Meet the Executive Committee of the WiderNet Project



WiderNet Project Thanks You!


The WiderNet Project would like to take a moment to thank the members of our former executive committee for their support and contributions. We are currently in the process of appointing a new board, but we cannot show enough gratitude to the men and women who helped, and continue to help bring success to our endeavors.


As board members, your diligence and services helped us better serve the information poor with innovations like the eGranary Digital Library, low cost computers, and onsite training. Digital technology training for technicians, end-users and decision makers builds crucial human capacity in these under-served areas.  In the last five years, WiderNet staff has conducted over 2,500 hours of training for more than 4,000 people.


There are now eGranary installations in more than 360 schools, clinics, and universities in Africa, India, Bangladesh, and Haiti. We are appreciative for the effort demonstrated though your dedication and time which has helped in the growth of our mission and the vision of our project.


The WiderNet Project and the eGranary Digital Library are grateful to the representation of our wide collective efforts of hundreds of contributors, authors, publishers, programmers, librarians, instructors, and students around the globe.


We give a special thank you to our retired board members for joining in the effort to improve information literacy, build human capacity, and create access to knowledge worldwide.  Together, we are making a world of difference.   Thank you for your continuous support.





The WiderNet Team



Picture unavailable John  Buchanan   
Executive Committee Member
John Buchanan was a cofounder of Riepe, Buchanan and Piper, now a Marsh & McLennan Company under the name of Marsh Advantage America in Iowa City. He has been involved for a decade in teaching entrepreneurial education at the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business. This process began in 1989, when John was one of 20 entrepreneurs nationwide to be selected to participate in the Price-Babson Fellows Program at Babson College. He's currently involved in Ponseti International.

Picture unavailable Karen  Chappell  MA
Project Administrator
Karen Chappell has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Foreign Affairs/Overseas Operations from the East-West Center in Hawaii and has studied at both Cambridge University in England and Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. She has experience as a university administrator and as an arts administrator, having worked as a Program Consultant at the University of Minnesota, an Assistant Dean of Women at USC, Associate Director of The Center for International and Comparative Studies at the University of Iowa, and as head of several arts organizations across the country. She and her husband were most recently in New York City where she was a Development Director and a Development Consultant for several arts organizations. She is also a potter.

Picture unavailable Thomas  Cook  PhD
Executive Committee Member
Professor of Occupational & Environmental Health, University of Iowa
Thomas Cook is a professor at the University of Iowa in preventive medicine and environmental health and physical therapy as well as Director of the Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH). He has advanced degrees in physical therapy, biomedical engineering, and industrial engineering. He also directs the biomechanics and ergonomics facility at the UI's Oakdale Research Campus. His research interests include ergonomics, international health and uses of information/communications technology.

Picture unavailable Gina  Crosheck   
Executive Committee Member
Associate Director of the Division of Sponsored Programs, University of Iowa
Gina Crosheck née McGee has worked in funding & development for 29 years at The University of Iowa - seven in the Office of Cooperative Education & 24+ in the Division of Sponsored Programs, which handles external grants & contracts. She’s responsible for the UI’s grant interactions with private foundations & corporations, international sponsors including the US Departments of State & Education, multiple Department of Health & Human Services agencies, & oversight for Graduate Student services. She’s known for her innovative program development & grant writing abilities. She’s a founding member of the UI Center for Human Rights & has been associated with WiderNet since its inception. She received her BA with Honors, in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama & her MA in Communication Studies from Memphis State University (now University of Memphis). Crosheck has also served as Executive Director of a social service nonprofit organization, & has been deeply involved as a local leader in civic activities. She’s presented numerous workshops on Grant Funding Opportunities & Grant Writing.

Picture unavailable Clifford  Curry   
Executive Committee Member
Lecturer, University of Iowa College of Engineering
Clifford Curry is a Lecturer in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UI College of Engineering. He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. He teaches courses with a practical bent, having to do with design engineering. His main interest is in analog circuit design, especially at microwave frequencies. However, he likes all kinds of design challenges, including analog and digital signal processing and embedded systems hardware and software. His industrial experience includes test and measurement instrumentation design, design of medical ultrasound systems, medical patient monitoring devices, telecommunications connectors, and analog IC design.

Picture unavailable David  Eichmann   
Executive Committee Member
Director of Biomedical Informatics, University of Iowa
David Eichmann is the Director of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Iowa, Associate Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and an Associate Professor at the UI School of Library and Information Science. His research interests lie in the general area of information systems, particularly representation and retrieval. He is currently active in the adaptive filtering of newswire stories, question answering and Web-based retrieval. These areas are complemented by work in image retrieval and video segmentation-providing a rich set of media prototypes, which he uses in his work in adaptive Web search agents.

Picture unavailable David  Hensley   
Executive Committee Member
Executive Director, University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
David Hensley is executive director of JPEC and clinical professor in the Department of Management and Organizations in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. He has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial education, business consulting, and management. David's teaching experience includes advanced entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels; community entrepreneurial education courses in the classroom and through distance learning technology; Iowa high school teacher training programs; and youth summer camps. He has provided start-up and management consulting services to several companies throughout the Midwest, specializing in business planning, financial analysis, and business valuation. David currently has ownership in three Iowa-based companies.

Picture unavailable Michael  McNulty  Ph.D.
Executive Committee Member
Professor Emeritus, Geography
Mike McNulty is a long-time student of Africa. A Professor of Geography and former member of the UI central administration, Mike first visited Ghana in 1965-66 as a graduate student. He later lived and worked in Nigeria (1970-71) and returns regularly to teach and do research with African colleagues. Years ago, Cliff was a student in Mike's classes on "Development Policy and Planning;" later Mike was a student in Cliff's "Internetworks in International Development" class. What goes around, comes around!

Picture unavailable Edward  Miner  Ph.D.
Executive Committee Member
African Studies Specialist
Edward Miner is an African Studies specialist with a deep interest in the continent's languages, cultures, and historical archives. His particular expertise is in Kiswahili-speaking East Africa, and he considers Uganda to be his second country. At the University of Iowa Main Library, he manages collections and provides research assistance in African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Studies, Linguistics and International Development. In 2000, Edward earned his PhD in Linguistics and MLS from the University of Illinois, and in the following year was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African Studies with the Indiana University Libraries. He has travelled to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, India and Israel buying books and videos for The University of Iowa Libraries, and in 2006-2009 served as director of the UI African Studies Program. He currently serves as chair of the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP), an affiliate of the Center for Research Libraries.

Picture unavailable Cliff  Missen  MA
Director, WiderNet Project
Clinical Associate Professor in School Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Missen is a clinical associate professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS). He founded the WiderNet@UNC research lab and the non-profit WiderNet. Missen oversees the WiderNet’s efforts to improve digital communication in developing countries through enhanced human capacity and research into low cost applications of information technology. He also leads development of the eGranary Digital Library and the Corrections Offline Education Platform, information stores that aim to deliver the world’s knowledge to people and institutions lacking Internet access. Missen was a TED fellow in 2007 and a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria in 1999. He has made presentations at Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, World Bank, MIT, USAID, and dozens of professional conferences. Missen has provided consulting services to the U.S. Department of State, the Carnegie Corporation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, amongst others.

Picture unavailable Brent  Palmer  MLIS
Volunteer Program Engineer
Brent got his Bachelor's degree in Biology from Kalamazoo College. During his time at Kalamazoo, he also spent nine months in Dakar, Senegal, on foreign study. After college, he had several adventures including teaching English in Japan and hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Since then, he has obtained a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois. He primarily works on the eGranary project helping to design and build the next version of the digital Library.

Picture unavailable Ann  Ricketts   
Executive Committee Member
Vice President of Research Administration, University of Iowa
Ann Ricketts is in Research Administration at the Office of Research Development at the University of Iowa.

Picture unavailable Michael  Schmitz   
Executive Committee Member
President, Knowledge Meridian
Mike Schmitz was a student employee of the WiderNet Project from 2000 to 2003. After graduating with a Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa, Mike made two trips with Cliff to Nigeria and Ghana to train African university computer technicians. After working for Cerner Corporation in Kansas City and London, England for three years, Mike returned to Iowa City and has been working on the business he founded, Knowledge Meridian. Knowledge Meridian specializes in Web sites and information systems for all sizes of non-profits and businesses. Recently he returned as an executive committee member.

Picture unavailable Lisa  Skemp  Ph.D., R.N.
Executive Committe Member
Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Iowa
Lisa Skemp is an Associate Professor in the Adult and Gerontology Area of Study at the College of Nursing. She is also a 2003-2005 John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar. Her BSN is from Viterbo College in La Crosse, WI. She has a Nursing MA in the areas of Community Health and Nursing Education and a PhD in Gerontological Nursing from The University of Iowa (UI) College of Nursing. Her nursing practice has included public health, acute care, and long-term care. She has taught nursing at various colleges including Marshalltown Community College, Buena Vista Extension and The UI College of Nursing. She conducted her dissertation research on a Caribbean island in order to explore how community-dwelling elders acquire the things they need to live. To better design elder policy, service, and research initiatives in the US, she is currently conducting comparative ethnographic research on elder care in a rural US community.