Education/Newsletter/November 2014/Welcoming new WMF staff supporting education

By Anna Koval (WMF)

Please join us in welcoming three new members of the Grantmaking team who support Wikipedia in Education initiatives around the Movement by capturing your stories, sharing resources, and distilling best practices.

Samir Elsharbaty, Communications Intern
Samir Elsharbaty

Samir Elsharbaty joined the WMF in November 2014 on the Global Education team as Communications Intern. Samir will help report all the great stories from volunteers worldwide with regards to the Wikimedia projects in education. Samir works remotely from Egypt.

Samir was born in Damanhour, Egypt and currently lives in Cairo. He studied English Language and Literature in Ain Shams University in Cairo. Samir has worked in teaching and translation since 2009 and volunteered in/ co-founded/ and led non-profit campaigns in the Education and Development fields. He joined Wikipedia as a volunteer editor in late 2011 with an article about a historical wall in Egypt. He joined Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt as a student in late 2012 and volunteered as a campus ambassador in February 2013. He has been Egypt's Education Program Leader since October 2013 and was a co-founder of the Egypt Wikimedians User Group in May 2014, which was recognized by AffCom in July 2014.

Kacie Harold, Program Evaluation Analyst
Kacie Harold

Kacie Harold joined the WMF in April 2014 on the Learning and Evaluation team as a Program Evaluation Analyst. She evaluated the impact of the FDC and PEG grant programs (read the full report on Commons here).

Kacie has been working with the Education team since September to identify best practices and develop toolkits for educators and program leaders using Wikimedia in education. These toolkits will draw from experiences and learnings shared in surveys, reports, blog posts, the education mailing list, as well as interviews that Kacie conducted with members of Education Collaborative at their meeting in Edinburgh last month. Please keep an eye on the Learning Patterns Library on Meta wiki in the coming weeks to endorse, to add, and to discuss the learning patterns in the education toolkit. Kacie shares her time with the Learning and Evaluation team, and works from the WMF's San Francisco office.

Kacie's work at WMF combines two things she cares deeply about: international education and improving access to information. Throughout her career, she has supported higher education access programs both professionally and as a volunteer, most recently planning student leadership development programs for , an organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with full scholarships at top universities in the United States. Before that, she spent several years working for the founder of the , where she gained a deep understanding of the importance of facilitating free access to information. Kacie learned firsthand about differences in education systems as an exchange student. She began with the as a teenager, completing secondary school in Belgium. In university, she spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires. She earned an in Social Policy and Development in London.

Jake Orlowitz, The Wikipedia Library
Jake Orlowitz (User:Ocaasi)

Jake Orlowitz joined the WMF in September 2014 on the Grantmaking team. He works remotely from Philadelphia but spends a lot of time in California.

Primarily, Jake's work will be to expand The Wikipedia Library|The Wikipedia Library, a program that helps connects editors to published research and library professionals. The Wikipedia Library (TWL) approaches publishers to request donations of access to academic research; TWL also operates a Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program that affiliates top editors with universities where they are given full, online library access to improve Wikipedia articles. Jake earlier received an Individual Engagement Grant to develop The Wikipedia Adventure, a playful onboarding game which teaches the core dynamics and spirit of Wikipedia through an interactive tour of the project's universe. With the University of California, San Francisco, and Wiki Project Med Foundation, he co-started the first Wikipedia editing course for credit at a North American medical school and continues to be involved in making the case for the importance of Wikipedia in all kinds of education. This winter Jake is going to be sharing some of his time working with the Wikipedia Education Program, reaching out to new editors, distilling best practices for building positive relationships with professors and with the volunteer community, and looking at ways to integrate tools into the onboarding process.

Jake's background post-college at Wesleyan University was running an academic tutoring company in Colorado. He speaks regularly (and enthusiastically) at Open Knowledge events about how Wikipedia's mission is very much aligned with the goals of academics, librarians, students, doctors -- pretty much anyone who cares about sharing knowledge.


We hope you will join us in welcoming Samir, Kacie, and Jake! We are so happy to have them as part of the team!