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2016-2017 Chapter Advisory Board Members

Chair: Josephine Dorado – Greater New York Chapter
Vice Chair: Alexandra Johnston – Iowa Chapter

Charlotte McDaniel
– Central Virginia Chapter
Andrew Leckey – Arizona Chapter
Thomas O. Haakenson  – Northern California Chapter
Cris Ramon – National Capital Area Chapter
Kathleen M. Bakarich – Greater New York Chapter
Howard Lehman – Utah Chapter
Nicholas Comerford – North Florida Chapter
Mary Mares  – Chicago Chapter
Robert Torre – Georgia Chapter
Greg Cooper – National Capital Area Chapter

Erwin Cho
– Northern California Chapter
Don Sparks – South Carolina Chapter

Shaz Akram

Josephine Dorado


Read About Josephine

Josephine Dorado is a social entrepreneur and media studies professor whose work focuses on the convergence of physical+digital experiences and social practice arts. Her work has been awarded both a Fulbright Scholarship and a MacArthur Foundation Award in Digital Media & Learning. She is currently President of Fulbright’s NY Chapter, teaches at The New School, and is a trainer for the State Department’s TechCamps, an initiative to aid civil society organizations in developing countries by building their digital capacities. Previously, Josephine founded Kidz Connect, a virtual cultural exchange program that connects youth internationally through creative collaboration and performance in virtual worlds. Her next venture is Some Collisions, a multimedia experience that synthesizes stories of scars with media narratives, bringing together stories of trauma and healing from communities affected by war.

Thomas O. Haakenson


Read About Dr. Haakenson

Dr. Thomas O. Haakenson is Associate Provost at California College of the Arts (CCA) for both the San Francisco and Oakland campuses. He has received awards and fellowships from the United States Fulbright Program, the Social Science Research Council, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, among others. 

He is coeditor of the series German Visual Culture, co-coordinator of the Visual Culture Network of the German Studies Association, and vice president of the Northern California Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

He has been published widely, including in New German CritiqueCabinetRutgers Art ReviewGerman Studies Review, and the anthologies Legacies of Modernism and Memorialization in Germany Since 1945. 

In addition to his doctoral and master of arts degrees from the University of Minnesota, Haakenson possesses minors in German and the History of Science and Technology. He speaks German fluently, and has beginner fluency in French and Mandarin. 

Nicholas Comerford


Read About Dr. Comerford

Nicholas Comerford is a Professor in the Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida (UF) and Director of the UF North Florida Research and Education Center. His expertise is forest soils and soil nutrient bioavailability working in tropical and subtropical regions. He is a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA); Fulbright Fellow (Brazil); Past Board of Director Member of the SSSA; Past President of the SSSA; and Past Chairman of the Board of the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies Corporation. His international experience includes Research Fellow in the New Zealand Forest Research Institute, Executive Director of Global Research on the Environment and Agricultural Nexus for the 21st Century (GREAN), and Visiting Professor at Brazil’s Federal University of Viçosa, Federal University of Bahia, and State University of Santa Cruz.

Howard Lehman


Read About Dr. Lehman

Dr. Lehman graduated from Colorado College, and obtained his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1987. He has been teaching ever since in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, where he specializes in international politics, African politics, and the politics of globalization. Dr. Lehman has received three Fulbright Scholar Awards: to Slovakia (1994-5), Japan (2002-3) and, most recently, Vienna (Spring 2015). He has been active in Fulbright Association events for many years as past president and current board member of the Fulbright Association Chapter of Utah. More recently, Dr. Lehman became the Director of the Fulbright Program at the University of Utah, where he works with students and faculty to apply for Fulbright awards.

Kathleen Bakarich


Read About Kathleen

Kathleen (Katie) Bakarich went to Germany in 2008 on her Fulbright Scholarship, studying international and German accounting at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Returning to the U.S., she joined the commercial audit department at McGladrey LLP in New York City and obtained her CPA license in New York. Motivated by her Fulbright experience, Katie returned to academia to pursue a Ph.D. in accounting at Baruch College (CUNY). She will start as a full-time faculty member in the Zarb Business School at Hofstra University in Fall 2016 focusing her teaching and research on international accounting. She has been the Secretary of the Greater NY Chapter since 2014.

Alexandra Johnston

Vice Chair

Read About Alexandra

Alex is a sociolinguist and intercultural communication consultant for Integrity Communications ( She holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, an MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, a MATESL from the University of Illinois, and completed her Ph.D. in linguistics at Georgetown University. Her linguistic research focuses on discourse analysis, intercultural communication, and the interactional factors that influence whether U.S. immigration officers approve or deny visas.

Alex’s Fulbright took her to Japan in 1994-95, where she did field research on the social readjustment of Japanese children reintegrating to Japanese schools after living overseas. The experience of living with several Japanese host families gave her an enduring passion for citizen diplomacy and a desire to assist the adjustment of international visitors, immigrants and refugees in the United States. Alex is the president of the Fulbright Iowa Chapter Board of Directors and has served on the chapter board since 2010. She lives in Des Moines with her husband and two young sons.

Charlotte McDaniel


Read About Charlotte

As a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Specialist, Charlotte McDaniel (PhD, STM) has been privileged to serve under four Fulbright appointments:  Finland (2002-03), Sweden (2008), Tunisia (2012), and Indonesia (2013). She more recently embarked on the newly developed Fulbright service initiative with Timmy Global Health-Envision, Quito, Ecuador (Oct. 2015). Having enjoyed three academic appointments (Yale, University Pittsburgh Medical Center) she recently retired from Emory University, Atlanta, GA, to expand her research focus on empirical and organizational ethics. McDaniel continues to serve on a number of charity/non-for-profit boards, both nationally and locally. She was Founding President of the Central Virginia (regional) Chapter, Fulbright Association, 2006, after serving as president, Georgia Chapter in 2005. Her recent and most fun thing:  playing with and enjoying her two and one half year old granddaughter!

Shaz Akram

Deputy Director

Read About Shaz

Shaz Akram joined the Fulbright Association in 2012. As Deputy Director, she oversees all membership initiatives, serves the sixty plus chapter networks across the US, administers the Chapter Grant program, and works with events, conferences and Fulbright Association Corp and Insight Tours. She also edits the Fulbright Edge (Fulbright Association’s) e-newsletter. Shaz has also worked as the Director of Chapter and Institutional Relations at the Association. Prior to joining the Fulbright Association, Shaz served as an Assistant Director at the Diversity Center, Mississippi State University, where her name had become synonymous with the word “international.” Shaz also served as faculty and student adviser for the Fulbright Program (FPA) at Mississippi State University. She has extensive knowledge of J, F and H1-B visa regulations, academic exchanges and study abroad programs and served as an adviser to international students for several years, before joining the Association in DC. She was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in her home country, Pakistan. She is fluent in several languages and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and French, a Masters in English Literature, and Business Administration with a minor in Finance. Shaz has also been part of the prestigious Civil Services of Pakistan and worked under the Auditor General of Pakistan’s Office as Deputy Controller Military Accounts and Deputy Director Commercial Audit for several years before moving to the US.

Erwin Cho


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Erwin Cho serves as chief of staff at Kaiser Permanente in health plan service and administration. He has held a variety of leadership positions in health care in business development as well as product innovation, development and management.

Mr. Cho earned his master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School, he was a Woodrow Wilson/Public Policy and International Affairs fellow at Princeton and was a Fulbright fellow to Australia.

He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Association in 2014 and is currently President of the Northern California chapter of the Fulbright Association.

He leads one of our mission-driven programs: EnvisionFulbright, a collaboration between the Fulbright Association, RestoringVision (an NGO he cofounded) and Timmy Global Health to send alumni on service trips to distribute reading glasses to people who need them but don’t have access to them.

Don Sparks


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Donald Sparks is Professor of International Economics at the Citadel in Charleston, SC, (where he has been named MBA Professor of the Year three times) and University Lecturer in International Business at the Management Center Innsbruck, Austria.

Dr Sparks recently served as a Senior Consulting Associate in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US Department of State. He has been a Fulbright Professor of Economics at the University of Swaziland and at the University of Maribor, in Slovenia. He was also a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Swaziland. Last year he was a Fulbright Specialist in Economics at the African Union Commission’s Department of Economic Affairs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was the Department Chairman and Visiting Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo. He is the Director of the Charleston Council for International Visitors.

Before beginning his academic career, Dr Sparks served as the Regional Economist for Africa in the Office of Economic Analysis at the US Department of State in Washington, DC and as a Staff Assistant to Senator Ernest F Hollings.

Dr Sparks has published widely, including authoring the “Economic Trends” chapter of Africa South of the Sahara for each edition for the past 30 years. He has make presentations in over 20 countries in North America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Europe. He has been a consultant for a number of international organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Council for Namibia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

He received his MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and his BA from the George Washington University. Dr Sparks is married to Dr Katherine Saenger and they live in Charleston, South Carolina, USA and Seefeld in Tirol, Austria. They have two grown children and one grandson.