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Team 4: Lowell Anderson   More info...
Team 2/3: Alfredo Kniazzeh 781-891-9937 More info...
Team 6: Paul D. Jacobson 508-548-7945 More info...
Team 6: Johnny Yang 781-810-2100
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Team 4: David Michaud More info...
Team 4: Stephen Estes-Smargiassi More info...
Team 4: Hal Gustin 720-320-6722 More info...
Team 2/3: Bob Gurnitz 508 627 3882 More info...
Team 5: Yangbo Du   More info...
Team 6: Yolanda Lau 410-858-4784 More info...
Team 1: Dr. Jorge Phillips 919-395-1580 More info...
Team 1: Peter Ralston   More info...
Team 6: Bhupandra Khetani   More info...
Team 4: Sheldon W. Buck 781-235-9585
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Team 5: Emily Moberg 484-433-2994 More info...
Team 1: Elise Hens   More info...
Team 5: Bashar M. Zeitoon 617-494-9239 More info...
Team 4: Alexander Keesling  
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Team 5: Sylvia Lee   More info...
Team 1: Liza Wells Roy   More info...
Lowell Anderson

MIT year: 1959 (Electrical Engineering)

I grew up playing in and around the irrigations ditches in town. All of the agriculture around where I have lived depends on irrigation and the annual mountain snowpack is very important to the farmers. Have done surveys of possible reservoir sites for irrigation water storage.

I was responsible for operation of my hometown's potable water system for a couple of years. Helped design their first sewer treatment plant and the sewer line to the treatment plant and oversaw construction of the pipeline.

I spent the last twenty years of my career working in the water industry; managing construction and operation of a water treatment plant and transmission pipelines, water testing, and water rights.

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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.

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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 to 2012.

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.

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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.

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Hal Gustin 720-320-6722 website:

Occupation: Engineer

MIT year: 1973

This will be my eighth year as an alumni mentor to the 12.000 class. The first seven 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.

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Sylvia Lee
MIT: Master of Engineering (Environmental Engineering) 1999

I have been interested and worked in the water space for the past 15 + years in various capacities and in many different geographies.

I have worked in developed and developing countries; in the private sector, public sector, and NGO space; and from the design and construction of water systems to raising global public awareness of the importance of water as a global challenge to working with negotiators on delicate transboundary water issues.

Currently, I lead the Skoll Global Threats Fund's water portofolio - a private foundation based in the US that works towards ensuring water security. We work with organizations on the ground to improve climate and water data and information to improve water resource management and disaster risk management.

Previously, I worked as a Water Resources Specialist in South Asia for the World Bank based in Kathmandu, Nepal. I focused on transboundary water issues and climate change adaptation and resilience building for vulnerable communities.

Prior, I worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, serving most recently as Associate Director, Environmental Initiatives. I worked on raising awareness of the global water challenge and engaged the private sector on water issues.

I started my career as a consulting engineering on the design and construction projects in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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Yangbo Du
Co-founder and Community Director, MediaWire

Yangbo Du is a social entrepreneur and social business architect, connecting people across communities to enable and impel positive social impact. A StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow and former academic turned startup founder, he is a de facto curator of content on social innovation, global development, sustainability. Having conducted research in energy and environment over six years at University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Chicago, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yangbo co-founded MediaWire, currently his fourth venture, in June 2012 and mashes together social business strategy and lean venture development in the technology, startup, and social good communities in New York and beyond.

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Bhupendra G. Khetani
603 569 0438
This is Bhupendra’s fifth 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.

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Alfredo Kniazzeh
Occupation: scientist, retired
MIT year: 1959
Mechanical Engineering at MIT: BS(59), MS(61), PhD(66)

After MIT Alfredo joined NASA and the US Army to work on power systems for deep space (at the time when man first walked on the moon). Then he worked thirty-five years at Polaroid Corp, receiving thirteen patents while developing instant photographic and imaging systems, batteries using zinc and lithium, and thin-film photovoltaic sources.

Since retirement in 2005, his interest in singing has expanded to include traveling with “Sharing A New Song” to sing in Nicaragua, South Africa, New Orleans, Russia, Cuba, and Brazil. To celebrate his fiftieth MIT reunion he performed with the MIT Ballroom Dance Team at the class gala.

Mentoring for 12.000 since 2006 has been a great pleasure. The resulting awareness of environmental issues has helped simplify living.

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Robert N. Gurnitz
508 627 3882

Bob has been a Mentor for 12.000 for the past twelve years. 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.

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Liza Wells Roy
Occupation: Chief, Hydraulic and Coastal Design Section, Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
MIT year: 1996
Education: B.S. Course 1E (Environmental Engineering)

Liza has 16 years experience as a hydraulic engineer and project manager. Prior to joining the Portland District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in September 2009, Liza worked as a hydraulic engineer in the consulting engineering industry for 13 years. Her project experience includes hydraulic design, physical and numerical modeling, facility startup and testing of fish passage and water quality improvements for hydropower facilities in the Pacific Northwest. Liza has served as the project technical lead for several juvenile downstream passage and adult fish passage facility projects in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Roy performs three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics modeling to provide hydraulic information to support many of her projects.

Liza has spent her career working with multidisciplinary teams on complex water resources and fisheries engineering projects, balancing the needs of flood risk management, hydropower production, water supply, water quality, recreation, and ESA listed and native species. She recently finished a year-long Leadership Development Program with USACE through the Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government. The class focused on “wicked problems” and leadership of teams from “strategic thinking to extraordinary action”. Her cohort spent the final semester on their own wicked problem and she is excited for the opportunity to work with students on problems too big to solve!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Johnny's current interests include traveling, penguins, microfinance, sweater vests, and hoppy beers. He currently lives in Cambridge, MA and will do his best to make it to campus to meet the class.

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Paul D. Jacobson

This is Paul's fifh 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.

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Alexander Keesling

I am a former Terrascoper who just graduated and is now joining the ranks of the alumni mentor. As an undergrad, I studied physics and now I am in Germany doing research at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics. During my time at MIT, I took the three Terrascope courses, was a UTF for Mission 1.5 times, was a TA for Radio twice, was an Associate Advisor once, and attended three trips (UAE, India, and Costa Rica). Now I am happy to continue my involvement with the program.

Since I am a couple time zones away, the easiest way to contact me will be through email, although I will also gladly set up a Skype call or Google Hangout if anyone wants.

As someone who lived his whole live in Mexico before coming to MIT, and having spent 5 years in a desert, I am looking forward to hearing what you can tell us about how to manage water. I am excited to work with all of you.

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David Michaud ( obtained his Master in Environmental and Sanitary Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland in 1998. He then worked as an engineer and project manager in the private and non-profit sectors, mostly on water, sanitation and water resources management projects in the Middle East and West Africa. Following a second Master in Engineering and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA, David joined the World Bank in 2005. After spending a year in the Water and Sanitation Program ( working on corporate priorities, he moved to the World Bank's Operational Unit for water and sanitation in Latin America. During his time in the region, he worked most extensively Mexico, Central America and the Andean countries, gradually moving the focus of his activities from infrastructure and projects development to utility strengthening and efficiency improvements programs, and has also conducted analytical work and provided policy advice to national governments on issues such as sector financing, public policies for utility reform, and sector performance and sustainability monitoring. In November 2012, Mr. Michaud was appointed to lead the implementation of the Danube Water Program's policy component out of the World Bank office in Vienna.

Elise Hens
Occupation: Environmental Engineer at ENVIRON
MIT Year: 2012
Education: B.S. Environmental Engineering '12

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!

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Emily Moberg OR

I was involved in Mission as a freshman in 2007 and then as a UTF the following three years; I was an alumni mentor last two years 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 the bioeconomic effects of climate change on fisheries. I am also interested in environmental decision analysis and remote sensing, particularly image analysis. Feel free to contact me at any time!

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Bashar M. Zeitoon

Education: Chemical Engineering (MIT: SB ’87; M.S. CEP ‘89); Public Policy (Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government: MPA '2006)

After graduating from MIT, I have worked in technology, R&D, and management consulting, serving the chemicals industry. After 10 years, I switched careers to focus more on environmental sustainability and related public policy. At the Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national environmental advocacy organization, I worked on addressing air pollution problems guided by science, law, and economics, and in partnership with public and corporate sector actors. In 2006, I earned a graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on sustainable development.

In the past 5 years, I have directed policy, research, and advocacy programs at an environmental think tank, with an exclusive focus on the Middle east. One of the products of this work is a report I have co-edited on water resources management and another on water efficiency.

As a 12.000 mentor, I hope to assist Mission 2017 students develop sound approaches to address the question of Global Water Security from a social science (policy) perspective.

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