Meet the Team


A. Tolga Turker, Ph.D.
Director of Global Entrepreneurial Programs


As Director of Global Entrepreneurial Programs, Tolga Turker serves as a key member of the Global Affairs leadership team and develops opportunities to execute UConn`s global strategy. He collaborates with UConn schools, colleges, and administrative units to develop and expand international partnerships and programs as well as review partnerships with international institutions in the areas of research, teaching, and service. Tolga also oversees training and service programs developed by the Global Training and Development Institute. Prior to joining UConn Global, Tolga oversaw University of Arizona`s (UA) microcampus dual degree partnerships, Global Direct online pathways programs, and noncredit programs offered in Europe and Central Asia. Prior to this role, Tolga served as a full-time faculty member in Political Science Departments in Turkey and Kazakhstan and led university`s integration to European Higher Education zone.

Tolga holds Ph.D. in Political Science (University of Cincinnati, 2008), Master of Arts in International Relations (Eastern Illinois University, 2000) and Bachelor of Arts (Bilkent University, 1998). He continues to teach graduate courses in political Islam and politics in Central Asia at the University of Arizona`s International Security Studies (MA) program.


Roy Pietro

Roy E. Pietro, Ed.D.
Project Director/PI
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)

Tel: (860) 486-4252

Dr. Roy Pietro has served as the Principal Investigator for numerous professional and academic exchange programs for UConn, funded by the U.S. Department of State. During his 20-year tenure at UConn, Roy has led efforts to secure approximately $20 million in federal and state contract awards, which promote GTDI's mission to provide transformational learning experiences to international participants. In 2008, he was selected as New England’s nominee for the prestigious Adelle F. Robertson Professional Continuing Educator Award.

Roy has also initiated academic partnerships and educational collaborations with various national and international higher education institutions, including the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS); the University of Maryland; Brown University; the University of Texas at Austin; the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel; Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey; Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, China; the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa; and the UN-mandated University for Peace in Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica. He has also established partnerships with several highly regarded international NGOs, including TechnoServe, Ashoka, the Junior Chamber International (JCI), and the Institute for International Education (IIE).

Roy holds a Doctor of Education degree in International Education from the University of Bath in the UK, Master's degree in Public Administration from UConn, Master's degree in Education from Springfield College, and Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from UConn. His research interests include transformative global citizenship, critical service-learning, and sport for development and peace (SDP).



Glenn E. Robinson, M.A.
Founder and President, Global Acceleration Lab
Academic Director, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)
Coach, Convergence Accelerator, Nation Science Foundation


Mr. Robinson has over four decades of senior management experience, delivering innovative leadership solutions to businesses globally to help them transform and succeed in challenging, dynamic environments. He is founder of the Global Acceleration Lab, which assists emerging technology startups with entry into the global marketplace, after fourteen years as director of global innovation at the University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure at UT, he directed successful programs in multiple geographies, including a three-and-a-half-year ex pat stint in India, during which he designed and implemented multiple successful incubators and accelerator, resulting in over $3 million in incremental revenue and over $2 million in investment capital for companies in the portfolio.

His experience prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin covered the spectrum of general management and capacity-building responsibilities, directing sales, marketing and customer response teams, and providing oversight driving record growth in both domestic and international operations at various multinational corporations, including Dell Computer, Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer, as well as conducting workshops on coaching and business development. He has held executive management positions in the non-profit sector, and is also a seasoned entrepreneur, having launched profitable companies on three continents. He is Academic Director of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, a highly-competitive cultural exchange program for emerging leaders from the ASEAN region, sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, which helps leaders learn how to plan, govern, fund and implement social enterprises, as well as learning about US History, Government and Culture and the role of community service and volunteerism.

He is a consultant to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, DC, is a charter staff member of the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator, and has held Board of Director positions with various incubators, start-ups and non-profits. He is a published author and frequent keynote speaker, providing insight based on extensive experience developing successful innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial capacity. He has conducted hundreds of workshops and seminars around the globe, and trained tens of thousands of innovators on how to create high-impact ventures and effectively assess the market entry potential of grassroots innovation. He designed a curriculum to train incubator managers on setting up incubation processes to recruit and develop both “deep tech” and social entrepreneurs, and has delivered training sessions at U.S. Consulates, universities and private institutions in Central Asia, Europe and Latin America. Mr. Robinson holds a dual Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in English and Spanish Philology from San José State University, and a Masters of Arts degree in Spanish Literature from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain.


Laura Labato, M.A.

Assistant Director, UConn Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI)

Administrative Director, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)


Laura is the Assistant Director for UConn’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI).  She provides administrative and program support for the Global Training and Development Institute’s programming for international participants. She holds a Master of Arts degree in International Studies with a focus on cultural studies, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on diversity.  Additionally, she has completed three Graduate Certificate programs at UConn in Human Rights; Culture, Health, and Human Development; and College Instruction. She enjoys learning about other cultures and working with the international participants involved in educational and professional exchange programs implemented by UConn GTDI.


Trevor J. Schantz, M.P.P.
Graduate Assistant, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)


Trevor Schantz is a 23 year old M.P.P. student from Mattawan, Michigan. He will be concurrently pursuing a certificate in Human Rights as the focus area of his M.P.P. Trevor completed his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and Public Policy from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Graduating from the Oakland University Honors College, Trevor earned Summa Cum Laude and departmental honors, President’s List honors, and was a member of the Oakland University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society). He also spent 18 months working in the Oakland County Elections Division.

Trevor's undergraduate research at the Oakland University Honors College focused on democratic backsliding in the 21st century, methods of strengthening domestic political institutions, and U.S. foreign policy pertaining to China and the Middle East and North Africa. He currently works as a research assistant at the UConn Human Rights Institute under Dr. Shareen Hertel and Dr. Lyle Scruggs on research examining the impact of Covid-19 on American welfare attitudes.

Trevor hopes to go on to pursue a career in policy research and analysis in areas pertaining to human rights, development, and social welfare. He absolutely loves working with the YSEALI program at GTDI and getting to forge friendships all over the world, so much that he has even visited former fellows in Thailand and Malaysia!