Professor Rishi Jaitly is a Distinguished Humanities Fellow in the Center for Humanities and leader of the "Digital Transformations and Scientific Collaboration" area in the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies (ATS), which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Building on his specialization in History and American Studies at Princeton University, Jaitly has championed humanities as an area of growth and transformation. He is a leader of human-centered change and technology whose commitment to public service has led him to embrace multiple roles in society to advance public interest.
Jaitly has led teams at Google and Twitter, and he has co-founded non-profit organizations such as Michigan Corps, an online service platform for Michiganders to give back to their home state no matter where they live.
Jaitly’s other civic entrepreneurial and executive experiences have spanned a range of sectors. He has served as commissioner of higher education in New Jersey, a director of the Knight Foundation, and director of strategy for the nonprofit College Summit (now Peer Forward) that partners with low-income high-schools and their students to boost college enrollment rates.
Upon leaving Twitter in 2016, Jaitly co-founded and served as CEO of Times Bridge, an investments and partnerships firm with a mission to help the world’s best ideas expand internationally and in India in particular. In 2022, he was recognized by Rest of World as a top 100 Global Tech’s Changemaker.
Professor Jaitly’s humanities advocacy has led him to seats on the boards of the National Humanities Center; PRX, a public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling; and Virginia Humanities, the commonwealth’s humanities council. He is also a former Trustee of Princeton University.
Dominique Francesca is the Center for Humanities’ Business Manager and Office Administrator. A native of Minneapolis, Dominique came to Virginia Tech in 2019 after a long career in business ownership and management in the New River Valley, as well as in the Mid- and Southwest. She manages the center’s fiscal responsibilities and serves as the primary assistant to the director.
Dr. Jason A. Higgins is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities and Oral History. He recently earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying Modern US/Global and African American History, and specializing in the Vietnam War, trauma, and Veterans Studies. He is the director of the Incarcerated Veterans Oral History Project and the co-editor of Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History (UMass Press, 2022).
Rebekah Mui is a PhD student at ASPECT from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She previously researched Web 2.0, communities of practice, and professional development for early childhood educators in Malaysia and Ireland for her honors and master's theses. Her current research interests are anarcho-pacifism, religion, and empire.