Short ESG staff biographies
Analia Barrantes (Physics)
Analia teaches physics (8.01 and 8.02) at ESG and does research in Physics Education in the RELATE group at MIT (relate.mit.edu). She is interested in how students learn and how to improve the teaching of physics. Analia holds a Master in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD In Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. Apart from teaching freshman students, she loves to paint, to travel and to read.
Patricia Christie (Biology, Chemistry)
Patti Christie has been teaching full time at ESG since 1999 after completing her Ph.D. in the Chemistry department (1996) at MIT and a Post Doctoral fellowship in the Biology department. She is also known around MIT as the course manager for 5.111 and 5.112 in the Chemistry Department and for teaching in Interphase Project in the OME. Since at ESG, Patti has developed two very popular seminars, Kitchen Chemistry (ES.011) and Chemistry of Sports (ES.010). Patti also helps train the undergraduate instructors with the ESG undergraduate teaching seminar (ES.200) every fall. Patti has a passion for her family, cooking, swimming, biking and since she does triathlons, a reluctant passion for running.
Dave Custer (Writing, Physics)
Dave Custer has been teaching hands-on, interdisciplinary subjects for MITs Experimental Study Group and Writing Program for 30 years. His research is the testing and evaluation of equipment used in rock climbing and mountaineering. Dave spends his free time in the vertical world.
Jeremy Orloff (Math)
Jeremy Orloff studied math as an undergraduate at Brown and as a graduate student at MIT. He wrote his doctoral thesis under Sigurdur Helgason on harmonic analysis on symmetric spaces, finishing in 1985. He then spent five years teaching and doing mathematics research, including stints at Tufts and Northeastern Universities. The birth of his son coincided with a decision to leave academia, after which he spent ten years studying speech recognition as a principal research scientist at Dragon Systems. As a mathematician, he was used to an infinity of data. The transition to speech scientist was difficult, but he learned how to draw useful conclusions from a handful of noisy data points. In 2003 he returned to MIT to teach although he continues a slow motion research project on speech processing and some hearing related learning disabilities. He plays fast pitch softball, runs and, like many of his colleagues, loves to hike. He is also a firm believer in the value of commuting by bicycle and a big fan of Krazy Kat, Calvin and Hobbes and Gurbo the rat.
Paola Rebusco (Physics)
Paola Rebusco was born in Italy, near Lake Garda. She earned her master's degree in theoretical physics from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2003. She received her PhD in astronomy from the Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich, Germany) and the International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics in 2007. She then crossed the Atlantic and spent three years as a Pappalardo Postdoctoral fellow in Physics at MIT. Paola is not only interested teaching and in theoretical astrophysics, but also in how specialized knowledge is made publicly accessible. Apart from being the European Southern Observatory Network representative in the United States, Paola comments on scientific news for the Italian radio program Moebius, and contributes to the Italian science magazine Newton. Paola loves traveling (especially to warm places), sailing, writing and reading, cooking and eating, and playing basketball with her husband. Read Paola’s webpage: http://space.mit.edu/home/pao and her blog for the spring seminar "Speak Italian with Your Mouth Full" at http://speakcookitalian.blogspot.com
Leigh Royden (Physics)
Leigh Royden grew up in California where she spent most of her time in the swimming pool. She studied physics at Harvard and then received her PhD from MIT in Geology and Geophysics. At Harvard she competed in crew, both in the single and the eight, winning the US women’s single sculls championships and, with the US National team, a silver medal in the eights in the world championships. Disheartened by the US boycott of the 1980 Olympic games, Leigh returned to graduate school full time. She survived a two-year post doctoral appointment at Harvard and then returned to MIT where she has been on the faculty ever since. She has two children, ages 18 and 21, and a horse.
Gabrielle Stoy (Math)
Dr. Gabrielle Stoy did her undergraduate degree at Manchester University in the UK and her graduate studies at Oxford University, where she earned her doctorate. She worked in the Mathematics Department at Oxford University as a faculty member, and at Lady Margaret Hall (one of Oxford University's colleges), for many years before relocating to Boston with her husband, who also works in the area. Her mathematical interests and specialism are in Group Theory, and she has co-authored a book on Groups and Geometry. Her principal role in Oxford was as a tenured faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, but during the years she held many administrative positions in conjunction with this, in both the University and the College. For five years she was her college's Academic Co-ordinator for its "Junior Year Abroad" Visiting Students' Programme. Since coming to ESG she has enjoyed being able to concentrate on her main interest and enthusiasm: teaching Mathematics. In her spare time she enjoys swimming, music and reading.
Graham Gordon Ramsay (Program Coordinator)
Graham Ramsay has worked as Program Coordinator for ESG since 2002. He did his undergraduate studies at Boston University in music composition, and has studied in music programs at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and at the Fountainebleau School in France. In his life outside of MIT, he works as professional photographer, videographer, and musician. As photographer, his work has appeared in national and international publications including the Atlantic Monthly, Time Magazine, and Figaro Magazine (France). As a musician, he is a regularly commissioned composer whose works are performed regularly in the US and abroad. His CD “The Sacred Voice,” a compilation of many of his choral works, was released by Albany Records in 2011. He has been teaching classes as instructor photography since 1990 at the MIT Student Art Association, and has developed and taught numerous humanities-based seminars through the Experimental Study Group since 2003. Based on one such seminar, he co-authored the book “A Creative Guide to Exploring Your Life” with Dr. Holly Sweet, published by Jessica Kingsley in 2009.
Alexander Slocum (Director, ESG)
Alexander Slocum is the Papplardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, a MacVicar Faculty Teaching Fellow, and a Fellow of the ASME. He has seven dozen U.S. patents and has helped develop 12 products that have been given R&D 100 awards. Alex was the Massachusetts Professor of the Year in 2000 and is the recipient of the Society of Manufacturing Engineer’s Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal, and the ASME Leonardo daVinci and Machine Design Awards. His current interests focus on the development of precision machines from medical devices and instruments to renewable energy harvesting and storage machines. Recently he served on the DoE Science Team working on the Gulf Oil Spill. His greatest passion is working with students, from freshman to Ph.D., they are the future of everything. Since high school days, Alex has had a passion for furniture making and carpentry. Alex also loves sports from SCUBA to snowboarding to iron-distance triathlons and marathons.
Holly Sweet (Associate Director)
Holly Sweet Ph.D. is the Associate Director of ESG and a lecturer at MIT. This current year she taught a seminar on “The Art and Science of Happiness.” In the past she has taught seminars on “The Psychology of Emerging Adulthood” “Psychology Looks at the First Year at MIT” and “Sex Roles in Relationships.” She co-taught a seminar on “Composing Your Life” with fellow staff member Graham Ramsay and together they wrote A Guide to Exploring Your Life: Self-reflection Using Photography, Art and Writing” which was based on this seminar. Holly is also a licensed psychologist with a part-time private practice and has just published a book on women counseling men (Gender in the Therapy Hour). She graduated from the University of Sussex in England back in the 70s so know what it is like to be an international student. She loves to ski, hike, bike and play tennis and enjoys organizing weekend outings with students.