About Stem Synergy
STEM Synergy is an international NGO mobilizing community development by providing students access to quality hands-on educational experiences in science and engineering subjects. Our students’ success is the core of and the impetus for innovative advancements and strengthened community partnerships in our students’ home countries. We want students to love STEM because students who love STEM will change the world.
The foundation of STEM Synergy was inspired by the first STEM center built by the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust in 2004 at the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel. Since then, we have opened more than 15 STEM centers, 50 laboratories, and a community science museum. We continue to partner with NGOs including EngineersWithout Borders, IsraAID, and UNESCO to spearhead our university outreach projects and to participate in our national science fair and competition.
Our centers and projects can be found in Ethiopia, Israel, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Kurdistan.
Ms. Kemila Bahiru Administrative Assistant
Kemila has been an administrative assistant with STEM Synergy for the last two years.
Ms. Kemila Bahiru
Mike Castricone, CPA Chief Financial Officer
Mike Castricone is head of finance at STEM Synergy bringing 25 years of financial and administrative experience in the technology industry. He has held key senior roles with IBM, Guardium, Nokia Networks and Telekol Corporation. Mike earned his BS in Interdisciplinary Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire and Masters in Accountancy from Bentley University.
Mike Castricone, CPA
Mr. Esayas Daghne Accountant
Esayas Daghne earned his Bachelors in Accounting from Addis Ababa University and currently works on the executive staff of STEM Synergy as an accountant.
Mr. Esayas Daghne
Mr. Anteneh Fisseha STEM Center Coordinator
Mr. Fisseha brings a wide range of experience and accomplishments to his role with STEM Synergy. Before working with STEM Synergy he graduated from Addis Ababa University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Information Systems on top of an advanced diploma he received in Electrical Engineering. After his time at university he spent 13 years first as an instructor at the Defense Engineering University for eight years, then as a coordinator with Gondar STEM Center, after which he went on to work as an expert at the Addis Ababa STEM Center under the guidance of the Ethiopian Society of Electrical Engineers.
Mr. Anteneh Fisseha
Mark Gelfand Founder
A Boston native and lifelong philanthropist, Mark Gelfand created the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust and STEM Synergy because of a passion for the sciences and a desire to give back. His mission is to see all students with access to the same kind of quality STEM education his own children had in the United States. After witnessing students achieve huge success in Israel, Gelfand knew that if given the opportunity other students in developing nations could thrive and become celebrated scientists and engineers in their communities in the future. He is driven by the belief that a nation's survival rests on its youth and it is for this reason that youth everywhere should be encouraged to embrace and adopt STEM subjects early on. Gelfand knows that children who develop a love for learning STEM subjects will not just change their country, they will change the world with their discoveries and the advancements they make to improve the lives of humankind. Mr. Gelfand is also involved in helping build the industrial capacity of Ethiopian Exports though his successful for-profit Today Tomorrow Ventures.
Mr. Getachew Gezahegn Executive Director/Country Representative of Ethiopia
Getachew Gezahegn, a native of Ethiopia, is the Ethiopian Representative on our team of Executive Directors. Before getting involved in STEM education he freelanced as a consultant and researcher for NGO’s and other private firms for 10 years. He then gave over 21 years to the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and the National Science and Technology Center, teaching physics and offering his expertise in mathematics and physics. He holds a B.S. in Physics and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
Mr. Getachew Gezahegn
Oded Kadosh Treasurer
Oded Kadosh serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors and brings appreciable experience in business financials, corporate, and commercial strategy to our leadership. He has counseled a number of software engineering, renewable energy, and clean technology businesses dedicated to community development and growth in Africa in the past. Oded is chairman of the Commercial Practice Group of international law firm Pearl Cohen in their Boston office where he partners with them to help emerging growth businesses.
M/Tech Abate Kassa Head of Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Abate Kassa is a veteran electrical engineer with nearly 50 years of experience. After gaining his accounting diploma from Addis Ababa University, his studies took him to the Soviet Republic and the United States. He worked as a lab instructor at the Defense Engineering College in Ethiopia after spending some time in the air force there.
M/Tech Abate Kassa
W/Ro Yemisrach Kassahun Executive Secretary
Yemisrach has been part of the executive staff at Foka Science and Engineering center since it first opened its doors. She holds a diploma in computer science.
W/Ro Yemisrach Kassahun
Mr. Eyoel Hailu Mamo CTO
Eyoel Mamo is an Executive Director of STEM Synergy offering his service as Chief Technology Officer. He graduated with honors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Trans-disciplinary Innovation Program with a BS in Computer Science. He is also a certified CCNA with over 14 years of experience in project management, education, industrial system design, network administration and installation, and server-based systems.
Mr. Eyoel Hailu Mamo
M/Tech Tadesse W/Mariyam Head of Mechanics
Tadesse has worked as a mechanical engineer for over 45 years. He earned his advanced diploma in mechanical engineering from Addis Ababa University then continued his education in Germany, Bulgaria, and the United States. He returned to Ethiopia to work in the Air Force and as an instructor at the Defense University.
M/Tech Tadesse W/Mariyam
Scott Morrison Secretary
Scott Morrison is the Secretary on the Board of Directors at STEM Synergy. He has spent over 20 years in public education as a teacher, principal, and Director of Curriculum and Technology. He is the Superintendent of a school district serving primary school students in Boxford, Middleton, and Topsfield, Massachusetts. In the past, Scott has brought his knowledge to the School of Education at Salem State University as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently earning his doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University.
Francis Vigeant President
Francis Vigeant serves as President on the Board of Directors. He holds a BA in Economics, Mathematics and Computer Science from Gordon College and Global Economic Systems and Development from Boston University. He started his career in public education as a high school mathematics teacher and later became a STEM specialist for primary and secondary students. Francis is the co-founder and CEO of KnowAtom, an organization that serves public education K-8 with the first research-based full-sequence STEM curricula for the Next Generation Science Standards, including materials and professional development. He received the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year award from Gordon College in 2014, and the prior year was internationally recognized by Jeffery Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, with an award for the sustainable impact his work has made in urban schools. Francis was a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s STEM workgroup and sits on several boards focused on STEM education.