20 years. During that time, she has been a passionate advocate for maximizing the user’s experience on websites for the entertainment industry, educational/nonprofits, and tech startups. When she is not developing or lecturing, you can find Bingham exploring the world via her camera and spending time with her husband and two children.
College of Engineering
Yahav Biran is a technical program manager at Microsoft in the Azure Compute team. He is also a PhD candidate at the Colorado State University in the Department of System Engineering. He helps develop Microsoft’s ultra compute service, the public and private clouds. He has been a practitioner of software engineering for over a decade, with experience at BMC Software, Mobilitec (startup), Lucent Technologies, and Microsoft. He received his BA in computer science from the Open University of Israel in 2005 and a master’s in information systems from the University of Phoenix in 2014. His primary focus is optimization and scheduling problems in cloud-based distributed systems. His research interests include utility computing and distributed software engineering.
College of Engineering
Siva Dosapati teaches Application Engineering and Development. He has been working in the software industry in various roles for more than 18 years and currently works as the senior director of software engineering for CDK Global. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications engineering from JNTU Hyderabad, India. Dosapati has architected, designed, and developed highly scalable platforms, products, and solutions in automotive, manufacturing, banking, human resources, and payroll domains. He enjoys networking with different people and playing poker in his free time.
College of Engineering
Ramkumar Hariharan is currently lead data scientist with Macro-Eyes, Seattle, where he drives predictive supply chain projects. His areas of focus include advanced statistical data analyses, data visualization, and predictive analytics of both structured and unstructured data. He has a 15-year history of developing and delivering more than 20 computational, biomedical, and data science courses at a variety of levels. His courses, lectures, online teaching, and motivational talks have been overwhelmingly well-received in Seattle and in India. Hariharan serves as affiliate faculty at Northeastern University, bootcamp leader at General Assembly, and mentor with Springboard. He has also led education and training programs for Fred Hutch. His teaching philosophy is grounded on one strong belief: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teach or to learn a new concept.
College of Engineering
Avianv Jami studied computer science at the University of Florida, focusing on building web-scale distributed systems. Following that, he started working for Amazon Web Services as an engineer, where he learned how internet scale can make the simplest of applications highly sophisticated behind the scenes. He helped improve the platform behind AWS Mechanical Turk and soon started leading a team to build a financial platform inside Mechanical Turk. He now works for Amazon.com building a conversational platform with front-end experiences to delight Amazon.com shoppers. Jami has been a builder of cloud-based solutions, a customer of the Cloud, and in his current role, helps provide conversations as a service to various Amazon experiences.
Co-op Coordinator–College of Engineering
Kelsey Kaul joined the Northeastern University–Seattle team in September 2018. In her role as faculty member, she teaches the cooperative education preparatory class, advises students on their co-op search, and develops relationships across the Seattle area and West Coast. She helps students consider their future and develop plans to achieve personal and professional goals.
A native of Boston, Kelsey moved to Seattle after completing her Master of Education focused on international education policy and diplomacy at Harvard University. Kelsey worked for nearly four years managing the undergraduate education and outreach for Harvard’s Office for Sustainability. In this role, Kelsey supported undergraduate students in their development as leaders on campus and in their careers. In addition, Kelsey helped new international students as an academic advisor.
Prior to her work at Harvard, Kelsey was in Malaysia as a Fulbright Scholar teaching English as a second language. While there, Kelsey led minority women in a successful social entrepreneurship program supported by the U.S. Embassy. She received commendations from former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack Obama for her efforts in cross-cultural communication and exchange.
When she’s not in the classroom or meeting with a new connection, Kelsey is an active member of the Seattle global community as a member of the Board of Trustees of FIUTS, a national organization supporting intercultural exchange.
College of Engineering
Ibrahim Masrabadi is a principal scientist at Expedia working on bid optimization in online advertising and a part-time lecturer at Northeastern University—Seattle. He earned his PhD in 2009 from TU Berlin under the professorship of Martin Skutella in applied mathematics. His PhD thesis on “Dynamic flows in time-varying networks” received the Certificate of Excellence for PhD Dissertation from Berlin Mathematical School. From 2010 to 2013, he was a postdoc at MIT Sloan School of Management working with professors Dimitris Bertsimas and James Orlin on robust optimization and network interdiction. Prior to Expedia, Nasrabadi was an assistant professor of operations research at Clemson University and worked at Amazon as a Research Scientist. He has a passion for learning and enjoys teaching and solving complex business problems. Currently, he teaches INFO 6105—Data Science Engineering Methods and Tools.
College of Engineering
Brett Ritter teaches Web Development: Tools and Methods. He’s been working in web development (full-stack or front-end, depending on the role) for over 20 years, and currently works as a principal advocate engineer at Okta, Inc. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in letters, arts, and sciences from Penn State University, and experience in a variety of fields including state government, automotive sites, AgTech, and security. He enjoys a wide diversity of tabletop role-playing games and is notorious for his use of hats and appreciation for cats on the internet.
Academic Advisor–College of Engineering
Megan Sykes is a native Seattleite, born and raised south of the city. As the graduate academic advisor for the College of Engineering at Northeastern University–Seattle, she supports students in all aspects of their academic journey, from orientation to graduation. She brings over eight years of student affairs and program-management experience to Northeastern. Rooted in a social justice mind set, Sykes is passionate about creating a culture of dignity and respect for students and staff. She completed her bachelor’s in comparative sociology from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s in higher education and student affairs from the University of San Francisco, where she lived for four years. Happy to be back in Seattle, She enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family by hiking, camping, gardening, and eating throughout the region.
College of Professional Studies
Assistant Director of Academic Advising & Program Operations (West Coast)
Jeryl Concepcion serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Advising & Program Operations for CPS graduate students at Northeastern University–Seattle, as well as the SF Bay Area and Vancouver BC campuses. Originally from San Jose, California, Concepcion brings over nine years of student affairs experience to Northeastern. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration–Marketing from Sacramento State and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education at Northeastern. In addition to his work, he is actively involved as a presenter and leader for both NASPA and ACPA, professional associations for student affairs professionals in higher education. In his spare time, Concepcion enjoys trying new restaurants and cafes, practicing yoga, engaging in social justice education, and watching ice hockey (San Jose Sharks) and baseball (San Francisco Giants).
Michael Kuntz, a member of the graduate faculty, is a mechanical engineer and a recently retired associate technical fellow from the Boeing Company, where he conducted projects in research and development of new materials and manufacturing processes in aerospace applications. Kuntz also has experience in construction and equipment engineering projects. He holds an MBA, with a technology and engineering management specialty, and has had extensive practical experience in leading teams in construction, manufacturing, and research and development projects. Kuntz acquired his Project Management Professional Certification in 2005 and is a registered professional mechanical engineer in Washington. A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Kuntz enjoys skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
Yvonne Freitas McGookin is an accomplished organizational development professional with more than 25 years’ experience in the government, higher education, and nonprofit sectors. Her interests have focused on advancing organizational performance through leadership development and talent management. She is also interested in career development and has conducted career transition courses and workshops. McGookin grew up in Boston, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Emmanuel College and an MEd, with a concentration in organizational development, from Cambridge College. She has been on the faculty of Cambridge College and Bellevue College. In her free time, McGookin enjoys hiking, painting, jazz music, theater, and traveling.
Jim ODonnell has over 30 years’ experience as an engineer, manager, and entrepreneur in the information technology, oil and gas, and software development industries. ODonnell brings a unique blend of real-world experience, successful startups and academic research to the classroom. ODonnell holds a BS in computational physics from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology, and doctorate in business from Argosy University in Seattle (Dissertation topic: “A Study of the Relationships among Project Managers’ Leadership Practices, Project Complexity, and Project Success). He has taught a wide range of management material in both the corporate and academic environments and has authored courses inProject Management Professional preparation, foundations of project management, managing and leading successful projects, managing complex projects, and assessing and recovering troubled projects. A PMP/PMI member since 2003, ODonnell lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Lecturer – Analytics
Morteza Ziyadi is an adjunct faculty who teaches data analytics and machine learning. He also works as a data and applied scientist at Microsoft focused on developing tools and services based on artificial intelligence and natural language processing in the cloud. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a senior data scientist at KPMG, delivering data-driven insights to clients and building AI tools for customers. He obtained his PhD in electrical engineering from University of Southern California in 2017 and has authored and co-authored in more than 100 journals and conference papers. As for his professional and research interests, he is focused on applying advanced analytics—including artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning, and statistical analysis—to real-world problems, and delivering data-driven insights using these tools.
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Director of CSSH Programs
Ann Lesperance has more than 30 years of experience as a researcher and project manager in domestic and international fields including environmental and public health analysis, disaster management, and recovery from natural and man-made events. She is currently on a joint appointment to Northeastern University-Seattle from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she is the Director of the Northwest Regional Technology Center for Homeland Security located in Seattle. Ann works extensively with federal, state, and local emergency managers and public safety officials on technical and policy issues with an emphasis on terrorist activities, biological events, port security, and critical infrastructure protection. She advocates a bottoms-up approach to public safety and disaster management, focusing first on the local level then linking the state and federal levels to ensure meaningful preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience actions are defined. She was recently awarded a Faculty Affiliate appointment with Northeastern’ s Global Resilience Institute. Ann is a recognized leader in response, recovery, and resiliency issues. She was selected to serve on a National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Steering Committee exploring a “whole of government” approach to international CBRNE events and serves on the NASEM Resilient American Roundtable, overseeing the work of the Program on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events.