Council of Advisors

The Exploratory's Council of Advisors provide knowledge, insight, trend analysis, and mentoring so we can reach our strategic goals.

Council members are selected based on their leadership, integrity, expertise, wisdom, and network, as well as their commitment to The Exploratory’s mission.

Learn more

Akosua Opoku-Agyemang

Business Manager, PAK Microfinance

Akosua Opoku-Agyemang is the Business Development Manager for PAK Microfinance, a financial services firm with headquarters in Accra, Ghana. Prior to joining PAK, she served in various roles in SG-SSB and Capital Bank, also in Ghana.

Akosua is an entrepreneur and hopes to own her group of companies one day.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you do not see the whole staircase” by Martin Luther King Jr. This is a quote she believes in. One can get to the top if one starts by taking a step. Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean. Everything is possible.

Akosua was educated primarily in the Central Region of Ghana; starting with junior high education at Our Lady of Apostle’s (OLA) girls’ boarding school. She continued at Wesley Girls’ High School where she studied General Sciences.

Akosua holds a Masters in Business Administration from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She also holds a Bachelor in Biochemistry also from Kwame Nkrumah University.

Find out more about Akosua and why she got involved with The Exploratory here.

Joanne Kamens, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Addgene

Dr. Joanne Kamens is the Executive Director of Addgene, a mission driven, nonprofit dedicated to helping scientists around the world share useful research materials and information.

Joanne received her Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard Medical School. She then spent 15 years in pharma at BASF/Abbott working on both small molecule and antibody therapies for immune disease. In 2007 she joined the RNAi thereapeutic biotechnology company, RXi Pharmaceuticals, as Senior Director of Discovery, ending her tenure there as Senior Director of Scientific Collaborations.

Dr. Kamens founded the Boston chapter of the Association for Women in Science and helped start its very successful group mentoring program. She was Director of the Boston Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Mentoring Program for 3 years. In 2010, Dr. Kamens received the Catalyst Award from the Science Club for Girls for longstanding dedication to empowering women in STEM and in 2013, she was named one of PharmaVoice’s 100 Most Inspiring Commanders & Chiefs.

Dr. Kamens speaks widely on scientist career development topics in person and via Webinar and writes career blogs for blog.addgene.org.

Find out more about Joanne and why she got involved with The Exploratory here.

Dr. Kwabena D. Akufo

Apostle and Senior Pastor, The Bethsaida Christian Center

Dr. Kwabena D. Akufo is Apostle and Senior Pastor of the Bethsaida Christian Center of The Apostolic Church International in Worcester, Massachusetts. In the “first act” of his life, Dr. Akufo worked in the computer industry for over 20 years as an engineer, manager, and executive on various inter-networking products, where he had a reputation for creating robust engineering organizations from scratch to develop innovative products. He currently sits of the board of Altiostar.

Before becoming a minister, his “second act”, Dr. Akufo was VP and General Manager of the Inter-networking Systems Division of Tellabs, which acquired NetCore Systems, which he co-founded and served as VP of Engineering. He was also a cofounder and VP of Engineering and Operations for Sigma Network Systems. Prior to that he was head of Software Development for Applitek Corporation. He also worked as head of Software Development for one of the first graphic-based Electronic Mail software for Honeywell Information Systems during the days leading up to the definition of SMTP.

Dr. Akufo obtained a Masters in Religion and a Doctorate in Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in several executive roles in the USA branch of his denomination. He holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Brandeis University where he attended as a Wien scholar, after spending the first year of university at KNUST. Dr. Akufo was born and grew up in Ghana and is a resident of Andover, MA.

Lucy Quist

Managing Director, Airtel Ghana

Lucy Quist is the first Ghanaian woman to lead a multi-national telecommunications company. A celebrated and well-loved pioneer in the industry in Africa, Lucy has received multiple awards, the most recent being the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) Marketing Woman of the Year in 2015.

In 2015, she launched the #EvolveWithSTEM initiative to ensure that young people in Ghana and in Africa understand that they can earn a living and/or make an impact through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In 2016, Ms Quist launched the Executive Women’s Network (ewntree.com) with 5 other female CEOs in Ghana to mentor upcoming professionals and business-savvy women.

Lucy attended Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast Ghana. Her professional engineering career saw her progress to a chartered status in electrical and electronic engineering after receiving her BEng. degree from the University of East London. She has an MBA from INSEAD.

Read more and watch Lucy describe the #EvolveWithSTEM initiative here

Marian Asantewah Nkansah, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Dr. Nkansah is a senior lecturer in the Chemistry Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi -Ghana (KNUST). She obtained her Ph.D. in environmental chemistry from the University of Bergen, Norway, and her MSc. and BSc. in chemistry at KNUST. She studied science at St. Roses’ Secondary School in Ghana.

Dr. Nkansah is the 1st recipient of the TWAS-Fayzah M. Al-Kharafi Prize for women in science in 2016. In the same year, she was selected as one of fifteen young scientists under the age of forty to join the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) affiliate program. In 2017, she was selected to join the Global Young Academy.

Her research interests include identifying the levels and fate of various toxic substances like heavy/trace metals, persistent organic pollutants etc in food, water and other environmental sources, as she is dedicated to finding solutions to environmental problems associated with the persistence and interaction of these pollutants with each other in the environment, and to the sustainable management of Ghana’s many natural resources.

Dr. Nkansah is passionate about dissemination of knowledge through teaching and publication. Her commitment to mentorship of female students is reflected in her apppointment as the hall warden of the only all-female hall of residence for students at KNUST.

Dr. Marilynne Smith Quarcoo

Principal, Midezor Educational Consulting

Dr. Marilynne Smith Quarcoo has over 40 years of experience in education, beginning her teaching career at the New School for Children founded by Jonathan Kozol. Currently Dr. Smith Quarcoo works for the MA Department of Education, Center for School and District Accountability as a review team member. She also serves as an external consultant for Jobs for the Future supporting a US Department of Education I3 STEM Early College grant in Bridgeport, CT as an instructional coach.

Dr. Quarcoo has assumed roles as teacher, learning specialist, administrator, multicultural specialist in the Boston and Brookline Public Schools, as director of the METCO program in Wellesley Public Schools, and eventually as Principal of the Cabot Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts.. After leaving the school system, Marilynne has shared her expertise as leadership and instructional coach, university lecturer, director of a principal licensure program and more. Her interests include school reform, school and teacher leadership, curriculum and instruction, multicultural education, anti-racist/anti-bias school culture, achievement motivation and family and community engagement. Read more about her extensive experience here.

Dr. Smith Quarcoo earned a Bachelor’s of Art in Elementary Education, a Master’s of Education in Educational Psychology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from Boston College.

Michael Mino

Director of STEM Education, Rancho Del Rey

Michael Mino is an education and technology development specialist with over 23 years experience in education and an outstanding track record of innovation. He has pioneered the use of computer and information technology to transform traditional education programs into state of the art 21st Century programs. He has over ten years of high school teaching experience and for 12 years served as a technology and curriculum specialist for public school districts in Connecticut.

Mr. Mino is the founder of numerous innovative student programs including the IT Leadership Academy, the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and the Center for 21st Century Skills. Over the past 17 years he has successfully conceived, authored, developed and was awarded over $15 million dollars in private, state and federal grant awards. Mino also utilizing his extensive expertise and knowledge of BYOD, iPads, online learning, curriculum development and technology to design Moodle learning environments for established public and private education institutions.

Mino is an “Apple Distinguished Educator” and serves as an “Innovator in Residence” to public and private, education and not-for-profit organizations in the U.S., Mexico and Africa.