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WTP-ME Staff: 2024 |2023 | 2022 | 2021 |2019 |2018 |2017 |2016 |2015 |2014 |2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006


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Turga Ganapathy
Hello, my name is Turga (they/them)! I’m a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. For my research, I grow the edible cyanobacteria Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina) in do-it-yourself (DIY) bioreactors. I also study how this microorganism’s shape responds to cultivation conditions unique to these DIY reactor environments. Outside work, I enjoy reading anticolonial theory, managing a vegetable and pollinator garden, birding, recreating Malaysian dishes, and collecting jazz vinyls.

Robyn Richmond
Hi everyone! My name is Robyn Richmond and I am a masters student in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. My research focuses on wood-fired stoves for cooking and heating, specifically in remote households in the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal. I’m especially interested in participatory design, involving users—especially those experiencing poverty and related challenges—in the process of defining challenges and exploring solutions together with engineers, designers, and other stakeholders. Outside of school, I spend a lot of time with my dog, Livey—she’s a crazy Aussie-doodle with lots of energy! I consider myself a hobby collector, so over the years I’ve done swing dancing, singing, quilting, knitting, Texas two-step, rec volleyball, playing guitar, sailing, skiing, wind-surfing, wake-surfing, swimming, camping, and more! I’ve lately channeled my creativity into cooking (I love food), and I’ve tried to do more hiking over the last year to tire my dog out. I’m originally from Fort Worth, Texas and I did my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin—Hook ‘em Horns! I can’t wait to meet all of you this summer ?



Romina Cano Velasquez
Hi! My name is Romina, and I am a transfer and junior student in mechanical engineering with a concentration in Spanish at MIT. I have been a physics mentor for the last two semesters, and I am excited to continue sharing the perks of engineering now at WTP. I am interested in the intersection between MechE and the aerospace field. Outside academics, I enjoy playing soccer, walking around the city, and finding new artists and music. I am looking forward to meeting you all this summer and learning more about MechE together!

Irma Ceco 
Hi! My name is Irma and I just graduated MIT with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in History of Art & Architecture. My research interests are focused in mechanics and materials, precision machine design, and biomedical devices. I am super passionate about teaching and have loved working as a tutor/mentor in physics, writing, math, and engineering subjects in the past four years! Outside of academics, I really enjoy making art (painting, origami, sewing) and spending time outdoors (biking, sailing, exploring the city). Next year, I am planning to stay at MIT and pursue my Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. I am thrilled to meet and work with you all this summer as part of WTP!

Juliana Covarrubias
Hello, I’m Juliana :) I just graduated from MIT studying mechanical engineering (with a concentration in robotics) with a double major in art & design. I love making all kinds of things from chairs to video games to laser-cut flowers and I am so excited to spend the summer making things with all of you! I spend a lot of my time in the various workshops around campus designing and prototyping for my classes and personal projects. Outside of engineering, I love crafts of all kinds, watching the birds and squirrels on campus, and discovering how other people view the world. I look forward to the adventures we'll have together this summer :)  

Penelope Herrero-Marques
Hi! My name is Penelope and I just graduated from MIT, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. My research focus is on machine design, controls, and instrumentation. I love multidisciplinary projects, so throughout my time at MIT I have been involved in projects from neuroscience, ocean energy harvesting, and global development with MIT D-Lab (highly recommend!). Outside the classroom, I am passionate about art and the outdoors. I love painting, sculpting, sewing, and have tried just about any craft I can get my hands on. I love exploring the National Parks and spend a lot of time watching nature documentaries. Next year I plan to stay at MIT to pursue my Master's in Mechanical Engineering. I cannot wait to meet you all and be a part of WTP!

Kayla Robertson
Hi! My name is Kayla and I’m a rising junior studying Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Manufacturing. I'm from Montreal, Canada and knew that I loved building things so mechanical engineering felt like a perfect fit at MIT after taking some introductory design classes! I'm so excited to be a tutor this summer and explore MechE with you all! On campus I'm a member of the varsity women's openweight crew team. Also, while I'm at school I love to hang out with friends, try out new recipes, and continue to explore Boston!

Abigail Schipper 
I'm Abbie and I just graduated MIT with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Biology. A lot of my work has been in the medical area: I worked as an EMT with MIT EMS and did research on drug delivery devices, infectious disease transmission in homeless shelters, and gender equity in CPR education. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and in my free time I enjoy fixing bikes, marveling at cool looking trees, and playing the piano.

Program Facilitator

Paige Bunn 
Hello! I am Paige (she/her) and I am a rising sophomore at Wellesley College planning to major in biochemistry. On campus I work for the theatre studies department building all sorts of things and do research in an astrochemistry lab studying interstellar ice. I was a WTP alum back in 2022 so I am excited to spend the summer with you all! For fun I enjoy baking, doing all the NYT daily games, and staring at geese.

WTP Program Coordinator

Julia Sharpe is a former mechanical engineering professional enjoying an early retirement to focus on passion projects, including passing on her love of engineering to future Engineers. Julia was an alum of WTP-EECS in 2004, and it is the reason she fell in love with Engineering. Julia earned a Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from MIT (2009/2011). She focused her career mostly on design of life science products, including a handheld blood diagnostic device, a droplet-based DNA sequencer, automation for large laboratories (a superhighway for test tubes), and a rapid viral diagnostic platform. From 2018-2023, Julia was an engineering consultant for EPAM (formerly Continuum Innovations), a global design consulting firm. In her free time, Julia is a competitive gymnast, cycles long distances with her family, and enjoys sewing wacky clothes.

WTP Director

Dr. Barbara Hughey is a Senior Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department and lead instructor for the junior-level 2.671 Measurement and Instrumentation Course. She is a graduate of Princeton University (BSE 1981 in Engineering Physics) and MIT (PhD 1989 in Physics). After receiving her Ph.D she worked in the Boston area developing accelerator-based instruments, primarily for medical applications. She is a dedicated violinist, having served as concertmaster of both the Princeton and MIT Orchestras, as well as having been an active participant in the MIT Chamber Music Society. She is a member of the Council for the Arts at MIT and is on the board of and performs with the Lexington Symphony. She has two children: one graduated from the Biological Engineering Department at MIT in 2013, received an MD/PhD in 2020 and is presently an orthopaedic surgery resident in Pittsburgh. The other graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2014 with a degree in Vocal Performance and is presently a singer/songwriter in Nashville. When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, photography, reading science fiction, and making herb- and fruit-infused alcohol for friends. (PC: