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 a social entrepreneur whose career has spanned the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors. She is the co-founder and CEO emerita of Code2040, a nationally-recognized nonprofit whose mission is to ensure the full representation and leadership of Black and Latinx people in the US innovation economy. 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 before stepping down as CEO in January 2018.

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 where she 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.

Laura is the American University of Rome’s first social entrepreneur in residence. Laura has received extensive recognition for her work including being named one of 10 Female Executives on the Rise by Fortune, and being named to the Ebony Power 100 list and The Root 100. She received Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinker Award and the Ford Freedom Award. She was a 2018 Stanford Social Entrepreneur in Residence, and a 2016-2017 New America California Fellow, and a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow. From 2014-2016 Laura sat on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the US Department of Commerce.

Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University. She blogs at

        Laura Weidman Powers

Bisan Abadulkader

Bisan Abdulkader is a Faculty Fellow and the Honors Program Manager at the American University of Rome who specializes in social innovation and the application of hard science and strategy in entrepreneurship. She’s the co-founder and COO of Artichalk, a digital innovative food platform that was presented at the Milan EXPO in 2015. Her diverse portfolio of work includes social innovation and research focusing on firm scalability and network formation.

Previous work includes consulting for the World Food Program Innovation Accelerator; policy development with the European Investment Bank for Science and Technology Parks; founding Green up UNRWA for the United Nations; and consulting for L Venture 2015. She’s lectured and offered innovation training across the globe with John Cabot University, the Arab International University, Luiss Enlabs, the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Microsoft Spark, and TEDxCesena among others. She also acts as a patent and technology scouting analyst in Rome, Italy.

At the American University of Rome, Bisan transfers practical know-how in innovation management via academia. Her teaching takes a hard-science analytical approach and combines practices from business incubators and micro-enterprise-coaching with strategic management.

Bisan has a BA in Physics from Damascus University and an MBA from Central European University. She’s currently completing her Ph.D. in business with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation at 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