Group: Current Cohort
Jeanne Bourgault - N Square Fellow

Jeanne Bourgault

As president and CEO of Internews, Jeanne leads the organization’s strategic management and its programs in more than 100 countries. Under her leadership, Internews has fostered independent media sectors in countries such as Jordan and South Sudan and provided lifesaving information to people during crises in Ukraine, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeanne led Internews’s Rapid Response Fund to help local media partners access emergency funding and continue operating in dire economic conditions. An expert on issues of media for democracy, misinformation/disinformation, women’s media leadership, information technology, and participatory community development, Jeanne has spoken at venues such as the Skoll World Forum, the Global Philanthropy Forum, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

I am most excited to work on projects that… involve solving global problems through information and technology.

I am looking for partners who can help me… think about new issues and areas where news and information can do more good in the world.

A moment when I felt most inspired in my work was… during rapid-onset crises, such as the coup in Myanmar or the war in Ukraine, when we see the direct impact of information saving lives.

Innovations in my field that I am most excited to work on… include new approaches to combating misinformation and disinformation.

Jess Brown - N Square Fellow

Jess Brown

Jess is a multidisciplinary, multimedia spectacle generator and an assistant professor of industrial design at RISD. In the classroom, she uses decolonizing and community building methodologies to engage her students and prioritizes cultural competency, community engagement, teamwork, and good citizenry as pillars for successful learning. Previously, Jess was a toy designer and project manager at Hasbro, delivering best-in-class product development; she is proud to say that her products have been enjoyed by millions of children and adults alike. In her own multidisciplinary work, Jess creates flexible environments that facilitate an inclusive space to explore, reflect, and discuss the challenges of social justice concerns in the US. She is also leader of Clam Jam Brass Band, a womxn’s activist and party band, and organizer of Today’s Special, creating pop-up experiences and art works in underutilized spaces around Providence, RI. She holds a BFA in furniture design from Murray State University and an MFA in industrial design from RISD, where her graduate work focused on creating sustainable closed-loop food systems.

Katherine Collins - N Square Fellow

Katherine Collins

Katherine is responsible for leading Putnam’s investment research, strategy implementation, and thought leadership on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. She is also a portfolio manager of Putnam Sustainable Future Fund and Putnam Sustainable Leaders Fund and the chair of Putnam’s ESG Leadership Committee, which leads ESG strategy across the firm. Katherine joined Putnam in 2017 and has been in the investment industry since 1990. A recognized thought leader, she was named to Forbes 2021 list of leaders “50 Over 50” who are shaping the future of finance. She provides analysis of current and emerging trends in sustainable investing, publishes Putnam’s annual sustainability and impact report, and is the author of The Nature of Investing: Resilient Investment Strategies Through Biomimicry. Katherine also serves on numerous boards, including Santa Fe Institute, Omega Institute, and Harvard Divinity School Dean’s Council.

Kiki Nyagah - N Square Fellow

Kiki Nyagah

Kiki is currently studying industrial design at RISD and cognitive science at Brown University. Having built a multidisciplinary career that spans across NGO programming, business development, and product management, she is interested in expanding her practice into user research and multi-channel service system design for technology futures. Kiki will be serving as a user researcher and design strategist for Africa Economic Summit (AES). Alongside AES’s team of engineers, researchers, business strategists, and developers, she will be harnessing the initiatives of the cross-disciplinary team to deploy a high-traffic digital product system that can support global networking. Sharing the vision of creating stronger systems to connect the world to economic potentials throughout Africa, Kiki is proud to be architecting and deploying specialized value-driven digital ecosystems that dare to reimagine socio-economic infrastructure for the sixth wave of technology.

Leo Blanken - N Square Fellow

Leo Blanken

Leo has worked for a number of entities across the Department of Defense, exploring how organizations respond when their legacy modes of operation no longer match their evolving strategic environment. Leading teams of military officers, academics, and other experts, he helps organizations rethink how they gather information, measure success, invest in infrastructure and—most importantly—link their daily activities to deeper strategic purpose. Leo holds a BA from the University of San Francisco, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD in political science from the University of California at Davis. His dissertation on patterns of imperial expansion received the best dissertation award from the Western Political Science Association and was published as Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion (University of Chicago Press, 2012). He has published numerous articles on strategy, metrics/assessment, intelligence, and emerging technology.

Aditi Verma - N Square Fellow

Aditi Verma

Aditi is an Assistant Professor in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan. Previously she was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program. She is broadly interested in how nuclear technologies specifically, and complex technologies broadly, can be designed in collaboration with publics such that traditionally excluded perspectives can be brought into these design processes. Previously, Aditi worked at the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, where her work focused on bringing epistemologies from the humanities and social sciences to academic and practitioner nuclear engineering, thus broadening their epistemic core. She also held positions at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Framatome (formerly Areva), and the Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Policy. Aditi holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT. Her doctoral research combined theoretical and methodological resources from design studies and sociology to study how reactor designers make decisions in the foundational early stages of design, particularly those bearing on safety.