People / PoET IGERT Trainees '07-'08

Laurel Braitman, History, Anthropology,
Science, Technology & Society

Greg Distelhorst, Political Science
Kieran Downes, STS
Katherine Dykes, ESD
Jon Lindsay, Political Science

Gautam Mukunda, Political Science
Matthew Richards, ESD
Matthew Silver, ESD
Kate Steel, ESD
Chintan Vaishnav, ESD
Rachel Wellhausen, Political Science

Laurel Braitman
Laurel Braitman
History, Anthropology, Science, Technology & Society, Ph.D. Candidate
lbrait "@" mit.edu

Laurel Braitman received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University in the double major of Biology and Writing. Her senior thesis project looked at the unregulated aquarium fish trade originating in Amazonian forest streams. Upon graduation, Laurel taught writing and natural history courses in Bogota, Colombia. She also spent a number of years within the international environmental conservation field, working on sustainable development initiatives throughout Central and South America. Her academic interests revolve around the ways technology informs environmental resource management, emergent technologies such as nanotechnology and their social and environmental ramifications, and the global trade of certain natural commodities such as fish.

> top



Greg Distelhorst

Department of Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
gregd “@” mit.edu

Greg Distelhorst is a Ph.D. student in Political Science. He received his BA in Cognitive Science, focusing on models of language acquisition, from Yale University in 2003. Before coming to MIT, he spent two years as a high school teacher and news researcher in Changsha and Beijing, China. His current research focuses on state priorities in news management. He is also interested in Internet media effects, non-electoral accountability and political psychology.

updated September 2007

> top


Kieran Downes
Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society, Ph.D. Candidate
kieran “@” mit.edu

Kieran Downes is a Ph.D. candidate in the History, Anthropology, Science, Technology & Society program. His research is focused on the role of enthusiasm in technological progress, and how traditionally "non-rational" forces such as emotion and passion influence individual and community responses to technological artifacts and systems. His dissertation research concerns how particular technological artifacts in the high-end audio and guitar amplification industries have shaped innovation and business practices, and how the non-linear path of these artifacts in the hands of enthusiastic user communities reflects upon and challenges larger narratives of technological progress. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College, and prior to starting at MIT spent four years working as a business technology consultant for an interactive marketing agency in New York City.

updated February 2007

> top


Katherine Dykes
Katherine Dykes
Engineering Systems Division, Ph.D. Candidate
dykesk "@" mit.edu

Katherine Dykes is a Ph.D. student in the Engineering Systems Division (2007 – present). Her research interests include emerging technologies in the energy sector and the impact of policy and economics on development of those technologies. Her work experience includes developing wind assessment studies for DOE funded programs as a wind program consultant for Green Energy Ohio as well as designing control algorithms for subsystem level specifications on hybrid platform vehicles for General Motors. She has a dual- Masters of Science from the Ohio State University in AED Economics and Electrical Engineering (2007). Her undergraduate work consisted of a dual-degree program in management and technology from the University of Pennsylvania (2004).

updated September 2007

> top

 


Jon Lindsay
Jon Lindsay

Department of Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
lindsayj “@” mit.edu

Jon Lindsay is a Ph.D. student in Political Science studying distributed cognition and organizational evolution, with an emphasis on intelligence and security institutions.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems (focusing on the philosophical foundations of cognitive science) and his Master of Science in Computer Science (focusing on human-computer interaction) from Stanford University.  Before arriving at MIT, Jon served in the U.S. Navy for seven years as an intelligence officer providing targeting and special operations intelligence support for military operations in the Balkans, Latin America, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

> top


Gautam Mukunda
Gautam Mukunda
Department of Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
mukunda “@” mit.edu

Gautam Mukunda is a student in MIT's Political Science Ph.D. program focusing in international relations. He was a consultant with McKinsey & Company focusing in the pharmaceutical and financial sectors. He is currently the Founding Managing Director of the Two Rivers Group, a consulting firm that brings the insights and knowledge of the academic world to bear on the problems facing the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He served at the Kennedy School of Government as Administrator of the Russian Investment Symposium and as Program Coordinator of the Kommersant Program on Executive Education in Russia. He also founded Excelsior Education, which focused on providing mathematics enrichment to highly gifted students. His current research interests include psychological factors in international relations, the impact of network effects and feedback loops on hegemonic stability, the divergence between power and security in the modern international system, and the implications of emerging technologies on international security. He came to PoET because he believes that it provides a unique opportunity to synthesize the insights and methodologies of a wide variety of academic fields and bring them to bear on some of the most important issues facing the United States. His outside interests include history, politics, baseball, sailing, weightlifting, and the performing arts. Gautam graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Government in 2001. Gautam is a 2005 Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow.

> top


Matthew Richards
Matthew Richards
Engineering Systems Division, Ph.D. Candidate
mgr “@” mit.edu

Matthew Richards is a graduate student at MIT pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Systems. Matt's research interests include survivability, systems engineering, space systems architecture and design, emergent behavior, and innovation management. His work experience includes Mars rover mission design at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and systems engineering support on two autonomous vehicle programs for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. From MIT, Matt received a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics (2004) and M.S. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics (2006) and Technology and Policy (2006).

> top



Chintan Vaishnav
Engineering Systems Division, Ph.D. Candidate
chintanv "@" mit.edu

Chintan Vaishnav is a Ph.D. candidate in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT. Chintan is interested in the full spectrum of technology and development; as an engineer creating high-end to grassroots innovations, as an analyst observing the socio-economic impact and as a systems thinker interested in the policy implications and possible interventions. A parallel, and inextricable, interest he has is in developing ways to observe, measure and analyze complex, socio-technical systems. His Ph.D. thesis – titled The End of Core: should disruptive innovation in telecom invoke discontinuous changes? – hopes to examine why disruptive trends in the architecture and ownership of communications network requires discontinuing some old regulatory practices. Chintan holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Technology and Policy. Before MIT, he worked for the Bell Labs as a Member of Technical Staff.

updated September 2007

> top


Matthew Silver
Engineering Systems Division, Ph.D. Candidate
mrsilver "@" mit.edu

 

Matthew Silver is a doctoral student in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division. His research interests include the design of complex technical and organizational systems, unifying principals in complex systems, and the organizational and political implications of emerging technologies. Matt has worked at the Canadian Space Agency as a systems engineer. He was a staff researcher at the MIT Space Systems Lab, and worked at NASA headquarters where he aided with the analysis and design of NASA’s exploration architecture. Prior to beginning his PhD studies, Matt was principal investigator on a NASA advanced concept grant to identify and develop novel bio-electric technologies with application to space exploration. He is co-founder and CEO of IntAct Labs LLC, a technology development company commercializing emerging bio-energy technologies, and co-founder of Intelligent Action Inc., a consulting company focused on the intersection of systems design and business strategy. Matt has worked and studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, Rome, Italy, Strasbourg, France and Montreal, Canada. He has two masters degrees from MIT in Aerospace Engineering and Technology Policy, and a bachelors degree from Williams College with double major in Astrophysics and Art History.

updated September 2007

> top


Kate Steel
Kate Steel

Engineering Systems Division, Ph.D. Candidate
ksteel “@” mit.edu

Kate Steel is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the Engineering Systems Division, with her research focusing on applying systems methods to the problem of energy planning in developing countries, with a focus on Africa. She is also interested in looking at emerging energy technologies. Kate received her MS in Engineering-Development Technologies from the University of Melbourne, and her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. Kate has spent time in Africa, working as a teacher for AUPI in Nairobi, and as an intern and consultant for Rural Area Power Solutions in Pretoria, South Africa.

> top

Rachel Wellhausen
Rachel Wellhausen
Department of Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate
rwellhau “@” mit.edu

Rachel Wellhausen is a student in MIT's Political Science program studying Political Economy. She received her M.Sc. from the London School of Economics in Political Economy: Transition, focusing on institutional reform in Central and Eastern Europe. Rachel received BA degrees in Economics, English, and Interdisciplinary Studies (German, Russian, and Political Science) from the University of Arizona. She has studied and worked extensively throughout Eurasia, including at a political and violent risk consultancy focused on the insurance industry. Her research interests are in methods of managing risk and uncertainty in policy-making particularly as regards transition, whether between economic systems or prevailing technologies. Rachel also has interests in energy security and the effectiveness of regulatory institutions in the US and abroad.

> top