Meet the team behind Innovating Learning and Education in the Era of AI.


We bring together diverse expertise from faculty, staff and students across all five schools of MIT.

Faculty and Research Scientists

Cynthia Breazeal

Director, RAISE ● Professor, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group ● Associate Director, MIT Media Lab
Breazeal leads RAISE to advance research and innovation at the intersection of AI, social empowerment, and education and to foster diversity and inclusivity in an AI literate society.
Her research investigates new ways for K-12 students to learn about AI concepts, practices and ethics by designing, programming, training and interacting with robots, AI toolkits and other technologies. Her research also develops personalized learning companions for language, literacy and social-emotional development.

Eric Klopfer

Co-Director, Professional Development and Education Research ● Professor, Comparative Media Studies/Writing ● Director, Eduction Arcade ● Co-Director, J-WEL World Education Lab
Klopfer is an expert in serious game design to promote student engagement and learning in STEM.
His work uses a design based research methodology to span the K-12 educational technology ecosystem, from design and development of new technologies to professional development and implementation to prepare the next generation of STEM educators. He is Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program.

Hal Abelson

Co-Director, AI Literacy & Technologies ● Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, MIT CSAIL ● Founder, App Inventor
Abelson is a pioneer of constructionist learning and computational thinking.
He has developed tools and programming languages to help students learn about AI and computer science. App Inventor empowers people with little programming experience to write mobile phone applications. His team is expanding App Inventor to help students learn about AI and develop AI-enabled mobile apps.

Mitchel Resnick

Advisor, RAISE ● Professor, Media Lab, Lifelong Kindergarten Group ● Founder, The Scratch Foundation
Resnick is a world leader in constructionist approaches to creative learning. His team develops the Scratch programming language and online community, used by over 200 million children and educators around the world. He is author of the book “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play.” His focus in this project is how AI and Scratch can promote children’s creative thinking.

Hae Won Park

Co-Director, AI-Supported Learning ● Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Hae Won Park is an expert in Social Robotics and is a Principal Investigator of the Social Robot Companions Program. Her research focuses on socio-emotive AI and machine learning applied to the personalization of social robots that support long-term interaction with people. For this project, she develops peer-like social robots that play educational games with young children to foster literacy and language skills as well as positive learning attitudes.

David Birnbach

Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
Birnbach’s research focus is at the intersection of technology innovation, entrepreneurship, and vocational education. He is a faculty mentor in several Action Learning programs including
the Global Entrepreneurship (G-Lab), Enterprise Management (EM-Lab), and the China and India Lab. He helps students put classroom theory into practice, as students work side-by-side with organizations to apply classroom lessons to high-impact business and society challenges. For this project, his key area of focus is in creating a new AI career pathway for vocational-technical education.

John Gabrieli

Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences ● Director, Martinos Imaging Center, McGovern Institute ● Director, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative
John Gabrieli is a behavioral neuroscientist. His research focus is on the neural mechanisms of memory, cognition, and emotion in the human brain and how those mechanisms are disrupted in neurological and psychiatric disorders. For this project, his interest is in early assessment and intervention to support young learners with special needs such as ASD and dyslexia.

George Westerman

Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management ● Faculty Director, Workforce Learning, MIT Jameel World Education Lab
Westerman works at the nexus of executive leadership and technology strategy. He has written three award-winning books and published in top journals. He is now focused on helping employers, educators, and other groups to rethink the process of workforce learning around the world. George is co-chair of the MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Awards, faculty advisor to the Board of Directors for the Technology Business Management Council.

Robert Shin

MIT Lincoln Lab, ISR Systems and Technology, Tactical Systems ● Director, Beaver Works at MIT
Shin is the Head of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Tactical Systems Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He is also the Director of Beaver Works, a joint center established by MIT Lincoln Lab and the MIT School of Engineering. Beaver Works offers a project-based STEM summer program to talented high school students to learn about various technologies. AI related topics include autonomous driving, data science for health, digital assistants, and more.

Irene Lee

Research Scientist, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program and Education Arcade
Irene Lee is a research scientist in MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education Program and Education Arcade. Her expertise is in computational thinking and integrating computer science into STEM education. Her research investigates K-12 student learning through integrated STEM and computing curricula, teachers’ development as computational thinkers, and new ways for K-12 students to learn foundational AI concepts.

Susan Lane

Game and AI Developer

Susan Rati Lane has been a software engineer since 1996, and she has followed an eclectic career through many industries and locations in the western world. Her core expertise is in data modeling, but shes done some of almost everything. Career highlights include work in software support for brain imaging and clinical drug trials. She joined the MIT App Inventor team in 2018. She is passionate about writing software that improves lives.

Christina Bosch

Research Scientist, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program

Christina is interested in supporting evidence-based practices in education and design-based implementation research in schools. Christina is a recent addition to the Scheller Teacher Education Program.

Student Research Assistants

Samuel Spaulding

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Sam Spaulding is a PhD graduate research assistant with the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. His research
focuses on developing social robot learning companions for early-language and literacy skills. He synthesizes insights from machine learning, affective and educational sciences, and children’s media design. He develops affective personalization algorithms and is interested in how transfer learning can accelerate and improve personalization across students.

Huili Chen

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Huili Chen is a PhD graduate research assistant in the Personal Robots group at the MIT Media Lab. Her research interests
encompass affective computing, human-robot interaction, machine learning, and psychology. She designs algorithms for social robots that can adaptively support and engage children as empathetic, peer-like companions to facilitate learning outcomes. She also computationally models parent-child interaction dynamics during storytelling.

Randi Williams

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Randi Williams is a PhD graduate research assistant developing new technologies and curriculum for K-12 AI Literacy. She has developed
a number of AI education projects, including PopBots, social robot learning companions that teach AI through social interaction. Additionally, she runs studies that investigate children’s relationships with intelligent agents. To address misunderstanding and mistrust of AI, Randi is preparing the next generation to use AI to solve important problems in their communities.

Safinah Ali

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Safinah is a PhD research assistant in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab.
Safinah Ali’s work focuses on leveraging child-robot interaction to enhance early childhood literacy as well as developing children’s learning mindsets such as creativity, growth mindset and curiosity. Her recent work involves designing game interactions that afford children and embodied robots co-create art. Her previous work has revolved around educational game design, assistive technology and human-computer interaction.

Daniella DiPaola

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Daniella DiPaola is a MS graduate research assistant with expertise in human factors, user-centered design,
STEM learning technologies for children. She has worked as a researcher in the consumer robotics industry, focusing on human-robot interaction paradigms in the home, long-term livability, and robots in the lives of children and older adults. Her research interests include understanding the ethical, social, and emotional implications of technology. She is currently working on AI + Ethics curriculum for K-12 students.

Jessica van Brummelen

Graduate Student, CSAIL, MIT App Inventor
Jessica is an EECS PhD graduate research assistant aiming to empower learners with technology to solve real world problems.
Alongside the MIT App Inventor team, she has developed an interface to enable nearly anyone to develop conversational agents, a web-based teachable conversational agent for 3-5th graders, and a voice-first, natural language tool for programming. She believes that given the right tools, knowledge and skills, anyone can create significant positive change in their community.

Ishaan Grover

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Ishaan is a PhD graduate research assistant with the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. His research
interests lie in Machine Learning and its applications in the field of human-robot interaction and early-literacy education. His recent work focused on building graphical models using word semantics for predicting children’s vocabulary from partial information about their existing vocabulary. Prior to this, he worked on algorithms to enable reinforcement learning agents to learn from human feedback. In industry, he has interned at Apple, Palantir and Microsoft where he worked on applications ranging from natural language understanding to anomaly detection.

Nisha Devasia

Undergraduate Researcher, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Nisha Devasia is an undergraduate research assistant with experience in game design and game adjacent backend engineering.
She has worked on a variety of gaming related projects, both for research applications and in the game industry. Her research interests focus on the use of games for sparking interest and creativity in educational contexts.

Stephen Kaputsos

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Stephen P. Kaputsos is a graduate research assistant exploring augmentation of human-robot collaboration.
Stephen leverages his multidisciplinary background in psychophysiology, cognitive systems engineering, and virtual production to engineer neuromorphic technologies that enhance both human and machine perception. His current research utilizes extended reality (XR) technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), to enhance human-robot task performance, communication, and teaming.

Xiajie Zhang

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Xiajie Zhang has worked on various projects in child-robot interaction with a focus on literacy education and has experiences in affective analysis,
educational game development, interaction design, and computational HRI. His interest is the intersection of cognitive science and robotics. He is especially interested in studying social cognition and developing human-robot interactions that could provide unique and uplifting experiences for people.

Nada Hussein

Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Nada Hussein is an M.Eng student with the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, focusing on real-time music analysis and accompaniment.
Currently, she is working on creating a set of Scratch tools and activities for a middle school AI curriculum focused on human and machine audition. Her research interests include signal processing, robotics, and creative human-AI collaboration.

Jimin Lee

Undergraduate Researcher, MIT App Inventor
Jimin Lee is an undergraduate researcher at MIT App Inventor majoring in EECS.

Daniel Kim

Undergraduate Researcher, MIT App Inventor
Daniel is a freshman at MIT studying Computer Science with Data Science and Finance. He joined the MIT App Inventor team in Spring 2020.
Daniel has been working with Jessica Brummelen and Jessica Zhu on the conversational AI of MIT App Inventor and Convo project. By joining the team, Daniel is using his passion to explore the field of conversational AI and make positive impacts through education.

Xiaoxue Du

Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Media Lab, Personal Robots Group
Xiaoxue Du is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. Her current research at MIT PRG focuses on K-12 Artificial Intelligence literacy in inclusive classrooms.
She received her Ed.D in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, following years of experience as a researcher and practitioner in the field of inclusive education, assessment, and assistive technology.

Jacky Chen

Undergraduate Research, App Inventor

Jacky is a freshman at MIT studying computer science and math. He joined App Inventor because he enjoys both teaching and coding. With past experiences in pedagogy, he works with the Ed Team to develop data science curriculums and teach different people to use App Inventor. He is currently working on the Incarcerated Veterans project, to expand computer science, and plans to progress to assist with the Expert Trainer’s course.

Evelyn Cai

Undergraduate Research, App Inventor

Evie is a sophomore studying Computation and Cognition. She joined the App Inventor Education team in January 2022 and is currently working on natural language processing and studying human-computer interactions with Aptly and trying to find ways to make App Inventor’s technologies more accessible. She has also worked on Alexa testing and Data Science projects, in addition to being a TA for the Master Trainer’s course. She is excited about the future of mobile app development and App Inventor’s efforts to spread technology to all.


Jeff Freilich

Program Lead, AI Literacy Project, MIT
Jeff has been at MIT for over twelve years working to develop and nurture research ties between industry and academia, as well as developing technical online courses.
Previously, he’s worked in R&D, product management, marketing and business development roles in industry. Jeff holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He also holds a M.Sc. in management from Boston University.

Kristin Hall

Program Manager, RAISE, MIT Media Lab
Kristin has been at the MIT Media Lab for many years working as a liaison developing research ties between member organizations and researchers.
Her work with RAISE provides a unique nexus for her background as an educator and in the arts, as well as her current work with the Diversity & Leadership program at the Media Lab.

Alphonse Devasia

Educational Design Consultant, Dubai.
Alphonse Devasia is an independent consultant in Dubai.
He has earned a Masters degree in Technology (Control Systems) with diverse experience in engineering, education, instructional design and curriculum development. He will be collaborating with MIT on research objectives, towards the further development of student curricula and teacher training materials.

Sarah Wharton

Curriculum Designer
Sarah Wharton is a curriculum designer working in the Scheller Teacher Education Program.
Before joining MIT, she taught computer science to middle school students in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is particularly interested in making computer science education accessible and engaging to students who don’t yet see themselves in STEM.

Selim Tezel

Curriculum Designer, MIT App Inventor
Selim is a former K-12 mathematics teacher who has taught overseas and in the US for 22 years,
exploring intersections of technology and playful constructionist pedagogies in the classroom. At MIT App inventor he leads an NSF funded collaboration with YR Media (former Youth Radio) on the Youth Mobile Power series and the Outsmarting Artificial Intelligence project as well as coordinating international contests such as the App of the Month, Coronavirus App Challenge and the annual virtual Hackathon.

Robert Parks

Curriculum Designer, MIT App Inventor
Robert is a curriculum developer, writer, and designer for the App Inventor team.
He previously designed and wrote ​​educational materials for NASA and for out-of-school engineering programs at PBS. In his role as a technology journalist, Robert ​​has served as a senior editor at Wired magazine, and as a contributing writer for Wired, Popular Science, and Make magazines. His 2005 publication, Makers, was the first book about the maker movement.

Grace Lin

Assessment Scientist, Playful Journey Lab
As an assessment scientist, Grace Lin is particularly interested in measurement and playful assessments for and of learning.
Her research centers around different areas of cognition and how games can be implemented to not just help people learn, but also measure elusive constructs. She received her PhD in Education from University of California, Irvine, an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in Psychology from New York University. At UC Irvine, she was trained as a Pedagogical Fellow and conducted teaching assistant and course design PD workshops for both first year graduate students and postdocs across various disciplines. Prior to joining MIT, Grace was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, working with nonprofit organizations and on an early childhood measures repository.

Marisol Diaz

Project Manager, MIT App Inventor
Marisol Diaz has been the Project Manager for MIT App Inventor since 2013 and has been at MIT for over 20 years.
Marisol has a background in management, sales, communications, customer service, event planning and marketing. She worked for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for her first 10 years at MIT.

Angie Zhou

Education Specialist, MIT App Inventor
Angie Zhou is part of the Education Team at MIT App Inventor. She has extensive experience teaching coding to young students.
She is also experienced in curriculum design, teacher training, and business development.

Jeff Schiller

Software Developer, Security Architect and Network Manager, MIT App Inventor

Jeff has spent more than 40 years building systems that have to work 24/7 with minimal human intervention. As Area Director for Security with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), he spent 9 years shepherding the development of critical Internet security technology including IP layer encryption, E-mail encryption and Transport Layer Security (https). His recent work involves providing development and operations for MIT App Inventor.

Evan Patton

Lead Software Engineer

Evan is the Lead Software Engineer at MIT App Inventor. He aims to help App Inventor users realize the full potential of their app ideas through the development of new components and features to aid in collaboration, rich data collection and visualization, and efficiency. His research interests include real-time collaboration, Internet of Things, and applications of artificial intelligence to facilitate mobile app development. Evan also oversees the development of the MIT Punya project to extend App Inventor with semantic capabilities for healthcare and humanitarian causes. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mary Cate Gustafson Quiett

Curriculum Design Manager

Mary Cate is a curriculum design manager for the STEP Lab and program manager for the Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Program (UTOP). After earning her B.S. in Secondary Education and Mathematics from DePaul University, Mary Cate assisted, tutored, and taught in a wide range of schools including those in urban, rural, and suburban communities, in public, private, and charter settings. She went on to earn her Masters of Public Affairs from the Goldman School for Public Policy at UC Berkeley. For two years Mary Cate worked as a PLUS Research Fellow for UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools where she co-designed district policy recommendations with teachers and administrators. Mary Cate welcomes opportunities to flex her co-design, logic, and collaborative leadership skills to help create a more equitable and sustainable education system.

Steve Nelson

Senior Manager, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative

Steve, Senior Manager for the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, is passionate about education and learning, having spent the last few years working to improve workplace learning in the corporate world, he is now focused on helping find research solutions to solve education issues from pK-12 to higher education to workplace learning. Steve works with research partners on the campus of MIT to facilitate transformational learning objectives and create educational best practices.

Andrew Whitacre

Communications Manager

Andrew directs the communications efforts for RAISE and MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. 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.