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It takes a village to create an impactful initiative and this year is an exciting time of much needed growth for Public Interest Technology at UMass!

Current leadership team members for PIT@UMass; Director, Fran Berman, Director of Research, Ethan Zuckerman, and Director of the PIT Certificate, Charlie Schweik, welcome the following new leadership team members:

Photo of Donna BaronDonna Baron started as the PIT@UMass Executive Director this past January. Public Interest Technology is near and dear to Donna’s heart. She spent two decades of her career building many miles of fiber optic broadband infrastructure for Five Colleges, Inc. and the MassTech Collaborative with a keen focus on protecting and promoting the public interest. She educated communities and legislators on the inequities inherent in commercial broadband deployment and advocated for public interests by editing broadband legislation, drafting public comments for proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies and taking on the societal impacts of complex issues such as net neutrality, open access, and pole attachment rights. Prior to joining PIT@UMass Donna was the Program Manager for UMass ADVANCE, an NSF funded initiative to catalyze institutional transformation to enhance gender and intersectional equity for STEM faculty at UMass. Donna holds a BA in Geography from Clark University and an MS in Geography from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo of Colette BasiliereColette Basiliere is a recent computer science MS graduate from the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences. She started at PIT@UMass in September 2023 as a Research Fellow and the Executive Director of Public Interest Technology New England (PIT-NE). PIT-NE is a network of leaders from academia, non-profits, government, and the private sector working to create synergistic higher education and workforce development PIT programming that creates a larger regional impact. Colette works closely with regional leaders to leverage resources to create PIT programming to build a responsible technology workforce equipped to tackle challenges our communities face.  This summer she is piloting the Impact Technology Fellowship, a cornerstone program for PIT-NE that will bring together college students to work on experiential learning projects from community partners while gaining PIT and professional skills. Colette has previously worked in industry as a software engineer for a startup.

Photo of Emily NutwellDr. Emily Nutwell will join our leadership team and the faculty at the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences as PIT@UMass Pathways Director this summer. As part of her duties, Emily will lead careers and workforce development from the tech side and develop, lead, and teach a new PIT careers course and student clinic aimed at PIT workforce development. Emily comes to us after years of working as a senior engineer for Honda Research and Development Americas and most recently from Ohio State University where she was the Program Director for Masters in Translational Data Analytics (MTDA). She has extensive experience in the automotive industry using computer aided engineering methods to analyze vehicle structures. At MTDA, she oversaw a program, advising and mentoring students, and providing key leadership over all aspects of their experiential learning curriculum. She also taught the 2-semester culminating capstone sequence. Emily has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Grove City College, an MA in Educational Studies and a PhD in Engineering Education from Ohio State University.

Photo of Carolina RossiniIn the fall Carolina Rossini will join the PIT@UMass Leadership Team and the faculty at the School of Public Policy. Carolina’s background is in law and she will focus on PIT@UMass campus engagement as PIT@UMass Associate Director. Carolina will advance curricula and research connections across campus, and spearhead the development of a new PIT Grad Certificate. Carolina is an internationally recognized expert in the field of technology policy and law, with over 25 years of experience, having worked in the private, non-profit, and academic sectors and as an advisor to various governments, policymakers, and international organizations on issues related to public interest technology and innovation. She is a lawyer and graduate from the University of São Paulo – JD/FADUSP, Brazil. Carolina has an MBA from Instituto de Empresa in Spain, an MA in International Economic Relations from Santiago Dantas – UNICAMP/UNESP, Brazil, and an LLM in Intellectual Property from Boston University, USA.