Center Leadership and Staff
Project Director & Professor
Sayfe Kiaei is a professor in the School of Electrical, Energy, and Computer Engineering, the director of the Connection One Center (National Science Foundation (NSF) I/UCRC Center), and Motorola Chair in Analog and RF Integrated Circuits. Prior to leading the COE, he was the Director of the successful U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCAS-E) project funded by USAID. From 1993 to 2001, he was a senior member of technical staff with the Wireless Technology Center and Broadband Operations at Motorola. Prior to that, Kiaei was a professor at Oregon State University (1987-1993), where he taught courses and performed research in RF, Analog, VLSI, and Communication Systems. Kiaei has established two Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers: The Center for the Design of Analog/Digital ICs (CDADIC) where he was a co-director (1987-1993), and the Connection One Center at Arizona State University. He has published more than 200 journal and conference papers and holds several patents. His research interests are in RF, Analog and Digital IC, Transceiver design, and sensors.
Project Manager Research
Alana Burnham is a certified project manager specializing in global development projects and serves as the Project Manager Research for the Center of Excellence for Energy. Before joining the Center, she led key objectives for ASU-US’s Global Locust Initiative’s USAID-funded project in West Africa, Communities for Sustainable Agriculture (Bay Sa Waar). She excels in fast-paced environments that require cultural competency and quick adaptation, and she is passionate about supporting projects that bring research and innovative solutions to communities around the world. She has a background in community outreach and environmental and soil sciences. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, she served in the Agroforestry program in Senegal and is fluent in Wolof.
Carrie Whitten Simmons
Director of Marketing and Communications
Carrie Whitten Simmons is a public and community relations professional with 25+ years experience leading marketing, communications, projects, community outreach, and public and governmental affairs efforts. Before joining the Center of Excellence for Energy as the Director of Marketing and Communications, she led the marketing, communications and community engagement teams for All of Us Research Program, a National Institutes of Health Initiative to increase diversity in health research. She is a three time fellow and has worked in non-profit development in organizations servicing victims of human trafficking, domestic and sexual abuse, homelessness, and underserved populations in education and health. She ran her own business for 20+ years and is adept at cultural immersion, diversity communications, and community outreach. Carrie serves on the Phoenix Women’s Commission in addition to several boards for organizations in education and health.
Dahlia El–Tayeb has more than twenty-five years of experience working in international development, project management and implementation, and global education including her most recent position as the Senior Director of the International Programs and Services Office at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Prior to her work with AUC, El–Tayeb worked with multiple organizations including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ministry of Family and Population and National Council forChildhood and Motherhood (NCCM). She has interfaced with over 220+ international universities around the globe that led to establishing collaborative partnerships, diverse development programs and initiatives. El–Tayeb holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a diploma in the sustainable development program from AUC.
Tamer Elnady, PhD
Dr. Tamer is a professor of acoustics at the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, head of ASU Sound & Vibration Laboratory at Ain Shams University, and previous vice dean for Education and Student Affairs. He is the president of the Acoustical Society of Egypt and has participated in more than 45 International and national research and educational projects funded by different funding agencies, in the field of education, sound and vibration and virtual reality. He worked for two years at the Ministry of Education where he was responsible for the Exploratory Centers for Science and Technology. He is an expert in duct acoustics, and is one of the developers of SIDLAB Software for the simulation of sound propagation in duct systems. Working as a consultant for several companies in Europe, USA, Egypt and the Gulf in the field of muffler design, noise control, and environmental acoustics modeling. He earned his Ph.D. (2004) in technical acoustics from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), in Stockholm, Sweden.
Radwa Altaf has more than 15+ years’ experience in procurement in the oil and gas sector. She has had a highly diversified career, primarily within BP, that reflects a breadth of procurement experience in many area: managing high spend and highly critical sourcing activities across the African region (i.e, Egypt, Angola, Mauritania and Senegal); managing central role as well as managing approvals and external relationships with National Oil Companies (NOC) and Joint Ventures (JV) environment. Radwa received her MBA from Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business. She is a member of Chartered Institute in Procurement and Supply.
Amira Gaber has more than 30 years of experience working in the banking and finance industries. She began her career development by working for the Commercial International Bank for ten years, after which she changed careers and took on the role of finance and grants manager for two projects that were funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and carried out by the Save the Children Federation and University of Illinois. Ms. Gaber’s most recent post was 15 years as a senior director of the offices for externally financed grants and student accounts at the American University in Cairo, where she was accountable for securing university funds and adhering to AUC, federal, and state regulations and policies. Gaber graduated from The American University in Cairo with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in public policy and administration.
Exchanges and Training Manager
Ahmed Shehata has more than five years experience as a student exchange professional with a strong commitment to international education, youth development, and their social impacts. He has helped send over 300 students to universities in the U.S., providing them with valuable opportunities to gain new perspectives and expand their horizons. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the American University in Cairo, Ahmed was awarded the Lazord Fellowship, focusing on STEM and youth development. Following this, Ahmed worked in Amideast’s Higher Education Initiative for five years as the Student Affairs and Study Abroad Officer. In addition, he also received a diploma in entrepreneurship from the Euro-Mediterranean University.