LEADS Conference Speakers

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Jay Amarasekera, Ph.D.

Senior Technology Manager, SABIC Ventures

Dr. Jay Amarasekera is a Senior Technology Manager attached SABIC Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, which ranked among the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers. Prior to this role, Jay served as a Technology Manager for Performance Chemicals and Innovative Plastics business units. Before SABIC, he served in many managerial positions in General Electric’s former Plastics and Silicones businesses both in USA and China. Prior to joining GE, Jay worked as a Research Scientist in BASF Corporation's Colorant & Coatings and Performance Chemicals divisions. Jay holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Jay is a certified Six-Sigma Black Belt.

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Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D. | KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Professor Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Angela Byars-Winston is a tenured Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is Director of Research and Evaluation in the Center for Women’s Health Research, Associate Director of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, and a Faculty Leader in the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research all at the UW. She studies cultural influences on academic and career development and in research mentoring relationships, largely in the sciences, medicine, and engineering. Dr. Byars-Winston is Principal Investigator in the National Research Mentoring Network leading the Culturally Aware Mentoring initiative through the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Byars-Winston’s work has been recognized nationally by the White House and as an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association. She was an appointed member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Higher Education and Workforce (2015-2020) through which she served as chair of the 2019 consensus study report, The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM.

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Theresa Dankovich, Ph.D.

Cofounder of Folia Water Inc

Dr. Theresa Dankovich has a PhD from McGill University in Materials Chemistry, where her PhD thesis was the invention of a green method for producing nano-silver particles on cellulosic fibers for antimicrobial applications, such as affordable water filters.  Following a couple of postdocs at University of Virginia and Carnegie Mellon University, and field testing of this water filter in several countries including South Africa, Bangladesh, Honduras, Indonesia, and Ghana, Theresa cofounded the startup company Folia Water Inc in 2016, where she advanced the technology to a commercial product and adapted the technology to new applications. Her work has received wide press coverage as “The Drinkable Book.”  At Folia Water, Theresa leads Folia Water’s technology scale-up, R&D, quality control, and product development. Theresa has one patent granted and several patents pending.

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Jonathan Levine, Ph.D

Cofounder and CEO of Folia Material

Dr. Jonathan Levine has a PhD from Columbia University in earth and environmental engineering where he worked on water in Africa and billion tonne disposal of carbon dioxide under deep oceans. He is the cofounder and CEO of Folia Materials which has a patented green manufacturing process that uses paper mills as giant nanofactories to make low-cost mass market products with paper instead of plastic. Folia's coated paper is used to make microwave food packaging, antiviral face masks and a 20 cent water purifier that is the world's first water purifier for pennies and not dollars and is currently sold in Bangladesh.  Commercialization partners are multinational product and distribution companies with the country-scale reach needed to achieve billion-person impact and $1B revenue.

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Willie May, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research and Economic Development; Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Morgan State University

Dr. Willie E. May serves as Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Morgan State University. Prior to Morgan, May served as Director of Major Research and Training Initiatives for the College of Computer, Mathematical and the Natural Sciences, University of Maryland College Park. May previously served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. May began as a bench Chemist and went on to work at every management level within the organization. His personal research activities focused in the areas of trace organic analytical chemistry and physico-chemical properties of organic compounds. This work is described in more than 90 peer-reviewed technical publications. He has given more than 250 invited lectures at Conferences and Symposia around the world.

May, until very recently, maintained several senior leadership responsibilities in addition to those at MSU. Until March 2019, he was Vice President of theInternational Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM); President of the CIPM’s Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry and Biology; Executive Board Member for the Joint Committee on Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM), and Vice-Chair of the U.S. National Commission on Forensic Sciences. He still serves on the Board of Directors for Consumer Reports, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, and the Science and Technology Advisory Boards for the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and China’s National Institute of Metrology. May earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Knoxville College and his Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. May has numerous honors and awards including but not limited to: the American Chemical Society’s Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Analytical Chemistry Award; the National Institute of Standards and Technology Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award; and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers’ Percy Julian Award.

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Carlonda R. Reilly, Ph.D.

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Kennametal

Dr. Carlonda Reilly holds a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware all in chemical engineering.  She is also a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Dr. Reilly joined Kennametal Inc. (NYSE: KMT) as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer in September, 2018.  As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Dr. Reilly leads a worldwide organization of over 1,000 in Research, Development, Engineering and Advanced Integrated Manufacturing Systems at Kennametal, delivering science-based advanced materials, tooling and wear-resistant solutions to various industries.  Additionally, Dr. Reilly serves on the Board of Directors for W. L. Gore and Associates, Inc. and as Chairman of the Board for Kennametal Shared Services Private Limited.

Prior to joining Kennametal, Dr. Reilly had a 22-year career with the DuPont Company, where she held successive global R&D, manufacturing, marketing and business leadership roles.  She has cultivated a deep expertise throughout her career in developing and commercializing technology innovations which have proven to deliver significant value and growth.

Dr. Reilly is sought out as a motivational speaker, panelist and mentor, and is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM careers.  She serves on the Advisory Board for the Carnegie Science Center and is a member of the Board of Directors for St. Vincent College and the University of Delaware Research Foundation.  She also enjoys volunteering as an Executive Mentor to mid-career corporate leaders for The Advanced Leadership Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

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A.N. Sreeram

Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

A.N. Sreeram is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Dow, where he focuses on accelerating new product commercialization through strategic collaboration with Dow’s businesses and customers. Sreeram leads a vibrant R&D organization at Dow focused on step-change technology development aligned with market demand. Under Sreeram’s leadership, Dow transformed its innovation approach, significantly growing high-throughput experimentation and analysis capabilities extending from material discovery and processing through to application development. Sreeram has established strong value chain partnerships, giving Dow a seat at the customer’s design table and strong connections to market signals. Dow’s innovation pipeline is strongly aligned with strategic growth areas and global challenges, and empowering Dow researchers to excel. When combined, the capabilities and expertise of Dow’s R&D organization provide a distinct competitive advantage, enabling the company to more quickly develop products, ensuring that new products are simultaneously better performing and more sustainable in order to meet customer needs, and rapidly commercializing new innovations into established and emerging markets. Products developed at Dow under Sreeram’s tenure have received many awards for innovation and sustainability, including Edison Awards, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge and R&D 100 Awards.

Learn more about A.N. Sreeram and his role at Dow.



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