Carnegie Mellon University

Gelfand Outreach Programs have the unique ability to partner with members of the Carnegie Mellon University community including faculty, students and staff who instruct our dynamic courses for k-12 students throughout the year. Please click on any name below to read more about each instructor.

Paula Arambel is a GEM Fellow and Mechanical Engineering PhD student at CMU. She is the President of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Organization, and she serves on the Executive Board of the Women in Mechanical Engineering Society. Paula is from Boston, MA and received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University with a minor in BioMechanics. Her current research at the Microstructures and Mechanobiology Lab at CMU, focuses on a new microfabrication technique aimed at planar stretchable electronics.

Sankalp AroraSankalp Arora is a 3rd year PhD student at CMU RI. He completed his Masters in Robotics at RI in 2014 and worked as Research Engineer from 2010-2012 here. During his stay here he has developed planning and perception algorithms for flying vehicles. He worked on safety and sensor planning for AACUS, world’s first guaranteed safe full scale autonomous helicopter, world’s first climate invariant infrastructure free ship-deck tracker. And is currently a recipient of Qualcomm Innovation fellowship for the development of autonomous curious Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for data gathering.


Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Robotic Boats

John likes to introduce himself by saying he is a robot programmed with a singular mission: To effectively engage and inspire the next generation of STEM talent. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Arts at Carnegie Mellon University in 2017, John has over 9 years of experience developing computer simulations using a variety of programming languages and 4 years of experience building robots at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2016, as an Innovation Scholar from the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CMU, John Choi founded an educational technology company called Choitek in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choitek’s flagship product is the Multipurpose Mobile Manipulator Mk II, (or Megamark for short), an advanced robotics platform designed to be capable of performing a variety of human-size tasks, such as watering plants, playing the piano, feeding pets, delivering coffee, and most importantly, teaching and inspiring students with its easy-to- use and accessible hardware. John Choi volunteered at the Carnegie Science Center, Assemble PGH, and Carnegie Mellon’s Leonard Gelfand Center, Project Ignite, Robotics Club, and several middle and high schools, and was awarded the Gelfand Student Service Award in 2017. John is truly an artist, engineer, and entrepreneur all in one.

 

DJ BrasierDr. DJ Brasier is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Biological Sciences specializing in neurobiology. He was trained in brain physiology and genetics at University of California San Diego and UC San Francisco. He has been teaching neuroscience at CMU since 2012 and involved in community outreach for many years.










Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Use Your Noggin: Learn the Brain

Carrie DoonanDr. Carrie Doonan is the Director of Undergraduate Laboratories and Teaching Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. She was educated at Chatham College (BS) and the University of Connecticut, (Ph.D) and began her teaching career at Carnegie Mellon University in 1993. Her primary area of focus involves the teaching and administration of a range of experimental laboratories in the department. She is responsible for writing and developing experimental units, training of junior faculty and teaching assistants and is actively involved in all aspects of the undergraduate program. Dr. Doonan has adapted many of her curricular innovations for use in K-12 outreach and has been invited to present this work at regional and national forums. She served as a Biotechnology Institute National Biotechnology Teacher-Leader in 2003 and 2005 and was awarded the Julius Ashkin Teaching Award in the Mellon College of Science in 2000. She was also awarded the Mark Gelfand Award for Service Learning and Outreach in 2011.

Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Disease Outbreaks

John EllisJohn is a classroom instructor and professional development/ trainer with 45 years of teaching experience.  His educational background includes a B.S. Degree in Education with a major in Chemistry, B.S. Degree in Industrial Management/Computer Science and a M.S. Degree in Management and Supervision. He is currently employed as an instructor/trainer by the Intermediate Unit 1 located in Coal Center, Pa.  His professional responsibilities include teaching Alice, Scratch and Autodesk 123d Design 3d software. In addition, he is an instructor/trainer for the Intermediate Unit 1 FAB LAB which incorporates the use of 3d printers, lasers, vinyl cutters, heat press, mold casting and CNC Shopbot.





Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Alice Programming
Christopher George is a Sophomore Electrical and Computer Engineer at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He has an intense interest in education, which has led to the creation of a number of personal papers delving into topics about how and why kids learn, and what the most effective means of education are. He has been a teaching assistant for the Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science class at CMU. He also currently volunteers for a group called Teknowledge, which is focusing on creating a curriculum and outreach program through Carnegie Mellon to support local high schools and teach computer science and programming.

Girls of Steel is an award-winning all-girl sixth-year FIRST® robotics(FRC) team based at Carnegie Mellon University’s Field Robotics Center. Team members are students in grades 8 (junior members) through 12 from 30+ different schools around Pittsburgh and four different educational options including traditional public, private, cyber charter and home school. Girls of Steel competed in their first FIRST robotics competitions in the spring of 2011. The Girls of Steel – more than just a robotics team – has a mission “To find success in the empowerment of girls through well-developed skills in STEM.” The team has offered “Introduction to Mobile Robotics” multiple times – at outreach events such as Carnegie Science Center’s “Girls Rock Science” and at other workshops at Carnegie Mellon and at CalU’s Center for Innovation. presentation at schools and K-12 STEM related events in the area.

Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Introduction to Mobile Robotics

Dr. Yisong GuoDr. Yisong Guo is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Dr. Guo received his B.S. in Material Science and Engineering from Fudan University in China, and Ph.D. in Applied Sciences from University of California-Davis. His research group at CMU is working on an interdisciplinary field where efforts from biochemists, synthetic chemists, physicists, and spectroscopists are joined together to understand the mechanisms of chemical transformations catalyzed by enzymes. The chemical principles discovered through his research will help improve the technologies needed to make the transition to a sustainable energy future and enrich scientific knowledge in fighting disease.





Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • How Enzymes Work

Dr. Judith HallinenIn her role as Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Outreach Dr. Judith Hallinen works with faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon to design and implement programs that share information about university research with external populations, including K-12 educators and students.  She has taught in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, teaching kindergarten at the CMU Children's School, science education methods to graduate students at Chatham University, and computer applications to senior citizens.  Judith advises Carnegie Mellon students who are interested in pursuing a career in education and teaches a course on education policy.  She holds an EdD from the University of Pennsylvania, MAT from the University of Pittsburgh and BS from Carnegie Mellon.




Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Science and Engineering Sampler

Reeja JayanB. Reeja Jayan is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She also holds a courtesy appointment in the Materials Science and Engineering department at CMU. Prof. Jayan received her M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin), working with Professor Arumugam Manthiram. She was subsequently a Postdoctoral Associate in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working under the supervision of Professor Karen Gleason. Her multidisciplinary research group at CMU explores novel design strategies for organic (polymers, small molecules), inorganic (metals, semiconductors, insulators), and organic-norganic hybrid materials for applications in energy and sustainability. Her work has resulted in 18 peer-reviewed journal publications and filing of 4 patent applications. She is a recipient of the Cockrell School of Engineering Student Leadership Award from UT-Austin, a doctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the H.H. The Maharaja of Cochin Endowment Prize from the University of Kerala, India.

Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Energy from Everyday Things

Gargi LagvankarGargi Lagvankar is a third year student at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture with interests in art, ecology and education. Her previous experience includes working with Assemble and working as a tutor for English and Math for children from ages 10-17. She aims to make STEAM ideas accessible to more children and instill the importance of creativity and the natural environment from a young age.









Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Responsive Architecture

Jennifer LangJennifer Lang has taught several courses over the past few years at Carnegie Mellon University.  She taught Science and Special Education at Kiski Area School District for the last two years.  Prior to that she taught Chemistry at Vincentian Academy and Mount Alvernia High School for 10 years.   She attended Saint Vincent College and has a BS in Chemistry and a MS in Environmental Education. She also has a MS in Special Education from Slippery Rock University. 







Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Kitchen Chemistry

Joe LangJoe Lang taught the Robotics Programming Design course for the past several years at Carnegie Mellon University.  Joe has worked as a middle school math teacher for the New Kensington Arnold School District for 11 years.  He attended Waynesburg University for his BS and his MS in Instructional Technology.










Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Robotics Programming and Design

Deborah LangeDr. Deborah Lange is an environmental engineer that has worked in academia as well as in small and large businesses. Currently, she is the Director of Special Environmental Project for the Steinbrenner Institute at Carnegie Mellon, where she has been for the last 17 years. She is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University (BS, Civil Engineering) and Carnegie Mellon (MS and PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering.) Deb is active in the Pittsburgh community as a Director of the Allegheny County Conservation District and is a past president of the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania. She also enjoys ‘STEM’ outreach and is working with Propel Charter high schools as well as the Sarah Heinz House Boys and Girls club. Deb has 3 adult children: a medical doctor, an architect, and an environmental engineer. She enjoys tinkering at TechShop and international travel with her husband, including motorcycling adventures in Europe & in Cuba.




Gelfand Outreach Classes  Taught Include:

  • Live Smart Think Small

Kristin LaveryKristin Lavery has been the Assistant Director of the Leonard Gelfand Center (LGC) for Service Learning and Outreach since January of 2013. She joined the LGC after completing her Master of Arts in Teaching (grades K-6) at Chatham University in December of 2012. Kristin coordinates tutoring programs in the local Pittsburgh area where CMU students act as after school tutors, or teaching assistants and mentors in classrooms. Kristin also develops activities and workshops for presentation at schools and K-12 STEM related events in the area.







Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Solar Energy

Elizabeth LevyElizabeth Levy is currently a fourth year student in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture. She has taught children K through 7th at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Anvil Art Studio, Camp Invention Program, Phipps Conservatory Discovery Center, and presented Sustainable Living Research to several class rooms of students in Pennsylvania. She has a background in art, design, and horticulture with interests in Biology, Sustainability, and Education. As a member of CMU’s Architectural Outreach Program, Elizabeth’s focus is to instill in children the importance of S.T.E.A.M. ideals and introduce architecture at a young age.

 






Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Insect Dwellings

Kelly LiKelly Li is currently an architecture student at Carnegie Mellon University with interests in design and education. She has previous experience teaching students aged five through thirteen at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture Saturday Sequence, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Pittsburgh Public School's Summer Dreamers Academy. Through teaching, she hopes to inspire others to not only learn from their surroundings, but also discover methods to positively influence those environments.








Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Architecture of Sound
  • Why Things Fall Down

Jeffrey LoobyJeffrey Looby is a second year master’s student and Head of Tepper School of Business Graduate Finance Association. Prior to entering business school, Mr. Looby earned a Bachelors of Art degree in Business Economics with a minor in Accounting from the University of California, Los Angeles. After earning his degree, Mr. Looby successfully passed the CPA exam and frequently volunteered with Junior Achievement in both Los Angeles and Dallas. In all, Mr. Looby has more than four years of finance experience helping companies and their advisors with their complex accounting and finance problems and objectives. Assistants for this workshop include, David Dieker second year master’s student and Head of Tepper School of Business Data Analytics Club, Kelly Pasekoff and Alberto Chan students in the Tepper School.


Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Stock Market

Hannah LoyHannah Loy is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering, studying Mechanical Engineering with an Additional Major in Robotics. She works as a Physics tutor for Academic Development, and travelled to the Dominican Republic last year as a volunteer to teach students English. Her goal is to excite young students about the endless possibilities of science, and to promote STEM at a young age.









Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Mechanical Robot Grippers
Eric Markvicka is a PhD candidate in the robotics institute where he is working with Prof. Carmel Majidi to explore a new class of multifunctional wearable electronics for biomonitoring. Eric received his M.S. degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2017. Prior to arriving at CMU, Eric received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he worked with Prof. Shane Farritor to develop fully insertable surgical robots for minimally invasive abdominal surgery. While at UNL, he was an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, and Honeybee Robotics. He is a recipient of graduate research fellowship awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Center for Machine Learning and Health (CMLH) at CMU.

Dr. Deanna Matthews Dr. Deanna Matthews is an Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs and Assistant Teaching Professor in Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), and Education Director and researcher in the Green Design Institute (GDI) at Carnegie Mellon University. In her role in EPP, Dr. Matthews oversees the undergraduate programs. In the GDI, an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on the intersection of environmental and economic issues, her research centers on the development and deployment of the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment tool, examining energy life cycles of new products, corporate environmental management, and educating general populations about energy-environment issues. As Education Director, she oversees education and outreach initiatives for the GDI. She is the coordinator and instructor of outreach programs to K-12 students and teachers in school settings and informal educational events. She received her B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Duke University (1994) and her M.S. (1995) and Ph.D. (2001) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from CMU.

Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Green Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Engineering 101

Yoosuf PicardYoosuf Picard is an associate research professor of materials science and engineering in the department of materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.  He has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Prof. Picard researches nanoscale materials using advanced electron microscopy methods.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on materials characterization methods, as well as a course on energy resources and energy conversion technologies.  He also serves as a judge for regional and national science fairs.





Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Inlcude:

  • PICSELS: Pictures to Show Extremely Little Stuff

Michael Polen is a 5th year PhD student in the Mellon College of Sciences Department of Chemistry and works as a member of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He is a former president of the Future Leaders of Science at CMU, which performs science outreach at local schools in the Pittsburgh region. Michael’s current research focuses on the impact of wildfires and prescribed fires on cloud formation and precipitation. He got his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry at Widener University in 2013.

 

Vinitha Ranganeni is a third year undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Information Systems and Robotics. She is also an undergraduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s Search-Based Planning Lab and am advised by Professor Maxim Likhachev. Her general research interests lie in Robotic Manipulation and Motion Planning. Previously, she was an undergraduate researcher in The Personal Robotics Lab where I was advised by Professor Siddhartha Srinivasa and worked on projects with HERB, the Home Exploring Robot Butler. Vinitha participated in several outreach events with children and underprivileged students where she talks about Robotics in general and the specific work both she and her lab are doing.

Terry RichardsSince 2010 Terry has been a mentor for the Girls of Steel robotics team (FRC(r) 3504) and since 2012 she has been the FIRST® Robotics Program Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Leading the team’s FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) program, she offers summer camp and team experiences for the high school girls to mentor middle school boys and girls in all aspects of FLL skills – research, robot, and core values. In 2015 Terry received a National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Educator Award. Terry has a B.S. in Chemistry (Simmons College) and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences/Biochemistry (CMU).






Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Anatomy and Robotics

Christa RomanoskyChrista Romanosky is the director of Child Protection Operations at Carnegie Mellon University, and is a writer and educator in the community. She has a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and bachelor’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. She has taught courses at the high school, college, and elementary school levels, and has been working with K-12 students in education for over a decade.



Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Junk Bots
  • All STEAM Ahead
  • Bug Bots
  • Misbehaving Machines
  • Write On Science
  • Superheroes and Villains

Aswin SankaranarayananDr. Aswin Sankaranarayanan is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He earned his Ph.D. from University of Maryland, College Park where he was awarded the distinguished dissertation fellowship for his thesis work by the ECE department in 2009. Aswin is currently the PI of the Image Science Lab at CMU, whose research consists of a diverse portfolio, ranging in topics from optics, computer vision, and image processing. He has received best paper awards at the CVPR Workshop on Computational Cameras and Displays (2015) and Analysis and Modeling of Faces and Gestures (2010). He has given a keynote talk at the IEEE Computational Cameras and Displays Workshop (2015), as well as invited talks at a number of conferences.





Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Camera Engineering

Gizelle SherwoodDr. Gizelle A. Sherwood is currently an Assistant teaching Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her Ph.D in 2008 where her research focused on the effects of aggregation on the photophysics of oligomers related to MEH-PPV and CN-PPV. She primarily lectures Quantitative Chemical Analysis laboratories to the sophomore chemical engineers, biology and pre-med student. She is also involved in several outreach programs working with both the Boy Scouts of America and the Leonard Gelfand Center.








Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Marvelous Molecules

Dr. Gloria Silva is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Chemistry Department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Gloria received her B.S. in Organic Chemistry and Pharmacist degrees from the National University of Cordoba (UNC), Argentina. At UNC she was an Assistant Professor with tenure and a Researcher of the Argentinean Research Council. She performed research in Bioacive Natural Products from plants. Gloria and her family moved to Pittsburgh in 2002 and she has been at CMU since. She was involved in research in the field of Bioorganic Chemistry and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses since 2008. Her courses have a main focus on Organic Chemistry and courses that teach concepts at the interface between Biology and Chemistry including a course on Food Science.

 

Rebecca Taylor is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She also holds a courtesy appointment in the Biomedical Engineering department at CMU. Prof. Taylor received her B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. During her doctoral research she worked with Professor Beth Pruitt developing microscale force sensors for studying the mechanics of stem-cell derived heart muscle cells. She was subsequently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Biochemistry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, working under the supervision of Professor James Spudich. She is the director of the Microsystems and Mechanobiology Lab and her research team uses micro- and nanoscale structures as sensors and actuators for investigating the mechanics of cellular and molecular biosystems.

Yaniv TivonYaniv Tivon is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Chemistry pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical biology. He received his bachelors from Rutgers University where he studied chemistry with a focus on organic synthesis. His current research involves the synthesis and utilization of modified DNA to study and inhibit cancer pathways. Yaniv’s goals include teaching how to provide logical explanations to chemical phenomena and manipulate them based on that knowledge.








Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Cool Chemistry

Alexander VolkovAlexander Volkov is a first year master’s student at the CMU Robotics Institute. His research focuses on enabling legged robots to naturally interact with their environment. Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Above all, he is fascinated by robotic technology and its potential for positive impact on society, and hopes to share his passion with the next generation of STEM students.








Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Finch Programming

Samantha WeaverSamantha Weaver is the director of CMU’s Architecture Explorations outreach program and has expanded program offerings and tied lesson plans directly to current architecture trends and the expertise of local Pittsburgh architects. Samantha’s goal is to provide an architectural foundation for children and youth; fostering appreciation of the built environment, encouraging creative expression and critical thought, and inspiring civic responsibility. In class, Samantha will guide students through the architecture design process as they research native Pittsburgh plants and use organic geometry to create towering structures. Samantha graduated from CMU’s School of Architecture in 2011, with a Bachelor of Architecture and a focus on sustainable design, participatory design, and K-12 education. During her education, Samantha completed a thesis designing adaptable learning corridors in schools and taught summer camps at the Carnegie Museum of Art.


Gelfand Outreach Classes Taught Include:

  • Buildings, Towers, and Bridges: Oh My!
  • Build Your Ideal Home
  • Building Up
  • Reimagining Houses

Victoria Yong is a 5th year architecture student at Carnegie Mellon University with a double-minor in Intelligent Environments and architectural history. She designed and tested the Outer Space Architecture curriculum for the CMU EQUIP Backpacks program. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys crocheting, cartooning, writing, and running.