Winter/Spring 2021

MIT Staff Council | Cambridge, MA

In summer 2020, twenty-three Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) faculty members with environmental commitments and interests met in virtual Council sessions over five weeks. The Council format was replicated for thirty-eight staff members in winter/spring 2021 (participants below) and summer 2021. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, MIT is planning additional Councils for staff and faculty, as well as forming a Steady Council to continue conversations for those who have participated in Council circles.


Deb Blum

Deborah Blum is the Director, Knight Science Journalism Program. She is a Pulitzer-prizewinning American science journalist, columnist, and author of six books, including The Poison Squad (2018), and The Poisoner’s Handbook (2010). She is a former president of the National Association of Science Writers, was a member of the governing board of the World Federation of Science Writers, and currently serves on the board of advisors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Blum is co-editor of the book A Field Guide for Science Writers, and in 2015, she was selected as the fourth director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.

Martha Broad

Martha Broad is the Executive Director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). As part of the leadership team, she works to link science, innovation and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. She has a track record of successfully partnering with business, government and nonprofit stakeholders to support the clean energy transition. At MITEI, she works closely with member companies who collaborate with MIT researchers on a spectrum of topics, including the Low-Carbon Energy Centers. In addition, she spearheads MITEI’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy to design, manage, and host the annual Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium and serves as a C3E Ambassador. Previously, as part of the senior management team of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Broad led programs and studies that focused on the commercialization of clean energy technologies. By collaborating with universities and public and private partners, she helped facilitate the state’s successful installation of hundreds of megawatts of wind and solar systems.

Deborah Campbell

Dr. Deborah J. Campbell is a Senior Staff member of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Prior to joining this group, she served as an Assistant Technology Officer in the Laboratory’s Technology Office. At Lincoln Laboratory, Dr. Campbell has applied her analytical chemistry expertise to areas of tactical explosives forensics and attribution, and threat detection, phenomenology, and remediation. She has led a significant portfolio of programs focused on the development, testing, and transition of attribution technologies and techniques. Prior to joining Lincoln Laboratory, she was an assistant professor of chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross and then a research scientist at Seagate Technology. Dr. Campbell graduated with a BS degree in chemistry from Bates College and then earned a PhD degree in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Alexander Dale

Alexander Dale is the Lead for Solve’s Sustainability pillar, where he supports myriad people and organizations passionate about tackling food, energy, water, and climate challenges. He has an academic background in the life-cycle impacts of energy and water infrastructure, and a professional background in environmental policy, engineering education, and nonprofit management. He is a relentless pragmatic optimist – sees the world as it is, and believes that the future can be better if we roll up our sleeves and get to work. Alexander was Executive Director of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) from 2013 until 2015, and continues to serve on ESW’s board. From 2015 to 2017, he was a AAAS Policy Fellow hosted by the US EPA’s Transportation and Climate Division. He has also taught courses in social entrepreneurship, energy & science communication, and technical sustainability. Outside of work, he enjoys being outdoors, cooking local and seasonal food, reading hard science fiction, and exploring everyday life in new places. Alexander was born in Massachusetts and raised in Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering and a B.S.E. in Engineering Physics, both from the University of Pittsburgh.

Nureen Das

Nureen Das is the Program Manager for MIT’s India and South Asia International Science and Technology Initiatives. She the started her career in microfinance in India, followed by a wide range of grassroots organizations including the Peace Corps, where as a volunteer posted in Fiji, her work focused on capacity building initiatives with local women’s groups. This led to her ongoing involvement, through establishing the Artesan Gateway, with social enterprises, NGOs and social businesses, who are focused on providing employment and skills training through craft and sustainable fashion production. Most recently, she worked in executive search exclusively within the non-profit sector. Nureen has had the opportunity to live, work and study in India, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Fiji and the USA and is passionate about promoting cross-cultural education and professional experiences. Nureen graduated from Calvin College with a major in History and Economics, and holds an MA in Development Studies from the University of Wales.

Martha Eddison

Since 2007, Martha has served as the principal writer and a strategic communications advisor to the president of MIT – first for Susan Hockfield, and since 2012, for Rafael Reif. You can see some of her work here. She also played a key role in writing MIT’s 2015 Climate Action Plan. She began her speech writing career in politics, heading the speech office of the late New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo. Later, while raising three young children, she spent nine years as a freelance writer, bringing wit, rigor, clarity and delight to fundraising and admissions materials for clients including MIT, Yale, Harvard Medical School, Williams and Tufts. The proud owner of a BA in English, Martha left college thinking she would be a costume designer and eventually made the shift to political speechwriting – not so far apart after all. She lives in Cambridgeport with her husband, Tom, where they are still getting used to the fact that their three children – Stella, 22, Satchel, 20 and Jasper, 18 – are all off to college. Martha has longstanding family ties to Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where she can sometimes be seen at the wheel of a former lobster boat that shares her name. She loves to garden (though her results are unruly), has an advanced knack for making pie and is never happier than reading Shakespeare aloud with friends.

Michelle English

Michelle English is Director of Public Programs at the MIT Center for International Studies. She manages the Center’s media outreach and all print and digital publications. She also manages the MIT Starr Forum public event series, which brings to campus marquee-level speakers to discuss pressing global issues. She has more than 15 years of professional work experience in the communications field, including five years at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She has a keen interest in visual communications and has completed both undergraduate and graduate level studies in web design, graphic design, and writing. She holds a BA in political science.

Jen Fentress

Jennifer Fentress is a designer, writer, and marketing professional currently serving MIT as the Communications Officer for the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). She first came to MIT in 2013 having spent 20 years crafting messaging, designing brands, and managing projects and campaigns for a diverse clientele—from tech startups to local broadcast stations to ad agency projects for Fortune 500 companies and major cable networks—which has earned her a regional Emmy nomination and a Broadcast Designers’ Association Silver Award. In her early career, Jennifer also extensively consulted on product development for digital animation and effects tools and taught masterclasses for video design professionals. In EAPS, some of her recent work includes serving on the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as co-leading the Visibility Working Group for EAPS Task Force 2023—an initiative to re-envision the department for the future. In her personal time, Jennifer is an avid hiker, skier, and rock and ice climber, and thus is keenly interested in issues of anthropogenic damage to our climate and environment, and in the preservation of wild spaces.

Laur Hesse Fisher

Laur Hesse Fisher is the Program Director for the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) at MIT. She focuses on cross-partisan collaborations, as well as bridging the divide between the public and scientists on tricky climate issues. She also hosts ESI’s podcast on climate change, TILclimate (Today I Learned: Climate). Laur has worked for public, private and non-government organizations in the US, Sweden, New Zealand, and Canada on climate change and environmental issues, and has experience in a wide range of fields, including carbon reporting, green building, waste management, communications, and crowdsourcing. Before joining the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, Laur worked at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence leading Climate CoLab, where over 100,000 people worked online with experts and each other to develop proposals on how to address climate change. She also founded and leads Civic Series (, an international non-partisan, volunteer-run 501c3 organization that helps people have meaningful conversations about the most important issues of our time. Laur holds a self-designed Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University titled “Engaging Sustainability as an Innovative Process.” When she’s not working at ESI and Civic Series, you’ll find Laur hiking a mountain somewhere with her family, cycling along the Wissahickon, and fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning piano.

David Goldston

David Goldston became Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Washington Office in May, 2017. In that role, he directs MIT’s federal relations and helped develop policy projects on campus. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and teaches in the M.S. Program on Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy. Prior to his current position at MIT, he was the Director of Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental group, for eight years, where he helped shape NRDC’s federal political strategy, policies and communications. He came to NRDC after spending more than 20 years on Capitol Hill in Washington, working primarily on science policy and environmental policy. He was Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Science from 2001 through 2006. After retiring from government service, Goldston was a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2007 and at the Harvard University Center for the Environment in 2008 and 2009. From 2007 through November 2009, he wrote a monthly column for Nature on science policy titled “Party of One.” Goldston also was the project director for the Bipartisan Policy Center report “Improving the Use of Science in Regulatory Policy,” which was released in August 2009. He authored a chapter in The Science of Science Policy: A Handbook (Stanford University Press, 2011). He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Division of Environment and Life Sciences and has served on numerous panels of the Academy and other science policy organizations. He holds a B.A. (1978) from Cornell University and completed the course work for a Ph.D. in American history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jim Gomes

Jim Gomes is the Senior Advisor to Vice President for Research Maria T. Zuber. In this role he assists Dr. Zuber in overseeing the implementation of MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change. Trained as a lawyer and policy analyst, Jim’s career has been at the intersection of law, politics, environmental policy, and academia. Born in Lowell during the mid-20th Century, his future grandchildren can expect to live into the 22nd.

Suzanne Greene

Suzanne Greene is the Program Manager of the Sustainable Supply Chains initiative at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Suzanne collaborates with industry and stakeholders to develop new methods to calculate, report and offset carbon emissions, improving our understanding of the climate impact of products we use every day. Suzanne’s research focuses on metals, minerals, and freight transport based on their critical role in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals — agriculture, renewable energy, building materials, IT equipment all depend on mined materials and multi-modal transport throughout their supply chains. Suzanne serves as an Expert Advisor for the Smart Freight Centre and Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC). She is co-author of the GLEC Framework (logistics sector guidance under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) and author of the Black Carbon Methodology for the Logistics Sector. She served as Technical Partner for the Transport Science-Based Target Setting Guidance. Suzanne founded the Metals & Minerals for the Environment initiative with the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative and Professors Antoine Allanore (DMSE) and Alan Hatton (ChemE). She has been involved in a number of other sustainability initiatives at MIT, including Leaders in Environmental Assessment and Performance, the Information and Communication Technology Benchmarking Partnership and the Concrete Sustainability Hub. Suzanne received a Masters of Science from the University of Zürich and a Bachelors of Science from the University of New Hampshire.

Jeremy Gregory

Jeremy Gregory is a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and executive director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub. He studies the economic and environmental implications of engineering and system design decisions, particularly in materials production and recovery systems. Research topics include product and firm environmental foot-printing, manufacturing and life-cycle cost analysis, and characterization of sustainable material systems. He has applied these methods, often with industry partners, to a range of products and industries, including pavements, buildings, automobiles, electronics, consumer goods, and waste treatment and recovery. Gregory earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Montana State University, and an MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT.

Emily Hiestand

Emily Hiestand is a writer, designer, and photographer, and, since 2008, the Communications Director for the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. She previously served as the principal of Hiestand Design Associates, and is the author of three books including The Very Rich Hours: Travels to Greece, Orkney, the Everglades, and Belize), which grew out of her academic studies in literature and environmental ethics. Her writing has been collected in books, and appears in magazines and literary journals, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Georgia Review.

Joshua Hodge

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director at CEEPR, Joshua Hodge served for three years as Deputy Executive Director at both CEEPR and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Prior to joining MIT, Joshua Hodge ran the Commodities Research and Forecasts business, Americas, at Thomson Reuters where he managed the launch of the firm’s North American power and gas forecast modeling services. Previous to Thomson Reuters, Mr. Hodge was Managing Director, North America, at Point Carbon where he was the firm’s first hire in the region and oversaw the launch of Point Carbon’s North American products. Joshua holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Jason Jay

Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. He teaches courses on leadership, strategy, and innovation for sustainable business. Jason engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies and organizations. These efforts help build a community of innovators for sustainability that includes MIT students and alumni, faculty and researchers, with partners in business, government, NGOs, and hybrid organizations. Jason’s research focuses on how people navigate the tensions inherent in the quest for sustainability, as they simultaneously pursue their own self-interest and the flourishing of human and other life. This work includes deep case studies of cross-sectoral collaboration and hybrid organizations that combine social and business goals. These case studies have been published in the Academy of Management Journal and California Management Review. He also contributes to the MIT Sloan Management Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Greenbiz on the topic of sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI). A key finding of his research is that social innovation occurs through authentic conversations that hold the tension between divergent values and perspectives. With Gabriel Grant, he is the author of Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World. As a facilitator and consultant, Jason has helped advance sustainability strategy with companies like Biogen, Novartis, and Bose. He is a research partner and facilitator for the EDF Climate Corps and its network of companies. He has contributed to the strategy and curriculum of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Social Innovation and Change Initiative as a faculty affiliate. Prior to MIT, Jay ran an internet startup, traveled around the world, taught kindergarten in a progressive preschool, and worked as a consultant with Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO’s including BP and the World Bank. Jay holds an AB in psychology and a Master’s in education from Harvard University, and a PhD in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Julie Newman

Dr. Julie Newman joined MIT as the Institute’s first Director of Sustainability in the summer of 2013. She has worked in the field of sustainable development and campus sustainability for twenty years. Her research has focused on the intersection between decision-making processes and organizational behavior in institutionalizing sustainability into higher education. In 2004, Julie was recruited to be the founding Director of the Office of Sustainability for Yale University. At Yale, Julie held a lecturer appointment with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she taught an undergraduate course entitled – Sustainability: From theory to practice in institutions. Julie came to Yale from the University of New Hampshire, Office of Sustainability Programs (OSP) where she assisted with the development of the program since its inception in 1997. Prior to her work with the OSP she worked for University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF). In 2004 Julie co-founded the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium, to advance education and action for sustainable development on university campuses in the northeast and maritime region. Julie lectures and consults for universities both nationally and internationally, participates on a variety of boards and advisory committees and has contributed to a series of edited books and peer reviewed journals. Julie holds a BS in Natural Resource Policy and Management from the University of Michigan; an MS in Environmental Policy and Biology from Tufts University; and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire.

Curt Newton

Professionally, Curt Newton is Director of MIT OpenCourseWare, which freely shares materials from thousands of MIT courses used by millions of learners and educators around the world. Prior to joining OCW in 2004, he worked at AT&T/Lucent Bell Labs as a communications network system engineer and co-founded a data network equipment startup. As a citizen climate activist, Curt is on the statewide volunteer steering team of 350 Massachusetts, using people power to create state and local political will for climate action, and is a trained Climate Reality Project Leader. In MIT’s climate community, Curt co-produced and co-hosted 3 seasons of the Climate Conversations podcast; helped launch and build the ClimateX online climate change community that became MIT’s climate portal; and was staff representative on the MIT Climate Action Advisory Committee. Curt’s participation in a 2016 World Climate Simulation game introduced him to Climate Interactive’s work. Enamored of that experience, he learned to facilitate World Climate, with a personal interest in reaching high school communities (being a parent of two young people). He’s facilitated En-ROADS games and workshops for high school classes and enrichment programs, graduate-level education students, a global network of education innovators, workplaces, citizens, and the MIT community.

Anne Slinn

Anne Slinn is Executive Director for Research of the MIT Center for Global Change Science, and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. An engineer by training, she has over twenty years of experience organizing MIT’s interdisciplinary, multi-institutional and international research collaborations that address challenges intersecting issues of the global environment, climate, energy, economics and policy. She oversees a diverse portfolio of around $10M in sponsored research on fundamental Earth system science and integrated assessment of global change. Her emphasis is on science synthesis, the coordination of research direction with resource development, and administration of federal and industrial support. Her early academic focus was on fluid dynamics and heat transfer: her MIT master’s work involved satellite remote sensing of wind-induced stresses on the ocean surface to analyze the interaction of wind and large-scale ocean circulation; at WSU her master’s thesis combined molecular theory with experimental laser design to measure the radiative absorption properties of hydrocarbon gases that are common in the atmosphere. When she joined the CGCS in 1990 she also served as executive officer for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme’s atmospheric chemistry activity (IGAC), and in 1991 she helped launch the MIT Joint Program.
During Academic Year 2014-2015 she served on the MIT Climate Change Conversation Committee, which was established to seek broad input from the Institute community on how the U.S. and the world can most effectively address global climate change. The committee produced a report on MIT and the Climate Challenge.

Madeline Smith

Madeline has been passionate about global experiences and cross-cultural exchange since her own study abroad experience in Copenhagen, Denmark during her junior year at Wheaton College. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, she returned to Denmark to work for the same study abroad program, DIS Abroad. There, her responsibilities included collaborating with Danish faculty and staff to facilitate classes, programs and events, advising students about Danish culture and life in Copenhagen, and leading course-embedded study tours to Belgium, Germany and Kosovo. Since returning to the United States, Madeline has worked with international exchange and study abroad programs at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and, most recently before joining MISTI, led and managed all aspects of Babson College’s BRIC: The Cornerstone of the New Global Economy, a comparative study abroad program that travels to Russia, China and India in a semester. In 2017, she earned a Master of Arts in International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. Madeline joined MISTI in 2018 as Program Coordinator for MIT-India, and she has also worked with MIT-UK. In her current role as Program Manager for MIT-Denmark, Madeline facilitates opportunities for collaboration and exchange between Denmark and the Institute.
In her free time, Madeline enjoys riding her bike, listening to podcasts, and playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Claire Walsh

Claire Walsh is Associate Director of Policy at J-PAL Global at MIT. She works with policymakers and J-PAL affiliated researchers around the world to share insights from randomized evaluations and promote evidence informed policy to reduce poverty and fight climate change. Claire is the Project Director for J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative, which evaluates innovative climate policies and technologies in the real world and works together with governments, NGOs, and companies to catalyze the scale-up of solutions that reduce carbon emissions and carbon co-pollutants, build vulnerable communities’ ability to adapt to climate change, and increase access to affordable energy. Claire previously led J-PAL’s Innovation in Government Initiative, a global fund to support governments in harnessing data and evidence to drive innovation and improve public policy and served as interim Deputy Director of J-PAL Southeast Asia in Jakarta. In 2019, MIT awarded her the “Excellence Award”, among the highest honors of the institute for its staff. Claire holds an MA from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where she specialized in development economics and international business relations and a BA in anthropology from Vassar College. Prior to joining J-PAL in 2012, she worked for NGOs working to improve the quality of education and employment opportunities for youth in East Africa.

Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and its research groups. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.

Alisa Zomer

Alisa is the Assistant Director at the MIT Governance Lab focusing on developing new strategic partnerships and translating evidence into practice. Prior to MIT, she was a research fellow at Yale University focusing on urban climate governance, environmental equity, and international policy. She is a World Social Science Fellow in sustainable urbanization and a member of the National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network on sustainable cities. Previously, Alisa worked for the global governance team at the World Resources Institute on environmental rights related to access to information, participation, and justice. She holds a master’s from Yale University and a Bachelor’s from The George Washington University.

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