Faculty and Academic Leadership

ALU’s faculty brings a collective wealth of diverse professional experiences, interests, and cultures to facilitate learning and growth in every student to develop the next generation of African and global leaders.

Academic Leadership

Catherine Koverola

Provost and Chief Academic Officer

As an educator, Catherine has been a pioneer in the ever-evolving advances of online and hybrid learning delivery models focused on the intentional integration of technology and pedagogy. Catherine is a steadfast advocate of faculty development and was the recipient of the American Council of Education Massachusetts Women’s Network Leadership Award in 2014. Originally from Canada, she has been a leader in higher education administration over a 30 year career that spans serving as Provost at Cambridge College, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences at Lesley University, Intermin Provost and Dean of Psychology at Anticoch University Seattle, and several administrative positions at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As a result of her leadership, Cambridge College had the honor of being selected by the U.S. Department of State to serve as a host institution for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, a flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Catherine holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary School of Psychology, an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, an MA in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a BSc in Biology from the University of British Columbia.


Theodore Sutherland

Dean of Students, ALC

Originally from Ghana, Theodore was formerly our Director of Career Development, the department which helps our students get the work experience, skills, network, perspective and character needed to thrive as a 21st century graduate. Before joining ALU, Theodore was the Associate Director of Africa Careers Network, the arm of our sister organisation, African Leadership Academy, which mentors, connects its graduates to internships and jobs, and powerful networks which together accelerate unlocking their leadership potential. Theodore holds an Economics degree from Bates College in the United States.


Veda Sunassee

Head of College, ALU

Originally from Mauritius, Veda’s journey with ALU started as Director of Student Life for the Mauritius campus. He also headed recruiting efforts at the African Leadership Academy as their Leadership and Entrepreneurship faculty member. Veda holds a Political Science degree from Princeton University in the United States.

Akomeno (Keno) Omu

Dean of Faculty, ALC

Dr. Keno Omu joined ALC after spending two years as a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland where she was responsible for lecturing, supervising postgraduate students, and researching computational methods for the analysis of renewable energy systems. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Scientist at the IBM Research Africa Laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya, developing technology solutions to address electricity access and reliability challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Omu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, a Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, and a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.


Gaidi Faraj

Dean of Faculty, ALU

Dr. Gaidi Faraj brings a rich blend of experience in education and private sector business on the African continent. Dr. Faraj has over 10 years of senior level experience of managing large scale projects and navigating regulatory frameworks in Tanzania and broader East Africa. Dr. Faraj holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Teaching from Troy State University in Montgomery, Alabama. He is currently a research fellow at Harvard University and was a 2017 UMASS Amherst W.E.B. DuBois fellow.

Seth Trudeau

Director of Learning

Seth leads a team that designs learning ecosystems and experiences for developing ethical, impactful leaders. 

He began his career teaching history in the US before founding an NGO in South Sudan working with orphans and vulnerable children. With a Masters degree from Stanford University in Learning, Design, and Technology and a Bachelors from the University of Denver in International Relations, he has also worked with Dr. Candace Thille on the Open Learning Initiative and designed programs for training surgeons in the developing world using the Open edX platform.

Shana-Michelle Rabonda

Leadership Core Team Lead

Shana-Michelle joined ALU in the Projects Faculty team in 2016. She is responsible for managing the first year academic experience for students, including curriculum design and delivery for Leadership Core.

Shana-Michelle graduated from Rhodes University, South Africa majoring in Computer Science and Information Systems. After graduating, she worked in Information Technology and Security consulting. Her area of focus included systems and process analysis, IT governance, and, training and mentoring interns.

Shana-Michelle is passionate about working with young people and women empowerment, and is the founder of a mentorship programme focused on education and personal development for female high-school students. She is currently pursuing an LLB degree, and is hoping to combine her passion for education, women empowerment and the law in the near future.


Yusuf Ahmad

Director of Degree Programmes

Leading learning experience design, learning model innovation, and academic operations across ALU’s Degree Programmes, Yusuf joined ALU after a fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Prior to Carnegie, he worked for the President of the American University in Cairo (AUC) in the years following the Egyptian revolution. During his time at AUC, he authored the university’s enrollment strategy, redesigned admissions, and co-developed a $450,000 project to enhance civic engagement in universities across the Middle East and North Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies from Columbia University in New York, United States.

Laurel Staab

Director of Faculty, Rwanda

Laurel first joined ALU as the Faculty Development Lead on the Mauritius campus, where she helped fast track faculty skill development, and designed and implemented a full 10-week English immersion curriculum.

Prior to ALU, she studied at Stanford University in the United States, where her research focused on distribution of school resources and academic achievement across socioeconomic status in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. She’s also taught history in the Rio Grande Valley through Teach for America. Her undergraduate research at Vassar College focused on the role of women’s social movements during and after the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.


Carmen Attikossie


An International Relations graduate from Catherine’s University in the United States, Carmen teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Cassandra Ndahiro


A Communication and Global Studies graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan in the United States, Cassandra teaches Communication for Impact as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Demilade Oluwasina


A graduate in Animal Science from Obafemi Awolowo in Nigeria, Demilade teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Edward Opoku


A graduate of Ashesi University, Edward teaches Data and Decisions as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Janice Ndegwa


A Global Health and Development graduate from University College London, UK, Janice is Social Sciences faculty member at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Jess Auerbach

South Africa

An Anthropology doctoral from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Forced Migration from Oxford University, Jess teaches Sociology, African Studies, and leads the Decoloniality Reading Group at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Julia Paolillo

United States

An African Studies, Political Science, and Arabic graduate from Middlebury College in the United States, Julia teaches Entrepreneural Leadership at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Kevin Rugamba


An International Relations graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, Kevin is the Language Support Programme Coordinator and its Lead Faculty at ALU’s Rwanda campus.

Marta F. Patallo


An Anthropology doctoral from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Marta teaches Crime and Society as part of the Social Sciences degree programme at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Mehdi Oulmakki


A Computer Science graduate from Dartmouth College in the United States, Mehdi teaches Programming, Web Development, and Fundamentals of Software Engineering at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Michael Gebre Yntiso


A graduate of ALU’s inaugural Fellow Programme, Michael teaches Data and Decisions as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Nachula Wilson


An MBA graduate from IESE Business School, Spain, Nachula teaches Management Issues and Concepts, Contemporary Cultural Challenges in International Business, and International Business Strategy at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Persis Merab Ashers


An International Relations graduate from the US International University in Kenya, Persis teaches the Projects course as part of the Leadership Core on ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Rushika Jayprakash Pattni


An Economics and History of Science graduate from Yale University in the United States, Rushika teaches Projects as part of the Leadership Core at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Sila Ogidi


An English Language and Literature graduate from Bryn Mawr College in the United States, Sila is a Communication for Impact faculty member at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.

Stephen Naicken


A PhD, MRes, and BSc graduate of the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, Stephen teaches Computing at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Tofik Saad

United Kingdom

Tolu Agunbiade


An Accounting graduate from the University of Abuja, Tolu teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership at ALU’s campus in Mauritius.

Wilhelmina Efua Zwennes


A graduate in Physics of Clark University in the United States, Wilhelmina is a Data and Decisions faculty member at ALU’s campus in Rwanda.