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Olin College Names Five New Trustees

The Olin College of Engineering Board of Trustees voted to welcome five new members to the board at the College’s February 2020 meeting.

Bittner

 Maia Bittner ’11

Maia Bittner graduated from Olin in 2011 with a degree in General Engineering: Cognitive Science. Since graduation, Maia has lived an entrepreneurial path. She was the co-founder and CTO of Rocksbox, a successful jewelry startup that uses technology to redefine how the modern woman buys and wears jewelry. Rocksbox has raised $12 million. After Rocksbox, Maia founded Pinch, an app that improves the financial stability of average Americans by reporting their rent payments to the credit bureaus so they can build their credit scores just by paying rent. In 2018, Maia sold Pinch to Chime, the largest US-based venture-backed Neo-bank. Now, Maia works at Chime and advises and invests in technology startups on the side.

Maia has a passion for businesses that make healthcare, education, transportation and housing more accessible. Her time at Olin taught her that the best products are customer-obsessed and require minimal investment and minimal ego to discover, and so she now seeks those out. Today, Maia lives in New York and tweets startup punditry @maiab.

 

 

Edwards

Lee Edwards ’07 

Lee Edwards graduated from Olin in 2007 with a degree in Engineering and a focus in Systems Design. During his time at Olin, Lee served as the vice president for campus life as part of the CORe e-Board. Lee helped start Parcel B, a group of Olin alumni who invest in startups founded by other Olin alumni. Parcel B runs an informal program for Olin students interning at tech companies in the San Francisco Bay area and mentors Olin students who are founders or exploring startup ideas, as well as graduating students looking to find work with startups.

Lee started his career at iRobot as a mechanical engineer in the government and industrial robotics division (now Endeavor Robotics). He moved to New York in 2010 and became as a software engineer at Pivotal Labs (now a part of VMWare) and was the first and lead software engineer at SideTour, a small startup that created unique, authentic, local events hosted by experts. When Groupon acquired SideTour in 2013, Lee became an engineering manager at Groupon, also in New York. He later moved to San Francisco to join Teespring during a rapid growth phase, where he eventually became VP of Engineering and Chief Technical Officer. Today, Teespring sells millions of original apparel products every year, placing it among the top e-commerce apparel retailers in the country.

After a few years of making angel investments while at Teespring, Lee left in early 2018 to pursue investing in startups full time. Independently, alongside Parcel B, and as part of Bloomberg Beta's Open Angels program, Lee invested in a dozen startups around the world and across many sectors before joining Root Ventures. As a partner at Root, Lee invests in seed stage startups in the "hard tech" sector—companies that are driven primarily by building new technology. Specifically, Lee looks in the pure software space, including applied AI and machine learning, developer tools and services, software infrastructure, API-driven businesses, and data science and engineering. In this role, Lee serves on the Board of Directors at several early-stage technology startups.

 

 

Narayanamurti

Venkatesh Narayanamurti

Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard. He has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities and industry. He was formerly the John L. Armstrong Professor and Founding Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professor of Physics and Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard. From 2009 to 2015 he served as the Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to that, Narayanamurti served as Dean of the UCSB College of Engineering from 1992 to 1998, as Vice President for Research at Sandia National laboratories from 1987-1992 and spent much of his scientific research career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, from 1968-1987.

Narayanamurti obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University has an Honorary Doctorate from Tohuku University. He is the author of more than 240 scientific papers in different areas of condensed matter, applied physics and technology innovation policy.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Indian Academy of Science, Indian National Academy of Engineering, IEEE and AAAS. Narayanamurti is an elected member of the U.S National Academy of Engineering, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and of the World Academy of Sciences. He served as NAE Foreign Secretary from 2011 to 2015 and is currently on the Board of Directors and the Academic Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, he received the Arthur Bueche Award of the NAE “for seminal contributions to condensed matter physics and visionary leadership of multi-disciplinary research in industry, academia, and national labs that generated research and engineering advances.”

 

 

Harris

Scott Harris

Scott Harris has been a Distinguished Visiting Engineer at Olin College of Engineering since 2010 and is a Mentor in Residence at WPI. In addition, he mentors startup companies and students, teaches and serves on boards. In 1994, Harris co-founded SolidWorks Corp which quickly became a leader in the computer aided design industry. In 2012, Harris co-founded Onshape, Inc. which is leading the industry in full cloud implementation of CAD. At both companies Harris led the teams which defined and developed products that improved workflow and design capabilities for millions of engineers.

Prior to SolidWorks and Onshape, Harris led product definition and geometry development teams for 10 years at Computervision, an early pioneer in the CAD industry. Harris started his career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, designing, analyzing and testing jet engine components. During that time, he developed innovative new computer techniques to define and evaluate aerodynamic surfaces for jet engine nacelles.

Harris is committed to community service and helped establish Gasabo3D, a Rwandan-based technology company which provides career paths for students graduating from schools such as Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management. Harris also helped establish the Rwandan Innovation Endowment Fund, a UN-sponsored program that promotes and funds entrepreneurs in that country.

Domestically, Harris is a board emeritus and active member of the Central Massachusetts Search and Rescue Team and chairman of the Science and Technology Council for the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA. He is also a member of the WPI Technology Advisory Network. Harris is the 2012 recipient of WPI’s Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement. In 2019, he was inducted into the WPI Hall of Luminaries, which honors individuals who have brought about extraordinary accomplishments to society. Harris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI and is an avid mountain biker, trail runner and mountain climber.

 

 

Lynn Pasquerella

Lynn Pasquerella was appointed president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2016 after serving as the eighteenth president of Mount Holyoke College. She has held positions such as provost at the University of Hartford and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Rhode Island.

A philosopher whose work has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, Pasquerella has written extensively on medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. She is president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the host of Northeast Public Radio’s The Academic Minute. A recipient of Mary Baldwin University’s Sullivan Award for outstanding service to humanity, Pasquerella serves as a member of the advisory board of the Newman’s Own Foundation and sits on the boards of the Lingnan Foundation and the National Humanities Alliance, as well as George Washington University Hospital’s ethics committee.

Named by Diverse Issue as one of higher education’s top 35 leaders,Pasquerella is a graduate of Quinebaug Valley Community College, Mount Holyoke College and Brown University. Pasquerella has also received honorary doctorates from Elizabethtown College, Bishop’s University, the University of South Florida, the University of Hartford and the University of Rhode Island.