Carol Dahl, Executive Director
Dr. Carol Dahl is the Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation. With a background in discovery sciences, innovation programs, and global health and development, Dr. Dahl leads the Foundation’s work to use the power of invention to improve lives. The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US, and help solve social and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries.
Prior to joining the foundation in July 2011, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in various roles, including founding Director of the Global Health Discovery Program and as Director of Staff for the overall Global Health Program. During her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Dahl built the platform discovery innovation programs Grand Challenges in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations. Read More
Rachel Jagoda Brunette, Program Officer
Rachel Jagoda Brunette manages the Foundation’s work in our home state of Oregon. She strives to enhance the local ecosystem that inspires Oregonians to invent, supports invention education, and nurtures young inventors in taking their idea to impact through new businesses.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2014, Rachel worked on science, technology, and education policy in the government and nonprofit sectors. As professional staff with the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, she handled oversight of federal STEM programs at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies. She also helped advocate for investments in education, sustainability, and basic research while working at the American Society for Engineering Education. After relocating to Oregon in 2008, Rachel worked for local elected officials on issues related to STEM education, technology industry development, and economic competitiveness.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.
Jennifer Burran, Grants Manager
Jennifer Burran joined the Foundation in June 2009 as Grants Manager, overseeing the flow of grants and program-related investments (PRIs) through their life cycles. This includes managing legal compliance, processing grants and PRIs, and ensuring adherence to agreements, as well as creating and constantly improving the systems that make this management possible. Jennifer’s efforts help ensure that all of our investments in grantees are made in an efficient and effective way.
Previously, Jennifer held grants management roles at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and The Gill Foundation. She began her career in marketing where she wrote website content, marketing collateral materials, and direct mail campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, start-up high tech companies and non-profit organizations. Jennifer currently serves on the Advisory Council for TechSoup Global’s NGOsource, which helps U.S. grantmakers streamline their international giving. From 2007-2011, she served on the Grants Manager’s Network Board of Directors.
Jennifer earned a B.A. from Indiana University with a double major in communications and marketing.
David Coronado, Program Officer
David Coronado joined The Lemelson Foundation as a Program Officer in 2015, and works to support student growth by promoting equal access to invention education, STEM coursework, and out-of-school learning in K-12 schools. David is passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty that prevents many young people from succeeding, and providing alternative pathways that involve inspiration, education and graduation.
Before joining The Lemelson Foundation, David spent over a decade as executive director of the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program at Portland State University – a Lemelson Foundation grantee. He managed all aspects of Oregon MESA’s work to help students from underserved communities gain access to STEM and invention education. Nationally, he served as the President of the MESA USA organization and brought invention education as an approach that has now been integrated across the MESA program nationally. In addition, David served as an academic coordinator at Harvey Mudd College Math and Science Center and as President of the Oregon College Access Network.
David holds a B.A. from Occidental College.
Jennifer Eads, Accountant
Jennifer Eads joined the Lemelson team in the fall of 2015 and is responsible for managing all of the Foundation’s accounting activities. She is an accounting veteran with more than 20 years experience in general ledger, reconciliation, audit preparation and month- and year-end closing work.
Before joining Lemelson, Jennifer held accounting, controller and analyst roles at several Portland-area companies, including Revolution Accounting & Advisory, CorSource Technology Group, Cascade Software Consulting and Tektronix.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Arkansas with a major in computer science engineering. She also completed Washington State University’s Certified Management Accounting Program and is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants.
Alexander Nicholas, Program Officer
Dr. Alexander Nicholas manages the higher education portfolio at the Foundation. He believes in the power of education and innovation to change lives locally and globally. As such, he supports the development of a pipeline of inventors and invention-based enterprises in the US and seeds technology that can help to alleviate the burdens of people living in poverty in developing countries. Alexander also believes in the importance of investing in the next generation of change makers and works to incubate student start ups and expand student engagement in STEM coursework in higher learning facilities.
Before joining the Foundation, Alexander worked as a senior policy analyst at the US Department of Commerce and as a senior policy fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In these roles he led committees and headed programs focused on innovation and green technology. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Group for Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity at the Association Public and Land-Grant Universities where he analyzes the intersection between innovation and markets.
Alexander received a PhD in neuroscience from Florida State University before performing postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Medical Center.
Jea Seconi, Senior Program Assistant
Jea Seconi provides the full range of support functions for the Foundation’s team including project management, administrative duties, scheduling and logistics, and event planning. She ensures that everything we do is done well, on time, and smoothly.
Jea moved to Portland and joined the Foundation in the summer of 2007. Previously, she worked as the Admissions and Development Coordinator and Director of Alumni Relations for the Rapid City Catholic Schools System in South Dakota. In that capacity, she served as activities organizer for incoming and potential students, their families, and alumni, and well as administrator of donor relations efforts.
Jea earned a B.B.A. with a double major in Finance and Business Administration from Houston Baptist University in Texas.
Kenneth W. Turner, Program Officer
Kenneth W. Turner is a Program Officer at The Lemelson Foundation and leads projects that incubate science, technology, and invention-based enterprises to improve the lives of the poor in developing countries.
Before joining The Lemelson Foundation, Kenneth served as Associate Director and World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow with the Schwab Foundation, where he supported a large community of social enterprises throughout Africa and Latin America, and helped foster greater cooperation across the private sector, government, and civil society organizations. He has also worked with USAID’s Development Credit Authority mobilizing local private sector capital to help businesses and social enterprises in developing countries succeed, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia, supporting a microcredit fund which provided short-term loans to rural and agricultural microenterprises.
Kenneth holds a B.S. from Syracuse University with a double major in Finance and Policy Studies, and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
Philip Varnum, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer
Philip Varnum serves as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, responsible for the Foundation’s finances, investments, IT infrastructure, and administration. He is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s program-related investment portfolio which includes both loans and equity investments. He also serves as the staff liaison between the Foundation and its investment consultants. This includes performance reporting and the divest/invest process.
Prior to joining The Lemelson Foundation in 2007, Philip was with Portland State University Foundation for nearly ten years where he was responsible for accounting, investment, human resources, real estate and entrepreneurial functions. Philip earned an MBA degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.