Faculty, Instructors, & Staff

ESG’s staff members are deeply committed to undergraduate education and advising. Coming from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, they bring their outside interests to ESG in how they teach and advise, by organizing field trips, spearheading social activities, and creating additional, innovative seminars. Since staff have offices in the ESG space, they are readily accessible for questions, feedback, and advice on a regular basis. And, the fact that everyone at ESG is on a first-name basis allows for a degree of informality that greatly increases staff accessibility.

ESG Teaching Staff

Analia Barrantes (Physics) analiab

Analia Barrantes teaches physics (8.01 and 8.02) at ESG. She also works in collaboration with the physics department developing pedagogical material for the first-year students. She is interested in how students learn and how to improve the teaching of physics. Analia holds a master’s degree in physics from the University of Buenos Aires and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from MIT. Apart from teaching first-year students, she enjoys the outdoors and travel.

Jonathan Bloom (Math) jbloom

Jonathan Bloom grew up in Michigan and studied math at Harvard (BA) and Columbia (PhD). As a Moore Instructor and NSF postdoc at MIT, he continued theoretical research in topology and teamed up with Jeremy Orloff (ESG) to redesign 18.05: Introduction to Probability and Statistics as a flipped, active learning course with an innovative curriculum. At the Broad Institute (2015 – 2019), Jon helped engineer the open-source, scalable analysis framework Hail to learn from massive genomic datasets, and collaborated on biomedical and machine learning research. He also co-founded and led Models, Inference and Algorithms, an educational community bridging computational fields and biology. At the biotech startup Cellarity (2020 – 2022), Jon led a team of computational scientists to develop methods and design experiments underlying a single-cell drug discovery platform. He is excited to return to MIT (ESG and Math) to focus on teaching, data science education, and theoretical research. Jon bikes in from Arlington, where he enjoys playing soccer with his daughters.

Patricia Christie (Biology, Chemistry) patti

Patti Christie has been teaching full-time at ESG since 1999, after completing her Ph.D. in MIT’s chemistry department (1996) and a postdoctoral 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. Patti has also been developing video resources for both EdX (5.01X and 5.02X) and for ESG. Since at ESG, Patti has developed many seminars, with the two most popular seminars being Kitchen Chemistry (ES.011) and Chemistry of Sports (ES.010). Patti also helps train the undergraduate instructors with the ESG Teaching Seminar (ES.200) every fall. Patti has a passion for her family, cooking, travelling, swimming. She is trying to get back into triathlons after spending too many summers in Singapore with the MIT-SUTD collaboration.

Dave Custer (Writing, Physics) custer

Dave Custer has been teaching hands-on, interdisciplinary subjects at ESG since he was a student in the program, over 40 years ago. After graduation, he spent a few years as an electrical engineer before returning to teach at MIT. He is also a long-standing lecturer in WRAP, the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication unit of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies and Writing program, where he teaches communication, primarily in mechanical and electrical engineering CI-Ms.  In 2002 he was a recipient of an MIT Excellence award. In 2013 he received the James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He is a member and former president of the UIAA Safety Commission, the global standards organization for climbing and mountaineering equipment. Dave spends his free time in the vertical world.

Jeremy Orloff (Math) jorloff

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 10 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.

Arthur Parzygnat (Math) arthurjp

Arthur completed his PhD in physics from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, where he also was an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipient in mathematics. He then left the Big Apple to hold postdoc positions in mathematics, physics, and informatics at the University of Connecticut, the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in France, and Nagoya University in Japan, respectively. Arthur’s research is centered around the notion of time in quantum physics, specifically Bayesian inference and causality. Besides research, Arthur also creates educational video lectures and enjoys making advanced topics in mathematics and physics more accessible. Outside of work, Arthur paints, cooks, hikes, rock climbs, and eats pizza.

Lee Perlman (Humanities) lperlman

Lee Perlman earned his B.A. from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and then pursued graduate work in philosophy at the Catholic University of America. He completed an M.A. in political philosophy at Georgetown University. Before earning his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lee spent eight years working in the political arena as a public interest lobbyist and political organizer. In 1978 Baltimore Magazine named him “the most feared lobbyist in Maryland.” He has taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Swarthmore College, Phillips Academy (Andover), and, for over 30 years, at MIT. Lee considers himself to be primarily an educator, and prides himself on designing and teaching a number of courses at MIT, which offer students an integrated view of the humanities and sciences in the western tradition. Among these are “Ancient Greek Mathematics and Philosophy” and a course jointly listed in the Philosophy Department, “A Philosophical History of Energy.” His other signature course is “Philosophy of Love.” Lee has been awarded the Irwin Sizer Award for Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education three times (1997, 2015, and 2019). He was also awarded MIT’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award in 2018. Lee is a composer and musician, and the Music Director of the Deborah Abel Dance Company, which has toured in the US and India.

Paola Rebusco (Physics) pao

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 Ph.D. 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 Post-Doctoral Fellow in physics at MIT. Paola is not only interested in teaching and theoretical astrophysics but also in how specialized knowledge is made publicly accessible. In addition to being the European Southern Observatory Network representative in the United States, she comments on scientific news for the Italian radio. Paola loves traveling (especially to warm places), sailing, martial arts, writing, reading, cooking and eating. To learn more about Paola, see her webpage  http://www.mit.edu/~pao and her blog for the ESG seminar Speak Italian with Your Mouth Full at http://speakcookitalian.blogspot.com.

Gabrielle Stoy (Math) gstoy

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, 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 coordinator for its “Junior Year Abroad” Visiting Students’ Program. 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.


ESG Administrative Staff

Bettina McGimsey (Outreach and Communications Director) mcgimsey

Bettina McGimsey joined ESG in 2015. As the Outreach and Communications Director, she works with students, alumni, and staff to build and enhance the ESG community, both socially and financially. With degrees in German literature from the University of Virginia (B.A.) and University of Massachusetts Amherst (M.A.) and an M.B.A. from Simmons, she has spent the bulk of her career helping organizations work in a healthy and positive way. She is the parent of two college students with Michael Sortor, MIT Course 16, ’84.  In her free time she loves to cook, bake, read, and walk – and someday she would love to get back to the study of literature and her own writing.

Graham Gordon Ramsay (Associate Director) ramsay

Graham Ramsay has worked at ESG since 2002. In addition to his role as associate director, he is in charge of introducing video components into the core GIR teaching and learning experience at ESG. 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, and Figaro (France). As a musician, he is a regularly commissioned composer whose works are performed regularly in the US and abroad. His has two CDs out on Albany Records: The Sacred Voice (2011) and Compendium (2013). He taught classes in photography from 1990-2012 at the MIT Student Art Association, and has developed and taught numerous humanities-based seminars through the Experimental Study Group since 2003. He is co-author of A Creative Guide to Exploring Your Life with former staff member Holly Sweet (Jessica Kingsley, 2009).

Leigh Royden (Director, Physics) lhroyden

Prof. 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 Ph.D. from MIT in geology and geophysics. At Harvard she competed in crew, both in the single and the eight, winning the U.S. women’s single sculls championships and, with the U.S. National team, a silver medal in the eights in the world championships. Disheartened by the U.S. 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 adult children and a dog.


The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) Staff

Carole Cafferty (Co-Director) cafferty

Carole Cafferty is a leader in the corrections field who has worked to equip people involved in the criminal legal system with the tools necessary to redefine their identity and reach their potential. Dedicated to promoting progressive and sustainable change, she has developed integrative programs to empower incarcerated people through therapeutic and educational opportunities, many of which have been replicated both within the United States and internationally. With over 30 years of experience working inside correctional facilities, most recently serving as Superintendent of the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction in Massachusetts, Carole has earned respect from both her colleagues and the incarcerated people she served.

Upon retirement from her career in corrections, Carole joined The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) at MIT as Co-Director. TEJI is creating sustainable solutions to mass incarceration and social injustice through education and emerging technologies. In 2019, Carole was awarded the Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education at MIT. She is a graduate of St. Anselm College and holds a master’s degree in Correctional Administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she teaches in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, which presented her the school’s Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award in 2018. Carole also teaches at Suffolk University in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Carole believes as Bryan Stevenson says, “each person is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done” and that to create systemic change, the corrections field must align itself with the ideals of redemption and restoration.

Lee Perlman (Co-Director) lperlman

TEJI grew out of Dr. Lee Perlman’s dedication and passion to provide incarcerated men and women with the opportunity to obtain college degrees. Lee began teaching in prisons in 2012, through Boston University’s Prison Education Program. He founded the MIT Prison Initiative in 2016 and TEJI in 2017,  with the support of ESG. Through the initiative, Lee teaches classes to both MIT and incarcerated students at medium- to maximum-security Massachusetts Correctional Institutions. (For more information about Lee, see his bio under ESG Teaching Staff above.)