Momentum Experts are young professionals from academia, business, civil society, or politics, and they work with us on a project basis. They support our various consulting and educational services, as well as our research, with their expertise and experience. For instance, Momentum Experts conduct workshops with us or support us in the preparation and implementation of our specific services. They possess valuable expertise and experience in various fields of sustainable development, as well as specific methods and tools that we use for our services. Momentum Experts receive regular training and constant feedback on their activities.

We are pleased to work with the following Momentum Experts:

Inga Carry

Expert on Conflict Studies and Sustainable Development

Inga earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English Studies from Trier University and continued her graduate studies in the Joint Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg, Canada. In 2016, she worked for the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, where she conducted research on disarmament, non-proliferation, and multilateral cooperation in the Middle East. She was invited to present her research at the 2017 UNODC PrepCom of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Vienna. In 2017, she spent three months in the Middle East working with the tri-lateral environmental organization EcoPeace Middle East and conducting qualitative field research for her master’s thesis. Her data has led to a comprehensive study on environmental peacebuilding and Israeli-Palestinian water cooperation. During her last year of study, Inga worked as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Winnipeg and as a member of the Research Ethics Board. In July 2018, Inga and her husband moved back to Germany, and now live in Berlin. She is excited to be a part of Momentum Novum’s expert team and work on projects around international cooperation, sustainable development, and peace.

Xiaoao Dong

Startup and Crowdfunding Expert

Xiaoao Dong is a startup enthusiast through and through, and he has profound knowledge of the different stages of a startup’s life cycle due to his intense community-building work within the past five years for the Austrian startup ecosystem. He has built up a vast network of international ecosystem key players and has held several keynotes in universities and schools. As a jack of all trades, he is always eager to support innovative sustainable business ideas with his passion and enthusiasm for founders who want to solve problems in the world. Due to his work as Company Scout, Investor Relations, and Partner Support, and his responsibility for three equity-based and lending-based crowdfunding platforms respectively, he has a deep understanding of business planning, business modelling, investor acquisition and pitching. But ultimately, his DNA lies in the online marketing field, where he shows his creativity through working with founders to create meaningful campaigns that add value for the community, instead of simply maximising reach. As a tea lover and foodie, he is currently starting his own business in the tea segment and is also responsible for the marketing of his family’s restaurant.

Lauren Kiser

Renewable Energy Expert

Lauren Kiser is a project developer at a renewable energy company based in Houston, Texas, which develops, owns, and operates utility-scale wind farms and solar parks across North America. Through her work, she has supported the development of wind farms and solar parks to secure long-term commercial opportunities through power purchase agreements in order to bring the renewable generators online. She has focused primarily on the capital expenditure tracking, reporting, and estimating process. In addition, she supports the development efforts of new projects through land acquisition and permitting. Her background is in international relations and economics with a focus on environmental issues and corporate social responsibility. She received a double degree, Bachelor of Arts, from Texas Christian University in 2013 and earned her Master of Arts in global finance, trade, and economic integration in 2016 from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Huang Mengmeng

Assistant Professor, German Chancellor Fellow 2018

Dr. Huang Mengmeng is an assistant professor for international relations at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Her research focuses mainly on the German Foreign Policy, Sino-German cooperation, Industry 4.0, and China-EU relations. In 2017, Dr. Huang received a grant from the National Social Science Fund of China for Distinguished Young Scholars. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the Universities of Heidelberg and Tübingen under the framework of the funding of the German Chancellor Fellowship. As a Committee Member of the Center for Chinese-German Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, she is engaged in promoting Sino-German research cooperation.

Leah Schmidt

Expert on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Leah is currently a Chevening, Cambridge Trust, and Rotary Scholar pursuing an MPhil in multidisciplinary gender studies at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis focuses on violence against gendered bodies under current United Nations peacekeeping policy, utilising lenses of critical queer and feminist theory. She has also earned two Bachelors of Arts in women’s studies (first class honours) and international relations (with distinction), minoring in anthropology, from the University of Calgary. Leah has previously worked in human rights and security policy with Amnesty International, the National Organization for Women, Global Affairs Canada, and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. In her spare time, Leah researches adult-learning educational pedagogy, serves as Under-Secretary-General for National Model United Nations • DC, and is the inaugural Artist-in-Residence with Fairytales Queer Film Festival, where she is directing a feature-length documentary on LGBTQ+ social justice resistance. She also currently serves as a Fellow with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security in NYC. With a personal and professional commitment to interdisciplinary global change-making, Leah is thrilled to be involved with Momentum Novum.

Dennis Steinsiek

Expert on Sustainable Cities and Mobility

Dennis holds a M.Sc. in Sustainable Development with a focus on Environmental Governance from Utrecht University. For his degree he studied in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Cyprus. He is passionate about sustainable mobility and wrote his master thesis in cooperation with Mikael Colville-Anderson’s Copenhagenize Design Company. Currently he works as a senior mobility consultant at nextbike (Germany) and gives guest lectures at Universities and keynotes at conferences dealing with urban design, cycling infrastructure and smart public transport solutions.

Alexandra Velasco

Coordinator of the Innovation and Sustainability Office, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

Alexandra Velasco is a full-time faculty member at the Business School of Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Since 2016, she has been working as International Programs Director, where she oversees all the exchange programs of the university. In addition to that, Alexandra has served as the Innovation and Sustainability Coordinator since 2013. This office is in charge of measuring the university’s carbon footprint. Its projects are strategically designed to mitigate risk, innovate, and reduce operational costs; one example of a current project is a park-and-ride programme to decrease traffic. Through this office, two projects have been implemented at USFQ: PISA, a class that includes inter-departmental interaction based on projects to solve social challenges, and a laboratory for ideation and rapid prototyping based on design thinking. Alexandra obtained her MBA from the University of Oregon in 2013.