Meet the House Teams

Heads of House
Heads of House

John Fernandez & Malvina Lampietti

John E. Fernández 

 

MIT class of 1985, I have been on the MIT faculty since 1999. I am currently the Director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative, former Director of the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture, and the International Design Center. I am also the Director of the Urban Metabolism Group, a research group examining the resource intensity of cities and pathways for a low carbon urban future.

I have served many years on a number of MIT committees including the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, the Committee on the Undergradaute Program, the ROTC Oversight committee, and currently the Committee on the Innovation Initiative, the Faculty Policy committee, and the Institute Planning committee. I also served on various special groups and task forces including the subcommittee on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons, the Working Group on the Future of Teaching and Learning Spaces at MIT, the School of Architecture and Planning Dean's Diversity Committee, the Dean's Energy and Environment Council, and currently, the Campus Sustainability Task Force, the MIT Materials and Waste Management Working Group, and the Metropolitan Warehouse Advisory Group.

 

A practicing architect, I have been the designer of more than 2.5 million square feet of new construction since completing graduate work at the School of Architecture at Princeton University.

 

I am also a classical pianist, a watercolorist and an enthusiastic, and sometimes reckless snowboarder.

 

Malvina M. Lampietti

 

I graduated from Barnard College and received a master's degree in Architecture from Princeton University. During my 7 years at KPF, I collaborated on a number of large urban projects, including the Atlanta Federal Reserve, the Bank of Hawaii, and the New Harbor Art Museum. Since cofounding LFA in 1997 with John, we have focused on sustainable residential and commercial projects; which reflect the complex interplay of siting, materials and function that contribute to a cohesive design.

 

I am an avid tennis player and an amateur gardener.

 
We have been heads of house at Baker House since fall 2015. Our daughter, Vita, works in high tech in Salt Lake City. Our son, Lorenzo, is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis. In the fall of 2016, we added a vizsla puppy (Baker Biko) to the household and later we added another, Louie. As a family, we enjoy traveling, hiking and eating. While on sabbatical, we have lived in Lisbon and Singapore.
Area Director
Area Director

Tiana Pena Colon

Tiana is a New England native, raised in Lawrence, MA. She received her Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 2014, Masters in Education in 2017 and Masters in Criminology in 2018 all from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. While at UML, she worked in residence life and discovered her passion for student development and support. As a veteran of the United States Air Force, she values teamwork and fitness. She appreciates authenticity, positivity, diverse perspective and is always up for a deep conversation. Filled with energy, you’ll see her frequently roaming the halls or at campus events/programs. A few of her interests/hobbies include professional bikini bodybuilding, fitness overall, shopping, traveling, watching movies or binging a good show, riding her motorcycle, cooking, eating, food trucks, reading, poetry, exploring, hiking, camping, adventures, volleyball, festivals and conversing. If you see her, be sure to say hello!

Heads of House
Heads of House

Janelle Knox-Hayes & Jarrod Hayes

 

Janelle Knox-Hayes & Jarrod Hayes have been the heads of house of Burton Conner where they have lived with their young twin daughters Isabelle and Mackenzie since 2018. Mackenzie and Isabelle love being around so many talented and interesting students. Study breaks, reverse trick-or-treat and bubble blowing parties are their favorites! During summer 2020 Janelle and Jarrod added Vala, a Leonberger puppy, to the family. Despite being born during the pandemic, Vala has few social inhibitions, happily greeting everyone she meets with lunging hugs and slobbery kisses.

 

Janelle is an associate professor of economic geography and the head of the Environmental Policy and Planning Group in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She attended the University of Colorado for her undergraduate studies where she triple majored in Ecology, International Relations, and Japanese Language and Civilizations. She completed a Master’s Degree in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy, and DPhil in Economic Geography and Environmental Finance at the University of Oxford. Janelle directs the Resilient Communities Lab, a research team with projects ranging from examining the interface of values and sustainability, weaving Traditional Ecological Knowledge and STEM disciplines together, and assessing risks, vulnerabilities and strategies of adaptation in major cities. In addition to research, Janelle teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on environmental policy, climate change mitigation and adaptation and environmental planning with indigenous communities. Janelle serves on a number of Institute committees and Co-Chairs the School of Architecture and Planning Diversity Committee with fellow HoH Larry Sass. In addition to scholarly enlightenment and international travel, she enjoys gardening, throwing ceramics, and hosting munchkin dance and backyard unicorn pool parties.

 

Jarrod Hayes is an associate professor at UMass Lowell where he teaches courses on global environmental politics, international security, and foreign policy. Before coming to MIT he was a tenured associate professor at Georgia Tech. He attended the University of Colorado and USC for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. In addition to a fascination with all things international, Jarrod enjoys reading about architecture, hiking, kayaking, science fiction, and traveling. He hopes to convert an ICE sports car to electric soon.

 

Janelle, Jarrod, Isabelle and Mackenzie have deeply enjoyed getting to know the vibrant BC community over the past few years with its dynamic floor cultures. They continue to host social virtual events while the community is offline for renovation, and are really looking forward to having the community back together in Fall of 2022. Vala is especially looking froward to having students to tackle play with!


Head of House
Head of House

Sandy Alexandre

 

Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor of Literature, has been a faculty member at MIT since 2006. Her research interests include American literature and culture, race and visual studies, women’s and gender studies, performance studies, and material culture studies. She is married to an artist Renold Laurent, and is also mom to a dynamic and curious toddler named Zora. Sandy is an avid walker and might even have the plantar fasciitis to prove it. She enjoys listening to all kinds of music. She wants to take up playing jazz flute again, and is probably only saying this because saying it in a public forum will compel her to make it so! Stop by and ask to borrow a book or to talk all things Toni Morrison over a cup of nettle leaf tea.
Associate Heads of House
Associate Heads of House

Eden & Cristian Medina

 

Eden Medina is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Her research interests include the historical study of computers and the role of computers in processes of social and political change. She holds a Ph.D. from MIT in the History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, a Master in Studies of Law from Yale Law School, and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University. Her book Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile explores an attempt to design political values into the form and function of a computer system and how this system, in turn, shaped a political revolution. At MIT she teaches courses such as “Data and Society” and “Computers and Social Change.”
 
Outside of the classroom, she enjoys dance and loves going to the ballet. She sang in a band for ten years, but now sings around the house, especially when no one is home. Other interests include travel, zombie movies, and, more recently, indoor rock climbing. Getting to know students is her favorite part of being a professor.
 
Cristian Medina is a research scientist in the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department at MIT. He earned a Ph.D. in geology and an M.S. in hydrogeology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University. He is originally from Chile, where he earned a geology degree from the University of Chile. His research focuses on the subsurface characterization and petrophysical properties of prospective CO2 storage reservoirs and seals in the Midwest region.
 
When he is not wearing his geology hat, he likes to be involved with community organizations. He has developed geology workshops for Latino elementary and high school students, hosted Spanish speaking radio shows, and organized handmade book workshops, chess tournaments, community meditation sessions, and poetry readings. He is always looking for ways to bring people together. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading poetry, volunteering, and spending time with his wife Eden and son Gael.
Area Director
Area Director

Alexandria Clyburn

Hi, I am Alexandria! I have been the Area Director of East Campus since August 2019. I have a bachelor's and master's degree in communication from Bryant University in Rhode Island. I first became interested in student life while being a D1 volleyball player and campus leader. Since my graduation I have worked at institutions in Vermont and Tennessee. Originally, I am from a small town in Georgia. I have a passion for travel, and an obsession for all things Disney and Harry Potter. I love to chat with people and I am always willing to lend a helping hand to all! Do not hesitate to reach out; aclyburn@mit.edu!

Heads of House
Heads of House

Larry & Terry Sass

Larry Sass
I am a professor in the Department of Architecture who wants to someday print houses directly from computer models. I have worked as a professional in architectural offices in NYC and Boston before teaching full time. I am also happy to say that I served as a Graduate Resident Tutor in New House in the 1990s. Currently, I teach courses related to design computation to graduate students and undergrads in the Department of Architecture, and my research investigates ways to rapidly produce small structures for communities in need of high quality homes and shelter. Whether teaching my undergraduate courses, conducting research with graduate students or living life at MacGregor, fostering relationships within the MIT community has been my greatest joy. Last, I enjoy traveling and exercise more than ever. My favorite thing to do is cycle to Walden Pond and back on weekends. 
 
Terry Sass
I am a licensed psychologist in private practice in Cambridge, working with adults across the lifespan and with couples. I entered the field of psychology following twenty years of work in education and public health. After growing up in New York City, I received a BA from Yale, settled in the Boston area, and earned an MPH from Boston University and a PhD from Boston College. Larry and I are parents of three adult children. We enjoy traveling, exercising outdoors, staying connected to friends and family, and exploring the culinary delights in and around Cambridge. It is a privilege to work with and get to know MIT students and help create a home for all MacGregor residents.   
Associate Heads of House
Associate Heads of House

David Singer & Steve Bertone

David Singer (right) is Associate Head of House and Professor of Political Science, where he studies international economic relations. He and his partner, Steve Bertone (left), have lived in MacGregor House for twelve years, and enjoy hosting brunches with students and taking long walks along the Charles River. Steve works in regulatory compliance for a Boston-based financial institution.
 

Area Director
Area Director

Jeff Saint Dic

Jeff Saint Dic has served as the area director for MacGregor House since July 2017. Jeff is originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in Everett, Massachusetts. He received his bachelor's degree from Southern Connecticut State University in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Jeff moved to Buffalo, New York in 2011, where he studied and received his master's degree in higher education student affairs and administration from State University of New York at Buffalo in 2013. Jeff truly appreciates the authentic conversations with the students at MIT and the positive relationships he's formed with the MIT community. Jeff loves trying all types of food and learning about other cultures. A few of his interests are anime, exercise, music, traveling, art, universe, cooking, video games, dancing, laughing, comic books, random conversations about life, poetry, sports, learning new skills, adventures, and helping people.

Head of House
Head of House

Jack Carroll

Jack grew up in suburban New Jersey (quiet), went to military high school in Manhattan (exciting city!), and to college in northern Vermont (beautiful, cold winters) and in Rome, Italy (fantastic!).He received a Masters from the University of Chicago in Social Sciences and a PhD from Cornell University in Experimental Psychology. His thesis research was on how comprehension of non-literal communications (e.g., sarcasm, irony) develops from young children through adults – the communications that Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) seems to find so unintuitive. After a stint on the psychology faculty at Northeastern University, he worked for several research companies providing market research and user-centered design services to a wide range of clients. He founded and led a research company that helped major banks and investment companies develop innovative, user-centered online, voice, and kiosk-based interfaces. His interest in helping to establish Maseeh Hall emerges from an unforgettable experience as an undergraduate in Rome, where he learned that an educational community committed to enabling active and varied engagement with a diverse world can create a transformative life experience. He’s happy to help with brainstorming, planning, and launching any new activity for Maseeh, exploring international education/intern opportunities, starting a discussion club on lots of topics, talking sports (soccer and football in particular) over dinner, cheering on Maseeh IM teams, etc.

Head of House

Suzanne Flynn

Suzanne received her MS from the University of Puerto Rico and MA and PhD from Cornell University. Since 1981 Dr. Flynn has been a Professor of Linguistics and Language Acquisition at MIT. Her research focuses on the acquisition of various aspects of syntax by both children and adults in bilingual, second and third language acquisition contexts. This research is linked to current cognitive and linguistic theories. More recently, her work has focused on the neural representation of the multilingual brain. She has also begun focusing on the nature of language in individuals with early onset of Alzheimer's disease. She has published extensively in journals and has authored or coedited several books. She is also the cofounding editor of Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research. She is or has been a member of several Boards of Directors; these include Belmont Day School, Modern Languages and Literature (CMU), Department of Anthropology (UMass) among others. She also has a clinical certification in Speech and Language Pathology.

Associate Head of House
Associate Head of House

Cullen Buie

Cullen is the Mitsui Career Development Chair and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Cullen was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. As a student at Shaker Heights High School he was involved in sports (football and basketball) and several organizations to improve race relations within the community. He then attended The Ohio State University where he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2003). After OSU, Cullen attended Stanford University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and obtained his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) in Mechanical Engineering. Cullen's Ph.D. research involved the study of microfluidic pumps to manage liquid water in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. He and his wife, Donielle, met at Stanford in 2004 while she was completing her Master's degree. Prior to joining MIT Cullen spent a year at UC Berkeley working with Professor Liwei Lin and Professor John Coates as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. At MIT his laboratory explores fundamentals of electrokinetic phenomena for application in materials science and microbiology. His research is applicable to a diverse array of problems, from antibiofouling surfaces and biofuels to energy storage and bacterial infections. Cullen is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and service including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2012). In his spare time Cullen enjoys changing his son Jeremiah's diapers and watching college football (particularly, THE Ohio State University). He also enjoys stupid movies (e.g. Talladega Nights) and eating meat...lots and lots of meat.

Associate Head of House

Donielle Buie

Donielle earned a BS in Biomechanical Engineering and an MA in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies in Education, both from Stanford University. Her passion for innovation, social change, and leadership development led her to create opportunities to truly impact others. Donielle has spent time working in the nonprofit world. She taught entrepreneurship to high school students at Oakland Technical High School and Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, both in Oakland, CA with BUILD. Donielle was certified by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and was recognized as an Apprentice Teacher of the Year in 2006. Donielle has spent the past six years building her business experience in pharmaceutical and healthcare market research with AlphaDetail, Inc where she is currently a Director. Donielle is still passionate about entrepreneurship and is currently developing plans for her own small business. Donielle and Cullen have an adorable son, Jeremiah, who loves living in Maseeh. When she's not spending time with Jeremiah and Cullen, Donielle likes bowling, baking and reading.

Area Director
Area Director

Rebecca (Becky) Kjaerbye

 
Hello, and welcome to MIT! Becky is the Senior Area Director for Maseeh Hall. She has been at MIT since 2010 and has worked in higher education since 2006. Becky has her master's degree in Post-Secondary Education and her bachelor's degree in Political Science. You are most likely to find her in the lobby of Maseeh Hall with a coffee in her hand, taking in the beautiful view of the Charles River, and connecting with people. When she's not in Maseeh you can find her going to a make-up class, trying out a new restaurant or changing up her hair color. Becky enjoys a good Netflix marathon, traveling the world, and being with friends. Connecting with people is one of her favorite things to do, so please come on by her office (in the lobby) to grab a snack and chat!
 
 

 

Heads of House
Heads of House

Raúl Radovitzky & Flavia Cardarelli

 
Raúl and Flavia have been the Heads of House at McCormick Hall since August of 2015. Raúl’s whole life has been dedicated to the academic world with an equal love for research and teaching. But among all of his academic passions, the interaction with the student community is definitely his favorite. He obtained his Civil Engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1991, his M Sc in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 1995, and his Ph D in Aerospace Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1998. He is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has been on the MIT faculty since 2001. He is also the Associate Director of the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the National Football League Engineering Committee. Among other accolades recognizing his dedication to students, he is the recipient of the 2014 Student Champion Award for his excellence as a freshman advisor, and the 2018 Alan J. Lazarus Award (1953) Excellence in Advising Award.
 
The Institute is a family affair for the Radovitzkys. Flavia has been a senior administrative assistant with the MIT-Portugal Program and IDSS for the past 14 years. Their sons Felipe and Ben are both MIT undergrads, class of 2020 and 2022, course 2 and 6 respectively. When they were younger, they attended MIT summer camp for many years. The Radovitzkys love the outdoors and particularly enjoy sailing, skiing and kiteboarding as a family.
 
Food is another passion for them. The entire family has an international flair for cooking, drawing on Italian, Spanish, Jewish, French, and Argentine culinary traditions for inspiration. Raúl is known for taking meals with small groups of students, or cooking an authentic Argentine barbecue — called an “asado” — for students in his classes at the end of the spring term. The truly enjoy food, music, company and lively conversation.
 
Flavia has led the design and execution of several renovation projects at McCormick, including three new lounges, the game room with its own first 4K projector on campus, the west penthouse, and more on the way.
 
Both Flavia and Raul have dearly enjoyed their daily interactions with the McCormick community in the last five years, especially the events that they introduced and have, by now, become traditions: Pasta nights, Karaoke, Make your Own Pizza nights, and rain-shine-or-snow monthly BBQs in the Courtyard.
Area Director
Area Director

Emma Johnson

 

Hi! My name is Emma Johnson and I have been the Area Director for McCormick Hall since the summer of 2017. I graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014 with a degree in anthropology, and I first came to MIT as a graduate assistant while studying for my master's degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I love working with MIT students, particularly during high-energy times like REX and CPW. In my free time, I like trying new restaurants, binge watching TV shows and movies, and relaxing in the McCormick Penthouse with a good book. Stop by my office next to the Dance Studio for a chat any time!

 

Head of House
Head of House

Wesley L. Harris

Wes Harris is the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the director of the Lean Sustainment Initiative at MIT. Before his appointment as Associate Provost, Professor Harris served as head of MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics from 2003 to 2008.

 

He earned his BS in aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia, and his MA and PhD in aerospace and mechanical sciences at Princeton University, on whose Board of Trustees he later served (2001-2005). From 1972 to 1985, he taught and held several administrative positions at MIT, making seminal contributions to the study of unsteady aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, rarefied gas dynamics, sustainment of capital assets, and chaos in sickle cell disease.

 

He served as dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut from 1985 to 1990, and as vice president and chief administrative officer of the University of Tennessee Space Institute from 1990 to 1993. As NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics from 1993 to 1995, he was responsible for all programs, facilities, and personnel in aeronautics at NASA.

 

Wes Harris has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, the Cosmos Club, and the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. He is also an elected fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Helicopter Society, and the National Technical Association, in recognition of his achievements in engineering, engineering education, management, and advancing cultural diversity.

Area Director
Area Director

Kat Howell

 

Kat (she/her/hers) has been at MIT since spring 2018. Prior to being in New House, Kat was the Area Director in Burton-Conner House. Originally from Texas, she lived in Providence, RI for 3 years before shipping up to Boston! She received her bachelor's degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR where she discovered her love of working with students by participating in band and Tau Beta Sigma. Kat received her master's degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. Kat loves traveling, watching movies, music, staying active, and her pup Katie.

 

Kat loves meeting new people and supporting MIT students, so don't hesitate to stop by and say hello. She may also be reached at khowell@mit.edu.

Head of House
Head of House

Steven Hall

Steven Hall is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He graduated from MIT with an SB degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1980, and earned SM and ScD degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1982 and 1985, also from MIT. He was appointed to the MIT faculty in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1985, and was named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2002. 
  
His teaching includes graduate and undergraduate subjects within the Information Sector of the department, including a dozen years teaching Signals and Systems in the famous (or infamous) Unified Engineering. He has also taught undergraduate subjects in control theory, guidance and navigation, and flight mechanics and control. His graduate teaching includes subjects in modern control theory and optimal control.
 
Steve has been active in service in his home department and the Institute. In his department, he’s served as an undergraduate advisor, Assistant Department Head, Chair of the departmental faculty search committee, Chair of the doctoral program, and Co-Head of the Information Sector. In service to the Institute, he has been a freshman advisor, a member and later Chair of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program, a member and then Chair of the CUP Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement, a member of the MIT Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-Wide Affairs (CJAC), and a member of the Institute-Wide Planning Task Force. He was Chair of the MIT Faculty from 2013 to 2015.
 
Steve is currently the Head of House at New Vassar. He has a daughter Caitlin, a son Michael, and granddaughter Maddy, all of whom live nearby. Steve is a certificated pilot, and enjoys flying his plane on weekends and on vacations.
 
Associate Director for Undergraduate Residential Life
Associate Director for Undergraduate Residential Life

John Ross Campbell

 

John Ross Campbell is currently Associate Director for Undergraduate Residential Life and Area Director of New Vassar. Prior to this, he served as Area Director of New House since 2013. Originally from Ohio, John Ross moved to the Boston area in 2010. In addition to an undergraduate degree in English and linguistics, John Ross also holds a master's degree in higher education administration and student personnel with a certificate in international higher education from Kent State University. John Ross's favorite part of working at MIT is the opportunity to learn from students, and he enjoys helping students from all backgrounds as they navigate their MIT experience. Outside of MIT, John Ross enjoys reading, the outdoors, exploring Boston and New England, learning to sail, and being a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

 

 

Heads of House
Heads of House

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero & Empar Rollano-Hijarrubia

Pablo and Empar are the Heads of House at Next House, where they have lived with their three children, Marta, David, and Maria, since August 2016. Both Pablo and Empar are originally from Valencia (Spain). Before arriving to MIT, they both studied physics in Valencia, and then obtained their PhDs in physics (Pablo) and medical physics (Empar) in the Netherlands. After a (too) short year in New York City, they moved to Cambridge in 2008.

 

Pablo is associate professor in the MIT physics department. His group does experimental research on the quantum electronic and optoelectronic properties of novel low-dimensional materials. In addition to research, his academic passions include teaching different undergraduate courses (8.01L, 8.231, 8.223, 8.03, 8.04, 8.044, 8.14 and counting!), as he enjoys switching to a new course every couple years. He also enjoys serving on various department and institute committees, and he likes to organize community-building events. For example, in 2016 he organized the first Rising Stars in Physics academic career workshop for women. Pablo enjoys reading, playing squash, dancing, and eating good food. His future plans include starting skiing and scuba diving again… after a few years’ gap while the kids were small.

 

Empar is a research scientist at Witricity, a local start-up company focused on efficient wireless power transfer. Her work includes computer simulations of electromagnetic fields and device safety evaluation. Besides science, Empar has a very artistic side, having also obtained a degree in classical dance and performed as a semi-professional ballet dancer. Empar enjoys dancing, music, pottery, going on excursions, biking, and she plans to retake scuba diving too!

 

Both Pablo and Empar enjoy traveling around the world, visiting historical monuments, trying different cuisines, and enjoying the outdoors with the kids. 

Area Director
Area Director

Katie Rettie

Hi, I’m Katie Rettie and I’m the Area Director for Next House. I grew up moving all over the country, but Boston is my home! I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in community psychology. I love Next House for its many different student groups, and the many lounges where you can always find friendly Nexties to chat with. In my spare time I like to walk my dog, explore Boston’s restaurants, work out, and binge Netflix. Ask me about great food spots in the area, or strategies for maintaining a balanced lifestyle as a student. I’m always happy to chat and help!

Heads of House
Heads of House

Jared and Laurie Berezin

Jared and Laurie Berezin, Random Hall’s Heads of House, live in the dorm to support students. Randomites can visit Jared and Laurie’s apartment anytime to chat about challenges, struggles, and victories at MIT. They offer advice and a listening ear, host sing-alongs and other events, and are a liaison to the Deans, MIT Medical, the faculty, and the administration. Jared teaches in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication Program within the Comparative Media Studies/Writing department at MIT. Laurie is a professional jeweler and metalsmith who runs her own company, Beryllina. Students also enjoy hanging out with Laurie and Jared’s friendly little dog named Shakedown.

Area Director
Area Director

Topher Nelson

Hello, my name is Topher and I’m the Area Director of Random. I’ve been at MIT since January 2015 but I've been in Cambridge my whole life, having grown up here, and I absolutely love it. I went to college at Northeastern and have two master's degrees, one in education and another in economic development. Outside of work I like video games, running and trivia!

Heads of House
Heads of House

John & Ellen Essigmann

John Essigmann is the William R. (1956) and Betsy P. Leitch Professor in Residence of Chemistry in the MIT Department of Chemistry and Professor of Toxicology and Biological Engineering in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering.  He was the Associate Head of the Department of Chemistry until 2012, responsible for graduate and undergraduate education in chemistry, and until this spring he has been the Director of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, which is one of MIT’s thirteen trans-disciplinary labs and centers.  John was brought up in Medford, MA, a suburb of Boston and is a lifelong resident of the Boston area.
 
During his undergraduate years at Northeastern University, John worked in the chemistry group at Arthur D. Little, Inc., an industrial consulting company with longstanding ties to MIT. He received his S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT and came up through the faculty ranks as a toxicologist, working at the interface between chemistry and biology.  He is best known for elucidating the mechanisms of action of previously uncharacterized toxins and drugs.  Much of this work is done on toxins found in bio-diverse regions of the world, because natural products act as good role models for studying chemical-biological interactions.  John’s sub-specialty is toxic compounds that act by interaction with DNA or other nucleic acids.  The drug design strategy of "lethal mutagenesis" or "viral decay acceleration" is based upon work done in John’s laboratory along with those of his collaborators; a lead agent is now in Phase IIa clinical trials.  On the academic side, John currently teaches “Biological Chemistry” in the Chemistry Department and “Biological Engineering Design” to undergraduates.  He teaches “Biological Networks” to graduate students.  He teaches both at MIT and in the graduate program of the Chulabhorn Graduate Institute in Bangkok, Thailand.  A portion of his work is a collaboration between MIT and the Kingdom of Thailand.
 
Ellen also was graduated from Northeastern University and received a Masters’ degree there before coming to MIT for her PhD.  Her career was in FDA Regulatory Affairs, with responsibility for obtaining and maintaining FDA approval for biological devices and drugs based on their safety and efficacy profiles.  Her products included diagnostics for specific types of cancer and treatments for acute insults to the immune system.  She worked at H. G. Pars Pharmaceuticals and T-Cell Sciences, Inc. and as an independent consultant.  After her career in Regulatory Affairs, Ellen focused her attention on undergraduate student life at MIT, where the Essigmanns have been Heads of House, first in New House and then at Simmons Hall.  She enjoys working with students to help guide them over obstacles that may stand in the path to achievement of their goals.  She has a good knowledge of, and working relationship with, the administrative structure of MIT and uses that knowledge to support student-initiated projects and interests.  Ellen also manages the MIT ThaiROP program, a summer research and cultural immersion program in which MIT undergraduates participate in ten-week internships in Thailand.  
 
The Essigmanns have two children. The eldest, Amy, is a Program Manager at Google, where she shepherds projects through the design process by coordinating the work of UX designers, researchers, and engineers. The youngest, Nolan, recently graduated from MIT with a degree in mathematics, is now in charge of software engineering at Checkup Healthcare. Both Amy and Nolan are now married and, between the two, we now have two grandchildren and one on the way. When not at MIT, the family enjoys time together on the shores of Mooselookmeguntic Lake, in a very remote section of northwestern Maine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Area Director
Area Director

Kristen Shannon

 

Kristen is a Massachusetts native hailing from Foxboro. Kristen received her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2013 from Keene State College in New Hampshire. While at KSC, she was a resident assistant and worked in the Mason Library. Kristen moved to Boston to continue her studies at Suffolk University, and while there worked in the Office of Residence Life & Housing, as well as the Student Leadership & Involvement Office. Kristen completed her master's degree in mental health counseling, as well as a master's degree in crime and justice studies in 2016. Kristen went on to work in substance abuse and mental health in both prison and outpatient settings while completing her certificate of advanced graduate studies in 2017. Kristen comes to MIT in hopes of encouraging students to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment early, to reduce stigma, and to support and connect students with helpful offices on campus.

 

Kristen is an avid fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, and visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida for the first time in 2017. Kristen also enjoys the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films, but needs some added encouragement to finish the book series.