Click on this header to return to the home page
about the missiongo to syllabusgo to communitygo to web designgo to gradingvisit the important linksgo to news
Team 2: Lowell Anderson   More info...
Team 4: Alfredo Kniazzeh 781-891-9937 More info...
Team 1: Paul D. Jacobson 508-548-7945 More info...
Team 5: Johnny Yang 781-810-2100
More info...
Team 4: Marco A. Mena More info...
Team 3: Stephen Estes-Smargiassi More info...
Team 4: Hal Gustin 720-320-6722 More info...
Team 5: Bob Gurnitz 508 627 3882 More info...
Team 1: Yangbo Du   More info...
Team 2: Yolanda Lau 410-858-4784 More info...
Team 5: Dr. Jorge Phillips 919-395-1580 More info...
Team 6: Peter Ralston   More info...
Team 3: Bhupandra Khetani   More info...
Team 6: Sheldon W. Buck 781-235-9585
More info...
Team 7: Emily Moberg 484-433-2994 More info...
Team 1: Elise Hens   More info...
Team 7: Bashar M. Zeitoon 617-494-9239 More info...
Lowell Anderson

MIT year: 1959 (Electrical Engineering)

I am a Wyoming native and life long resident of the state.

Going back to my high school days I have had an interest in geology, the minerals industry, and land use. For two years I worked in the minerals industry, mostly with uranium. Mine design, mining, ore processing, and pollution survey and control.

Another reason I follow the minerals industry closely is its importance to the economy of Wyoming. The minerals industry in Wyoming is controlled by state and federal regulations, plus the fact that so much of the land (46.5%) in Wyoming is owned and controlled by the United States government. None the less, in FY98, the minerals industry accounted for 42% of our state and local tax revenues.

I spent twenty years working in the water industry and with water rights.

Full disclosure, I have a small investment in U. S. Energy.

Back to the top
Yolanda Lau 410-858-4784

Occupation: Entrepreneur
MIT year: 2002 Education: B.S. Chemical Engineering, B.S. Biology
After graduating from MIT, Yolanda worked at MIT's Technology Licensing Office before ultimately starting a real estate investment company, a consultancy firm, and a few other ventures in Baltimore, MD. She's since sold those companies back to her partners and is working on several new ventures. She also provides consulting services to startups and small businesses. She enjoys creative problem solving and, given that biodiversity has long been a concern in her home state of Hawaii, she's particularly excited to be involved with Mission 2015.
This is Yolanda's sixth year as a 12.000 mentor -- some of her other MIT alumni activities include leadership in her class and fund raising for the Institute.
Since she lives in Honolulu, most communication will have to be via email, phone, Skype, or Google+ Hangouts.

Back to the top

Sheldon W. Buck
sheldon.buck Phone: 781-235-9585
Occupation: aeronautical engineer
MIT year: 1958
Education: Bachelors

I was a mentor for Mission in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 and 2010.

I am an Aero/Astro grad class of 1958. Worked at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory 1957 to 1973 followed by The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 1973 to 2000 when I retired. I was assigned to the Earth and Planetary Science Department for 5 years 1968 to 1973 working with Prof. Frank Press and Prof. Nafi Toksoz. I was Technical Director of the Lunar Traverse Gravimeter experiment which flew on Apollo 17 and was a member of the lunar surface EVA team at Mission Control during the flight.

Designed stable platforms for inertial guidance systems. Designed seismic monitoring systems for earthquakes and underground explosions. Designed gravimeters for lunar exploration. Designed special purpose instrumentation for submarines and oceanography.

Back to the top
Hal Gustin 720-320-6722 website:

Occupation: Engineer

MIT year: 1973

This will be my seventh year as an alumni mentor to the 12.000 class. The first six have been energetic, stimulating, and a lot of fun.

I love the premise of the class.

  1. Identify a problem that is huge, difficult (almost intractable), with major implications for the world.
  2. Assign it to a group of people with immense ability but no or very little exposure to the conventional ways of looking at the problem.
  3. See what they come up with.
Each year, I’ve tried to help out however I can, not being myself an expert on whatever the topic is. In the process, I’ve learned a lot, had an exciting ride, and made some friends. I’ve also answered a lot of e-mails at 3 am. I look forward to more of the same this year.

Back to the top
Yangbo Du
Student Energy, Environment, and Sustainability Leader at MIT
(Political) economist, systems thinker, at the confluence of management, urban planning, and engineering systems,

Bridging thought and action to advance the 'triple bottom line' -- economy, society, environment.

Feel free to contact me on any of the following issues as you formulate your recommendations for global triage (the compression of the past 10 years of Mission into one):

International relations, energy and environmental policy, international development and regional planning, transport and land use, engineering economy, political economy, economic and social history, geography, demography, development, sustainability, system dynamics

I am looking forward to working with all of you this term.

Back to the top
Bhupendra Khetani
This is Bhupendra’s forth year of participation in the Mentor Program. Bhupendra’s educational background is all in chemical Engineering at MIT, where he received S.B (1960), S.M (1962) and Chemical Engineer (1963) degrees. His work experience in actual technical developments was during the early years after MIT in the field of plastic packaging products at the Monsanto Company.

He soon gravitated to manufacturing and finance, which were always his primary work interests. At his next employer, Owens-Illinois, at the time the world’s largest packaging company, he was focused on managing technical developments in plastic packaging products leading to full scale manufacturing operations and green field factory start ups. He has extensive experience in the field of technology licensing and was responsible for development of a vast network of licensees and strategic affiliations at Owens. In the last 15 years or so of his career, he worked nearly exclusively in merger and acquisitions activities for his company, ending as the director of Corporate Planning. He believes that among other possible contributions, he could mentor and work with the student teams in understanding the financial implications and operational trade-offs that are nearly always necessary in successful commercial implementations of technology solutions.

Back to the top
Alfredo Kniazzeh
Occupation: scientist, retired
MIT year: 1959
Education: Doctorate

35 yrs product development at Polaroid: Mechanical Eng, Physics, Chem. Eng, Materials, 13 patents.
Previously NASA and US Army.

Travels: Russia, Cuba, Brazil, Oaxaca, Baltic capitals, Turkey, Costa Rica, W Europe, B Virgin Islands, Bogota.
Hobbies: ballroom dancing, Arg. tango, biking, choir singing, cooking.

Mentoring for 12.000 since 2006 has been a great pleasure.

Back to the top
Robert Gurnitz

Bob has been a Mentor for 12.000 for the past elevenyears. He also works with and provides support for the other mentors. Bob is President of the MIT Club of Southwest Florida. Additionally he is on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Collier County (Florida) and is Treasurer of the Everglades Astronomical Society. His hobbies include astronomy and sailing.

He is a Chemical Engineer by education (S.B., S.M., Ph.D., MIT). Bob briefly taught at MIT prior to going into the Aerospace Industry. He then spent a year in the President’s Executive Interchange Program in Washington working at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Upon returning to Rockwell International, he subsequently held various positions leading to becoming President of their Passenger Car Components Business. Upon leaving Rockwell, he became President of Bethlehem Steel’s Structural Components Business. His subsequent positions included President of Webcraft Technologies, Chairman and CEO of Northwestern Steel and Wire, and Chairman of Envirosource.

Back to the top
Stephen Estes-Smargiassi
Director of Planning, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Occupation: planner and engineer
MIT year: 1979 (Civil Engineering)
Education: CEE (MIT), Planning (Harvard)

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi is a planner and an engineer. Throughout his career, he has focused on gathering and managing multi-disciplinary teams to design and communicate complex projects to the public. He has a Bachelors of Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University. He lives in Boston where the streets donít follow old cowpaths, although they seem to, loves maps, and has two kids who also love maps. And he proudly drinks tap water, at least in Boston.

In his 20 years at the MWRA, the regional wholesale water and wastewater provider for the Boston metro area, he has lead or participated in all MWRA drinking water quality initiatives, including treatment decisions for corrosion, microbial and disinfection byproducts control; and outreach and coordination with local and state health officials. He is active with the AWWA Research Foundation, is a QualServe peer review team leader, and has actively participated in water quality regulatory development activities regionally and nationally.

As part of his responsibilities he managed the MWRA's successful demand management programs, reducing water demand by over 100 mgd; initiated its GIS system; and coordinated protection planning studies for the 400 square mile Quabbin, Ware River and Wachusett reservoir watersheds, as well as about 40 other smaller supply systems in the metropolitan area. His group is currently producing an integrated master plan to prioritize and schedule improvements to the regionís water and sewer systems.

He has overseen MWRA's collaborative efforts to understand and communicate the risks of lead in drinking water since 1993, and has been active in regional and national efforts to review and revise the Lead and Copper Rule.

He developed the briefing materials used by MWRA's Board of Directors to make the treatment technology decision for the metropolitan Boston water system and then participated in the successful defense of that decision in federal court. He is responsible for producing and distributing MWRA's annual water quality report to over 800,000 households, as well as monthly public reports, and using those opportunities to reinforce the bridges built over the past decade to the public health community. He is currently coordinating drinking water quality and public health outcome research to understand and evaluate the recently completed treatment improvements.

Back to the top
Dr. Jorge Phillips

MIT year: 1972

Education: Doctorate

Dr. Phillips holds a B.Sc. degree from MIT in Computer Science as well as two M.Sc. and Ph.D degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University in the areas of computer systems, artificial intelligence and management. A successful entrepreneur for over 20 years in Silicon Valley, the East Coast and overseas, he has had a lifelong interest since his MIT years in complex social and physical systems, appropriate technology, politics and policy making, the environment and social development. Dr. Phillips has held Cabinet level government positions in Colombia and diplomatic positions in Europe, as well as academic appointments in the US, South America and Europe. He is a founding member of the Children's Museum in Bogot·, Colombia and of the International Center of Physics in Colombia, and member of the Eta Kappa Nu and Sigma Xi national honorary societies to which he was inducted as an undergraduate at MIT. He is a patented inventor with registered software patents in the US, Japan and Europe, and lives in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, where he is currently involved in high tech startups, management consulting, academia and other entrepreneurial efforts.

Back to the top
Peter Ralston
Occupation: Project Manager, Environmental Data, Massachusetts Water Resources Department Authority
MIT year: 1992
Education: Bachelor's (Whitman College), Masters in City Planning, (MIT)

I have worked at Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), a water and sewer services wholesaler for metropolitan Boston, since 1992. I have worked both in the Environmental Quality Department, responsible for monitoring receiving water quality in Massachusetts Bay, Boston Harbor, and Boston Harbor tributaries, and in the Waterworks Operations Department, responsible for treating and distributing drinking water to metropolitan Boston cities and towns. My duties have included database management for water quality information about Massachusetts Bay, Boston Harbor, and the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers. In addition, I worked to report weekly, monthly, and quarterly technical information about water quality, whether drinking water or receiving water, to MWRA management, regulatory agencies, and the public. My focus there was to make technical information about water quality complete and understandable to those without technical knowledge or backgrounds. In recent years, I have participated in two planning efforts concerning environmental issues outside of MWRA: an ocean planning effort prompted by passage of Massachusetts' ocean planning legislation and a habitat restoration effort in the Boston Harbor region that has come about as a result of the Boston Harbor cleanup.

Back to the top

Johnny Yang


Class of 2004, SB, Course 15

Johnny was one of the first guinea pigs to participate in 12.000: Solving Complex Problems. As a student in Mission 2004 (Mars), he was a member of the "Mission Control" team and later took part in writing and editing the mission's final paper. Because he loved 12.000 so much, he joined the staff for the class, serving as a Undergraduate Teaching Fellow (UTF) for several Missions before becoming an alumni mentor beginning with Mission 2007.

Though he grew up in the South, Johnny has resided in New England for the last 10 years. Still in the process of figuring out what he wants to be when he "grows up," he has worked in a variety of industries, ranging from aerospace and biomedical to finance and distribution. He currently works for an early-stage software company in Waltham, MA.

Though not an engineer by training, Johnny's a self-proclaimed "engineer at heart," with research interests in supply chain, finance, and project management. He has also been known to be a stickler for correct grammar and to be a crusader against incomprehensible PowerPoint slides.

Personally, Johnny enjoys traveling and "wining & dining" (to the extent that his pocketbook allows.) He currently lives in Cambridge, MA and will do his best to make it to campus to meet some of the class.

Back to the top
Paul D. Jacobson

This is Paul's forth year as a Mentor for the 12.000 program.

Paul graduated from MIT in 1960 (Course III, Metallurgy) and received a Master's degree in Metallurgy from the University of Sheffield in England (’62).

After two years at the Martin Company (now Martin Marietta) working on materials for heat shield components critical to re-entry of spacecraft, Paul joined the General Electric Company. At GE, he worked on development of both hard and soft magnetic materials for use in electrical metering devices. Dating back to the 1970's he worked on materials for use in time-of-day metering – now referred to as Smart Grid technology. During his last decade at GE he developed and managed programs on Quality Assurance with emphasis on statistical methods.

Following his retirement from GE, Paul engaged on a “second career” teaching at community colleges in New Hampshire and Maine, and currently at Cape Cod Community College. He teaches micro- and macroeconomics, and statistics. In addition, he helps students in mathematics and science at the college tutoring center.

Paul is looking forward to working as a mentor in this challenging and critical program, and in returning to Tech to join in on stimulating analyses and discussions.

Back to the top
Marco A. Mena

MIT year: 1999 Marco A. Mena is Head of Technical Operations at Celexion LLC, a Cambridge biotechnology startup. He received a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara and B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT, all in Chemical Engineering. My direct research interests revolve around engineering biological systems for therapeutic and industrial applications. Most of my work revolves around the directed evolution of proteins and construction of metabolic pathways in cells. Although this is usually at the molecular and cell scale, I am interested in finding solutions to larger-scale biological problems. In particular, I am interested in figuring out how we can preserve a functioning biosphere in the face of continuing growth. I live in Cambridge, right near the Institute. This is my first year as a 12.000 mentor.

Back to the top

Elise Hens
Occupation: Environmental Engineer at Environ Corporation
MIT Year: 2012
Education: B.S. Environmental Engineering '11

As a freshman, I was involved with Mission 2012: Clean Water, had an absolute blast, then proceeded to take both spring classes! I was a UTF the next two years and loved editing the website :-) I'm living and working about an hour away from MIT with a company called Environ. I'm very passionate about Environmental Policy and love to study the politics surrounding environmental issues. I really enjoyed my time with my Terrascope family and I encourage anyone to reach out to me with questions about anything!

Back to the top

Emily Moberg OR
Occupation: Graduate Student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program
MIT Year: 2011
Education: Environmental Engineering '11

I  was involved in Mission as a freshman in 2007 and then as a UTF in the following three years; I was an alumni mentor last year and am excited to join the team again this year! I am currently studying Biological Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, particularly looking at marine reserves and fisheries management from a modeling perspective. I am also interested in environmental decision analysis and remote sensing, particularly image analysis. Feel free to contact me at any time!

Back to the top

Bashar M. Zeitoon
617-494-9239 (landline)

Education: Chemical Engineering (MIT: SB ’87; M.S. CEP ‘89)
Public Policy (Harvard Kennedy School: MPA ’06)

After graduating from MIT, I have worked for 10 years as a technologist, R&D manager, then as a management consultant, serving in all these roles the chemicals industry. Because of my interest in policy and environmental issues, I then joined the Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national environmental advocacy organization. At EDF, I worked on addressing air pollution problems guided by science, law, and economics, and in partnership with public and corporate sector actors. In 2005-2006, I received graduate academic training in public policy with a focus on sustainable development.

I now direct policy, research, and advocacy programs for the Arab Forum for Environment and Development, an environmental policy think tank. I focus on environmentally sustainable human development in Arab countries.

As a 12.000 mentor, I hope to assist students develop sound approaches and frameworks to address the environmental implications of human activities, particularly those pertaining to industrial and economic development.

Back to the top

visit the MIT website
visit the DEAPS website