Presenter Bios

Dr. Robert Emmett serves as Assistant Director for Global Engagement in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and focuses on intercultural skills, connecting classroom learning with sustainable community development, and online engineering education. He is the author of Cultivating Environmental Justice: A Literary History of US Garden Writing (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016) and with David E. Nye, Environmental Humanities: A Critical Introduction (MIT Press, 2017). With Gregg Mitman and Marco Armiero, he edited the collection of critical reflections and works of art, Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (University of Chicago, 2018). His humanities scholarship has appeared in the journals Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Environmental Humanities, Resilience and elsewhere

Kristen Koopman is a Ph.D. candidate in Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech, where she studies cultural images of science and the impact of scientific values in informal contexts such as the science fiction community.  Her dissertation looks at the ways that speculative fiction authors legitimize their speculations, how these techniques parallel the ways that scientists legitimize their knowledge-claims, and the embedded values in that overlap that has been shown to lead to inequitable outcomes for marginalized communities. She is also the Graduate Assistant for Programs in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering's Office of Global Engineering Engagement and Research, where she supports logistics, planning, and assessment for international opportunities organized through the Dean of Engineering’s Office.

Philina Wittke is a Project Manager of the African German Network for Research, Innovation and Transfer, DAAD.  Until August 2021, Philina Wittke was the Head of the TU Darmstadt North America Office located in San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she works at the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst / German Academic Exchange Service) as the Project Manager of an African German Network for Research, Innovation and Transfer.  She has been working in international higher education for 15 years, in various countries and contexts.  After completing her Master’s Degree at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA, she moved to Tübingen University, Germany, to organize and facilitate short-term programs such as the International Summer School with more than 200 participants each year.  She subsequently moved to South Africa to become the Director of the DAAD Information Center for Southern Africa.  At TU Darmstadt, she founded and headed the North America Office in Blacksburg, VA, and later San Antonio, TX.  She has been teaching German as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Communication for participants around the world in virtual and physical formats. An Online Blended Learning course for STEM students as well as Culture course on the German History of Technology are her latest products. With Virginia Tech, she developed a course on Global Competencies for Engineering Students.