The MENTOR Project

was created to shed light on the benefits of mentoring. We know the benefits mentees receive from finding a good mentor. But did you know that mentors receive as many and often more benefits from mentoring than their mentees? Mentors report feelings of fulfillment, legacy, meaning productivity, and value. They feel connected to the world in a deeper way than before they became a mentor.

What do we do with the best and brightest experts?

Have them MENTOR the next generation!

Many of the most accomplished, brightest experts in every field of work have a desire to give back to the next generation, but they don't know how to get involved. We believe in the value of mentorship, and passing the torch of knowledge, information, innovation, culture, values and inspiration to the next generation. Not only do we change ourselves when we mentor, but we change the lives of our mentees, and we change the world. Every mentor makes a permanent impression, and the legacy lives on.

We are wasting our most precious natural resource.

It isn’t coal oil or gas. It is people!

What if growing older wasn’t something to fear? And what if the phrase “Tis Better to Give than to Receive” were actually true? This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor


The MENTOR Project brings top leaders in the field of science and technology into the classrooms.

  • Deborah Heiser, PhD


  • Bill "Ches" Cheswick

    Nerd Maker

  • Irene Yachbes, MS

    Chief Product Officer

  • Robert "Bob" Cousins


  • Jura Christine Zibas

    Board Member

  • Larry Heiser


  • Gabriel Lewis


meet our mentors

Bill Cheswick Andrea Rothman Karen Fay Karen Fay Karen Fay Karen Fay Irene Yachbes Robert Cousins Linda Hancock Linda Hancock Mike Passeretti

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor


Jura Christine Zibas
Lawyer & Partner at Wilson Elser

Jura Zibas is a lawyer and partner at Wilson Elser and is co-chair of the firm’s intellectual property practice and a member of the information governance leadership committee.
Jura is also on The Board of The Mentor Project and is a mentor. She has an extensive technology background and focuses her legal practice on intellectual property, technology and commercial matters. Relying on her scientific and analytical skill sets, Jura assists in solving legal issues that involve intellectual property rights, cybersecurity, technology-related disputes and complex business disputes.
Trained in chemistry and dentistry, combined with training in computer science and uses these skills she learned in her undergraduate coursework in her work as a lawyer.
Her science and technology background is of particular value to her clients in the computer and engineering fields, online businesses, hardware/software development, medical, durable medical equipment, health care, construction and manufacturing.

LaTonya Kilpatrick-Liverman, PhD
Worldwide Director of Technology, Early Clinical Dental Research and Methods Development Colgate Palmolive Co

Dr. LaTonya Kilpatrick-Liverman works in the Clinical Dental Research Dept at Colgate Palmolive Co. She leads a diverse team of researchers responsible for evaluating early in development technologies, developing improved clinical methods to objectively measure oral conditions, and developing new clinical measurements to detect pre-clinical signs of disease.
Throughout her tenure at Colgate, LaTonya has provided critical support to improve the product performance of skin cleansing, underarm, and oral care products. She is the author of 18 patent publications, 17 journal and book articles, and 20 internal publications. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Industrial Advisory Board at Rutgers University, and the Biomaterials Symposium Advisory Board.
LaTonya feels strongly about exposing kids to science early on. She has volunteered in a number of education based outreach programs sponsored by Colgate Palmolive, the American Chemical Society, and community groups. She understands the importance of providing children with an opportunity to get hands on experience conducting laboratory experiments or working through science based problems. She finds joy leveraging every opportunity to give back and share her experiences.
LaTonya holds a BA degree in Chemistry from Hampton University and a PhD degree in chemistry from Princeton University.

Marcella M. Nehrbass
Manager, Network Operations Colgate-Palmolive Company

I hold a BA degree in Engineering from Lafayette College, a Master of Engineering Management degree from Duke University, and am currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Temple University.
I have worked for Colgate-Palmolive for ten years and held positions of increasing responsibility in various supply chain functions: Factory Performance and Reliability, Procurement, Planning, Manufacturing Team Leader, and Continuous Improvement Engineer. Currently, I am the Network Operations Manager supporting Underarm Products. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my career has taken me to NYC, Ohio, Kentucky, and back to NJ. Professionally, I am involved with the Colgate Women's Network and the Colgate Jumpstart Committee, which is for early in career's, and externally with Women Unlimited.
Now that I am in an MBA program I do not have a lot of free time, but when I do I love to work-out and keep active. I swam at the DI level at Lafayette but I also participated in lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. My husband and I enjoy travelling and went to Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon and recently to Vietnam and Cambodia. Aside from traveling and sports, my passions and hobbies include mentoring, interviewing applicants for Duke, reading, eating good food, and dogs!

Bill "Ches" Cheswick
Nerd Maker

Ches is known for his early work in Internet security, including firewalls, proxies, and as co-author on the first full book on Firewalls. He is also noted for his work in visualizations, especially Internet maps, which have appeared widely. Ches has worked at Bell Labs and AT&T Shannon Lab, and was a cofounder of Lumeta Corp.
He continues to invent, collaborate, write apps, consult, hang out with grad students at the University of Pennsylvania, and give talks worldwide. He currently visits schools to teach advanced STEM concepts to grade schoolers in The Mentor Project.

Robert "Bob" Cousins

Bob Cousins has worked with startups in both energy and computing for more than 35 years. Bob has served as CTO and/or Engineering VP of multiple technology companies from New York to California. He is an inventor and technologist, holding over twenty patents in diverse areas including filesystem design, data storage and security, high frequency RADAR, imaging and medical instrumentation, and virtual credit cards. He has also written two novels, Pipov and Miller's Trials.

Regina Hourigan
Manager in Strategic Innovations & Technology Alliances

Regina Hourigan is a Manager in Strategic Innovations & Technology Alliances for Colgate-Palmolive. Her current role is focused on developing and embedding Innovation Capabilities for R&D and beyond at Colgate. This has been an unexpected, and rewarding, career shift for her. Her roots are in chemical engineering and she spent her early career on both the manufacturing floor and R&D lab benches. While researching & launching products for both Irish Spring & Palmolive, mentors and leaders at Colgate helped her realize her potential to foster creativity and collaboration in others. Ever since then she has been driving and embedding innovation capabilities to transform organizational culture.
In her current role, Regina's goal is to stretch how Colgate people work across the organization - by embedding Design Thinking and new innovation capabilities into our work globally - to create even more meaningful and breakthrough innovations for the users of Colgate products.
She leads the adoption of Design Thinking at Colgate & is a leader Colgate's Design Thinking Catalysts - impacting & influencing hundreds of employees and our users. She is also the lead of a community of over 85 Creative Problem Solving facilitators, who are specially trained in conducting problem solving workshops - generating novel and practical ideas for teams and fostering our innovative culture at Colgate. These efforts have led to over 90% of surveyed R&D team members finding relevance and value these innovation practices.

How bacteria in our mouth can be both healthy and detrimental

Aamani Rupakula, PhD
Microbiology, Research Scientist

Aamani Rupakula is an early-career microbiology research scientist. Aamani studied her Bachelors of Microbiology and Masters of Microbiology in India. She then went on to pursue her PhD/Doctorate of Microbiology in EPFL – Ecole polytechnique federale Lausanne / Swiss Federal institute of technology, Lausanne, Switzerland. She studied how bacteria work and how we can use their genetic machinery to help clean up our environment, by breaking down pollutants on earth. She then pursued her Post doctoral Research at Rutgers University, New jersey to learn how to isolate such bacteria from the natural environments and how to cultivate them in different conditions, in order to study which new pollutants can be biodegraded under various environmental niches. Upon completion of her Post Doctoral Research she joined Colgate-Palmolive Company in NJ, as a Research Scientist to explore how bacteria in our mouth can be both healthy and detrimental/bad and to apply her knowledge in microbiology in order to develop mouthwashes or toothpastes (oral care products) that help to fight against the bad bacteria in our mouth that cause gum diseases like tooth decay/caries, gingivitis etc.
In her free time, Aamani loves to travel, enjoys snow-shoeing, and loves to learn about new cultures. Aamani grew up in Botswana, Africa until high school then went back to India (her homeland) and studied there until Masters of Science, and thereon went to Switzerland, Europe and is currently in USA. Aamani believes Science can take us places and she loves exploring different cultures, countries and various aspects of Microbiology along her career.

Mission to Mercury
Irene Yachbes, MS
Mentor Project
Chief Product Officer

Irene Yachbes has been a tech professional in the robotics and digital industries for 18 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia and her Masters Degree in Technical Management from Johns Hopkins University.
As a Spacecraft Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Maryland, she performed integration, testing, and launch site support for four spacecraft that studied the Earth’s atmosphere, planets and comets.
On the Messenger mission to Mercury, she was the Lead Engineer for all electrical wiring of the spacecraft. Following this, Irene became the Director of Business Development at Honeybee Robotics. Working with world-renowned scientists and engineers, she brought in tens of millions of dollars of research and product development funding for robotics projects.
With the support of friends and mentors, Irene decided to create the first grassroots Maker space in her home on Long Island for her son Eric and his friends.

Elisha Gray is one of our more important and prolific inventors, yet today he is almost unknown.

Elisha Gray is one of our more important and prolific inventors, yet today his almost unknown.

In 1865, Elisha had his first invention – a self-adjusting relay for the telegraphic system. A relay is a form of electrically controlled switch. He received his first patent on this device two years later. He would be granted more than seventy in his long career.

In 1869, Elisha partnered with Enos Barton to found Gray & Barton Company in Cleveland, Ohio. This company manufactured telegraph equipment for the Western Union Telegraph Company – the largest telegraph company in the world.

Western Electric would be absorbed in 1915 by AT&T, American Telephone and Telegraph – the monopoly telephone vendor in the US.

One important byproduct of the Western Electric/AT&T operation was the founding of Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1925. This legendary lab produced many inventions including the LASER, the transistor and transformed computer science. In all, eight Nobel prizes were awarded to Bell Labs researchers.

It is clear that Elisha Gray could invent and develop useful technologies and build companies what could stand the test of time, but his greatest contribution was yet to be seen.

Read More

Nikola Tesla

Whenever you see a high line traveling across the countryside, you will see that it usually carries three wires thanks to Tesla’s idea.

The higher managers in Continental Edison quickly noticed Tesla’s advanced knowledge and understanding of engineering and physics and were sending him around France and Germany to troubleshoot all manner of problems for the company. After two years of being a star, Tesla was transferred to the US in 1884.

He spent six months working with Edison’s attempts to use his direct current system in increasingly complex and difficult ways. Finally, Tesla quit in disgust. Legend has it that Thomas Edison promised Tesla a substantial bonus if he could fix a major flaw in Edison’s generators.

When Tesla redesigned them and solved the problem, the legend says that Edison refused to live up to his bargain. Or it could simply have been that Tesla was tired of trying to make Edison’s technology work when other technologies were superior. We really don’t know.

This marked the beginning of a bitter rivalry between Tesla and Edison that would leave a huge mark on the world’s economy.

Read More

Thomas Edison

At the end of the nineteenth century, electrical technology still needed to mature. The leading force in bringing electricity to market was Thomas Edison, one of our greatest inventors. He also invented motion pictures, sound recording and dozens of other useful items.

Edison’s style of inventing was to figure out something the world needed, then go into his lab and try things until he had a solution. Edison was not a believer in mathematics or systematic science, instead he believed in hiring legions of smart people to try lots of solutions.

Edison was a great inventor but he was not highly skilled with electricity. He filled in the components in his vision with ideas he understood.

Edison was the first person with a vision for how electricity might be deployed. He wanted to bring electricity into people’s homes where they could replace open flames with safe electric lights. He set about creating each component required starting at the light bulb and working back towards the steam engine turning the dynamo. When he was done, he had a way to generate and distribute power to homes, then to meter usage for billing and finally to turn lights on and off at will.

Read More

Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse is an enigma. For the first three decades of his life, Morse showed little sign that he would invent a world-changing technology.

He supported himself by working as a contract painter. He showed great promise as a painter and his work caught the eye of Washington Allston, perhaps the most famous artist in the country at that time.

Tragedy struck in 1825. Morse traveled from his home in New Haven to Washington DC to paint a commissioned portrait of Lafayette. One day, he received a letter from his father indicating that his wife was recovering from a serious illness. This was the first Samuel had learned of her illness. The next day, he received a second missive from his father informing Samuel of his wife’s passing and subsequent burial.

Morse was heartbroken. And he was frustrated at the slow communications of the day which had not given him the opportunity to return to his dying bride’s side in time.

Starting in 1830, Morse returned to Europe for two years—learning new painting techniques and visiting Italy, France and Switzerland. It was on the return voyage in 1832 that his life took a dramatic turn.">

Read More

Steam, Culture, and the Industrial Revolution

Most experts will tell you that the Industrial Revolution started just before our War for Independence, in the middle 1700s, and continued for a century or more. Let us not get hung up on the dates. The truth is that the Industrial Revolution really started slowly around 1700 and continued until well after 1900 in the US.

Life before and after the Revolution was completely changed. In fact, if you were beamed back to 1700 to live, you would find it very strange, while you’d probably be much more at home in 1850.

One reason the revolution took so long was that so many things had to change. Another reason is that there were so many ways things could be improved upon.

Before the revolution, wind and muscles were the prime movers of the world. Sails provided movement over water. Everywhere else muscles did the work—either human or animal. The speed of movement was slow—limited by the walking speed of a horse or the wind—and it had not changed for three thousand years. Or to be blunt, Alexander the Great and George Washington both travelled at the same speed—slow. And a horse drawn wagon was the largest general unit of transfer.">

Read More

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor