Sarah Comegno – AABC Project Assistant

Sarah Comegno is responsible for involvement from humanities students and primarily works with coordinating, branding, and cultivating engagement for the Blockchain track.

John Farrell – Executive Director

John Farrell is responsible for the organization and leadership of WakeHacks 2021. He coordinates with all other chairs, organizes objectives and deadlines, and puts all of the work together for the final product.

Zackary Janocko – Sponsor Outreach Chair

Zachary Janocko is responsible for coordinating with all of our sponsors.

Andrew Knox – Website Design & Content Chair

Andrew Knox is responsible for the content of the WakeHacks website; he works alongside Lawton Manning and Jorge Reyna to construct the design of the WakeHacks website.

Lawton Manning – Website Design Chair, Financial Chair

Lawton Manning is responsible for the financial aspects of WakeHacks 2021. He designs the budget, prizes, swag, and ensures the event will run smoothly. He also helps design the website along with Andrew Knox and Jorge Reyna.

Mitchell Topaloglu – University & Internal Outreach Co-Chair

Mitchell Topaloglu helps direct outreach efforts to other universities, online advertising, and student participation.

Yuqing (Skye) Wang – Event Scheduling Chair

Skye Wang is responsible for the event scheduling and hourly planning. She works alongside Ellie Wheatley and Professor Raina Haque to design the speaker series and Blockchain schedule.

Ellie Wheatley – Speaker & Workshop Chair

Ellie Wheatley is in charge of coordinating the speakers and workshops available at WakeHacks.

Amy Wilson – Social Media Chair

Amy Wilson runs the official WakeHacks social media, including Twitter and Instagram.

Faculty & Staff

Nicholas Acevedo – Research Assistant 

Nicholas Acevedo is a second-year law student at Wake Forest University School of Law, currently working as a Research Assistant for Professor Haque. Prior to receiving his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 2015, Nicholas was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. During his time working as a Special Intelligence Systems Administrator/Communicator for Signals Intelligence operations, Nicholas developed a passion for working in the field of emergent technologies. After his years of experience providing classified technological support, he decided to continue his passion in the civilian sector. Nicholas plans to use his law school education to advocate for clients dealing with various legal matters involving technology, privacy, and data management. He is especially interested in the possibilities of future widespread implementation of blockchain technology to resolve many of the issues we face as a society today.

Sarra Alqahtani – Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Dr. Sarra Alqahtani (King Saud University, B.S.; King Saud University, M.A.; University of Tulsa, Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Wake Forest University. She received her PhD from University of Tulsa in 2015 and spent 2 years as a postdoc associate there. Dr. Alqahtani focuses on developing artificial intelligent techniques for distributed coordination and adaptive distributed planning for resilient autonomous systems, implementing algorithms to enhance the security and reliability of multi-agent systems built based on reinforcement learning. Dr. Alqahtani is passionate about making progress toward sustainable development goals in the tight race with irreversible changes in our planet. She works with the Intelligent Remote Sensing in Conservation & Discovery Group (IRSC) in WFU to leverage the potential of AI and DL to draw conclusions from large data that humans may not have the capability to see otherwise. She is also passionate about diversity and inclusion in CS education.

Andrew Gurstelle –  Academic Director, Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology

Dr. Andrew Gurstelle is an anthropologist interested in the history and archaeology of West Africa. This interest intersects with museums and heritage in the Atlantic African diaspora, and how African peoples and objects are represented in museums throughout the world. In particular, his research explores how partnerships between international and community museums might be the key to safeguarding African cultural landscapes. Since 2011, Dr. Gurstelle has been the Director of the Savè Hills Archaeological Research Project—an archaeology and oral-history project investigating the Shabe Yoruba kingdom in the Republic of Benin. Over the course of the project, interest in the research’s findings grew into a collaborative effort between archaeologists, local historians, and school teachers. Dr. Gurstelle is committed to Wake Forest University’s “teacher-scholar ideal.” His vision for the future includes promoting the Museum’s potential as a resource for anthropological research.

Raina Haque – Professor of Practice, School of Law – Blockchain Track Executive Director

Raina Haque is directing the Blockchain project at Wake Forest University. She is faculty at Wake Forest School of Law, where she teaches about emerging technologies and regulations and directs transdisciplinary projects. She is a patent attorney and former fintech software engineer and product manager at a Wall Street financial firm. She is on the Board of Editors of the MIT Computational Law Report. Her scholarship in computational law is among the top 10% of Social Science Research Network articles. She is among the first patent attorneys to practice in the blockchain space. She considers herself a life-long student of the history of commerce and is especially fascinated with the legacy of the Silk Routes

Garrett Johnson – Research Assistant

Morna O’Neill – Associate Professor, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century European Art

Dr. Morna O’Neill (University of Notre Dame, B.A.; Yale, Ph.D.) teaches courses in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European art and the history of photography. Her research addresses the conjunction of art, design, and politics at the end of the nineteenth century. She was curator of the exhibition ‘Art and Labour’s Cause is One:’ Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915 (Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, August 2008-June 2009) and author of the exhibition catalogue (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2008). Other research projects include the display of decorative arts at international exhibitions (1889-1911) and the work of the art dealer Hugh Lane (1875-1915).  She is the co-editor, with Michael Hatt (University of Warwick), of The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design, and Performance in Britain, 1901-1910 (Yale University Press, 2010). Dr. O’Neill has received fellowships from the Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Huntington Library.

Jorge Reyna – Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at Wake Forest University School of Law

Jorge Reyna is responsible for the development of the WakeHacks website along with Andrew Knox and Lawton Manning. Jorge is Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at Wake Forest University School of Law, and his personal website can be found at:

Christina Soriano – Director of Dance, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance – Associate Provost for the Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives

Christina Soriano (Trinity College B.A.; Smith College, M.F.A.) joined the Wake Forest Theatre and Dance faculty in 2006 and has served as Director of the dance program since 2016. Soriano has cultivated partnerships between Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the Reynolda campus that transcend departmental, school, community and disciplinary boundaries. In addition to creating new works for the Wake Forest Dance Company each year, Professor Soriano’s choreography has been presented across New England, North Carolina, New York and in Vienna, Austria. Each year, Professor Soriano is a key force behind the annual interdisciplinary symposium, Aging Re-Imagined, which brings together the work of artists and scientists around the topic of Healthy Aging. She also serves on the executive committee of IPLACe, our Interdisciplinary Performance and Liberal Arts Center.

William Turkett – Associate Professor, Associate Department Chair, Computer Science

Dr. William Turkett  (College of Charleston, B.S.; University of South Carolina, Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Wake Forest University. His research focused on probabilistic reasoning. His roles include a member of the University’s Learning Spaces Committee, representing the Graduate School to the University’s Committee on Information Technology (CIT), and acting as an advisory board member for the University’s Center for Molecular Communication and Signaling. In Summer 2015, Dr. Turkett was involved in the first WFU Schools of Business Summer Business Analytics Program, teaching a Data Management course as part of the curriculum, focusing on Databases, Big Data. 

Collaborative Partners

Anne Bracegirdle – Co-Founder, Art and Antiquities Blockchain Consortium

Anne Bracegirdle is an independent consultant focusing on emerging technology strategy within the art world. Most recently as Senior Director at Superblue, Anne led digital strategy, supported the digital initiatives of a network of renowned experiential artists, and helped build the firm alongside the CEO. As an AVP and Specialist at Christie’s New York, Anne spearheaded Christie’s Art + Tech initiative, which culminated in two Art + Tech Summits, Exploring Blockchain (2018) and The A.I. Revolution (2019), in collaboration with Hyundai’s Art Lab. During her ten years at Christie’s she served as a specialist of Photographs, 19th Century European Art, and Russian Art. Anne speaks widely on the topic of art and blockchain and has been cited in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Forbes, The Art Newspaper, among others; she has held speaking engagements with SXSW, the World Economic Forum, The FT Festival, and more.

Susan de Menil – President and Co-Founder, Art and Antiquities Blockchain Consortium (AABC)

Susan de Menil is currently the founding co-president of the Art, Antiquities, and Blockchain Consortium (AABC), a nonprofit 501(c)3 that uses blockchain-based infrastructure to guide the future of cultural heritage repatriation. Since 1991, Susan has worked as the director of marketing, administration, and interior design for Francois de Menil, Architect, P.C. Susan has served as a trustee at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, The Architecture League of New York, the Architecture and Design Committee of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, Religions for Peace, and the Council of the American Film Institute. She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MS from the Columbia University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Lees Romano – Project Manager, Art and Antiquities Blockchain Consortium

Lees Romano is the Project Manager for the Art and Antiquities Blockchain Consortium (AABC). She works closely with the founding members to support the development of the organization and focuses on research. A life-long passion for art and learning coupled with prior experiences in art museums and galleries led Lees to explore and expand her skills as a leader in the arts and promote a more equitable cultural experience that better serves working artists and the public. Currently earning her MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, Lees is exploring the intersection of art and technology, curatorial practice, and collection management. She holds a BA in English Literature from Rhodes College.