The Team


CEO/Co-founder, Ph.D.
Nassim Abdi, Ph.D. is an educator and scholar-activist. After completing a degree in journalism at the University of Tehran, she moved to the United States in 2003. A day after her arrival, she started her graduate school journey in Educational Leadership Master's program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and then continued with International Education Policy doctoral program at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. Upon graduating with a focus on social justice and alternative education, Nassim taught a variety of humanities subjects such as international studies and women’s studies at UMD, Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, and Worcester State University. While teaching, she helped carry out a survey of 150 faculty, students, and department chairs. The survey confirmed what she had suspected all along – that universities across the United States lacked visual educational materials featuring the views of grassroots activists on important global issues. To address this need, Nassim co-founded Docademia LLC, a social enterprise which takes the messages of activists-documentarians from around the world and uses them as seeds for educational discussions in classrooms.


COO/Co-founder, MBA
Babak Shahmansouri obtained his Master's degree in educational leadership from McGill University. Previously he studied MBA at Sharif University. The specific focus on organizational growth in his two master’s programs has provided him with a broad based theoretical background in management especially in the field of education. Babak has more than 10 years of progressive experience as a consultant and entrepreneur. He has previously co-founded Asemaan Group (systems thinking educational center at Sharif University), Borna Institution for youth mental health, Heeva Foundation for Educational Development, and Helmfried Business Solutions.


Director of Marketing and Acquisition, M.S. in Marketing
Known for his creativity and innovative ideas, Freddie created marketing campaigns for companies such as Sony, Virgin, and AT&T. Recently Freddie was able to secure two major marketing partnerships with Mercedes Benz and Timberland Inc., for his client, Page Turner of HGTV’s television series, “Flip or Flop Nashville”. “The key to any potential relationships is connection, once a sound connection is made, you have a loyal customer for life” Freddie is living his life long dream of operating his own entertainment company. In October of 2018, he signed a distribution deal with Sony’s independent distribution arm, The Orchard.


Film Evaluation and Curriculum Development Coordinator, Ph.D. Candidate
Pempho Chinkondenji comes from Malawi, the warm heart of Africa, which is located in South-East Africa. In 2013, she graduated from the African Bible College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a specialization in Radio and Television Broadcasting. While in Malawi, Pempho co-founded a non-profit organization called Loving Arms that serves young people in her community through counseling and educational development projects. She also Graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Master of Arts degree in Cross-Cultural & International Education with a cognate in Global Development & Advocacy. Pempho’s research interests are in educational development for Sub-Saharan Africa, empowerment and education for the African girl-child, and the United Nations. Currently, Pempho serves as a Youth Delegate to the United Nations for the Pan-Pacific and South-East Asian Women's Association (PPSEAWA-USA).


Strategic Advisor
Experienced Board Member and serial entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of leadership. Mahmoud successfully established numbers of companies in different parts of the world and currently brings his knowledge of negotiation, analysis, and financial and strategic planning to Docademia.


Leila Mouri, MPhil. Pursues her MBA at Rutgers University while teaches sociology at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey. She moved to New York in 2008 to study at Columbia University, focusing on issues of gender and sexuality. Previously, she earned her MA in History from Royal Holloway, the University of London where she was also awarded a Chevening Scholarship. Leila joined Docademia as a co-founder, bringing a unique background in international and transnational grassroots activism as well as a rich academic knowledge in the social sciences and humanities. During her studies at Columbia, Leila taught a variety of courses including Cultural Theories, Colonialism, and Persian Language. She also taught online courses on Women and Media. She believes firmly in Docademia's mission to introduce an alternative image of underrepresented cultures and communities to academia and started the MBA program at Rutgers University to bring innovations and lead the marketing and finance departments at Docademia.


Content Editor/Writer
Deena Shirkool was born in Tehran, Iran, but moved to Toronto, Canada when she was five years old. She is currently in her second last year of high school and is planning to study psychology in her post-secondary learning. On her own time, she writes short stories, and she has submitted a few to the TCTE Short Fiction Contest, where she was invited to sit at a writer’s conference. Alongside the short stories, Deena also writes for her school’s newspaper, contributing both external and opinion articles. Currently, she works as a writer and editor for Docademia, where she hopes to further her learning in social justice. Deena wants to be able to bring interest in social issues to her peers through organizations such as Docademia.


Erfan Abdi is an artist, designer, and performer based in The Hague since 2009. He graduated from the Master's program at the Artscience Interfaculty, Royal Conservatoire The Hague in 2011. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Tehran (2006). Erfan’s creative practice includes electronic music, video art, computer programming, and physical computing. He takes advantage of the possibilities offered by technology with a DIY attitude, and constructs his instruments from found or re-purposed material, seeking new ways of relating to the world of production and consumption. Erfan joined Docademia as the director of art and technology with a mission to develop a platform for a meaningful exchange between social thinkers at the educational institutes and real-life observers who make social documentaries.


Keji Kujjo is from Khartoum, Sudan. She completed her undergraduate career at the University of Wisconsin­Milwaukee, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Community Engagement & Education and International Politics. Keji is very passionate about promoting women’s education and international development. Internationally, she is interested in working with humanitarian organizations and NGOs focusing on women's issues. Keji is finishing up her master's in Cross-Cultural and International Education at Bowling Green State University. Nationally, Keji is interested in working with underrepresented students in institutions of higher education. She’s interested in recruitment and admissions, student involvement, academic advising, service- learning and leadership development, study abroad and international student services, multicultural student services, minority student retention efforts, and other services.


John Yaworsky is a principal with Nimble Digital Media. He is a digital specialist, as well as a creative, technically savvy director/producer of film and video. With 20 years of traditional and new media production experience, John brings to bear proven visual messaging expertise. An award-winning director and producer, John has earned an Emmy, three Tellys, The Kodak Award and Cine Golden Eagle. His work has placed in several international film festivals including Best Feature and Audience Award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and Tribeca Features Festival. John is the former president of the board for Living Earth Television, and he served on The New Ideas Initiative, The Illinois Council for the Prevention of Violence and The Teenvoice Educational Foundation. John has taught Digital Cinema at DePaul University, and has served as a judge on several film festivals and screenplay competitions.


Urooj Shakeel is a current graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago completing a masters in the in the Arts Administration & Policy program. She earned a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in Art History from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and has worked in Healthcare Management since 2007. Urooj is interested in developing art programs in hospitals and is currently working on her thesis which explores the idea of art as a binding identity in building community.


Ann Marcella Schmitt grew up in Lima, Ohio and completed her undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University in Spanish Education. She is currently a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Cross‐cultural and International Education (MACIE) Program at BGSU. She teaches Educational Technology to pre‐service teachers, and also worked as technology assistant for nineteen international English teachers as part of a Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) program grant. Her research interests include bilingual education, language policy and politics, immigrant education, and teaching English to speakers of other languages. Her dream job would be to work at a bilingual school, teach English to non‐native speakers, or pursuing a Ph.D. and teaching at a university.


Autumn Reddell is originally from Jasper, Arkansas and received her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Sociology from the University of Central Arkansas. She has devoted her time working with English Language Learners through various organizations and capacities. In the future, she hopes to work with the development and implementation of education policy in developing countries and her research interests include the relationship between education and development, particularly in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.


Hamid Alavizadeh is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. His exclusive creative ideas and designs have been recognized in local and international Industrial Design exhibitions. He won prestigious Red Dot Design Awards for a concept product in 2010. His significant knowledge and experience in 2D and 3D based software led him to many successful business and social enterprise endeavors. Hamid joined Docademia as the Art Director for educational materials in 2015. He leads the team to offer minimalist packaging design and produce neat multimedia packages that are easy to use by students and faculty members.


Becca Norman is most recently from Kansas, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Pre-Law at Kansas State University. After serving as a Primary and Secondary English teacher in Ukraine with the Peace Corps, she returned to the States to work with Children International and created their Advocacy department. Currently, she is a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow at Bowling Green State University where she is working towards an M.A. in Cross-Cultural and International Education, with a focus on Education Policy. She teaches Technology in the Classroom and assists with the IREX/ Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) grant program by teaching technology to teachers. Her academic interests include technology in the classroom, standardized testing, curriculum development, and education history and policy.