IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Santa Clara University, USA / September 8-11, 2022

Plenaries and Keynotes 2022

GHTC 2022 Features these Keynote and Plenary Speakers:


Keynote: Connecting the Unconnected

September 9th, 2022 | 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Kurtis Heimerl, Assistant professor, The University of Washington, USA

Over the last decade the work of my lab has primarily focused on developing novel connectivity solutions, both cellular voice and SMS and Internet, and partnering to deploy them with underserved people throughout the world in hard rural (including Papua, Indonesia; Aurora, Philippines; Northwest Territories, Canada; Oaxaca, Mexico; and many others) and dense urban contexts (primarily our ongoing Seattle Community Network project). In this talk I reflect on lessons learned; specifically the “myth of the unconnected”, differences between rural and urban networks, thoughts deployments, and others. I end with a focus on our exciting current efforts in Seattle and future opportunities for engineering-focused work in connectivity.

Bio: Dr. Kurtis Heimerl is an assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington working on Information and Communication Technology and International Development (ICTD), specifically universal Internet access. Before that, he received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Kurtis cofounded Endaga, which joined Facebook in 2015. He was a recipient of the 2014 MIT “35 under 35” award, the 2018 UW early career Diamond Award, and has won paper awards at CHI, NSDI, COMPASS, ASSETS, PETS, and DySPAN.

Keynote: Technology’s True Promise Lies in the Good we can Do

September 9th, 2022 | 9:35 AM – 10:05 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Janice Zdankus, Vice President of Quality, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, USA

Why and how can we as leaders in industry and academia better ‘connect the dots’ between innovation and improved societal outcomes? Students of engineering and technology disciplines often express their reason for choosing their field of study and careers is because of their interest and motivation to design the improvements in the world in which we all live and work. Statistics show that many who chose to leave the field did not feel fulfilled in this vision. Yet, most major improvements in our world over the last twenty plus years were conceived of and driven by innovations in engineering, technology and science. Many companies design “tech for good” initiatives to demonstrate core values, retain and motivate talent, partnerships, and systems thinking. With an eye towards creating positive impact and to better prepare for disruptions through the pace of digital transformation, examples of designing and implementing best practices for tech for good programs are shared. And, hear more about how the critical role of at least one explosive area—the role of data—will drive significant advancement in building a more sustainable and equitable world.

Bio: Janice Zdankus is Vice President of Quality at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and has worked in leadership roles for many functions in industry for 30 years. Janice has led the creation of a ‘Smart Ag’ IoT testbed for Agriculture researchers and was named a Transformation Network Leader for the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture. She also designed and co-founded Curated Pathways to Innovation, a non-profit EdTech start-up offering an IoT platform for broadening participation in STEM, hosted by the YWCA. She serves on the Boards of Directors for ABET and NCWIT, and holds degrees from Purdue University (Computer Science, Industrial Management) and Santa Clara University (MBA).

Plenary: Advancing Frontiers of Sustainable Innovations through a Global Network of Technologists

September 9th, 2022 | 10:10 AM – 10:40 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan, Global Chair, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (IEEE HAC)

This keynote talk will focus on how emerging technologies offer a transformative opportunity to address pressing global sustainable development challenges. We will discuss real-world examples of sustainable technologies that are relevant to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We will explore how IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (IEEE HAC) offers high-impact engagement opportunities for IEEE members to advance technologies for the benefit of marginalized communities globally.

Bio: Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan is a globally renowned technologist best known for his technological innovations in addressing global humanitarian and sustainable development challenges.  He is a seasoned technology and business leader with over 17 years of experience in the Top 500 Fortune companies. Throughout his career, he has led business-critical strategic  R & D programs and successfully delivered cutting-edge technologies in the areas of Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Understanding, Cloud computing, Data privacy, Enterprise systems, Infrastructure technologies, Assistive and Sustainable technologies that were targeted to benefit millions of global users. Sampath served as an expert in the 2020 Broadband Commission working group on school connectivity co-chaired by UNESCO, UNICEF, and ITU to drive “GIGA,” a Global School Connectivity Initiative. He is the founder and president of “The Brahmam,” a humanitarian program delivering next-generation social innovations to achieve sustainable development goals and benefit marginalized communities globally. Over a decade, he has launched large-scale transformational global initiatives that brought together academic institutions, industry leaders, and Government agencies to address pressing global challenges faced by children with disabilities, impoverished women, and students from marginalized communities in developing nations. 

Plenary: One Week Wonder – Emergency PPE Delivery via A Global Humanitarian Collaboration of Makers

September 9th, 2022 | 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Kelly Yamanishi*/Eric Hess, Maker Nexus, a nonprofit Makerspace in Sunnyvale, CA, USA


When the state of California shut down all but essential services on March 19, 2020, Maker Nexus was not quite a year in business as a non profit organization offering a community makerspace. Based at the time on a membership use model, 100% in person, Maker Nexus suddenly faced an existential crisis. One week later, Maker Nexus was delivering hospital approved, sterilizable and reusable face shields, as well as other PPE at no charge directly to grateful, exhausted, medical professionals. A prototype was developed in less than 24 hours based on a global open source collaboration. During the next 48 hours, Maker Nexus delivered prototypes to local hospitals, allowing us to iterate and refine the design. Hospital approval achieved, a committed group of staff, members and volunteers swung into action to deliver. Over the next few weeks the delivery network spread out across the country and even outside the US borders. In the end, Maker Nexus and its team of volunteers directly manufactured and delivered over 85,000 reusable face shields at no charge to medical professionals throughout the UNited States. Maker Nexus’ design and shared resources, including staff and members, combined with other local manufacturing companies as they were able to come up to speed to deliver over 300,000 additional face shields at no charge before the need could be met by traditional manufacturing. Having experienced the power of the open source, nonprofit maker space model in rapid response to a global emergency, Maker Nexus can share an entirely different perspective on the value of the maker movement community and local makerspaces to responses to global humanitarian crises.

Plenary: Introducing the West Coast IEEE MOVE Truck — Keynote and Demonstration

September 9th, 2022 | 2:35 PM – 3:05 PM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Tim Lee, IEEE Region 6 Director

MOVE Community Outreachan IEEE-USA Initiative, is an emergency relief program committed to assisting victims of natural disasters with short-term communications, computer, and power solutions. These temporary emergency relief provisions help those affected stay connected and make sure they can access the help they need. Services include phone charging, internet & communications support, and lighting to disaster victims.

Bio. Timothy Lee is IEEE Region 6 Director and an active member and supporter of the MOVE initiative. He is currently a Boeing Technical Fellow at The Boeing Company in Southern California and leads the development of disruptive microelectronics technologies for advanced communications networks and sensor systems for airborne and space applications.

Keynote: To Care, and How We Get There

September 10th, 2022 | 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Neha Kumar, Associate Professor, Georgia Tech, USA

Care shows up in many ways and forms in technology research, design, and practice, and increasingly so. Touching upon some of these wide-ranging manifestations of care in technological interactions, this talk will consider also what futures of care work might look like. It will conclude with some lessons for futures of work more broadly, and how we might infuse these with care.
Bio. Dr. Neha Kumar is an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech, where she works at the intersection of human-centered computing and global development, with a joint appointment in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing. She was trained as a computer scientist, designer, and ethnographer at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, and thrives in spaces where she can wear these three hats at once. Her research engages feminist perspectives and assets-based approaches towards designing technologies for/with underserved communities. She currently serves as the president of ACM SIGCHI. Website:

Keynote: IT for Sustainability

September 10th, 2022 | 9:35 AM – 10:05 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Dejan Milojicic, Distinguished Technologist, Hewlett Packard Labs, USA

Humanity is exposed with decades of unresponsible behaviour, resulting in dramatic need for decarbonization and preventing climate change. Consumption of fossil- and other carbon-based fuels and generation of electricity from unsustainable energy sources propagates in every facet of our life. In IT, we are uniquely positioned to measure sustainability of our solutions and cradle-to-cradle, from production to disposal, of equipment and service usage. By making IT sustainable, we can expand it to the rest of enterprises and eventually all vertical markets and to our daily life. In this talk, I will showcase how we at Hewlett Packard Labs develop IT Technologies for Sustainability, contributing to humanity and planet earth. I will discuss megatrends and present some solutions.

Bio: Dejan is a distinguished technologist and director at Hewlett Packard Labs, Palo Alto, CA (1998-present). Previously, he worked in the OSF Research Institute, Cambridge, MA (1994-1998) and Institute “Mihajlo Pupin”, Belgrade, Serbia (1983-1991). He received his PhD from the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany (1993), and his MSc/BSc from Belgrade University, Serbia (1986/1983). Dejan was a managing director of the Open Cirrus Cloud Computing testbed (2007-2011), with 16 global sites in US, Asia, and Europe. Dejan has more than 200 papers, 2 books and 71 patents. He is an IEEE Fellow (2010), ACM Distinguished Engineer (2008), and HKN and USENIX member. Dejan served on 8 PhD thesis committees, and taught Cloud Management at San Jose State University, and mentored over 50 interns and collaborated with many universities. Dejan founded a magazine and three conferences, and served on several editorial boards and program committees. He received the IEEE Computer Society Richard Merwin Award.

Plenary: Revolutionizing the Retail Informal Sector in Africa: Use Case of the Smart Kibanda Project

September 10th, 2022 | 10:10 AM – 10:40 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Kithinji Muriungi; Chris Murimi, Moi University Nairobi, Kenya

A Kibanda is an open-fronted cubicle structure used for informal business. About 80% of retails in Kenya operates a kibanda: meaning for every 100m distance, there is a high probability of having at least one Kibanda. It is estimated that the retail informal sector contributes about 55% of GDP in the sub – Saharan Africa. The kibanda owners live near their business location because they have to move business commodities to and from their residences to business locations. The profit margins are small and highly variable. Kibandas do not support a 24 hour business environment. A Smart Kibanda is a project that aims to solve the major problems in traditional retail outlets in an affordable, secure, convenient, employing great aesthetics, and provision of renewable energy and storage units. The smart kibanda project is fully funded by IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) / Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC). Four fully functional units have been designed, developed, and deployed in Eldoret, Kenya as pilots. The presentation highlights lessons learnt, challenges encountered, principles in local problem solving using technologies, accomplishments, engineering design principles, recommendations, replicability, and the importance of working with the community to facilitate user-centered design for sustainability and scalability purposes.


Plenary: Introduction to EPICS in IEEE

September 10th, 2022 | 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Stephanie Gillespie, EPICS in IEEE Committee Chair, and Associate Dean, Tagliatela College of Engineering, University of New Haven in West Haven, CT, USA

EPICS in IEEE is a committee within the IEEE Educational Activities Board that believes that service-learning can positively impact our students and our communities.  We believe in empowering engineers and technical professionals to impact communities, both local and global. In this workshop, the audience will receive a brief introduction to service learning pedagogy, our committee’s funding priorities, and the proposal process to receive funds from our committee. We will include a summary of best practices for project proposals as well, to increase the likelihood of selection for funding from our committee. There will be time for questions and answers at the end, or you can review our materials online at
Bio: Dr. Stephanie Gillespie is the 2022 EPICS in IEEE Committee Chair, and Associate Dean at the Tagliatela College of Engineering at the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT. In this role, she leads initiatives related to accreditation, admissions, course management and scheduling, facilities, student concerns, and also coordinates the Introduction to Engineering course. Since entering academia, she has been passionate about preparing the next generation of engineers with real-life skills, specifically by teaching courses in the area of engineering service learning, first-year engineering courses, and the Grand Challenges of Engineering. Her current research interests span multiple areas of engineering education including maker-spaces, multidisciplinary teams, gender diversity and minority retention, and entrepreneurial mindset. Her PhD from Georgia Tech focused on machine learning and signal processing for affective computing, specifically detecting stress and depression in adults with communication disorders. She is actively involved in the Society of Women Engineers, EPICS in IEEE, and ASEE.

Keynote: Minimizing the Ecological Footprint using Machine Learning

September 10th, 2022 | 2:40 PM – 3:10 PM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Vishnu S. Pendyala, San Jose State University

Synopsis: Ecological footprint is a measure of the use of all forms of nature, including energy, for humans to continue their day-to-day living. Ecological footprint per capita is one of the most widely recognized indicators of environmental sustainability and the world today is concerned about this sustainability. Machine Learning has been significantly applied in the critical areas of ecological sustainability and social innovation. This talk will highlight some of these applications such as to predict and analyze the ecological footprint, optimizing transportation logistics, and waste management. Societies rely heavily on energy as it aids in human sustainability. Carbon footprints make up a large part of the ecological footprint primarily because of energy consumption. Energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions around the world have increased rapidly in the past few decades due to the rising population and living standards. The talk will also focus on how Machine Learning is used in the renewable energy sector, which is critical to sustainable progress. The talk will conclude with some possible future directions.

Bio: Dr. Vishnu S. Pendyala is a faculty member of the Department of Applied Data Science at San Jose State University and the chair of IEEE Computer Society, Silicon Valley Chapter. He has over two decades of experience with software industry leaders like Cisco and Synopsys in the Silicon Valley, USA. During his recent 3-year term as an ACM Distinguished speaker and before that as a researcher and industry expert, he gave numerous (50+) invited talks. He holds MBA in Finance and PhD, MS, and BE degrees in Computer Engineering from US and Indian universities. Dr. Pendyala taught a one-week course sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, under the GIAN program in 2017 to Computer Science faculty from all over the country and delivered the keynote in a similar program sponsored by AICTE, Government of India in 2022. Dr. Pendyala’s book, “Veracity of Big Data: Machine Learning and Other Approaches to Verifying Truthfulness” made it to several libraries, including those of MIT, Stanford, CMU, and internationally. His upcoming edited book, “Machine Learning for Societal Improvement, Modernization, and Progress” is already indexed by multiple libraries internationally. Dr. Pendyala served on the Board of Directors, Silicon Valley Engineering Council during 2018-2019. He received the Ramanujan memorial gold medal at State Math Olympiad and has been a successful leader during his undergrad years.

Keynote: Does Gender Impact Startup Funding Success? A Data-Driven Perspective

September 11th, 2022 | 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Maya Ackerman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Santa Clara University, USA

Research has long demonstrated the benefits of diversity for team performance, including startup success. Nevertheless, investors remain less likely to invest in women compared to their male counterparts. This talk will share data-driven research findings that shed light on the nature and extent of gender bias in venture capital allocation. Solutions for lasting change will be discussed.
Bio: Researcher and entrepreneur, Dr. Maya Ackerman, is an expert on Machine Learning, named “Woman of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. She is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Santa Clara University, and CEO/Co-Founder of musical AI startup, WaveAI. Interviews with Dr. Ackerman appeared on NBC News, New Scientist, Sirius XM, and international television stations across the globe, and she has been an invited speaker at the United Nations, IBM Research, Google, and Stanford University, amongst many other venues. She earned her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and held Postdoctoral Fellowships at Caltech and UC San Diego.


Keynote: How the Internet Improves Humanity

September 11th, 2022 | 9:35 AM – 10:05 AM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University, USA

Given the time and energy we spend worrying about the Internet‘s flaws, it’s easy to forget how the Internet makes our lives better in many ways. This talk will highlight one underappreciated aspect: how the Internet has the capacity to improve the human species by increasing pro-social interactions and reducing anti-social ones. The talk will also show how this scenario probably won’t be realized because of misguided regulatory efforts to “fix” the Internet.
Bio: Dr. Eric Goldman is Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, Co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute, and Supervisor of the Privacy Law Certificate, at Santa Clara University School of Law. His research and teaching focuses on Internet law, and he blogs on that topic at the Technology & Marketing Law Blog [].

Plenary: Clean energy solutions replacing portable fossil fuel generators: Technology and lessons from Ukraine and Hurricane Ida

September 11th, 2022 | 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM, Location: SCDI 1302 and 1308

Paul Shmotolokha, New Use Energy, USA

This presentation will show the progress of highly mobile alternatives to using portable fossil fuel generators in disaster or humanitarian relief efforts to provide critical power when the grid is down or where it does not exist.  First I will examine the use cases and dynamics of where power is commonly needed citing disaster relief and medium term support after Hurricane Ida. We will then examine humanitarian assistance examples in Ukraine supporting both internal and international refugees as well as communications, medical, municipal and relief organizations.  From a technology perspective, it will focus on safe and energy dense Lithium Ion batteries, generation options with a focus on lightweight solar, refrigeration, weatherization, power conversion, and ability to scale towards larger longer lasting microgrids.  The difference between portability and mobility, Cost models, Speed of deployment, re-use and Logistics lessons will be covered.

Bio: Co-Founder of New Use Energy, Paul Shmotolokha currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the company which aims to replace fossil fuel portable generators with clean energy solutions. Paul lead the international business of Power Solutions provider Alpha Technologies from 2003 through 2019, eventually holding the title of Senior Vice-President International Operations and Government Relations.  During that time, Paul also served as Chairman of the Board of Cgates, the leading broadband operator in Lithuania. Paul also founded Coppervale Enterprises in 2008 which for over 10 years pioneered Sustainability and energy efficiency strategies in the Broadband industry. Prior to 2003, Paul held executive positions at Encore International in Beijing, China, and in Europe at Metromedia International Telecommunications and Multichoice.  Paul currently serves on the US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and the Board of Directors of the US Philippines Society. Paul served as an officer for 13 years in the US Army Reserves and was nominated in 2019 by the President of the United States to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Export Import Bank of the United States.

Paul graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Additionally, Paul performed graduate work International Relations at the Institute for International Studies at the Universidad de Chile as well as executive business studies at London Business School and Dartmouth College. Paul speaks fluent Ukrainian, Russian and Spanish and is an avid tennis player having reached the national 50 and over tournament.