IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Villanova University, USA / October 23-26, 2024

Plenaries and Keynotes 2022

GHTC 2022 Features these Keynote and Plenary Speakers:


Keynote: To Care, and How We Get There

September 9th, 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: 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, Tech Strategy and Innovation for Social Impact Office of the CTO from 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, Technology Strategy and Innovation for Social Impact in Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Office of the CTO. In this role, Zdankus is leading innovation to improve the ways data can be generated and exchanged equitably and efficiently. She also leads HPE’s Tech for Good program demonstrating that technology has the potential to drive real and positive change if harnessed effectively. By bringing together industry, technology, academia, and government partners to solve key societal challenges, global impact can be delivered  and scaled.

Zdankus is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Transformation Leader Network for Food Systems Innovation. She partners to enable  world-leading agriculture research and practice. Innovative technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), AI, Data Fabric and high performance compute are being applied to accelerate prediction, response, and solutions to world hunger and global health challenges, including COVID19.

Zdankus is an active supporter of increasing the interest and representation of youth in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Zdankus is a co-founder of the Curated Pathways to Innovation non-profit personalized learning program focused on using AI and machine learning technology to broaden the representation and inclusion of minorities and females in computing. She serves on the Boards of Directors for the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) and CPI.

Zdankus earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Industrial Management from Purdue University, where in 2010 she was name Outstanding Computer Science alumna. She also holds an MBA degree from Santa Clara University. She has been named “Top 50 Woman in Tech” (2018) and a “T 50 Diverse Leader in California” (2020) by the National Diversity Council.

Plenary: Federal humanitarian engineering: what programs are out there?

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

Aline D. McNaull, Senior Legislative Representative, IEEE-USA

The pandemic has brought with it a global discussion of broadband access for services ranging from at home learning to telehealth.  Throughout the federal government, an awareness of communication challenges has risen to the forefront of societal issues as offices work from home.  This focus has led to a growth in resources to improve communication and access to computer-based resources.  As the engineering community looks to address global challenges including improving health technology and access to health services, strengthening electric grids in isolated areas, and providing internet access, there are many opportunities at the federal level for funding and resources for these projects.  The pandemic has highlighted the need for some of these projects and as such the federal research agencies are continuously adjusting funding for projects based on these needs.  This talk will provide an overview of programs at the Department of Energy, USAID, NIST, NSF and other research agencies that look to address areas of humanitarian need.  The recently passed CHIPS Act included authorizations for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as some portions of the Department of Energy.  Other recent congressional actions on energy and international aid will also be discussed.  This talk will address how some of the program changes within these federal agencies could benefit the humanitarian engineering community.

Bio: Aline McNaull works on energy, space, defense and research policy on behalf of IEEE-USA members and is the staff lead for IEEE-USA’s research and development policy committee, the committee on aerospace and transportation, as well as the energy policy committee.  She collaborates closely with the Coalition for National Security Research, Energy Sciences Coalition, Coalition for National Science Funding and the Task Force on American Innovation.  As an advocate for IEEE-USA members, she has influenced legislation on issues and programs at DOD, DOE, NASA, NIST, and NSF.  Previously, she was a semiconductor engineer at Raytheon and a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  She holds a BA in physics from Bryn Mawr College.

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.

Plenary: Academic Programs in Humanitarian Engineering

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

Moderator: Pritpal Singh, Villanova University; Allan Baez Morales, Santa Clara University and Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University

Discussion on academic programs in humanitarian engineering with Frugal Innovation Hub of Santa Clara University and Montaintop Initiative of Lehigh University.

Moderator. Pritpal Singh is a professor of electrical engineering at Villanova University, where he teaches courses on semiconductor microelectronics, power electronics renewable energy systems, sustainable product development for low resource settings, and information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). He has developed a telehealth project in Nicaragua, supervised students from Villanova and the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Nicaragua) on humanitarian engineering capstone projects, and worked with UNICEF in Nicaragua, Burundi, and Zimbabwe giving workshops on renewable energy and entrepreneurship. He has recently worked on humanitarian projects in Ecuador in renewable energy and connectivity with colleagues from the Escuela Politecnica de Littoral (ESPOL).

Allan Baez Morales is Director of Programs and Partnerships for Frugal Innovation Hub, and focuses on the development of signature programs with university, corporate and social enterprise partners to create opportunities for faculty and students to engage in the development and implementation of humanitarian technology solutions.

Khanjan Mehta is the inaugural Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry and Director of the Mountaintop Initiative at Lehigh University. Mehta champions the creation of learning environments and ecosystems where students, faculty, and external partners come together to increase their capacities for independent inquiry, take intellectual risks and learn from failure, recognize problems and opportunities, and effect constructive and sustainable change.

Keynote: IT for Sustainability

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

Puneet Sharma, 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: Puneet Sharma is Director, Networking & Distributed Systems Lab and a Distinguished Technologist at Hewlett Packard Labs where he leads Edge to Cloud Infrastructure research portfolio. His research focusses on Edge Computing, SDWAN, Virtualization, IoT, NFV, SDN, Applied Machine Learning, Network Monitoring, Wireless Networks, and Data Center Networks. Prior to joining the HP Labs in 1998, he received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. He also holds a B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. His work on Mobile Collaborative Communities was featured in the New Scientist Magazine. He has also participated in various standardization efforts. Recently he contributed to the UPnP’s QoS Working Group efforts as co-author for QoSv3 standards. Earlier, he had co-authored the IETF standards’ RFCs on the multicast routing protocol PIM. Puneet was the Co-Chair of 13th IEEE LANMAN Workshop in April 2004. He is an IEEE Fellow and a Distinguished Scientist of ACM.

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.