African Library Project
board bnr 2019

Board of Directors

Julie Freeman, Board Chair

JulieFreemanJulie Freeman is a lifetime book lover and reader with an interest in Africa. Julie is impressed with the tangible way that ALP touches the lives of children through the libraries it has helped to create. Julie has worked as a communicator and a non-profit executive. In her last full-time role as staff President of the International Association of Business Communicators, Julie was lucky to travel to Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa a number of times. Now Julie works on occasional consulting assignments, which gives her time for volunteering and reading with her grandchildren. She joined the ALP board so that children in Africa can have access to books and the worlds that they can open to readers. She earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary. (ALP Board 2016 – present)

Karen Levesque, Vice Chair

KarenLevesqueKaren Levesque was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal in her 20s, living in a remote village where most of the people were preliterate. Upon returning to the US, she studied education policy in graduate school and currently leads RTI International’s Center for P12 Education, focusing on research and technical assistance on early childhood through high school and transition to college. Karen brings her expertise in the use of data and research for program improvement to the African Library Project, where she will help build capacity to measure the impact that ALP is having as well as the most critical factors contributing to that impact. She has a B.A. from Smith College, M.S. in Public Policy Analysis from Harvard University and Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from UC Berkeley.(ALP Board 2017-present)

Margaret Elvekrog, Recording Secretary

MargaretElvekrogMargaret Elvekrog learned about ALP at The Board Match and was immediately drawn to its mission: not only do students in Africa get access to much-needed books and the opportunities that literacy opens, but Americans get exposure to and a better understanding of countries and cultures in Africa. As a big fan of both books and Africa, ALP seemed like the perfect match for Margaret. She loves traveling and learning about other cultures, and has had the privilege of visiting and exploring Mozambique and Tanzania. She earned her B.S. from Viterbo University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University, both in chemistry. Between these degrees, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Sweden. Margaret’s career has stretched from basic research to biotech and pharmaceutical product commercialization strategy consulting. She is a consultant at Charles River Associates. (ALP Board 2017 – Present)

Chris Bradshaw, Founder, Uganda Liaison

Chris Leadership PageChris Bradshaw was inspired to help start libraries in Africa after being told on a pony trekking trip in Lesotho that the country had just one library. Her interest in Africa began during her junior year in college when she studied at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone and traveled throughout western and central Africa. An ardent traveler, she has now traveled, lived or worked in 65 countries on five continents including 23 African countries. Her background includes ten years as a YMCA executive directing camps and conference centers in Indiana, California and North Carolina and home-schooling her two children, Ben and Mariah. Over the years, she has worked with nonprofits serving the homeless, children of war torn countries, a soup kitchen, and home schooling education and support services. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Denison University with minors in African Studies and Studio Art. (ALP Board 2005-present)

Amy Jo Carson, Board Member and Lesotho Liaison

bio carson

Amy Jo Carson has been working in humanitarian aid, global health and community development work, both domestically and abroad for approximately 30 years. The majority of this work has been done in a variety of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care initiatives, including with American Red Cross as a director of emergency services and a disaster mental health manager. Throughout this same time period, she has been flying part time as an international flight attendant with American Airlines. Her connection to the African Library Project began while serving as a U.S.Peace Corps volunteer in the Kingdom of Lesotho from 2010-2012. She partnered with the Ministry of Education as the field coordinator for the African Library Project and helped to establish 65 community school libraries in Lesotho. Amy Jo received her BA in Sociology at Hunter College and both a Master of Science in Clinical Social Work and a Master of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City. (ALP Board 2017 - Present)

Kathryn Goettl, Board Member

karen g

Kathryn Goettl's interest to childhood literacy and education stems from her own parents' dedication to primary and secondary education, as well as the many happy hours spent in Tucson, Arizona public libraries as a child. Though she has had the great privilege to travel widely as an adult, she especially values the power of books to transport their readers for seemingly distant destinations. When her nose isn't buried in a book, Kathryn works in online video distribution, with an emphasis on family content and development in emerging contexts. She received her BA in Romance Languages from Boston College. (ALP Board 2018 - Present)

Anu Kulkarni, Board Member

anu k

Anu came to ALP through an extremely rewarding book drive led by a group of 3rd grade girls at her daughter’s school. The girls learned about the needs of African communities and children their age. Empowered by their love of learning, the girls felt the books they collected made a meaningful contribution.  A political scientist at Stanford University, Anu specializes in the study of post-conflict development, democratization and human rights. She has conducted research in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 20 years.  Through travel in southern, eastern and western Africa, she is familiar with the type of communities where ALP creates libraries. She hopes that her research and teaching experience, as well as her perspectives on the challenges facing many African societies, can contribute to ALP’s strategic goal of expanding access to literacy and education in Africa. (ALP Board 2018 - Present)


Robyn Speed, Executive Director (Interim)

Robyn speed 2Robyn Speed has long been passionate about literacy and quality education in Africa. As an international development practitioner, former elementary school teacher, and unabashed bookworm she enjoys working to spread the love of reading and lifelong learning to youth in Africa. She first became passionate about education in Africa during a study abroad experience in Kenya where she interned for the Ministry of Education. Regularly visiting learning environments devoid of essential materials made a lasting impact on her. Since then she has worked on education and youth development projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia. Robyn hopes to leverage her skills in program management, communications, monitoring & evaluation and youth development to help mobilize more U.S.-based youth to become global literacy activists and join ALP’s mission of using grassroots service to make a global impact. Robyn holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.Ed. from the City College of New York, and an MA in Global Human Development from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Lauren Shade, Marketing and Knowledge Manager

L shadeA digital native, Lauren Shade has always been fascinated with how communications and digital media bring people together. As a current graduate student at the University of Washington, specializing in Library and Information Science, her goal is to better understand disparities in information access and the "digital divide" and connect enthusiastic learners like herself with the tools they need to excel. She has spent over eight years working in social media, communications and customer support across diverse industries, including technology, real estate, book publishing, legal process outsourcing. Two of those years were spent working in advertising and marketing for local and international startups. Lauren holds a B.S. from Florida International University in Digital Media. Alongside working at African Library Project, she is a contractor at Medium and a metadata intern at the Law Library of Congress. Her goal is simple. To provide deliver impactful content, foster meaningful connections, and never stop learning!


In addition to our Board of Directors, we rely on hands-on volunteers who are deeply involved in planning, organizing and implementing our core activities.

Pamela Bostelmann


Pamela’s passion for Africa led to two English Language Fellow assignments: teaching judges, attorneys, and courtroom staff at the Ministry of Justice (Asmara, Eritrea) and teaching Burundi’s next generation of English teachers at the University of Burundi and its Institute of Applied Pedagogy (Bujumbura). She has visited Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Benin, and South Africa. Pamela taught 7th grade English in Richmond/San Pablo, CA for 10 years, as well as at U.C. Berkeley and various community colleges in the San Francisco [East] Bay Area. She attended Bennington College, graduated from Columbia University, and earned an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from San Francisco State University. She has been a voracious reader for most of her life, founded EMMA – The Buffalo Women’s Bookstore, and is now thrilled to combine her two life passions of reading/promoting reading and the continent of Africa by volunteering for the African Library Project.

Laura Hill, Data and Tech Support

Laura Hill

Laura Hill has had a lifelong passion for libraries and readers. She was drawn to ALP's ecosystem of US book drives partnered with specific African communities hungry for books. She specifically sought out a volunteer opportunity that would allow her to connect real volunteers to real results - ALPs all-volunteer model connects communities in the US with specific rural communities in Africa hoping to build a library. Laura is Co-Treasurer and Technology Director and still helps out as a book-drive coordinator as needed. Laura has many years experience in the high-tech industry with positions in research, marketing, engineering, global operations and planning, and IT. She has an M.S. in Physics from M.I.T. and an MLIS degree from SJSU. (ALP Board 2011-2017) 

Carolyn Gannon, Malawi and Sierra Leone Liaison

carolyn gannonCarolyn Gannon is ALP’s Malawi liaison and has volunteered for ALP since 2007.  Following 30+ years in the high-tech world, where she held engineering vice-president and director positions at technology companies such as Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Join Systems, and others, Carolyn retired to become a volunteer in education and mentoring areas. Carolyn was formerly president of the board of volunteers at Bechtel International Center, Stanford University, and for eight years was a trustee of Bennington College in Vermont.  She is a founding member of the Donor Circle for Africa at Silicon Valley Community Foundation and has also been a volunteer for Child Advocates, Hidden Villa, and TheatreWorks.  (ALP Board 2007-2013)

Cathy Lampman, Book Drive Committee Chair

cathy lampman
Cathy Lampman is a former elementary school teacher with a BA and a teaching credential from UC Santa Barbara. On multiple visits to Africa, she saw rural schools with few or no books. Through ALP, Cathy is proud to be part of a team that gives the gift of reading by putting books into the hands of African children. In addition to her work with ALP, volunteer work at her church and her family, which includes five grandchildren, keep Cathy very busy.



Deborah Freedman Lustig, Kenya and Swaziland Liaison

DeborahDeborah Freedman Lustig is a cultural anthropologist whose research has focused on gender and education in the United States and Kenya, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2004-5. As a high school teacher in Kenya in 1988, she started a library in her school because she saw the "book hunger" in Africa.  She is currently Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at UC Berkeley. She also volunteers as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care and serves on the board of Six Seconds--The Emotional Intelligence Network.  She has a BA in economics from UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. (ALP Board 2010-2017)

Erika Papakipos, Intake Coordinator 

Erika PapakiposErika Papakipos is an elementary school teacher with a background in Evolutionary Biology and a lifelong continent-crush on Africa. She holds a BA in Physical Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur. She considers her research work with siamangs and gibbons in college to have been excellent preparation for both parenthood and teaching kindergarten. She joined the African Library Project because it is a group of dedicated and passionate individuals doing real, concrete good in improving literacy and education across the continent she loves so much. She loves ALP’s African partnership model of respectful cooperation and the distributed, grassroots nature of the book drives which means that American volunteers benefit as much from the process as the African recipients do. 

Alice Valentine, Container Manager and Botswana Liaison

alice valentine
Alice Valentine loves children, books, education, Africa and recycling so volunteering for ALP is a perfect match! She has had the privilege to travel to many developing countries and through various organizations has helped to provide teachers with training and materials and children with books and the resources to go to school. A graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science and a former elementary school teacher with a credential from San Jose State University, she is happy to bring her skills and enthusiasm for learning and books to ALP as a Container Manager. She loves ALP’s model as it provides volunteers a way to make a difference through giving their time and talents, not just through donating money as most organizations only provide. 


Board Emeritus

Lisako BridgewaterLisako Bridgewater

Lisako Bridgewater began her involvement with ALP as a volunteer in 2009. She discovered her deep passion to help those in developing countries from her experience traveling to over 40 countries on 5 continents, including visiting and living in 11 countries in Africa. She is a recruiter and has worked at a range of companies including eBay, Inc., Facebook, and Omidyar Network. (ALP Board 2012- 2015)

FJ Cava

FJ Cava

FJ Cava, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon, has over twenty years of experience in designing, developing and delivering high quality/high impact learning products. He has worked with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and Inveneo. These positions, along with an MBA from San Francisco State University, have provided highly transferable skills in conceptual planning, monitoring & evaluation and capacity development to work in a wide range of settings. He is currently the Chief Operations Officer for TECHAiDE, a Ghana-based company deploying ICT solutions in rural Africa. (ALP Board 2013-2016)

Sharna Fey

Sharna FeySharna Fey fell in love with Africa on her first trip to Tanzania in 2008 where she volunteered in an orphanage. The experience of passing out a dictionary and having kids look over each others’ shoulders to read the dictionary stayed with her. Sharna co-facilitates our Summits in Africa and emcees our fundraisers.  Sharna is an executive coach, leadership consultant and speaker based in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Washington State University with a BA in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute Co-Active Coach Training Program and Co-Active Leadership Program, and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. (ALP Board 2013-2018)

Mira Foster  

Mira FosterMira Foster joined the board in 2010 and knows firsthand about the impact of libraries and literacy on African students. As a US Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia from 1999 through 2001, she was a school librarian as well as an English teacher. Mira has studied in Ghana, taught in China, has a BA in International Studies from Vassar College and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. She is currently a librarian at San Francisco State University with subject specialties in international relations, international business, political science, and public administration. (ALP Board 2010-2013)

Christine Helwick

Christine HelwickChristine had a long career in higher education, serving as General Counsel of the California State University system for 16 years, and she believes in the importance of education, particularly early education, to lift communities up.  She is also enthused about the idea of recycling educational materials that are no longer in use. Christine now works part-time for higher education clients at Hirschfeld Kraemer in San Francisco. She serves on the board of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom, a nonprofit organization that develops curriculum materials focused on developing students’ social responsibility.  She is a graduate of Stanford University and earned a Masters degree in Teaching from Northwestern University and a JD from Hastings College of the Law.  (ALP Board 2014 - 2017)

Kathleen Long

Kathleen LongKathleen Long began her involvement with ALP as a book drive organizer in 2008. Initially, she was interested in finding worthwhile social projects where she and her son could contribute together.  As a self-avowed bookworm, ALP offered the perfect opportunity to be involved with the books that meant so much to her during childhood and to pass along social compassion to her son. Kathleen is also involved in Vision Literacy’s tutoring program, where she teaches basic reading and writing skills to inmates at Elmwood Correctional Facility.  Kathleen mentors professional women through involvement in Women Unlimited and participates in a variety of other charitable causes as a fundraiser and volunteer.  Kathleen also mentors startups looking to improve their human systems and sales and support processes.  She works in Palo Alto as a Sales and Customer Support Executive for, a leading business payments network.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and General Studies from the University of Nevada Reno. (ALP Board 2014 - 2017)

Lauren Mikulski

LaurenMikulskiLauren Mikulski has had a lifelong passion for Africa, beginning with her work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last 18 years Lauren has been dedicated to helping expand access to healthcare and medical technology in Sub-Saharan Africa. She first lived in Africa during her Ugandan study abroad program and then again in Kenya for her work in Global Health. During her time in developing countries she has seen the immense impact access to books have on young children. A passionate traveler, she has now traveled, lived or worked in 75+ countries on six continents including 20 African countries. Lauren hopes to leverage her expertise in strategy, marketing, and building successful grassroots programs to expand ALP's network in Africa. Over the years, she has volunteered with nonprofits focused in health, homelessness, orphans, domestic abuse, hunger, and social services. She is also currently a board member at the Felton Institute. Lauren holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. (ALP Board 2017 – 2019)

Gail Moody-Byrd

Gail Moody-ByrdGail Moody-Byrd has been interested in development in Africa since a 1993 project with the World Bank, which explored commercial opportunities in five African countries. Gail is currently employed by SAP, the largest provider of business software, as the Senior Director of Marketing for SAP Community Network. In her role she drives adoption of and engagement in SAP’s highly-regarded online community of over 2 million customers, partners and SAP experts, using social media. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Spelman College. (ALP Board 2012–2015)

Alison Polkinhorne

alison polkinhorne

Alison Polkinhorne connects strongly with ALP’s ability to inspire activism in young Americans. After a career spent mostly in the high-tech start-ups of Silicon Valley, she is keenly aware of what can be accomplished by very small groups of very focused people and now spends her time volunteering for groups working for social equity and justice. She has a BA from UC Santa Cruz and an MA from Stanford in Modern Thought and Literature. (ALP Board 2011-2014)

Mehul RawalMehul Rawal

Mehul Rawal's interest in Africa stems from his family roots in East Africa and a desire to improve lives in less developed countries. Mehul was drawn to ALP’s grassroots model to help communities in Africa and create an awareness and connection with volunteers in the US.  As an avid recycler, Mehul is energized by the chance to help redirect books that would otherwise go unused or end up in landfills. He is a graduate of UC Davis with a BS in Managerial Economics.  (ALP Board 2009-2012) 

photo of Jennifer Seidler

Jennifer Seidler

Jennifer Seidler has long been an active volunteer for organizations to promote learning and education, and for several years ran a chess program in inner-city schools in San Francisco. Jennifer is a Director at Commonfund, a nonprofit which focuses on institutional investment management. She holds a MS in Financial Analysis and an MBA with an emphasis in International Business from University of San Francisco and a BS in Economics from Santa Clara University. (ALP Board 2012–2016)

Meredith Miller VostrejsMeredith Vostrejs

Meredith Miller Vostrejs worked to support national HIV/AIDS care and treatment and increase women and children's access to care while living in Swaziland. Meredith appreciates ALP's focus on volunteerism, having herself worked with the US Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.  Meredith is a Program Manager for Stanford University's WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice.  Meredith has a M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Politics from UC Santa Cruz.  (ALP Board 2010-2012)