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STARlab Leadership & Contributors

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DR. MARISSA KALOGA

STARlab Executive Director 

Dr. Kaloga is an applied, transdisciplinary scholar and holds a Lecturer appointment in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Otago in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her research focuses on inclusive entrepreneurship and social innovation, and their potential to enable transformative systems change to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. Her prior work includes roles as Director of Innovation & Training at the Economic & Community Development Institute and U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Guinea where she led research and teaching on entrepreneurial ecosystems and financial inclusion. She holds leadership positions in the International Consortium on Social Development,  Catalyst 2030, Social Work Innovation Network, and the Society for Social Work and Research. She holds a PhD in Social Work and translational research from The Ohio State University, with a graduate interdisciplinary specialization in Global Health. She is a registered social worker in Aotearoa New Zealand, and holds an applied MSW degree in Community Development and Social Justice. She also holds degrees in Business Administration (BS) and International Deveopment (BA). 

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RASHA ABU SAFIEH

STARlab Founder-In-Residence

Rasha is an Edmund Hillary Fellow with a mission to create a better world for the next generation, focusing on creating global impact from Aotearoa, New Zealand; she is Time Magazine's Next Generation Leader 2018; Co-Chair of New Zealand Chapter – Catalyst2030. In her practice work, she Co-founded GGateway, the first IT impact-sourcing social enterprise in Palestine, a successful business model - supported by UNRWA and the World Bank- that continues to create hundreds of jobs for youth and women helping in transforming their lives. Rasha has a high diploma in Strategic Business Management from Harvard Business Publishing, certificates in digital transformation for leaders, Complex systems leadership, Emergent strategy and facilitation for System Change, and a degree in Information Systems Management.

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RACHEL BUTLER

General Manager-  Startup Dunedin

STARlab Ambassador

Rachel leads the Startup Dunedin Trust, a not-for-profit founded and funded by Dunedin City Council, Otago Polytechnic, and the University of Otago. Startup Dunedin exists to support anyone who aspires to start-up in Dunedin to succeed or fail faster. They run programs, drop-in sessions, and events for the wider community as well as supporting entrepreneurial research for the city

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GEORGIA ROSE HAWTHORNE

Research Assistant - Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystems & Refugee Entrepreneurship

Georgia is currently completing a Social Work Master's degree at Otago University, holding a BA in History with a minor in philosophy and anthropology.

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DR. KARLY BURCH

Lecturer, University of Auckland

STARlab Advisor - Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Dr. Karly is a Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago. She specializes in feminist and anticolonial science and technology studies (STS), ethnographic methods, and collaborative research strategies, and her research agenda addresses questions of social and environmental justice related to health, food, and technology (in both disaster and design). Her current research projects explore the material politics of nuclear pollution, artificially intelligent robotics in agriculture, and collaborative research for sustainable technofutures. You can learn more about Karly and her research at the link below.

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LILIAN VAIL

Director, Capital Access at NYC's Department of Small Business Services

STARlab Advisor - Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Lilian is the Program Manager, Capital Access at NYC's Department of Small Business Services. She has 5 + years of experience working with small business financing and community development. Her focus is on increasing access to capital for minority-owned businesses and supporting the growth of non-traditional financing resources.

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