NAF Future Ready Scholars Staff

Program Team

Akin Oluwadare, Community Coordinator

Akintunde Oluwadare holds a Master of Social Work with a practice method in social policy and evaluation with a practice area in children and youth in families and society from the University of Michigan. Akintunde is interested in working at the intersection ofSocial Work and Education. In his free time, he loves to listen to live music and play soccer. 

Haley Hart, Program Director

Haley Hart is a teacher and maker who is excited to bring her passions for STEM and social justice to NAF Future Ready Scholars! Haley is an Assistant Director at the Michigan Engineering Zone, where she works on three STEM education programs: FIRST Robotics, the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab, and NAF Future Ready Scholars. Before joining the MEZ staff, Haley taught science and engineering at Southeastern High School. Outside of work, Haley enjoys camping and running with her Husky.

LaShawn Sims, College & Career Coordinator

Prior to joining the Michigan Engineering Zone, LaShawn Sims worked in the public school system in Detroit where she taught mathematics, provided professional development to teachers and supported schools in improving academic outcomes for students. LaShawn currently coordinates the Thinkabit Lab at the MEZ, a STEM field trip experience for middle school students. LaShawn focuses on helping students explore their own unique talents and aligning them to potential careers. She looks forward to supporting students in this regard through the NAF Future Ready Scholars camp this summer.

Bud Dailey, Operations Manager

Bud is a part of the MEZ Thinkabit team, supporting NAF Future Ready Scholars and FIRST Robotics programs with logistical and organizational issues. He and his wife live with their dog and three cats in Ann Arbor. In his free time, Bud enjoys running, reading, writing, watching sports, and sneaking movie references into conversation. 

Instructors

Adam Alster, Instructor

Mr. Alster is a current physics and robotics teacher at Detroit’s Renaissance High School. Teaching is a passion for Mr. Alster. He enjoys watching someone become inspired to solve challenging problems through STEM. Before teaching at Renaissance, he taught physics, Spanish, and chemistry at Southwestern High School. He is looking forward to working with more NAF Future Ready Scholars this summer in APP Development. Last summer, he saw the passion that the scholars had for solving problems and hopes to see more great things. Mr. Alster is a graduate from Michigan State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and physics with a minor in Spanish, as well as a Master of Arts in K-12 Educational Administration. He enjoys reading, being with family and friends, and traveling.

Carrie Russell, Instructor

For the last 9 years, Carrie has been teaching math to students in Detroit and Oak Park. Currently, she teaches math and computer science as well as coaches robotics at Cody High School in Detroit. Before teaching, she worked as an Engineer and Program Manager at Chrysler. She has a passion for working with technology and learning new things, and hopes to share this with all of you. Carrie has 2 teenage children, her son is finishing his junior year in high school, and her daughter just finished her freshman year at U of M.

Charlene Hobbs, Instructor

Charlene Hobbs is a recent graduate from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, completing her Master’s in Architecture. As a product of Detroit Public Schools and multiple high school programs offered at U of M, Charlene has a passion for outreach. She enjoys leading activities and discussions surrounding design, intersectionality, and social justice. She currently works with Detroit high school students in an architecture program that immerses students in design and works as part of Taubman’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team to assist in developing multicultural learning environments. 

Elisabeth Wood, Instructor

Elisabeth Wood started her academic career at Emory University in her hometown of Atlanta, focusing on art, art history, and visual history.She started graduate school at University of Michigan, first receiving a Master’s in Japanese Studies, focusing on Japanese history, in 2014 and a Master’s in Education from the University of Michigan in 2015. She currently teaches history and sociology and coaches the high school robotics team at U of D Jesuit High School. She lives in Redford with her husband, her three year old son, two very large dogs, and two very small cats. When not in the classroom, Elisabeth spends time reading and doing a variety of hobbies including backpacking, building guitars, running, and playing board, tabletop, and video games.

Grace Hsia, Instructor

Grace is an impact-driven entrepreneur and CEO at Warmilu. She creates non-electric warming blankets and packs for partners including Doctors Without Borders, Rotary Club, and more. Grace teaches entrepreneurial management and leadership at the University of Michigan and supervises operations excellence engineering UPS. She loves sharing lessons learned from these and her former U-M Economic Growth Institute program launches serving 200+ startups. She has fundraised almost $1.5M. Grace graduated from the U-M with a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering and a Master of Entrepreneurship. She has won awards from the Forbes 30 Under 30, US Manufacturing Institute’s Emerging Leaders, and Crain’s Detroit Notable Women in Manufacturing and 20 in their 20s.

Pouyan Firouzabadi, Instructor

A current Master’s student in the Robotics institute of University of Michigan with a computer science background concentrated on human-centered computing. Recently started working for the FCAV Lab to improve autonomous vehicle’s perception for safety and the Cortical Neural Prosthetics Lab to assist amputees with everyday tasks using prosthetics. My passion is to help others using the modern technology and improve the way of life for future generations. Outside of my professional life, I love playing volleyball and soccer, working out, traveling, and streaming video games.

Scholar Mentors

Delann Pillivant, Scholar Mentor

Delann Pillivant is a MEZ Alumni, she and her high school robotics team ( The Pershing Doughbots 5478) have built four robots at the MEZ. Working in the MEZ all those years, helped Delann realize her passion for engineering. She is now an incoming sophomore in the college of engineering at the University of Michigan. Delann is very excited to be apart of NAF this summer!

Edward (Ted) Ivanac, Scholar Mentor

Edward is a FIRST Robotics Competition Alumni. He has built six robots and his favorite feeling is helping students get that experience too. Edward plans to major in Electrical Engineering and hopes to work at NASA at some point in his career. His personal interests include building robots, hula-hooping, and taking care of his puppy, Loki.

Gihan Dasanayaka, Scholar Mentor

Gihan is an incoming third-year biomedical engineering (BME) student at UofM. Outside of school, he loves photography, playing basketball, longboarding, traveling, and finding new places to eat! He is also a first-generation Sri Lankan-American and plans to pursue the first master’s degree in his family. On campus, Gihan is a part of Beta Mu Epsilon, a BME professional fraternity, and works at the 3Di lab where he is involved in developing medical devices and simulations for medical students to train on before seeing patients. Gihan looks forward to meeting every scholar and having a fun and productive summer!

James Alvarado, Scholar Mentor

James is from Chicago and graduated from Lindblom Math and Science Academy. During his time in high school, he was part of the FIRST Robotics Team, Cyberpatriot, and the Soccer Varsity team. He is currently attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and plan to major in Computer Science. One of his many hobbies is improving and learning new skills – this can be learning a new programming language or developing his own personal projects. He is excited to be part of this amazing program and help prepare students for the future.

Jeehoon Sim, Scholar Mentor

Jeehoon is an incoming third year pursuing Computer Science in Engineering at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He is particularly interested in discovering truths about the universe and promoting skepticism and critical reasoning so that others may have an unadulterated appreciation of how beautiful the natural world is. Outside of school, he loves watching anime, reading manga/webtoons, playing board games, sporting with golf/badminton/table tennis, and so much more! He very much looks forward to meeting the scholars and having an amazing summer with all of you!

Joshua Powell, Scholar Mentor

Joshua Powell is a 2020 graduate of the Undergraduate Architecture program who is currently pursuing a Dual Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He aspires to found his own firm and practice within the city of Detroit, Michigan in order to work with inner-city residents and promote local businesses. He strives to promote economic development, self-sufficiency and city pride in the city’s neighborhoods through functional design concepts and bottom-up community based urban planning approaches. When he is not working or in school, he enjoys playing video games, conversing with others and clay modeling!

Keirra Scott, Scholar Mentor

Keirra Scott is a recent University of Michigan General Studies graduate attending the Ross School of Business Masters of Management beginning summer of 2021. She is passionate about impacting educational experiences for high school and community college transfer students. She believes positive impactful learning experiences are key components to a more educationally motivated body of students. In her free time, Keirra is member of the optiMize leadership team and peer mentor for transfer students.

Maya Getachew, Scholar Mentor

Maya Getachew is a recent graduate from University of Michigan where she studied Biomedical Engineering. She will also be continuing with her masters at UM. Maya is interested in making affordable and accessible medical devices. She was a staff member at NAF FRS last year and is very excited to be joining the staff again this summer!

Tia Edwards, Scholar Mentor

Tia is excited to be a College Mentor this summer. She believes with the right motivation and communication; she can install the confidence that incoming first-year students need to do well in their first year of college life. Tia is a senior at Wayne State University studying Art History. After graduation, Tia will be attending Wayne State graduate school studying Library Science. Outside of school, she loves rollerskating, crocheting, visiting local museums, and more! Her favorite thing to do is to ride bikes around Detroit. Tia’s dream job is to be a director at both The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Obama’s Presidential Library in Illinois.

Yosabeth Guerrero-Gomez, Scholar Mentor

Yosabeth is an incoming fifth year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a Manufacturing Systems Concentration. She is a SouthWest Detroit native and a FIRST Robotics Competition Alumni. Yosabeth loves to give back to her community and mentor high school students interested in the STEM field since it was a big reason of why she pursued engineering in the first place. In her spare time she likes to hang out with her friends, play volleyball, and try new foods!

Yousif Askar, Scholar Mentor

Yousif Askar is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan interested in computer science and neuroscience. He is proud to consider himself a first-generation Iraqi-American, and thus is excited to explore how different backgrounds and experiences can lead to new solutions with engineering-related problems. He is very interested in website design and is always up to talk about coding! In his free-time, he likes to play and watch soccer (Barcelona all the way!) and go on runs, as well as read books and code various projects. Yousif is very excited to meet with the rest of you this summer and is excited to learn from the various interactions!

Zannatun Alim, Scholar Mentor

Zannatun is a rising junior and is studying Architecture at University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Zannatun is a FIRST alumni herself for which she’s been on her high school’s robotics team all 4 years and continue to work with FIRST as a college mentor. As her journey continues as an Undergrad Architecture, she still strives her best to help students in the STEM fields. As a first generation herself, she knows how hard it can be having no mentor to help guide you through things as we progress in both our academic and professional lives and so she hopes to be the best mentor she can in any way possible for students!