The Station1 Founders, Staff, and Instructors

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Christine Ortiz, Ph.D.

Founder, Station1
Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a scientist, engineer, professor, former dean, and social entrepreneur. As founder of Station1, I have over 25 years experience in higher education and am the (tenured and chaired) Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and former dean for graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During this time, I had the privilege of supporting over 7000 students from more than 100 countries and working with hundreds of faculty and staff on initiatives in diversity and inclusion, global education, technology-enabled learning, learning assessment, curricular and pedagogical design, new financial models, 21st century personal and professional skills development, and many more areas. As a scientist and engineer, my research expertise is in the area of multiscale design and mechanics of biological and bio-inspired materials and manufacturing and I have over 180 scholarly publications and 30 national and international honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering given to me at the White House by President George W. Bush. I received a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University all in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. I serve on numerous boards, including most recently as a regional accreditation commissioner for the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Here is my full CV, my LinkedIn Page, my Twitter Feed, and my Instagram.


Ellan Spero, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Curriculum Officer, Station1
Lecturer and Historian of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I study the ways that people envision human progress, through the institutions, built environments, and narratives that they create. As a historian of technology, business, and higher education, my work is about drawing connections between the ways that people learn, produce, and maintain systems of knowledge and material culture. I am passionate about the amazing potential of connecting people across disciplines and physical geographies – this resonates throughout the work I do at Station1, the opportunities that I aim to facilitate for our students, the way I approach the serendipity of my own research and place in the world. I am interested in the ways that people create and maintain collaboration across professional sectors, a theme of my own research in the history of nascent academic-industrial partnerships at the beginning of the 20th century. I was recently a visiting scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) at the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg, Switzerland, a research and development center for the built environment of the future. As a joint post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) I created coursework that engaged students in analysis of technology, culture, and the city. I hold a Ph.D. from MIT in History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society, a B.S. and M.S. from Cornell University in Fiber Science and Apparel Design, and M.A from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Museum Studies and Textile Conservation.


Keiko Tanaka, M.A.

Administrative Officer, Station1

Keiko Tanaka previously worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 16 years, most recently in the Office of Graduate Education as Administrative Officer, where she was a member of the senior leadership team. Her expertise includes financial management, human resources, student programming, and diversity and inclusion. She interfaced with approximately 40 departmental graduate administrators and officers in departments and is particularly committed to diversity initiatives and international students. Keiko has a M.S. in accounting from Bentley University, a M.S. in mass communications / media studies from Boston University, and a B.A. in liberal arts and sciences, humanities and general studies, University of Tokyo.


Francisco Martin-Martinez, PhD (LinkedInWebsite)

Co-Instructor, Station1
Research Scientist and Teaching Fellow, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a Research Scientist and Teaching Fellow at the Laboratory of Atomistic & Molecular Mechanics (LAMM) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at MIT. I am also member of the advisory board of Sweetwater Energy, president of the Association of Spanish Scientists in the US (ECUSA), and former president of the Spanish Federation of Chemical Engineers (FEIQ). I teach Chemistry at OME Interphase EDGE program, co-instructs 1.007 Big Engineering, and act as Teaching Assistant of 3.021J Introduction to Modeling and Simulation. I am also co-author of one the most recent and relevant books on Lignin and Lignans (Wiley, 2015). I earned my MS in Chemical Engineering at University of Granada (Spain) in 2005, my MS in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry in 2007, and my PhD in Chemistry from the same University in 2011. My PhD was developed at the Modeling and Molecular Design Group. Prior joining MIT in 2014, I was visiting scientist at University of Hamburg(Germany), and postdoctoral associate at Free University of Brussels (Belgium). I have a passion for innovation and extensive experience applying creativity, technical ability and leadership in research and development. I am creative, problem-solvent oriented and passionate about people. Moved by awareness and curiosity, I develop biomass nanotechnology that integrates multi-scale modeling, and machine learning, with hydrothermal processing and silk spinning, to design an manufacture more sustainable materials and technologies that help addressing one of the greatest challenges humanity has faced so far: surviving on a small planet with limited resources to support our increasing global population.


George Whitfield, PhD (LinkedInWebsite)

Co-Instructor, Station1
Co-Founder & CEO at HodlPal, Trust-Driven Social Network

I co-founded HodlPal because I believe technology should empower people and bring out the best in humanity. It is time we take control of our digital lives and work together towards a more inclusive society. We are building the world's first Trust-Driven Social Network to help you control your attention, find measurably credible people, and access collective wisdom. Engineering and entrepreneurship have been a way of life since I went to MIT. My career to date has been in start-up companies as either a founder or early-stage employee. Drawing upon a highly technical background, I built computational solutions to a range of interdisciplinary problems in FinTech, robotics, energy, and environmental protection. I am passionate about creating organizations that innovate and improve our quality of life. I also love to teach and am constantly inspired by highly motivated students who want to change the world. Feel free to contact me if you believe I can be of help. I believe in human potential to achieve the unimaginable. 


LeaderShape® Cluster Facilitators


Rickey A. Caldwell, Jr. Ph.D. (LinkedIn)

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Merrimack College
Founder, President, and Director, Roots and STEM Educational Outreach Foundation

Rickey A. Caldwell, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts with expertise in mechatronics, modal analysis, robotics, dynamics, and vibrations. Prior, he worked at The MITRE Corporation, Center for National Security, National Security Engineering Center (Bedford, Massachusetts) as Senior Mechanical Engineer where he supported the acquisition, design, and analysis of various complex systems. Professor Caldwell also worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (Laurel, Maryland) in the dynamics’ section of the Air and Missile Defense Department. Professor Caldwell has extensive experience in engineering education, diversity, and inclusion, including the Michigan State University, Diversity Programs Office, Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP), Engineering and Science Summer Academy (ESSA). Professor Caldwell has a B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. all in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan).


Yari Golden-Castaño, B.S. (LinkedIn)

STEAM Outreach Coordinator & Speaker, Systems Engineer MIT Lincoln Labs, Mars One 100 Candidate, Storyteller

By day, I am a systems engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory advancing technology for National Defense and Space. By night, I am one of 100 aspiring Mars settlers from around the world preparing and training for a one-way trip to settle on the red planet.
I am a strong advocate for girls in STEAM, I organize and run hands-on workshops to introduce girls to engineering, and speak at schools, universities, and professional organizations about the importance of following your dreams, space exploration and the Mars One Project.


Tiziana Smith, Ph.D. (LinkedIn)

Water Research Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a young professional interested in the intersection of environment, water management, and economic development. My academic training focuses on interdisciplinary analysis of environmental science and policy. I have recently completed my PhD at MIT in Environmental Engineering. My research focused on understanding the constraints of land and water availability on food production in China. My studies are complemented by two years of field experience with the World Bank in Vietnam working with the government from central to local level on climate change policy development and on water resources management projects. 

Guest Instructors


Aislinn T. Betancourt, M.S.W. (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1
Chief Knowledge Officer, Equity Meets Design

Aislinn Betancourt is Chief Knowledge Officer at Equity Meets Design, a think-and-do-tank that merges the consciousness of equity work with the power of human-centered design. Ultimately, Aislinn is devoted to helping organizations that do good, do better. Her work has spanned multiple industries - from education to agriculture - and five continents. Prior to joining Equity Meets Design, she was Chief Operating Officer for SVT Group, a firm that specializes in helping organizations know, grow, and show their social and environmental impact. Prior to SVT, Aislinn served as Social Impact Manager for an agricultural and community development NGO in rural Chile, where she spearheaded the organization's impact measurement and management strategy. She has also served as a consultant on dozens of organizational development, strategic planning, and evaluation projects, contributing her expertise in organizational design, impact strategy, and social research. In addition, Aislinn is a veteran direct-service practitioner with 10 years of experience working closely with indigenous communities, at-risk youth, and asylum seekers toward economic stability, self-actualization, and citizenship. She has been an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace since the start of her career, piloting initiatives to recruit, retain, and advance young people of color in the field of management consulting. She has also helped develop policies that enable organizations to better serve their multicultural and multilingual client base. Aislinn is a Fulbright alumna and completed her Masters of Social Work at Boston College. She is a native English and Spanish speaker.


Sunand Bhattacharya, Ph.D. (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1
Associate Vice Provost, Design and Innovation Strategies at Boston College

Having a positive impact on the future of making and learning via design based education is my area of interest and expertise. As a learning architect, I catalyze the integration of creative mental tools, critical design processes and digital technology skills to better prepare current and future learners for jobs that have yet to exist. With 30 years in the public and private sectors related to design and engineering education, I managed Autodesk's Learning Futures team by interweaving its emerging cloud based design technologies to academia through applied research, thought leadership and faculty fellowship programs. Prior to Autodesk, I was the principal and co-founding partner of Arjuna Learning Designs LLC., a firm specializing in the creation of interactive learning objects to enhance quality of teaching and learning for name brand publishing houses. I have also been a tenured professor and department head of industrial design at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.


Kathleen Flynn

Guest Instructor, Station1
Head Researcher, Lawrence History Center

Kathleen Flynn was an early supporter of the Immigrant City Archives (now the LHC) during the 1980s and 1990s, volunteering and serving in several board capacities, including president. A graduate of Regis College, she received advanced degrees from Northeastern University in counseling and Fitchburg State College in educational administration. Kathy was a founding member of the Bridge Over Troubled Waters Program in Boston, MA. After 33 years of service she retired as an administrator from Whittier Regional Vocational Tech High School in Haverhill, MA. Currently she supports LHC as a volunteer and researcher and also authored Sacred Spaces, a history of St. Mary and Immaculate Conception Cemeteries. She is a board member and annual walker for the Just’Cause 60-mile Walk for Breast Cancer.


Ray Hernandez, MPH, RRT, NPS (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1
Dean-Science, Math, Technology at Skyline College (San Bruno, California)

In 1986, I started my professional career focusing energy and passion in the health care arena. As a licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner, my efforts have centered on those with issues related to lung health; specifically, with populations prenatal to 18 years of age. As I mastered providing care to patients in the clinical setting, my passion expanded to providing education in the clinical arena to health care colleagues and RT students. These wonderful experiences subsequently led me to the academic setting. I’ve been a faculty member of the Respiratory Care Program since 1996 and am currently serving as Dean for Science, Math, and Technology at Skyline College. Over the years, I have been able to bring academic and community resources together and provide effective leadership to educate diverse student populations. At the same time, I have engaged with the greater Skyline College community and across the district participating as a constituent and through leadership roles. I continue to participate with my professional organization the California Society for Respiratory Care serving as chair for the Professional Advancement Committee.


Amita Kiley, B.A.

Guest Instructor, Station1
Collections Manager and Research Coordinator, Lawrence History Center

Amita Kiley was raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts and graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in American History in 2004. Her experience growing up in Lawrence fostered a love of the city and a strong sense of wanting to preserve its history. In 2001, as part of Northeastern’s Co-operative Education program, she began working at the Lawrence History Center (LHC) as a preservation assistant. She continued her professional career after graduation at the archive. In 2014, she moved into her current role as collections manager and research coordinator. She works closely with LHC’s director and local historians, coordinates and supervises volunteers, handles walk in visitors and school groups and manages membership correspondence from the LHC office. She is a member of the New England Archivists and has presented at some of their recent meetings.


Ceasar L. McDowell, Ed.D. (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1
Professor of the Practice of Community Development and Civic Design, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ceasar L. McDowell is Professor of the Practice of Community Development and Civic Design at MIT. He holds an Ed.D. (88) and M.Ed. (84) from Harvard. Ceasar's current work is on the development of community knowledge systems and civic engagement. He is also expanding his critical moments reflection methodology to identify, share and maintaining grassroots knowledge. His research and teaching interests also include the use of mass media and technology in promoting democracy and community-building, the education of urban students, the development and use of empathy in community work, civil rights history, peacemaking and conflict resolution. He is Director of the global civic engagement organization dropping knowledge international Dropping Knowledge International, MIT's former Center for Reflective Community Practice (renamed Co-Lab) and co-founder of The Civil Rights Forum on Telecommunications Policy and founding Board member of The Algebra Project Algebra.


Fanuel Muindi, Ph.D. (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1 
Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

Dr. Fanuel Muindi is a Principal Investigator, Metascientist, Author, Curator Editor-in-Chief and the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies at Harvard University in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Muindi is co-founder (with Moytrayee Guha) and Principal Investigator of the Stem Advocacy Institute, an organization that "envision(s) a future where equitable access and exposure to quality science education is possible for all." Building on his scientific training from Stanford University as a graduate student, MIT as a postdoctoral fellow, he brings breadth and depth of experience to provide deep insight in science development and communications to engage broader audiences.


Jingjie Yeo, PhD. (LinkedIn)

Guest Instructor, Station1
Assistant Professor, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University (2020)

Jingjie Yeo was a postdoctoral scholar at Tufts University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a Research Affiliate a the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering). Prior Yeo was an A*STAR-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT since March 2016. Prior to this appointment, he was a research scientist in the Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR, Singapore, working on Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biological and NanoMaterials. He received his B.Eng in 2010 from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Business. He received his Ph.D in 2014 from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU, after obtaining the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Graduate Scholarship, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Ng Teng Yong (NTU) and Dr. Liu Zishun (ICAM XJTU). His Ph.D. research focused on the Modeling and Simulation of the Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Ultralight Materials.