Board of Directors
Sangai Mohochi, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman
Dr. Sangai Mohochi is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Kusoma International - Laurenti Mohochi Educational Foundation. Sangai was born and brought up in Kuria District in Kenya. He was educated in Kenya, receiving his PhD, MA and BA from Egerton University, in Njoro.
Dr. Mohochi taught Swahili Language and Literature at his alma mater for 9 years before moving to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York where he taught Swahili for 2 years. In September 2006, Sangai joined Stanford University, where he taught Swahili Language, Literature and Culture for three years. He currently serves as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Literature at Maseno University in Kenya. Dr. Mohochi has been actively involved in the development of Swahili language as a teacher, researcher, and theater practitioner. He has published and made several conference presentations on many aspects of the language. While in Stanford, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Daraja Academy (run by the Carr Educational Foundation), as well as a Director and Treasurer of the Kenya Relief Fund based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Basil Burke, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Dr. Basil Burke is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kusoma International - Laurenti Mohochi Educational Foundation. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and has over 25 years progressive experience in academia and in the start-up, strategic planning and development of new businesses.
He is currently Principal of the consulting firm ELGAE Associates. Recently, as Vice President of Theranos, a California based device-diagnostic company, Dr. Burke planned and expanded Theranos? business opportunities with global Pharma and bioharmaceutical companies, and teamed with Theranos? CEO to successfully raise over $20M from VCs. Dr. Burke has held a series of senior executive positions in private industry. These included being President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Plant Research Technologies, Inc., a GLP contract research organization; co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and member of the Board of Directors of Clinimetrics BioMedical, a drug partnering/acquisition Division of Clinimetrics Research Associates. His passion for education extends over many years, ranging from being a member of the Board for Elementary School to academic faculty, as well as advisor to faculties and universities. Basil was adjunct Professor of Chemistry at San Jose State University, and prior to that was Professor of Chemistry at the University of the West Indies. He spent several years on the Dean?s Advisory Council as for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at University of California, Davis. Dr. Burke has an international reputation in education, science, and business. Dr. Burke?s honors include his Senior Fulbright-Heys Fellowship to Stanford University, California and the Jamaica Centennial Medal, one of Jamaica?s highest honors, for his personal contribution to, and achievements in, the area of Natural Sciences in Jamaica.
Adam Brosamer is the President of Kusoma International - Laurenti Mohochi Educational Foundation. Adam has been an editor at Yahoo! for over 12 years. Adam was born and raised in Fremont, California. As a father of three, he has a fervent interest in education and charitable activities. Some of Adam's activities in recent years have been with Project Read at the Menlo Park Library, Gutenberg College in Eugene Oregon, and the San Francisco Maritime Museum's boat shop. He is a devoted supporter of quality education in all its various forms and contexts. He has been a new hire trainer at Yahoo! and done extensive one-on-one mathematics tutoring for individuals over the years. Adam is honored and excited to be part of Kusoma International - Laurenti Mohochi Educational Foundation.
Conrad Warmbold was born and raised in Texas before attending Washington University in St. Louis to receive a BS degree in Computer Science. While a Mesmer Scholar as an undergraduate, he worked for a non-profit organization entrusted with educating HIV-dense areas of Dominica. Currently, Conrad is working part-time on both an MS in Software Engineering and an MBA at San Jose State University to support entrepreneurial efforts. He also recently re-certified as an EMT volunteer. The first from his family to receive a college degree, Conrad believes the foremost solutions to social injustice are awareness and education. His efforts are thus organized around educating diverse, high-potential candidates despite their immutable barriers. Furthermore, Conrad is interested in perfecting ways to use technology to support non-profits and help people in need. In his down time, Conrad enjoys playing and coaching football, sailing, exploring the latest technology, political, & medical research, and spending time with family.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Sandra has a background in IT as a computer technician at Stanford University. Sandra has a parental interest in education and has a strong history of volunteering her expertise in finances and accounting. A mother of three, Sandra has been primarily a stay at home mom since the birth of her third child, working only part time in customer service and computer support. With the last two children in high school, she now divides her time between caring for her family, volunteering at school, writing, swimming, and volunteering for Kusoma. She recently began working as a doula.
Dr. Janet Turan
Dr. Janet Turan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California , San Francisco , with a joint appointment at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. She holds a PhD in Public Health specializing in Population Dynamics from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr Turan's research program is focused on improving maternal health in low-resource settings of both developing and developed countries.
Over the course of her research career, she has used both quantitative and qualitative research methods to examine factors related to the promotion of maternal health in diverse settings including Turkey , Jordan , Italy , Eritrea , Kenya , Nigeria , Zambia , Zimbabwe , and Egypt . She is currently conducting research aiming to reduce the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS on the physical and mental health of pregnant and childbearing women in Western Kenya, as well as research on the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity due to obstetric hemorrhage in Zambia and Zimbabwe . In addition, her current research program includes the study of stigma as it relates to a variety of reproductive health conditions/services, including induced abortion, obstetric fistula, HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence. She has authored or co-authored 28 peer reviewed journal articles. Over the course of her career, Dr. Turan has worked closely with a variety of local and international non-profit organizations active in the area of women?^? health in Turkey , Eritrea , and Kenya.
Mbithi Muthini is the Senior Director of Quality Assurance at Vertos Medical, Inc. He has worked in the Medical Device industry for several companies in the SF Bay area including Evera Medical, St. Francis Medical, Kyphon (bought by Medtronics), Novare Surgical Systems and Sterigenics. He has implemented state-of-the-art quality systems compliant with FDA QSR and ISO standards enabling device manufacturers to market their products in USA and the European Union. He has represented or overseen the quality function?s participation in product development cross functional teams. He has provided leadership in product and process verification and validations activities including biocompatibility assessments, sterilization validations, shelf life evaluations and product functional testing reviews. He has led efforts in successful CE marking of medical devices of various classes and has contributed content to numerous FDA regulatory submissions (PMA and 510k). Prior to that, he spent several years in the Biotech research products industry engaged in development of non-isotopic reagents for labeling synthetic DNA/RNA as well as the production of custom oligonucleotides. Mbithi has also been involved in community activities including being a past board member of the Silicon Valley Section of the American Society for Quality. This organization provides its members and the community a source of the knowledge and skills that illuminate the fundamental role that Quality plays in advancing society in many arenas, such as management, science, engineering, statistics, and in products and services we enjoy. He is also a past board member of Harambee, Inc., a non-profit organization catering to the Kenyan community in the SF bay area. This organization provides a social avenue and support for its members, especially in adversity. He has a MS degree in Biology.
Deshka Foster grew up on an organic farm outside of Philadelphia. She holds a B.A.H in Human Biology from Stanford University, with a concentration on Infectious Disease and Global Health. While at Stanford, she studied Swahili and was a public service scholar at the Haas Center for Public Service. Deshka initially visited East Africa to work with the HIV education organization, Support for International Change. Since then, she has returned several times to conduct research projects exploring treatment-seeking behavior for pediatric malaria in the Tanga District of Tanzania. Deshka is the recipient of a Fulbright research scholarship to Malaysia to investigate the prevalence and diagnostics of human Plasmodium knowlesi malaria. She is currently a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow and Masters candidate in African Studies at Stanford University. Passionate about improving opportunity for education in East Africa, Deshka is thrilled to be part of the Kusoma team.
Nathalie Cowan was born in Morocco and raised in France before she emigrated to the US in 1988. With a BS degree from Boston University, Nathalie is the only person in her extended family to graduate college. Nathalie continued her higher education in the Environmental Studies department of San Jose State University. She worked early on in retail and marketing, and then re-oriented her work toward non-profit organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Nathalie is an active advocate of education and literacy for students with special needs in her community. For the last ten years, Nathalie has been a full time parent of her three children, who all recently joined her in New Orleans to help rebuild a school library. Enthusiastic and a civic-minded citizen of the world, Nathalie and her husband have raised their children to think critically. With Nathalie?s support they recently launched BakeryCakery, a non-profit initiative to activate North American children as fundraisers to build a children?s library in the Kuria district of Kenya. Nathalie's interest in the project dates back to a 1998 African visit when she was touched by the eagerness of the kids to attend school. Nathalie enjoys swimming, reading, and traveling.