MichiKen Board of Directors
Jim Sterken, the president of the MichiKen board, is an engineer and entrepreneur. Jim led two service trips to Kenya, and directed the establishment of the computer lab at the Bishop Lawi Imathiu Secondary School (BLISS) in 2010. In 2012, Jim mentored a group of Kenyan and US students in workshops, site interviews, and market research to develop business ideas for the Kithoka region. Jim is currently mentoring the Digital Village project which will provide dedicated, high speed internet access at the Thiiri Centre, Amani Children’s Home, and the Bishop Lawi Imathiu Secondary School.
Dan Clauw is a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, and leads an annual trip of health professions faculty and students to Kenya. More than 80 faculty and students traveled to Kenya in 2011 and 2012 to complete health surveys and assessments. Dan led the fundraising for the building of a science laboratory at BLISS and is deeply committed to building economic, scientific and medical partnerships within the greater Meru community.
Thomas Nyongesa is a computer systems analyst at the University of Michigan. Born and raised in a remote village in northwest Kenya, Thomas excelled in academics and sports, and completed his undergraduate education in Nairobi. After serving as the coach of the Kenyan national swim team, Thomas moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and completed his graduate studies in computer science. On two service trips to the Meru region, Thomas as served as an advisor and implementor of computer labs in primary schools and at BLISS.
Rama Mwenesi is a 2013 graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering and is currently in a UM Master of Engineering program. Rama was born in Kenya, was educated in Kenya and South Africa, and completed his senior year of high school in the United States. At the University of Michigan, Rama was the student director of the E-MAGINE project, which strives to bridge the digital and social divide in underprivileged schools around the world. Rama has received several awards for his work, including the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Award and the Stellar Multicultural Performance Award from the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach.
Marianne Clauw is a management consultant in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She has visited Meru six times, and led the implementation of online accounting for BLISS in 2009. Marianne mentors undergraduate and graduate students traveling to Kenya, and is engaged in the business microloan program for the Meru area.
Amy Tremper is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. Amy designed and implemented a reproductive health program for the upper primary and secondary students in Kithoka. Amy mentors University of Michigan medical students each year on the annual trip to Kenya, and has trained teachers in the Kithoka schools to continue the work of ensuring the health and well-being of young people in the area.