Alex was a member of Mission 2011: Saving Our Oceans, and later became a UTF. While at MIT, she was active in the Undergraduate Association, did a UROP in Course 12, and participated in MISTI France and the Washington DC Summer Internship Program.
After MIT, Alex attended Harvard Law School and is now a practicing attorney in Montgomery, Alabama, with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her work focuses on combating the exploitation and incarceration of the people based solely on their wealth, or lack thereof, by the criminal law system. Prior to joining SPLC, Alex clerked for the Honorable Catharine F. Easterly on the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Alex is an avid hiker, climber, and dog mom. She enjoys baking, board games, and a great cup of coffee.
After MIT Alfredo joined NASA and the US Army to work on power systems for deep space (at the time when man first walked on the moon). Then he worked thirty-five years at Polaroid Corp, receiving thirteen patents while developing instant photographic and imaging systems, batteries using zinc and lithium, and thin-film photovoltaic sources.
Since retirement in 2005, his interest in singing has expanded to include traveling with “Sharing A New Song” to sing in Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Turkey, Nicaragua, South Africa, New Orleans, Russia, Cuba, and Brazil. To celebrate his fiftieth MIT reunion he danced with the MIT Ballroom Dance Team at the class gala.
Mentoring for 12.000 since 2006 has been a great pleasure. The resulting awareness of environmental issues has helped simplify living.
I joined Terrascope as a freshman for Mission 2009: Tsunami Threat in the Pacific, and served as a UTF in Mission 2011: Saving the Oceans and Mission 2012: Clean Water. I joined the Terrascope alumni mentorship team last year for Mission 2020: Future of Cities, and am excited to be able to help again.
After leaving MIT, I completed a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Tufts University and postdoctoral training in exposure science at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of Rutgers University. My research interests have included air pollution exposures and health effects related to ultrafine particles in neighborhoods near highways, in commuting vehicles and residential green buildings, and near ports. I am currently a scientist at the Health Effects Institute in Boston, where I am involved in research oversight and review of studies investigating exposure to traffic-related air pollution and accountability assessment of air pollution regulations.
Andy Wickert (SB 2008, Course 12; PhD 2014, Geology, University of Colorado Boulder) investigates how rivers, glaciers, and landscapes change, both over Earth’s past and into the future. He is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, where he runs a lab dedicated to developing and building open-source instrumentation for environmental and water-resources research. He and his group are currently investigating the effects of climate and land-use change on rivers in the upper Mississippi valley, studying changes in rock uplift and erosion in response to glacier retreat in southern Patagonia, experimentally determining the physical forces that control landslide size, and assisting with efforts to monitor and model coupled groundwater-surface water systems in Ecuador and around the globe.
After graduating from MIT, I have worked in chemical process engineering, R&D management, and business consulting, to solve chemicals industry problems. After 10 years, I re-directed my academic and professional focus to the study and practice of public policy for sustainable development. I worked on addressing air pollution problems guided by multi-disciplinary knowledge and multi-stakeholder engagement.
In the past 5 years, I have directed policy, research, and advocacy programs at an environmental think tank, with an exclusive focus on the Middle East, focusing on water resources, climate change, ecological footprint, and agriculture. I am currently leading a team of public officials, scientists, and practitioners in Jordan assess the country’s strategy for combating climate change.
Trained in engineering and subsequently in public policy and sustainable development, I am interested in bringing science, economics, and political science to bear on today’s new class of problems such as climate change.
This is Bhupendra’s seventh year of participation in the Mentor Program. Bhupendra’s educational background is all in chemical Engineering at MIT, where he received S.B (1960), S.M (1962) and Chemical Engineer (1963) degrees. His work experience in actual technical developments was during the early years after MIT in the field of plastic packaging products at the Monsanto Company.
He soon gravitated to manufacturing and finance, which were always his primary work interests. At his next employer, Owens-Illinois, at the time the world’s largest packaging company, he was focused on managing technical developments in plastic packaging products leading to full scale manufacturing operations and green field factory start ups. He has extensive experience in the field of technology licensing and was responsible for development of a vast network of licensees and strategic affiliations at Owens. In the last 15 years or so of his career, he worked nearly exclusively in merger and acquisitions activities for his company, ending as the director of Corporate Planning. He believes that among other possible contributions, he could mentor and work with the student teams in understanding the financial implications and operational trade-offs that are nearly always necessary in successful commercial implementations of technology solutions.
Rin is a neuroengineer who loves to make things by hand. She has seven years of experience in teaching and various brain-related research and majored in Course 2A with a minor in 9 (think medical devices for the brain). She took Terrascope as a freshman and never quite managed to quit. She is currently completing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at USC.
Dirk was involved in Terrascope in almost every way during his time at MIT as a student in Mission 2016 and continuing on to take both spring classes as well. He loved the experience so much that he spent the next five semesters working as a UTF for all three classes. Much of Dirk’s Mission was spent thinking through the challenges of coordinating so many people and trying to craft a single cohesive solution. He encourages students to reach out to him to discuss aspects of the teamwork, coordination, planning, and leadership that is necessary for a successful Mission in addition to technical questions about the website or project.
Dirk currently works as a software developer at Ab Initio. Outside work he can usually be found playing ice hockey or racing his racecar (and fixing it after the inevitable crash). He lives in Cambridge and hasn’t really gotten away from the MIT student sleep cycle and therefore is often available to answer late night questions. He can’t wait to see what this year’s class is able to come up with!
I joined Terrascope as a freshman for Mission 2012: Clean Water, discovered my passion for all things water, and haven’t looked back since. For the past five years, I’ve been working as an Environmental Engineering Consultant at Carollo Engineers in California where I’ve focused on recycled water projects and innovative biosolids end use options. Through this work, I love helping folks redefine wastewater treatment plants as resource recovery facilities. I’ve been involved in both facility planning and design, where I’ve learned that strong communication skills are key. Terrascope was where I first started to hone these skills, and I am forever thankful.
Please shoot me an email if you’ve got questions or need a fresh set of eyes on something. Since I’m on the west coast, those late nights don’t seem so late to me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Emily Moberg was a member of Mission 2011 and continued as an undergraduate and alumni mentor thereafter. She majored in Environmental Engineering, and then pursued her doctorate in Biological Oceanography in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. She current works at the World Wildlife Fund in DC on the nutritional, livelihood, and environmental impacts of protein provisioning. Her areas of expertise are mathematical ecology, bio-economic modelling, and climate science communication. She is exceedingly mediocre at a number of hobbies, including guitar, sewing, and tennis.
I’m the Chief of the Transportation Planning Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, right in Kendall Square. As a transportation planner and program manager, I lead a team of 40, working closely with DOT components and other federal agencies on many different types of transportation-planning efforts, at the project, program, and policy levels. With both DOT and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, my team has been active on a number of international-development projects. I’m also a disaster-recovery coordinator; I was stationed in Louisiana for five months following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and I helped to write the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
This will be my eleventh year as an alumni mentor to the 12.000 class. The first ten have been energetic, stimulating, and a lot of fun.
I’ve spent most of my career as an engineer (Course 2) and consultant, primarily in the nuclear power area. My expertise (if any) is in power plant systems, stress analysis, fatigue and fracture mechanics. I’m a licensed professional engineer, and am active in several ASME Codes and Standards committees.
I try to help out however I can, not being myself an expert on whatever the topic is. In the process, I’ve learned a lot and made some friends. I’ve also answered a lot of e-mails, texts and calls at 3 am. I look forward to more of the same this year.
John Hixson grew up in Greenwich Village, NYC, playing chess in Washington Square Park and walking 10 blocks to elementary school on his own. He came to Cambridge at MIT in 1969, was one of the first undergrads in Course XI, DUSP, with his SB in 1974. His internship with the Cambridge Planning Dept., now Community Development, was in transportation planning, forming a citizens group to advise the City Council, then becoming a full-time planner upon graduation and working on the Red Line Extension from Harvard to Alewife. He moved into affordable housing development with the Somerville Community Corporation in 1981 and continued in that field until his semi-retirement in 2016. He drives a senior van two days a week. His wife and he have a solar-heated (since 1984) Victorian house in North Cambridge, and they live without a car since his retirement. Their daughter is a landscape architect in St. Paul, MN, and their son is Director of Communications for a large firm in Los Angeles. He is Clerk of Homeowners Rehab, a nonprofit in Cambridge, and volunteers with Green Cambridge and the 350MA.
Johnny was one of the first guinea pigs to participate in 12.000: Solving Complex Problems as student in Mission 2004 (Mars). Because he loved 12.000 so much, he joined the staff for the class, serving as a Undergraduate Teaching Fellow (UTF) for several Missions before becoming an alumni mentor beginning with Mission 2007.
Though he grew up in the South, Johnny has resided in New England ever since coming to MIT. Still in the process of figuring out what he wants to be when he “grows up,” he has worked in a variety of industries, ranging from aerospace to finance to supply chain to early-stage software companies.
Johnny has also been known to be a stickler for correct grammar and to be a crusader against incomprehensible PowerPoint slides. His current interests include short trips to faraway places, penguins, microfinance, and underwater basket weaving. He lives in Cambridge, MA and will do his best to make it to campus to meet the class.
This is Jorge’s twelfth year mentoring 12.000. He is a deep technologist, successful entrepreneur and business executive with experience in Silicon Valley, the East Coast and overseas. He has had a lifelong interest since his MIT years in complex physical and social systems, as well as in advanced technologies, politics and technology policy making, the environment, and social and economic development. He holds a B.Sc. degree from MIT in Computer Science, and two M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science as well as a Ph.D. degree in artificial intelligence, all from Stanford University. Dr. Phillips has been involved with MIT in many ways over the years: he is a member of the MIT Education Council, past member of MITAA’s Advisory Committee on globalizing MIT, and a Founder, past President and past Vice-President of International Relations of LAMIT, MIT’s Iberoamerican affinity group. He has also held Cabinet-level government positions in Colombia and diplomatic positions in Europe, as well as academic appointments in universities in the US, South America and Europe. He is a founding member of the Children’s Museum and International Center of Physics in Colombia, and member of the Eta Kappa Nu and Sigma Xi national honorary societies to which he was inducted as an undergraduate at MIT. Jorge is a patented inventor in the US, Japan and Europe. He lives in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, where he is involved in artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, banking and fintech, and several entrepreneurial efforts.
Julianne Schwarzer is the Chief of Policy Analysis and Strategic Planning at the US Department of Transportation Volpe Center. In the capacity, Julianne oversees a lifecycle policy shop aimed at support across the Department of Transportation, and other government partners. Julianne has worked at the Volpe Center since 2007; her work focuses on environmental permitting and regulatory reform; accelerating infrastructure project delivery; as well as mediation and facilitation. Julianne holds an M.C.P. in City Planning with a certificate in Environmental Planning and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.F.A. in Film, Television, and Radio from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. For her graduate thesis, Julianne researched conflict surrounding urban wildlife management. Ms. Schwarzer is a member of the Transportation Research Board Ecology and Transportation Committee (ADC30) and a member of the National Association of Environmental Professionals.
Kate Buggs graduated from MIT in 2016 with a major in Economics and a minor in Spanish. She now works at an economic consulting firm in Boston and is planning to go to law school, with dreams of working for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. In her free time, Kate cheers for the Chicago Cubs, spends entirely too much money at coffee shops, and avoids practicing the mandolin. She participated in Terrascope: Mission 2016, which focused on strategic minerals and rare earth elements.
I participated in Mission 2016, which worked on solutions for future strategic mineral scarcities around the world. At MIT, I majored in course 1E and was on the open weight crew team. Now, I’m still studying Environmental Engineering as a PhD student in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology at Cornell University. My past work experience includes internships with Geosyntec Consultants and the EPA, as well as a couple of UROPs. I enjoy getting involved in outreach programs to educate the local community, especially girls, about STEM topics. Also, I’m legally blind and would like to promote inclusion of other visually impaired or otherwise disabled individuals in academia.
This project sounds like an exciting intersection between environmental engineering and anthropology, and I’m happy to help in any way I can. I look forward to seeing the solutions the Terrascope team can generate.
After finishing Mission 2013, Lauren put earth and environmental issues on the back-burner while studying course 2 and 8 at MIT. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate that her passion for earth science and the environment was reignited. She went on to complete a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, and is now a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. Her research interests include physical oceanography, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and deep decarbonization of the electric grid.
I was a member of Mission 2015 and a UTF for Missions 2016-2018. I am currently a PhD student in Medical Engineering at Caltech, developing and studying engineered, environmentally-responsive biofilms in the labs of Julie Kornfield and Mikhail Shapiro. I previously worked at a materials science startup that created a phase-change material additive for thermal insulation in buildings. My interests include biomedical science and engineering, global health, green building, and science outreach.
Liza has 19 years experience as a hydraulic engineer and project manager. Prior to joining the Portland District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in September 2009, Liza worked as a hydraulic engineer in the consulting engineering industry for 13 years. Her project experience includes hydraulic design, physical and numerical modeling, facility startup and testing of fish passage and water quality improvements for hydropower facilities in the Pacific Northwest. Liza has served as the project technical lead for several juvenile downstream passage and adult fish passage facility projects in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, she has performed three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics modeling to provide hydraulic information to support many of her projects.
Liza has spent her career working with multidisciplinary teams on complex water resources and fisheries engineering projects, balancing the needs of flood risk management, hydropower production, water supply, water quality, recreation, and ESA listed and native species. She recently finished a year-long Leadership Development Program with USACE through the Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government. The class focused on “wicked problems” and leadership of teams from “strategic thinking to extraordinary action”. Her cohort spent the final semester on their own wicked problem and she is excited for the opportunity to work with students on problems too big to solve!
This is Paul’s ninth year as a Mentor for the 12.000 program.
After two years at the Martin Company (now Lockheed Martin) working on materials for heat shield components critical to re-entry of spacecraft, Paul joined the General Electric Company. At GE, he worked on development of both hard and soft magnetic materials for use in electrical metering devices. Dating back to the 1970’s he worked on materials for use in time-of-day metering – now referred to as Smart Grid technology. During his last decade at GE he developed and managed programs on Quality Assurance with emphasis on statistical methods.
Following his retirement from GE, Paul engaged on a “second career” teaching at community colleges in New Hampshire and Maine, and currently at Cape Cod Community College. He teaches micro- and macroeconomics, and statistics. In addition, he helps students in mathematics and science at the college tutoring center.
Paul is looking forward to working as a mentor in this challenging and critical program, and in returning to Tech to join in on stimulating analyses and discussions.
This will be Bob’s seventeenth year as a Mission Mentor. Bob is President of the MIT Club of Southwest Florida. Additionally he is on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Collier County (Florida) and is on the Board of Directors of the Everglades Astronomical Society.
He is a Chemical Engineer by education (S.B., S.M., Ph.D., MIT). Bob briefly taught at MIT prior to going into the Aerospace Industry. He then spent a year in the President’s Executive Interchange Program in Washington working at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Upon returning to Rockwell International, he subsequently held various positions leading to becoming President of their Passenger Car Components Business. Upon leaving Rockwell, he became President of Bethlehem Steel’s Structural Components Business. His subsequent positions included President of Webcraft Technologies, Chairman and CEO of Northwestern Steel and Wire, and Chairman of Envirosource.
Bob has spent most of his career in solving complex problems and looks forward to working with the Mission 2022 team. Feel free to contact him anytime (email@example.com).
As a recent graduate of MIT and of Terrascope, I am extremely excited to get involved with a new Terrascope class. I participated in Mission 2015: Whole Earth Triage – Securing the World for Biodiversity and caught the Terrascope bug: having participated in both Terrascope Radio and 1.016 the following semester. I later continued as an undergraduate teaching fellow (UTF) for Terrascope Radio (Spring 2012) and Mission 2017: Water Security. I now live in sunny Los Angeles and work as a digital electronics engineer on satellites. I also have a strong interest in engineering and product design for development. On the less technical side, I love talking to people about sound-editing and design, community radio, and music.
Given the handy three hour difference, I can be an additional resource to David and your UTFs– reading over materials/presentations or provide another perspective on Mission, Terrascope, and/or MIT as a whole (especially during those late evenings). I’m only an email/call away, so feel free to reach out!
I graduated from MIT in 2016 (Bachelors in Environmental Engineering) and 2017 (Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering). In my research, I have focused on water and agriculture, in developing contexts and the US. Currently, I am doing research in Stuttgart, Germany on groundwater remediation using iron particles
Shanté Stowell (Mission 2015: Biodiversity) studied civil engineering at MIT. She now works on site development in the San Francisco Bay Area, where her duties include sizing and locating wet utilities (e.g. potable water, stormwater, sanitary sewers) for new developments, and ensuring that state and local regulations on the capture and treatment of stormwater runoff from her projects are met. She also enjoys knitting, theater, podcasts, and annoying her friends by stopping to look at every construction site she passes.
Worked at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory 1957 to 1973, followed by The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 1973 to 2000 when I retired. I was assigned to the Earth and Planetary Science Department, now called EAPS, for 5 years (1968 to 1973) working with Prof. Frank Press and Prof. Nafi Toksoz. I was Technical Director for the Lunar Traverse Gravimeter Experiment, which flew on Apollo 17 and was a member of the lunar surface EVA team at Mission Control during the flight.
Designed stable platforms for inertial guidance systems.
Designed seismic monitoring systems for earthquakes and underground explosions.
Designed gravimeters for lunar exploration.
Designed special purpose instrumentation for submarines and oceanography.
Recent retirement activities besides being an alumni mentor for this course for 15 years include attendance at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture held in Oskosh, WI for the last 10 years.
Of possible interest to this years subject, I have spent considerable time in the following major cities: New York, London, Bay Area-San Francisco, Houston and visited the following: , Tokyo, Kyoto, Honolulu, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Prague, Amman, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Athens, Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan, Cairo, Cape Town.
Tchelet graduated from MIT in 2018 with a Master’s in Environmental Engineering and Bachelor’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering. For her thesis, she launched a citizen science project analyzing drinking water quality with a Native American tribe in Maine. Prior to that, she interned at the World Bank working on environmental safeguards for projects in Nepal, and has worked on projects including wastewater management in India, smallholder agriculture in Kenya, and rainwater harvesting in Mexico City. This summer she spent time in South Africa running an incubator for environmental startups and launched a water quality testing project in Puerto Rico for community run water systems. She is now working at the Angeles National Forest in Region 5 and will be coordinating the remediation projects for the Powerhouse fire settlement. Some fun facts: Tchelet grew up in Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, and the US and her favorite genre of music is Disney music.
My career after MIT (XIII-C, ’76) involved designing and building manned and unmanned systems operating in the deep sea for Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems, where I was Chief Architect until retiring in June 2018. Responsible for high level system architecture and novel technology concepts for a wide variety of underseas programs with a full complement of system elements: sensors, vehicles, communications, processing, host platforms, and operator interaction. Mission modeling and assessment for system feasibility and optimization; Identification, assessment, and mitigation of technical, cost, and schedule risks; Invention and innovation champion investigating new technologies for underseas systems. All of these efforts have been highly inter-disciplinary not only in the breadth of technical issues but also in the politics and budgeting required to initiate and complete the projects – as is typical of most real problems.
This is, after a few years absence, my twelfth tour of duty as a 12.000 mentor. I also serve as an MIT Educational Counselor. And being retired now, I am devoting more time to making music, voicing and editing audiobooks, and learning to row.
Yolanda is an entrepreneurship and small business consultant. She started her career at MIT’s Technology Licensing Office, where her work with startups piqued her interest in entrepreneurship. She then co-founded a real estate investment company, acted as its COO, and has also started several other ventures over the years. She is a co-founder of a consulting firm, Lau Labs, which provides services to startups and small businesses, specializing in growth. She is also part of 79 Studios, a Los Angeles based startup studio rethinking venture capital with a women-first, product, and community point-of-view. And in 2015, she started a company called FlexTeam with two other MIT alumnae. FlexTeam is simplifying the way smart work gets done and is an on-demand, executive-level “right hand women” team for CEOs, founders, small business owners, and other decision makers. On the consultant side, FlexTeam matches talented mid-career women with meaningful, challenging, temporally flexible, remote project-based work opportunities. FlexTeam is also developing software to help companies manage their on-demand workforce.
Yolanda’s experiences working with businesses in a wide range of industries combined with her operational expertise allows her to provide insights on many different kinds of problems. She enjoys creative problem solving and has served as a 12.000 mentor since 2006 (Mission 2010), as she has long been interested in helping to solve the world’s environmental and sustainability problems. She has been supporting and mentoring students and adults for the last 20+ years. Some of her other MIT alumni activities include leadership in her class and fund raising for the Institute.
She is deeply interested in the specific mission of Mission 2022, as her hometown of Honolulu anticipates a fresh water crisis within our lifetimes. Moreover, living in Hawaii requires being respectful of Native Hawaiian culture and practices so she is excited to see what parallels may be drawn to Navajo Nation.
As she lives in Honolulu, communication will have to be via email, phone, Skype, or Google+ Hangouts.
Vrajesh Modi is currently a startup founder and a member of the MIT Corporation. Previously, he was a Project Leader at The Boston Consulting Group, where he where he focused on technology, industrial goods, and operations. As a graduate student, Vrajesh was part of the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program. As an undergraduate, Vrajesh served as the President of the Undergraduate Association, chaired the UA Committee on Sustainability, and was part of Mission 2011. Over the years, Vrajesh has also done internships at Amazon, McKinsey, and General Electric.