Vision Statement

Our Vision for MIT is a culture of excellence in mentoring and advising, one that fosters the well-being, research, and professional development of all graduate students and faculty.

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Paula Hammond (Co-Chair)

Institute Professor of Chemical Engineering and Department Head

Professor Hammond is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the MIT Energy Initiative, and a founding member of the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology. The core of her work is the use of electrostatics and other complementary interactions to generate functional materials with highly controlled architecture. Her research in nanomedicine encompasses the development of new biomaterials to enable drug delivery from surfaces with spatio-temporal control. She also investigates novel responsive polymer architectures for targeted nanoparticle drug and gene delivery, and has developed self-assembled materials systems for electrochemical energy devices.

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Tim Jamison (Co-Chair)

Professor of Chemistry and Associate Provost

Associate Provost Jamison provides leadership on initiatives centered on faculty professional development, and works with senior MIT leaders, deans, and others to ensure equitable practices during the faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure processes. He also supports the efforts of all academic areas of the Institute to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in building a positive work climate and sense of shared community. In addition to these roles, he also provides oversight of the campus space assignments and renovations to assure the current and future needs of the Institute are met.

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Rachel Beingessner (Staff to the Committee)

Director of Special Projects, Office of the Associate Provost

Rachel stewards projects related to faculty professional development and diversity. Prior to this role, Rachel was a Research Scientist in the Chemistry Department at MIT where she had the opportunity to work with many undergraduate students, graduate students and Postdocs in a research group.

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Lauren Pouchak (Staff to the Committee)

Director of Special Projects, Office of the Vice Chancellor

Lauren stewards projects related to enhancing the graduate student experience as part of strategic priorities of the Office of the Vice Chancellor. She comes to the committee with enthusiasm for creating sustainable support for both faculty and student mentors and mentees.


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Noam Buckman

Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, GSC Nominee

Noam is a rising 6th year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering & CSAIL. His research involves looking into ways autonomous cars can interact with humans on the road. Outside of research, he chairs the GSC's Committee on Advising which recently launched the new Graduate Research Advising Survey.

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Paula do Vale Pereira

Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Engineering, GSC Nominee

Paula is a PhD Candidate. She is passionate about space exploration and about applied experimental research. Born and raised in Brazil, Paula is impressed by the depth and breadth of opportunities that MIT has to offer -- and also impressed by the power advisors have over advisees in grad school in the US.

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Alvin Harvey

Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Engineering

Alvin is a current PhD Candidate, president of the MIT Native American Student Association, and member of the Navajo Nation. His current research includes bioastronautics, human factors engineering, and Indigenous perspectives in space exploration.

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Laurel Kinman

Biology, School of Science

Laurel is a 4th year graduate student where she works in the Davis lab studying the structural biology of autophagy initiation and developing computational methods for analysis of highly heterogeneous structural ensembles by EM. She comes to the committee with a long-standing interest in teaching and mentoring, and has helped lead the peer mentoring BioPals group in the Biology department, as well as helped found the BioLGBTQ+ group.

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Levi Knippel

Chemistry, School of Science

Levi is a 4th year graduate student where he studies asymmetric catalysis under the supervision of Prof. Stephen L. Buchwald. He is the current president of the Chemistry Graduate Student Committee (CGSC), and serves on the Institute’s Graduate Student Council (GSC).

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Luis Kumanduri

Mathematics, School of Science

Luis is a 4th year PhD student in the Math Department, working with Larry Guth in metric geometry and quantitative topology.

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Zanele Munyikwa

Information Technology, Sloan School of Management

Zanele is a PhD student in and a computational social scientist. She uses causal inference and machine learning techniques to study the digital economy, technology and the future of work.

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Devora Najjar

Media Arts and Sciences, School of Architecture and Planning

Devora is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab focused on microbial sensing in resource-limited contexts. Currently, she designs laboratory and cold chain-independent CRISPR biosensors and collaborates with community partners to understand how these systems could be used for community-based environmental monitoring. In her free time she enjoys designing craft-based educational activities, cooking, reading, and going to the Brattle.

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Cynthia Ni

Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering

Cynthia is a PhD candidate in the Prather Lab, where she engineers biosensor-based strategies to use food waste as a biosynthetic substrate. In her free time, she plays ultimate frisbee, hikes and backpacks, and enjoys good food.

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Gabrielle Robbins

History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences 

Gabrielle is a 5th-year PhD candidate. Her academic work examines overlaps between medical and agricultural industries. Her advocacy in the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and various other committees promotes graduate student equity and wellbeing.

Staff and Faculty

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Lourdes Alemán

Associate Director for Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Learning Lab

Lourdes  works with faculty to improve teaching and learning at MIT and teaches others how to teach. More recently, she has been involved with other members of the Office of the Vice Chancellor in grad advising initiatives, in particular helping to launch a mentoring professional development series for faculty within the School of Engineering. Lourdes is also an MIT alumni who has experienced mentoring and advising within the graduate context.

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Suraiya Baluch

Associate Dean for Graduate Student Advising, Office of Graduate Education

Suraiya assists graduate students in the area of GradSupport. She is a psychologist by training.

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Amy Keating

Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, Associate Department Head, Graduate Officer, Biology

Professor Keating teaches protein biochemistry to graduate students and studies protein-protein interactions with a team of graduate research assistants. The most gratifying part of her job is seeing the transformation of graduate students from bright, curious novices to impressively sophisticated, independent scientists and engineers, and she appreciates that strong advising and mentoring relationships are critical for this growth.

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Leslie Kolodziejski

Professor of Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Professor Kolodzieski serves EECS as the Graduate Officer of the SM/PhD graduate program and also one of EECS' Equity Officers. Her goal for the committee is to create both a culture and structure at MIT that supports a mutually respectful and productive, healthy and primarily enjoyable relationship between graduate students and their research advisor; importantly, both individuals are supported.

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Joe Paradiso

Professor and Associate Academic Head, Media Arts and Sciences

Professor Paradiso is the Alexander W. Dreyfoos (1954) Professor in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where he directs the Responsive Environments group and serves as the associate academic head. He received his PhD in Physics from MIT in 1981 working under Prof. Ulrich Becker at CERN’s ISR and a BSEE/Physics from Tufts University in 1977, joining the Media Lab in 1994 after developing spacecraft control and diverse sensor systems at Draper Laboratory and high-energy physics detectors at ETH Zurich and CERN Geneva. His current research interests explore how networked sensing augments and mediates human experience, interaction and perception. He is proud of having advised over 80 Graduate Students.


Heather Paxson

Program Head, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology, Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Professor Paxson is interested in how people craft a sense of themselves as moral beings in their everyday lives, especially through activities having to do with family and food. Her current work concerns the practical and semiotic work of moving perishable foods across international borders. Committee tenure began February 1, 2022.


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Ray Reagans

Professor of Management and Work and Organization Studies, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sloan School of Management

Professor Reagans studies the origin and influence of social capital on knowledge transfer, learning rates, and overall team performance. More specifically, he examines how demographic characteristics such as race, age, and gender affect the development of network relations. He also considers how particular network structures affect performance outcomes, including the transfer of knowledge among individuals and the productivity of research and development teams.

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Brad Skow

Professor of Philosophy, Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor Skow is the graduate officer for the philosophy PhD program. In his research he thinks about metaphysics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of science. His hope for the committee is to advocate for policies and procedures that encourage good mentoring. Committee tenure June 2, 2021 – December 31, 2021.