MIT Alumni Mentors

Alumni Mentors

Terrascope Mentors are MIT Alumni who lend their experience and expertise.

Our MIT Alumni Mentors:

Aashini Shah

MIT 2022 Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Hello everyone! I was a student in Terrascope for the first project with the Navajo Nation back with the Class of 2022 and I was a UTF for the Class of 2023 (the first year we looked at resilient systems in Puerto Rico) and for the class of 2024. I graduated MIT with degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering with a particular focus on rehabilitative technology and public health. I am super passionate about increasing access in local communities and spreading the philosophy of universal co-design, so please reach out if you are also interested in those topics! I am currently pursuing my PhD in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program, which means I will be around campus quite often if you ever want to have a coffee chat. Other than my research, I really love baking and watching musicals and reading fantasy/sci-fi in my free time. Looking forward to getting to know all of you and helping in whatever capacity you need!

Alex Borschow

MIT 2006 Course 2 & 2014 MBA

Alex Borschow, Managing Partner at Rocana Venture Partners, has been evaluating and investing in food industry innovations for over a decade. In his current role, Borschow applies the skills developed from a successful career in finance at BNP Paribas and as Director of Finance for Eataly USA. He also brings a rich education in sustainability and leadership to help entrepreneurs of purpose-driven sustainable food and food tech companies drive strategic growth. A long-time food tech investor, he led the firm’s early investments in Imperfect Foods, Farmer’s Fridge, Splendid Spoon, and Robin Food. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in chemical and biological engineering, he also earned his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management along with a Certificate in Sustainability with a focus on food systems.

Allison Houghton

MIT 2008 Courses 1A & 12

I’m fascinated by the world of bugs and soil and have worn many hats over the years as a farmer, writer, soil analyst, landscape consultant, and mother. Some of my past work includes serving as the Education Director for the MA chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Assistant Grower for The Food Project farm in Lincoln, MA, and as the Director of Horticulture at Green City Growers building hundreds of gardens for growing food in the Greater Boston area. For two years, during the pandemic, I also ran a neighborhood micro plant nursery called The Sparrow Underground Nursery in my backyard supplying hundreds of high quality edible and native plants to neighbors and community members at a time when demand for plants skyrocketed. I now live in Philadelphia, PA, and am working to create an online gardening community inspired by the powerful idea that building resilience can start right where you are, even in one’s own backyard.

Allison Patton

MIT 2009 Course 1E

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 have been a member of the Terrascope alumni mentorship team since Mission 2020: Future of Cities, and I am excited to continue in this role with conversations and advice on researching the project, picking a major, life after MIT, or anything related to my work.


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 assessing whether air pollution regulations have had the anticipated impacts.

Anna Fung

MIT 2011 Course 15

At MIT, I was course 15, and I took part in Terrascope’s “Saving the Oceans” mission. Nowadays, I’m based out of the Washington DC area as an assistant professor at American University, in the Kogod School of Business. I’m happy to chat with students who want to bounce university, career, or other ideas off a sounding board. No question is too trivial! Just mention Terrascope in your subject heading.

Aron Walker

MIT 2007 Courses 10 & 12
Terrascope inspired me to spend much of my professional time thinking about teaching and learning; I have been a Peace Corps Volunteer, an instructor for MIT’s D-Lab, and a high school math and science teacher. I am currently a graduate student in urban planning and environmental health at UCLA, with a research focus on heat exposure and air pollution. Most of my work involves geospatial analysis with Python, R, and Earth Engine — I would be happy to offer advice for finding and visualizing spatial data.

Burhan Azeem

MIT '19 Course 3

Burhan Azeem (MIT ‘19 Course 3) is currently a Cambridge City Councillor and chair of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee. He is also the founder and serves as Board Treasure of Abundant Housing MA – a statewide housing advocacy organization. During his time at MIT, he was active with MIT EMS, iHouse, and Course 3.

Ciera Gordon

MIT 2019

Ciera participated in Mission 2018: Our Energy Future (graduated 2019) and majored in architecture and mechanical engineering with a minor in energy studies. At MIT, she lived in Simmons Hall, participated in MISTI Chile and GTL Wales, and was a UTF for Mission 2022. After graduating, Ciera completed her Master of Architecture at UC Berkeley and is now an architectural designer in Seattle, Washington, with a special interest in energy-efficient buildings and sustainable design. In her free time, Ciera loves to hike, run, and kayak.

Daly Wettermark

MIT 2019 Course 2

I am a 2019 Course 2 graduate, part of Mission 2019 on Global Food Security. Since MIT I’ve been working in the water/wastewater industry, including work on pumps, sustainability strategy, and wastewater treatment product development. I’m also active in climate change advocacy and activist communities, passion stemming from growing up in coastal Alabama, packed with complex, threatened ecosystems. I love nerding out about water and wastewater and hope to be helpful!

Danbee “Tauntaun” Kim

MIT 2009 Course 9

Danbee “tauntaun” Kim (they/them) participated in Mission 2009: Tsunami Threat in the Pacific and was a UTF for Mission 2011: Saving the Oceans. Danbee earned the nickname “tauntaun” as a freshman, when they were cast in the MIT Musical Theater Guild’s original show Star Wars Trilogy: Musical Edition. While at MIT, Danbee lived at Senior Haus and also participated in the fire performance community, Asian Dance Troupe, Shakespeare Ensemble, Freshman Arts Pre-orientation Program, and the Edgerton Outreach Program.

Danbee earned their PhD in Neuroscience from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, and translated their dissertation into a graphic novel called The First VIRS (Vigilante Intergalactic Roustabout Scholar). Danbee has taught for the Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning since 2010, where they teach neuroscience, fermentation techniques, fictional sports, and loads of other topics for mixed age classrooms (8-18 years old). Since 2019 they also help organize and teach Neuronautas, a 2-week summer camp for teenagers in Portugal that uses both robotics and performing arts as tools to explore field neuroscience.

Danbee is now Senior Instructor at Matter Neuroscience, where they help make neuroscience for happiness easier for people to understand and use in their daily lives. Danbee’s other interests include cats, circus arts, ukelele, gardening, dancing, and cycling. Feel free to reach out for advice or conversation about any of these topics!

David Miranda

MIT 2013 Course 3

David Miranda, PhD received his B.S. in Course 3 in 2013 and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT HST Program in 2020. As part of his doctoral work, David designed and operated closed loop bioreactor systems for the ex-vivo culturing of living tissues. Furthermore, he completed a one-year entrepreneurship fellowship in the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan Management School. David is motivated to address issues of food security, financial inclusion and global development. He is the founder and CEO of Cultimar Technologies, a foodtech startup that aims to produce fresh, local, and sustainably grown seafood throughout the Americas through an innovative approach to land-based aquaculture.

David Stein

MIT 2011 & 2020 Course 6

Dheera Ananthakrisnan

Dheera is an academic orthopaedic spine surgeon, currently practicing at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.  Dheera graduated from MIT with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, followed by a Masters in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. She recently graduated from MIT Sloan with an Executive MBA, and has worked with students at MIT’s D-Lab and the PKG Center.

In addition to being a spine surgeon, Dheera is also is a philanthropist and entrepreneur, having worked with Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization.   She is also a founder of Orthopaedic Link, a non-profit that matches unused orthopaedic implants with surgeons and hospitals in developing countries.

Dheera is passionate about global musculoskeletal health and surgery, as well as women’s health.

She is excited to be a first time mentor for Terrascope this year!

Dirk Stahlecker

MIT 2016 Course 6-3

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!

Elise Chambers

Elise Chambers currently works as the Program Manager for the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium (MCSC). She works on educational and engagement initiatives, including research (UROPs!) and educational experiences for students (Climate and Sustainability Scholars Program), postdoctoral fellows, and working professionals. She is a 2012 Terrascoper and worked on Water in the West during her first year at MIT. She took all the Terrascope classes and then went on with a bunch of Terrascope friends to major in 1E (environmental engineering) and concentrating in Environmental Public Policy. After graduating, she worked as an Environmental Consultant for Ramboll Environ, where she provided engineering, research, field sampling, and analytical support to industrial clients for climate adaptation, health science, litigation, merger and acquisition, and industrial hygiene projects. Then she worked in Terrascope for a few years! She is also an academic advisor for Terrascope and LOVES getting to know new Terrascopers, talking about all things environmental and policy, and especially helping students navigate what comes next for them. Please reach out!! I’m also very active on Slack 😉

Emily Moberg

MIT 2011 & 2016 Courses 1E & 7

Emily Moberg is a research scientist at the World Wildlife Fund and a leader in climate change communication. She was a member of Mission 2011 in the fall and participated in the then-museum exhibit design & radio classes in the spring; she 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 currently works at the World Wildlife Fund in DC on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and food supply chains. She is the director of partnerships for the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, which trains zoo and aquarium educators how to effectively communicate about the climate. Her areas of interest are climate change mitigation, mathematical ecology, bio-economic modelling, biological oceanography, and climate science communication, but will happily talk your ear off on topics including ballet costume making, furniture construction, travel, and scientific publishing norms. Feel free to reach out for technical, career, or teamwork advice / conversation!

Eric Plosky

MIT 1999 Course 11

Eric Plosky (’99, MCP ’99) leads MobilityData, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the data formats that power mobility systems. (In short: “Better transportation through data.”) He is a transportation and planning expert both professionally and academically, as well as an experienced leader, teambuilder, and communicator. Previously, as the chief of transportation planning at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary), he built and led a team of 40 that worked closely with the Secretary of Transportation to advance some of DOT’s top priorities: policy, program, and project analysis, development, and management; evaluation and oversight; research; public outreach and involvement; and transit service and infrastructure planning. He served as a U.S. DOT disaster-recovery coordinator, working collaboratively with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies both to develop national policies and programs and to conduct location-specific recovery operations; he was stationed in Louisiana for five months following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He developed and teaches a Harvard course, “Transportation and Sustainability,” which is part of the HES master’s program in sustainability, and also (often) runs an MIT IAP session called “How it Really Works: Planning in the Real World.”

Fernando Yordan

MIT 2017 Course 6-2, M.Eng 2018

Born and raised in Ponce PR. My interest in STEM developed during my middle school years during math and robotics competitions. My parents were both electrical engineers graduates from PR’s engineering university (RUM). I got accepted to MIT as part of class of 2017 and took exploratory courses in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, math, and computer science until settling for 6.2. I participated in Terrascope and Travelled to South Africa during spring break of 2014 and spent the next 4 years at MIT sleeping in their lounge between all-nighters. During MIT I interned at Amazon Prime Air and Google. I completed my Master’s of Engineering in 2018 at CSAIL, during this time I was also a TA for then 6.s08 and also superUROP.

From MIT, I moved to California to work at Google Travel for 3 years as a software developer, transitioned afterwards to a ML platform startup called Abacus.AI that allowed remote work in order to work from Puerto Rico. After 18 months at this startup, I moved back to Puerto Rico and attempted to start an LLC for software consulting services. Recently I was approached for a VP of Technology position at a logistics startup in Puerto Rico, where I currently work.

Hobbies include:
Petting my dog, procrastinating on mowing my lawn, losing games, and being bad at climbing and surfing.

Flora Amwayi

MIT 2005

Flora Amwayi came to MIT in 2001 as an international student from Kenya, graduating in 2005. She is an engineer and patent attorney, and is currently building up a small business as a solopreneur, with a focus on renewable energy and biotech. She loves traveling, learning new recipes, gardening, biking, swimming, and lots of other outdoor activities. She is very interested in philosophy, and especially epicureanism and stoicism. She strives to live an outwardly simple but inwardly rich life. She has fond memories from her time at MIT. One of her spring break trips while at MIT was to Puerto Rico, an island she truly loves. She looks forward to getting to know the students in this year’s class.

Francesca Majluf

MIT 2017 Course 10-ENG

Francesca is a Mission 2017 alum (yay water!), and was a UTF and freshman advisor with Terrascope for most of her years at MIT (may or may not have gotten some terrafrosh lost in Boston a couple of times). She graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering (10-ENG). She’s done a lot of research in different fields, from using electrochemistry to capture carbon dioxide and break down pollutants in water, to analysing the role of corrosion inhibitors in gas-thermopumps, to building and testing low-cost sulfur dioxide sensors. Yet for the last few years she’s been working as a scientist at Aerodyne Research Inc., developing and deploying sophisticated mass spectrometers that measure gas-phase air pollutants (yay air!). Her research focus has been on the fine chemistry of wildfire plumes in the western USA, but her projects have included urban air pollution, oil refineries emissions, chemical aging chamber experiments, and more. She loves traveling (proud MISTI Portugal and Germany alum), ballroom dancing (still a MITBDT member!), yoga, hiking, playing board games, and cooking/baking. She can’t wait to share the tales of learning how to be an adult with future terrafrosh! (when she figures it out)

Gabriela Alvarez Perez

MIT 2022 Course 2

I am a 2022 Course 2 graduate, I participated in the Terrascope 2022 mission on water security in the Navajo Nation.  After that I remained involved with 12.000 by being a UTF for the class of 2023. Since graduating I have been working in the energy industry, at ISO-NE. I am a pretty big energy nerd and love chatting about the energy transition and how we are incorporating new technologies into different electric grids. Outside of work I live in Western Mass and you can usually find me exploring all the beautiful nature or hunting down live music or art galleries and the like.

Gabriel Torres

MIT 2009 Course 6-1
     I participated in Mission 2009:Tsunami Threat in the Pacific back in 2005-2006. While at MIT I majored in Electrical Science and Engineering and minored in Writing, and did my M.Eng in EECS. I lived at Simmons Hall throughout my undergrad years and was an active participant in the Association of Puerto Ricans, as well as house government. I grew up on a 50-acre farm in Manatí, Puerto Rico, but now reside in Upton, Massachusetts, with my wife and two daughters.
     After graduating from MIT, I did circuit and board design in a number of industries, including medical, oil and gas exploration and defense. After a few years of design engineering I shifted to sales and applications engineering in the semiconductor industry, where I now focus primarily on telecommunications. I have a significant interest in connectivity access for disadvantaged and underserved communities.
     These days I have less time to write, but I still have a love for science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction in general. I love getting music recommendations, and I find that my heavy metal/folk ratio has flipped in the past few years. Used to keep chickens, but no longer after the Fisher Massacre of 2018. I’m happy to chat about pretty much anything and hope I can be of service!

Gwen Edgar

MIT 2019: Course 6-2
While at MIT, I was a 6-2, but I started as course 2. Maybe that says something about how I ended up as a Human Robot Interaction PhD at Tufts just up the road past Davis Square. My research focuses on mixed human robot teams. I lived at EC (3E) and was a big part of the organized queer community and fire spinning. I later got into sailing and now diving. I love nerding out about the ocean(reefs in particular). I am happy to talk about life, moving to Boston, queer issues or explorations, cats, travel, internships, sailing, vinyl, board games, cosplay, giving presentations, good books, and local outdoors stuff.
My pronouns are they/them.
I was part of Mission 2019: Food Security, which ended up being close to some of experiences I had growing up as I actually grew up on a farm in Texas. My grandfather also grew up on a farm and taught me a lot about farming and how it’s changed. My grandmother was more interested in farming of the future and we implemented some newer agriculture methods on our farm together.

Hal Gustin

MIT 1973 Course 2

I’ve been an Alumni Mentor for about 17 years. I have MIT degrees (SB, SM) in Mechanical Engineering, and spent most of my career working as a consultant supporting nuclear power plants in the US and internationally.  My main technical areas include power plant systems, materials, failure and fracture mechanics, and regulatory issues. I am a licensed Professional Engineer. I retired in 2018.


My second career is volunteering. I am an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and for the past 2.5 years I have been working at COVID vaccination clinics.  I am also a member of the Colorado Radiation Response Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps.

Jack Lin

MIT 2023
I graduated just last spring as a Course 2. As an undergrad, I was part of Terrascope 2023 and was very heavily involved with the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team. My interests are in composite materials, energy, and sustainability. I’m taking a year off to work and explore. Then, I’m planning to do a masters in mechanical engineering or nuclear engineering.

James (Jim) Mason

MIT 1983

After leaving MIT (course 17 class of 1982) I joined a start-up consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. I did studies, analysis, testing and training in the national security arena.  After 17 years of that (and some significant changes in the world), I decided to make a change and joined a Swedish software company that served heavy industry. I managed projects all of over the word for them with a particular focus in South East Asia.  After working for them for 8 years, I left and formed my own company which provides support to large manufacturing, transportation, and logistics companies in using software in their business. I am still doing that today.

Joey Noszek

MIT 2020 Course 1

Joey did Terrascope as part of the Class of 2020. He later received an SM in Transportation while specializing in last-mile logistics. He now works at UPS in the Advanced Technologies Group.

John Hixson

MIT 1974 Course 11

I grew up in The City, Greenwich Village, NY, NY, walking to Public School 41 as early as second grade on my own.  We moved to the suburbs and I was able to get into MIT, and into the undergrad Urban Studies & Planning program when it was created during my second year.  I interned with the Cambridge Planning Department in transportation, working with citizens and helping extend the Red Line from Harvard to Alewife after graduation in 1974.  In 1981 I began work in affordable housing development and continued that until retiring in 2016.  My wife and I own our solar-heated house in North Cambridge, and MIT is a key part of my life.

Johnny Yang

MIT 2004 Course 15

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 an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow (UTF) for several Missions and has been an alumni mentor from Mission 2007 to the present.


Though he grew up an Alabama boy, 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 is a crusader against incomprehensible PowerPoint slides and dabbles as a part-time Comma Inquisitor.  His current interests include short trips to faraway places, penguins, microfinance, and competitive squirrel tossing.  He lives in Cambridge, MA and will do his best to attend classes throughout the semester.


Pronouns: he/him/y’all/y’alls

Jonathan Reinharth

MIT 2006 Course 9

Hi new Terrascope members! I was a member of Mission/Terrascope 2006 (Course 9 with minors in Music and Lit), and was grateful for the opportunity to try to use my knowledge to make a positive difference to address the complex issues our world faces. As some of you may end up doing, I have gone on to a career different from most at MIT. I am now a Clinical Psychologist, leading a team that helps young people who have had psychotic experiences to build meaningful lives. I also play the violin, and enjoy theater and writing. I was very active in the theater community and with ESP while at MIT. I live in mostly liberal Brooklyn with my wife and son, but work in largely conservative Staten Island. My grounding in science through Terrascope and MIT has been invaluable to me as a psychologist, to be able to cut through pseudoscience to provide services that are compassionate, empowering particularly for the disenfranchised, and which work.


Our world continues to get more complicated, and Terrascope is a natural place for bringing different perspectives and experiences together to make our lives more sustainable. I hope I can contribute!

Joseff Kolman

MIT 2017 Courses 8 and 17

Joseff is a Terrascope alum (2013, water security) from Savannah, GA. After majoring in physics and political science at MIT, he worked for four years in renewable energy consulting helping US companies buy their own wind and solar projects. He is currently getting his MBA at Stanford with the goal of working on tech commercialization for climate change afterwards. In his spare time, you can find Joseff playing low brass instruments, reading long works of fiction, or on long road trips across the US.

Kate Buggs

MIT 2016 Course 14

Kate is from Pewaukee, WI, and she graduated from MIT in 2016. She majored in Economics (Course 14), with a minor in Spanish, lived in Next House, and is an Alpha Chi Omega. She worked in economic consulting for four years at a firm in Boston, and she is now in her third year at the University of Michigan Law School. She spends most of her time with her rescue dog-slash-roommate-slash-best friend, Rosie, while listening to Cubs games on the radio or chipping away at her ever-increasing GoodReads book list.

Katie Adler

MIT 2016 Course 1E
I participated in Mission 2016, which worked on solutions for issues related to the growing consumption of rare earth elements and other potentially scarce minerals. At MIT, I majored in course 1E and was on the open weight crew team. I’m now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho, researching how features of river beds impact nutrient or pollutant, such as nitrous oxide, production and transport in the environment. I’ve worked tangentially (e.g., studying gas supply in algae production) or in educational settings (e.g., TAing hydropower class) with sustainable energy systems, and my experiences are most relevant to fluid-centered energy solutions, such as small-scale hydro- or wind-power and algae biofuel.
My past work experience includes internships with Geosyntec Consultants and the EPA and a couple of UROP positions. I enjoy getting involved in outreach programs to engage the local community, especially girls, with STEM topics. Also, I’m legally blind and would like to promote accessibility in academia and STEM fields in general.

Laura Matloff

MIT 2013 Course 2

I started my Terrascope journey as part of Mission 2013: Carbon Sequestration, continued to UTF for  Mission 2014: Feeding the world and Mission 2015: Biodiversity, and am still glad to be part of the Terrascope family!


After graduating MIT with a degree in Course 2, I worked as a product designer in Silicon Valley before returning back to school to complete my PhD at Stanford where I studied birds and designed aerial bioinspired bird robots. I love interdisciplinary problems, designing solutions that pull from many different fields, and Terrascope definitely played a role in shaping that. I’m currently working in tech at the intersection of biology, neuroscience, and mechanical design doing research on novel input and computer interactions.

Laurel Regibeau-Rockett

MIT 2018 Course 8

Laurel is a 2018 alum who lived in Simmons Hall, and majored in physics, with a focus on atmospheric and ocean fluid dynamics. She is from Wivenhoe, England, and is currently living in San Francisco, completing her sixth year of graduate school in atmospheric sciences at Stanford University. Her areas of expertise are in hurricane research, and in climate science. Her year of Terrascope also had an energy theme, and she was in the wind energy team. She also loves to teach and do outreach. For fun, she likes to sail, blow glass, and take care of her plants. She welcomes you to the Terrascope community and is happy to answer any questions relating to Terrascope, life at MIT, or anything else!

Lauren Kuntz

MIT 2013 Course 2 & 8

Back in the day, Terrascope sparked Lauren’s passion for environmental issues. After MIT, she moved up the road to Harvard to complete a PhD in climate science, researching both physical oceanography as well as continuing her passion for understanding the barriers to decarbonizing energy systems. She now works as CEO and co-founder of the YC-backed startup, Gaiascope, focused on increasing the profitability of renewables in the electric grid. She knows way too much about  electricity markets and the challenges of renewable intermittency and is always happy to nerd out about the incredibly fascinating dynamics of how the electric grid works. Or if you’d rather chat about women’s sports, running, life at and beyond MIT, whether we’re alone in the universe, it’s pretty hard to find a topic she’s not happy to discuss and learn more about. 

Libby Koolik

MIT 2017, Course 12

Originally from South Florida, Libby discovered her love for tackling complicated environmental problems during Mission 2017: Global Water Security. While at MIT, she majored in Course 12, focusing on Atmospheric Chemistry, and then completed her Master’s of Engineering in Environmental Engineering. She was an undergraduate teaching fellow for Mission 2018 and was an undergraduate TA for three of the Course 12 FPOPs. She also participated in the Four Weeks for America program, which sent her to teach climate science and renewable energy technology to middle school students just outside the Navajo Nation for an IAP. After graduating, she worked as an Air Quality Consultant with Ramboll, working on air quality, climate, and sustainability problems in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is now a PhD student at University of California, Berkeley, where her research focuses on crafting climate policy that simultaneously eliminates disparities in air quality impacts in environmental justice communities in California. When she’s not in lab, she’s usually playing pickleball, cooking delicious vegan food, or hanging out with her two cats.

Marvi Matos

 Dr. Marvi Matos Rodriguez works as Director of BDS Engineering, Mobility & Surveillance P-8 Air VehicleIPT. Marvi has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, a PhD in ChemicalEngineering and a MS in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition,Marvi has an executive MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as postdoc atthe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under a fellowship from the National ResearchCouncil. She served as Lecturer in Chemical Engineering and later as a Senior Research Scientist inBioengineering at the University of Washington. She also worked as an independent consultant in the fieldof engineering innovations prior to joining aerospace. Marvi transitioned to Boeing as Scientist andEngineer. At Boeing she served as Thin Films research team lead, as Manufacturing Engineering manager,as Research and Technology manager and as director of Chemical Technologies, Metals and Ceramics. 

Marvi worked at Blue Origin, where she served as director of Materials and Processes, as director of CrewCapsule team in the New Shepard Program and as the director for Mechanical Engineering leadingstructures, mechanical systems, fluids systems, technical design and materials and processes. 

In her way back to Boeing, Marvi led the establishment of Design Practices as Director of Engineering,building a powerful Engineering knowledge system with an ecosystem of engineering functions, technicalboards and councils, product family leaders and business unit leaders. 

Missy Showers

MIT 2013 Course 2A

Hi everyone! My name is Missy Showers. I was a 2013 Course 2A, with a focus in Energy & Sustainability. I dual minored in Energy Studies and Applied International Studies. While at MIT, I researched renewable energy, energy efficiency and the electric grid. I was part of Terrascope 2013 – Carbon Sequestration. After graduating, I worked for a year at a consulting firm that focused on the electricity sector, monitoring the energy market and regulatory policies and researching emerging technologies/policies. I got my PhD in Energy Science and Engineering, with a focus in nuclear fusion, from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. I did my research at Oak Ridge National Lab on the Prototype Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX), a linear plasma device working towards plasma-material interaction studies for future fusion devices. I’ve also worked on a Compact Fusion Reactor and a Dense Plasma Focus device. I recently moved back to California to work at TAE Technologies to work on their fusion device. I’m really excited to get more involved with Terrascope again!


Pronouns: she/her/hers

Patricia Crumley

MIT '03 & '04 Course 1

Patricia Crumley lives in Puerto Rico, and experienced first-hand the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.  She graduated with a B.S in Civil Engineering in 2003. In 2004, she completed her MEng in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Information Technology. She went on to work for a while in IT but later returned to the “true profession” as her MIT advisor, Professor Einstein, refers to engineering, as the Resident Geotechnical Engineer at the Rio Blanco Off-stream Dam in Naguabo, Puerto Rico.


Later on, Patricia held various high-level positions in government, including serving as Director of Planning and Environmental Protection at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in 2011 and Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Luis Fortuño in 2012. In 2013 she returned to the private sector becoming the owner of GeoConsult, which expanded its offerings to not only include geotechnical engineering solutions, but also environmental work and project management, and general infrastructure advising. After Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017, GeoConsult has also been involved in the evaluation of damages and handling of FEMA claims of multimillion-dollar losses for large infrastructure agencies in Puerto Rico. Last year was her first year as a Terrascope mentor.

Pei-Lan Hsu

MIT 2007 Courses 8-B & 6-1; 2008 M.Eng. Course 8

I spent my MIT years (and then many years after) doing what scared me. Physics scared me, so I decided to be Course 8. Circuit design scared me, so that was my first job out of college. Then right before Christmas 2019 I quit my job and spent 2+ years doing my own research. Turns out, there’s a right way and a wrong way to face one’s fears! Nowadays I’m bouncing around somewhere working on self driving cars and/or other Big Compute problems. Ping me for anything related to complex systems! My motto: “What hurts isn’t where the problem is.”

Priyanka Chatterjee

MIT SB '15, SM '18

Priyanka Chatterjee is a 2-time alum of MIT, having graduated from her Bachelor’s in Mechanical & Ocean Engineering (with Minors in Energy Studies and Public Policy) in 2015 and then graduating again in 2018 with her Master’s in Technology & Policy through the Institute for Data Systems and Society (IDSS) Department, with a focus on Sustainable Manufacturing in developing countries. Since MIT, Priyanka pursued nonprofit work in South Africa, supporting existing startups in doing market validation and site surveys to set up off-grid water systems to developing peri-urban communities. She then came back to the US to work with startups in the Vertical Farming space as a mechanical engineer then ultimately pivoted to get a flavor of the corporate world by working for 2 years at Ferrari as a compliance engineer. Now, Priyanka works as a freelancer in the solar industry as well as pursuing her own ventures in renewable energy and small-scale manufacturing.

Richard Colwell

MIT 2021 Course 3

I graduated from MIT Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3) in June 2021 and focused my studies on the intersection of materials science and sustainability challenges. I previously worked as a materials research associate at a Boston-based startup, Tender Food, to create plant-based meat alternatives; you can check out our products at Saus at Bow Market in Somerville! I was involved in Mission 2021, where I worked with classmates to investigate strategies for climate change adaptation in coastal Bangladesh and the greater Boston area. My freshman spring I was part of a 2.00C team exploring rainwater collection systems from locally sourced materials for applications in rural Colombia. I continued to be involved in the Terrascope community throughout my time at MIT as a UTF for Mission 2022, Mission 2023, and Mission 2024. I also was a UTF for Mission 2022’s 2.00C class. I currently live in Seattle, WA with my boyfriend and our dog, Darwin. In my freetime, I love playing music (guitar, piano, and singing), learning new languages (currently Arabic and Japanese), and starting fermentation projects (kimchi, pickles, and vinegars). Feel free to reach out to me about anything, Terrascope related or otherwise!

Robert Gurnitz

MIT 1960, '61, & '66 Course 10

This will be Bob’s twenty second year as an Alumni Mentor. Bob is President of the MIT Class of 1960 as well as President of the MIT Club of Southwest Florida. Additionally, he 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 Terrafrosh 2027 team. Feel free to contact him anytime (

Satoshi Maeda

Satoshi is a business executive with over 16 years of experience in Business Development, Sustainability Innovation, Cross-border M&A, and Global Supply Chain Management. As the Vice President of Business Development at MacroSource, a Fortune 500 global holding company, I lead the development and execution of the supply chain management for sustainable and renewable energy products and a groundbreaking agriculture carbon credits platform that leverages blockchain technology and science-based methodology.

I have a proven track record of delivering strategic value and operational excellence in complex and dynamic environments. I successfully executed the $3B acquisition and post-merger integration of Gavilon Group, the largest cross-border deal in Marubeni’s history. I also designed and implemented a new vendor partnership program and improved the global supply chain strategy and operations for over 7 million metric tons of agricultural commodities annually. I am passionate about decarbonizing the global supply chain and achieving the net-zero emission society. I hold an Executive MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, with certificates in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Sustainability. I am also a Sustainability Committee Member at The Fertilizer Institute.

Schuyler Senft-Grupp

MIT 2006 (BS), 2015 (PhD) Course 1E

I received my BS (2006) and PhD (2015) in course 1E, and participated in the first Terrascope class. My PhD research focused on new ways to sense chemicals in aquatic environments, but I’ve also held jobs at an environmental engineering firm, a national park, a national lab, and an energy think tank. I currently work as an electrical engineer at Heliogen, a concentrated solar power company in Pasadena CA. In my spare time I’ve recently started training to become a volunteer Mountain Search and Rescue member.

Tchelet Segev

MIT 2018 Course 1

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. She then spent the summer 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 for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) with the federal government. She started on the Angeles National Forest in the Los Angeles area managing some post-fire restoration efforts. She was on rotation for the Forest Service in the Bay Area and Washington DC managing regional partnerships and developing a national corporate social sustainability strategy. She has also done a rotation as a Deputy District Ranger in Tucson, Arizona. She spent almost three years working as a Project Engineer on the Chugach National Forest in Anchorage, Alaska managing recreation infrastructure construction projects (read: trails and trailheads!) and restoring a stream. Tchelet now works with the USFS’ International Programs office on the Russia, Europe, Eurasia team as a Program Manager. Some fun facts: Tchelet grew up in Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, and the US and her favorite genre of music is Disney music.

Valentina Chamorro

MIT 2016 Course 2

I graduated from MIT in 2016 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and now work in Somerville as an Hardware Engineer designing electronics and control systems for efficient and affordable air conditioning systems. I was not involved with Terrascope while at MIT, but I did become a member and DJ at WMBR my freshmen year and have been part of that community ever since. My involvement with Terrascope started when I hosted and aired the Terrascope Radio final project on my show in 2018. I have had the honor of hosting the students again every year since and jumped at the chance to get more involved as an alumni mentor.  Aside from a love for radio, I love making art, being outside, and eating good food. 

Vrajesh Modi

MIT 2011 & '15 Courses 2 & 15

Vrajesh Modi is currently a Partner at the Boston Consulting Group, where he focuses on large-scale change in building materials companies.  Previously, he was a startup founder and a member of the MIT Corporation.  As a graduate student, Vrajesh was part of the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program and a member of the faculty Committee on Graduate Programs.  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.

Yolanda Lau

MIT 2002 Courses 7A & 10C

Yolanda Lau is an entrepreneurship and small business consultant, Forbes contributor, and a serial entrepreneur. She began 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 founded 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 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. In 2019, FlexTeam spun out its proprietary software as a separate venture-backed startup that went through the Techstars LA accelerator program: Liquid (‪ helps companies plug into the future of work by managing their on-demand remote 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 is passionate about empowering and mentoring women, children, and minorities and serves on several non-profit boards that align with these interests. Yolanda writes and speaks about the future of work, work-life fit, emotional intelligence, and women’s issues. 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, fund raising for the Institute, and serving on the board for the MITAA.


She is deeply interested in the specific task of Terrascope 2024, as her home state of Hawaii is deeply concerned with biodiversity and mitigating the effects of ecosystem changes.


As she lives in Honolulu, communication will have to be via email, phone, Skype, or Zoom. Normally, she travels to Cambridge frequently and visits Terrascope on occasion. However, given the current global crisis, she will likely not travel to Cambridge this fall.

Zawadi Lemayian

MIT 2009 Courses 1 & 15; MIT 2013 Course 15

I was involved with Terrascope in my freshman year and was part of Mission 2009: Tsunami Threat in the Pacific.  I am really excited about returning to Terrascope and look forward to getting to know this year’s cohort better and learning more about their innovative approaches to tackling some of the world’s most complex and significant environmental challenges.  I am also happy to talk more about other topics of interest outside 12.000.

I graduated from MIT in 2009 (SB Course 1 and SB Course 15) and 2013 (PhD Course 15). After graduation I worked in academia for several years before becoming an economic consultant.  I currently work in Boston as a principal in Charles River Associates’ Finance Practice. My role involves utilizing a wide range of skills across finance, accounting, and econometrics to solve complex problems at the intersection of business, economics, and law.  I have experience in a wide range of matters in litigation and arbitration such as merger and acquisition disputes, accounting liability disputes, securities litigation, shareholder disputes, regulatory investigations, international arbitration, and other financial analysis.  I have consulted for clients from various industries including banking, entertainment, healthcare, real estate, telecommunications, and transportation.  I serve on the Board of Directors for Conservation Together, which is an organization that collaborates with communities in Uganda on sustainability projects that promote human health and well-being, endangered wildlife, and the natural environment.  Amongst other activities, I enjoy practicing yoga, traveling, and spending time with my dog, Bambina.

Previous MIT Alumni Mentors:

Alexandra (Alex) Jordan

MIT 2011 Courses 12 & 17

Alexandra (Alex) Jordan (she/her) is a civil rights attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her work focuses on challenging systemic racial and wealth discrimination in the Deep South in partnership with affected communities through litigation, policy advocacy, direct action, and media strategy. She is currently working to end money bail, remove for-profit companies from the criminal justice system, and protect financial assistance to minority farmers from attack by white nationalists.


Alex graduated from MIT in 2011 with degrees from Courses 12 and 17. As a freshman, she was a member of Mission 2011: Saving the Oceans (where she made some of her closest friends). She later served as a UTF for Mission 2012: Clean Water and Mission 2014: Feeding the World. Alex also was TA for 12.001 Introduction to Geology, taught by Professors Taylor Perron and Oliver Jagoutz.


After MIT, Alex attended Harvard Law School (J.D., 2016) and clerked for the Honorable Catherine F. Easterly on the D.C. Court of Appeals. She now lives (and works remotely from) in Watertown, Massachusetts, with her partner and their dog, Bama.

Alfredo Kniazzeh

MIT 1959 Course 2

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, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, 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.

Ali Trueworthy

MIT 2017 Course 2OE

Ali was a member of Mission 2017 and a UTF for Mission 2018, she also took 1.016 in the Spring of 2014. Her degree from MIT was in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering (2OE). After MIT, Ali worked in underwater passive acoustic sensing at OASIS Inc. in Lexington, MA before leaving in April of 2018 for a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Directly after the trail, Ali began her PhD work in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University. There, she does research in ocean wave energy through the Pacific Marine Energy Center. Her research is specifically focused on design and assessment methodologies for marine energy systems and wave energy powered desalination. She is currently working on a project developing a small-scale, easily-deployable seawater desalination system for remote communities and disaster areas. Along with her engineering work, Ali recently joined the Environmental Arts and Humanities program at Oregon State through which she will earn her Master’s of Art and do research in communication, rhetoric, and renewable energy. Ali makes an effort to make marine energy research accessible and exciting to people outside her specific research field by writing a column for the Pacific Marine Energy Center website and social media and participating in outreach events around the University. She has a fair bit of experience leading teams and her research in design engineering can provide insight to effective methodologies for creating solutions to major problems such as those presented in Terrascope. Ali is happy to share her professional and personal experiences with Terrascope, at MIT, and beyond and would love to hear from students this year’s students! 

Andrew Wickert

MIT 2008 Course 12

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 a McKnight Land-Grant 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 develop theory to predict how rivers will respond to climate and land-use change and test it in the upper Mississippi and along the Andes, quantify lake and groundwater storage and their impacts on climate and sea level, and monitor environmental conditions around the world.

Anupong “Mee” Tangpeerachaikul

MIT 2012 Courses 5 & 7

Born and raised in Thailand, I went to high school in Norway before coming to MIT in 2008. I did Mission 2012 (same year with Elise), finished MIT with a double major in courses 5 & 7, and then went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry & Chemical Biology from Harvard in 2018. I am now a senior scientist at a biotechnology start-up where I help to discover novel cancer therapeutics. I am passionate about sustainable development–that’s what brought me to Terrascope in the first place. I may be helpful in areas such as literature review, writing reports, and preparing presentations. I can also give general MIT or career advice, especially for students with an international background or aspiring chemists/biologists. Terrascope was one of my best memories about MIT, and I hope to help make it a lifelong experience for you all too.

Bhupendra Khetani

MIT 1960 Course 10

This is Bhupendra’s twelfth 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.

Brandon Wang

MIT 2019 Course 6

My experience with Terrascope started my first year, with Mission 2019: Food Security. Since then, I’ve been a UTF for Missions 2020 and 2022, and most importantly, played for the Terrascope IM hockey team. While at MIT, I majored in 6-3 and was a part of the Educational Studies Program (ESP) student group. In the past I’ve worked at various software companies (all of stripes), NASA, and in a computational urban science lab. I’m planning on returning for my MEng this year, and am actively figuring out what’s next! Feel free to reach out if you want to talk about Terrascope, MIT, thinking about career choices, or anything else!

Catherine “Rin” Yunis

MIT 2016 Course 2A

I am a PhD student at USC studying Biomedical Engineering in my third year. I work with rehabilitation robotics due to a combined interested in hands on engineering and neuroscience. I love to make, cook, read and dance. Terrascope was one of my favorite classes at MIT.

Emma Bassein

MIT 2006 Course 12

Emma has spent her career in cleantech, including 10+ years in energy efficiency/solar, and the past 1.5 years in precision agriculture. She has experience in getting start-ups off the ground, scaling them, and integrating them in big companies. She currently leads the Data and Machine Learning Platform team at Blue River Technology; the team consists of software engineers and data scientists building cutting edge infrastructure to support computer vision machine learning projects. In her spare time, Emma likes to be outdoors as much as possible, including backpacking, kite boarding, and rock climbing.

Esther Han Beol Jang

MIT 2014 & 2016 Course 6

I’m a 5th year Computer Science PhD student at the University of Washington, who graduated from MIT (Course 6-2) in 2014 and did an MEng. I’m doing research in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD), which is like what MIT’s D-Lab does but more focused on computational and digital technologies; it’s at the intersection of information science, development economics, and computer science/engineering. I’ve also done research in computer science education, making and digital fabrication, and human-computer interaction in general. I spend a lot of time thinking about the relationship between technology and poverty.


My specific expertise is in community networks — community-owned and operated communications infrastructure for small rural or remote villages, often using open-source and DIY technologies. I’m also working on starting a non-profit community network for underserved urban communities in South Seattle and Tacoma, and developing open-source cellular (LTE) technologies to lower the cost and knowledge barriers to doing so. I’ve worked with communities in Tanzania (where my interest in networking started in 2012, with a MIT Public Service Center project), the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, and now Tacoma, Washington.

Jessica Kleiss

MIT 2000 Courses 12 & 18

Since Terrascope wasn’t around in 1996-2000, I participated in the ESG program as a freshman and as an upperclassman instructor.  The ESG experience solidified my passion for learning and education. I finished a PhD in Physical Oceanography on ocean wave breaking and turbulence from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and did some postdoctoral work at U. Washington on ocean-atmosphere interactions. I’ve now obtained my dream job as a professor at a small liberal arts college. I didn’t really care what I was teaching, but I landed in an Environmental Studies program. One interesting thing about dream jobs, by the way, is that reality includes some trade-offs that we couldn’t have anticipated while simply dreaming.


In Fall 2021 I’m experimenting with teaching a freshman seminar that is modeled after the Terrascope experience. I would be thrilled for you to contact me and talk through your work, your process, your challenges, and your experience. I may be able to ask you some helpful questions, and I will certainly learn a lot alongside you!

Jillian James

MIT 2010 & 2016 Course 16

Jillian James is an MIT course 16 alumni (SB ’10, SM ’16).  She currently works at NetScout Systems on network service assurance and cyber security solutions.  Prior to that she worked at an MIT-Harvard startup and at MIT Lincoln Laboratory as an engineer in the Space Systems Analysis and Test Group.  As a systems engineer, she is passionate about solving complex problems that impact people and the environment.  She enjoys helping students break down large problems into pieces while still addressing the interconnections.  She lives in Cambridge, but can often be found enjoying nature and wildlife on hikes, skiing down mountains, or sailing the river.

Jorge Phillips

MIT 1972 Course 6

This will be my fourteenth year mentoring 12.000, Through all these years, I have throughly enjoyed interacting with our students and guiding their process in the course and for their final presentation. Each year I am amazed at the solutions that students come up to the ever-changing problems we set out to tackle. As for myself, I am deeply interested in technology in all its manifestations, and in finding ways to apply it to solve the most pressing questions faced by humanity in all settings, be they problems related to food, education, health, development related, or even concerning the use of the advanced technologies involved in the exponential digital transformation of the planet. I am an entrepreneur at heart and have founded, built out and grown startups in Silicon Valley, the East Coast and overseas to successful exits. But I also have had substantial experience as a top-level executive in global multinational companies, and as a cabinet-level member of government and in diplomatic positions in Europe.  I studied computer science at MIT where I learned to deal with complexity and do advanced research and have a doctorate in artificial intelligence and two other advanced degrees from Stanford University in computer science and in electrical engineering. In spite of all this, or maybe because of all this, I love education and have been involved in university-level education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in universities in the US, South America and Europe during my career. I currently live in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, where I am involved in artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, banking and fintech, and several entrepreneurial efforts, and enjoy the outdoors and playing jazz with my sax and guitar.

Lauren TenCate

MIT 2018 Course 2-OE

Lauren TenCate, class of 2018 (graduated 2019), 2-OE: currently a mechanical engineer working on flow technologies, but spent the previous few years working as a software engineer on autonomous boats. I lived in EC my first couple of years, then took some time off & moved to pika when I came back. Ask me about: boats! hiking & outdoorsy things in the area! EWB! Marine Robotics Team! ILGs! wait actually everything is really hard and I’m really really struggling; LGBTQA discomfort; help I’m no-recording all my classes despite trying really hard; I can’t decide what to major in at all; and related to that, working in areas you didn’t major in. I still live in Boston, and would also be happy to meet up in person (after normal work hours)

Marcela Rodriguez

MIT 2013 Course 1E

Marcela investigated the feasibility of geo-engineering solutions to climate change in her freshman year, and visited the UAE’s green city Masdar that spring. After graduating from 1E in ’13, she took an unconventional path into programming when learning how to create games, with a goal of helping others better understand climate change. Now working as a software engineer at a consulting firm, she has been looking for ways to get more involved in environmental issues. 

Milani Chatterji-Len

MIT 2019 Course 1

I am a 2019 grad who majored in Civil and Environmental Engineering and minored in International Development. Currently, I work as a water resources engineer at AECOM, a civil engineering firm. In my current position I perform flood studies for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help them determine flood insurance rates and create hazard mitigation plans for communities in the United States. As an undergrad at MIT, in addition to participating in Terrascope I was an active member of Engineers Without Borders and the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team. Happy to provide any assistance I can to the incoming Terrascope class!

Quint Hester

MIT 2019 Course 16

I graduated from MIT AeroAstro in 2019 and am currently a second-year masters student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University  where I research trajectory optimization and aerodynamic model learning using graph neural networks. As part of Mission 2019 and Terrascope Radio, I investigated problems with global food aid policy and explored desert agriculture in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation (plus befriended a lot of puppies along the way). I stayed involved in the Terrascope community throughout my time at MIT – playing on the Terrascope IM hockey team for 3 years and returning to the Navajo Nation as a UTF for Mission 2022. Outside of research, my interests include country music, Southern cooking, disaster response and emergency management, causes of and solutions to poverty (particularly in rural areas), and pretty much anything involving the outdoors. Growing up in North Carolina, I always loved learning about marine biology and coastal ecology, so I’m really excited to see what solutions this year’s students come up with! Feel free to reach out if you want to chat about navigating teamwork and organization in a large group of people, navigating college in general, or navigating spacecraft to the moon and back.

Sabrina Mazer

MIT 2019 Course 2

I graduated from MIT in 2019 with a degree in Course 2 and a music minor. I have been involved in the Terrascope community since Mission 2019, during which my classmates and I studied global food security and explored New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. I stayed involved throughout my time at MIT as an associate advisor and UTF and am excited to be back for my third year as an alumni mentor! I currently live in Somerville and work as a mechanical engineer at GE Aviation where I design structural components for helicopter engines. I am also working on my master’s degree through Georgia Tech’s distance learning program. Outside of work my interests include woodworking, home projects, and spending time with my cat Henry and husband Billy. I am excited to chat with you about solving complex problems, settling into MIT, choosing and changing majors, or anything else you might find valuable!

Sami Harper

MIT '16 BS '17 MEng Course 1

Sami Harper (Course 1 – environmental engineering, ’16 BS and ’17 MEng) is a water resources engineer and tribal coordinator for the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has worked on regulating agricultural runoff of cannabis farms and vineyards, studied groundwater remediation in Germany, and did her grad and undergrad theses on irrigation systems. Sami works with tribes and underserved communities in the Bay Area to understand their needs related to water quality and try to incorporate them into the policies and regulations at a regional level. She has taken and given trainings on environmental justice and is working to implement the principles at work wherever feasible. Sami did theater, was part of community service groups, and lived in Next House at MIT.

Sheldon Buck

MIT 1959 Course 16

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 include being an Alumni Mentor for this course 12.000 Solving Complex Problems for 22 years and attendance at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVentue held in Oshkosh, WI for the last 15 years.  At Carleton- Willard Village I am chairman of the CWV Computer Committee and a member to the Thesbians (theater group).


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.

Siamrut ``Sam`` Patanavanich

MIT 2009 & 2011 Course 3

I am originally from Thailand and grew up in Northern Virginia right outside of DC. I studied Materials Science and Engineering for my undergraduate and master’s. My interest in business led me into management consulting helping companies answer complex questions and then to product management helping build and customize software platforms for companies. Realizing my love for medicine and directly helping care for others, I have decided to pursue a career as a physician and am applying for medical school this year. Life is a wonderful journey. Enjoy the ride!

Tamara Litwin

MIT 2009 Course 5

Tamara Litwin’s academic wanderings include an S.B. in chemistry from MIT, a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Cambridge through the NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, and an M.P.H. with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In her doctoral research, Tamara used biophysical methods to investigate how DNA topology affects DNA interactions with topoisomerases and other DNA binding proteins. After earning her M.P.H., she joined the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics to study improved screening and early detection of ovarian and cervical cancers through biomarker discovery, validation, and translation. Tamara just started a new role at the NIH helping manage the scientific agenda of the million-person All of Us cohort study. In her free time, Dr. Litwin enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and hanging out with her two beautiful children.

Tessa Weiss

MIT 2020 Course 2A

Tessa is a Class of 2020 grad having majored in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Energy. She currently works for RMI, a global clean energy think tank, on their Breakthrough Technologies team, where she actively identifies opportunities and strategies to scale a variety of clean energy technologies necessary for global decarbonization. In particular, she focuses on techno-economic analysis for green hydrogen, a critical technology for decarbonization of several sectors including marine shipping and heavy duty trucking. While at MIT, Tessa lived in Baker, participated on the cross country/ track and rugby teams, helped start and lead MIT Divest, a fossil fuel divestment effort, and was a part of AXO.

Todd Harland-White

MIT 1976 &'77 Course 13

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 my fifteenth 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. 

Tracy Burnett

MIT 2012 Courses 11

Tracy is a PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley researching nomads’ relationships with yaks in order to better understand endemic Tibetan theories of ecology. She would be happy to converse with Terrascope students by phone about her MIT experience, her current research, or the US-based non-profit she created as a follow-up to her studies.