AUR Honors faculty are leading practitioners and academics who have advanced their fields. From the White House and Silicon Valley to Egypt and Niger they have rebuilt civic infrastructure, advanced more inclusive democracy, built profitable companies, and led leading social enterprises that have created systemic change.

Kyla Fullenwider

Kyla Fullenwider is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the American University of Rome. She previously served as the first Chief Innovation Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau, the principal agency of the U.S. Statistical System and part of the Department of Commerce. 

Kyla was a 2016 White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, part of a groundbreaking initiative to modernize the US federal government by bringing top executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other innovators to improve federal programs that serve more than 150 million Americans.  

She was founding faculty in the Products of Design department at the School of Visual Arts and in the joint MBA/MA program at Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Institute of Art where she taught social design and entrepreneurship. 

She is a Cofounder and board member of Seattle based Imperative and has a diverse portfolio of work at the intersection of social innovation, entrepreneurship, and design. Previous work includes directing Garden in Transit for the City of New York; developing the Pepsi Refresh Projectfor GOOD Magazine and Pepsico; and creating Etsy's first annual Values & Impact report. She’s directed other programs and initiatives with the City of Los Angeles, the City of Baltimore, the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, UCLA, and the Legacy Foundation as well as a number of federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation among others. ​


Dr. Lex Paulson

Dr. Lex Paulson served as a mobilization strategist for the campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and Emmanuel Macron in 2017. A native of Washington DC, Lex has worked as an attorney, professor, writer, and political organizer, including projects for UNICEF, the U.S. State Department, and the National Democratic Institute. Trained in political theory at Yale, Cambridge, and the Sorbonne, he worked as legislative counsel in the 111th U.S. Congress; organized on four U.S. presidential campaigns; and has worked to advance democratic innovation in countries such as India, Tunisia, Egypt, Uganda, Senegal, and Côte d'Ivoire.

        Dr. Lex Paulson

Laura Weidman Powers

Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO emerita (2012-2018) of Code2040, a nationally-recognized nonprofit whose mission is to ensure the full representation and leadership of Black and Latinx people in the innovation economy. Through high-impact direct service programs, robust in-person and online community engagement, and dynamic storytelling and knowledge sharing, Code2040 empowers and mobilizes diversity champions across the industry. Code2040’s goal is to ensure that by the year 2040 -- the beginning of the decade when the US will be majority people of color -- Black and Latinx people are fully represented in and leading the innovation economy, and have the economic and social capital needed to thrive and build generational wealth. Laura grew Code2040 from inception to a $7M organization with a staff of 35 partnering with 70+ companies and serving 250+ students and 6,000+ community members annually.

In summer 2016, Laura was invited to join the Obama Administration for a six month term as a senior advisor to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. At the White House, Laura focused on issues of diversity and inclusion related to ensuring the hiring practices, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and tech products and platforms of the future work for all Americans, particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Most recently before co-founding Code2040, Laura served as head of product at a consumer web startup. Prior to that, she directed operations for New York City’s largest public art project and co-founded two organizations in the education space, one nonprofit arts education organization in West Philadelphia that is currently celebrating its 14th year, and one for-profit tutoring company that gave rise to a book.

Laura is a 2018 Stanford Social Entrepreneur in Residence, and a 2016-2017 New America California Fellow. In 2016, Ebony included her on their Power 100 list, Foreign Policy Magazine gave her a Global Thinker award, and The Root named her one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans. In 2015, Fortune named her one of 10 Female Executives on the Rise and San Francisco Magazine saluted her as one of 37 Soldiers of Social Change. From 2014-2016 Laura sat on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the US Department of Commerce. Goldman Sachs named her one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013. She was a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2013 Stanford Social Innovation Fellow. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, NBC, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Inc. NPR, and others.

Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University. Laura is based in San Francisco though in fall 2018 she, her husband, and their new baby are taking a six month sabbatical to travel, and then after more than 10 years away she’s finally moving back to her hometown of New York City. You can find her quick thoughts on Twitter (@laurawp), her longer thoughts on Medium (@laurawp), her management musings on LinkedIn (/in/laurawp), and her personal adventures on Instagram (@lewp).

        Laura Weidman Powers

Bisan Abadulkader

After having hands-on experience in the field of entrepreneurship, innovation and Intellectual Property, Bisan focused on transferring practical know-how in innovation management via academia. In her methodology she combines practices from business incubators and micro-enterprise-coaching with strategic management and a hard-science analytical approach.

In current research with the National Research Council, Bisan is seeking to obtain proof-of-concept for a healthy-snack-machine design (software and products), with researchers in health-at-workplace. 

Project involvement has included: WFP Innovation Accelerator: entrepreneur consultant at Food Boot camp for Nutrimiles (MAPS) Start-up (WFP best innovation award 2017), in Munich Germany. EIB European Investment Bank, Science and Technology Parks annual workshop member in MENA region.UN Youth coach and Green up UNRWA founder, Damascus, Syria. Patent and technology scouting analyst, Rome, Italy. Food tech startup cofounder,, Milan, Italy.
Bisan has a BA from Damasus University and an MBA from Central European University


Anna Maxine Naimark

Anna Naimark is a public policy expert dedicated to promoting human rights and social justice for vulnerable peoples and communities. Anna worked as a Senior Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) leading on Native American tribal and U.S. territorial issues. In her OMB capacity, she engaged with stakeholders and used government mechanisms to tackle challenges facing communities, such as integrating culture into education, planning for the impacts of climate change, and improving access to capital. 
Anna also served as a Political Officer and Human Rights Expert at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, where she managed the U.S.’ effort to strengthen the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and successfully secured additional resources and tools for indigenous and national governments to better address indigenous rights globally.
Before her tenure with the U.S. government, Anna worked at the Open Society Foundations, the Washington College of Law International Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights First, and the American Civil Liberties Union.  Anna holds a Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, and a Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University School of International Service. Anna is a former Presidential Management Fellow and a member of the State Bar of California.

        Anna Naimark