Our Team

Leadership

David Noble

David Noble

Director

336-772-3358

David, a dynamic university leader, strategically utilizes alumni, corporate partnerships, and government connections to prioritize student success. With a background in law and extensive experience guiding startups through IPOs, he brings a non-traditional problem-solving approach to academia. His expertise spans emerging trends, technologies, and organizations, positioning him as a thought leader at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and entertainment. Known for media appearances on blockchain and financial innovation, David is committed to establishing "Creatorship" as an entrepreneurial precedent. His leadership at UConn reflects a seamless integration of diverse experiences to foster a student-centric environment.

David holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Alabama, a JD from the University of Miami, an MBA from Elon University, and a BS in political science from Northeastern University.

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Kathy Rocha

Kathy F. Rocha

Associate Director

Werth Institute Operations, Signature Programs and Events

860-377-0094

Following an impactful career in the computer networking industry, Kathy joined UConn as entrepreneur-in-residence for the School of Engineering with the Third Bridge Grant program. She helped create UConn's entrepreneurship consortium which was the precursor to the Werth Institute. Kathy's leadership in high tech spanned venture-backed startups to F100 companies including Bytex Corp, 3Com and Cisco Systems.

Kathy is an angel investor beginning with Golden Seeds in Boston. She is a board member of Day Kimball Hospital and trustee of the KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation. Kathy holds a bachelor's in political science and MBA from Providence College in Providence, RI.

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Staff

Katheryn Britt

Katie Britt

Director of Leadership Development

Werth Innovators Program

About Katie

Katie Britt is the director of leadership development and has been with The Werth Institute since 2018. She runs the Werth Innovators program, supporting undergraduates who want to create something they are passionate about or have an idea to pursue. Katie enjoys mentoring students and facilitating new connections and entrepreneurial skills.

Previously, Katie worked as a Regional Program Assistant for the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments supporting government-funded regional town programs. She earned a BA in sociology from UConn. Outside of work Katie enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, gardening, and floral design.

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Zoey England

Zoey England

Chief of Staff

General; HealthWerx and ClimateWerx

About Zoey

With experience in both private and public sectors, Zoey pilots experiential learning programs for unique student populations as well as supports globally-oriented entrepreneurial projects at UConn. Passionate about social and creative entrepreneurship as a catalyst for change, Zoey is also a published journalist, covering topics related to climate change and community well-being.

In her free time, Zoey likes to relax with her dog, whom she is training to become therapy certified. She is also an award-winning cellist and nature photographer.

A proud Husky, Zoey graduated from the University of Connecticut with an individualized BA in population health, disease, & policy.

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Laurie Farros

Laurie Farros

Strategic Advisor

Executive Engagement

About Laurie

Laurie Farros is a seasoned leader and entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience blending technology and innovation.

Laurie serves as a strategic advisor focusing on expanding The Werth Institute's role as a world-class program and building symbiotic relationships within venture, private equity, and corporate communities.

Previously, Laurie was President of Givling, a technology company revolutionizing the crowdfunding space through gaming, funding $10+ million to those with student loan debt. Prior, Laurie was SVP in a public technology company, as well as having held executive positions in various private companies servicing tech and venture sectors.

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Julie

Julie Gehring

Director of Mentorship & Student Development

NetWerx Program

About Julie

Julie ignites entrepreneurial spirits at UConn Werth Institute, empowering students and alumni through mentorship and innovation initiatives. She values connecting communities and fostering personal and professional growth, evidenced by her leadership roles with MENTOR, JP Morgan, Hyatt Hotels, Mentor Europe and the Eurasia Foundation.

An accomplished educator, she has taught at institutions including UConn, UMass Boston, and Emerson College, sharing her passion for communication, entrepreneurship, and public relations. She earned an MA in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College and her bachelor's degree in communication studies & public relations from Towson University. A current Ph.D. candidate in educational leadership and adult learning at UConn, her research digs deep into fostering opportunity recognition skills in aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Zeljko Mirkovic

Zeljko Mirkovic

Associate Research Professor

Werth Pictures

About Zeljko

Zeljko Mirkovic is an award-winning film and TV director, educator, and lecturer with more than 20-years' experience writing, producing, and directing diverse documentaries.  He is a creative and innovative developer of feature films, television series, documentaries, promotional films, media campaigns, and commercials.

With a Ph.D. in Communications and Media Studies, Zeljko has received over 100 international awards and produced two Oscars qualified documentaries. 

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Judy Reilly

Judy Reilly

Director, Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation (CNDEI)

About Judy

Judy joined The Werth Institute in 2021 to design and direct a national academic center to address barriers that block bright, professionally capable autistic and neurodivergent individuals from meaningful, successful employment outcomes. UConn’s center educates employers in practice change and better connects neurodiverse college students and alumni with opportunities.

Judy is trained in special education law and spent two decades securing services, supports, interventions, and strengths-based approaches to enable neurodivergent children and adults to thrive.

She earned her MBA and bachelor's degree from University of Michigan and is the parent of four adult children, two of whom live with neurodivergent conditions that have significantly impacted their educational and employment journeys.

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Bryan Roberts

Bryan M Roberts

Director, Championship Labs

Championship Labs

About Bryan

Bryan was named director of Championship Labs in August of 2023 and he is excited to return to Storrs after receiving both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication science from the University of Connecticut almost exactly 20 years ago.

Prior to his position at UConn, he served as the Associate Dean in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College for over a decade. Bryan's career began at Purchase College, SUNY where, over several years, he worked in both teaching and administrative capacities.

In his free time, he enjoys watching the Mets and UConn Huskies, reading books on political history, and hitting baseballs. Bryan resides in South Windsor with his daughter, Avery, and two terribly behaved cats.

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Aaron Rosman

Aaron Rosman

Operations Manager & Fiscal Officer, Werth Institute; Assistant Director, Innovation House

Operations, Finances, & Events; Innovation House

About Aaron

Passionate about the student experience, mentorship, and sustainability, Aaron looks to blend the experiences he had as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Connecticut into the work he does for the Werth Institute. Aaron seeks to build connections with and mentor students who are interested in sustainability, natural resources, or just looking to navigate UConn. He’d be the first to tell you that most routes in life are “unconventional” but that does not make them any less meaningful!

Aaron holds an MBA and BS in natural resources, both from UConn .

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TARA WATROUS

Tara Watrous

Head of Entrepreneurial Transformation

General

About Tara

Tara Watrous is an accomplished education entrepreneur with a rich background in launching innovative programs and working with startups. She holds a Master's degree in education entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's degree in psychological sciences from the University of Connecticut.

At the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Tara has significantly elevated the University's entrepreneurship education, enhancing its national reputation. Her expertise spans a broad range of skills including venture development, eLearning platforms, and emerging technologies. Tara is also a dedicated educator, teaching various entrepreneurship courses at the University of Connecticut. Her commitment to innovation and education is further reflected in her volunteer work and her ability to foster strategic partnerships in various industries.

Connect with Tara on LinkedIn